Jump to content
The Education Forum

Joannides & Lafitte in New Orleans, 1963 — H. P. Albarelli Jr. @2013


Recommended Posts

found this today-- sent to Morley a few years ago...

Hank Albarelli <hankalbarelli@icloud.com>

Tue, Jun 5, 2018, 10:44 AM
 
 
0?ui=2&ik=e9614e0480&attid=0.1.2&permmsg
0?ui=2&ik=e9614e0480&attid=0.1.2&permmsg
 
 
Joannides & Lafitte in New Orleans, 1963
 
Over fifteen years ago, while beginning to research a book on the odd death of U.S. Army biochemist, Dr. Frank R. Olson, I became aware of the existence of an enigmatic character with the unlikely name Jean Pierre Lafitte. The origins of my awareness came from my perusal of the 1952 and 1953 diaries of Federal Bureau of Narcotics official George Hunter White; a September 20, 1977 article in the New York Times by investigative journalists John M. Crewdson and Jo Thomas; and the private notes and correspondence of James R. Phelan, an investigative journalist and writer, who, in the 1950s through the 1960s, was quite close to both Lafitte and White. 
 
Later, during the year 2000, my knowledge about Lafitte grew considerably greater after I was consulted on Frank Olson’s murder by investigators for New York City District Attorney Robert Morgenthau’s office. Spurred by these meetings, I made about a dozen trips to northern New England and southern Florida to interview several individuals who were close to Pierre Lafitte. 
 
About 18 months ago, while researching a forthcoming biography of George Hunter White, these interviews resulted in my gaining access to some of the personal writings of Lafitte, including his private date books, which stylistically are quite similar to those of FBN official and CIA consultant, George White. Suffice it to say, I became intrigued with the life and activities of the man known as Jean Pierre Lafitte, who beginning in 1952, through to about 1978, covertly work for the FBN, CIA, FBI, Secret Service, and INS. Lafitte also managed to carry out a number of major, international swindling schemes and operated a number of well-known restaurants. 
 
In June 1952, according to a letter by George White, the CIA officially recruited Lafitte as a “special employee” after he was summoned to Washington, D.C. to meet with CIA officials, Dr. Sidney Gottlieb and James Jesus Angleton. Wrote White: “Expecting to be at CIA only a day, Lafitte was held over for a few days. I hope to hell they know what they are in for. I suspect even to that crew that he’s one of a kind.” While at CIA headquarters, Lafitte also met Agency Security Chief, Sheffield Edwards, Frank Wisner, and Richard Helms. Subsequently, Lafitte undertook a number of covert domestic and international assignments for the CIA, including a trip to the Republic of the Congo in December 1960, which coincided with the January 1961 CIA-assisted assassination of Patrice Lumumba. Lafitte’s work for the CIA lasted until about 1978. 
 
While writing my book on Olson’s murder, A TERRIBLE MISTAKE: The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIA’s Secret Cold War Experiments [Trine Day, 2009], of which Lafitte played an integral and deadly role, I could not avoid learning about a number of provocative connections between Monsieur Lafitte and Lee Harvey Oswald and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Not the least of these connections was that Lafitte, using an assumed named, throughout the 1960s lived in New Orleans. Indeed, in an incident that caused a flap at CIA headquarters in December 1969, the FBI arrested Lafitte in New Orleans. Briefly detained, he was released after a number of discrete phone calls from Capitol Hill were made to FBI headquarters. At the time of his arrest, Lafitte worked as the head chef at the Plimsoll Club, then part of the International Trade Mart.  
 
Portions of Lafitte’s date books for his New Orleans years are revealing of his dealings with various CIA officials, including at least 3 apparent meetings with CIA Western Hemisphere Division employee, George Efythron Joannides. Interestingly, Lafitte’s second encounter with Joannides occurred the second week of August 1963, just days after Lee Harvey Oswald’s Friday, August 9 arrest for provoking a disturbance through leafleting for his Fair Play for Cuba Committee New Orleans chapter. Lafitte’s handwritten notations for Friday, August 16, 1963 read: “… at Antoines room— Martello, Joanides [sic] & Labadie. Quigly [sic] interview Oswald over street demonstration. Call Holdout.” Another notation, made 6 days later reads: “Talk Joanides Cuba—refers to K Organization in Mexico— similar setup now. [D]iscuss with King, ask George and Charles about Havana, Mexico trips…” 
 
NOTES: “Antoines room” is thought to be Antoine’s, a well-known New Orleans restaurant that hosted meetings and gatherings in a number of private rooms. There are several references to Antoine’s in the date books.  “Martello” appears to be a reference to New Orleans Police Department officer, Lt. Francis L. Martello; not to be confused with Francis “Monk”  Martello. Lt. Martello interviewed Oswald in the New Orleans lockup on August 10, 1963. “Quigly” is perhaps a misspelling of the name Quigley. FBI SA John L. Quigley also interviewed Oswald in New Orleans jail. “Labadie” is a known alias, as in Jean Labadie, that Lafitte used often in New York City, but it is also the surname of Stephen J. Labadie, a special agent for the FBI. “Holdout” is unknown; perhaps it is a code-name for a program or confidential informer. “King” is most likely J.C. King, CIA Western Hemisphere director, but could possibly be William Harvey, as some CIA associated people occasionally and mockingly referred to Harvey as “King.” “George and Charlie” are believed to be FBN officials.
 
 
Copyright © 2013—H.P. Albarelli Jr. 
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 30
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Thanks Leslie. It helps, while pondering Lafitte and the authentication controversy surrounding his notes, to see the context. George Hunter White’s letter can surely be verified. Lafitte is not a figment of Albarelli’s imagination, he is a real character whose missions remain cloaked. I imagine that Morley et al would be interested in what Lafitte files remain unreleased. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Paul Brancato said:

Thanks Leslie. It helps, while pondering Lafitte and the authentication controversy surrounding his notes, to see the context. George Hunter White’s letter can surely be verified. Lafitte is not a figment of Albarelli’s imagination, he is a real character whose missions remain cloaked. I imagine that Morley et al would be interested in what Lafitte files remain unreleased. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 4/1/2023 at 11:32 AM, Leslie Sharp said:
On 4/1/2023 at 7:25 AM, Paul Brancato said:

Thanks Leslie. It helps, while pondering Lafitte and the authentication controversy surrounding his notes, to see the context. George Hunter White’s letter can surely be verified. Lafitte is not a figment of Albarelli’s imagination, he is a real character whose missions remain cloaked. I imagine that Morley et al would be interested in what Lafitte files remain unreleased. 

The Lafitte-related materials in Hank's archives are meant for the softcover of Coup in Dallas under development when Hank passed away. That project is in process, so Hank's Lafitte files won't be accessible to other investigators until we have published.  The files also relate to a documentary project in play when he passed away so once again, they are the exclusive property of the Coup project.   We are also planning to publish a stand alone facsimile of the the Lafitte datebook with brief narrative for each entry, e.g., Coup Lite for those who find the first edition too heavy a read.

 

(Yes, Hunter White's letters are in the public domain, Hoover Inst. Stanford.)

There have been a number of news items focused on Lafitte over the years: a lengthy, fascinating series co-authored with James Phelan and published in True magazine;  Bob Considine published a piece on Lafitte's initial arrest complete with mug shot; Lafitte's own testimony in one of the most significant Chicago mob/drug-related trials of the decade is available online; ironically, Dorothy Kilgallen mentions him in a brief gossip piece [prompting us to ask whether she might have planned on catching up with Jean Martin on that planned trip to NOLA]; and then there's the infamous Time magazine coverage of his extradition from New Orleans to New England in 1969 tied to a prior indictment. So, yes, he was a real character — operating under cover using a myriad of disguises.  A force of nature who tragically played a pivotal role in Dallas, arriving at the Stoneleigh just days before the murder of John Kennedy.

Thanks to Hank Albarelli, Lafitte's mission, his part in the death of Frank Olson is no longer cloaked, nor is his role as project manager of the plot to assassinate Kennedy in Dallas.  I'm especially keen in developing his history with — obviously James Angleton — but more so Jean Souetre and Otto Skorzeny since Lafitte's family insist Lafitte was in a Charlemagne unit at the close of the war. We had come to the conclusion that Pierre was far more politically inclined than met the eye initially, raging about the Nxazi spirit in one of his notes and his enthusiastic OSARN posts in the diary, etc.

thanks for your continued interest, @Paul Brancato

Edited by Leslie Sharp
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Leslie, I hope the paperback version now in development will address the issues raised by Jeff Sundberg, especially the issue that two of the culprits identified in the hardback book as JFKA participants were actually in prison at the time. Now, I realize this does not automatically invalidate everything else in the book, but it needs to be addressed. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Michael Griffith said:

Leslie, I hope the paperback version now in development will address the issues raised by Jeff Sundberg, especially the issue that two of the culprits identified in the hardback book as JFKA participants were actually in prison at the time. Now, I realize this does not automatically invalidate everything else in the book, but it needs to be addressed. 

I'll be happy to respond once you've provided a constructive contribution to the topic of this thread ... Hank's article — which he emailed to Jefferson Morley in December 2013, and is posted in full here — that revealed Lafitte's knowledge of George Joannides in New Orleans in August 1963, which now apparently aligns with Morley's working hypothesis, nay "The Smoking Gun?" that Joannides initiated an operation involving Lee Harvey Oswald, in New Orleans, in August of 1963.

Would you focus and answer the following: If the government records currently in dispute reflect such an operation led by Joannides, and if said records have been under lock and key and buried six feet under since November 1963, how could a lowly chef in New Orleans know that Joannides was either personally in New Orleans in August 1963, or was conferring with parties that were, and that whatever he was discussing involved Oswald, and was relevant to the interests of JC King, Charlie Siragusa, and George Hunter-White?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Leslie Sharp said:

I'll be happy to respond once you've provided a constructive contribution to the topic of this thread ... Hank's article — which he emailed to Jefferson Morley in December 2013, and is posted in full here — that revealed Lafitte's knowledge of George Joannides in New Orleans in August 1963, which now apparently aligns with Morley's working hypothesis, nay "The Smoking Gun?" that Joannides initiated an operation involving Lee Harvey Oswald, in New Orleans, in August of 1963.

Would you focus and answer the following: If the government records currently in dispute reflect such an operation led by Joannides, and if said records have been under lock and key and buried six feet under since November 1963, how could a lowly chef in New Orleans know that Joannides was either personally in New Orleans in August 1963, or was conferring with parties that were, and that whatever he was discussing involved Oswald, and was relevant to the interests of JC King, Charlie Siragusa, and George Hunter-White?

Oh, I agree that the Joannides stuff looks important and confirmatory. As I said, if CID is wrong about Marton and Varga, this does not mean it is wrong about everything else. It raises some serious questions, but it does not automatically invalidate the rest of CID. I'm saying that the next edition of CID definitely should address the evidence that Jeff Sundberg has brought forward regarding Marton and Varga. 

We both know that the lone-gunman apologists love to exploit a handful of errors in a work and ignore the rest of the work. They did this very skillfully with the movie JFK. I'm saying let's tighten up CID so that critics can't jump on the Marton and Varga issue and dismiss the rest of the book.

Edited by Michael Griffith
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Michael Griffith said:

Oh, I agree that the Joannides stuff looks important and confirmatory. As I said, if CID is wrong about Marton and Varga, this does not mean it is wrong about everything else. It raises some serious questions, but it does not automatically invalidate the rest of CID. I'm saying that the next edition of CID definitely should address the evidence that Jeff Sundberg has brought forward regarding Marton and Varga. 

We both know that the lone-gunman apologists love to exploit a handful of errors in a work and ignore the rest of the work. They did this very skillfully with the movie JFK. I'm saying let's tighten up CID so that critics can't jump on the Marton and Varga issue and dismiss the rest of the book.

Thanks, Mike,

Apparently you didn't follow my rebuttal of Sundberg's arguments regarding Marton via Steve Thomas's posts on a separate Ed Forum thread. I know you were in receipt of his emails last summer, as well as the Mar 24 in which he actually threatened me with a lawsuit, couched in "concern". He also advised others on that mailing list to drop any pursuit of Marton Lajos lest they are subjects of a suit as well.  I find that unconscionable professionally, but I'm intrigued Sundberg is so concerned about this line of inquiry to suggest Hank was/we are indeed onto something.
 

@Steve Thomas  subsequently (thus far) refuses to engage any further with me.  I'll track down the details I shared with Steve and post them here, but I trust you're cognizant that I wouldn't want this thread which is focused on Hank's Joannides & Lafitte in New Orleans, 1963 to be hijacked.  

If the Joannides files represent the smoking gun that Mr. Morley alluded to back in December 2021, more boldly than he ever has, one would ask why Hank's revelation wasn't taken more seriously years ago.  [Note. I've yet to identify that Hank proposed the Joannides article for wide publication other than on jfkfacts.org. He was in 'hot pursuit' of the clues Lafitte left behind and may have thought at the time that Jeff's was the best and only forum suited for the Joannides angle of his investigation.] 

 

Edited by Leslie Sharp
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Michael Griffith

In fairness to Jeff, at the time, he asked Hank to see the datebook and/or more entries in addition to those Hank highlighted in the Joannides & Lafitte in New Orleans, 1963 piece. As with any pro, Jeff was skeptical and wanted proof.

In fairness to Hank, he said (paraphrasing), uh, nope, don't think I'll be sharing other entries for the time being. 

Although Hank was given access to a great deal of information from the Lafitte collection — allowed to take notes and screenshots — as far as I know he didn't take possession of the physical instrument until late 2018 when his source allowed him to provide it to examiners in London for authentication and ink and paper analysis.

@Greg Doudna (Are you familiar with Valery Aginsky?) 

Hank and I then met in Dallas on his return trip from London where he showed me the datebook with the excitement of a kid offering a box of chocolates.

On reflection, although Hank seldom if ever spoke critically about colleagues, I realize he was leary that the more he referred to the Lafitte material, the greater the risk to his long-range plan for a major publication vis a vis Coup. I also know first hand that his pledge to certain in the Lafitte family that he would respect the terms and conditions under which he was allowed to view the evidence in the first place was utmost in his mind. As is the nature of any serious investigative reporter, Hank knew that some might go knocking on the door of his source(s).  Not only would that sew distrust with his sources who might pull permission entirely, it would compromise the time and effort he had invested since the late 1990s. This was, in his mind and I concur, an exclusive and he was clearly justified in protecting the material and the sources until he could publish a complete manuscript.  His concern was that the evidence would be cannibalized or distorted to suit a working hypothesis of another investigator. He was possibly the only investigator to fully understand the backstory behind Lafitte's records having tracked Pierre from the Olson murder to Dallas.

As I remarked, "you can't have Joannides without the full cast of characters and events revealed in the Lafitte datebook." 

Edited by Leslie Sharp
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 4/1/2023 at 7:25 AM, Paul Brancato said:

Thanks Leslie. It helps, while pondering Lafitte and the authentication controversy surrounding his notes, to see the context. George Hunter White’s letter can surely be verified. Lafitte is not a figment of Albarelli’s imagination, he is a real character whose missions remain cloaked. I imagine that Morley et al would be interested in what Lafitte files remain unreleased. 

Also, @Paul Brancato, the significance of this post/Hank's 2013 article is that it conforms with the hypothesis that Joannides was running Oswald in August in New Orleans, or as Jeff Morley intimated last December, a possible smoking gun. See Will Sommer here ...

https://www.yahoo.com/news/jfk-assassination-investigator-jarring-claim-155305099.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Relevant to current efforts to dislodge the remaining records of the Kennedy assassination, I've recently posited the question prompted by Hank's 2013 article titled "Joannides & Lafitte in New Orleans, 1963" which he shared with a highly regarded journalist:

IF THE GOVERNMENT RECORDS CURRENTLY IN DISPUTE REFLECT SUCH AN OPERATION LED BY GEORGE JOANNIDES AND INVOLVING OSWALD — a virtual smoking gun in the opinion of some — AND IF SAID RECORDS HAVE BEEN UNDER LOCK AND KEY AND BURIED SIX FEET UNDER SINCE FOR SIXTY YEARS, HOW COULD A LOWLY CHEF IN NEW ORLEANS KNOW THAT JOANNIDES WAS EITHER PERSONALLY IN NEW ORLEANS IN AUGUST 1963, OR WAS CONFERRING WITH PARTIES THAT WERE AT ANTOINE'S IN NEW ORLEANS IN AUGUST of '63, AND THAT WHATEVER HE WAS DISCUSSING INVOLVED OSWALD AND WAS RELEVANT TO THE INTERESTS OF J.C. KING, CHARLIE SIRAGUSA, AND GEORGE HUNTER-WHITE?

Edited by Leslie Sharp
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...