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Hoover and Hemingway


Ron Ecker
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This interesting article on Hoover's destruction of Hemingway also touches on the JFK assassination. (Seems that someone named Dr. Karla Sofen on McAdams's forum has been analyzing why conspiracy nuts think like they do.)

I really don't see how anyone like Hoover could have been left out of a conspiracy to assassinate Kennedy, if it wasn't Hoover's idea to begin with.

I guess I need Dr. Sofen to analyze me.

http://independent-bangladesh.com/news/nov/20/20112004ft.htm

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This interesting article on Hoover's destruction of Hemingway also touches on the JFK assassination.

Sadly, Hemingway's assertion of FBI persecution was interpreted as evidence of his paranoid derangement. It was many years before Hemingway's claims were validated. Fortunately, John Lennon, who was beset by much the same treatment as Hemingway, was vindicated during the post-Watergate disclosures in time to prevent his deportation. It was just four days ago that I toured Hemingway's Key West home this past Tuesday.

Tim

Edited by Tim Carroll
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This interesting article on Hoover's destruction of Hemingway also touches on the JFK assassination.

Sadly, Hemingway's assertion of FBI persecution was interpreted as evidence of his paranoid derangement. It was many years before the Hemingway's claims were validated. Fortunately, John Lennon, who was beset by much the same treatment as Hemingway, was vindicated during the post-Watergate disclosures in time to prevent his deportation. It was just four days ago that I toured Hemingway's Key West home this past Tuesday.

Tim

Do not have the site to it but David Corn wrote an article about a discussion (in 1962 I believe) about using a visit by Fidel to the Hemingway shrine in Cuba to assassinate Castro because it was reported that Castro occsasionally visited there without his normal contingent of guards. Anyone familiar with the article? If not, I'll try to find a reference to it.

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This interesting article on Hoover's destruction of Hemingway also touches on the JFK assassination.

Sadly, Hemingway's assertion of FBI persecution was interpreted as evidence of his paranoid derangement. It was many years before the Hemingway's claims were validated. Fortunately, John Lennon, who was beset by much the same treatment as Hemingway, was vindicated during the post-Watergate disclosures in time to prevent his deportation. It was just four days ago that I toured Hemingway's Key West home this past Tuesday.

Tim

Do not have the site to it but David Corn wrote an article about a discussion (in 1962 I believe) about using a visit by Fidel to the Hemingway shrine in Cuba to assassinate Castro because it was reported that Castro occsasionally visited there without his normal contingent of guards. Anyone familiar with the article? If not, I'll try to find a reference to it.

Here is the story that Mark Howell wrote, published in the supplement to the Key West Citizen (in connection to the Hemingway Festival in Key West (whenever it is out of the winter "tourist season" (winter) in Key West, the KeyWest tourist indiustry starts a festival to bring tourists down even when the weather is insufferable: in the Hemingway Days Festival, a bunch of older guys with white beards compete in a Hemingway lookalike contest):

The Old Man and the CIA

from Soundings, July 28

by Mark Howell

While Sloppy Joe's and Capt. Tony's duke it out over their stake in the Hemingway legend, other parties on the planet are just as intent on grabbing a slice of Papa for themselves.

A 42yearold Pentagon memo unearthed by a college professor six years ago has put Ernest Hemingway's Cuban farm squarely in the middle of a government conspiracy to kill Fidel Castro by the Kennedy administration.

Assassination nuts have descended upon the memo for the light it sheds on whether President John or Attorney General Robert Kennedy knew about CIA plots to kill Castro, which many believe might have "blown back" as a Cuban/Russian hit on Nov. 22, 1963.

Other nuts are gobbling up the memo for the insight it provides on Papa's fourth wife, Mary, and what Jack Kennedy really thought of her.

After the Bay of Pigs debacle, the Kennedy brothers began to take a personal interest in deposing Castro. But the CIA had been plotting Castro's murder ever since the Eisenhower era, coming up with killing devices like exploding seashells, a toxincontaminated diving suit and Mafia hit men.

In a story called "A Kennedy Plot to Kill Castro?" first published in The Nation, David Corn and Gus Russo dissect the covert CIA assassination job known as Operation Mongoose. It is to Mongoose that the Pentagon memo, originally classified Top Secret, refers.

Discovered in 1998 by Larry Haapanen, a professor at Lewis and Clark College, the memo was written by Brig. Gen. Edward Lansdale, appointed by President Kennedy to run Operation Mongoose. It describes a March 16, 1962 meeting of national security officials, in the Oval Office, with the President and Attorney General.

McGeorge Bundy was there, so was Gen. Maxwell Taylor and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. President Kennedy informed them he would not approve a direct military intervention in Cuba. Memowriter Lansdale reports what happened next:

"The Attorney General then mentioned Mary Hemingway" [Papa's widow he shot himself July 2, 1961] "commenting on reports that Castro was drinking heavily in disgruntlement over the way things were going, and the opportunities offered by the 'shrine' to Hemingway. I commented that this was a conversation that Ed Murrow had with Mary Hemingway ... We were in agreement that the matter was so delicate and sensitive that it shouldn't be surfaced to the Special Group until we were ready to go, and then not in detail. I pointed out that this all pertained to fractioning the regime."

The Special Group he mentioned was an elite interagency group that reviewed covert acts of sabotage, violence and chaos in Cuba. The words "so delicate and sensitive" and "fractioning of the regime" are opspeak for assassination. The mention of the Hemingway "shrine" refers to Hemingway's farm outside of Havana called the Finca Vigia. The "opportunities offered" by the farm suggest that it could be useful for an assassination attempt on Castro.

None of the participants at this secret meeting are still alive. The thenSecretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, was supposed to have attended but did not. In 2001, he said of the Hemingwayshrine plan, "I don't know anything about it. The whole Mongoose thing was insane."

The bulk of Lansdale's memo is devoted to Mary Hemingway's meeting with Castro eight months earlier. Shortly after her husband shot himself in Ketchum, Idaho, Mary traveled to Havana to retrieve manuscripts and paintings from the Finca Vigia. She needed Presidential permission to do this, as the U.S. ban on travel to Cuba was strictly enforced. Her friend William Walton, a journalist and artist, was close to President Kennedy and arranged her clearance in hours.

Mary traveled with Valerie DanbySmith, Hemingway's former secretary. (Valerie would become one of the multiple wives of Papa's youngest son, Gregory.) The two women arrived at the farm in late July, 1961. Castro, who had come to power in 1959, sent them a basket of fruit and a request that they contact him. Several nights later, according to Valerie, Castro came calling.

In her autobiography, Mary (she died in 1986) describes how Castro arrived in a jeep with a few aides but no bodyguards. She lined up the servants to greet him. She served coffee and they discussed the transfer of Finca Vigia to the Cuban government as a museum. Castro reminisced about fishing with Ernest. He first met Hemingway in 1960, when he awarded him several prizes for biggame fishing. But back in the 1950s, Castro had taken Hemingway's "For Whom the Bell Tolls" into the Sierra as a guide to guerilla war. (Hemingway, who called Castro's revolution "honest" and donated his Nobel Prize money to the Cuban people, died before Castro declared himself a Communist.)

Then he asked where Hemingway had done his writing, so Mary took Fidel to a threestory tower she had built away from the main house. Notes Valerie in her own account: "Ernest hated the tower and always wrote in his bedroom."

Castro immediately bounded up the stairs to the top floor, Mary following. Writes Valerie: "Mary was impressed with that. She thought any other leader would have ordered an aide to go up ahead of him. To make sure it was safe. It was an ideal place to do in Castro. She would remark on that many times over the years."

At the instigation of her friend Clifton Daniel, husband of Margaret Truman and an editor at The New York Times, Mary would tell the story of "the ideal place to do in Castro" to broadcaster Murrow, who would tell it to Lansdale, head of Operation Mongoose.

Back at the farm, Mary and Valerie burned a lot of manuscript pages, as Ernest had apparently wished, then put paintings by Paul Klee, Juan Gris and Andr Masson aboard a shrimp boat headed for Tampa.

Mary was still in deep shock over her husband's suicide, which she persisted in calling a gun accident. It is unlikely, however, that she would have consciously recommended a way to kill Castro.

Only the men of Operation Mongoose saw her words in that light, which included according to Lansdale's memo Jack and Bobby Kennedy.

Did the Kennedys dabble in murder?

The Nation's Corn and Russo report that 1,500 linear feet and 50 boxes of Robert F. Kennedy's classified and confidential papers are stored at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston. Most of it is unavailable to the public.

A partial list of the records reveal their fascination: Operation Mongoose; the CIA and Cuba; Edward Lansdale and Edward Murrow. There's also Frank Sinatra in there, plus Sam Giancana and Judith Campbell, mistress of both Sam and JFK.

The Robert Kennedy family considers the papers the private property of his heirs (although many of the papers were obtained by the attorney general from the CIA, the FBI and the State Department). The Kennedy family strictly limits access to the records, which are being stored at government expense.

Contemporary investigators and historians Richard Reeves, Laurence Leamer and Seymour Hersh have been refused access by the Kennedys. Robert Kennedy's son Max is now the overseer of the records. To date he has not released any files relating to the crucial March 16, 1962 meeting at which the Kennedy brothers apparently discussed the "opportunities offered" by the Hemingway farm outside of Havana thus implicating themselves in a conspiracy to murder ... and inviting murder in return.

It was in fact towards Jack Kennedy that Mary Hemingway aimed her distress and anger, not Fidel Castro.

And Jack lobbed it right back.

In her absolutely fab book called "Grace and Power," Sally Bedell Smith tells of the April 1962 state dinner at the White House, held in honor of the Shah of Iran and his wife, the Empress Farah, and attended by Mary.

Called "one of the most stimulating parties ever" by the Washington Post, the dinner's 175 guests included 49 Nobel Prize winners who were "blindingly impressed" by the Farah's jewelry and Jacqueline Kennedy's diamond drop earrings and diamond sunburst pin.

Both Jack and Jackie glowed with a nutbrown tan. Lionel Trilling, intellectual dean of academia, was "pleasantly looped" on six martinis and chatted up Jackie with talk about the sex novels of D.H. Lawrence.

At the dinner, President Kennedy found himself seated next to Mary Hemingway. She had been invited because actor Frederic March was to read a Hemingway story after dinner that she had contributed for the event. It was from an unpublished novel about a young man fighting Nazi submarines from a fishing boat off the Florida Keys.

Hemingway's prose was "so poor that one was pained for the man who had written it," commented Lionel's wife Diana, another pickled academic. "His widow was having a tough time, poor woman." Mary's emotional state apparently prompted the President to "do something nice," goes on Diana. "He squeezed her arm comfortingly."

It was the only nice thing to happen between Jack Kennedy and Mary Hemingway that night. During the dinner she had regaled the President with her views on Castro and how to deal with him. In her autobiography, Mary admits she called Kennedy's confrontational position toward Cuba "stupid, unrealistic and, worse, ineffective." This "irked" the President, she said.

Sally Bedell Smith says Mary's lecture managed to "irritate Kennedy profoundly." Their mutual friend William Walton later wrote that Kennedy told him Mary was "the biggest bore I've had for a long time."

Lazier links between Hemingway and the Kennedy assassination:

Hemingway was born in Oak Park, Illinois, home of Sam Giancana, whose plot to kill Castro likely led to the killing of Kennedy instead. (Giancana was gunned down in Oak Park 12 years after the assassination.)

The psychiatrist who treated Lee Harvey Oswald as a child, Renatus Hartogs, who wrote a report for the Warren Commission about his findings, also treated Ernest Hemingway during his last bout of depression.

Quote for the Week:

"'Hey, I counted 26 Tshirt shops on Duval Street. No wonder Hemingway blew his brains out.'

"'That wasn't here,' Joey informed him. 'That was in Idaho.'"

— "Skinny Dip" by Carl Hiaasen (Knopf 2004)

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At the dinner, President Kennedy found himself seated next to Mary Hemingway. She had been invited because actor Frederic March was to read a Hemingway story after dinner that she had contributed for the event. It was from an unpublished novel about a young man fighting Nazi submarines from a fishing boat off the Florida Keys. [Probably Islands In The Stream, which, though an awkward book, is a fantastic movie.]Hemingway's prose was "so poor that one was pained for the man who had written it," commented Lionel's wife Diana, another pickled academic. "His widow was having a tough time, poor woman." Mary's emotional state apparently prompted the President to "do something nice," goes on Diana. "He squeezed her arm comfortingly."

It was the only nice thing to happen between Jack Kennedy and Mary Hemingway that night. During the dinner she had regaled the President with her views on Castro and how to deal with him. In her autobiography, Mary admits she called Kennedy's confrontational position toward Cuba "stupid, unrealistic and, worse, ineffective." This "irked" the President, she said.  [Possibly because it was true.]

Sally Bedell Smith says Mary's lecture managed to "irritate Kennedy profoundly." Their mutual friend William Walton later wrote that Kennedy told him Mary was "the biggest bore I've had for a long time."

Quote for the Week:

"'Hey, I counted 26 Tshirt shops on Duval Street. No wonder Hemingway blew his brains out.'

'That wasn't here,' Joey informed him. 'That was in Idaho.'"

— "Skinny Dip" by Carl Hiaasen (Knopf 2004)

Great post Tim,

This is the second reference to "Skinny Dip" I've read - time to check it out. While in Florida, I also got turned on to Tim Dorsey, a hilarious writer. When I checked out No Name Key and stopped in at the pub, a photo of Dorsey was coincidentally hanging prominently there.

Since we now have mention of Mark Howell, would you care to comment on the sentence at the end of your Key West series, which reads: "Mark Howell and Tim Gratz, having spent weeks researching these stories in the fever swamps of assassination lore. are now each demanding that the other produce proof of his alibi for Nov. 22, 1963."?

Tim

Edited by Tim Carroll
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