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Larry Hancock: Someone Would Have Talked


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I am currently reading Larry Hancock’s recently published book, Someone Would Have Talked. It is the best book I have read on the Kennedy assassination. As Larry is a member of the forum I thought it would be a good idea to use it as a means to discuss the contents of the book. I hope others will join in this discussion.

http://www.jfklancer.com/catalog/hancock/index.html

Well, yes someone DID talk. And he talked to Mary Ferrell in the 1990's His name was Elroy Roy Hargraves and he implicated operatiives from The Pioneer Fund and characters like Homer S. Echevarria, Col Robert F. Baird, Capt. Medric Johnson from Walker's AVG, Harold Chait of Baltimore who worked for The Boston Metals Processing Company cited later in the Iran Contra funding controversies and some others.

And Richard Condon talked too. About Robert J Morris and Bonner Fellers, and Annie Vonsiatsky, and Ray Cline and Jim Angleton and Major G. Racey Johnson and Dr. Edward Brainwashing Hunter all the other Cold War Warriors who were ex-McCarthyites and ex-MacArthurites.

Gen. Edwin Rommell was NOT A FOX. His point man in Cairo, Egypt was Maj Gen Bonner Fellers who LEAKED Montgomery's every move to Rommell. Check it out man. Fellers was Gen Pedro del Valles buddy and both were closet Nazi sympathizers along with Stratemeryer and Wedemeyer and that whole McCarthy crowd including YAF and the John Birch Society.

"Tell him it's Ellie Iselin, he'll know."

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Well, yes someone DID talk. And he talked to Mary Ferrell in the 1990's

His name was Elroy Roy Hargraves and he implicated operatiives from

The Pioneer Fund and characters like Homer S. Echevarria, Col Robert

F. Baird, Capt. Medric Johnson from Walker's AVG, Harold Chait of Baltimore

who worked for The Boston Metals Processing Company cited later in

the Iran Contra funding controversies and some others.

Roy Emory Hargraves and his connections is covered extensively in Larry's book. There is also an interview conducted by Noel Twyman with Hargraves which has been transcribed and is available in Larry's book.

James

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In chapters 15 and 16 you mention Fred Black and point out that he was a friend of John Roselli. Black was also involved in setting up Serve-U-Corporation with his close friend, Bobby Baker, and mobsters Ed Levenson and Benny Sigelbaum.

You claim that Black “was positioned to destroy Lyndon Johnson with his personal testimony”. I assume there is no evidence that he did do that. However, he does seem to have talked about some of his activities.

William Torbitt (Nonmenclature of an Assassination Cabal) claims that “Fred Black has confirmed the connection between (Clifford Jones), (Louis) McWillie, (Bobby) Baker, (Jack) Ruby and ex-Cuban President, Prio.”

Torbitt goes on to add: “After November 22, l963, Black publicly told many people in Washington, D.C. he had informed J. Edgar Hoover that an income tax conviction against him must be reversed or he would blow the lid off Washington with revelations of the assassination conspirators. Lobbyist Black prevailed upon J. Edgar Hoover to admit error before the Supreme Court where his case was reversed in 1966. Hoover did well to rescue Black from the conviction. Fred Black, while socially drinking with acquaintances in Washington has, on numerous occasions, been reported to have told of J. Edgar Hoover's and Bobby Baker's involvement in the assassination through Las Vegas, Miami and Havana gamblers. He named some of these as the Fox Brothers of Miami, McLaney of Las Vegas, New Orleans, Havana and Bahamas, Cliff Jones of Las Vegas, Carlos Prio Socarras of Havana, Bobby Baker and others. He stated there was also a connection in that some of the gamblers were Russian emigres.”

There is also an article entitled Drug War: Covert Money, Power & Policy: Neocolonialism on the web. It includes the following passage:

Colonel Trinidad Oliva was also the key CIA contact in the Guatemalan government, working under his half-brother, the defense minister. Trinidad Oliva coordinated all "foreign aid" coming through the CIA conduit ICA, the International Cooperation Administration, the forerunner of the Agency for International Development, AID.

Rosselli and Trinidad then helped the murderous old Gen. Miguel Ydígoras Fuentes, one of Úbico's assassins with close ties to mob partner Trujillo, to become head of state. Mario Sandoval Alarcón. "the father of Latin America's death squads," organized the right-wing of Castillo's party into the National Liberation Movement and hired himself out to Trinidad and Rosselli.

The same year that Johnny Rosselli helped the CIA engineer the change in the Guatemalan government, he was asked by his Syndicate associates to put together Giancana in Chicago, Costello in New York, Lansky in Miami, and Marcello in New Orleans for the huge $50 million Tropicana construction project in Las Vegas. According to Fred Black, a political fixer who was close to Rosselli, Bobby Baker and Lyndon Johnson, Rosselli's influence was such that he gave orders to the Dorfmans, who controlled the Teamsters' huge Central States Pension Fund. During the 50's and 60's, it was Johnny Rosselli who "set up protection" in Las Vegas.

The writer goes on to comment:

“This means, operationally, that Johnny Rosselli's interests became the CIA's interests. "Throughout Latin America," notes Frank McNeil, a junior political officer in the Guatemalan Embassy in 1960, "there were two American governments - one intelligence and one official." McNeil's boss, Ambassador John Muccio, learned of the Bay of Pigs invasion force being trained in Guatemala only after the story broke in The New York Times. As John Kennedy found out to his chagrin, Rosselli, his Syndicate and Batistiano allies, had more operational clout than the State Department.”

Have you read the interview with J. Leland Atwood of North American Aviation about Fred Black (24th June, 1989)?

On page 203 you point out that Fred Black was on trial for illegal activities concerning Howard Foundry Company. Was this in 1963? Do you have any more details? Was he found guilty? Did he face any other charges later?

Do you know when he died?

You will find links to the material I have found on the web at:

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKbakerF.htm

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John, I'll try to address your points and not miss anything.

First, Black certainly did not implicate Johnson in any testimony however Black did launch his own leagal nitiative based on the fact that the FBI had placed wire taps on him illegally and he aggressively used this action as a tool to avoid any statements at all. Of course given that the investigators never located the evidence of the Johnson meeting with the Baker/Black/NA folks the issue might have only come up if Black and introduced it. Given that the investigation was essentially gutted upon Johnson's assuming the Presidency it became a moot point in any case.

I was aware of the Torbett information but as with virtually everything in Torbett it's hard to use it as a reference since there are no sources.

Roselli's time in Guatamala is covered in pages 148-155 of All American Mafioso which I heartily recommend. The authors had a great deal of difficulty exploring this period but point out that whatever role Roselli was playing, his apparent sponsor was Standard Fruit (the same Standard Fruit that sponsored the INCA propaganda efforts out of New Orleans). Apparently Roselli assisted Standard Fruit in political and labor competition against its rival United Fruit. Of course all

this was circa the late 50's after the earlier CIA regime overthrow and after Roselli's activities in Havana. I think it might be a mistake to see him as working with the CIA on any official basis there although he certainly might have taken advantage of some personal connections. It appears it was about big money though as most of Roselli's "consultant" work was...

As to the Black interview you mentioned, no I haven't seen that and in truth I didn't pursue the Howard Foundries incident beyond Johnson's obvious concern about it as mentioned in the Johnson tapes.

-- Larry

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Larry, a few remaining questions:

(1) On page 203 you point out that Fred Black was on trial for illegal activities concerning Howard Foundry Company. Was this in 1963? Do you have any more details? Was he found guilty? Did he face any other charges later?

(2) Do you know when Fred Black died?

(3) Do you know anything about Grant Stockdale? I was recently told that he had considerable knowledge about the assassination. According to William Torbitt, Stockdale was President of Serve-U-Corporation (Black and Baker’s company involved in the LBJ scandal).

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Hi John, here goes"

1) As far as I can tell Black was being investigated along with Howard Foundries on charges of kickbacks or some sort of bribery in regard to a government contract. I have found no evidence that this led to any criminal convictions but I don't know the exact outcome or conduct of the investigation. I do know that this was going on in 1964 at the time in which Black was convicted on tax evasion but had his conviction thrown out over the issue of the illegal FBI wire taps. Black remained very influentical through the early 70's and later maintained an apartment at the Watergate Hotel during the time of the Congressional investigations. Roselli stayed with Black during some of his time giving testimony.

2) I don't know when or if Black died; I do know that Rappleye and Becker interviewed him extensively following his 1990 release from serving time over tax evasion and that they got as about as much as he is likely to say - he did deny the warning call to Roselli that had been reported by Edith Daigle.

3) As to Stockdale, I don't think he was President of Serve-U-Corp, he had been involved in Florida with another vending machine operation along with Gene Hancock who did become Serve-U-Corps President (although as far as investigators could tell he really didn't do anything and the stockholders handled all the paperwork). The best source for all this and the ins and outs of Serve U Corp is a little paperback The Bobby Baker Affair by G.R. Schriebier - he went through all the Committee paperwork on the investigation and did a lot of digging.

-- Larry

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As to Stockdale, I don't think he was President of Serve-U-Corp, he had been involved in Florida with another vending machine operation along with Gene Hancock who did become Serve-U-Corps President (although as far as investigators could tell he really didn't do anything and the stockholders handled all the paperwork). The best source for all this and the ins and outs of Serve U Corp is a little paperback The Bobby Baker Affair by G.R. Schriebier - he went through all the Committee paperwork on the investigation and did a lot of digging.

Do you know very much about Grant Stockdale? There is very little about him on the web. William Torbitt (Nonmenclature of an Assassination Cabal) also says that George Smathers was also involved with Black in Serve-U-Corporation. Any truth in that? I believe Kennedy's secretary later claimed that JFK intended to replace LBJ with Smathers.

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I have discovered via the US Embassy in Ireland that his full name was Edward Grant Stockdale.

They provide these details about him:

Name: Edward G. Stockdale

State of Residency: Florida

Non-career appointee

Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary

Appointment: Mar 29, 1961

Presentation of Credentials: May 17, 1961

Termination of Mission: Left post, Jul 7, 1962

This information enabled me to discover he was born in Greenville, Washington County, Mississippi, in 1915.

I have also discovered that there is a connection between George Smathers and Stockdale (Smathers talks about him in an interview given to Donald A. Ritchie on 5th September, 1989.)

Stockdale moved to Florida after leaving his post in Ireland. Smathers was of course represented Florida in the Senate (January, 1951 - January, 1969).

I see Smathers resigned from the Senate at the end of 1968. Anyone know the reasons for this?

According to the Biographical Directory of Congress website George Smathers is still alive. Has anyone interviewed him about these issues?

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John, neither Stockdale nor Smathers was an officer or a stockholder or seemingly involved in any way with Serve U - Bakers vending company. Both Smathers and Stockdale of course were politically connected in DC, Stockdale very active in Democratic politics. There is speculation that either of them or Smather's associates could have introduced Baker to Hancock who did become Serve U President.

Stockdale and Hancock had been running a vending machine company in Florida - Automatic Vending - which seems sort of a model for Serve U, focused on govt. contracts. However Stockdale did not join Serve U and took a Kennedy appointment as Ambassador to Ireland. Upon his return to Florida he became consultant to another vending machine company which had contracts at Cape Canavaral. Shortly after his JFK appointment, Automatic Vending had been sued for improper actions in getting a contract at Aerodex but the suit was eventually dismissed.

All in all there is nothing to indicate that either Stockdale or Smathers had any ties to Serve U and Stockdale's friends seem to have felt his suicide immediately following Kennedy's death was personal grief due to his identification and admiration with/for JFK. If there is something more mysterious about it nobody has connected any real dots to date and the speculation seems to be built entirely around the timing of his suicide.

That's about all I can find on the subject, Larry

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John, neither Stockdale nor Smathers was an officer or a stockholder or seemingly involved in any way with Serve U - Bakers vending company. Both Smathers and Stockdale of course were politically connected in DC, Stockdale very active in Democratic politics. There is speculation that either of them or Smather's associates could have introduced Baker to Hancock who did become Serve U President.

Stockdale and Hancock had been running a vending machine company in Florida - Automatic Vending - which seems sort of a model for Serve U, focused on govt. contracts. However Stockdale did not join Serve U and took a Kennedy appointment as Ambassador to Ireland. Upon his return to Florida he became consultant to another vending machine company which had contracts at Cape Canavaral. Shortly after his JFK appointment, Automatic Vending had been sued for improper actions in getting a contract at Aerodex but the suit was eventually dismissed.

All in all there is nothing to indicate that either Stockdale or Smathers had any ties to Serve U and Stockdale's friends seem to have felt his suicide immediately following Kennedy's death was personal grief due to his identification and admiration with/for JFK. If there is something more mysterious about it nobody has connected any real dots to date and the speculation seems to be built entirely around the timing of his suicide.

Interesting point about Stockdale nor Smathers both being involved in the same business as Fred Black and Bobby Baker (vending machines focused on government contracts). The fact the business was based in Miami could also be significant.

What do you make of Adele Edisen testimony about Dr. Jose Rivera: “There were other references to the assassination... They will say his best friend killed him. After it happens the President's best friend will jump out of a window because of his grief, and there was such an event about two weeks later, the former Ambassador to Ireland jumped out of a window in Miami, his name was Grant Stockdale. Although, again, at the time I didn't make the connection.”

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Larry, at the end of chapter 10 you summarize the evidence in favour that David Attlee Phillips was involved in the assassination of JFK. It is so comprehensive I think it is worth quoting in full:

David Phillips held a seminal position in anti-Castro affairs before and during the time in which the Kennedy conspiracy was formed. He had access to strategic plans and information in regard to Cuban affairs by way of his contacts in Washington D.C. and at JM WAVE in Miami. He worked in tandem with David Morales at JM WAVE and in Mexico City and undoubtedly his real politics and feelings were those of Morales rather than the liberal picture he paints of himself as a JFK proponent in his biography.

• David Phillips was Maurice Bishop.

• As Bishop, Phillips pursued his own personal anti-Communist and anti-Kennedy Administration agenda.

• Phillips' direction of Alpha 66 to attack Russian targets in Cuba was intended to provoke a direct U.S. - Russian conflict which would result in the liberation of Cuba.

• Through Veciana, Phillips independently supported multiple unsanctioned assassination plots against Fidel Castro. Alpha 66, Veciana, Eddie Bayo and Tony Cuesta were not directed by the CIA but personally by Phillips. Phillips specifically told Veciana his goal was to provoke US intervention in Cuba by "putting Kennedy's back to the wall."

• Phillips demonstrated his willingness to incite exiles in independent military actions. Phillips had an established history of organizing anti-FPCC "dangles" and propaganda operations.

Phillips was involved in a new anti-FPCC initiative in 1963, including a project to extend the effort outside the United States.

Bishop/Phillips was seen in Dallas, Texas, with Lee Oswald immediately prior to Oswald's trip to Mexico City - a trip in which he made contact with both the Cuban and Russian embassies in an attempt to travel through Cuba to Russia.

We now do know a good deal about David Phillips, both from his official history and from the disclosure of his actions as Maurice Bishop. What we may never know is the extent to which David Phillips used his position and assets to support the Kennedy conspiracy. However, there are two further indications that he was either aware of the conspiracy or actively supported it.

One of these is from conversations which David Phillips had with Kevin Walsh, a former HSCA staffer who went on to work as a private detective in Washington, DC In a conversation not long before his death, Phillips remarked: "My private opinion is that JFK was done in by a conspiracy, likely including American intelligence officers." - David Atlee Phillips, July 1986.

The second conversation was related in an email exchange between researcher Gary Buell and David Phillips' nephew, Shawn Phillips. As Shawn described in the email, Shawn's father, James Phillips, became aware that his brother, David, had in some way been "seriously involved" in the JFK assassination. James and David argued about this vigorously and it resulted in a silent hiatus between them that lasted for almost six years.

As David was dying of lung cancer, he called his brother. Even at this point there was apparently no reconciliation between the two men. James asked David pointedly, "Were you in Dallas that day?" David answered, "Yes," and James hung up the phone on him.

The idea that David Phillips was involved in the assassination appeared in several of the early conspiracy books. Looking at the evidence you provide (in Someone Would Have Talked) this is not surprising. However, I have always had severe doubts about this.

Phillips was a skilled operator. If he had been involved in planning this operation I am sure it would have been done in such a way that would not have raised so many doubts about Oswald acting as a lone gunman. For example, Phillips would have been aware that the Oswald impostor would have been captured on film in Mexico City. Therefore, why did they select someone who clearly did not look like Oswald. The setting up of Oswald seems a very amateur operation. Phillips might have been aware of what was going on, but I cannot believe that he played a major role in the assassination.

If Phillips had been organizing the conspiracy would he not have made sure there was no link between himself and the assassination. For example, would Phillips be the CIA’s direct contact with Antonio Veciana? (MI5 and MI6 defintely don't behave like this). Surely he would have used someone else to have met Veciana in public. Also Veciana claims that in August, 1963, he saw Bishop and Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas. If Phillips knew that Oswald was being set-up to be blamed for the assassination of JFK he would not have got anywhere near him that summer.

Another reason why I do not believe Phillips was involved in the assassination is the interview he gave to Kevin Walsh. If he had been part of a conspiracy would he really have said: "My private opinion is that JFK was done in by a conspiracy, likely including American intelligence officers." If he had been guilty of such a crime he would have kept on denying any possibility that the CIA could have been involved in such an event.

When he died on 7th July, 1988, Phillips left behind an unpublished manuscript. The novel is about a CIA officer who lived in Mexico City. In the novel the character states: "I was one of those officers who handled Lee Harvey Oswald... We gave him the mission of killing Fidel Castro in Cuba... I don't know why he killed Kennedy. But I do know he used precisely the plan we had devised against Castro. Thus the CIA did not anticipate the president's assassination, but it was responsible for it. I share that guilt."

I suspect that this extract reveals Phillips’ true involvement in the assassination of JFK. Maybe that was the real reason Oswald was chosen as the patsy. When the CIA realised that one of their agents recruited to kill Castro had killed (or been made to look like he had killed) JFK, they had no option but to try and cover up the crime. The same goes for Robert Kennedy, who was likely to have been told as part of Operation Freedom, that Oswald was the agent being trained to kill Castro.

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John,

Since some of the suspicion about Phillips depends on the claims of Veciana, the implication of some of the points you make (which are good points) is that Veciana seemed to be out to get Phillips (claiming that he saw Phillips or Bishop and Oswald together). Why would Veciana make up incriminating things about Phillips?

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