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Naval Intelligence Gazing

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(T)he two-volume work by Rutgers University (Camden, N.J.) professor Jeffrey M. Dorwart, "The Office of Naval Intelligence 1865-1919," and "Conflict of Duty, The U.S. Navy's Intelligence Dilemma 1919-1945," (Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Md., 1983).

[Note: Dorwart mentions that for interested researchers, ONI records are held at the National Archives Records Group 38, but they are generally restricted, classified and unavailable to the public.]

According to Dorwart, ONI agents, "….broke into safes, eavesdropped, vandalized private property and consorted with unsavory characters in pursuit of domestic pacifists and radicals. Still others interfered in the internal affairs of Latin American nations, dabbed in Asian politics, and accompanied Fascists Black Shirts into Africa. These men were not covert agents of the CIA, FBI or some elite American espionage team. They were U.S. naval and marine officers attached, between 1919 and 1945, to the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), a relatively obscure bureau whose primary mission was to provide strategic and technical information for the U.S. Navy."


Though ignored in the official history, Dorwart manages to give credence to the Mafia connections with the U.S. intelligence community, which were first established by the ONI in New York. As Dorwart reports, "The sensational fire on the converted ocean liner NORMANDIE in New York harbor on 17 February accelerated security measures, especiall waterfront control, port security and boarding patrols to interrogate passengers and search incoming vessels. In cooperation with other agencies ONI prepared a joint survey of New York harbor, and in a less covert operation began to send agents into the city's seamy world of prostitution, organized crime, and racketeering in search of America's enemies. Reportedly from March 1942 ONI cooperated with local crime syndicate leaders including Charles "Lucky" Luciano and Joseph "Socks" Lanza to locate leaks of convoy information along the waterfronts and infiltrate the fishing industry with ONI agents…."


--- [T]he ONI's flirtation with the Mafia, which was established to protect the Northeast ports from Nazi saboteurs, blossomed into a full fledged marriage when a deal was struck with the imprisoned "Lucky" Luciano to obtain Mafia assistance in preparing for the invasion of Sicily, which became known as Operation Lucky. [Note to BK: Perhaps you meant to say Operation Husky?--T. Graves]

- In modern American history texts, "Current Events" begins where World War II ends, though it never really ended, but sort of just flowed into the Cold War, which flared up with hostilities in Korea, when interests in and experimentation with mind control and the attempt to create the perfect Manchurian Candidate assassin.

We do know that the ONI played a major role if it was not the lead agency in the study of assassination and various ways, means and methods. At a NATO conference in Norway on the subject of stress in combat, U.S. Navy Lt. Commander Thomas Narut was quoted in the London Sunday Times as saying that such research is continuous, on going and operational.

According to Narut, "…combat readiness units…include men for commando-type operations and….for insertion into U.S. embassies under cover,…ready to kill in those countries should the need arise….U.S. Navy psychologists specially selected men for these commando tasks, from submarine crews, paratroops, and some were convicted murderers from military prisons… Research on those given awards for valor in battle [ie. Audie Murphy] has shown….that the best killers are men with 'passive-aggressive' personalities [...]

The Times reported that, "The men selected were brought either to the Navy's neuropsychiatric laboratory in San Diego, California (which also trains spys in techniques to counter interrogation), or to the laboratory where Narut works in the U.S. Naval Medical Center in Naples."

- From Gerald Posner's "Case Closed" (Random House, 1993, p.13): When Oswald was tested by R. Hartog as a New York City delinquent, "Hartog's diagnosis [of Oswald] was that of a 'personality pattern disturbance with schizoid features and passive-aggressive tendencies." Just what the Navy psychs were looking for in a potential assassin.

- Following in the footsteps of his older brother, Lee Harvey Oswald joined the USMC as soon as he was legally of age, and was twice stationed in San Diego, California, home of the Navy's "neuropsychiatric" lab where they taught counter-intelligence and interrogation resistance techniques.


- Oswald may have become involved in ONI counter-intelligence operations in Japan, where he is said to have been the target for recruitment by KGB assets. Although the Navy has refused to even admit that such a program existed, and some, like Otto Otepka of State Dept. Security, lost their jobs over it, it was the Navy that ran the Defector Program, which is said to have included Oswald as well as others in a program to send agents behind the Iron Curtain.

- When he left the USMC he returned to his hometown of New Orleans, from where he obtained, from a travel agency at the World Trade Mart, passage on a tramp steamer to Europe, the first leg of his journey to Russia. On his passport was stamped his occupation: Import-Export Agent.

- In New Orleans at the same time, and the only time and place their careers and travels have thus far shown to overlap, Col./Dr. Jose Rivera, USAR was teaching at a local medical college.

- Two days after the assassination Det. Paul Bently of the Dallas Police Department received a letter from Robert D. Steel, Commander, USNR-R, of 7960 June Lake Drive, San Diego, California, who wrote Bently that, "Perhaps you are aware that ONI has quite a file on Oswald, which no doubt has been made available on the Washington level. If not, I am certain that this information can be obtained for you through our resident special agent in charge of the Dallas office, A. C. Sullivan, who is a wonderful agent, and whom I hope you know. [...]

- The HSCA learned from an officer who flew aboard the same flight, that the USMC sent a special investigations team to Japan to report on Oswald's activities when he was there, but that report has never been acknowledged let alone released, even though the officials were supplied with the plane's tail numbers, flight data and the names of others aboard. The Assassination Records Review Board's Final Report merely notes [p. 84] that, "the Marine Corps did not locate evidence of any internal investigations of Lee Harvey Oswald, other than correspondence already published in the Warren Report."

- When the CIA director was asked about their interests in Oswald after his defection, he said that, "It would have been considered a Navy matter."

- In the Final Report of the Assassinations Records Review Board [p,158] it is noted for the record: “ONI stated that it conducted an extensive review of ONI records held at the Federal Records Centers throughout the country. ONI did not identify any additional assassination records. ONI was unable to find any relevant files for the Director of ONI from 1959 to 1964. ONI also acknowledged that there were additional ONI records that were not reviewed for assassination records, but these records would be reviewed under Executive Order 12958 requiring declassification of government records. The Office of Naval Intelligence submitted its Final Declaration of Compliance dated May 18, 1998.”


(emphasis added by T. Graves)

--Bill Kelly


Fascinating post!


--Tommy :sun

A clarification: LHO went through boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego. MCRD is very close to downtown San Diego. (see map) https://maps.google.com/maps?ll=32.741944,-117.197222&q=loc:32.741944,-117.197222&hl=en&t=m&z=15

San Diego Naval Hospital (where I assume the above-mentioned Neuropsychiatric Laborotory was situated) is also very near downtown San Diego. (see map and Wikipedia article) http://tools.wmflabs.org/geohack/geohack.php?pagename=Naval_Medical_Center_San_Diego&params=32_43_30_N_117_08_45_W_


After boot camp, LHO also received training or was stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, which is not near downtown San Diego but is about 50 miles north of it. (see map)


--Tommy :sun

Edited by Thomas Graves
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