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Pierre Lafitte datebook, 1963

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2 hours ago, Leslie Sharp said:

You might review the following related to General Theodore C. Mataxis, protegé of Lyman Lemnitzer throughout his military career and in 1963, XO to the Chairman of Joint Chiefs Max Taylor.

As Major Ralph Ganis reveals  in The Skorzeny Papers:Evidence for the Plot to Kill JFK,  Camp King —  formerly used by the German Luftwaffe — was an interrogation facility under the command of Col. Roy M. Thoroughman who oversaw the day to day functioning of the camp once the  7707th European command took control. Their mission was the exploitation of persons and documents for intelligence purposes.

According to Ganis, "One of the most highly classified areas of operation was the interrogation of German scientists, intelligence officers, and other prisoners of war deemed of value to Western intelligence efforts, and many were recruited into U.S. Intelligence and scientific programs."

 Captain Henry P. Schardt was intelligence chief and carried out the mission under the cover of the 7734th History Detachment commanded by Col. Harold E. Potter.  Writes Ganis, "So as not to draw attention to the real reason they were sent to Camp King, it was Potter's unit that SS Otto Skorzeny and >>> Radl were assigned to upon their arrival at Camp King. Captain Theodore C. Mataxis was assigned as their control officer at the historical detachment.

. . . It will be recalled that upon his initial arrival at Camp King in 1947, Skorzeny's was assigned to Captain Theodore C. Mataxis of the U.S. Army historical detachment.  The historical work was the clandestine discussion between Skorzeny and the intelligence staff for his future role in covert operations

Following his post at Camp King, "Mataxis advanced to commander of the 505th during which time he was aware of the various training centers in Europe as well as special training schools set up with NATO countries and MAAG.  He was also aware of the secret training being conducted in Spain by Otto Skorzeny"

. . . .  In early 1960, First Lt. Anthony Herbert, serving under Mataxis, developed a concept for a new ranger unit to be formed within the 505th. Herbert took the idea to Col. Theodore Mataxis who gave Herbet his approval to form the group. . . . Herbert's first task was to train the unit and received permission from Mataxis to canvas Europe for training courses to hone the skills of his men.

In the fall of 1960, the unit set off for France to cross-train with French Foreign Legionnaires and elite Franch Air Force Commandos.  The French training area was located just outside the city of Pau, not far from the border with Spain. . . . Years later, Herbert recorded his memories of Pau including conversation with the French commandos who shared with him that they were actually training with Skorzeny. According to Ganis, "Of course Mataxis was fully aware of the sensitivity of MAAG's association with Skorzeny's paramilitary group and proceeded carefully. Herbert would later confirm the sensitive relationship in his book, stating that Skorzeny "was still being very careful," and that the training was "conducted by a small group of German soldiers" who"had formed a corporation whose service was arming and training groups of guerrillas." Herbert and Skorzeny would then meet in the mounts of the Basque region, in the mounts of the North. . . . 

After you've absorbed the implications, we can revisit Col. Akins' own history with Otto Skorzeny in Madrid . . . and from there, we can pursue the role Taylor's XO, Gen. Mataxis would have played over the weekend of November 22 as the Joint Chiefs hosted meetings with Adenauer's top generals of the Bundeswehr (most of whom were Otto's "Volksgemeinschaft") in the Gold Room at the Pentagon.

More info on Mataxis Leslie? 

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21 hours ago, Paul Brancato said:

More info on Mataxis Leslie? 

I'm surprised a search of MFF for Mataxis yields only three hits, one of which is Major Ralph Ganis's work.

The introduction to Operation Eiche: The Rescue of Benito Mussolini published by the US Army Special Operations Command History Office captures the spirit of Mataxis's history with SS Skorzeny. Obviously we need more to confirm that the two soldiers were in communication in the early 1960s but according to this, theirs was a "lifelong professional relationship." 

If you're in a position to do so, you might ask Ralph Ganis whether Otto and Ilse's papers contain information related to Mataxis that didn't make it into his book?  Also, if you have Dr. Newman's books you might check whether he looked into Mataxis over the years? I would think anyone in the room with the JCS in 1963 would be of interest.




Historical Detachment. Charged with interviewing captured German senior officers, Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Theodore C. Mataxis, a National Guard officer from Seattle, Washington, formed a lifelong professional relationship with SS Major (MAJ) Otto Skorzeny. It was he who located and rescued the Italian Il Duce, Benito Mussolini, from his captivity on the Gran Sasso. LTC Mataxis, personally fascinated by this special operations mission, assisted in the debriefing of the “Commando Extraordinary”and his adjutant, MAJ Karl Radl.1 The two were among the many senior officers being held in the Oberursel POW Camp in 1947, after being exonerated of war crimes by the Allied tribunal at Nurnberg. An inveterate professional ‘pack rat,’ LTC Mataxis kept a carbon paper copy of the original Gran Sasso interview.His son, LTC (ret) Theodore C. Mataxis Jr, shared that copy with the USASOC History Office.

The purpose of this collective essay is to graphically illustrate the Adolf Hitler-dictated rescue using period Bundesarkive photographs of the operation and rescue aircraft. It required considerable ‘manhunting’ to find Il Duce after he was secreted away on 25 July 1943 by the Italian national police. These Carabinieri were acting under orders from the Italian King Victor Emmanuel III. With Rome under Allied attack, King Victor Emmanuel was anxious to break ties with Germany and gain an armistice. Disinformation masked Mussolini’s disposition. Germany scrambled to reinforce Italy after the Allied invasion at Salerno on 3 September 1943. Allied air superiority complicated the secret rescue operation. Mussolini was positively located on the Gran Sasso days before the Italian king announced an armistice. A fortnight later MAJ Skorzeny’s airborne commandos swept down upon the alpine ‘prison.’ The surprise rescue of Il Duce proved to be a major Nazi Psywar coup that boosted military and civilian morale. It was true to the motto of Britain’s 22nd Special Air Service (22 SAS), “Who dares, wins”—the critical element of success in special operations.


Edited by Leslie Sharp
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  • 2 months later...

For the public record:


I'm anxious to hear who killed JFK, identified apparently in the Reiner-O'Brien podcast by the same title. 

But before listening to the first episode of the series, I am honor-bound to share (or perhaps re-share?) with our working group and the Coup Brief team the following emails from Hank Albarelli to Dick Russell dated January 14-15, 2019, related to details from the records maintained by Pierre Lafitte that Hank had entrusted with Dick in confidence prior to publication of Coup in Dallas. At the time, Hank had just become aware that Dick was heavily involved in a Rob Reiner/JFK project; I believe this new podcast is a spinoff from those efforts.  

Hank called me on the 14th of Jan. with the rhetorical question: how can Dick / Rob claim to have "solved the case" without using the revelations in Lafitte's records that I've shared with Dick

Hank and I both worried that Reiner and Russell — both of whom we admired professionally — might disregard certain information or even cannibalize or (unwittingly) distort details found in the Lafitte records that Hank considered to be among the most significant in recent decades.  I concurred, and continue to contend that Lafitte was privy to and directly involved with the nuts and bolts of the assassination plot for Dallas. 

The Lafitte revelations must be considered in full context, a luxury that to my knowledge, Reiner and O'Brien do not have.

After all, it was Dick who set Hank (and this writer) on the path of the JFK assassination investigation.


From: Hank Albarelli <hankalbarelli>

Date: January 14, 2019 at 11:12:16 PM EST
Subject: Re: Introduction

Who is ‘Rob and company’? We have had what we have now for a little longer than three years or more, but I fail to see what that means to anything: did we cross a line that marked us fair game to you? All you had to do was merely tell me that suddenly we had become competitors of sorts and that the nature of our Skyhorse-related business had changed. We did what we could to help you in your curiosity, promoted your work every opportunity, and . . . Such is life. 


From: Hank Albarelli <hankalbarelli>

Subject: Re: Questions

Date: January 14, 2019 at 3:38:39 PM EST

To: dick


Things are moving pretty quickly, and as I shared with you recently, the data that has surfaced in the ledger papers is not only changing the complexion of future plans for the research, but possibly the first edition of the book due out soon.  I’m still considering how best to incorporate it, either in the book or down the line in a documentary …which prompts the following: 


If I understand correctly, the film project focused on your work had not intended to draw final conclusions about the assassination.  You will soon be privy to my conclusions, and further, you could well be privy to the ledger sheets in full were we to come to agreement.  Because of the unusual confluence of circumstances that no one could have predicted, I need to be assured that the integrity of my research is preserved until such time as we might maximize the impact, together.  Without an agreement, of course the material in "Coup" or any other information I share with you, cannot be incorporated into the project.


That being said, would not the film group behind your project be surprised to realize you had access to the final pieces of the puzzle?


Weeks (maybe months) ago I had asked  [documentary producer] to talk to you about your project, and gave him permission to pursue what seems to be an obvious window of opportunity. Would not your producers be interested in the possibility of a collaboration of some sort?    I might add that given the information in the ledger sheets, a similar argument can be made related to Peter’s ‘Mary Meyer’ project.  Apparently [documentary producer] has not pursued either.  Considering your authorship of the introduction to "Coup", it is a logical step, so I'm taking it. Not sure what it could amount to.   


 -----Original Message-----


From: Hank Albarelli <hankalbarelli>
To: dickrusl <dick
Sent: Tue, Jan 15, 2019 5:18 am
Subject: Re: Introduction

Dick, I did not say that I think you are trying to rip me off. I only underscored that not everything was forthcoming in our discussions. Perhaps you overlooked certain things. I’m not a man that can’t say I can’t misinterpret things. I do sometimes. In short, if you want to do the introduction as planned that is fine. In terms of sharing supportive information I think each item deserves a discussion about use. In short, I’m willing to keep things as they were. I respect you and your book. Sincerely, Hank

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Digital and Physical Safety: Protecting Confidential Sources

November 22, 2021 10:56 AM EST

Protecting confidential sources is a cornerstone of ethical reporting. When journalists have agreed to protect someone’s identity, they should make every effort to do so, especially in circumstances where a source could be arrested or harmed.

Maintaining confidentiality has become more challenging due to increasing levels of digital surveillance and monitoring by authorities and the public. Journalists should therefore consider the following safety advice to help protect the identity of confidential sources.


Source Protection and the Protection of Journalistic Materials


(c)    The right not to disclose the identity of sources and the protection of journalistic material requires that the privacy and security of the communications of anyone engaged in journalistic activity, including access to their communications data and metadata, must be protected.  Circumventions, such as secret surveillance or analysis of communications data not authorised by judicial authorities according to clear and narrow legal rules, must not be used to undermine source confidentiality; 


If your source sues you for breaking your word and a court finds you had a legal obligation to keep your word, you may be ordered to pay your source compensatory damages. Generally, this means you must pay money to make up for anything your source has lost because you broke your word. Sometimes, this will not be much, but other times it could be a lot of money. In Cohen v. Cowles Media Co., 501 U.S. 663 (1991), the reporters had to pay $200,000 to their source.

https://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/promising-confidentiality-your-sources#:~:text=By promising confidentiality to your,you if you do so.


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  • 1 month later...

On May 9, Lafitte notes, Souetre and David[s] in April here, and then asks, Shaw where? Later, on September 17, Lafitte asks, Willoughby – Shaw?

Investigative journalist James Phelan's friendship with Pierre was under discussion today while reviewing an index of files of the office of District Attorney James Garrison. (see relevant entries below)

What strikes me as more than curious, according to this, Phelan was in and out of New Orleans as early as May 1967; his friend Lafitte had returned to New Orleans to open the Plimsoll Club in the new ITM building by mid-late autumn of '67.  If Phelan was working on Garrison's case, is it reasonable to assume he was aware that his friend Pierre, a.k.a. Jean Martin was back in town? 

A related question that plagued us: how could Jim Garrison have avoided meeting sous chef Jean Martin [Pierre Lafitte] in the early 1960s? In 1963, Garrison was the subject of Phelan's coverage of the feisty new DA who planned to clean up the seedier side of the French Quarter.  Is it reasonable Phelan didn't catch up with Pierre, his friend and writing partner since the Greenspun / Las Vegas caper while working on that story or that Garrison would have been intrigued by Phelan's inside scoop on that sting and want to meet "Louis Tabet"?

Fast forward to 1967, in spite of the controversy over the [alleged] Phelan-Lafitte break-in of Garrison's office — a claim that is still vigorously challenged by at least one Phelan family member — it is reasonable to ask whether Lafitte was brought back to New Orleans in concert with the launch of Garrison's investigation to serve some purpose other than his culinary skills.   Is it possible Garrison and those with more discretionary income during their intense investigation even dined at the newly opened Plimsoll?

The coincidence of Pierre's arrival back in New Orleans as the Shaw case took shape bookends with the coincidence he was spirited out of town by Federal authorities at the end of 1969 only to disappear into the ethers; the timing is more than curious to many of us familiar with Lafitte's role in the assassination. 





__ 5/25/67 Phelan.


Contains envelopes ‑ bulky materials, primarily tape recordings

5/28/67 4th interview between Perry Russo and James Phelan

James Phelan and Mark Lane


1. l tape marked "Phelan Original"

 2. Transcript of 4th interview between Russo and Phelan 6 pages. Reviewed ‑ General Conversation

 Tape in box ‑ "4th interview between Perry and Phelan"

2nd interview between P. Russo and J.



Tape in box ‑ "2nd interview between

Perry and Phelan"

Transcript Russo expressing concern about job at Equitable; doesn't want to hurt anybody. Phelan recommending Russo retain a lawyer.

1st interview between Perry Russon and

James Phelan

Tape and transcript (approximately 30


Transcript re: Shaw, Moffett, Ferrie

5/27/67 3rd interview between Perry Russo


James Phelan

Tape and transcript

Transcript ‑ 7 pages, RE: parafin test, Warren report, misc.

Tape ‑"Nothing of importance" noted on box containing tape

Perry Russo and Washington Post #5

(Person conducting interview not identified)

Tape and transcript 11 pages , RE: Ferrie &associates; Shaw

Edited by Leslie Sharp
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