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Ruth Paine in Nicaragua: counterpoint to "The Assassination & Mrs. Paine"


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The recently released film of Max Good, “The Assassination & Mrs. Paine” (2022) contains the following relating to Nicaragua allegations against Ruth Paine. In this thread I stick strictly to the Nicaragua allegations and request others to do likewise.

DiEugenio: Later on in her life Ruth Paine goes on down to Nicaragua, and there are reports of her going to Sandinista sympathizers’ meetings and taking notations of what went down. For many, many people, the veneer has come off Ruth and Michael Paine. I mean they are just not credible any more.

Anonymous man (image scrambled and voice altered): I knew a woman who in the early 1990s who worked with Ruth Paine as a Christian peace activist in Nicaragua. This was during the time of the civil war in Nicaragua during the Reagan and Bush I years.

Sue Wheaton: It was a contentious time down there. It was very clear that the CIA was supporting the so-called “Contra” freedom fighters all the way. The Contras were the ones opposing the Sandinistas revolution.

Anonymous man: The Christian group that this woman and Ruth were involved with was called ProNica. And they were helping the poorest people of Nicaragua who naturally sided with the Sandinistas. Because of this, these Christian peace groups were often heavily monitored by our U.S. intelligence agencies.

Ruth Paine: My work in Nicaragua was with a Quaker organization. We had a project to help the poorest of the poor in Nicaragua. And at one of these meetings a woman showed up and proceeded to accuse me of a lot of things.

Wheaton: She introduced herself as Ruth Paine representing the Quakers. And I said well you’re not that Quaker Ruth Paine who knew Marina Oswald are you?

Anonymous man: This woman told me that after Sue Wheaton had told people about Ruth’s association with the assassination, which they did not know about, then they became even more suspicious of her. She and others in their organization believed that Ruth was a CIA agent or asset who was down there for the purpose of gathering information about the group.

Wheaton: So Ruth had a photographer that comes and was with her. He was there snapping everybody. And that’s when they said well we’re doing the article for the Nicaragua Network. But Nicaragua Network had never heard of such a story. They were taking their <last> picture at a meeting, and we tried to take their picture and they left.

After her retirement from a career in a public school system, Ruth Paine served a number of years as the director of ProNica. ProNica was a project begun in 1985 by the St. Petersburg, Florida, Friends Meeting to help the hardest-hit people of war-torn Nicaragua. ProNica did many good things, an honorable organization which continues its work in Nicaragua to the present day. ProNica’s office is located on the property of the St. Petersburg Meeting. ProNica was Ruth Paine’s major post-retirement project. Ruth was a competent organizer and administrator and had the skills and dedication for the job.

The suspicions of Ruth Paine in Nicaragua cited in the opening comment of DiEugenio reflects a cruel epistemological circularity in which claims and suspicions of JFK assassination conspiracy researchers—the claims voiced in the film—directly originated and caused the suspicions encountered by Ruth in 1991 when she was newly arrived to Managua, Nicaragua, as director of ProNica to begin her work there. In circular reasoning, the suspicions in Nicaragua, arising from some JFK assassination conspiracy believers’ suspicions of Ruth, are claimed as confirmation that the suspicions of her role in the JFK assassination are true. The suspicions at each end are cited as evidence for the truth of the suspicions at the other end.

I was a regular attender of the St. Petersburg Friends Meeting in the early 2000s. The St. Petersburg Friends Meeting has a long history of engagement in controversial social and political issues in keeping with traditional Friends concerns. That Meeting and the people there were for real in my knowledge and experience. If there had been anything substantive to the Nicaragua allegations raised against Ruth Paine I do not believe the St. Petersburg Friends Meeting and the ProNica board would have had Ruth Paine as ProNica’s director for so many years. 

Four key points

The primary source document for the allegations against Ruth Paine in Nicaragua is the text of this link written close to the time of the events by Sue Wheaton, titled “Incident in February/March 1991 in Nicaragua”, dated April 20, 1991, and an Addendum written by Sue Wheaton dated Jan 28, 1992, with an attached ProNica newsletter and pages from a JFK assassination conspiracy book: http://jfkpage.com/Paine/Occurrence_in_Nicaragua.pdf.

On the notetaking issue, Wheaton reports that on Feb 5, 1991 Ruth Paine attended a meeting of the governing council of the pro-Sandinista Ben Linder House in Managua, Nicaragua, soon after her arrival as the new director of the St. Petersburg, Florida-based ProNica organization. Jon Roise, director of Friends work in Nicaragua which included being resident director of a Friends hospitality house, El Centro de Los Amigos (Friends Center), and responsible for carrying out ProNica’s work on the ground in Nicaragua, was a member of the Ben Linder House Council. Ruth, not a member of the Council, accompanied Jon and participated in the meeting as a guest. On Feb 15, 1991 Wheaton led a potluck discussion group at the Ben Linder House discussing the JFK assassination to the surprise of Ruth who was present. Wheaton started by asking Ruth to tell of her role with Marina in Dallas of those days which Ruth did. That is all that Wheaton tells in the original account as to what was said at that meeting—nothing of what followed Ruth’s words about her and Marina. What happened after that in that meeting may be suggested in the account of the “Anonymous man” of the film (above), saying that it was what was said of Ruth’s role in the JFK assassination that was pivotal in creating wider suspicions of Ruth Paine in Nicaragua (“This woman told me that after Sue Wheaton had told people about Ruth’s association with the assassination, which they did not know about, then they became even more suspicious of her.”).

Ruth Paine’s version of what transpired may be this from the film (above) (or does this refer to a later meeting in March? uncertain): “And at one of these meetings a woman showed up and proceeded to accuse me of a lot of things.” The “lot of things” appears to refer to the JFK assassination. Jon Roise and Ruth were present again at the next Ben Linder House Council meeting about three weeks later in March and here was the occasion in particular, apparently the main and only real occasion at issue, at which Ruth was observed to take “copious notes” (“[she] took copious notes of every name, organization and subject mentioned. She also peered over the organizational membership list in the office prior to the meeting and took notes.”). As brought out in the Wheaton document, when asked, Ruth explained that she was vetting, doing due diligence, checking out an organization for which she was the decider for ProNica concerning whether ProNica should continue affiliation, subject to approval of the ProNica board and the Meeting back in the States which would likely approve whatever Ruth recommended. Wheaton:

“At the close of the meeting, the person chairing commented on the many notes she  [Ruth] had taken and pictures Sean had taken and asked Ruth if she would send us a copy of her report after she returned to the States, or share any other document she planned to prepare. Ruth responded that her notes were simply for her report to the group back in St. Petersburg and the purpose was to determine whether or not the Quaker project would continue as a member group of the Ben Linder Council. She said she planned to recommend that they continue, as she found the work of Casa Benjamin Linder to be of value.”

This point should be carefully remembered through every discussion of Ruth in Nicaragua: there never then or since has been shown or set forth any evidence that Ruth’s notetaking was for a purpose other than the purpose she said it was. In addition, as I read the account I wondered if there might also be a contributing factor at work of a clash between Friends’ culture and non-Friends/solidarity organizations’ suspicions of surveillance. I have experienced both. In Friends culture everything is documented in writing—Friends’ documentation of activities are considered among the best-documented records in existence by historians--nothing is overtly hidden. There is no secrecy either in process or outcome concerning what Friends decide to do in their business meetings, including civil disobedience if so. The no-secrecy ethos is wired deep in Friends’ history in the form of testimonies from the beginning against Friends holding memberships in any society with secrets such as the Masons (Friends opposed on principle). Because of this no-secrecy ethos, there is not an atmosphere of suspicion toward spies or surveillance finding out or gathering intelligence on what Friends are really up to. (Friends would have concerns and a response if it were learned that a spy agency was seeking to influence decision-making or that an individual Friend in a committee or leadership position was a covert agent of such, a different matter.)

In contrast, in antiwar or solidarity groups in my experience often or typically there are atmospheres of suspicion and concerns about infiltrators functioning as informants on the group’s activities, a different ethos than in Friends’ meetings. I have seen this. I have seen how easily innocent people, especially newcomers, can be suspected and whispered about in such settings, about 95% of the time wrongly so, “false positives”, the way suspicion in a climate of sustained justified low-level paranoia works out in practice.

So the first key point is the suspicions about the perception of Ruth Paine’s notetaking in Nicaragua were, are, and always have been, suspicion alone, underlying which there never has been evidence shown of wrongdoing. The second key point, and this is central, is that the overwhelming starting point and driver of the Nicaragua allegations against Ruth Paine, as the Wheaton documents make absolutely crystal clear, was the JFK assassination allegations against Ruth themselves. From this starting point Ruth was a priori suspicious to Wheaton before Ruth took her first step off the plane in Managua in 1991, because of beliefs of Wheaton that Ruth played a sinister role in the JFK assassination—the accusations against Ruth of the present film. In this way Ruth arrived to Managua with three strikes against her in some eyes even if she had not been seen looking at a single bulletin board or taking down a single note. Then when Ruth was seen taking notes, Wheaton and confidantes concluded that settled it, Ruth was “a CIA agent or asset” (as the “anonymous man” interviewee in the film states above). This became the narrative about Ruth in Managua spreading from those circles even though there never was any evidence Ruth had ill intent or ill purpose when taking her notes.

The third important point is that the student photographer who accompanied Jon Roise and Ruth was not affiliated with Ruth or ProNica nor was Ruth involved in that photography, according to Ruth’s account at the time and for which there has not been any evidence shown otherwise, even though the photographer accompanied Ruth and Jon. This is important because Wheaton in the present film misrepresents Ruth Paine in stating that Ruth Paine was part of that photographer’s activity. Wheaton above in the film: 

“Ruth had a photographer that comes and was with her. He was there snapping everybody. And that’s when they[Ruth, Jon, and the photographer] said well we’re [Ruth, Jon, and the photographer] doing the article for the Nicaragua Network. But Nicaragua Network had never heard of such a story.”

That is not what Wheaton’s original report read in 1991. In the original 1991 report Wheaton reports Ruth Paine saying that that photographer’s activity was not affiliated with Ruth or Ruth’s doing. Wheaton in 1991:

“Ruth came to the March [1991] meeting of the Ben Linder Council and took copious notes of every name, organization and subject mentioned. She also peered over the organizational membership list in the office prior to the meeting and took notes. At the close of the meeting, the person chairing commented on the many notes she had taken and pictures Sean had taken and asked Ruth if she would send us a copy of her report after she returned to the States, or share any other document she planned to prepare. Ruth responded that her notes were simply for her report to the group back in St. Petersburg and the purpose was to determine whether or not the Quaker project would continue as a member group of the Ben Linder Council. She said she planned to recommend that they continue, as she found the work of Casa Benjamin Linder to be of value. She said Sean was not affiliated with her program; that he was simply a guest at the Quaker hospitality house and his pictures were for the Nicaragua Network, not her organization.”

Related to this but of sufficient significance to be considered a fourth point is that according to the primary documents there never was an original issue that Ruth had taken suspicious photographs in Nicaragua, even though that later came into the narrative against Ruth Paine secondarily. The original allegation as concerns Ruth’s personal behavior in Nicaragua—that specifically which Ruth did in Nicaragua that was considered objectionable—was entirely and solely the notetaking according to the primary documents. As the Nicaragua allegations that Ruth was a spy were repeated in the years that followed, the note-taking became conflated with the photography of the photographer as if Ruth had done both, both objectionable notetaking and picture-taking, even though no picture-taking on Ruth’s part at all had been mentioned as part of the original allegations in the 1991 account. In a 1995 interview Wheaton repeated her allegation that Ruth had taken too many notes and added a new detail: that at the Friends hospitality house where Ruth was staying, the Friends Center—“Someone told me she studied the bulletin board there, copying everything on it” (Probe, July-Aug 1996, p. 9). (This addition to the accusation surprised me for I thought, I read bulletin boards too. I have always thought things posted on bulletin boards were put there with intent to be read. Perhaps the criticism was not Ruth’s reading, but copying down of information from the bulletin board. I have done that too, without it having occurred to me that someone would take that amiss.) 

But the point is even here four years later in 1995 the behavior of Ruth in Nicaragua cited by Wheaton as objectionable remains still and solely the notetaking, no mention of Ruth taking pictures. By 1997 that has changed. Someone else repeating the same story originated from Wheaton appears now for the first known time to have taken the story of the photographer’s photos and attributed that activity to Ruth as if Ruth took those photographs (“and she took photographs of people for supposed purposes that were later proven to be false” [http://whokilledjfk.net/paine.htm]). This is how the hearsay grew, the piling on to Ruth Paine. In the film in 2022, Wheaton herself, while not saying Ruth snapped any photos, says that Ruth was involved in objectionable photography.

The photographer

Going back to the Jan 1992 “Addendum”, Sue Wheaton accused Ruth Paine of being party to a false representation concerning the student photographer’s activity. In the earliest text Wheaton reported that Ruth had said the student “was not affiliated with her program; that he was simply a guest at the Quaker hospitality house and his pictures were for the Nicaragua Network, not her organization.” Wheaton in the Addendum gives this followup:

“The Nicaragua Network in Washington, D.C. told a friend of ours that they had not commissioned anyone to take pictures in Nicaragua. Thus, the explanation given by Ruth Paine and Sean Miller as to why Sean [n.b.] was taking pictures of members of the U.S. community in Nicaragua was not valid." 

From what I have read, Nicaragua Network in the 1990s was a U.S.-based hardline pro-Sandinista solidarity organization. Hypothetically some agency or semi-private corporate intelligence-collection effort could put up some shell front organization, have it become listed as an affiliate or supporter of Nicaragua Network, and the photographer hired to obtain the photographs paid by the shell organization, while being able to tell people in Nicaragua, “I’m working with Nicaragua Network” or “I’m doing a project commissioned by an affiliate of Nicaragua Network”, meaning the front group affiliated with Nicaragua Network. Something like that, if there was something amiss with that photography. But it cannot and should not be assumed that that photographer’s activity was Ruth’s doing or that Ruth was witting to an improper purpose of that photography, simply because that photographer was staying as a guest at the Friends House and car-pooled to meetings with Jon Roise and Ruth. A car-pooling or ride-share from the Friends house, where all three were staying, is how the arrival of all three in the same car seen by Sue Wheaton reads to me. There is no information in the documents before us that the photography of that photographer was known to Ruth in any form other than what he would have told her. The fact that Ruth repeated that need mean no more than that is what he told Ruth and Ruth believed it. It does not mean Ruth was saying something she knew was not true.

My encounter with an Australian senator at a Friends Center in New Zealand

I wish to press and emphasize the force of the last point above. For I have been in just this kind of situation myself, in a way that causes me to be less quick to jump to conclusions than those condemning Ruth Paine have been willing to consider. I have been in hostels and Friends hospitality houses in North America and Europe and New Zealand. One meets everyone in such settings, everyone has a story, one hears stories of other parts of the world, instant new friendships are struck up, people who have just met join up to go out to eateries and destinations and events, taxis and auto rides are shared. That is how it can happen that that photographer arrived with Jon Roise and Ruth to the Ben Linder House, and in default of more specific information, how I believe it did happen—the two Friends’ directors and the visiting college student newly arrived to Nicaragua on his assignment to do a photography project. They were at the Friends House at the same time, and it becomes only sensible that they would drive to events together.

Friends meetings in major cities internationally typically have guest lodging on the property of the meetinghouse in which travelling visitors can lodge. Usually there is a live-in caretaker and it is an informal hostel-like situation. These are not normally advertised or promoted in venues aimed at the tourist market. On the other hand they are not secret or limited to use only by Friends either. They are intended to serve both travelling Friends and non-Friends and are open to anyone who wishes to visit, whether en route when travelling or for temporary periods in place in a city. Guests are expected to do their own tidying up and housekeeping in the quarters which are often rooms in refurbished residential homes; there is no maid or hotel room service. Typically the costs to guests are kept very reasonable and affordable. I lived for two months in this kind of situation at the Auckland Friends Center in Mt. Eden, Auckland, New Zealand, in 1987.

Completely by accident, during the time I was there, an Australian senator visited and stayed there also, just like a US senator except in Australia, a charismatic principled Quaker from Perth named Jo Vallentine. Jo Vallentine had run as an insurgent candidate of a newly-formed startup party called the Nuclear Disarmament Party, not part of an existing major political party, on a single-issue anti-nuclear platform and (through a fluke in Australia’s election system she explained to me) had been elected (https://biography.senate.gov.au/vallentine-josephine/). As senator in Australia she spoke intelligently and passionately on issues that mattered and, motivated by Gandhi and King, did civil disobedience and was arrested a number of times for things like protesting at Pine Gap (https://reimaginingpeace.wordpress.com/2014/10/25/jo-vallentine-peace-activist-and-pacifist-protesting-us-warship-in-fremantle-1985/). I believe at the time she was the only Quaker in elected national office in the world. After dinner at the Friends Center I washed dishes with Jo Vallentine, she washing the dishes, me drying and putting the glasses and saucers away, while having a good one-on-one talk with the courageous senator for maybe thirty minutes in that informal setting. (Yes this was a real live senator washing dishes in a hostel—that was the unassuming kind of person Jo Vallentine was, the real deal. I have never washed dishes with a US senator.)

The next morning Jo Vallentine invited me to accompany her party on a private tour of the Rainbow Warrior, the Greenpeace ship which had been bombed by French frogmen sent by the French government, in which a Dutch photographer was killed and the ship sunk in Auckland’s harbor (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinking_of_the_Rainbow_Warrior). The ship’s hull where the bomb had blasted a huge hole had had a metal patch welded on underwater to make the hull again watertight, then the water pumped out and air in, and by that means the ship was raised again in the Auckland harbor. However it was off-limits to the public to visit. Jo Vallentine had been invited to visit the ship by the Rainbow Warrior’s captain, and I had the good fortune to be invited and included by the senator herself, which I did. 

Here is the point: I was nothing other than who I said I was, travelling on my own from the U.S. with only good purposes and reasons, but I could have been anyone. What if I had not been who I seemed to be? But anyone meeting her party, Jo Vallentine introduced me among the others, repeating to others what I had told her I was doing in Auckland. To an outsider it could look like I was with Sen. Vallentine. I thought of that when reading Sue Wheaton’s account of Jon Roise, Ruth Paine, and the photographer who carpooled from the Friends Center to events. I do not believe Ruth was involved in that photographer’s photography, which is what Ruth said at the time according to Wheaton’s account.

When Ruth said that photographer was doing a project for Nicaragua Network, I believe that is Ruth repeating what that photographer told her, no different than Sen. Vallentine introducing me and repeating what I had told her of who I was and what I was doing. That photographer at the Friends Center in Managua with Jon and Ruth will have had a plausible reason or story as to why he was doing his photography that will have been told and believed. Then there is carpooling and Ruth telling others what he has told her, as to who he was and what he was doing. It does not mean Ruth was involved with his project or part of doing it herself, going by the statements and information published by Wheaton on this. With respect to that photographer I do not believe Ruth Paine was guilty of anything more than believing what that photographer told her and carpooling, the same way I had been invited by Senator Jo Vallentine to accompany her party to the Rainbow Warrior that day in Auckland in 1987, solely because I was there and she felt comfortable enough with me that she included me the next morning in her trip to see the Rainbow Warrior.

There is no evidence, in the statements and information that we have, that Ruth would have or should have known there was anything amiss with that photographer, if there was, or that there was some reason she should not interact or carpool with him, if there was. Ruth should not be condemned simply because she, Jon Roise, and the photographer arrived together at destinations in the same car, since they came from the same origin, the Friends Center in Managua where they were all staying. 

Another malicious accusation against Ruth Paine

Another accusation raised by Wheaton did not involve Ruth Paine directly but was directed toward Friends’ work in Nicaragua in general. This was an incident that occurred about six months after Ruth returned to the States in 1991. Friends’ House director Jon Roise in Managua, on the board of the Ben Linder House, invited as a guest speaker to the Ben Linder House an ex-contra leader. In his presentation this ex-contra leader had spoken of his people not receiving sufficient aid from aid organizations. During the question-and-answer following his talk he said there were two exceptions to his criticism, one of which was the Friends of whom he said: “the Quakers—they always come through for us (in humanitarian assistance)”. Although not stated directly, it almost reads to me that his complaint may have been that other aid organizations, most of whom were pro-Sandinista in sympathies, had discriminated against his group because they had been contra fighters (could be true). Friends have had strong traditional policies of neutrality in serving humanitarian needs of civilians on both sides of conflicts. That Jon Roise would reach out to an ex- (note: not current) contra leader and “the Quakers always come through for us (with humanitarian assistance)” is in keeping with Friends practice, reaching out to civilians on both sides of conflicts across political and ideological divides. On a more mundane level, an invited speaker saying, “the Quakers always come through for us (in humanitarian assistance)” could also read as the kind of feel-good praising remarks one makes to one’s hosts as a good guest.

But in the world of JFK assassination conspiracy believers that incident reprehensibly became turned into a claim, by Vince Salandria in a speech that I understand received a thunderous ovation, that “according to recent research in the 1990s Ruth Paine assisted illegal anti-societal activity in Nicaragua” (Vince Salandria, 1998 address to the Coalition on Political Assassinations, Dallas). On the basis of that innocuous incident—the ex-contra leader saying “the Quakers always come through for us (with humanitarian assistance)”—Vince Salandria accused Ruth Paine personally of having been a supporter of contras’ illegal activity. (!) (There was no issue of Friends’ or other aid organizations’ humanitarian assistance being illegal at the time. The ex-contras at the time were living, as many of the poor of Nicaragua, as “squatters” illegally in an area of Managua, at the time they may have received humanitarian assistance from ProNica affiliates.) Vince Salandria’s statement was a breathtaking fabrication. This is how the smearing of Ruth Paine happens, and leading JFK assassination conspiracy proponents have been responsible and those internal to this community who have repeated or failed to call out this kind of smearing have also been responsible. This kind of shameful smearing of Ruth Paine gained traction and approval in article after article, internet post after internet post, book after book. 

Conclusion

While the concerns regarding surveillance and infiltration among activist and solidarity groups in Nicaragua were real, the sources and information at hand give no substantive basis for concluding or supposing that when Ruth was in Nicaragua she was functioning as a spy, a conduit of information to an intelligence agency or in a covert capacity of any kind. But to a witchhunt mentality that lack of evidence does not matter: the existence of suspicion is considered evidence for itself. This is the logic of the DiEugenios among JFK conspiracy believers, so quick to condemn without evidence, in some cases seemingly without sign of conscience or qualm—in tones of certainty and sarcastic questions left hanging in the air in mockery of the possibility of innocent explanations. The Ruth Paine Nicaragua allegations arose and took traction specifically because of the prior smearing of Ruth Paine by JFK assassination conspiracy believers. In terms of any known information, there is no “there” there against Ruth Paine underlying the argument that her allegedly sinister role in the JFK assassination is confirmed by the suspicions of her in Nicaragua. Ruth Paine did not deserve to be accused of being an agent of the CIA or any other kind of spy in Nicaragua.

The most illuminating capsule summary of this sorry history of what happened in Nicaragua with Ruth Paine is the following account of Sue Wheaton in the Addendum of the primary source document, telling of a futile attempt on the part of Jon Roise, director of the Friends Center in Nicaragua, to try to get Sue Wheaton to stop spreading accusations that Ruth Paine was working for the CIA. In this account one can see so clearly that the driving cause of Wheaton’s suspicion of Ruth Paine was JFK assassination conspiracy authors’ portrayals, in a way that goes beyond reason of anything then at issue in Nicaragua—an impossible accusation for Ruth Paine or any innocent person who would be hit with the same thing to refute. One can see in this account Roise trying in vain and powerless to get Wheaton from stopping her campaign against Ruth, damaging not only to Ruth but to the work of Friends in Nicaragua, in the form of accusations not grounded on any evidence. Jon Roise is the reasonable voice here, trying but getting nowhere for his efforts. Wheaton’s account:

“In early April [1991] Jon Roise [director of the Friends Center program in Nicaragua] asked to talk with me about my telling members of the U.S. community of Ruth Paine’s history related to the Kennedy assassination. I agreed, and he came to our house in Managua, where my husband, mother and I talked with him for about an hour. He was concerned that I had a ‘whisper campaign’ going against Ruth and had accused her of being CIA. I said, ‘Wrong on both counts. I haven’t been whispering about her history; I’ve been telling people loud and clear. Second, I never said she was CIA because I have no idea who or what she is. I’ve said only that she is writing down every name and acronym in sight, which she is.’ John said Ruth likes to write things down. He said the Kennedy Assassination was a long time ago and insinuated it was irresponsible of me to ‘stir things up’ at this late date. My husband and I both told him in no uncertain terms why we think history is important. He was familiar with Jim Garrison’s case against Clay Shaw and Mark Lane’s work (which I found curious, as most people not immersed in JFK assassination reading are very fuzzy on these matters); he said a former roommate of his had known Mark Lane and had found him ‘off the wall.’ He accused me of acting in a ‘McCarthyite way’ and said it would hurt the Quakers’ work in Nicaragua. I said this relationship with Oswald wasn’t my history; it was Ruth’s history, and I had no intention of not talking about it, and that was far from being McCarthyite, a slur and slant way off the mark. He said the U.S. community had to stick together in Nicaragua. I told him the U.S. population had been deeply divided over policy toward Nicaragua and there were people on both sides of the contra question in the U.S. community in Nicaragua. When he left, we tacitly agreed that we disagreed on almost everything discussed.”

And so Jon Roise tried but failed.

Ruth’s notetaking did not prove or indicate Ruth was doing other than her Friends-organization job. But the pre-existing belief of Wheaton, based on assassination conspiracy books saying Ruth had a sinister role in the JFK assassination, caused a motivated ProNica director to be regarded with suspicion, smeared and ostracized on the basis of no evidence. 

“[Ruth] was confronted (. . .) but consistently and vehemently denied that she had anything to do with the CIA or any other governmental intelligence agency. Normally when an agent or asset was outed they would quietly leave in order to avoid further embarrassment. But since Ruth never admitted her guilt and refused to leave, she was instead asked to take a leave of absence. When she was taken to a R&R camp in nearby Costa Rica, she was asked to leave because they, too, suspected that she was an agent. Ruth returned to Nicaragua and finished her tour of duty and then left for the U.S.” (From interview of anonymous source in 1997 cited earlier)

It is a modern parable of a witch accusation evoking central Europe of bygone centuries, in which there was no way for an accused witch to prove her innocence. Every way a woman so accused looked cross-eyed or laughed nervously was interpreted as further proof of her guilt by witch-hunters who could “tell” just by looking at her. How could Ruth have proved her innocence to Sue Wheaton in Nicaragua in 1991? Or to JFK assassination conspiracy believers today with respect to her actions in Nicaragua? What could an innocent accused person say or do in such circumstances to convince accusers they are innocent? The sad answer is, sometimes, nothing, so primal can such accusations be.

Instead of the allegations of Ruth Paine’s Nicaragua work in the present film, Ruth Paine would better be honored and remembered for her years of sustained work in her retirement with the good work of ProNica in Nicaragua. Ruth’s work with ProNica as unpaid director for years, as well as her participation with several other women of the St. Petersburg Friends Meeting in war tax resistance, illustrates Ruth not only talking the talk but walking the walk of the values of a Friend, the organizational work with ProNica being the kind of work that I have found so very common among the lifelong Friends I have known. This is the Ruth Paine I knew.

From the ProNica website (http://pronica.org/pronicas-story/)

“Ruth Paine directed ProNica for many years, working steadily building the organization and its reputation for integrity and true solidarity. Ruth never collected a salary. ProNica sponsored AVP (Alternatives to Violence Project) workshops in Nicaraguan prisons in the 1990s and eventually spread across the country by training ‘trainers’ using the AVP model to teach non-violence and self-empowerment. Money was raised to drill wells in communities to provide safe potable water sources. Cooperative groups of women were given funding to jointly raise poultry to earn money and feed their families. ProNica helped develop a cooperative’s transition to the production of organic sesame oil, which garnered a fair trade contract with The Body Shop. The ProNica newsletter told stories of Nicaraguan communities organizing collective responses to their post-war needs for trauma healing, feeding and housing displaced people, establishing free clinics for women for cancer screening, pre and post natal care, family planning, and counseling for the high rates of abuse and post-traumatic stress.”

ProNica board member Doug McCown (https://pronica.org/welcome-back-doug-mccown-to-the-pronica-board-of-directors/) :

“I’m unclear of the year, let alone a date, as to when I joined the ProNica community. It was in large part due to a friend’s encouragement. How could I, how could any of us, resist the gentle urging of Ruth Hyde Paine? Like now, back in those days, the mid-1990s, the ProNica community consisted of a Board, a few employees, and some supporters. Among these were Lillian Hall and Ken Kinzel. Am I shaking the memory tree for you long-term supporters? I loved this community: how dedicated folks were to assisting Nicaraguans’ grass-roots needs! It helped that our decisions were embedded of Quaker process, under the stewardship of Ruth, Herb and Pam Leigh, Lillian, and the many others who have given of themselves over the years…” 

Edited by Greg Doudna
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Max cut out the best part of this.

Down there, people did not want to associate with her because they all suspected she was in league with the CIA.

But that is not even the best part.

If Max had included it, he would have been able to make a really nice parallel with the JFK case.

Edited by James DiEugenio
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14 hours ago, James DiEugenio said:

If Max had included it, he would have been able to make a really nice parallel with the JFK case.

Since it is not in the Max Good film, can one learn "the best part of this" somewhere else?

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20 hours ago, James DiEugenio said:

Max cut out the best part of this.

Down there, people did not want to associate her because they all suspected she was in league with the CIA.

But that is not even the best part.

If Max had included it, he would have been able to make a really nice parallel with the JFK case.

 

Yes, Jim  you're such an "inside teaser." Perhaps you could tell us the "best part?"

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Walt Brown published an article called The Confessions of Ruth Paine.  I don't know if its still up.

That would have paralleled what the Secret Service told Marina Oswald about why they did not want her associating with Ruth anymore.  It would look too much like she was in league with the CIA. 

IIRC, the Secret Service actually returned the Walker Note since they thought Ruth had written it.,

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Jim, a very interesting comment on the Secret Service, do you have a reference or citation for their conclusion she had written it; I had never seen that they returned it and offered that opinion to anyone...like say the WC, the FBI etc. 

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45 minutes ago, James DiEugenio said:

Walt Brown published an article called The Confessions of Ruth Paine.

 

Here it is:

http://jfkcountercoup2.blogspot.com/2015/10/steve-jones-confessions-of-ruth-paine.html

Greg claims that the suspicions of Ruth Paine being CIA by her coworkers originated with a JFKA researcher. And so it is unfair to cite that story to support the claims of JFK researchers who say she was CIA. Which would make sense if Greg's claim were true.

Problem is, the way Greg reports the story is different from the way it is told by Steve Jones, the person who first wrote the story and was part of the story. (What I linked to above.)

According to Jones, Ruth's coworkers became suspicious of her right away because of all her note taking, asking personal questions, etc. Later, one of Ruth's coworkers, Sue Wheaton, asked her if she wasn't the Ruth Paine who had befriended Marina Oswald in Dallas, to which Ruth replied yes. Word got around and suspicion rose dramatically.

So the part of the story before Sue Wheaton asked her question is indeed fair to use as additional support for suspecting Ruth is CIA.

If anybody wants to understand the whole deal, I suggest they first read Sue Wheaton's account, followed by the account of another coworker as told by Steve Jone's in the link above. Sue Wheaton's account is in the link posted by Greg, which is:

http://jfkpage.com/Paine/Occurrence_in_Nicaragua.pdf

 

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2 hours ago, Sandy Larsen said:

Greg claims that the suspicions of Ruth Paine being CIA by her coworkers originated with a JFKA researcher. And so it is unfair to cite that story to support the claims of JFK researchers who say she was CIA. Which would make sense if Greg's claim were true.

Decades worth of TV and print interviews, acting suspicious in Nicaragua .. boy, that Ruth sure keeps a high profile for being a CIA agent, doesn't she? Of course there is still not a single shred of evidence she was involved in any way in a conspiracy against Lee Oswald.

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1 hour ago, Jonathan Cohen said:

Decades worth of TV and print interviews, acting suspicious in Nicaragua .. boy, that Ruth sure keeps a high profile for being a CIA agent, doesn't she? Of course there is still not a single shred of evidence she was involved in any way in a conspiracy against Lee Oswald.

You're right Jonathan. The article reference above alleges that Ruth's behavior "overlapped every characteristic of a CIA infiltrator" because she was taking notes etc. But a true "CIA infiltrator" would do nothing to call attention to themselves and would do their information gathering using undetectable methods. BTW, Jones and Wheaton are exactly the type of individuals that Greg D. warned about-conspiracy people who have already made up their minds about Ruth long ago. Their "information" is worthless for anyone seeking the truth about the matter.

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1 hour ago, Jonathan Cohen said:

Decades worth of TV and print interviews, acting suspicious in Nicaragua .. boy, that Ruth sure keeps a high profile for being a CIA agent, doesn't she? Of course there is still not a single shred of evidence she was involved in any way in a conspiracy against Lee Oswald.

 

Jonathan,

How did patsy Oswald just happen to get a job where he could be set up for the killing of Kennedy?

 

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52 minutes ago, W. Tracy Parnell said:

But a true "CIA infiltrator" would do nothing to call attention to themselves and would do their information gathering using undetectable methods

 

That's baloney. Spying in the U.S. is traditionally very low-tech. The information is freely available in most cases. Just need to take notes or pictures

 

Edited by Sandy Larsen
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