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Harold Holt: Was he murdered by the CIA?


John Simkin
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Victoria’s coroner’s office has decided to reopen the Harold Holt case. On 17th December, 1967, Holt, the Australian prime minister, went swimming at Cheviot Beach. He disappeared and his body has never been found.

At the original inquest it was decided that he must have been swept out to Bass Strait where he drowned. However, rumours continue to circulate about his death. Here are just some of the theories:

(1) Holt had been prime minister for 22 months when he disappeared. He was coming under immense pressure from the US to continue supporting the war in Vietnam. One possibility is that unable to deal with the pressure he committed suicide.

(2) Holt was having severe doubts about the wisdom of having Australian troops in Vietnam. Rumours were circulating that he intended to withdraw from Vietnam. If so, was he murdered by the CIA?

(3) In 1983, a former Australian naval officer, Ronald Titcombe, claimed that Holt had been a Chinese spy since the early 1930s. According to Titcombe, Holt thought that he was about to be exposed as a spy and so he was taken to China in a midget submarine waiting off Portsea, near Melbourne.

(4) Holt faked his death so that he could live in secret with his mistress in France.

The following photograph could provide a clue to solving this mystery. It shows Holt just about to take a swim.

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I think it's highly unlikely.

The inquest has been re-opened because of a change in the laws here in Australia. Holt was declared dead to allow processing of probate, but a change to the legislation has meant that the case MUST be reviewed.

Holt was pretty happy with his decision to support the US in Vietnam. Although under some pressure, he did declare 'all the way with LBJ'.

The suggestion that he was a Chinese spy borders on the ludicious.

He was getting on in years, and took a swim at a beach without a security detail (which he often did). Any Australian is aware of the rips that can occur at beaches, so it is quite reasonable to believe that he could have got into trouble. The beach was unpatrolled.

It's a good event to place a mystery on, but I am sure there was nothing sinister about it.

If nothing else, it was a tragic loss.

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I tend to agree with Evan that it was a tragic accident. That part of the coastline where he swam was sometimes treacherous and a misreading of the conditions is most likely the cause of his passing.

'All the way with LBJ.' It was a well used catchphrase at the time. My father though LBJ was a snake.

James

Edited by James Richards
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I agree. It was an accident, although it's possible Holt was reconsidering the wisdom of committing to Vietnam. James, your father was very perceptive. My father thought LBJ was great. Great photo, btw. Is that a beer or a bourbon and coke HH is holding?

Hi Mark,

My old man was pretty sharp. As a kid, I can remember him on many occasions pass the opinion that Oswald was framed and LBJ was the one who needed to be investigated - and this before it was fashionable to say so.

HH may be holding a Bundy and Coke. B)

Cheers, (literally)

James

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Victoria’s coroner’s office has decided to reopen the Harold Holt case. On 17th December, 1967, Holt, the Australian prime minister, went swimming at Cheviot Beach. He disappeared and his body has never been found.

At the original inquest it was decided that he must have been swept out to Bass Strait where he drowned. However, rumours continue to circulate about his death. Here are just some of the theories:

(1) Holt had been prime minister for 22 months when he disappeared. He was coming under immense pressure from the US to continue supporting the war in Vietnam. One possibility is that unable to deal with the pressure he committed suicide.

(2) Holt was having severe doubts about the wisdom of having Australian troops in Vietnam. Rumours were circulating that he intended to withdraw from Vietnam. If so, was he murdered by the CIA?

(3) In 1983, a former Australian naval officer, Ronald Titcombe, claimed that Holt had been a Chinese spy since the early 1930s. According to Titcombe, Holt thought that he was about to be exposed as a spy and so he was taken to China in a midget submarine waiting off Portsea, near Melbourne.

(4) Holt faked his death so that he could live in secret with his mistress in France.

The following photograph could provide a clue to solving this mystery. It shows Holt just about to take a swim.

John, was this photograph taken on the day of HH's disappearance?

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Wild surf claimed the life of Harold Holt and equally wild rumours about the former prime minister's disappearance may have been avoided if a public inquiry had been held at the time, the Victorian coroner found today.

State Coroner Graeme Johnstone found that the then prime minister drowned while swimming in the surf off Cheviot Beach on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula on December 17, 1967.

Coroners were previously unable to investigate deaths where a body was never found but the Coroner's Act of 1985 changed the law, enabling findings to be made.

Handing down his finding today, Mr Johnstone said fanciful theories surrounding Mr Holt's disappearance ranged from him being taken by a Chinese submarine to committing suicide.

"Unfortunately, there was no open inquiry at the time so this detailed material did not become general public knowledge," he said.

"Perhaps, in hindsight, there should have been an inquiry as it may have avoided the development of some of the unsubstantiated rumours and unusual theories."

Mr Johnstone said his investigation had analysed all of the available investigative and historical material and found the theories were fanciful.

"It is sad that, over the years, all of these fanciful or unusual theories about Mr Holt's disappearance should receive public ventilation, overshadow his life and require an explanation," the coroner said.

"A simple reading of the original investigative material provides the real and credible explanation."

http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/holt-i...5302722026.html

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Coroner rules Holt drowned in accident

2005-09-03 / Associated Press /

Nearly four decades after Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt disappeared in churning surf off the country's south coast, a coroner yesterday officially confirmed what most people already suspected: he drowned.

Holt was 59 years old when he vanished while body surfing in a wild swell off a beach near his home in Victoria state on a summer afternoon on December 17, 1967.

His body was never found and until yesterday he was officially listed only as missing and presumed drowned.

The absence of a body spawned a slew of colorful theories about his disappearance - the most famous being that Holt, leader of the conservative Liberal Party, was a spy for Beijing who was collected by a Chinese submarine.

"It is sad that, over the years, all of these fanciful and unusual theories about Mr. Holt's disappearance should receive public ventilation, overshadow his life and require an explanation," Coroner Graeme Johnstone said in his findings yesterday .

The law in Victoria in 1967 did not allow a coroner's inquiry into apparent deaths where no body had been found. The law has since changed and state police recently asked the coroner to investigate Holt's disappearance as part of a clean up of their missing persons files.

In the course of the investigation, the coroner's office asked the nation's top spy agency, the Australian Security Intelligence Organization, whether it had investigated the Chinese submarine theory or had files relating to Holt's disappearance.

"ASIO responded indicating it had no information," Johnstone said.

Holt's youngest son, Sam Holt, a 66-year-old Melbourne lawyer, said the family had expected the coroner's finding of death by drowning.

"From when it happened in 1967 to now, we have always said it was a matter of accidental drowning," Sam Holt told The Associated Press. "We never gave any credence to these more fanciful theories that have been floating around."

The son described the Holt theories as an Australian version of the conspiracy theories that surround the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy in 1963.

"No one could accept that there wasn't some enormous and sinister plot behind Kennedy's assassination," he said.

"And the theories about Kennedy have possibly got more legs then the weird Harold Holt stories," he said, adding that he accepted the official version of Kennedy's death.

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Guest Stephen Turner
Yep that sounds about right, see Evan, us JFK types dont think everythings a conspiracy. :lol:

Hmmm. Why did you say that? Did someone tell you to say that? Who told you to say that - the Government?

:D

DAMN, I've been tumbled, quick fire up the "Way Back" machine.

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