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U.S. Army colonel kidnapped on 11/22/63?


Ron Ecker
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From FBI interview report on assassination earwitness John J. Solon:

Mr. SOLON advised he also addressed a post card, dated December 17, 1963, to the Southwestern Bell Telephone Company. He said his comments on this post card were only his opinion that someone at the "Dallas Morning News" must have called Caracas, Venezuela, so that the kidnapping of the U.S. Army Colonel could have been reported at the same time of the assassination of President KENNEDY to push the news of his death off the front pages.

Mr. SOLON said he felt that if such a call was made, the Southwestern Bell Telephone Company should report this to the FBI and that if this was not done, then this was "treason".

http://jfkassassination.net/russ/exhibits/ce2105.htm

Does anyone know the details about a U.S. Army colonel being kidnapped (in Venezuela?) on or about 11/22/63?

It would be idiotic to think that any such story would push the assassination of a U.S. president off the front pages. But it would make sense that a U.S. Army colonel might be kidnapped (or worse) around 11/22/63 if he had foreknowledge of the assassination and might be a risk to act upon it.

Ron

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From FBI interview report on assassination earwitness John J. Solon:

Mr. SOLON advised he also addressed a post card, dated December 17, 1963, to the Southwestern Bell Telephone Company. He said his comments on this post card were only his opinion that someone at the "Dallas Morning News" must have called Caracas, Venezuela, so that the kidnapping of the U.S. Army Colonel could have been reported at the same time of the assassination of President KENNEDY to push the news of his death off the front pages.

Mr. SOLON said he felt that if such a call was made, the Southwestern Bell Telephone Company should report this to the FBI and that if this was not done, then this was "treason".

http://jfkassassination.net/russ/exhibits/ce2105.htm

Does anyone know the details about a U.S. Army colonel being kidnapped (in Venezuela?) on or about 11/22/63?

It would be idiotic to think that any such story would push the assassination of a U.S. president off the front pages. But it would make sense that a U.S. Army colonel might be kidnapped (or worse) around 11/22/63 if he had foreknowledge of the assassination and might be a risk to act upon it.

Ron

There was one US Army Colonel by the name of Michael Smollen (sp?) kidnapped in Venezuela, but i couldn't find an exact date yet on the internet.

On this page the year is either 1963 or 1964

http://insidecostarica.com/specialreports/...ng_industry.htm

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From FBI interview report on assassination earwitness John J. Solon:

Mr. SOLON advised he also addressed a post card, dated December 17, 1963, to the Southwestern Bell Telephone Company. He said his comments on this post card were only his opinion that someone at the "Dallas Morning News" must have called Caracas, Venezuela, so that the kidnapping of the U.S. Army Colonel could have been reported at the same time of the assassination of President KENNEDY to push the news of his death off the front pages.

Mr. SOLON said he felt that if such a call was made, the Southwestern Bell Telephone Company should report this to the FBI and that if this was not done, then this was "treason".

http://jfkassassination.net/russ/exhibits/ce2105.htm

Does anyone know the details about a U.S. Army colonel being kidnapped (in Venezuela?) on or about 11/22/63?

It would be idiotic to think that any such story would push the assassination of a U.S. president off the front pages. But it would make sense that a U.S. Army colonel might be kidnapped (or worse) around 11/22/63 if he had foreknowledge of the assassination and might be a risk to act upon it.

Ron

There was one US Army Colonel by the name of Michael Smollen (sp?) kidnapped in Venezuela, but i couldn't find an exact date yet on the internet.

On this page the year is either 1963 or 1964

http://insidecostarica.com/specialreports/...ng_industry.htm

________________________________

Ron:

Interesting post. Don't know about yor US Army Col,- (will inquire)-, but another "kidnapping", that of Frank Sinatra jr was "done" , imo, to take the JFk assassinaation off the front page.

thoughts anyone?

Dawn

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Interesting post. Don't know about yor US Army Col,- (will inquire)-, but another "kidnapping", that of Frank Sinatra jr was "done" , imo, to take the JFk assassinaation off the front page.

I've read that theory about the Sinatra kidnapping and it may be true. But what Solon was apparently suggesting is that the Dallas newspaper was frantic to get the colonel's kidnapping reported at the same time as the assassination, with the odd notion that the kidnapping would be an even bigger Dallas headline that day than the U.S. president being shot down in our fair city.

If the colonel's kidnapping was such a big story in its own right, why doesn't anyone remember it? It obviously happened, since the FBI report on Solon talks about it as though it were common knowledge.

Ron

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Ron-Another great post, I pasted in the hotlink text.

Why do the Investigators lie?

That limousine never hit 40 miles an hour, even on Main St. at Dealey Plaza.

I noticed that SOLON wrote two postcards about the assassination.

In the first one, he asks hard questions about the Parade Route and Oswald's presence at the TBSD. In the second he refers to an international phone call from the US to Caracas about a kidnapping of a colonel. I wouldn't pay too much attention to SOLONs belief about the motivation of the article, but more to the fact he is knowledgeable and interested in the FBI's overseas listening capacity, his suspicion of Dallas-Caracas assassination linked telephonic communications concerning a missing or removed US Colonel, and has interest and knowledge of the parade route and Oswald's presence. He appears to be under stress when he writes the two postcards to the FBI about the newspaper, he possibly felt guilt.

This stress could be a result of the coaching evident in the few shots and condensed time frame of the earwitness testimony. SOLON probably knew that the limousine was crawling, volley after volley swept the arcade for almost twenty seconds and that the parade route had been deliberately detoured in front ot the old TBSD, and that a US colonel that flew to Venezuela after being AWOL was somehow associated, and if the FBI didn't act, it was TREASON< etc....

FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION

Date January 6, 1964

Mr. JOHN J. SOLON 4153 Beachwood Lane, was interviewed at his residence.

Mr. SOLON advised he is no longer in private law practice, but is employed as an attorney by the Texas Highway Department, at Mesquite, Texas.

Mr. SOLON advised that on November 22, 1963, he was in the Main Street entrance of the Old courthouse, on the south side of Main Street, looking north towar the Dallas County Jail, when the Presidential motorcade passed by. Mr. SOLON andvised he observed President JOHN FITZGERALD KENNEDY, Mrs. KENNEDY, and other officials in the Presidential car, which was moving at approximately 35-40 miles per hour. The Presidential car slowed down to turn north on Houston Street from Main, and a few moments later, he heard three shots which sounded as follows:

First shot, pause, two shots, then echoes of the shots.

Mr. SOLON advised he would judge that approximately five and one-half seconds was ake fo all three shots.

Mr. SOLON advised he did not have any further specific informsation about the assassination of President JOHN FITZGERALD KENNEDY. Mr. SOLON advised that on December 10, 1963 he addressed a post card to the FBI. Mr. SOLON said these comments were merely an opinion of his and he had no idea that there was any information available concerning the data the Presidential trip to Dallas was first planned; the Date OSWALD obtained a job at the Texas School Book Depository, nor did he have any information or proof that the "Dallas Morning News" was the connecting link between these two facts.

Mr. SOLON advised he also addressed a post card, dated December 17, 1963, to the Southwestern Bell Telephone Company. He said his comments on this post card were only his opinion that someone at the "Dallas Morning News" must have called Caracas, Venezuela, so that the kidnapping of the U.S. Army Colonel could have been reported at the same time of the assassination of President KENNEDY to push the news of his death off the front pages.

Mr. SOLON said he felt that if such a call was made, the Southwestern Bell Telephone Company should report this to the FBI and that if this was not done, then this was "treason".

Mr. SOLON advised he had been a great admirer of President KENNEDY and was deeply shocked by his death. He said he had thought about this very much and just wished that he could help in some way, so he wrote the post cards as a means of suggestion and help. Mr. SOLON advised, however, the only thing he really of positively was having heard the three shots of the assassination.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

on 1/4/64 at Dallas, Texas File # DL 100-10461

By Special Agent WILLIAM G. BROOKHART and GEORGE T. BINNEY Date Dictated 1/7/64

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Good Day All.... FWIW, the following internet article details that SMOLLEN was kidnapped in 1964....

http://insidecostarica.com/specialreports/...ng_industry.htm

....According to a 2003 copywrited list of Dallas criminal defense attorney's here....

http://www.dallas-attorneys-directory.com/...s-criminal.html

....there is a "John J. Solon," whose address and phone number are listed as....

4153 Beechwood Ln

DALLAS, TX 75220

(214) 350-0908

Don Roberdeau

U.S.S. John F. Kennedy, CV-67, "Big John" Plank Walker

Sooner, or later, the Truth emerges Clearly

http://members.aol.com/DRoberdeau/JFK/DP.jpg

http://members.aol.com/DRoberdeau/JFK/ROSE...NOUNCEMENT.html

http://members.aol.com/DRoberdeau/JFK/BOND...PINGarnold.html

http://members.aol.com/DRoberdeau/JFK/GHOS...update2001.html

T ogether

E veryone

A chieves

M ore

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"The Committee suspected that Veciana was lying when he denied that the retired CIA officer was Bishop. The Committee recognized that Veciana had an interest in renewing his anti-Castro operations that might have led him to protect the officer from exposure as Bishop so they could work together again. For his part, the retired officer aroused the Committee's suspicion when he told the Committee he did not recognize Veciana as the founder of Alpha 66, especially since the officer had once been deeply involved in Agency anti-Castro operations."

-House Select Committee on Assassinations' final report

Edited by Don Roberdeau
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  • 7 years later...

For anyone who is still interested, the Colonel's name was James K. Chenault.

I found the following AP article in the Grand Haven (Michigan) Tribune, from their 11/27/63 issue:

Venezuelans Kidnap U.S. Army Officer

Washington (AP) - The assistant chief of the U.S. Army mission in Venezuela, Col. James K. Chenault, was kidnapped at gunpoint this morning by four armed men in Caracas.

The Pentagon, in announcing this, said Chenault was on the way from his home to headquarters of the army mission in Caracas when his official car was stopped by the kidnappers and he was removed from it.

This occurred about 7 a.m. At about 9:30 a.m., the Pentagon said, the U.S. Embassy in Caracas received a phone call from a Spanish-speaking man who said in effect, "don't worry about Col. Chenault; the kidnapping was for propaganda purposes only."

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Found the following photo for sale on eBay:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1963-Press-Photo-Col-James-K-Chenault-captured-by-Terrorists-/230752736872?pt=Art_Photo_Images&hash=item35b9ef5668#ht_3210wt_1185

Caption on the photo confirms that the kidnapping was November 27, 1963.

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Found the following photo for sale on eBay:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1963-Press-Photo-Col-James-K-Chenault-captured-by-Terrorists-/230752736872?pt=Art_Photo_Images&hash=item35b9ef5668#ht_3210wt_1185

Caption on the photo confirms that the kidnapping was November 27, 1963.

Interesting to note from the photo, Chenault was from Sherman, Texas.

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Guest Tom Scully
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=21740673

Col James K. Chenault

Date of Death: Jan. 14, 2006 Corpus Christi Nueces County Texas, USA

....He was transferred to Tokyo, Japan, in 1947 W/8th Army Stockade. He moved his family there 6 months later. He indulged in his favorite hobby of hunting boar while he was in Japan. After 3 years he then transferred back to the United States to Fort Benning Infantry School in Georgia. At the beginning of the Korean War he was transferred to San Francisco 8th Army H.Q. Then to Monterrey, California, to learn Spanish so he could go to Ecuador to be an Advisor for Cavalry School. While visiting his parents before departing to Ecuador his last daughter, Nina Louise, was born in Corpus Chirsti, Texas. He came back from Ecuador in 1955 and was transferred to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Camp Commander and Gerneral Staff College. He then went to Korea with the Korean Armistice Commission, then transferred to Fort Mead and then back to Korea to command a unit between North and South Korea. From 1957 to 1960 he was in Fort Ord. From 1960 to 1964 he was in Venezuela with his family. He was kidnapped in 1963 by guerillas who mistakenly believed he was a close relative of a General Chenault. He was held captive for 8 days. In 1969 he transferred to Aberdeen, Maryland, where he was Inspector General Tecom. He retired on January 31, 1972, with an Honorable discharge in Aberdeen, Maryland. After retiring from the Army he then moved to Hampton, Virginia, where for 16 years he was President of Child Care Foundation. He then worked at a pharmacy in Fort Monroe as a Red Cross volunteer....

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[Here is something on US Army Colonel Michael Smollen

The Boom of the Kidnapping 'Industry'

Humberto Márquez*

CARACAS, (IPS) - The kidnapping ''industry'' is booming in Latin America, where it operates hand in hand with the political violence in Colombia and the drug trade in Mexico.

The number of kidnappings is also increasing in countries like Venezuela and Paraguay, where few cases used to be reported, while so-called ''express'' kidnappings have become all the rage in Argentina.

The amount of ransom demanded and the procedures used vary greatly, with express kidnappers, for example, taking advantage of technological developments that have changed daily life, like automatic teller machines and cell-phones.

In Colombia, the world leader in kidnappings, more than 18,000 people have been kidnapped since 1997, including 2,986 cases reported in 2002, 3,041 in 2001, and 334 in the first two months of 2003 alone. The victim is a child in one out of eight cases.

But according to the Colombian non-governmental organisation Pais Libre (Free Country), the real number of cases is actually much larger, because only two out of three kidnappings are reported to the authorities.

In Mexico, there is almost one victim per day: 320 kidnappings were reported in 2001, 358 in 2002, and 169 in the first six months of this year, according to statistics provided by the Employers' Confederation.

In Venezuela, where around 50 people a year were kidnapped in the 1990s, the total climbed to 113 in 2001 and to 200 in 2002, according to the citizen group Venezuela Segura (Safe Venezuela).

In Paraguay, where only six kidnappings were reported between 1973 and 2001, 10 cases occurred last year. The two most recent kidnappings took place on the same day, Jul. 31. One of the victims was able to escape after being held for a week, while one and a half million dollars in ransom were paid for the release of the victim in the other case.

In Argentina, as in several other countries in Latin America, kidnapping began to be practiced by leftist insurgent groups in the 1960s and 1970s for propaganda and fund-raising purposes. But it virtually did not exist in the country as a common crime until 2000.

Since then, the number of traditional kidnappings has gradually increased, carried out by groups that have the infrastructure and organisational capacity to track their targeted victims to discover the best time and place to stage the abduction, and to hold them indefinitely while demanding a high ransom.

Four such cases were reported in 2000, five in 2001, and 10 in the first half of 2002.

In late July, the former head of the anti-kidnapping police unit in Lomas de Zamora, a district that forms part of the greater Buenos Aires, was declared a fugitive from justice. He is under investigation as a suspected member of a gang of kidnappers. Two police officers implicated in the case are already behind bars, and three others are on the lam.

Since the December 2001 economic and financial meltdown, when a freeze on bank deposits led many people to start stashing away their savings at home, Argentina has seen a boom in express kidnappings, in which the victims are usually seized as they are getting into their cars.

The kidnappers drive around in the cars with the victims, who are forced to call their families on their cell-phones to ask for ransom.

These brief kidnappings are generally committed by young men without experience in the world of crime, who demand relatively small sums of money. Argentina's Federal Police complex crimes division reported that as many as 10 express kidnappings a day were committed in 2002.

There is ''a new criminal industry in Latin America, ushered in by subversive and drug trafficking groups, which turned this abominable practice into a mechanism of retaliation and financing,'' Fermín Mármol, a former police chief and former justice minister of Venezuela, told IPS.

In Colombia, kidnapping is linked to the armed conflict that has plagued the country for half a century.

''In a conflict between irregular armed groups, the populace becomes the private hunting-grounds of all of the bands, and is seen as a political, military and economic objective by all of the contenders,'' said Alfredo Rangel, a former Colombian Defence Ministry adviser.

But kidnappings are also committed in Colombia by common criminals and groups that have no political agenda, he added.

From Colombia, where there is ''an overlapping between the guerrillas, paramilitaries and common crime, the modus operandi of kidnapping has been exported to all kinds of criminal groups. In the case of Venezuela, it has come in over the western border,'' Venezuelan analyst of security issues Marcos Tarre commented to IPS.

Paraguayan prosecutor Pedro Ovelar, who took part in the investigation of the kidnapping of María de Debernardi (who was released in November 2001, after a ransom of one million dollars was paid), told IPS that the kidnapping was carried out to collect funds for leftist political causes, and that the perpetrators had been trained by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the main rebel group.

In Mexico, there have been gangs of kidnappers known for their cruel tactics, like the ''mochaorejas'' or ''ear-hackers'', who would cut off their victims' ears to prove that they were holding them. Express kidnappings are also common, as well as abductions by criminal groups aimed at settling scores, especially among drug traffickers.

In Venezuela, another kind of brief kidnapping is on the rise, in which car thieves force drivers to withdraw money from their bank accounts before stealing their cars, said Tarre.

The most famous kidnapping cases in Venezuela were politically motivated. In 1963, urban Communist guerrillas abducted and held acclaimed Argentine-Spanish footballer Alfredo Di Stefano in Caracas and held him for a few days, with the aim of drawing attention to their cause.

The following year, U.S. Colonel Michael Smollen was kidnapped and held in Venezuela for several days. His kidnappers tried unsuccessfully to swap him for the life of a young Vietnamese man, Nguyen Van Troi, who was executed in Saigon -- today Ho Chi Minh City -- the capital of South Vietnam at the time, for attempting to assassinate a U.S. defence secretary.

The question of politically-motivated kidnappings returned to the headlines in Venezuela in late July, when a political opposition leader, Sergio Calderón, was seized at his farm a few kms from the border with Colombia.

No group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, but the opposition movement opposed to populist left-leaning President Hugo Chávez accuses a group called the Bolivarian Liberation Forces, which it claims is a branch of Colombia's FARC that was created to support the Venezuelan president.

But Calderón may also have been a victim of one of the many groups that act in Colombia and Venezuela as intermediaries who kidnap people and ''sell'' them to other organisations, which then ask for ransom.

In Colombia, the best-known political hostage currently being held by the guerrillas is former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, who was seized by the FARC on Feb. 23, 2002.

The rebel group's hostages include 40 other politicians, 38 police officers and soldiers, and three U.S. citizens who were at the service of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

A heated debate on the possibility of an eventual swap of hostages for imprisoned guerrillas continues to rage in Colombia.

Vice-President Francisco Santos, who himself was once a hostage of the insurgents, argues that ''none of the attempts at such swaps have worked out well.''

But Marleny Orjuela, the head of the Association of Relatives of Kidnapped Soldiers and Police, advocates a prisoners-for- hostages exchange.

Those who propose a hard-line approach to combating kidnappings ''should in first place comprehend that social problems must be tackled through social policies rather than repressive policies,'' said former Venezuelan justice minister Mármol.

Nevertheless, ''some laws, like Venezuela's, are still soft on such crimes. Kidnappers should be punished with long sentences, and they should not be eligible for privileges and benefits in the prison system,'' he argued.

Tarre, meanwhile, said that ''given the violence and determination with which the kidnappers act, arresting them when they act is very difficult and dangerous. Prevention is preferable, by carrying out counterintelligence if the (potential) victim suspects he or she is being trailed or monitored.''

Venezuelan police commissioner Iván Simonovis said ''it is so obvious that this is a business, since 75 percent of the cases end in the payment of a ransom that is agreed on after bargaining back and forth. The kidnappers know they have a check payable to the bearer.''

But for the victim, ''kidnapping is worse than murder, because it is a death for which they wait in suspense,'' he added.

* María Isabel García in Colombia, Felipe Jaime in México, Alejandro Sciscioli in Paraguay and Marcela Valente in Argentina contributed to this report.

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