Greg Doudna Posted May 21, 2022 Share Posted May 21, 2022 (edited) The incredible allegation that Ruth Paine did surveillance on Castro sympathizers The Max Good film, "The Assassination & Mrs. Paine", airs the following allegation against Ruth Paine by Jim DiEugenio. DiEugenio: When the Dallas police went to the Paine household, one of the detectives wrote a report about taking out several filing cabinets of notations and cards and maps etcetera of Castro sympathizers. This makes a very good case, I believe, that Michael and Ruth were involved in surveillance activities of the American left. These cabinets existed until the Warren Commission. Because there are several exhibit numbers in the Warren Commission that refer to them. But the big difference is when the Warren Commission went through them, they only found something like one letter from Ruth to one of her relatives. So in other words, if the original report is accurate, somebody fiddled with the contents of those cabinets. This is an astonishingly irresponsible allegation which is known to be untrue. It is irresponsible in that the film does not disclose to the viewer that the deputy sheriff who wrote that report in Nov 1963, in his testimony under oath to the Warren Commission said it was mistaken, denied that he himself ever had personal knowledge that that item of that report was accurate—a report uncorroborated by any other officer or witness, and that he, the sole source of the claim, repudiated it. There is no evidence Ruth Paine attended a meeting of Castro sympathizers, or belonged to an organization of the American left, except for the American Civil Liberties Union if that is considered such. There is no evidence Ruth sought the company of leftists, or knew any leftists other than Lee the husband of Marina. There is no evidence whatsoever that Ruth Paine was an informant on "the American left". And the alleged filing cabinets of Castro sympathizers--nobody (including the deputy sheriff who wrote the 1963 report cited) claimed firsthand to have seen files in the Ruth Paine garage other than what turned out to be Ruth Paine's folk dance group records. It was clearly a mistaken report, in which Ruth Paine's folk dance records which had names and addresses were carelessly mislabeled by a deputy sheriff reporting some unknown other officer's hearsay, calling names and addresses of a folk dance group, "Castro sympathizers". The deputy sheriff who wrote that report repudiated the claim, and nobody other than that deputy sheriff (who repudiated it) ever voiced the claim in the first place. How is it that someone can be accused of something like this, without any substance, and then a filmmaker can believe someone on screen who just says that "makes a very good case" that Ruth Paine was such and such? There was no evidence or truth to it, and DiEugenio knew full well the deputy sheriff who wrote that hearsay claim of anti-Castro files repudiated the claim of anti-Castro files, said there was no basis for it being true, in his Warren Commission testimony in 1964. Yet Max Good's film does not disclose that. The deputy sheriff was E.R. "Buddy" Walthers. Even in Walthers’ original report of Nov 22, 1963 in which the statement was made that DiEugenio quotes (“also found was a set of metal filing cabinets containing records that appeared to be names and activities of Cuban sympathizers” [19 H 520; https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=1136#relPageId=538]), the wording strictly construed does not claim Walthers himself saw or witnessed such, as Walthers told the Warren Commission explicitly he had not. No other officer reported any such thing, and Walthers, the sole foundation for the story, made it clear to the Warren Commission that the story is baseless. Here is Walthers’ testimony to the Warren Commission in 1964: Mr. Liebeler. What was in these file cabinets? Mr. Walthers. We didn't go through them at the scene. I do remember a letterhead--I can't describe it--I know we opened one of them and we seen what it was, that it was a lot of personal letters and stuff and a letterhead that this Paine fellow had told us about, and he said, "That's from the people he writes to in Russia"; he was talking about this letterhead we had pulled out and so I just pushed it all back down and shut it and took the whole works. Mr. Liebeler. I have been advised that some story has developed that at some point that when you went out there you found seven file cabinets full of cards that had the names on them of pro-Castro sympathizers or something of that kind, but you don't remember seeing any of them? Mr. Walthers. Well, that could have been one, but I didn't see it. Mr. Liebeler. There certainly weren't any seven file cabinets with the stuff you got out there or anything like that? Mr. Walthers. I picked up all of these file cabinets and what all of them contained, I don't know myself to this day. Mr. Liebeler. As I was sitting here listening to your story, I could see where that story might have come from--you mentioned the "Fair Play for Cuba" leaflets that were in a barrel. Mr. Walthers. That's right--we got a stack of them out of that barrel, but things get all twisted around. Notwithstanding this, in an article published on the Kennedys and King site, “Oswald’s Intelligence Connections”, July 29, 2017, DiEugenio claimed of the original sentence in the Nov 22, 1963 report, fifty-four years after its author and sole proponent, Walthers, repudiated the error on July 23, 1964: “This cinches the case that the Paines were domestic surveillance agents” (https://www.kennedysandking.com/john-f-kennedy-articles/oswald-s-intelligence-connections-how-richard-schweiker-clashes-with-fake-history) (emphasis added) One is left speechless at this, as if any unverified claim put into print even one time by a police officer, no matter how much contradicted by other evidence and later published corrections including by that officer himself, retains its currency fifty-four years later and is considered to “cinch” a case against someone, in this case Ruth Paine. It is worthy of a scene out of Kafka's The Trial. The contents of Ruth Paine's papers were her personal property and should not have been taken by Dallas police or sheriff's deputies to begin with. They were taken without her permission and without a search warrant. Neither police nor the FBI nor the Warren Commission had any right to Ruth’s personal papers without her permission or a search warrant. But never mind that—the important point is that the contents of those file boxes, and all of Ruth Paine's papers taken, were fully examined, reviewed, and known to the Dallas Police who went through those papers, and later the FBI, and there was no surveillance of leftists, or addresses of Castro sympathizers, in Ruth Paine's papers or anything else of the sort, nor anything incriminating of Ruth of anything. It is not as if there is some mystery over what was in that property of Ruth Paine. What DiEugenio calls Warren Commission/FBI "fiddl[ing]" with the contents of Ruth Paine's file boxes reflects the return of Ruth’s property, a citizen's property, to her. Nor is there any evidence or indication that Ruth or Michael were involved in surveillance of leftists independently of what was not found in those file boxes. Apart from attendance at American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) meetings, a mainstream civil liberties advocacy organization of which Michael and Ruth Paine were members, there is no known attendance of either Ruth or Michael at any left-wing meeting in Dallas. No document indicating Ruth or Michael were involved in “surveillance of the American left”. Neither Ruth nor Michael are known to have attended any meeting concerning Cuba or Castro sympathizers. There is a separate accusation that Michael Paine liked to talk politics to students standing next to him in line he just met at a Luby's Cafeteria. But in the only instance of students interviewed to whom Michael Paine had talked politics in that Luby's Cafeteria, those students were not left-wingers, in fact the opposite. There is no basis for interpreting a Michael Paine conversation with non-leftist students standing next to him in line in a cafeteria, as "surveillance of the American left". There is also an issue of plausibility and logistics. Ruth was functioning as a single mom of two toddlers demanding pretty much full-time attention. It is not easy to imagine in practical terms how she would surveil leftists, not knowing any leftists (other than Lee), not going to leftist meetings, not involved in Cuba organizations or issues. There is no evidence of such and DiEugenio's representations of Ruth Paine in this way in this film without the producer doing elementary fact-checking before airing this is a shameful smear of Ruth Paine pure and simple. From the film: Ruth Paine (a film clip speaking to an audience): I learned a lot about what is written isn’t always true, in newspapers and magazines. One magazine said the police took out seven file boxes of Cuban sympathizers’ names. Well, there were my three boxes of folk dance records (audience laughter), my three little file boxes of my college papers, and a projector for a 16 mm camera. Those were the seven boxes of Cuban names. Max Good (displaying a metal file holder to Atesi): This is one of the so-called filing cabinets that contains—there’s a report that they contained names and info on Cuban sympathizers. Joe Atesi (friend of Ruth Paine, JFK assassination researcher and collector of memorabilia) (shaking head): Yeah I think that’s nonsense. (. . .) Narrator: When the issue of the contents of the file cabinets came up Ruth’s testimony was taken off the record, and the exhibit numbers were omitted without explanation. (Camera closeup of Warren Commission testimony showing going off the record.) There are lots of “off the record”’s in the Warren Commission witness testimony transcripts. In the absence of knowledge of what was discussed, this is no basis for assuming something untoward was discussed and yet this is presented in the film as if that is being insinuated. The physical metal file boxes were returned to Ruth because they were her property. The Warren Commission had no right to the personal papers of a citizen who was not under investigation and without a search warrant. That the Warren Commission left intact exhibit numbers which originally may have been occupied by Ruth’s metal file holders, without explanation in the Warren Report, is none of Ruth’s concern nor does it have anything to do with anything. At the end of the film Max Good channels DiEugenio's utterly baseless accusation--Good asks Ruth Paine about something which no document, no witness, no credible hearsay, ever charged in the first place--focusing on this as one of the centerpiece allegations against Ruth Paine of the film: Good: Their thing is that you and Michael were involved in surveillance activities of the radical left. Ruth (look of disbelief): What? Good: That you and Michael were involved in surveillance activities of the radical left. Uh, and that— Ruth: Who would be the radical left? Good: Cuban sympathizers. Ruth: Oh. Good: Communists. Ruth: Absolute news to me. I was not aware of surveilling anybody. Or watching Oswald. Good: Maybe watching Oswald was a job you had to keep an eye on— Ruth: Flake. Good: --this young communist defector, who had returned— Ruth: Nonsense. Absolute nonsense. Is Ruth Paine due an apology from Max Good for airing an allegation central to the film that Ruth Paine was "involved in surveillance activities of the radical left" based on DiEugenio's claim that "Ruth Paine had files of names of Cuban sympathizers in her garage" that make "a very good case" that "Michael and Ruth were involved in surveillance activities of the American left", without doing the most basic fact-checking of that claim before airing it? Does this community consider this kind of smearing by DiEugenio acceptable? Once baseless smearing stories are started, it seems nothing on earth can stop them if there is malicious continued spreading of them. Baseless stories just live on and on, believed by persons who hear the stories and spread them further. Edited May 21, 2022 by Greg Doudna Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Please sign in to comment
You will be able to leave a comment after signing in
Sign In Now