Sunday, July 11, 2010
I’ve been wanting to do a Heroes versus Villains list for some time now. My main concern was collecting to many villains. In the end, I decided to let the chips fall where they may. But at least there are some good people there striving for the good fight and fair play. But I guess that is what makes them heroes. Continuing the quest and usually alone.
I wrested with who to leave off the list of villains. There are so many! Ultimately I settled for the best of the best and the worst of the worst. And some are neutral though I think Gerald Ford, the most benign member of the Warren Commission, was the most damaging with his moving of the President’s back wound up 5 inches to the neck to make the single bullet theory work. This is the misrepresentation of evidence in a murder investigation and clearly an obstruction of justice. It makes one wonder why an otherwise good man would do such a thing. Quite often politicians live in a world of denial about everything they do, especially those things they screw up. Never mind how out of touch it makes them look with the public at large.
The are other characters such as the ragged-eared old dog E. Howard Hunt, the veteran of many black-ops who upon his deathbed confession said he was a bench warmer in the whole thing. Maybe there is much more there but that will be hard to suss out. In fact, there is a whole litany of CIA men that could have been added to the list: The ever creepy Counter Intel chief James Angleton, the snooty and prickish Richard Helms, and David Morales, the hit-man, among many others. There isn’t enough evidence to pin them to any plots so they remain distant, though viable conspirators. Then there is Robert Blakey, chief council for the House Select Committee on Assassinations. The inside man to assure the “Investigation Theater” of the Warren Commission continued. The man who expressed shock at being lied to by the CIA and years later cast the assassination at the feet of Mob. In the end, he turns out to be a kinder, more gentler and certainly less devious version of Lee Rankin (see below).
And the list goes on and on between numerous individuals and organizations, both corporate (CBS, Newsweek, New York Times, Federal Reserve) to government (CIA, FBI, the Pentagon). There there are the various government investigations, all hung up in one way or the other, contradicting themselves in often cosmical to absurd ways. There are plenty of shills out there from authors (Vince Bugliosi, Gerald Posner) to the various disinformation agents such as John McAdams and Edward Epstein, Gary Mack (real name, Larry Dunkel), Dave Perry, and many others.
Conversely, I also struggled, but not as much, who to leave off the Heroes list. There were not that many so the struggle was brief. However, there were two pairs of men that deserve attention and all four were present at President Kennedy’s autopsy and they need to be mentioned as a group. They were FBI agents James Sibert and Francis O’Neill, and autopsy technicians James Jenner and Paul O’Conner. All four men are witnesses to facts that contradict the Warren Commission and every other investigation that followed. All report seeing metal probes (sounding rods) inserted in Kennedy’s back that only went in a few inches and downward--not upward transiting through the neck wound. Hence, Sibert and O’Neil’s FBI report contradicts the autopsy report, so it was not mentioned in the Warren Commission Report or the 26 volumes of collected evidence. Arlen Spector made sure of that (see below). All of these men report seeing a massive blow-out on the back of the President’s head as all of the doctors and staff at Parkland Hospital in Dallas saw. None of them were ever called to give testimony in any of the investigations that followed. None of them ever wavered in their eye witness accounts of what they saw and experienced. These men are the unsung heroes of the investigation. And there are probably many more we’ve never heard about.
John F. Kennedy
A hero because he boldly held firm against the status quo of his day, the military/intelligence nexus, military contractors, the oil depletion allowance of the oil barons, the bankers at the Federal Reserve, among many other fiefdoms. It must be noted that his death was a game changer, for most of his policies were scattered to the wind by his replacement, Lyndon B. Johnson. Johnson signed the Executive Order that took the silver backed money out of circulation to be sent to the burn furnaces of the Federal Reserve. He next ordered a major ramping up of military resources to the Vietnam reversing Kennedy’s policy of scaling it down, for the war which in a few years would ruin his Presidency. It seems if only NASA was left alone. Oh, what could have been, should have been, as John Kennedy labored behind the scenes for peace and not the military’s mutually insured destruction. Let it not be forgotten that there is plenty of motive here. For every door John Kennedy locked was unlocked upon his death.
Founder of the Mary Ferrell foundation, the best online resource for researchers featuring hundreds of thousands of declassified government documents, magazine articles, and various reports. Mary was just an ordinary wife and mother that took an interest in the Kennedy assassination while living in Dallas at the time the tragedy took place. Starting out with newspaper clippings, over the intervening years she amassed a huge collection of documents and eventually took steps to set up a foundational archive on the Internet to make this information available for all. A great hero for that work alone. RIP, Mary.
Senator Richard B. Russell
Normally, a white supremacist who repeatedly blocked and defeated civil rights legislation via use of the filibuster and had co-authored the Southern Manifesto in opposition to civil rights would not be on anybody’s hero list. However, he did do the right thing when it came to the Warren Commission. Richard Russell was
the only member of the Warren Commission that sat on the fewest of the commission hearings. Normally, not a badge of honor. But in this case it is, as Russell knew early on what a dog and pony show he had gotten himself snookered into. The senator from Georgia launched his own private, one-man investigation at the same time, through a Cornel Philip Corso who uncovered connections to rouge CIA agents partnered with anti Castro Cubans in a conspiracy to kill the President. Not to mention the shocking finding of Lee Oswald being impersonated through two separate birth certificates and passports. Russell eventually found this a viable explanation of what happened but also knew that he could not convince the others on the Commission of this. He tried and failed to get a dissenting opinion published in the final report but was prevented from doing so by the deceptions of lead counsel Rankin (see below). In this instance, a hero for desiring to know the truth and a willingness to go against the grain to found it.
The New Orleans DA that almost broke the Kennedy assassination case wide open with his trial of businessman (with long-term, CIA links) Clay Shaw. This one, single state trial scared the hell out of the National Security State so bad they had to pull out everything to quash it and they did. As Big Jim said, for the feds it was like shooting fish in barrel. With the phones tapped, informants all over the place, shills in the media to impugn Garrison’s character, and DOJ attorneys coaching witnesses at tax payer expense, Clay Shaw walked free. Garrison went on to survive two federal indictments and a host of other indignities that continued for years afterward. A hero for just standing up to The Man.
The popular columnist and What’s My Line? TV personality was investigating the assassination and boasted of breaking the case wide open after her interview with Jack Ruby. Then her untimely death occurred and her JFK research file disappeared. Billed a drug overdose, it was later discovered that she had three powerful barbiturates in her system; none of where were found in her townhouse medicine cabinet. That, along with oddities found at the scene, such being found in the wrong bedroom (third floor and not the fifth), not wearing her usual night gown, still wearing her eyelashes and makeup, a book by side that she had finished reading two weeks earlier, no reading glasses nearby, all add up to a highly suspicious vibe to the whole scene. Particularly with her research files gone missing. For years all new CIA agents were given a handbook on assassination and one preferred method was to make it look like an accident. A problem arises in that one can’t ever know enough about a person’s private habits and routines and that leaves too many out of place things in its wake. And if Dorothy was done in, they should have known that no woman goes to bed with make-up on.
A rising star in the Dallas Police department, Roger Craig’s story of what he witnessed that day of President Kennedy’s murder quickly become a thorn in the side of the status quo. At first, his claims were dismissed, but can no longer, with the release of photographs and film clips that back up his side of things and various locations in Dealey plaza. Craig’s two main accounts were, he saw Oswald leave the scene in a station wagon with another man when he is supposed to be taking public transportation to get away; and two, while in custody, heard Oswald admit to having his “cover” blown. Craig claimed that transcripts of his testimony at the Warren Commission was altered numerous times. He also said there was a second rifle found and in a murky piece of tape one can actually be seen leaning up against a box of books (check out youtube.com). Of course his testimony is at large with the official version of events and sticking up for his version led him to a life of hardship, losing his job, and receiving numerous murder attempts on his life. He died in obscurity allegedly of his own hand. Another hero whose life was ruined by not towing the line.
R. Fletcher Proudy
A colonel in the army, R. Fletcher Proudy achieved the position of liaison between the Pentagon (JCS) and the CIA. From there he learned how this system of military operators and behind the scenes spooks functions within a symbiotic relationship with often, the lines blurring between the two. His classic book, The Secret Team explores this fully. Proudy is a true patriot for giving us this insider’s look into how the National Security State actually functions.
Legendary JFK researcher Harold Weisberg opened a lot of doors for the rest of us. An early critic he was relentless in his pursuit of the truth which he long felt we were all denied. Once the Freedom of Information Act was passed (ironically with the help of the slain President’s brother) Weisberg used it as a sword to peal back hidden layers of withheld facts. One of his highlights was his FOIA suit that succeeded in getting the transcript of the WC Executive session meeting of January 22, 1964, where the Commissioners decided to forego any research into Lee Oswald’s background as a possible government agent. So explosive was this session that it was ordered no transcript or any record should survive. Incredibly, the stenographer's tape was not destroyed and was actually residing in the National Archives. An amazing find as it showed the depths of which the Warren Commission members went to deceive the public as they stated upfront they were leaving no stone unturned, and behind closed doors doing the opposite. One good thing. All of Harold Weisberg files he collected over the years are now online for easy researching. Link below.
Just as we’ll probably never know for certain the names of other assassins, we’ll probably never know what the first Director of the FBI had in taste for ladies fashions. Prints or sold colors? Skirts or dresses? Ruffles, maybe? Flats or pumps? And so with Hoover’s help we’ll probably never know what really happened in Dealey Plaza with his bullheaded rush to make sure one man was guilty of the crime within 24 hours of the event. (Actually, more like 2-4 hours. Several roads of the government crossed at the Oswald intersection; a detour was quickly needed.) Hoover alone had the most responsibility in formulating this idea and he saw it through, never changing as events unfolded or as new evidence appeared. Evidence, after all, is like weeds--you can mow them down or ignore them. Usually in a case like, with a murder of an important powerful person, no stone is left unturned. Here, the stones were left to bleach in the sun.
Being a serial hater of the Kennedy's along with Johnson, Bobby always felt that Hoover relished ringing him that afternoon to inform him that his beloved brother was dead. According to Bobby, he delivered it pretty blunt. Hoover was a petty, corrupt, vindictive man and maybe he did enjoy twisting the knife in a little. After all, he had no qualms years later in blackmailing Dr. King, providing the dirt to his wife, and then advising him to commit suicide. At any rate, Hoover’s relentless pressure on the Warren Commission to follow through with the lone gunman scenario (along with LBJ) was successful in the end.
J. Edgar Hoover received his pay-off from his partner-in-crime (see below) by being allowed to by-pass Federal retirement regulations via Executive Order to stay on as FBI Director for life. He died in his sleep in 1972. Lyndon Johnson died a year later. The nation survived them both.
Lyndon B. Johnson
Many have speculated that Johnson was in on the assassination plotting but we’ll never really know for sure. Kennedy’s secretary Evelyn Lincoln when asked in a letter by a school teacher for his class, responded that she thought it was Johnson. Hunt in his deathbed confession lists Johnson as a coconspirator but if he is then he’s got to have a lot of help. And would the Secret Service, CIA, FBI and so on, provide said help? Maybe the FBI. After all, Johnson and Hoover met once a week for a power lunch. You want a conspiracy? Put the alpha ape from Texas and the cross dressing bull dog behind closed doors and see what they cook up. Those two old boys could have paved a section of the highway to Hell and probably did. It was Hoover that did the mad rush to a verdict on Oswald being the lone assassin so early in. Meanwhile, Johnson was firing on all cylinders. He blitzed through a Warren Commission assembly to ward off other investigations percolating, particularly in Texas where the murder was a state crime. He doubled up with his aides calling all Texas law officials to make sure they were all towing the hush-hush no conspiracy line; had the Secret Service whisk off Kennedy’s body to Washington for a military autopsy, violating Texas state law; had the limousine, itself a moving crime scene, and sent off to Detroit for refurbishing losing valuable crime evidence. Lyndon Johnson was a man on fire, feverishly putting it all together one brick at a time. The quick assembly of the Warren Commission was a masterstroke. Have a commission established that is designed to do an evaluation of the evidence rather than a true investigation and have henchman Hoover in the wings to make sure they don’t get all the stuff to look at. The CIA does the same. So do all the other players. Highway to Hell? Ha! Make it a freeway.
Long haired, depressed, and nearly out if his mind in his later days as the chickens came home to roost, Lyndon Johnson never could shake the murmur that he was somehow responsible for the young usurper’s death. The man he hated, that handsome literary yankee of privilege and class, irked the hell out of the rough as a corncob Texan who thought of himself the rightful heir to the throne. The throne he had lusted after all his life, at one time in 1929 telling a classroom full of poor Mexican kids they were looking a future President. The man who groped women in front of his wife, got even with anybody that crossed him, got his start rigging student council elections in college before he does it again in 1948 to steal a Senate seat, gets tagged “Lying Lyndon” and “Bull (bullshit) Johnson” as he rampaged his way to the top just to fall on his own petard, bogged down in an unending war, unloved by the people. That was his reward for serving the lusts of the flesh--unbridled power to dominate and not serve, and playing along with the National Security State and their supplying corporations for war and war profiteering. Karma really does work on some guys. And maybe not just for Camelot’s death if he was involved, but for all the other bad things he had done. They were legion.
Probably one of the most dastardly characters of this whole drama. There is not enough space here to document Arlen Specter’s nastiness, his malfeasance and treachery in the case. His main role was playing cover-up for the official story. Here are basics: Early on the Warren Commission had a major problem; too many wounds and not enough bullets. Hired as a staff attorney, Specter gained fame by saving the Commission’s honor by the invention of the SBT--single bullet theory. Also known mockingly as the Magic Bullet Theory and even better as the Magic Bullshit Theory. The Army’s chief ballistics wounds expert, Dr. Joseph Dolce, disproved Spector’s fabrication when he had Oswald’s rifle fired into 10 cadaver wrists, all 10 bullets coming out “markedly deformed” and nowhere near as sweet as CE399’s appearance. Specter was having none of this and made sure Dr. Dolce was blocked from giving testimony to the Commission. As mentioned above, he did the same thing to FBI agents Sibert and O’Neil whose report contradicted the single bullet theory, clearly stating that Kennedy’s back wound was non-transiting. Spector made disparaging comments (i.e., lies) about both men, and there was no love lost between the agents and the lawyer. Such that they were happy to volunteer their testimony under oath, to the Assassination Records and Reviews Board to set the record straight.
So here is the main ballistics theory of the case, being invented out of thin air by a lawyer. Heaven help us all.
But it doesn’t end there. Arlen Specter wasn’t beneath witness intimidation. In the 1990’s when a group of Parkland doctors were giving their testimony to the ARRB they were asked by Jeremy Gunn had anybody tried to get them to alter their accounts of what they saw. Dr. Ronald C. Jones spoke up and said that after being interviewed by Specter and giving his description of the throat wound and his opinion that it was an entry wound, Specter followed him out in the hall and said to him: “I want to tell you something that I don't want you to say anything about. We have people who will testify that they saw the President shot from the front. You can always get people to testify about something. But we are pretty convinced he was shot from the back."
In other words, we can alter this at will and it doesn’t matter what you say. If we say Kennedy was shot from the back, then he was. Specter at his best, or in the case, the worst, at covering up the truth with his despicable behavior.
J. Lee Rankin
Warren Commission lead council J. Lee Rankin. It’s hard to tell between him, and Arlen Spector who is the worst snake in a tweed suit. Both are fairly cunning and operate in that lawyerly world of situational ethics. His juggling act of covering up the truth and deception would make a good thriller as his actions are a conspiracy in itself. Like his fellow snake, too many incidents to go into here. However, I’ll give you two examples.
Rankin’s first act of deceit was to arrange a secret meeting on January 24, 1964 with Texas law officials and Earl Warren to determine if Lee Oswald was a government agent or informant. An issue Rankin called a “dirty rumor.” No Commission members were informed of the meeting nor were the staff lawyers. There were no records kept but for a memo written by Rankin. The discussion centered on Lee Oswald being either an FBI or CIA informant with code numbers bandied about. Rankin with Earl Warren decided to do a reveal of what they learned on a January 27 to the other Commission members. However, Rankin only revealed a bogus FBI informant number (179) that was not consistent with their numbering system. A CIA number, 110669 which is consistent with the CIA’s system was never revealed. Oddly, Earl Warren went along with this charade and kept his mouth shut. In the end, they all decided to leave this sleeping dog to snooze and dream. No further pursuit of Lee Oswald being a government agent or informant for any branch of the government was going to be pursued. If he was out there, he can stay out there.
Rankin also participated in the deception of Commission members who wished to voice a dissent in the single bullet theory, such as Richard Russell who was shocked years later to be given this information by legendary researcher Harold Weisberg. Rankin had hired out a phony secretary to be the stenographer so no transcripts of the meeting exist as none were recorded. This way, the Commission’s conclusion of the long gunman would look unanimous and no dissension recorded as a footnote in the final report. Needless to say, Sen. Russell was incensed, particularly since Rankin had promised him a dissenting opinion in the final report. A lawyer lies, fancy that.
Former World War II OSS spy and the second director of the CIA, Allen Dulles was a duplicitous individual resembling a grandfatherly college professor complete with pipe in hand. But don’t let this dapper image fool you; underneath this exterior lurked the blackest heart ever to serve in government, dishing up coups all over the world from Iran to Guatemala. He transformed the CIA from intelligence gathering to paramilitary black-ops, the ends justifying the means in the fight to contain communism, though keeping American corporate interests viable was a high priority as well, perhaps even higher. Kennedy, smart enough to see Dulles attempting to paint him in a corner over Cuba, fired him and other top officials over the Bay of Pigs fiasco, probably sealing his own fate. Ironic that Dulles would end up on the Warren Commission investigating the death of the man he despised, but none, including the Kennedy family, strangely, found this a conflict of interest. (Certainly not like the 9-11 victim’s families did when Henry Kissinger poked his nose in the tent for that Commission of inquiry and the protest went up.) He was the lone Commissioner to attend the most meetings; probably to protect the interests of the CIA and keep their sins covered up and skeletons in the closet. Dulles, along with cohorts Gerald Ford and John J. McCloy formed a powerful block that controlled the Commission’s agenda, the drive towards the lonesome gunman. Although no longer employed by the Agency, he managed to spend the day of Kennedy’s assassination in one of their top secret installations called the “Farm.” Once a spook, always a spook?
Allen Dulles once said spitefully that John Kennedy considered himself a god. As if Dulles wasn’t a king maker in the shadows, overthrowing democratically elected governments and replacing them police states that killed and tortured thousands of their own people such as what happen in Guatemala. And for what? So our corporations there would remain profitable. At any rate, his stand on the Commission was his last hurrah to settle a few scores. Nothing quite like rubbing it in the face of one’s enemies, no?
Journalist, one-time hopeful CIA agent, and FBI/Dallas Police informant. He’s all over the place in the early moments of the JFK assassination, being the first reporter at the murder scene of Dallas Police officer J. D. Tippet, and later, at the movie theater for Lee Oswald’s arrest. Also the first reporter to interview Marina Oswald. Aynesworth, along with pal James Phelan bedeviled DA Jim Garrison during his trial of Clay Shaw firing off one hit piece after the other. It has since been discovered that he was working directly with Clay Shaw’s defense team. But Aynesworth went farther than that, informing to the FBI and the White House. So much for objectivity! And people decry the state of journalism now with Internet Bloggers typing away! I guess the
It gets worse. In a 1967 Newsweek article Aynesworth coughed up a whopper that Garrison offered a witness a $3,000 bribe to fill in facts for a JFK assassination plot. The witness, Alvin Beaubeouff, told Garrison he never related anything of the sort to Aynesworth. Perhaps the word “journalist” is not the appropriate descriptor here! You can dear reader, can fill in the blank.
The old goat never quits. When Oliver Stone’s JFK was released in 1991 he appeared on a major network show in which he claimed he saw, actually saw, Jim Garrison trying to bribe someone. The show’s host never demanded any facts for this ridiculous allegation. Notice the bribe motif still at work after all these years. Well, hacks don’t offer much in original thought. All these years later, the nearly 80 year old Aynesworth is still plugging away, hawking a script on the trial of Clay Shaw but of course from a more favorable perspective. We know from various document releases that Clay Shaw was no saint, perjuring himself on the witness stand saying he was not associated in anyway with the CIA. He lied again in a 1967 CBC interview. Documents show that Shaw did a lot of work for the Agency.
It appears that character assassination of Jim Garrison has no bounds over space and time by the villains.
Lee H. Oswald
If you believe in the Lone Nut theory of the Warren Commission then Oswald is a villain. If true, that is agreeable. He doesn’t come off as that villainous a character if one examines his whole life. There is the alleged attempt on Gen. Walker’s life but for eight months the Dallas Police did not consider Oswald a suspect, not to mention the caliber of bullet retrieved didn’t match Oswald’s rifle. Even if he is the patsy in this drama then he is no innocent patsy being in deep-cover with government agencies for most of his adult life. After all, what decent person goes to movie theater carrying a loaded gun? The events surrounding the assassination he is acting both innocent and suspicious. One must recall under questioning his repeated denials, denials on everything, including using Alex Hidell as an alias. He most certainly lied about that. He was a mysterious individual and probably the most mysterious element of the whole thing. But his greatest fault is being too trusting of his handlers. In the end, they led him astray and hung him out to dry.
McKnight, Gerald, Breach of Trust; Proudy, R. Fletcher, The Secret Team; Talbot, David, Brothers; Garrison, James, On the Trail of the Assassins; Douglass, James, JFK and the Unspeakable; The Warren Commission Report; Armstrong, John, Harvey and Lee; Mars, Jim, Crossfire; Law, William, In The Eye Of History
More info on Hugh Aynesworth at: http://www.ctka.net/aynes.html;
www.history-matters.org; www.ctka.net (Probe Magazine article archive)