Archive for the JFK category

January 9th, 2011


Admiral Mike Mullen, the Pentagon boss, whom I admire, is worried about the declining character of the armed forces:

“We’ve learned a lot about ourselves in the last decade; some of it’s been pretty unpleasant stuff,” Admiral Mullen said in an interview. “I want us to understand what we’ve seen, to a depth that we can ensure that our moral compass stays true, our ethical compass stays true.”

Mullen’s worries bear relation to the mass assassinations yesterday in Tucson, in that across the past decade the society has being trained to accept perpetual war as a way of life.

Our kids, our soldiers, growing up, are trained to envision life as a video game. And Obama’s Secretary of Education spent most of the past decade turning five Public Schools in Chicago into military academies.

The Spectre of the Gun haunts the society’s blood, born as we were coeval with Industrialism, with no time, as in Europe, to prepare for that onslaught, in a protracted war for control of the continent against nature and its natives.

Armies destroy countries — often their own.

Japan and Bismarck’s Germany — reduced to cinders by 1945, having provoked with their martial successes and crimes the remainder of the industrialized world into alliance.

The Russian empire in its Soviet phase — an elephantine Military-Industrial Complex riding the backs of an impoverished and well policed working class, an inverted pyramid, an unstable equillibrium nevertheless held in place for several generations by secret police, radio and television.

For people like Gore Vidal, whom I admire, it’s a given: the American empire was born in 1898 with our adventurism contra Spain in the Philipines and the Caribbean. We then built a huge permanent army to help win the world wars. That work done, the monster turned upon Dr Frankenstein. The republic’s cancer exhibited itself in 1963. We’ve been watching it die all our lives. The installation of Bush-Cheney, in retrospect, seems the end. The full-page tombstone in the New York Times.

However one might parse our history, no Western society could withstand in perpetuity the things we’ve done here and abroad for the reasons we’ve done them since October 2000. Mullen seems to sense this, and indeed, almost to be saying as much out loud.

And the eloquent Sheriff Dudnick of Pima County yesterday echoed him:

“This has not become the nice United States of America that most of us grew up in and I think its time we do the soul-searching,” he said. “The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous and unfortunately, Arizona has become the capital. We have become the mecca of prejudice and bigotry.”

January 8th, 2011

Abraham Bolden, Secret Service agent of JFK’s day

Hero Mark Lane will have a documentary this year featuring hero Abraham Bolden, former Secret Service agent and author of THE ECHO FROM DEALEY PLAZA, who was imprisoned for trying to publicize the story of the attempted assassination of JFK in Chicago in early November 1963.

Here’s the two of them speaking.

And here — perhaps more informative — is Mr Bolden with Thom Hartmann (three clips total there on youtube).

And here’s a panel with James Douglass, author of the excellent JFK AND THE UNSPEAKABLE – Why He Died and Why It Matters (2008), with Oliver Stone and Lisa Pease (latter whom has dropped here a few times in the past …) Five clips total.

November 22nd, 2010

JFK dead 47 years

Deputy Sheriff Roger Craig is a good way to begin to remember.

August 27th, 2010

FBI agent of the day re JFK

Posted in JFK by ed

June 28th, 2010

Obama’s new Space policy:
Shades of JFK

The administration’s newly announced Space policy, looking mostly to undo Bush-Cheney unilateral militarism and return to the norms of Reagan, Bush pere and Clinton, modest as it seems, echoes a bit ominously.

To begin, it seems intended to put NASA out of the spaceship business.


NASA in 1963 was a deeply Cowboy institution. And when the president that year signed National Security Action Memo No 271 — headed “Cooperation with the Soviet Union on Outer Space Matters” — the reaction from the national security apparat was pale.

The same day Kennedy signed a less well known memo headed “Classification review of all UFO intelligence files affecting National Security” which referenced NSAM 271 and directed the CIA, which had recently taken over the UFO beat from the Air Force, to begin declassifying UFO files with an eye toward partnered investigation with the Soviet Union.

Jim Marrs, author of worthwhile books on both JFK and UFOs, reports:

In this memo Kennedy stated, “I have initiated [blacked out] and have instructed [then NASA Administrator] James Webb to develop a program with the Soviet Union in joint space and lunar exploration. It would be very helpful if you would have the high threat cases reviewed with the purpose of identification of bona fide as opposed to classified CIA and USAF sources. It is important that we make a clear distinction between the knowns and unknowns in the event the Soviets try to mistake our extended cooperation as a cover for intelligence gathering of their defense and space programs.”

Kennedy then asked for all files on “Unknowns” to be turned over to the NASA authorities and an interim report be forwarded to the White House no later than February 1, 1964.

Kennedy signed the two memos on November 12 and ten days later was dead.


Werner von Braun and his President


After running in 1960 as a Colder Warrior than Nixon, then nearly getting sunk by conniving brass and spooks at the Bay of Pigs some 70 days after taking office, after being embarrassed and outfoxed by Khruschev in Vienna then outlasting him at the psy ops battle of West Berlin, and after defusing the Cuban missile crisis by outfoxing his own warmongering brass while brokering a back-channel compromise with the Reds …

After all that, Kennedy during his last summer confirmed his fundamental turn with a commencement address at American University. For a few months it was rather in the news:

“Among the many traits the peoples of our two countries have in common, none is stronger than our mutual abhorrence of war. Almost unique, among the major world powers, we have never been at war with each other.

“And no nation in the history of battle ever suffered more than the Soviet Union suffered in the course of the Second World War. At least twenty million lost their lives. Countless millions of homes and farms were burned or sacked. A third of the nation’s territory, including nearly two-thirds of its industrial base, was turned into a wasteland — a loss equivalent to the devastation of this country east of Chicago.

“Today, should total war ever break out again — no matter how — our two countries would become the primary targets. It is an ironic but accurate fact that the two strongest powers are the two in the most danger of devastation. All we have built, all we have worked for, would be destroyed in the first twenty-four hours.

Kennedy then voiced clear comprehension of what Eisenhower had been struggling with since making his truce in Korea with Peking and then had spoken of with quiet thunder in his farewell address days before Kennedy took office.

“And even in the cold war [Kennedy said in '63], which brings burdens and dangers to so many countries, including this nation’s closest allies — our two countries bear the heaviest burdens.

“For we are both devoting to weapons massive sums of money that could be better devoted to combating ignorance, poverty and disease. We are both caught up in a vicious and dangerous cycle in which suspicion on one side breeds suspicion on the other, and new weapons beget counterweapons.

“In short, both the United States and its allies, and the Soviet Union and its allies, have a mutually deep interest in a just and genuine peace and in halting the arms race. …

“So, let us not be blind to our differences — but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”

The speech, written by young brain-truster Ted Sorenson, had opened more abstractly, contesting the notion that war was the inevitable condition of modern states, taking clear cue here from FDR’s speech at Chicago in 1937.

Kennedy then broke some surprising news, announcing that the US would henceforth refrain, unilaterally, from testing nukes in the atmosphere, and that talks had been set in Moscow “looking toward early agreement on a comprehensive test ban treaty.”

He then concluded:

“Finally, my fellow Americans, let us examine our attitude toward peace and freedom here at home. The quality and spirit of our own society must justify and support our efforts abroad. … ‘When a man’s ways please the Lord,” the Scriptures tell us, “he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.’

“And is not peace, in the last analysis, basically a matter of human rights — the right to live out our lives without fear of devastation — the right to breathe air as nature provided it — the right of future generations to a healthy existence?

“The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war ….”



It’s only against JFK in June 1963, and Eisenhower in 1961, and FDR in 1937, that one can fully appreciate the depths to which we’ve been pulled by the Bush-Cheney doctrine and practice of preemptive war. Indeed, the contrasting lines of argument are so strong that Vladimir Putin at Munich in 2007 reminded the world of FDR at Chicago, in long, loyal paraphrases, while trying to organize the international community in opposition to the American warmongering.

It bears repeating that the Baby Bush Doctrine was promulgated for the most part by the American Likud Lobbyists gathered under the umbrella of The Project for the New American Century in DC.

And lo. Unilateral and exclusive military exploitation of space is high on the agenda of the manifesto published by the group in 2000, two months before the failed election. Half a dozen leading PNAC “Vulcans” were then advising baby Bush’s campaign and months later two dozen would take command of his War Room.

And so it’s only natural to wonder what today’s Apparat thinks of Obama’s announcement about peacefully sharing the last frontier.

November 30th, 2009

Fletcher Prouty’s Introduction to the Assassination Business

Most of Colonel Prouty’s writings are archived by heroic Len Osanic at — but not this one: an article from Gallery magazine and 1975, chatting about the “assassination business.”

Shop talk done, the author then wanders back to the watershed — both his and the Republic’s — of November 1963, when first President Diem of Vietnam and then President Kennedy of the U.S.A. were dispatched.

One bothers to post Prouty’s piece now in support of Roger Craig’s moving last testament — for Prouty’s piece focuses on the technique of suiciding targets in places, like Washington D.C., where moblike drive-by blasts wouldn’t do.

Craig was deemed to have died — months after filming his testament — by a suicidal rifle blast to the chest.

But that was then, surely. Not now …

Well. The Prouty piece emphasizes his conviction that the fix was in at the Secret Service in Dallas.

And one can’t help but note the odd event at the White House last week, when the Secret Service allowed — for no reason yet public — an oddball couple sans invitation to enter the White House grounds, then the building and then the East Room, where a State Dinner was in progress, and shake hands with the President.

Is it merely funny that this happened just days before Obama’s long-awated All Things Considered speech in which his decision as to the future of the National Security Apparat’s venture in Pakghanistan will be revealed?

Might a little slip in security just be a way to remind the young Prez who’s got his back, and why?

Read Prouty here — then place comments below.

November 29th, 2009

JFK: Dallas Deputy Sheriff
Roger Craig speaks again

I was so busy a week ago that I forgot to observe the 46th anniversary of the murder that, to my mind, marks the end of the American republic and the germination of what blossomed so wonderfully under Bush-Cheney. Call it what you will. Likely four years hence it’ll be in our face again.




It’s always worth remembering what Deputy Sheriff Roger Craig had to say, and how he said it. Among other things, he:

– was on the Grassy Knoll within moments of the murder, and

– was present when the rifle of the Book Depository was found and identified by Seymour Weitzman as a Mauser of a different caliber than the old Italian soldier’s rifle that the Warren Commission reported found and attributed to Oswald.

Pressing these and other conflicts with the official story across the years seemed to cost Mr Craig his life:

In 1973 a car forced Craig’s car off a mountain road. He was badly injured but he survived the accident.

In 1974 he surviving another shooting in Waxahachie, Texas.

The following year he was seriously wounded when his car engine exploded. Craig told friends that the Mafia had decided to kill him.

Roger Craig was found dead on 15th May, 1975. It was later decided he had died as a result of self-inflicted gunshot wounds.

(From the Spartacus vault maintained by John Simkin in England. Even better, visit his massive Education Forum, on the web, re these matters.)

Craig’s suiciding prompted the attorney Mark Lane, author of two of the most important books on the first Kennedy murder, to stitch together the documentary linked above, based on a filmed interview Craig gave in 1974.

One supposes one might suppose a causal connection between the interview of 1974 and the faux suicide months later. The gunshots were plural, to the chest, with a rifle.

So lend Mr Craig your eyes and ears. Five parts of nine minutes or so, all there on youtube.

It’s hard, is it not, to always look away?

September 30th, 2009

General Krulak, son of Brute,
blasts Cheney re Torture.
Very interesting! But …

On September 11 (weeks ago), two high-ranking generals came out of retirement to hit Cheney on the head about torture. Interesting but odd.

Their Op Ed was published in The Miami Herald: “Fear was No Excuse to Condone Torture.”

Well and good. But also a bit odd. Is there nothing current behind it? Torture, per se, is no longer an issue. Cheney seems history.

And note that one of the generals — former Marine Commandant Charles Krulak — bears a name that rings in the annals of American postwar history.

In the 1960s (and maybe 50s, under CIA auspices), Marine General Victor “Brute” Krulak was involved in the energetic effort to win in Vietnam. Air Force Colonel Fletcher Prouty worked closely with him, and has written a lot about him.

Relevant bits in a nutshell: Prouty says that Brute, atop the Marine staff in the Pentagon in the early 60s, became a close ally and advisor to JFK in the effort to turn the Vietnam policy around.

The McNamara-Taylor of October 2, 1963 — supposedly the findings of the Secretary of Defense and JFK’s special advisor General Maxwell Taylor on their grand tour of Vietnam — was principally authored by Krulak, Prouty & co, working closely with the White House — and then placed in McNamara & Taylor’s hands, for the sake of the cameras, as they returned from their mission.

That is: The policy change this much publicized report effected was sold using Taylor’s and McNamara’s names, but was actually the thinking and initiative of JFK’s narrow circle, which at this moment included, on the brassy side, Brute and his assistant Fletch. (Thus spake Prouty.)

1. Is Marine Gen. Charles C. Krulak the son of Marine Gen. Victor Krulak? Shouldn’t be hard to find out, I guess.

Uh yes — that’s a roger. Charles is the son of Victor.

2. Why is Charles coming out of retirement to hit the retired Cheney on the head now?

3. Are you playing the Preakness pool?


September 29th, 2009

Joseph Trento:
Privatizing the CIA


Check out — at Sibel Edmonds website 123Change — the Boiling Frogs podcasts, probing the National Security Apparat.

For example: An INTERVIEW with Investigative journalist Joseph J. Trento, author of, among others, The Secret History of the CIA and Prelude to Terror: The Rogue CIA and the Legacy of America’s Private Intelligence Network.

From the interview:

On All Hallows Eve, 1977 [President Carter and CIA Director Stansfield Turner] fired 800 people in the clandestine services, which was the old boy club of the CIA.

And after they did that it basically started a revolution against the Carter government. Jimmy Carter never got any intelligence of any value after that as president.

Interview tidbit text continues here.

Or click the Trento link above for the full podcast, which helps explain the decline of the civilian government in D.C. since the war, and goes best with sipped sour mash.


August 30th, 2009

JFK Video: Jim Garrison
New Orleans District Atty

Posted in American Gestapo, JFK by ed

John Simkin, in Britain, runs both Spartacus and the Education Forum, the latter which is perhaps the best tool for thinking about things like JFK’s murder in cyberspace.

Here, his bio of Jim Garrison has been infused with Garrison’s famous TV response to an NBC News smear.

August 3rd, 2009

Did Martians
cause the Cold War?

Posted in American Gestapo, Geopolitics, JFK, UFOs by ed

Ed Note: This old note has been updated with brassy quotes, and (at bottom) with a valuable audio clip from the mellifluous and middlin’ famous Robert Carr, who had a ranch in New Mexico in the late 40s when brothers from other planets were apparently falling to earth with some frequency.

1. FDR was on record against the continuance of the fledgling Office of Strategic Services — our covert ops organ — once the war that gave it birth had ended.

President Truman enacted this intent by abolishing the OSS in September 1945, and by resisting thereafter various attempts by interested parties, led by corporate lawyer and OSS agent Allen Dulles, to reconstitute a standing secret police army.

On July 26, 1947, however, Truman abruptly signed the National Security Act, creating the National Security Council and the Central Intelligence Agency — the latter out of (i) OSS bones which Dulles and Frank Wisner had been keeping warm on the sly in New York and the State Department, and (ii) nazi general Reinhard Gehlen’s eastern european spy network.

(General Gehlen was picked up on waivers from the Wehrmacht by the US Army in 1945, traded to the CIA two years later, then went back to Germany in the expansion draft to head up the Bundesrepublik’s Federal Intelligence Service. That’s him in the War Room, lower right corner.)

Why did Truman change his mind about secret police?  The so-called literature on this is a contradictory mess and inconclusive. The quiz has puzzled me for 20 years.

2. The month before, in June ’47, highly publicized sightings of unidentified flying objects by an Air Force pilot in Oregon had occurred, with regard to which the term flying saucers first appeared in the press.

And on July 7 came the first public word of the crash at Roswell, Arizona — a report by a local Air Force office that debris of a “flying disc” had been recovered.

Soon Air Force General Nathan Farragut Twining was on the case.  He told reporters in July, eighteen days before the NSA became law:

Neither the [Army Air Force] nor any other component of the armed forces has any plane, guided missile or other aerial device under development which could possibly be mistaken for a saucer or formation of flying discs. Some of these witnesses evidently saw something but we don’t know what. We are investigating.

That September, Twining reported to superiors, “the phenomenon is something real and not visionary or fictitious.”   Project Blue Book — the Air Force’s excellent X-Files adventure — was born, and seven years later Twining himself seems to have been sniffing still.

Twining would go on to become a four-star general and the Air Force Chief of Staff, 1953-57, under Eisenhower.  And finally the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (the first Air Forcer ever to command the Pentagon) during the four years before President Kennedy took office.

British Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding, a hero of the Battle of Britain, was Twining’s counterpart on the UFO beat in the Royal Air Force.  In 1954 Lord Dowding told the London Sunday Dispatch:

“I am convinced that these objects do exist and that they are not manufactured by any nation on earth…. I think that we must resist the tendency to assume that they all come from the same planet, or that they are actuated by similar motives. It might be that the visitors from one planet wished to help us in our evolution from the basis of a higher level to which they had attained. Another planet might send an expedition to ascertain what have been those terrible explosions which they have observed, and to prevent us from discommoding other people besides ourselves by the new toys with which we are so light-heartedly playing. Other visitors might have come bent solely on scientific discovery and might regard us with the dispassionate aloofness which we might regard insects found beneath an upturned stone.”

Well … Perhaps Lord Dowding was crackers …

Anyone beguiled by UFOs should read Jim Marrs’ book, which bears the unfortunate title Alien Agenda.  The Dowding quote appears there on page 124 (but is cited nowhere in the index), sourced in a biography of 1988.

Marrs also quotes Air Force One steward Bill Holden, who, flying with JFK in summer 1963, asked the Prez what he thought about UFOs in light of a recent conference re same in Bonn. Holden told Marrs (in a 1996 interview) that Kennedy

became quite serious and thought for a moment before replying. “I’d like to tell the public about the alien situation, but my hands are tied.”

The Air Force says it finally closed Blue Book and stopped worrying about UFOs in 1969: the year most people (present company included) believe that Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.  By this time the CIA was walking the UFO beat.  Both organs have released a lot of case files since. Couldn’t find a doggone thing.


3. That’s General Twining on the right, circa 1961, shortly after retiring from active service.

One can’t help but notice he stands in odd company:

(a)   On the left (so to speak): CIA Director Allen Dulles, shortly before getting canned by President Kennedy for, among other things, botching and dissembling about the Bay of Pigs invasion. Three years later President Johnson would appoint him to the Warren Commission, where Dulles led the befuddling effort.

(b) Second from right: Air Force General Charles Cabell, then serving as Deputy Director of the CIA, was fired by JFK the same day as Dulles for the same reasons. Cabell’s brother was the mayor of Dallas when Kennedy came to visit in November 1963.

(c)  And, between Dulles and his deputy: Strange OSS and CIA agent Ed Lansdale, flying Air Force colors at the moment.

In 1954 Lansdale had opened our first official CIA shop in Saigon, and in January 1961 President Kennedy (days on the job) was told that Lansdale should become our next Ambassador to Vietnam.

But after speaking with Lansdale and the State Department, JFK rejected the application, upon which Lansdale re-buttoned the Air Force general’s jacket he’d been given to wear and went back to his chair atop the Air Force staff in the Pentagon. (Perhaps the photo marks this occasion: a marriage of CIA and Air Force potentates, with Lansdale, their baby, in between.)

Air Force Colonel Fletcher Prouty worked directly with Lansdale in the Pentagon from the late 50s until 1964, and repeatedly fingered him across 25 years thereafter as a manager of JFK’s murder.

ONE CAN’T HELP but wonder, then, if:

A.  Truman’s sudden decision in July 1947 to cave in to the National Security Apparat was the result of pressure brought to bear by waving Roswell et al. in his face.

B.  The involvement of Air Force and CIA in UFO work, combined with Kennedy’s public statement in 1963 that space exploration should be a joint human enterprise, with the US and Soviet Union working as a team,  contributed in a big way to the decision to replace him with Lyndon Johnson.

Here is Robert Carr, from the 50s. Try to ignore the bizzare pictures in the clip, which bear no relation to his words.

Funny stuff.

July 30th, 2009

1986 Brit Docu-Trial of
Lee Harvey Oswald

Posted in JFK by ed

This should take you to a list of 30 clips or so, constituting a five-hour docu-trial conducted in Britain in 1986.

Some of the people testifying are the real thing — including FBI Agent James Hosty, who seems to have been Oswald’s contact at the agency re his infiltration work.

Worth watching, for the curious.

April 11th, 2009

This is the War Room

You can’t fight in here …

I’ve been told this peek into the dungeon of the Obamarama is not visible.

Here’s the scorecard

And Neil Young’s parently permanently pissed.  Note the AP 4/9 piece about Army suicides continuing to spike.  General Freakley must be freakin’ out.

February 6th, 2009

Fletcher Prouty: An Assassination Primer

Posted in American Gestapo, JFK by ed

I have a lovely reprint of this article from 1975 in the flesh.  Gallery Magazine — a girly book.

But here it is on the web. Very much worth reading.

October 28th, 2008

JFK: Dallas Deputy Sheriff
Roger Craig speaks

Posted in Death, JFK, Movies by ed

I didn’t know this doc from 1976 was on the web. 

It features a lengthy interview with hero Roger Craig, a Deputy Sheriff in Dallas who, among other things:

– was on the trail of a Grassy Knoll assassin within moments of the murder, and

– was present when the rifle of the Book Depository was discovered and found to be a sharpshooter’s Mauser (not the old Italian soldier’s rifle that the Warren Commission reported and attributed to Lee Oswald).

Pressing these differences across the years seems to have cost Mr Craig his life. From the excellent Spartacus vault run by John Simkin in England:

In 1973 a car forced Craig’s car off a mountain road. He was badly injured but he survived the accident.
In 1974 he surviving another shooting in Waxahachie, Texas.
The following year he was seriously wounded when his car engine exploded. Craig told friends that the Mafia had decided to kill him.
Roger Craig was found dead on 15th May, 1975. It was later decided he had died as a result of self-inflicted gunshot wounds.

Craig’s suiciding prompted another hero, the attorney Mark Lane, author of two of the most important books on the subject, to put together this documentary, based on a filmed interview conducted with Craig in 1974.

Very much worth watching. Five parts, all there on YouTube.




It’s hard to always look away



August 9th, 2007

Howard Hunt says he was just a “benchwarmer” in CIA murder of JFK

Ed Note: The original bit of Conversation posted here in mid 2007 after a quick reading of Hunt’s new memoir is currently undergoing renovation, and is somewhat in pieces, like Frankenstein’s monster on the surgery table.  (I’m trying to incorporate a few other recent books containing useful bits … )

A much enhanced draft will appear before Hell freezes on the main page.


E. Howard Hunt, prolific pulp novelist and career CIA agent, political and psychological operations his metier, and a leader of the Watergate break-in gang (which consisted entirely of CIA officers or assets with the exception of goofy pawn G. Gordon Liddy), had a book published earlier this year, shortly after his death.

American Spy updates his 1975 autobiography Undercover — and offers for the first time Hunt’s dubious offerings as to who killed President John F. Kennedy.


Hunt’s chapter on the murder proceeds like a drunk in the dark along familiar pot-holed streets. Readers new to the neighborhood trying to follow will likely stumble.

Without protest Hunt entertains the notion that the murder was managed by CIA brethren, working freelance, as oft was their wont. But precisely which ones he professes to remain unable to say certainly.

Nevertheless, the weight of his discussion falls foremost on wild Bill Harvey, and then on Cord Meyer, as the likely top conspirators within the Company.

He also rehearses, without endorsement, increasingly public suspicions of David Morales, “rumored,” Hunt intones, “to be a cold-blooded killer, the go-to guy in black ops situations where the government needed to have someone neutralized.”

And some people say, Hunt reports with a shrug, that maybe his old Psy Ops confrere Dave Phillips was involved.

But when he turns to Frank Sturgis, a well known mob and CIA goon with whom he shared a bunk in prison for deeds done at the Watergate, things seems clear:

He was a congenial guy who would follow orders but had a room-temperature IQ. He was also very discretionally challenged …. I don’t think Sturgis was part of a conspiracy to kill John F. Kennedy simply because nobody who was intelligent enough to concoct such a wide-ranging plot would have trusted him.

At this point a reader begins to feel memoir morphing to pulp fiction.

Fortunately, however, American Spy is not the only account of the murder that Howard Hunt left behind.

Zap some popcorn ….

Part One

(a) Cord Meyer meyer.jpg, born to an eastern blue-blood family, lost an eye and his twin brother in the second war. He came home in 1944 transformed, and soon was an activist peacenik and celebrity.

In 1946 he won the prestigious O. Henry Short Story Prize, and the Jaycees named him one of the top ten most promising young Americans. (Richard Nixon was also on the list.) See David Talbot’s Brothers.

A year later Meyer was elected president of the United World Federalists, and would go on to draft with Robert Maynard Hutchins a constitution for world government.

Young Cord Meyer, then, was a genuine pheenom, a crusading phoenix of youthful idealism rising from the ashes of the war, whose poster came to commonly adorn the walls of co-ed dormitory rooms.

Then, somehow, in 1951, he was recruited by CIA Director Allen Dulles to organize Operation Mockingbird, under which hundreds of national journalists were put on the CIA payroll in exchange for cooperation on national security matters.

He also seems to have become LSD guru Timothy Leary’s contact at CIA, where the drug was manufactured and curiously tested.

But then in 1954 Meyer left the Company, or so it seemed, disenchanted. A critic of the nuclear arms race, a preacher of pacifism during the Korean war, a proponent of world government, member of the National Council on the Arts …

Little wonder Senator Joe McCarthy accused him of being a communist. Despite cover from CIA chiefs, Hoover’s FBI was soon on Cord’s case.

Across months he successfully defended himself against the charge, but in the process seems to have lost all his picnic spirit. After going through some public motions of quitting the Company, he went looking for publishing work in New York.


Spiritually speaking, Cord Meyer so far seems an unlikely candidate for JFK’s murderer.

But Hunt runs his name up the flag pole nevertheless because in 1961 Meyer’s first wife (divorced in 1958), a lovely Age of Aquarius dreamer named Mary Pinchot, began a serious affair with JFK that lasted until his death.

In 1945 Cord Meyer, newly wed, met journalist and fellow veteran John F. Kennedy at the San Francisco conference where the United Nations were born. Reports are that the two disagreed about the limits of internationalism (Kennedy the more conservative) — and that Cord was dismayed to discover that Mary and Kennedy had first met many years before as prep students.
White House logs show their last meeting there was November 1, 1963, the day President Diem of Vietnam was murdered in a CIA-backed coup.

The plan had been to merely remove Diem and his brother. Instead at the last moment they fled the CIA plane that would have taken them to Paris, returned to the presidential palace, where they found the coup in progress, and were shot by the local rivals whom Washington had endorsed. Or so writes Fletcher Prouty.

Kennedy was distraught, called Mary, and she visited the White House for several hours that afternoon. Three weeks later he was dead.

Jealousy, then, is the motive that Hunt repeats and endorses as to why Cord Meyer might have led the plot.

Days after Kennedy’s murder, Mary told friend Timothy Leary (so he writes in Flashbacks), “They couldn’t control him any more. He was changing too fast. He was learning too much. … They’ll cover everything up. I gotta come see you. I’m scared. I’m afraid. Be careful.”

She was murdered eleven months later. October 1964. Two shots, to the head and chest, the weapon never recovered.

A black man found hiding nearby was tried but not convicted. The case remains cold to this day.


Mary had a sister, Toni, who happened to be married to Ben Bradlee, the future famous editor of The Washington Post.

Bradlee and JFK had been friends since 1957, when they each bought houses on the same block in Georgetown. Bradlee was the local Newsweek man. Senator Kennedy was eyeing the White House. Mary, Toni and Jacqueline Kennedy became friends.

Bradlee writes that the morning after Mary’s murder he found James Jesus Angleton — the legendary and some say cracked-pot chief of CIA counterintelligence — inside Mary’s locked house, looking, he told Bradlee plainly, for her diary.

Together they searched and found nothing.

That afternoon, Bradlee and Toni thought to look through Mary’s studio, where she had painted large canvases with fading colors in the manner of Morris Louis and Helen Frankenthaler.

They came upon Angleton picking the lock of the studio door.

“He would have been red-faced,” Bradlee writes, “if his face could have gotten red, and he left almost without a word.”


Mary’s prime biographer Nina Burleigh, writes that Cord Meyer “wept uncontrollably” at her funeral — and that Angleton and Richard Helms (“his two closest friends in the CIA”) sat directly beside him in the pew.

It also happens that Angleton was married to one of Mary’s closest friends, Cicely D’Autremont.

It’s perhaps, then, understandable that after Toni found Mary’s diary, and with husband Bradlee read it — finding to their shock (Bradlee says) that it detailed a deep affair with the dead President — they gave the book to Angleton, asking him to burn it.

In the CIA book-burning machine.

“It was naive of us,” Bradlee writes, “but we figured they were state of the art …”

Instead Angleton held the diary for three years, then returned it to Toni, who finally sent it up in flames.

It’s a curious story, but perhaps without public interest.

Then again: Years later, having been bounced in some disgrace from CIA, Angleton told reporters that he had bugged Mary’s house and studio early on — and thus followed her daring affair as it unfolded.

The most startling product of this operation was the revelation that Mary, with the help of Leary, tried to Give Peace a Chance by turning the President on during their trysts with marijuana and LSD. (The latter just once, Angleton reports.)

Indeed, Mary — no less a crusader than her ex-husband once had been — had organized a cell in D.C. of “eight intelligent women” (she told Leary), each involved with a power player whose consciousness she tried to raise with flower-power chemicals.

A friend of Mary’s told biographer Burleigh that once, after Jack and she had smoked three joints, he wondered aloud, “Suppose the Russians did something now?”

It’s not yet clear (in my reading) if Angleton was listening.

Toni (left), Mary, and their mom, a stern Goldwater girl

Note that journalist Joseph Trento, as late as 2001, published The Secret History of the CIA, which relates an account of Mary’s diary much more flattering to Angleton than Bradlee’s. Time has told that Angleton and Trento had a long standing relationship — source and mouthpiece — that for the most part seems to have mutually beneficial.
Hunt, for his part, seems in 2007 to go out of his way to tell Mary’s tale, and then, with a nod to the LSD tryst, concludes that her murder “was probably a professional hit by someone trying to protect the Kennedy legacy.”
Yet when he rehearses Bradlee’s version of the diary story, labelling the “interesting fact” of Angleton’s appearance “mysterious” — he follows up immediately, in an apparent non-sequitur, with “I don’t think that Cord Meyer killed his ex-wife, and I don’t think it was Angleton either.”

The comment may startle less when taken with the fact that in 1975 — the year across which Angleton was painfully pried out of CIA by new director William Colby — Hunt in a rare moment of public candor told reporter Seymour Hersh (a well established mouthpiece of the NS apparat) about “a small assassination team” within CIA, headed by a certain Colonel Boris Pash, that dealt with “suspected double-agents and low-ranking officials.”

Three years later, in 1978, journalist Trento reported, based on CIA sources, that the manager of Colonel Pash’s team was Angleton, his golden goose source.

Trento’s famous story (as we shall see) also reported the existence of an inhouse CIA memo from 1966, in which Angleton as housekeeper warns new director Helms that the Company has a problem: Hunt was in Dallas the day Kennedy was shot.
Throughout the history we are reading, threads almost hidden connect Angleton and Hunt. Best, perhaps, to begin looking for them now.


In the late 50s, after his divorce from Mary, Cord Meyer began working with the CIA again, probably having never really left, but overseas this time, in the clandestine service, and became (it is said) a hardliner on communism.

This would seem more the man whom Hunt has now proffered as a Kennedy killer.

Stateside again, Meyer rose to Deputy Director of Plans (covert ops), and resumed his close friendship Angleton.

But it seems he had indeed lost his picnic spirit:

Meyer fell increasingly under the spell of the gloomy, Byzantine views of his his CIA mentor Angleton. “Cord entered the agency as a fresh idealist and left a wizened tool of Angleton,” observed Tom Braden, Meyer’s boss early in his intelligence career. “Angleton was a master of the black arts. He bugged everything in town, including me. Whatever Angleton thought, Cord thought.

He ran the London station for a while, then seems to have quit for good, in 1977, as the investigations of the House Select Committee on Assassinations were heating up and the old guard were put out to pasture. He wrote a syndicated column thereafter for many years.

Shortly before death, in 2001, Meyer was asked by writer C. David Heymann whom he thought had murdered Mary. Heymann reports that Meyer replied:

“The same sons of bitches that killed John F. Kennedy.”

Mary and Cord on their wedding day, April 1945

(b) WILLIAM KING HARVEY, Wild Bill, receives Hunt’s harshest treatment in 2007.
Hunt’s tipsy peripatetic rhetoric in American Spy is Aristotelian two fold, in that he rigorously prefaces each topic with “Some people say …” or similar. And rarely retracts it.

The result, when boiled down to bare logic, is little more than a review of the bad things people have been saying about the CIA since the first strong challenge of the Warren Commission Report — Mark Lane’s Rush to Judgment — was published in 1966, soon to be followed by the first and only criminal case in the matter, brought in New Orleans in 1967 by District Attorney Jim Garrison (whose On the Trail of the Assassins is wonderfully written and remains a must read).

Of the five CIAists Hunt discusses as candidates, only with Harvey does he step out from behind the “Some people say” to assert
[(“vaguely possible,” “possible”, “the most likely suspect”),

Harvey worked in West Berlin in the 50s — Cold War Central — where he famously dug a tunnel beneath the Soviet embassy to plant bugs. All for naught, however: the Reds were wise thanks to Brit turncoat George Blake and fed the tunnel barium meals for many years.


Harvey had once worked for the FBI and brought streetwise manners to CIA which Hunt, who fancied himself a gentleman, was known to have found vile. Even from the distance of 2007 he recalls Harvey as
a drunk who had been kicked out of the FBI. Balding, with loose jowls and rolls of fat jiggling under his chin and bulging out of a tight collar, he sported a short pencil-thin moustache, trying to give his face some aspect of personality.

Harvey had found an easy spot in which to nest under the CIA’s counterintelligence director, James Angleton, a very odd couple, I thought. While I never had any reason to deal with him, I thought he was a strange man who should not be representing the CIA, much less the United States. His supply chief worked for me for a time in Washington….

“The guy is awful,” he complained. “You should see what he’s up to [in Rome]. Havery’s wife is a WAC officer who looks more masculine than a lot of men I know. ” He implied that there was some kind of strange sex going on.

A reader feels the pulp artist protests too much.
Violent and a vocal Kennedy-hater, Harvey has often been floated as a party to the murder, and has always seemed a decent guess.


Stateside again after Berlin, Harvey became Angleton’s deputy and the two seem to have been rather inseparable. Many sources echo Hunt’s remark on this curious friendship — Angleton the ascetic orchid-breeding poet, Harvey the brash and blubbery foul-mouthed roughneck. Alcoholism they shared, but that was unremarkable at Langley prior to Watergate.
Harvey is CI Deputy, each asked to write a brief on the question of Kim Philby — was he or was he not working for the Russians, as Guy Burgess and Donald MacLean and Anthony Blunt were. Harvey said yes, with a tightly argued paper. Angleton said no with little more than reports of dinner table chat.

Peter Wright, of Britain’s MI5 writes in Spycatcher (must read) of several wild meetings with Angleton and Harvey at large in Washington — and that during one, in 1961, the duo pressed him for help in assembling an assassination team.


Around the same time, the King came to the CIA’s Miami station — a nexus of the JFK murder mystery — where he headed for a time the loony Castro hit squad managed by mobster Johnny Rosselli. Exploding conch shells, poisoned scuba suits and cigars …

(During the mid 70s, between the Senate’s Church hearings on CIA misdeeds and the investigation of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, sawed off pieces of the flamboyant Rosselli, who had testified to the Church committee, were found in a 55-gallon drum floating in Miami’s Dumfounding Bay.)

most broadly and recently: The two people Hunt now fingers most emphatically for the JFK job — Harvey and Meyer — were two of Angleton’s closest CIA confreres outside his hermetically sealed counterintel staff.
MOVE TO CODA: Both Lane and Garrison fingered the CIA, rejecting the notion (as does Hunt) that the Mob had the capacity to do all the things that had to be done to successfully complete the mission in Dallas.



(c) As to the CIAists’ principal(s), Hunt in his book surmises — offering little argument and no evidence — that the motive force behind the murder was Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson: the hayseed New Dealer from Texas back country who rose to command the Senate during the Eisenhower years, then swallowed a Kennedy gambit by accepting the surprise offer of the vice presidency in 1960.


It seems Hunt intended, in so writing, to support recent underdetermined theories about LBJ that rely chiefly on a palm print supposedly found on the Book Depository rifle and discovered decades later to belong to an LBJ hatchetman named Max Wallace.

The LBJ idea got a big boost in 2003 from a book by Barr McClellan, a lawyer who says that during years of working for Johnson he sniffed out his complicity.

These arguments, putting Johnson atop a narrow and rather homespun conspiracy, have not yet struck home here persuasively.

But it seems possible he may have been a witting and willing affiliate of a professional project managed by people we train to do such things. See, for one, Noel Twyman’s Bloody Treason (1997).

The middle ground re LBJ’s possible involvement has long been staked out by one of his Dallas girlfriends, who across the decades wrote and told cameras that the Vice President was told (warned?) of the plot the evening before, at a dinner party at the ranch of Texas billionaire murchisonc.jpg Clint Murchinson, owner of the Dallas Cowboys among other big things.

The woman says that Johnson emerged from behind a closed door that evening and told her with a growl that his days of taking guff from them Kennedys was over.

But of course there are debunkers who say the woman is crazy — some who claim to prove she invented the Murchinson dinner from whole cloth.

No opinion here. But the woman seems slightly more credible than her detractors. That she may have confused a dozen details across the years, even the date, don’t seem to signify one way or the other.

Both Kennedy and Johnson recorded White House conversations. (Nixon inherited LBJ’s equipment.) On extant tapes we hear LBJ in the days after the murder intently asking investigators if the assassins had been shooting at him as well. Some argue this proves his innocence. From here it don’t seem to help either way.

Max Wallace does seem to have been an LBJ Man Friday, and a murderer, and good with a rifle. If the palm print story is true, one may imagine that he was invited to the hunting party without LBJ’s knowledge. Wallace would thereby preserve the boss’s deniability, while the professionals would plant an inconvenient truth by which the new president might on occasion be persuaded of reason.


It is clear from Captain John Newman’s ground-breaking bookJFK and Vietnam (1992) — that Johnson was working a back channel in the years before the murder with generals and their friends who were demanding intervention first in Laos and then Vietnam, as a means of provoking China back into the war that Eisenhower had stalled with an armistice in Korea.

These generals — Air Force’s LeMay (model for Colonel Jack D. Ripper in Doctor Strangelove), Navy’s Burke and Army’s Lemnitzer (JFK’s first chairman of the Joint Chiefs and sponsor of the now notorious Operation Northwoods program) — were damn sure war with China was in the cards and intended to nuke’m on their own timetable, and sooner than later.

They plied Kennedy with memos arguing same from day one. Soon he called them “nuts” and stopped inviting them for tea. Thereafter their man in the White House was Johnson.

LBJ changed Vietnam policy within days of taking office, turning back JFK’s first instructions for withdrawal of the advisors then in country. (1,000 before Christmas, of 16,000 total, all of whom were under CIA auspices.) Johnson then pushed forward with Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, the prime invasion coming in 1965, shortly after his stunning defeat of Barry Goldwater in the ’64 election.

So LBJ was affiliated with the war camp, and did their bidding in southeast Asia. And the war camp, almost certainly, is where high pay-grade coupsters resided.

Yet, from this armchair, it seems odd that professionals would taint the prime figurehead of the world that they intended to create with the murder.

What, practically speaking, might LBJ have contributed to the plot’s execution? And if nothing (as it seems here), what need to know would have prompted the professionals to involve him?

Why compromise the new president? He was already in camp, and would prove malleable. Several times in the Oval Office he spoke of the gunshots of Dallas, echoing between his ears.

As did Nixon.


Note that Captain Bradley E. Ayers, an Army Ranger who trained anti-Castro cubans for the CIA in the early 60s to aid their hapless attacks on their homeland, spent fifteen years investigating the JFK murder, and has just this year published his thoughts.

The Zenith Secret is not an “update” of Ayers’ The War that Never Was (1976). That book, to begin, was a fictionalized account — phony names and places — of the CIA Miami station in the early 60s.

Further: it was edited by none other than CIA cowboy Wild Bill Harvey (Hunt’s prime suspect), whom Ayers knew from Miami, but who had retired (unbeknownst) and gone to work for publisher Bobbs-Merrill.

Even funnier: Harvey’s boss at Bobbs-Merrill, Managing Editor Tom Gervasi, confessed late in life that he was an Operation Mockingbird team player and as such had sanitized many a manuscript.

Poor Bradley Ayers knew none of this when he submitted to Bobbs-Merrill what he thought a rather clever roman a clef. Nor did he soon understand how and why the text had been reworked so badly in-house as to render it useless as history.

zenith.jpegThe Zenith Secret now tells all as Ayers saw it in Miami, using real names. Then moves on with the entirely new account of his investigation of the murder.

Ayers claims with some power to have uncovered complicity of David Morales (also on Hunt’s list). Morales was hired by the CIA in the late 40s to be trained as an assassin morales.jpeg and was head of covert ops at the Miami station when Harvey and Rosselli were there trying to kill Castro and Ayers was teaching Cubans how to launch rubber dinghies and kill with their hands. Ayers and Morales knew each other fairly well.

Ayers also presents evidence of complicity in the murder plot of Morales’s patron and mentor. The man who rescued him from poverty and put him through college. The leading militarist in the Senate of the day. The hero of today’s so-called Neo-conservatives. Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona. The Republican front-runner for 1964.


Morales is now a person of interest in both Kennedy murders, and Ayers is his primary biographer, whom other writers have relied upon for years. The Zenith Secret brings this and other source material for the first time to light.

Unfortunately it is printed in seven-point type.

Nevertheless it must be read.

No one said this would be easy.


Part Two

Howard Hunt died in January 2007. Soon thereafter his eldest son, St John Hunt, came forward with some memos and cassette tapes that his father had given him circa 2005, as followups to conversations about his hidden life.

See Rolling Stone’s piece about all this.

St John says that Hunt’s second wife (his first had died in a mysterious plane crash during the early months of Watergate) soon broke off the forbidden conversations and banished him from his father’s Miami house.

Sometime soon after Hunt began writing American Spy — during which he asked his son to return the confessional memos and tapes. St John did so, after making copies.

These memos and tapes importantly contradict the book that Hunt wrote during his last year.

In the book, for example, Hunt casts heaviest aspersions on Harvey and Meyer, discusses theories about Phillips and Morales without endorsing them, and goes out of his way to nix the notion that his pal Frank Sturgis was involved in the murder.

In life, however, Hunt wrote for his son a two-page memo that explicitly implicates goons Sturgis and Morales along with the high-ranking Harvey, Meyer and Phillips:

Cord Meyer discusses a plot with Phillips who brings in Wm. Harvey and Antonio Veciana. He meets with Oswald in Mexico City. . . . Then Veciana meets w/ Frank Sturgis in Miami and enlists David Morales in anticipation of killing JFK there. But LBJ changes itinerary to Dallas, citing personal reasons.

Hunt in his book repeatedly denies any personal involvement in the plot or finite knowledge of it, and insists he never met Sturgis until they were introduced in 1972 by mutual cubano friend Bernard Barker as the Watergate break-ins were being planned.But the memo Hunt gave his son tells of a day in 1963 when pal Sturgis had tried to recruit him to the JFK hit team. Hunt writes that he refused the invitation, because he distrusted Harvey as a lunatic drunk.

Furthermore, and even more to the contrary: On tape, Hunt tells his son he was merely “a benchwarmer” on the hit team.


The tape can be heard at the son’s website:

And here is a Black Op Radio interview with the son, talking about all this.

Note that Black Op Radio is run by Len Osanic, who is the great curator of Colonel Fletcher Prouty‘s writings fletchcopy.jpg and interviews, which probe these matters with much first-hand experience.

Bradley Ayers seems to have much in common with Fletch. More about him later, perhaps.


So then.

Given Hunt’s hedged admission of complicity — “benchwarmer” — it seems a good guess that two now-obscure items out of the past linking him to the JFK murder are indeed what they have always seemed, and that a third rather famous speculation perhaps had basis:

(A) J.J. Angleton, as CIA housekeeper, wrote a famous memorandum to career CIA spook helms.jpg Richard Helms as the latter assumed control of the CIA in 1966.

The Memo informed incoming Director Helms that CIA had a problem: Howard Hunt was in Dallas the day Kennedy was shot.

The Memo was obtained by the investigating staff of the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1978, precisely how still a mystery (unless I’ve missed something recent). Thoughts across the years have been that Angleton — who had recently been bounced with extreme prejudice from the agency by the then new director William Colby — may have been the leaker.

Or maybe it was old-timer Cleveland Cram, who was heading an internal CIA hunt for moles and assassins in the agency. The fallen Angleton was apparently a suspect on each count.

In any case, former CIA analyst Victor Marchetti marchetti.jpg, author of a landmark insider book, The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence, quickly caught wind of the Memo, and wrote about it in a magazine article that stated that the CIA leadership was about to throw Howard Hunt, Frank Sturgis and perhaps others to the HSCA wolves, in a “limited hangout” confession, painting the former agents as rogues who participated in the murder as freelancers.

The Memo was also leaked — by Angleton for sure — to journalist Joseph Trento, who wrote a newspaper story about it and other aspects of the assassination.

The two articles, published within days of each other by minor organs, were ignored by the mainstream media and the law, while, shortly after, the avid HSCA staff was fired by the Congressmen who had convened the Committee, under pressure from their FBI and CIA liaisons, and replaced with duds who promptly produced a toothless report and closed up shop. See The Last Investigation by staff investigator Gaeton Fonzi.

However. Marchetti’s article provoked a legal action that produced noteworthy results.

(B) CIA contract agent and Fidel Castro lover Marita Lorenz implicated Howard Hunt in JFK’s murder twenty years ago, first in a deposition and then on the castro.jpeg witness stand during the Hunt vs Liberty Lobby trial of 1985, in which Hunt sued the publishers of Marchetti’s article about the Memo for libel.

Attorney Mark Lane used Lorenz’s testimony to successfully defend the publisher in the trial. Jury members afterward told the press that the defense had demonstrated to their satisfaction CIA complicity in Kennedy’s murder. plausible.jpg See Lane’s important book about all this: Plausible Denial. Must reading.

Lorenz testified that she drove from Miami to Dallas with mob and CIA goon Frank Sturgis (also on Hunt’s verbal JFK list, and his Watergate team) sturgis.jpg, CIA drug-runner and contract assassin Gerald Patrick Hemming and a bunch of anti-Castro cubans, and delivered, the night before JFK’s murder, two trunkloads of guns to a Dallas motel — where, Lorenz testified, benchwarmer Howard Hunt paid for the guns with cash.


Note that Bradley Ayers presents evidence in The Zenith Secret that a senior member of Senator Goldwater’s staff delivered, on the Senator’s instruction, two suitcases of cash to New Orleans and Dallas the day before the murder.

According to Ayers’ source — the daughter of the Goldwater staffer — the suitcases came to Goldwater as contributions to his 1964 presidential campaign. The donors: intel octopus mystery man Robert Maheu (then Howard Hughes’s top exec) and mobster Joe Bananno.

The staffer received the cash in Las Vegas, then drove to Texas and gave one suitcase to a man in a Dallas motel using the name Gordon. Then drove on to New Orleans, where he gave the second case to David Morales, whom he knew from meetings in Goldwater’s Senate office.

(C) The famous bit of speculation involving Hunt and JFK’s murder was found in the diaries of Nixon’s right-hand H.R. Haldeman, which were published posthumously.

The scene: June 1972. Two days after the Watergate arrests. Haldeman, working with John Ehrlichman, proposes to Nixon that they ask the CIA to use to shut down the FBI’s investigation of the break-in on grounds it might compromise national security.

The heat was on because a Nixon campaign contribution check had already been traced to a burglar’s bank account by FBI Miami.

But to ask CIA for a favor was difficult. Vice President Nixon had been Eisenhower’s point man on the CIA, and in 1958 had made an enemy of the Company by cashiering legendary spook Frank Wisner after the botched CIA invasion of Indonesia (one of the great blackouts in the history of the US media — see Prouty interviews).

But upon returning to the White House eleven years later, Nixon had tried to bury the hatchet by allowing Richard Helms (a Wisner loyalist) to remain on as CIA Director. Nevertheless they loathed each other.


So. Woodward and Bernstein are burning shoe leather. Sturgis, James McCord (a senior CIA “internal affairs” officer) and three of Hunt’s Bay of Pigs Cubanos are cooling heels in the hoosegow. Hunt and Liddy ( not yet nabbed) are hitting up Haldeman, Ehrlichman & Dean for bail money. And Director of Central Intelligence Helms is waiting in the West Wing to speak with the President’s men.

Nixon doesn’t want to speak with Helms directly, however, and so is coaching Haldeman on what to say and how to say it. From the tape transcript:

PRESIDENT: How do you call him in, I mean you just, well, we protected Helms from one hell of a lot of things.

HALDEMAN: That’s what Ehrlichman says.

PRESIDENT: Of course, this is a, this is a Hunt, you will — that will uncover a lot of things. You open that scab there’s a hell of a lot of things and that we just feel that it would be very detrimental to have this thing go any further. This involves these Cubans, Hunt, and a lot of hanky-panky that we have nothing to do with ourselves. …

When you get in these people when you … get these people in, say Look, the problem is that this will open the whole, the whole Bay of Pigs thing, and the President just feels that ah, without going into the details… don’t, don’t lie to them to the extent to say there is no involvement, but just say this is sort of a comedy of errors, bizarre, without getting into it, the President believes that it is going to open the whole Bay of Pigs thing up again. And, ah because these people are plugging for, for keeps and that they should call the FBI in and say that we wish for the country, don’t go any further into this case, period!

Haldeman wrote that he delivered the message as instructed. And that at the mention of Bay of Pigs the urbane, highly disciplined Helms blew his top, shouting that the Bay of Pigs had nothing to do with Watergate.

Haldeman then wrote, in his diary, that he believed Nixon intended “the Bay of Pigs” as a code phrase for JFK’s murder.

(To better understand what seems a stretched inference, see this passage in Haldeman’s memoirs, which were published during his life.)


Gerry Hemming (the assassin fellow Marita Lorenz says drove with her and Sturgis to Dallas with the guns) happens to have been Lee Harvey Oswald’s commanding Marine sergeant when they were stationed at the CIA’s U-2 base in Japan. And he has talked at some length about these matters.

He said (see Plausible Denial) that his assassination firm was approached regarding the JFK job, but declined it. (Rather like Hunt telling his son that he refused Sturgis’s offer to join the team.)

And while being prosecuted on drug charges in the 70s, Hemming this to say:

All of a sudden they’re accusing me of conspiracy to import marijuana and cocaine. Hey, what about all the other things I’ve been into for the last 15 years, lets talk about them. Let’s talk about the Martin Luther King thing, let’s talk about Don Freed, Le Coubre, nigger-killers in bed with the Mafia, the Mafia in bed with the FBI, and the goddamn CIA in bed with all of them. Let’s talk about all the people I dirtied up for them over the years. Spartacus U.K.

HUNT rejects Mob hit theory.

BRADLEE reprise The Washington Post was home base for Operation Mockingbird. It’s flamboyant socialite publisher, Phillip Graham, was a CIA confidante throughout his career, until one day he began to spill some beans and was quickly institutionalized by his wife, and soon after, the story goes, blew his brains out.

WP continued with Lardner etc. Talbot’s question re why didn’t BB pursue the story. BB: too young there in the 60s, came to WP in 65. Acks lack of courage. Follow up queestion never asked. Why not in 1975, with Rock Comm and Church and as most powerful and celebrated journalist in the country? Friendship? Mockingbird? Co-opted and in no position to throw stones in the wilderness of mirrors.

HUnt said sturgis couldn’t keep his mouth shut — he didn’t. Lorenz account of them in NY, threats, etc
David Atlee Phillips was recruited into the CIA by Hunt in the early 50s. Together they were Political Action (Hunt) and Psy Ops (Phillips) chiefs for the CIA overthrow of the Arbenz government of Guatemala in 1954. Then again for the Bay of Pigs fiasco seven years later, during which Phillips was known in Miami as Maurice Bishop.

Phillips was head of the CIA station in Mexico City during the latter half of 1963, and has been at the center of the JFK murder mystery ever since he confessed at a public forum in 1977 (see Plausible Denial) that evidence CIA had supplied to the FBI and the Warren Commission that Lee Harvey Oswald had visited the Soviet embassy in Mexico City was false, and that there was no reason to think he had.

Worries that Oswald was a Soviet assassin (That would mean war!) were used to throttle the investigations by the Warren Commission, the FBI and the CIA’s impressive portfolio of Mockingbird press assets. Today no evidence remains standing that Oswald was ever in Mexico during 1963.

Hunt says now of Harvey: “Never had any reason to deal with him …” Not in Dallas?
In 1975, as the revelations of the Church hearings were thundering, Hunt, in the hoosegow for Watergate, told the New York Times that he knew of a “small” CIA assassination team headed by a certain Colonel Boris Pash.

Three years later Joseph Trento (in his story about the Memo placing Hunt in Dallas) reported that CIA sources had confirmed Hunt’s claim — and furthermore that Angleton was the controller of Colonel Pash’s team. See Plausible Denial.

Trento in subsequent years published a major defense of Angleton (whom he had served as a mouthpiece for so many years). In The Secret History of the CIA (2001) Trento writes that it was Director Allen Dulles, not Angleton and Harvey, who introduced assassination to CIA practice. That Angleton was right about the Golitsyn/Nosenko controversy within CIA. And that the KGB killed JFK.

Angleton was undermined and finally cashiered by CIA Director William Colby in an Augean Stables operation that began on Christmas Eve 1974 with a leak to Seymour Hersh of the NY Times of Angleton’s domestic spying activities.

Around the same time Angleton gave the Times an interview, and when asked about theories linking the Agency to JFK’s murder, replied that the CIA was “a mansion of many rooms” and “I’m not privy to who struck John.”

Reader now ready to pick a way through this discussion, in which Joseph Trento and Gerry Hemming participate among others. Fare thee well.

Well then. What is one to think?


July 31st, 2007

New Book: THE ZENITH SECRET by Captain Bradley E. Ayers / Rebuttals to BBC piece re CIA goons at RFK murder

Posted in JFK, Reading, Sorrows of Empire by ed

1. Lisa Pease, a respected JFK researcher, responds negatively to Shane O’Sullivan’s recently unveiled alleged video evidence that CIA goons David Morales, Gordon Campbell and George Joannides were at the Ambassador Hotel in California the evening RFK was murdered. See her blog.

(Navigation note: The blog link actually takes you to the Comments to Pease’s “review” of O’Sullivan, rather than her review itself. For the latter, click the “Show Original Post” link you’ll see atop the Comments page.)

Also note that the Comments include a reply by O’Sullivan.

On its face Pease’s rebuttal lacks substance, in that she doesn’t engage the substance of O’Sullivan’s report.

Rather, she says in rather a priori fashion that she cannot believe the CIA would be dumb enough to send men involved in JFK’s murder to kill his brother. The premises underlying this statement seem to me likely false. She would do better to directly address O’Sullivan’s evidence.

She also implies guardedly that O’Sullivan’s thesis doesn’t congrue with new evidence re RFK’s death currently in her hands but unpublished. One senses this is the gist of her negative reaction.

Nevertheless, she is someone to consider seriously in these matters. Also see her journalistic website — Real History Archives.

And see the earlier, excellent, site about the JFK murder primarily — Citizens for Truth about the Kennedy Assassination, or CTKA — which came out of PROBE magazine, which Pease produced with Jim DiEugenio.

2. A stronger rebuttal has been published by Jefferson Morley (journalist well acquainted with these matters — see his article, posted as the second Comment here) and David Talbot (founder of and author of this year’s very good book, focused on Robert Kennedy’s experience post JFK murder, entitled Brothers).

Then again, if you follow up to a great resource page you will find that O’Sullivan’s own rebuttal to Morley/Talbot also has merit.

For now I tend to agree with Sullivan that the Morley/Talbot piece is off-center of its supposedly intended target.

The O’Sullivan BBC video (12 minutes) is also linked at the resource page.

3. O’Sullivan’s video relies heavily on the career and investigations of Bradley E. Ayers — a former Army Ranger captain who was dealt by the Pentagon into the cesspool of the early 60s CIA to train the anti-Castro cubans the CIA was still organizing post Bay of Pigs to harass Cuba.

Ayers has just this year published a book — THE ZENITH SECRET. Which I have just completed reading cover to cover. Despite the microscopic type in which it was set.

ZENITH SECRET is uneven but full of important things. Must be read.

It was published by Vox Pop, a Brooklyn bookstore run by Sander Hicks, the founder of Soft Skull Press and publisher of J.H. Hatfield’s FORTUNATE SON, the must-read biography of baby Bush.)

Having just read ZENITH SECRET and the rebuttals of O’Sullivan’s BBC piece by Morley, Talbot and Pease, I’m in a bit of a Barbaric Bog, sans solid opinion. So for the moment will cease trying to have one.

Instead, a few observations:

(a) Ayers writes in his Epilogue that after

multiple viewings of the Ambassador Hotel ballroom videotapes … my initial identifications [from photos] of Morales and Campbell were confirmed for the record. (p262).

Ayers never mentions Joannides in his book, and I guess he never met him. But he was well acquainted with Morales and Campbell.

(b) Morley/Talbot write, in their short piece:

Gordon Campbell, it turns out, was not the deputy station chief in the CIA’s Miami operation, as O’Sullivan reported. He was a yachtsman and Army colonel who served as a contract agent helping the agency ferry anti-Castro guerrillas across the straits of Florida, according to Rudy Enders, a retired CIA officer, and two other people who knew him.

This contradicts a ton of detail in Ayers’ memoir.

Ayers does identify Gordon Campbell as deputy station chief at JM/Wave (the CIA Miami station), second in command to Ted Shackley, and relates many detailed encounters with both Shackley and Campbell, as superiors to whom he had to report and clear actions.

I don’t grasp why Morley/Talbot find the point worthy of such attention. Even if they are correct re Campbell’s job description, it hardly touches on the core controversy re the identities of the three men in the Ambassador footage.

And that they cite Rudy Enders as authority seems a bit ludicrous.

(c) Morley/Talbot then report, perhaps gloating, that Enders told them that Gordon Campbell died in September 1962. So he could not have been in Los Angeles in 1968, as O’Sullivan suggests. They provide a photostat death certificate.

But again — the “Gordon Campbell” who Anders says died in 1962 cannot be the deputy chief of station using that name that Bradley Ayers worked with in Miami beginning summer 1963. And this man is the one Ayers has identified in the Ambassador footage.

It seems either Ayers is spewing insane fiction, or Morley/Talbot have been fed the wrong Gordon Campbell, or similarly confused, by their CIA sources.

Nevertheless, Mr Morley in particular is somone whose views in these matters I respect.

4. Another GORDON CAMPBELL Curiosity: His adjutant KARL

(a) Karl in High Company

Ayers reports at length on Gordon Campbell’s Man Friday at JM Wave — a francophone (native french or belgian, he seemed) named Karl.

Ayers had several close encounters with Karl. And reports once seeing him having lunch, at a remote roadhouse between Miami and the Keys, with David Morales, David Atlee Phillips (senior CIA Psy Ops dude, protege of E. Howard Hunt) and Johnny Roselli (mobster hired by high CIAist Bill Harvey to get ihis lame-brained Castro assassination program off the ground).

Recall: Morales, Roselli, Harvey and Phillips are already all near the center of the JFK murder mystery.

At the time Morales was covert ops chief at the Miami station.

Phillips, much senior, had supposedly stepped down to be chief of the Mexico City station, where, he confessed publicly in 1977, he had something to do with the falsification of evidence putting Oswald at the Soviet embassy in October 1963. See Lane’s Plausible Denial.

Harvey had come back from Europe a few years before to be Deputy to Angleton at counterintelligence HQ in Langley, where inter alia they solicited help from MI5′s Peter Wright in assembling an assasination team, mentioning Castro by name. See Wright’s Spycatcher. Harvey was then dispatched to Miami, where Ayers encountered him several times from summer ’63 on, often accompanied by Roselli.

Ayers writes that he wondered immediately how it was that Karl ranked to be found in such elevated Company company. He did not see Karl’s superior, deputy station chief Campbell, at the lunch.

(b) Karl Murdered by, it seems, CIA

A few months later — Ayers was compelled to be in attendance at Karl’s murder.


Ayers writes that he and Karl were taken in a helicopter to reconnoiter the Florida coast, looking for new training grounds for the angry and teeming cubanos.

But then the unknown (to Ayers) leader of the flight pulled a pistol — and forced Karl out the copter door, sans parachute, to his death. Over the wide empty spaces of Eglin Air Force base.

Ayers speculated at the time that he was chosen to witness the execution because his superiors were beginning to worry abou his (Ayers’) attitude: a caution to shut his mouth and get back to work. Since he did not go to the police about the murder, he became, technically, an accessory to it, which he felt left him open to blackmail thenceforth.

(c) Karl a Doppelganger for Lee Oswald

Shortly after Karl’s murder Ayers had his mind blown when he saw replays of the press conference and murder of Lee Harvey Oswald on TV — and realized that Karl was a doppelganger for Oswald. (Recall that an Oswald imposter seems to have been central to the creation of the CIA cover story.)

5. It was only years later, when Ayers read the Warren Commsision Report and realized it was a pack of lies, that he began a career as an investigor of JFK’s murder. The second half of ZENITH SECRET is about this.

His evidence and conclusions, such as they are, in a nutshell:

– Morales was a protege of right-wing Senator Barry Goldwater, the leading militarist in the Senate of the day and GOP presidential candidate in 1964.

Morales grew up dirt poor in Arizona. But found work as a teenager in the Goldwater family empire, and came to Barry’s notice. Goldwater then paid to put Morales through college in Arizona and California.

– In 1963, Morales was a flamboyant visitor to Goldwater’s senate offices. Bursting in without appointment. Embracing the staid Senator …

– Goldwater participated in JFK’s murder by ordering the transport of two suitcases of campaign contribution cash from Las Vegas (given to the courier by Robert Maheu (ie Howard Hughes) and mobster Joe Bannano), one suitcase to a man using the name Gordon in a Dallas motel and the other to David Morales in a New Orleans motel.


Note that Ayers is the primary researcher of Morales’s life and career, upon whom the likes of Noel Twyman (Bloody Treason), Pease and now Shane O’Sullivan have all relied.

Morales was Director of Operations (dirty work) in the Miami CIA station during the 18 months or so Ayers was there as director of combat training for cubano insurgents. Morales was the infamous leader on the ground of the 1954 CIA coup in Guatemala and of Bay of Pigs martyrs on the beach in 1961.

Ayers reports that Morales was also one of the first six men hired, in 1948, as black ops operatives by the fledgling CIA. And that he was a fearsome figure in Miami 14 years later — that even Shackley, chief of station, often withered in his presence.

Morales was subpoenaed to appear before the House of Representatives Select Committe on Assassinations in 1978. Instead he died, at age 53.

Ayers gently doubts this story, noting that Morales’s gravesite in Arizona seems to have been fiddled with.

Possible, perhaps, then, that Morales’s death was faked in 1978 to avoid the HSCA subpoena and to ease his transit into retirement and another identity.

Which brings to mind Rudy Enders telling Talbot/Morley that “Gordon Campbell” died in 1962, and waving a piece of paper in their faces to prove it.


Ayers produces a source — a smart and circumspect Phoenix woman named Pearl, daughter of a man on Goldwater’s business staff for nearly 30 years — who at length details the alleged involvement of Goldwater in the JFK murder.

She says that her father — Pepe — told her, shortly before his death, that he was asked by Goldwater in November 1963 to drive up to Nevada to collect a large cash campaign contribution. (Goldwater was running for Pres in 1964.)

Pepe did so — collecting two suitcases of cash from Robert Maheu (infamous mysterious US intelligence agent then serving as chief exec of Howard Hughes’s business empire in Las Vegas) and Las Vegas mobster Joe Bananno.

Pepe then drove to Dallas, called a phone number, and delivered one suitcase to a man in a Dallas motel going by the name of Gordon, the day before JFK’s murder.

(Recall: Morita Lorenz, the woman at the heart of attorney Mark Lane’s PLAUSIBLE DENIAL case — in which Howard Hunt sued a magazine for libel (without success) for running a story that placed him in Dallas during the JFK murder …

Recall, I say, that Lorenz testified in court that she drove from Florida with CIA assassin Gerry Hemming, CIA and mob goon Frank Sturgis, and several cubans, with two trunk-loads of guns, and that they were paid by E. Howard Hunt for those guns with lots of cash in a Dallas motel the night before the murder.

(The obvious tasty speculation, of course, is that the cash Pearl’s father delivered to Gordon [Campbell? Or Hunt using that name?] in a Dallas motel the day before the murder was the cash that Hunt gave Hemming, Lorenz & co for their guns in a Dallas motel the evening before the murder.)

Pepe then drove to New Orleans and delivered the second suitcase to David Morales in a motel there early on November 22, 1963.



Too tired however to try to make more of this at the moment.

One has to read Ayers’ book to develop confidence in his reportage. It does seem however that to dismiss him in toto — as Lisa Pease does — would be to conclude he is a raving maniac writing whole-cloth fiction.

And that is certainly not my impression.

Rather, he reminds me of Col. Fletcher Prouty, whom I admire and whose writings have not only withstood the test of time, but become more and more apt to our increasingly unhinged sociopolitical landscape.

July 29th, 2007

JFK secret servicemen called off limo as it enters Dealey Plaza

Posted in JFK, Sorrows of Empire by ed

I’ve never seen this footage before. Clearly showing the Secret Service men who ride or trot at the rear of the presidential limo being ordered off their station as the car turns into (apparently) Dealey Plaza.

It seems to be the right hand turn onto Houston Street, which was shortly followed by a sharp left turn onto Elm Street, where the murder occurred.

November 28th, 2006

Britain airs new photo evidence of CIA goons at RFK murder

Posted in JFK by ed

Thank god for the free press: The Guardian and Brit television last week — on the 43rd anniversary of JFK’s murder — aired new photo evidence of three CIA agents present at the Ambassador Hotel in LA when Robert Kennedy was shot there in 1968. (See the Guardian story posted as comment below.)

The three spooks are notorious and already part of the JFK literature:

– Dave Morales, a well known covert ops goon and kennedy-hater among the anti-castro cubanos in the CIA’s Miami station post Bay of Pigs. He was a protege of Barry Goldwater. Led the CIA ground troops in the overthrow of the Guatemala government in 1954. Led Bay of Pigs invaders on the beach in April 1961. And was then director of Operations (ie dirty work) in the CIA Miami station during Operation Mongoose (the harassment of Cuba post Bay of Pigs).

– George Joannides, head of the Miami station’s Psychological Operations (propaganda and similar in support of covert ops) in the early 60s, and, as such, something of a protege of E. Howard Hunt. (Hunt himself was, e.g, Psy Ops chief for the CIA overthow of the Arbenz government in Guatamala in 1954.)

– Gordon Campbell, who was deputy chief of station (to Ted Shackley) in the Miami CIA station circa 1962-63.

A. Captain Bradley E. Ayers, an Army Ranger detailed to train anti-Castro cubans working for the CIA in the early 60s, has much to say about all this — and says it clearly in his newly published book, The Zenith Secret.

Read all about it here.

Then proceed to:

B. There are a number of things to say about Joannides and the Miami station Psy Ops team of the Bay of Pigs era:

1. Hunt’s other well known underling in Psy Ops was David Atlee Phillips, who told a public hearing in the late 70s (audio tape is extant) that the CIA evidence placing Oswald at the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City weeks before the JFK murder was bogus and there was no reason to think Oswald was in Mexico.

In the weeks after the murder, this supposed connection to the Soviet Union was primary to the argument (threaded from CIA to FBI to LBJ, Congress et al.) to squash the murder investigation, for fear that Oswald ties to Soviet Union might trigger popular cry for war.

2. When Richard Helms took over the CIA in 1966 he was handed a memo by James Jesus Angleton (CIA’s housekeeping/counterintel chief) reporting that the Company had a problem: Howard Hunt was in Dallas the day JFK was shot. This fact became public when the memo was unearthed during the House Select Committe on Assassinations (“HSCA”) investigation in the late 70s. (Read Mark Lane’s Plausible Denial. A real page-turner.)

3. Joannides in the early 60s was the case officer of the “DRE” anti-castro cubano student organization that Oswald hung around with, fought with once in the streets and, it seems, was trying to infiltrate as an FBI contract agent. (That Oswald was working for FBI during his last months was a fact the Warren Commission carefully investigated and repressed, as Gerald Ford relates in Portrait of the Assassin, his memoir of service on the Warren Commission.) DRE people are often cited in the literature as foot-soldiers in the JFK murder plot.

4. In the late 70s Joannides was attached to the staff of the HSCA (which was investigating the murders of JFK, RFK and Martin Luther King) as CIA liaison. As such his job was to help the HSCA research and communicate with CIA in support of the investigations.

But in 2003 the CIA was sued re Joannides under the Freedom of Information Act by a group (including the final lead counsel of the HSCA) angry that CIA had never told the HSCA that Joannides was directly and deeply involved in the Miami station world — including as case officer to DRE cubans suspected of involvement in JFK’s murder. (See article re this 2003 FOIA suit posted as a comment below.)

So. Strange no one has ever noticed Morales or Joannides in these films from the RFK murder before. But from the Guardian account, at least, the picture seems clear. Thank goodness old English liberties are still alive across the pond.