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Newman exposes the Halpern/Bissell treachery


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This was another part of Into the Storm which I thought was well done.

John goes beyond the IG report in showing how desperate the CIA was to pin their Mafia plots on the Kennedys.  It was all utter BS.  And it was masterminded by BIssell and then Halpern. If anything, the Church Committee report did not go far enough in showing just how bad it was.  Bissell and Halpern knew they were lying.  And John proves that.

The fact the Committee did not slam them both more completely allowed this whole mythology to extend itself, e.g. Hersh's piece of crud book.  Where he uses the BSer Halpern.  The whole meme was nothing but fabricated mythology.  Even Helms admitted it before he died.

Newman’s analysis of how the CIA switched back their plots to kill Castro onto the Kennedy White House is very well done. In fact, it is unmatched in the literature. As the author explicates it, this deception started with Director of Plans Dick Bissell; it was then continued, expanded, and elongated by William Harvey’s assistant Sam Halpern. The author proves that both men knowingly lied about the subject. It is important, because this whole mythology became a way to confuse what had happened in the JFK case. The myth that arose from it was that Kennedy was trying to get Castro, but Castro got him. When, in fact, neither clause was true. And neither was the corollary: JFK dug the hole for his own death.

Bissell was the first person who created the chimera that somehow “the White House” urged him to create an executive action capability. (Newman, p. 182) In fact, Bissell first told this story to William Harvey in 1961. But under examination by the Church Committee, Bissell said six times that he could not recall who the person at the White House was who first asked him to do this. Someone in the administration calls you about such a subject and you cannot recall who it was?

But on its face, this was not credible. Because the CIA’s Staff D—which included this function—had already been created by then. Plus the CIA/Mafia plots were already in motion. The former began in October of 1960, the latter in August of 1960. And, in fact, it was Bissell’s idea to reach out to the Mafia. (Newman, p. 187) After doing depositions with Bissell, Harvey, and McGeorge Bundy, the Church Committee concluded that Kennedy had filed no such request with CIA and none had been discussed with him. (Newman, p. 191) In fact, the Church Committee was forced to ask Bissell: If the White House tasked you with that, why didn’t you reply that such actions were already proceeding?

The reason that Bissell wanted to use this fabrication of White House approval was to egg on the Mafia plots in order to salvage the Bay of Pigs operation. This is most likely because he understood from the two designers of that operation—Jake Esterline and Jack Hawkins—that it would not succeed due to the revisions that had been made in their plans. In fact, they wanted to resign, since they sensed a debacle was upcoming. Bissell understood if that happened, he would be left holding the bag, since he was the main supervising officer. (Newman, pp. 191–92).

Halpern took this fabrication and made it his own, with two alterations. First, he switched the pushing of the plots from JFK to RFK and he used a CIA man he knew, Charles Ford, as RFK’s “accessory.” What was quite revealing about the Church Committee inquiry was that Dick Helms did not seem to know much at all about Halpern’s RFK/Ford schemes. And what he did know was through Halpern. (Newman, pp. 237–39)

The giveaway about Halpern was his frequent assertion that RFK deliberately left no paper behind about his dealings with Ford. This turned out to be utterly false. And as the author points out, for Seymour Hersh to have accepted this from Halpern for his 1997 book, The Dark Side of Camelot, tells you all you need to know about Hersh’s piece of rubbish.

In fact, Charles Ford testified twice before the Church Committee. For whatever reason, we only have his second deposition. But it is clear from the references he makes to the lost first interview that he never did what Halpern said he was doing. That is acting as a liaison for RFK to the Mob for the purpose of killing Castro. Considering Bobby Kennedy’s war on the Mafia, this was preposterous on its face. But as the author points out, we have documents from both sides today—RFK’s and Ford’s—as to what Ford was doing for Bobby. The idea was that he was supposed to check out some American representatives of anti-Castro groups in Cuba and also explore ways to retrieve the prisoners from the failed Bay of Pigs project. (Newman, pp. 260—67). These prove that Halpern was passing gas on two levels.

But the capper about this is that Halpern knew about it, since he signed off on one of Ford’s memos. In fact, Ford was working with Halpern and Harvey in 1961. And since Ford worked under those two men in 1961, within their domain at CIA, he could not have been working under Bobby Kennedy. The Church Committee examined Ford’s testimony afterwards and found it to be accurate. (Newman, p. 276)

Perhaps the sickest statement that Halpern made to Hersh was this: “Bobby Kennedy’s primary purpose is dealing with Charles Ford was to do what Bill Harvey was not doing—finding someone to assassinate Fidel Castro.” As Hersh could have found out through declassified documents available at that time, this was an ugly lie. Harvey had found someone he was working with to kill Castro. That was John Roselli. And the CIA had lied to Bobby Kennedy about the existence of this plot. (Newman, p. 279)

Does it get any worse than that?

Edited by James DiEugenio
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It does not get worse. I read that it was Halpern who is responsible for painting Joe Kennedy as mafia, poopoo, etc. Does Newman go into this smear campaign? 

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Paul:

I am not aware that Halpern did the hatchet job on Joseph Kennedy and the Mob.

I think that started with Double Cross, that piece of crud book by the Giancanas.  At least in any serious and popular way.  

It might have been done by another Mob guy before that.  

But I did do some work on it and that is also BS.  See below:

https://www.kennedysandking.com/john-f-kennedy-reviews/matt-stevenson-counterpunch-and-double-cross

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21 hours ago, James DiEugenio said:

Paul:

I am not aware that Halpern did the hatchet job on Joseph Kennedy and the Mob.

I think that started with Double Cross, that piece of crud book by the Giancanas.  At least in any serious and popular way.  

It might have been done by another Mob guy before that.  

But I did do some work on it and that is also BS.  See below:

https://www.kennedysandking.com/john-f-kennedy-reviews/matt-stevenson-counterpunch-and-double-cross

Just read your review - once again a great one. It seems to me that a major journalist/historian ought to take this on - if only mainstream media paid any attention to your excellent work. It seems so crucially important to the whole sorry Kennedy tale and fable. I can’t even watch for a minute any of the Kennedy family biopics and series that get aired. I’ve tried to watch one or two with people, and they just eat it up. Joe Kennedy has been completely maligned. My bet is that many reading this probably believe that stuff because it gets repeated so often and is firmly esconced in mainstream history. Joe was a crook, and his son a Cold Warrior. RFK Jr did take it on in American Values, but he is now completely dismissed despite decades of good work because of his stance on vaccines and on the billionaire takeover of everything. I’m not sure if the mercury in vaccines causes autism, but I can say with absolute certainty, having read it on the CDC website, that it is still in wide use. How many people know that? Any vaccine packaged in multi dose format has to, by law, contain mercury. Have any doctors that anyone here knows ever informed their patients that single dose flu shots sans mercury are available for the asking? Leaving vaccines out for a minute, RFK Jr is right on the money when it comes to the billionaires and their multinational corporations and foundations. They are taking over everything - media,  governments, seed bank, arable land, aquifers. 

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Thanks so much Paul.

In the Nasaw biography of Joe, for the first time, there were actually records of his income.  I did not see these in the previous biographies.

Why would anyone making that kind of money legitimately, risk making much less illegally? 

But the MSM does not want you to think that.

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On 9/30/2021 at 9:53 PM, Paul Brancato said:

It does not get worse. I read that it was Halpern who is responsible for painting Joe Kennedy as mafia, poopoo, etc. Does Newman go into this smear campaign? 

Paul, There is a short bio of Joe Kennedy in Burton Hersh's 'Bobby and J. Edgar'.  "By 1920 not  only was Patrick Joseph Kennedy connected to the trade, two of Honey Fitz's younger brothers were running booze.  Early evidence that the stockbroker was branching out appeared during the Harvard Tenth Reunion of the class of '12.  "Joe was our chief bootlegger," one classmate laughed afterward.  "Of course, he didn't touch a drop himself, but he arranged with his agents to have the stuff sent in right on the beach at Plymouth.  It came ashore the way the Pilgrims did."

Days before he died, the sleek, faux-genteel paymaster for the New York Families, Frank Costello, told Peter Maas that his decades of partnership with Kennedy began when the financier sought him out to make sure Scotch got to the Cape Cod reunion.

Kennedy kept the liquor business at arms length.  A 1926 Canadian government Royal Commission on Customs and Excise investigation revealed that Kennedy had all along been purchasing whiskey from the Hiram Walker distillery in shipload lots.  Kennedy was also a major customer for the Seagram product from the Bronfmans.  While Joe Kennedy personally was very rarely in evidence, the rum fleets he underwrote offloaded the contraband Scotch and Gin onto secluded inlets up and down the lower Massachusetts coast, where, along with Kennedy's employees, Costello's minions would see after distribution throughout the major Eastern markets.

Throughout the twenties, boats chartered by the enterprising banker came across the water.  California took on booze via Catalina Island.  Kennedy serviced the Caribbean from the Bahamas to Palm Beach County, unloading the high grade stuff from international waters just beyond the reach of the U.S. Treasury Department and its hard-bitten Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms operatives.  A lot came in over the Great Lakes."

Burton Hersh covers the decade of the 1920's in this book over pages 23-34 stating links between Joe Kennedy and such characters as Capone, Costello, Murray Llewellyn (The Camel) Humphreys, Diamond Jim Esposito, Johnny Roselli, Jack Dragna, Abner Zwillman etc.

Also documented is how Kennedy got the stock price of Greek Alex Pantage's chain of West Coast movie houses to fall, allowing RKO to acquire the Pantages holdings at less than half the price.  "On her deathbed, Eunice Pringle confessed that it had been Kennedy who masterminded the frameup."

Having read Jim's piece on K's & K I would be interested on his take on Hersh's book, or the author, or both....as this is one of the more detailed coverages of Joe Kennedy's early years that I have read.

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Let’s see what Jim has to say. RFK jr had plenty to say about his grandad in American Values, even mentioning Halpern. I don’t trust mafia sources as much as family. Pete - I don’t want to come off as an expert. It’s my nose for bs at work here. I’ve read and seen so many times what an awful chap Joe K was, but he worked for FDR, and that might have been enough to begin the character assassination. 

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3 hours ago, Pete Mellor said:

Days before he died, the sleek, faux-genteel paymaster for the New York Families, Frank Costello, told Peter Maas that his decades of partnership with Kennedy began when the financier sought him out to make sure Scotch got to the Cape Cod reunion.

 

Indeed, the Joe-the-bootlegger stories long predate the Seymour Hersh and Giancana family books.  If you check the back threads on the Forum, I once reported Gore Vidal's story - Vidal was once a Kennedy family insider - that Joe Kennedy and Frank Costello lunched regularly at Costello's luxury apartment in New York, and had a bootlegging tie.

The Bronfman family (Seagram's distilleries) made cash out of Prohibition.  What, except the hagiographic impulse, stops us from suspecting the Kennedys?

Here's a 1973 NYT story on Peter Maas interviewing Frank Costello:

https://www.nytimes.com/1973/02/27/archives/the-secret-story-of-frank-costello-that-was-almost-written-that.html

Then again, here's a recent story that puts some hard spin on the subject:

https://www.gothamcenter.org/blog/joseph-kennedy-and-the-new-york-underworld-during-prohibition

Edited by David Andrews
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2 hours ago, Paul Brancato said:

Let’s see what Jim has to say. RFK jr had plenty to say about his grandad in American Values, even mentioning Halpern. I don’t trust mafia sources as much as family. Pete - I don’t want to come off as an expert. It’s my nose for bs at work here. I’ve read and seen so many times what an awful chap Joe K was, but he worked for FDR, and that might have been enough to begin the character assassination. 

He also tried to get the Jews out of Germany, warning a catastrophe would happen and asking FDR to start taking them as the US immigration quota (100K). FDR said “it’s not our problem.” 
That is also in Nasaw’s book “The Patriach”. Yet Wiki says he is an anti-semite. 

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12 hours ago, Chris Barnard said:

He also tried to get the Jews out of Germany, warning a catastrophe would happen and asking FDR to start taking them as the US immigration quota (100K). FDR said “it’s not our problem.” 
That is also in Nasaw’s book “The Patriach”. Yet Wiki says he is an anti-semite. 

Correct, soon after Joe Kennedy arrived in Britain he promulgated an initiative, through Helmut Wohlthat, the architect of Goering's five-year economic plan, to distribute Germany's Jews around the British Empire and the U.S.  Hitler imposed a billion mark ransom.  However, the shooting of a Paris Embassy staff member by a Polish Jew spiked Kennedy's proposals, and then followed Kristallnacht!

Kennedy also worked on Count Ciano to ease back on anti-Semitic measures coming into force in Italy.

Perhaps the anti-Semitic charges in the U.S. may originate from statements that Joe made in '39 that "Roosevelt is run by the Jews and all the anti-fascist sentiment in the United States is largely created by the Jews who run the press."

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Why would anyone making that kind of money legitimately, risk making much less illegally? 

Because the Volstead Act soon devolved into a joke, and - as in the War on Drugs - prosecutions were selective.  Those prosecuted tended to be from among the class of immigrant descendants that the Act was meant to protect the WASP teetotal populace from.

And no one believed it would last, just like a spectacular trading development on the Street.

I really don't see bootlegging as beyond Joe Kennedy's moral compass.

 

Edited by David Andrews
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