Saturday, 28 October 2017


Watching the response to the latest release of documents about the JFK Assassination, I'm struck by just how much noise and how little light has been generated. Starting of course with Donald Trump's claim 'he' was releasing the docs, 'ahead of schedule', when of course the release was mandated by a law passed 25 years ago, and Trump in the end withheld what were probably the most crucial documents. But that's par for the course with the Tweeter in Chief.

The spin had been delivered to the mainstream well before the release: the voices called upon to evaluate it were predictably defensive. A couple of threads likely to attract attention from the general reader and deflect attention from bigger issues were the major talking points on virtually all media, from BBC to NBC and even to Fox, where you'd think so-called 'conspiracy theories' about JFK would get as much credence as all the other weirder stuff Hannity, Alex Jones and Trump peddle. Watching the uninformed bit of the  punditocracy wade around in this sludge like they were backstroking in perfumed waters has long since ceased amusing me.

Those pundits always work within the Conspiracy Anomaly, an oddly worthless syllogism which posits anyone suggesting the Warren Commission might be wrong in its assumptions that Lee Harvey Oswald was a lone crazed leftist assassin, must therefore also defend any and all other conspiracies extant, from Elvis on the Moon to David Icke's Lizards. Meanwhile, defenders of the establishment like themselves can be proven wrong time and time again when they accept the official version, and never be compelled   to account for that history of conspiracies or lies. They simply write those events off as good intentions gone bad, unfortunate coincidence, or unwitting mistakes. Then they erase their errors and press on with accepting and acting as PR boosters for the next set of official lies which come along. This represents a long and ignoble list of the highly paid and highly promoted punditocracy.

Nevertheless, or indeed, for this reason, I do have a few names to throw out there which I wish some of those enlightened personages might have considered.

1. DONALD TRUMP As mentioned, this was not 'Donald Trump Releasing JFK Documents', as it was billed almost everywhere. This was a release mandated by law 25 years ago, which Trump managed to sabotage by allowing both the CIA and FBI to allow a large tranche of docs to be withheld, for at least six more months until a 'review' has been undertaken. Which was what the 25 year wait was supposed to allow.

2. EARLE CABELL One of the more interesting documents released, as highlighted by Jefferson Morley, confirms Dallas Mayor Earle Cabell was a CIA asset going back to the 1950s. Given that his brother was Charles Cabell, deputy director of the CIA under Allen Dulles, and the man who planned the Bay of Pigs invasion and then was forced by JFK to resign along with Dulles, there has always been speculation of collusion, not least with the late change of the motorcade route to include the odd and unsafe turn through Dealey Plaza on its way to the Stemmons Freeway. Knowing he actually worked for the CIA makes such speculation that much more credible.

3. DAVID ATLEE PHILLIPS: Many of the stories led with Oswald's contacts in Mexico City with the Soviet embassy, and their so-called head of assassinations. This made for great headlines to relaunch the CIA's pet conspiracy theory of 50 years ago into a climate where Russia-hating is popular and rife. The documents released shed no new light, but it's worth remembering what we already knew. First, at the time he was supposedly traveling from New Orleans to Mexico City via Houston, Oswald, or someone pretending to be him, was introduced to Sylvia Odio in her Dallas apartment. Odio, the daughter of a man who tried to assassinate Castro, would have no reason to lie about this.

The tapes of Oswald's telephone calls to the Soviet embassy were originally claimed to have been destroyed by the CIA, before they showed up, at which point the 28 Sept calls were shown to have been made by a voice not Oswald's. The pictures of the man taken by CIA cameras were of a man not Oswald. If, as we believe, Oswald was a patsy, he may have been being moved around Mexico City with one cover story (trying to get to Cuba?) while another man was moving in parallel paths setting him up, and another was doing the same in Dallas.

It's also possible that there were two separate frames built, as Peter Dale Scott has suggested. The first was intelligence sources setting up Oswald the assassin as a Russian/Cuban hireling or sympathizer, in order to justify LBJ's invading Cuba. The second was cobbled together quickly when LBJ unexpectedly balked at triggering WWIII, and then put together piecemeal to show Oswald as a disaffected lone crazed assassin.

Most of the rest of the docs which are still being withheld are most likely for CYA reasons involving cover up for involvement by CIA agents and contacts with Oswald as an informant by FBI. But there may be others, more directly dangerous to the CIA. The most interesting would concern David Atlee Phillips, who, under the name of Maurice Bishop, actually introduced Antonio Veciana, the founder of the militant Cuban exile group Alpha 66, to Lee Oswald in Dallas in August 63. Phillips, who would lead the CIA's anti-Castro ops, was Win Scott's deputy in Mexico City. Intuiting that he might have been running Oswald around and framing him requires no great leap of imagination.

4. GEORGE JOANNIDES: Joannides worked on JM/WAVE, the CIA's operations run out of the University of Miami, which included the plans to kill Castro (Operation Mongoose). He basically ran the Student Revolutionary Directorate (DRE), which was even more aggressively active than Alpha 66 against Castro; it was DRE who staged the confrontation with Oswald in New Orleans which caused Trump to accuse Ted Cruz's father of killing JFK. Joannnides was also appointed the CIA liason to the House Committee on Assassinations in 1978, which is an interesting use of the fox as a game keeper (HSCA was of course never informed of the conflict of interest). There were lawsuits to get his files in 2005 (he was also accused of participating in the RFK killing, but that appears to have been disproven) which the CIA blocked. These likely don't fall under the purview of the files in the National Archives, but it would not surprise me were there other material there.

5. ALLEN DULLES David Talbot's biography of Dulles, The Devil's Chessboard, is essential reading on the subject of the CIA and its doings, including re JFK. Had it been published back then, I would have added it to the compendium I wrote for the London Library on the 50th anniversary of the assassination (you can link to it here) for his speculation on what documents may be missing. Talbot provides information about what Allen Dulles was doing at the CIA facility known as 'The Farm' on 22 November; unusual given that he had been gone from the Agency for two years. It's easy to speculate he was ready to oversee operations in the chaos that might have followed the assassination (recall communications going dead just after the shooting). I would be surprised if records were kept, but any confirmations of meetings or other attendees would be welcome, and, since they might suggest a highly-placed disaffected element of the CIA was involved or had knowledge of the plot. This of course would be something the CIA would need to stall indefinitely.

6. WILLIAM HARVEY, HOWARD HUNT et al: David Talbot also mentions files on the Church Committee's 1975 interview with the CIA's legendary William Harvey, who was in charge of the much of the Company's dirty work and may have felt he was being hung out to dry. Even travel records might be revealing for Harvey, David Morales (who was a hit man working for Harvey and Ted Shackley) or Howard Hunt, who denied being in Dallas on 22 November, but lost a libel suit to the magazine who claimed he was, and then of course issued a death-bed confession via his son. Talbot also mentions files on J. Walton Moore, the Dallas CIA office chief who assigned George de Morenschild to Oswald (I have always believed it was de Morenschild's writing in Russian on the back of the famous Oswald posed photo) and Gordon McClendon, the Dallas businessman Jack Ruby called for after he shot Oswald.

7. LEE OSWALD: The '201' file the CIA kept on Oswald was supposedly destroyed by James Angleton (who also destroyed Mary Pinchot Meyer's diary after she was murdered; her estranged husband Cord Meyer was high up in the CIA and she had been having an affair with JFK) but bits of it have been pieced together. If you believe that many of the contradictions in that file were because Oswald's 'defection' to the USSR was being used as a barium meal, to discover leaks within the CIA, this complete file would possibly answer some crucial questions. It might also reveal contacts who knew of Oswald, and knew his identity was being used in this way. If you can show that oswald was indeed being used by the CIA, whether as agent, informer, and/or dupe  you are well on the way to understanding that he was: in other words, a perfect patsy.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Mike - have you watched Daniel Sheehan's University of California at Santa Cruz lectures on Youtube? Sheehan provides a comprehensive pointer towards the S Force crowd like Harvey and Morales.