Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

New Posts At Outward Trends

Getty Images and iStockphoto - A Corporate Marriage Made In Hell
A tale of a large stock photography company buying up a smaller competitor.

The Shortwave Number Ladies
A possible explanation for the mysterious women that broadcast numbers on shortwave radio stations.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Conspiracy Is Not A Theory - Conspiracy Is A Crime

 My first impression of Taki’s Magazine is of a conservative news blog trying to be hip.  Cool graphics, a host of big names featuring eye catching titles such as:  How Bimbos Saved the American Republic, A Pox On Your Blankets and not to be undone, The Men Who Taste Jews in Their Sandwiches.  Too cool for school, huh? It's almost like taking a peek at Grantland without the heavy sports coverage.  Or the pretentiousness.

I got wind of this site since a link from one of my articles landed in the comments section to an article by Steve Sailer entitled, "That’s What They Want You to Think".  The title gives it away, doesn't it?  Sailer apparently wants to be considered a serious journalist so this article is a bushwhack of conspiracy in the Kennedy assassination. The Lone Gunman comes up for air once again.  To be fair, Sailer will admit to conspiracy in the deaths of Caesar, Lincoln and Archduke Ferdinand.  But in the long run it doesn't matter as conspiracy in the Kennedy assassination becomes the stumbling block for further intellectual inquiry.  For Sailor, he goes one step further and declares conspiracy in Kennedy’s death to be outlandish and that’s a step too far.

The mind of Sailor works in mysterious ways.  He says that the epitome of conspiracy kookiness is Oliver Stone's JFK film:

"The flagrant stupidity of most conspiracy theories popular during my lifetime, as epitomized by Stone’s 1991 masterpiece/fiasco JFK (in which the entire military-industrial complex plots to murder John F. Kennedy by hiring some flaming French Quarter homosexuals), serves to inoculate the powerful against the suspicion that they have influence (or responsibility) regarding events."

Excuse me, but real conspiracy craziness is saying that cruise missiles cloaked in airliner holograms crashed into the Twin Towers on 9/11.  There is nothing crazy about believing in a conspiracy in JFK's death.  Certainly not for a man that had this number of enemies.  And Sailor's assessment of Stone's version of events in the JFK assassination and movie is completely ignorant.  If Stone followed the party line, or made prosecutor Jim Garrison appear to be a wrong-head fool, then the praise would abound.  But by thinking this way, the author displays a detrimental lack fundamentals in the Kennedy assassination.  He looks at no serious flaws in the government's official story.  Instead, it's the critics that get the thrashing behind the woodshed.

I don't get people like this.  It's as if their critical thinking skills have been suspended when it comes to this subject.  To be sure, the JFK assassination can be a Black Hole for speculation.  I know it’s a great thing to be considered fair minded and rational.  But many seem blinded by this impulse, trading in the truth for a spotless reputation.  Anomalies be damned.  A nineteen year old Marine can teach himself Russian, complete with a Baltic accent.  No problem.  And where is this kid going to hear Russian spoken with a Baltic accent to begin with?  No problem. We are told Oswald bought a money order to pay for his rifle on the morning March 12, 1963.  Yet, his work records indicate he never took any time off that morning.  No problem.  The money order didn’t have his fingerprints on it.  No problem.  The money order is missing all bank and USPS routing stamps.  No problem.  The money order is discovered in the National Archives and nobody can explain why.  No problem.  There are hundreds of other things I could bring up like this but you can read about those issues elsewhere on this blog.

But Sailor just can't let a sleeping dog lie.  He goes on: "After all these years, it appears that the best explanation we can come up with is that Oswald and Ruby each acted alone. But just because that’s the best explanation doesn’t mean it’s a very good explanation. It’s merely somewhat less absurd than all the other specific hypotheses."

I see.  So having more than one gunman in Dealey Plaza is absurd.  The idea that all hypotheses are absurd is ludicrous and displays a lack of understanding regarding the basics of the case.  If one only pays attention to the numerous witnesses that heard shots coming from someplace other than the school book building (the Newmans, Zapruder, the Willis family, Nix, Powers, etc.) we get an inkling of a different story playing out.  Obviously, another shooter is a conspiracy.  Some people want to be the smartest guy in the room.  Unfortunately for Steve Sailor, in regarding the Kennedy assassination, that room is nothing more than a walk-in closet.

Conservatives and liberals make lock horns on many issues but they are in lock-step when it comes to the Warren Commission's conclusion of Lee Oswald as Lone Gunman.  The same conservatives that tell their readers in print and their listeners on the radio that one cannot trust what is coming out of Washington are the same people that have no problem believing the Warren Report.  There were no liars, criminals and plotters back in 1964?  I don't know of single conservative in the media (radio, print or web) that believes in conspiracy in the death of John F. Kennedy.  And mainstream liberals are no better.  Chris Mathews on MS-NBC gives voice to the same view.

Hence, all spout the partly line, "Kennedy was killed by a Communist."  But that is wrong.  Oswald never said he was a Communist but instead, a Marxist.  While the two political philosophies share a lot in common there is enough of a difference for Oswald to clearly state which side he (allegedly) was on.  (And there is much evidence to show what Oswald was on neither side, but simply fronting for other parties.)  These critics of the critics don't even know the correct terminology right from the launch of their attacks, nor the implication of these two political doctrines.

I've said it before and I'll say it again:  Conspiracy is not a theory–conspiracy is a crime.  A felony.  So prevalent it had to be documented as a crime in our criminal justice system.  Conspiracy is an integral element of human life and history.  Any book of history, the history of anything on a macro or micro scale, features conspiratorial components.  Plotting is what bad people do since they can’t do everything in the sunshine.

The phrase "Conspiracy Theorist" is a deriding term, a put-down, a form of punishment for not believing what your betters tell you and meant to ridicule any critic who is doubting an officially sanctioned narrative of an event.  While at the same time, bypassing the flaws in an account of how things happened, which are usually propagated by a governing authority.

You didn’t see anything here.  Now move along.

Addendum #1
Actually, there were some conservatives that believe in conspiracy in the JFK assassination but they are no longer on the air.  One was Rollye James, formerly on XM Radio.  Very much a libertarian she stayed on the constitutional side of most issues and is a lover of all things conspiratorial.  I miss her show greatly as she was nobody’s shill.  And the late Dale Sommers, AKA The Truckin’ Bozo, on the XM Radio’s Road Dog channel.  Sommers was fond of pointing out how Oswald left his rifle on the sixth floor and that a real Marine never leaves his rifle behind.  Sommers also served in military intelligence but I don’t know if that influenced his thinking on this issue.  I don’t know of any others that are on air nor do I know of any liberal radio hosts that support conspiracy in the assassination of JFK either.

Addendum #2
In regards to the “flaming French Quarter homosexuals” that Jim Garrison was investigating, we now know two salient facts.  Both were liars.  David Ferrie lied to the FBI about knowing Lee Oswald and Clay Shaw lied under oath at his trail about his involvement with the CIA.  Shaw also lied again in an interview published at the time.  They both lied about knowing Oswald.  Their involvement with behind the scenes Cold War intrigue is now well documented by witness testimony and latter-day document releases.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Jim DiEugenio's Debut Appearance on Coast to Coast AM

Noted JFK researcher Jim DiEugenio makes his first appearance on the Coast to Coast AM show’s annual JFK assassination special.  Hosted by George Noory.  

Mr. DiEugenio’s updated book, Destiny Betrayed: JFK, Cuba, and the Garrison Case (Second Edition), can be found HERE.

Also featured in the first half is researcher Michael Cohen sharing his theory that Madame Nhu, the First Lady of South Vietnam was involved in an assassination plot of Kennedy.  

Listen to the show online, HERE.  (Not free, requires Coast Insider subscription.)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Judyth Vary Baker interviewed on Ground Zero

Judyth Vary Baker, author of Me and Lee was interviewed recently by Clyde Lewis on his Ground Zero radio program.  The free MP3 is a 45.5 MB download so be forewarned in case your connect is slow or you are on a limited data plan.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Author/Researcher John Armstrong interviewed on Black Op Radio

Len Osanic interviews noted JFK researcher John Armstrong, author of Harvey and Lee: How the CIA Framed Oswald.  Armstrong  is the leading proponent of Lee Oswald being impersonated.  Over an hour long and available for free MP3 download.

A complete seven hour interview is available for $10, via MP3 download from the web site. 

Link -- Show #604

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Oswald Psy-Op

Lee H. Oswald is an endlessly interesting person to study.  I've never seen anyone with such a maze of conflicts in his life story.  These discrepancies involve people who knew him, his personality, his movements, his interests, his looks and even the reams of documents that form a bewildering array of conflicts.

He is an example of a man that is built as a Legend.  Once he joined the Marines in 1956 he became a government possession and I don't think they ever let go of him until he got mixed up in the dirty deed and then started the long running, never ending, distancing.  He said he was was the patsy and at least circumstantially was groomed to be one.  He just never knew when or how though he probably had an inkling towards the end.  Perhaps he envisioned for himself a method of escape.  If he did, it obviously didn't work.

I think if you dug into my past or even yours, they would find people who could give a consistent view of who you were when they knew you years ago.  With Oswald, we have conflicting witness testimony of what his character and interests were and even what he looked like.  One group knew a tall Oswald, the one with the bull neck that was the all American Boy of the 1950's.  Another group knew the misfit Oswald, the short surly kid that kept to himself and read books and studied Communism. We are told he possibly had dyslexia and learning disabilities yet he learned to speak Russian–no easy feat.  People with reading comprehension problems don't enjoy reading.  Oswald was an avid reader who maintained a library card.  It's like we are dealing with two separate people.  From here, comes forth the doppelgänger theories that populate their own weird vista.

At some hazy point the timelines start to intersect.  For example, in the fall of 1953 there are two sets of educational records for Lee Oswald.  One set has him attending school at PS44 in New York.  The other set has him attending school at Beauregard Junior High in New Orleans.  At the same time?  Either he is being impersonated at the age of 13 or else one set of the records is fabricated.  If the government's case is true, and Oswald is the loner in the killing of JFK, then why phony up documents and create this confusion?  Or maybe he was being impersonated as part of a long range project.

What does The Establishment do if a president is elected that doesn't play ball with them?  He'll have to be guided along by stealth or put in his place.  Did they have a plan?  I think so as JFK proved to have a backbone.

Fast-forward to 1958 to Taiwan.  From his unit dairy they are on operations in Taiwan having left Atsugi, Japan.  Oswald's medical records indicate seven minor medical issues were treated in September through early October of that year (Armstrong, pp. 200-201).  They were however, all treated at the Atsugi base.  Some have suggested that he was flown there for treatment but that seems impractical since there were medical facilities and staff on Taiwan to treat his ailments.  Would it be sensible to fly somebody back and forth just to treat hemorrhoids?  Once again, he is either being impersonated or else phony documents are being forged.  Robert Blakey, chief council to the HSCA was made aware of this during their investigation and chose not to dig too deeply into this morass.  I can see why.  It's another muddy rabbit trail to get bogged down in.

Things Amp Up In New Orleans
Oswald is in various locations in the New Orleans area handing out the pro-Castro Fair Play For Cuba Committee (FPCC) pamphlets.  The most famous incident of this involves the pamphlets marked with the 544 Camp Street address.  That is the location of the Guy Banister's office.  Banister was the former head of the FBI's field office in Chicago, close friend of J. Edgar Hoover, staunch anti-communist, behind the scenes player and overall general tough guy known to pistol whip people.  Anybody sympathetic to Castro showing up at his office would probably leave with a bloody nose.

So it's a very odd thing for Oswald, who under the official story is not supposed to be a known associate of Banister to be directing people there.  And if he doesn't know Banister then why do that?  Considering Banister's reputation that would be inviting trouble.  It appears that he and Banister were in co-hoots with one another.  As researcher Bill Simpich has said, "I suggest that Banister was like a Triple A baseball manager training his player for the big leagues."  Spot on!  That analogy helps explain Oswald's oddball actions during this time.  Plus, he needed a coach and   Banister makes the perfect guide.  Unfortunately, the Big Leagues evolved into a sinister Cold War game, the secrets of which, are yet to unravel.

However, some of these pamphlets didn't have a return address or a phone number printed on them.  (At the time of Oswald's arrest some of the handbills on his person featured two false sets of post office box numbers.)  So nobody was going to be able to get in contact with Oswald, the lone member of the FPCC branch in New Orleans and hook up.  It makes no sense and the only sense that can be derived from it is Oswald is playing the role of a dongle.  That's a guy that is sent out to do some things to see how the other side is going to react or, get under their skin.  It's a basic form of intelligence gathering.  Passing out literature where the USS Wasp was docked is gauging how many communist sympathizers might be onboard.

While Oswald is involved with these activities he is being closely monitored by the FBI.

It all culminates with Oswald's scrum with Cuban DRE member Carlos Bringuier and two other Cubans.  This all originates from Oswald's visit to the DRE to offer his military training services and a financial donation to this anti-Castro group.  Both offers are rebuffed.  As usual, Oswald is not invoking trust in these overtures like he failed to do while sojourning in Russia.  Later, when Carlos and his boys (Celso Hernandez and Miguel Marino Cruz) see Oswald handing out the pro-Castro literature they are incensed–what was this pro-Castro, pro-communist guy trying to do offering them help?  They exchange words and all are arrested for the scuffle that occurs.  (Some have suggested that it was a staged event, evidenced by Oswald mailing a letter to FPCC HQ in New York describing the incident, which is post marked five days before the affair takes place.)

From this incident Oswald will be branded publicly has a communist.  This will play big after the assassination as the government builds the case against him.  What few people know at the time, is these episodes are loaded with players.  The DRE is supported by the CIA.  The Cubans Bringuier and Cruz arrested in the scuffle are FBI informants, with Hernandez affiliated with the CIA. After Oswald gets out of jail he will appear on the Carte Blanche radio program to debate issues with Bringuier and Ed Butler.  Besides Bringuier being an FBI informant, Ed Butler was the Director of Information Council of the Americas (INCA), a CIA funded propaganda organization.  Not to be undone, even the program's host, Bill Stuckey, was an FBI informant.  Players surround the whole thing.  And the public is totally oblivious to it.  Welcome to Psy-Op City.

The US Customs Office Comes In Play  
So who is Oswald with? Orestes Pena testified to the Church Committee that Lee Oswald was employed by Customs.  Indeed, his 1959 passport has his occupation listed as "shipping export agent" though that was the year he ended his duty in the Marines and would no long after, defect to the Soviet Union.  Hardly enough time for a 20 year old to be employed by Customs.  FBI informant Joseph Oster said that Customs Agent David Smith was Oswald's handler.  Was Oswald conducing fishing expeditions for Customs during the New Orleans Period?  It's hard to know what is true here as Oswald had a lot of cover stories and left false information in his wake.  

If he was a lone operator then he is really the odd man out.  But all of his eccentric actions to this point lead to only one thing–intelligence gathering.  He approaches the DRE to see if there are any Castro or communist sympathizers there.  Just as he did at the dock handing out pamphlets to passing sailors.  We know from released FBI docs that informants saw him regularly at many Cuban anti-Castro gatherings.  What was a communist doing at these meetings?  Sifting as always.  Being a Marxist is the cover.  He only plays one on TV after the assassination.  The Legend falls into place, piece by piece, just before the final act, the Big Event.

The Psy-Op Oswald?
What we know about Lee Oswald is a mishmash of differing threads, some verifiable and some not.  A never ending but fascinating study.  There is the teenage Oswald peddling is junky bike in the trailer park in North Dakota;  the gung-ho Marine Oswald; the crazy Oswald that slashes his wrist in order to stay in the Soviet Union; the kind and thoughtful Oswald from the account of the Judyth Vary Baker; and finally, the cold calculated killer of a young and charismatic President. There is a lot of Oswald's here.  Enough to have a whole roomful of personalities.

There are plenty of books about Lee Oswald probing the mystery of who he was.  There are the conventional lone gunman views of Vincent Bugliosi and Norman Mailer.  Both have to ignore inconvenient facts to arrived at their conclusions.  To be fair, there is a lot here to wade through and determine what is true and what is not.  On the other side, John Armstrong has Oswald the secret agent man involved in a complicated doppelgänger scheme, while alleged ex-lover Judyth Baker has her man involved with shadow warfare mixed with patriotic intent.

In truth we really don't know him and he's buried in all of the layers of mythology created for him.  The mythology was created no doubt, by skilled hands.  But nobody can explain the motive to murder a man that the killer had nothing against.

Armstrong, John, Harvey and Lee; Baker, Judyth, Me and Lee; Mailer, Norman, Oswald's Tale; Bugliosi, Vincent, Reclaiming History

Lee Oswald and Customs

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Gov. Jesse Ventura and Dick Russell Featured On Black Op Radio

Black Op Radio show #597 features Jesse Ventura and Dick Russell discussing among other things their new book DemoCRIPS and ReBLOODlicans: No More Gangs in Government.

Len Osanic - Host


Sunday, September 9, 2012

At Least John Got A Mention

Here we go again.  Noted JFK researcher and co-founder of COPA, John Judge, is interviewed by mainstream journalist Molly Redden.  Redden does a lot of work for New Republic but this article, Stirring the Plot, appears on the Washington City (DC) Paper's web site.  The only redeeming part of the article is mentioning Judge's work on his project to found the Museum of Hidden History.  The rest is an attempt to re-image John Judge as a coo-coo while the writer interjects her assumptions of the man's character and doubts regarding his work.

And herein lies the problem we have presenting our information to these mainstream writers.  They all view conspiracy as kooky and the prevailers of it as kooks as well.  That is usually focus.  What the person has to say about the anomalies and contradictions in official (i.e., government) accounts of events is downplayed or ignored.  This is the underlying theme of an article such as this.  What John Judge has uncovered factually, is never covered.  Hence the title, clever but tongue-in-cheek, to set the pace for what is to follow.

Unfortunately,  it doesn't help matters much to show a picture of John Judge looking completely demented.  The writer remarks Judge resembles a "slightly worse-for-wear Santa Claus" because of his white hair and so-called "scraggly" beard, which I failed to see in the accompanying photo.  Anyway, the tone is set.

Redden's article has an awkward vibe to it.  It is as if she really doesn't want to go anywhere near this subject but presses on regardless.  The pull-off comes when she dangles the carrot and then pulls it back.  For example, Redden says the following about John Judge:  "Judge bridges the pseudo and scholastic ends of the alt-history world..."  And then counters that with a quick follow-up, "at least, that is how he would like to be seen..." As if she just can't quite come around to giving John his due for his years of laboring to uncover the truth. So is he a connecting pathway between these diverse schools of thought or not?  The reader is left with a

These mainstream writers like Redden know how radioactive conspiracy thought is and how damaging it could be to a journalist's reputation to trek down that particular rabbit trail.  It's just not cool.  (Oh, it's cool if Hillary Clinton alleges a "vast rightwing conspiracy."  Who ever called her a conspiracy theorist?)  These people act as if the Abraham Lincoln assassination is the only conspiracy ever to happen.  That is, when they actually make reference to it, which is rare.  It was after all, proof of conspiracy, that much maligned thing.  The hint of cowardice permeates writing such as this.  But it also keeps the herd-journalists in line.

Not done, Redden soldiers on.  "But as a well-known figure in his field, Judge has an appropriately bizarre paper trail."  The bizarre paper trail she alludes to involves the idea that George Bush knew the outcome of the 2000 election; that the CIA was involved with Jonestown Massacre; that Judge's 9-11 research for Rep. Cynthia McKinney featured prior knowledge by George Bush of the attacks.  I'll admit this stuff is way out there and I don't cater to it.  But I doubt it's all that bizarre.  Outlandish would be to say that Oswald was a Federal time travel assassin.  There are weirder beliefs than this in circulation.  I guess the single bullet theory is perfectly logical?  Anyway, it's presented to make sure her readers know that John Judge is just a little off.  Or for uncritical thinkers of government issued claptrap, like Redden, way off.

I've said it before and I'll say it agin.  Conspiracy is not a theory–it's a crime.  And people are indicted and convicted of it quite regularly.  As it says in the book of Proverbs, the wicked despise the righteous. Cain conspired to kill Able. It's something bad people do–they plot.  As far as government conspiracies go they happen throughout recorded human history.  The classic inside job was when Caesar let his guard down and the Roman Senators stabbed him to death.  We have a mindset that we are so civilized that something like that doesn't happen here.  Many view government as benevolent, having our best interest in mind.  Well, they didn't have our best interest when they established the Federal Reserve Act of 1913.  This was a conspiracy by the bankers to finally establish a central bank on our shores to be in league with their European Brothers.  And they succeeded with this poke in the eye to Thomas Jefferson.

Finally, Molly Redden has the effrontery to suggest at the end of her article that considering Judge's background in conspiracy research his museum might not be very educational.  As if she would know.  With the wealth of government documents from numerous sources on a variety of events and controversies in American history,  how could Judge's archive not be place of learning?  This is a writer maintaining her distaste for the person she is writing about.

There is history and there is what really happens.  I've said that before too.  Only a select few have access to the truth.  It's gotten deeper after the establishment of the Nation Security Act of 1947.  Harry Truman signed it into law and it was his stated regret for having done so.  Most of our current history now concealed, locked in dark recesses and what we are told is either hard to swallow or based on multiple false leads.  And the truth?  An ongoing struggle by a few who in the end, only get a peep.

Addendum #1
Also mentioned in the piece is the phrase “deep history.”  Both it and “deep politics” were coined by noted researcher and author Peter Dale Scott.  His book Deep Politics and the Death of JFK explores the deep political undercurrents surrounding the Kennedy assassination.

Addendum #2
Molly Redden implies that Rep. Cynthia McKinney spoke before the 9/11 Commission.  Actually, she didn’t. She served as a commissioner to The Citizens' Commission on 9-11, a watchdog group keeping tabs on the work of the 9/11 Commission.  Redden states that McKinney “famously told the commission that Bush may have known about the impending attacks.”  This statement was not made in front of the 9/11 Commission.  There is also the implication that John Judge is somehow tainted by McKinney’s remark.  Hardly.  He’s just supplying her with research data.

Addendum #3
For more on CIA involvement with the Jonestown tragedy, check out Judge’s “The Black Hole of Guyana”.  Linked HERE

Stirring the Plot, Molly Redden

Writings of John Judge


The Black Hole of Guyana by John Judge

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Dealey Plaza Photo

From one of my sources, a photo of Dealey Plaza from sometime in the 1950's.  Great angle and clarity.  Click to see the larger version and download for your files.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Lots of Good Interviews and Talk at Black Op Radio

One of the best sites to hear interviews on conspiracy research is Black Op Radio.  Now that founder Len Osanic offers free MP3s of interviews you can download and listen to your heart's content and not only that, but you can carry it around with you on your iPod or phone.

Some recent interviews feature top researchers such as Mark De Valk, editor of Dealey Plaza UK and Dealey Plaza Echo, Rose Lynn Mangan and CTKA searchers Jim DiEugenio and Seamus Coogan, among many others (including yours truly) and noted conspiracy thinkers such as comedian and actor Richard Belzer.

Go to the 2012 Archive HERE.  Go HERE for the archived interviews on Video.

Want to be better informed?  Go to Black Op Radio and listen and watch!

Friday, August 31, 2012


This is an ongoing series of articles by Bill Simpich on the building of the public persona of Lee H. Oswald.  This is Part 9 and all of the earlier articles (1-8) are worth a read.  Some really good and well sourced information.

Link HERE.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Maybe Oswald Didn't Fire A Shot

"I cannot say much about what I believed happened, but I do suspect that Oswald was never on the sixth floor at the time of the assassination."

Victoria Adams, The Girl On The Stairs, p. 341

Now there is a crazy thought.  Sounds like something a nutty conspiracy theorist would come up with, doesn't it?  But what if he didn't?  It would make the assassination of John F. Kennedy a much darker and more complicated affair than the lone actions of a malcontent.  As is, it's still a complicated ordeal to journey through.

One issue in my research I stumbled upon is Oswald's first trip to the Sports Dome firing range in Irving to sight-in his rifle scope.  (It should be of note that one of the employees there saw Oswald driving up in a late 1940's car.  He's not supposed to know how to drive under the official story.)  One thing that caught my attention was Oswald took three shots, all hitting the target and afterward he picked up all three spent shells.  I don't know if retrieving spent brass was required at this shooting range.  Nonetheless, these hulls were never found in Oswald's personal belongings.  Could perhaps Oswald's real mission was not to assassinate the President but instead be a type of stage manager?  Perhaps the spent shells from the firing range were simply tossed on the floor?  It should be noted his fingerprints were never found on them and there was much bungling of the evidence and their placement at the crime scene.

Would anybody be dumb enough to go along with this as part of a operation?  After a while you have to puzzle over who you are dealing with and who you can trust.  But a patsy is just a place holder for other, bigger events.

But there's more.

The Timeline Is All Screwed Up
That is, if you want to call what the Warren Commission crafted a timeline.  It's more like a version of, plug-in the events in a chart so it all looks right.  Only it doesn't.  If a witness’ timing is off for a particular happening just change the time.  If the witness protests just be happy you didn't make an audio recording of the interview, so a future investigator will uncover the lie.  Of course a good FBI agent can always lose the tape or burn his notes.  Oh, and make double-dog sure do your best to convince the witness that he or she had no idea what they were seeing or hearing.

In another fumble, the timing of Oswald on the 6th floor in the "sniper's nest" is a confusing trip through space and time.  Oswald said he was in the second floor lunch room at noon and was seen there by secretary Carolyn Arnold (her account will suffer FBI modification to only glancing him in a hallway).  According to the official timeline, he is already supposed to be on the sixth floor at this time.  Fellow employee Bonnie Ray Williams was having lunch there on the 6th floor and it was concluded he finished his meal and was out by 12:20 PM.  If so, that constitutes the fastest devouring of fried chicken in the history of Texas.  And for the record, Williams said he never saw Oswald on the 6h floor at the time he was there inhaling his lunch.

After the final shot was fired, Oswald is supposed to have flown down the stairs to calmly purchase and swig a Coke without breaking a sweat.  Two women, Sandra Styles and Victoria Adams are walking down the stairs at the time Oswald is supposedly fleeing and they never see him race by.  Much to her shock years later, Sandra Styles will have her reported time estimate changed to the plug-and-go style used by the FBI to suss all of this out and build their legend of events for the Warren Commission.  The same would happen to Victoria Adams who had her testimony discredited by the ever nasty David Belin in his book, November 22, 1963: You are the Jury.  Belin used the testimony of William Shelley and Billy Lovelady to imply that Adams timing was off and came down the stairs after Oswald allegedly did.  Books like this are designed to mislead the uninformed and a shark like Belin excels at this.  He made a career it.

(Another important point is only Victoria Adams' testimony was taken by the WC, with Sandra Styles being ignored.  Apparently, they didn't want two witnesses with correlating testimony of being on the stairs the same time as a fleeing assassin who both women never saw.  Adams also felt that her deposition had been modified from her original statements.  For example, her testimony states that she told Shelley and Lovelady that the President had been shot when she saw them at the base of the stairs.  She does not recall having said this, nor did she recall seeing them.  She did recall informing a large black man that the President had been shot.  See Barry Earnest's book, The Girl On The Stairs, for his long search in finding Victoria Adams and the resulting interview.)

The whole case of Oswald being on the sixth floor of the Texas Schoolbook Depository Building is shaky to say the least.  He was working on that floor on the morning of the assassination so it is not unusual for his fingerprints to be found all over the place.  The timeline for his being up there and coming down again doesn't work out.  Nobody saw him there at noon, nobody saw him fire the rifle and nobody saw him fleeing down the stairs.  Even more telling was Oswald's account of being asked by two men moments after the shooting to use the building's phone.  Oswald said they identified themselves as Secret Service agents.  Later, when tracked down, both men (Pierce Allman and Terrance Ford) would not be agents but were instead news directors for WFAA (Armstrong, p. 817).  Both would admit to asking to use the telephone but could not identify Oswald as the person directing  them the phone.  But most telling, Oswald said one of the men had a crew cut and carried a briefcase.  This ID matched one of the TV directors.  Oswald was on the first floor way faster than the FBI timeline stated to encounter either of these men.

Oswald during interrogation, also accurately placed fellow employees Billy Lovelady and William Shirley on the first floor watching the motorcade pass by.  Oswald said he was there with them, watching the president's car pass and not on the sixth floor at the time of shooting.

The Curb Shot
The Warren Commission and the FBI had a nice, neat story starting out with three shots and three wounds and the President is dead.  I think conspiracy in the case would have been a harder sell if things had stayed three shots and three wounds.  But was James Tague came forward with his cheek wound from a ricocheting bullet off the curb on Commerce Street.  A fourth shot?  Once known, this was a major deal changer.  Since a second gunman was out of the question, the famous "single bullet theory" was born by a group of staff lawyers with designated husky, Arlen Specter to pimp it.  One bullet now has to pull double-duty passing through Kennedy and governor Connelly.  This decision was based on political convenience, not reality.  After all, no ballistics experiment proves a single bullet and it should be pointed out his theory comes from lawyers not military or civilian ballistics experts.

But there is a problem with the curb.  The FBI did a metallurgical test of the curb.  They found evidence of lead–but no copper.  Oswald is supposed to have been shooting copper jacked bullets.  No trace of copper was ever found (Bugliosi, End Notes, p. 315, n. 471).  So apparently, this bullet was not Oswald's–it was from somebody else's rifle.  The Warren Commission never saw any of this and it was sealed from the public for many years until Harold Wiesberg's FOIA suit unearthed it.  

The Paraffin Cast
One of the most controversial pieces of evidence in the case, the paraffin cast was to detect presence of nitrites on a suspect to provide proof of firearm discharge.  With Oswald, this test proved negative.  The Warren Commission had a major problem on their hands so they brought in an FBI firearms expert Corlandt Cunningham to tell them what they wanted to hear, which was, that the Mannlicher-Carcano was well sealed to prevent blow-back, making the paraffin cast of no evidentiary value.

However, the FBI had their agents, seven of them, test fire Oswald's rifle and all tested positive for nitrates.  This data was not shared with the Warren Commission and wasn't known till years later, till once again, Harold Weisberg uncovered it (paraffin test records, 75-226 file, Weisberg Archives).  Maybe Corlandt Cunningham was a firearms expert but not in regarding mechanics of the Mannlicher-Carcano.  He was expressing his professional opinion–he performed no tests of the rifle to prove anything he said.   The Warren Commission got the answer they wanted.

Odds and Ends
As I stated in another posting, Lee Oswald's personal belongings featured few items associated with gun ownership.  For example, no accessories except for a holster for the pistol and a leather strap for the rifle.  There are no cleaning kits, gun oil and most importantly, boxes of ammo.  He is seen at the Sports Dome firing range on numerous occasions firing his rifle but there is no witness record of him buying any ammunition for his guns at any gun shop in the area.  Every gun owner has boxes of ammunition, more than they need and it is striking that Oswald has none.  A cleaning kit is a curious omission as powder residue does accumulate inside the barrel from repeated firing which can decrease accuracy.  Oswald would have, as part of his Marine training, been required to use such a kit to keep his rifle in working order.  It's a basic thing of firearm maintenance.

Returning to the ammunition issue, even for the day of the assassination Oswald had with him the minimum.  The Mannlicher-Carcano's clip could hold six rounds.  Oswald only had four.   In the slaying of police officer Tippet, whose murder Oswald is framed with, once again he has few bullets to use.  He is alleged to have shot Tippet four times and emptied four spent rounds near the murder scene and reloaded.  Odd that he would take four shots at Tippet and then only have exactly four more bullets in his pocket to reload.  When arrested at the movie theater,  no other bullets were found on his person.  Perhaps he didn't shoot Tippet after all?

And So...
I think it's a real possibility that Lee Oswald was the set-up man, the foil, the patsy for the real shooters.  The retrieving of the spent hulls at the firing range, which are never found in his personal belongings, combined with no record of him buying ammo, gives a hint to the plausibility of them being placed at the crime scene.  He was most likely provided the bullets from another party.  The lack of a positive on the paraffin test, while test shooters did test positive for nitrates, is an indicator of Oswald not firing the rifle that day.  Incorporate this with stairway witnesses not observing Oswald on the stairs with them at the time of his escape, Oswald correctly identifying persons on the first floor at the time of the shooting and the curb not testing for copper all lend credibility to Oswald not being the assassination of President Kennedy.

If there is a conspiracy, they made a lot of mistakes.  But when one can quash a local police investigation and control a larger Federal investigation, then the conspirators can afford to make all the mistakes they want.

1. Timeline defective and largely a piece of fiction.  Basically, few or no witnesses to place Oswald where he is supposed to be in the chronology of events before, during and after the assassination.  Oswald not seen or encountered by witnesses traveling down stairs at the assassination.  Oswald encounters men on the first floor to early in the scenario of events.  Oswald documents other persons and their locations at the time of the assassination to back up his account of events.
2. Curb shot metal analysis shows no copper from copper jacketed bullets Oswald is allegedly using.  Most likely the shot was made by someone else other than the alleged assassin.
3. Paraffin test proves negative for nitrates on Oswald's cheek placing into question his firing of a weapon.  FBI weapons expert will be called in to state that the rifle is well sealed to prevent blow-back.  Nitrates will prove positive for FBI agents test firing Oswald's rifle but this data will not be released to the WC.
4. Lack of firearm accessories and ammunition in Oswald's personal belongings.
5. Lee Oswald declares himself a "patsy" to the press.

Sources and Notes
Murder in Dealey Plaza, James H. Fetzer, Ph.D., JFK Timeline, pps., 17-115.

Armstrong, John, Harvey and Lee.  Page 817.

Paraffin test records, 75-226 file, Weisberg Archives,

Bugliosi, Vincent, Reclaiming History End Notes, p. 315, n. 471

Earnest, Barry, The Girl On The Stairs

Related articles from this blog
Who bought The Guns?

A Mauser, is a Mauser, is a Mannlicher-Carcano

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Richard Belzer Gets Censored by CNN

Excellent article by David Martin regarding Richard Belzer being too much to handle for Piers Morgan at CNN.  Especially when Belzer proved able to defend himself.

Richard Belzer’s new book is entitled, “Dead Wrong: Straight Facts on the Country’s Most Controversial Cover-ups.”  His new book covers many major conspiracies from JFK till now.  Available HERE.

Richard Belzer discusses new book on The Alex Jones Show (8-16-12), HERE.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Lamar Waldron: The Ultimate JFK Historian?

That was Lamar Waldron’s billing on a recent Coast to Coast AM show.  Host George Noory cited Liz Smith in Variety as the source for this claim and apparently Waldron didn’t mind being declared as such.  Nevertheless, Waldron’s entry into the major leagues of JFK research started with the publication of his book Ultimate Sacrifice, co-written with Thom Hartmann and their follow up, Legacy of Secrecy which stands as the books for the “Mob did it” crowd.  So much so, that actor Leonardo DiCaprio is currently producing and starring in a movie adaption of the latter book.

Waldron excels in coming up with out of left field information that nobody has heard before.  For example in the first book Waldron/Hartmann come up with “C-Day” an alleged second planned invasion of Cuba set for December 1st in 1963.  However, those close to the action never heard of such an operation.  David Talbot, author of Brothers, asked Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara if he was aware of such an event and he said he was not.  It seems through these books the only people that are familiar with it are unnamed sources.  (It is of note that in the interview, C-Day is not specifically mentioned by Waldron at all; he just stated it as the December 1st coup.)

One troublesome area of Waldron’s version of the Kennedy assassination is the notion that JFK and Bobby were deeply involved this Cuban plot; either turn Castro by peaceful means or send in people to knock him off.  So if they are in league with the Cubans and the Mob to accomplish this, then why would their allies, murder JFK a few days before the invasion?  Pretty far-out stuff and the proof for this and other scenarios is flimsy at best.  As James DiEugenio points out in his reviews of these books, both feature questionable scholarship, have paragraphs that are not footnoted and highlight an abundance of unnamed sources.  (See links below.)

Lamar Waldron Discusses JFK

Lamar Waldron goes solo for his latest offering, Watergate: The Hidden History: Nixon, The Mafia, and The CIA.  Yep, the pesky Mob returns to be embroiled deeply in the Watergate scandal, largely due to Richard Nixon’s alleged involvement with them down through years. The CIA is portrayed in the first two books as back-scene players easily double crossed by the ever clever Mobsters.  I haven’t read Waldron’s Watergate book yet and I’m leery of doing so because of his track record in his previous books, where he puts the blame largely on the Mob and gives the CIA a pass on any involvement and his current statements on Coast to Coast AM back up this pattern which parallels his JFK books.

I do like host George Noory as he’s a real gentleman, but he doesn’t make a good interviewer.  He does excel at letting guests have their say free from ridicule, in-depth questioning or for that matter simply being asked, “What is your proof for all this is?”  This gives Waldron free run to throw up all kinds of rubbish.  Of course no interview with him would be complete without a rehashing of Waldron’s version of the JFK assassination to once more blame the Mob for their role, largely through guilt by association.  Waldron says that Lee Oswald came to be involved with intelligence work since one of his brothers had been in military intelligence as well.  Huh? Both of his brothers had served in the military but I’ve never read anywhere of either of them being linked to intelligence work, let alone why this would be a family tradition of some sort.  He goes on to state that Oswald’s real mission to Russia was not what he did there but in returning back to the U.S. to see if he would be contacted by the KGB.  What?  Or that Nixon knew he was going to running against Kennedy in 1964 so he infiltrated Kennedy’s Cuba plotting.  How pray tell, would he have done this?  We are not told.  Classic Waldron–toss up anything to see if it sticks so he can be the go-to-guy bringing the public interesting tid-bits they won’t find anyplace else.  A new scoop but from a teller of tall tales.

That is not to say here is not truth here.  We know that the CIA was playing around with the Mob for all kinds of nefarious and criminal activities, especially when it came to the various plots to bump off Fidel Castro.  However, there many researchers that have found substantial  links to the CIA in the Kennedy case.  I’m not taking about facts that are unsourced, I mean real documents where one can assemble a picture of what happened.  What happens with author’s like Waldron is a deep commitment to an idea, in this affair the guilt of organized crime and it so blinds any other path to the truth.  The writing becomes an influx of all kinds of off the wall stuff.  One can experience that in Ultimate Sacrifice where Waldron and Hartmann craft the bizarre tale that Jimmy Hoffa attempted to strangle Bobby Kennedy in a DOJ office; or mobster John Roselli personally met with RFK prior to the Cuban missile crisis; or poor Marilyn, who committed suicide so she wouldn’t have to blackmail Bobby for the Mob.  None of this is provable, some of it is ridiculous and I’m sorry, unnamed sources won’t do.  Not for real history.

(On this same track, in the interview Waldron falsely stated that E. Howard Hunt was covert operations chief for all of Western Europe.  I don’t know where he gets this from.  Hunt was at one point CIA station Chief in Mexico City (1950) and was involved in operations in Central America and Cuba.)

The Ultimate JFK Historian
Since my focus is on JFK I’ll leave the Watergate allegations for another time.  But to summarize Lamar Waldron’s points in his Coast interview regarding his take on Watergate, he postulates that the burglars were looking for files that described Nixon’s alleged dealings with the Mob.  Supposedly, Nixon took a $500,000 bribe from the Mob to scuttle legal charges against Jimmy Hoffa and in the process he got the desired Teamsters support for the 1960 election.  That’s a paragraph full right there!  Perhaps in his book he describes how Nixon as Vice President is going to end Hoffa’s legal predicament. (?) This also implies Nixon was behind the various Watergate burglary attempts, not something that is part of the standard history of the affair.  And these incriminating files are going to be stored in the Democrat Party office in a hotel in Washington, DC when the main headquarters is in Miami?  And what would these files consist of?  I don’t imagine check stubs!  And what is being written down, about what, and by whom?  These are just too many questions that Mr. Noory didn’t ask.

As you can see, enough holes to sink the Titanic all over again!

One thing interesting about Lamar Waldron’s books involving conspiracy in the JFK murder is they get good reviews from mainstream press sources.  Here is just a small list:  Vanity Fair, Publishers Weekly, New York Post, the Boston Globe, The New York Observer and The San Francisco Chronicle.  I didn’t think such a thing was possible anymore.  Maybe because of the Mob angle?  Virtually no other type of Kennedy conspiracy book ever gets reviewed in mainstream publications, let alone get a good review.  I’m reminded of William Colby’s frank confession to Congress that anybody who is a major player in the press is owned by the Company.

As far as being the “Ultimate JFK Historian” I would think with the wealth of experts in circulation we would have more than one and I could certainly name others more fit for the role.

Addendum #1
In a thought-provoking final morsel in James DiEugenio’s review of Legacy of Secrecy, he mentions two JFK researchers at a lecture by Waldron’s fellow co-author Thom Hartmann.  There, Hartmann admitted that he had earlier ties to the “CIA and corporate America.”  Interesting.  Perhaps this is why they let the CIA off the hook so much?

Addendum #2
Since posting this piece I have acquired Lamar Waldron’s book on Watergate.  As I stated above, Waldron asserts that Richard Nixon took a bribe from the mob for the amount of $500,000 to spring Jimmy Hoffa.  I expressed doubts that Nixon could do this as Vice President.  On page 118 of his book, Waldron tells this tale.  But as I suspected, gives no word on the actual mechanics of how Nixon could have contacted the Attorney General and told him to nix Hoffa’s impending indictment in the Sun Valley affair.  As if Nixon would have this much clout.


James DiEugenio’s reviews of Lamar Waldron’s books:
Ultimate Sacrifice:
Legacy of Secrets:

Interview MP3
Coast to Coast AM, hosted by George Noory.  Interview with Lamar Waldron, broadcast 7.17.12.  MP3 available at  NOTE: Requires subscription to download.

Ultimate Sacrifice and Legacy of Secrets are both available from major book retailers and available on Kindle.

Secret Agenda by John Hougan is the best book written on CIA involvement  in Watergate.  Out of print but easily found in Amazon’s used section.  Highly recommended.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hunt and the Plotters

Here’s an interesting PDF called “E. Howard Hunt and the JFK Plotters” by Eric Hamburg.  I am not familiar with the author of this 57 page article nor is it sourced but makes for an interesting read.  Please take it for what it is worth.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Jack White Interview

"We do know Oswald had intelligence connections. Everywhere you look with him, there are fingerprints of intelligence." -Republican Senator Richard Schweiker, member of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (Village Voice: 12/15/75)

Researcher Jack White passed away recently (1927-2012).  He was well admired in the research community and helped broaden our knowledge of the Kennedy assassination.

Here is an interview conducted by Len Oscanic at Black Op Radio with Jack (black583d).

One interesting point Jack White makes is in regards to his testimony in with the HSCA and how he was told by a lawyer the limits of what could be discussed.  Issues made clear to him was that there would be no discussions of Lee Oswald being an intelligence agent or being impersonated.  If he did so, says White, he would be held in contempt of Congress.  Very heavy-handed!  Why are there issues like this that can’t be investigated or for that matter discussed?  And then out of the other side of their mouth they say there is no evidence to support Oswald being a government agent.  Of course not if you are not going to look into it.  What cheek!

RIP Mr. White.

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Word on Birth Certificates

With the hubbub surrounding President Obama's birth certificate going on for years back and forth, one birth certificate that hardly ranks a mention is the one belonging to Lee H. Oswald, the alleged assassin of President John Kennedy.

Despite the massive amount of information published in the Warren Commission's  26 volumes of collected evidence and hearings, there is no publication or listing of Oswald's birth certificate.  One would think this is an important piece of evidence in the case to establish for certain who Lee Oswald was and his origins.

There were two types of birth certificates issued in the state of Louisiana at the time of Oswald's birth (10/18/39).  A Certificate of Birth and a Declaration of Birth.  That later was issued for a non-hospital birth with no attending physician.  Meaning, someone born at home or in rural area such as a farm or ranch.  The Certificate of Birth was issued by a hospital and and signed by the attending physician.  In this case, for Oswald's birth, it would be the Old French Hospital in New Orleans.

Here's the tricky part.  In 1978 the FBI released a batch of documents and included in the files was a Declaration of Birth for Lee Harvey Oswald.  Odd, as he is supposed to have been born in a city hospital and not out in the boonies somewhere. Like many issues in this case, it makes no sense.  John Armstrong in his book, Harvey and Lee, states this certificate is an FBI copy of an unknown source document (p.17).  An internet search does not reveal a picture of this particular birth certificate.  None of the JKF online archives such as the Mary Ferrell Foundation or History Matters have an image of this document in the their huge document collections.  At least none that I have found.  If anyone finds one please send me the link.

The end result: The official Certificate of Birth for Lee Harvey Oswald has never been released.

There are other issues with this birth certificate. Warren Commission member Senator Richard Russell had the poorest attendance record of any member.  Not only was he busy with his duties in the Senate but he came to the conclusion early on that the Commission hearings were largely a dog and pony show with the conclusion already decided.  He would later be leading critic of the lone gunman theory and never put much stock in the lone bullet theory.  In that case, Russell decided to conduct his own independent investigation on the side.  For this task he contacted Army intelligence officer Colonel Phillip Corso (yes, that Colonel Corso of Roswell UFO crash fame) and Sen. Russell asked him to quietly look into the assassination.

Colonel Corso reported back to Senator Russell that his sources had shown there were not one, but two birth certificates for a Lee Harvey Oswald and both had been used by two separate people.  The account of this was related to researcher John Armstrong in a personal interview with Colonel Phillip Corso in 1996 (pps. 17 & 332, note 66).

How is that for high strangeness in the Kennedy assassination?  You dig into one mystery just to discover something even more mysterious.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The National Archives says it won't release 1,100 secret assassination documents in 2013

New article by Jefferson Morley (Our Man In Mexico) about the National Archives bending to pressure from the CIA not to release declassified docs till 2017.  The 50 year requirement has been met but for some reason, they demand another four years.  Doesn't make sense but the CIA has a lot to hide with their long history of dirty deeds.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Robert Caro Drops The Ball

“In attaining this influence, he displayed a genius for discerning a path to power, an utter ruthlessness in destroying obstacles in that path, and a seemingly bottomless capacity for deceit, deception and betrayal in moving along it.”
Robert A. Caro, The Path to Power, Introduction

With The Years of Lyndon Johnson, The Passage of Power, historian Robert Caro delivers his forth volume in his award winning biography of Lyndon Johnson.  Caro is the biographer of Johnson and has made it his life's work.  The books in the series of noted for their frank and brutally honest portrayal of LBJ who was a complex character–part brilliant politician and manipulator of events, and part madman with outbursts of rage, cruelty, immorality, uncouth manners, dark depressions and narcism.  Caro from the beginning labels Johnson a pathological liar and then precedes to prove it through hundreds of examples of the pathology.  JFK called him a "chronic liar."  RFK said Johnson would lie even when he didn't have to.  He's a sociopath with little regard or respect for other people, only using empathy when it suited his political aims.  LBJ was his own god.  

If I find any fault in these books, it's not in the writing of them or the details presented but in reading about what a despicable person Johnson was and what depths he went to achieve his goal in life and that was the Presidency of the United States.  With a deep sense of inferiority he wore from hard scrabble upbringing in the Texas hill country, he dreamed of being somebody important and being President was it.  Reading about Johnson in a book it's hard to live with him and harder still to imagine how anybody else could in actual life.  If you haven't read these books before then read one and wait a year or more before you read the next.  Distance is needed, least this vile man’s presence comes to find a home in you.

The main problem with The Passage of Power is that Caro appears to have altered the formula for what made his books so great.  His other books are the epitome of truthful biography and excellent historical research, all superbly edited and they represent fine works of literature.  Caro is the man that is going tell us everything and blow it all wide open.  And he does through the first three books.  However, this latest tome is an empty vessel.  I would term it Robert Caro Lite. In the other books there is information on LBJ’s life and deeds that you will not find in any other book.  New discoveries about Johnson’s character and deeds await the reader.  This tome reads like a summary of what it could have been, as if a large amount of detail was sacrificed; there are odd lapses of scholarship; at least one chapter, such asThe Back Stairs, regarding Johnson’s becoming the vice presidential candidate is a confusing mess spurning Johnson’s knack for blackmail; many major issues are not properly dealt with and numerous personalities are paid no heed.

That Thorny Issue
In The Passage of Power, Robert Caro has to deal with a thorny issue for any mainstream historian and that's the Kennedy assassination.  There is an apparent ease of conspiracy thought in the case, the step child of an incomplete and politicized  investigation.  For a Pulitzer Prize winning author such as Caro, conspiracy in the JFK murder is the creepy uncle that one seeks to avoid sitting by at the holiday dinner table.  To be fair, he documented a host of other conspiracies in Johnson's rise to power and fame.  It's just this one conspiracy, that of the Kennedy murder, that is avoided.  Caro just reports what people at the time would have known, that the President was killed and they nabbed a suspect in the murder.  That’s all we’ll be told about the assassination in this book.  The Warren Commission is assembled in this timeline but no report issued; more on that saga in the final installment.  However, I don’t except Caro to do anything but tow the party line.

Robert Caro, the man that was out to leave no stone unturned, has apparently lost his nerve and left many stones where he found them.  Three stones he doesn't touch at all are:  Billy Sol Estes, Malcolm Wallace and Madeline Duncan Brown.  The obvious question here is why all three are avoided and the answer it a simple one–because they all involve conspiracy of one form or the other.  They all share another thing–they are all problematic with troubling stories regarding their involvement.  

But what is quite remarkable is that Caro can't say a word about the growing Billy Sol Estes scandal of 1962 which reached the national media and was a huge story at the time and not a word is said about it.  To be fair, this is a long and convoluted story, too detailed to go into here (see links below), but the implications were enormous and Johnson was in deep trouble.  (Johnson claimed no knowledge of Estes, which is a lie, but during grand jury testimony in 1984, Estes would pin various murder conspiracies, including Kennedy’s death, on Lyndon Johnson.)  On the other side of scandals, the Bobby Baker episode is fully documented as if to throw a bone to Johnson’s bad Karma coming due.  But that wasn't the only fire that needed to be put out so Johnson could save his hide and win his prize.  In many ways, not documenting the Estes affair shows Caro has taken a timid approach to this matter–when he is not ignoring other important issues.   

(And that weak-kneed pattern is quite evident with ignoring Johnson's long term lover Madeline Brown.  Caro has no qualms in mentioning the other two paramours, Alice Glass and Helen Douglas in his earlier works, but can't muster up a single word about Madeline Brown.  Of course Brown alleges the famous meeting of conspirators at Clint Murchison's home in Dallas the night before the assassination and claims her son was sired by LBJ.  Her story is well known with numerous interviews, a TV appearance in the History Channel’s The Men Who Killed Kennedy and her book, Texas in the Morning. It’s juicy conspiracy stuff alright and too scary go there!)

Johnson's Side of the Story
A contradictory incident is Robert Caro's reporting of Johnson's reaction to the first shot being fired.  It's all told from Johnson's perspective, a man we are told in the first book is a pathological liar.  LBJ's testimony was that Secret Service agent Rufus Youngblood as soon as he heard the first shot, jumped into the backseat and pushed Johnson to the floor and sat on him for protection.  Youngblood told this same story in sworn testimony to the Warren Commission.  

There are two problems with this.  One, is the famous Altgens photograph, which shows the Presidential limo after the first shot with Kennedy clearly clutching at his throat and also shows the Vice President's car and all that can be seen is Lady Bird and Senator Ralph Yarborough in the back seat looking towards the crowd on the sidewalk.  LBJ is nowhere to be seen.  Youngblood said he was up looking around while holding Johnson down, seeking possible shooters.  That business can't be seen in the photograph either.  Also of note is Lady Bird and Sen. Yarborough’s posture in the car, both looking at the crowd but never down to where Johnson and Youngblood are supposed to be.  Shouldn’t Lady Bird’s focus be on her husband?  It’s as if neither of them are aware what is going on with the backseat tussle or noticing the first shot which by this time, has already been fired.

Even more interesting is that Ralph Yarborough denied this event ever happened, that Youngblood never jumped into the backseat and used his body as a shield for Johnson.  He never mentioned it in his sworn affidavit to the Warren Commission.  He maintained his version of what happened till late in life including a 1980 interview he gave to researcher David Lifton.  Caro said he interviewed Yarborough five times.  And this issue never came up?  If it did it won’t be reported in this book.

So what Caro does is relate only Johnson's side of this affair while never giving the reader Yarborough's dissenting view.  Why not give both sides and let the reader decide?  It’s a perplexing thing to do after giving hundreds of incidents of Johnson's lying.  Even his nickname was "Lying Lyndon" (and in college Bull as in bull shit).  And notice the quote above from the first book’s introduction in regards to a “bottomless capacity for deceit, deception and betrayal...”  Yet for some peculiar reason Caro believes LBJ, and wants his readers to believe him as well, despite evidence to the contrary.  

There's a lot more I could say here but I'll pass so I don't go to sleep with an angry heart.  In this book, unlike the others in the series, we are treated to a kinder, gentler, Lyndon Johnson; almost a sympathetic figure.  Poor Lyndon...shunted to the outside, ignored by his Senate colleagues, powerless, lonely, downcast, mocked by the Kennedy insiders and snubbed at every opportunity.  Boo-hoo!  Chickens do come home to roost and with LBJ they would be legion and back breaking in a few years hence.  What fine justice to see the Master Manipulator of people and things cross the ring of fire where he tried everything and it just wasn’t enough.  What a blow to that massive ego!  

The Passage of Power is a mixed bag of highlights and lowlights that assures it will never be the best book in the series.  The other books held new discoveries on the life and times of Lyndon Johnson.  To students of the subject this book is much of what they will already know and excludes a lot that they do know.  Some areas do shine such as Johnson's dealings with the Kennedy clan, particularly Bobby, and how smooth the transition of power was after Kennedy's death.  However, that is not enough to rise above the general ho-hum.

In the end, The Passage of Power does not represent an author at the peak of his form but instead on the wain.  I'm hoping the final book returns to prominence, if that is possible.

Robert A. Caro, The Years of Lyndon Johnson:
The Path to Power
Means of Assent
The Master of the Senate
The Passage of Power

Naval Career.  In describing John Kennedy's naval career, Caro disregards the fact that JFK started out in naval intelligence.  As reported in Curt Gentry's biography on J. Edgar Hoover, Kennedy's career in intelligence was compromised with an affair with a married woman, Ingrid Arvad, who was a friend of Hitler's and a suspected Nazi spy.  Hoover had his agents taping the affair in progress and word eventually got back to daddy Joe Kennedy and Jack was sent to the Pacific (Gentry, The Man and the Secrets, p.467-471). 

Stevenson Aide.  Speaking of flaws, the most unusual one in the book is Caro's accounting of a talk LBJ gave the Adlai Stevenson camp in the 1960 campaign, basically demanding that they have nothing to do with Kennedy.  Caro sources the conversation from an unnamed Stevenson aide (p.93).  Since when do historians resort to using unnamed sources to present historical facts?  I don't recall Caro doing this in the earlier books.  Nor do I recall any author doing this in nonfiction.

Billy Sol Estes.  Going back to the Billy Sol Estes scandal, it was mentioned by Ben Bradlee in his book, Conversations With Kennedy on pages 105-106.  Bradlee, a close friend of the President reports that JFK was very much interested in the case that involved on it’s outer reaches the death of Henry Marshall, a Federal agriculture agent that was shot 6 times and originally ruled a suicide which was later changed to homicide.  It was speculated at the time that Henry was killed as an end result to an extramarital affair.  We know now that this was not the case and other researchers have pinned the crime on LBJ crony Malcolm Wallace.  Once again, Robert Caro makes no mention of the controversy surrounding the deceased agent and the resulting fallout.  (Especially ironic since Conversations With Kennedy is listed in the bibliography.)

Sources and Links
The Estes Scandal
Chapter 4, LBJ: The Mastermind of JFK’s Assassination by Philip F. Nelson

Malcolm Wallace Biography

The Men Who Killed Kennedy

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Documents Still Withheld?

Excellent article by Russ Baker (author, Family of Secrets) entitled, Is The Government Holding Back Crucial Documents?, Baker investigates why government documents regarding the JFK assassination are still being withheld.

“Believe it or not, more than 50,000 pages of JFK assassination-related documents are being withheld in full. And an untold number of documents have been partially withheld, or released with everything interesting blacked out. But why?”


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Possible Z Film Alteration?

A new article on possible Zapruder film tampering up at Veteran’s Today entitled: The Two NPIC Zapruder Film Events: Signposts Pointing To The Film’s Alteration by Douglas P. Horne (with Jim Fetzer).

The article gives a detailed accounting of the history and handling of the film and then possible film alterations including evidence of missing frames.  A very good read.

Read it HERE.

Friday, May 25, 2012

All the Way with LBJ

Here is a web page with audio clips of Lyndon Johnson discussing numerous issues during the 1964 campaign.

For more audio recordings of Presidents such as the following:

Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry S. Truman
Dwight D. Eisenhower
John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard M. Nixon

Go to the Miller Center, University of Virginia to listen to those.  Transcripts available there as well.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Book Review: The Man That Knew Too Much by Dick Russell

Published 20 years ago this year, Dick Russell's account of intelligence agent Richard Case Nagell is one of the more interesting angles on the JFK assassination.  In a nutshell, Richard Nagell, a former Korean war vet turned military intelligence agent, then CIA agent, then double agent, claims he is tasked by the KGB, who gets wind of an assassination plot on President Kennedy assigns Nagell the job to assassinate the assassin, Lee Oswald before he carries out the crime.  Having second thoughts, Nagell precedes to get himself arrested by shooting off a hand gun in a bank.  This places him in Federal custody.  He's convicted of attempted bank robbery and is sentenced to ten years.  He spends his time in jail writing letters to such luminaries as FBI director J. Edgar Hoover warning of the assassination, which occurs after his pleading goes unheeded (continues his letter writing to authorities after the assassination as well). After some legal maneuvering, he is released after serving four years of his ten year sentence.  Afterwards he goes off to lead a life that is best described as that of a ne'er-do-well–a life filled with little joy or reward.
The Setup
One of the problems with the scenario is that it assumes that Oswald is the lone shooter.  What if there are other gunmen in Dealey Plaza?  How could taking out Oswald prevent the assassination from taking place in that event?  It could cause a change of plans or else a search for a new patsy or things could just play out like they did.  Interestingly, Dick Russell never addresses the issue.  
So what follows in The Man Who Knew Too Much is a long and meandering story with a cast of dozens of characters both great and small, numerous trips down the rabbit trail and plenty of drinks in sleazy bars to flesh all of this out.  Added weight is given by Dick Russell's personal interviews with most of the players involved and Nagell especially, who he talked with over a 17 year period until his death in 1995.  It's quite apparently early that there is an unstable nature to Nagell's character.  He would suffer much in his life.  Not only the wounds from battles in the Korean war, but other strange instances such as being shot in the chest post military; numerous suicide attempts and brain trauma from one of his two plane crashes which apparently affected him mentally.  
One problem with this undertaking is that the really interesting parts of Nagell's life are built on Nagell's accounts.  For example, Nagell claims he knew and socialized with  Lee Oswald when he was stationed in Japan in the late 1950's.  More importantly, in what amounts to quite a revelation, Nagell says that Oswald entered the Soviet embassy in Tokyo and met with a Col. Nikolai G. Eroshkin, a suspected member of the GRU.  But is this true?  Ultimately, Russell never really finds out for sure.  Nagell doesn't help out his case much by saying he was hanging with Oswald in November in 1957, when Oswald was largely out of action after having shot himself in the arm with a .22 pistol.  
So what the author is handed with is proving what he can of Nagell's stories by researching the periphery of this shadowy world of military and civilian spy-craft.  Russell interviews people that Nagell claims to have associated with.  Mainly it's just a bunch of guys with cool stories that can't really be nailed down.  Many don't remember Nagell.  And what Russell can uncover does verify some of Nagell's claims but certainly not all, especially the more controversial episodes of his life and the lives those those he allegedly interacted with.  For example, Russell could find out that Col. Eroshkin was stationed in Tokyo at the time Nagell said he was.  But he couldn't verify that a meeting took place between the Russian officer and Oswald.  Maybe it did.  
It doesn't help matters much that on at least once occasion Nagell committed himself to a mental hospital when he thought he got too close to a Cuban assassination plot on JFK in late 1962.  At least that is Nagell's story.  Who knows?  He might have had a breakdown that was real.  After all, he did suffer several concussions, one of which left a permanent depression on the side of head in what Dr. Edwin Weinstein, called "organic" brain damage.  The doctor further stated that the damage gave Nagell an inability to distinguish from right and wrong, besides other maladies.    
The Bank Deal
Basically, Nagell  is a CIA operative when he's approached by the KGB to work for them.  After getting permission from his CIA handlers he goes double agent to work uncover for the KGB (the CIA never admits to working with Nagell in anyway.  His work with Military Intelligence is documented).  Supposedly, the KGB gets wind of an assassination plot involving anti Castro Cubans with Lee Oswald as the gunman.  Nagell tries to convince Oswald he's playing with fire and will get burned.  He gets nowhere.  Next comes the order from the KGB to kill Oswald since he can't be reasoned with.  Nagell considers this and balks.  Thus starts the trail to the Texas bank.
The shooting up of the bank in El Paso is a strange affair.  If he didn't want to kill Oswald, is there no other recourse other than doing this?  His stated reasons become a collection of contradictions.  Richard Turner published an article in the January 1968 issue of Ramparts magazine where he surmised that it was an attempt by Nagell to form an alibi and bail out on killing Oswald. However, Nagell scoffed at that telling Dick Russell that he wasn't shooting off the gun to have an alibi, but instead, he was planning on leaving the country anyway.  Well, it makes no sense to commit a felony if leaving the country was his desire.  Just book your flight and leave!  After his arrest he will tell the FBI that he was upset and frustrated with a California court for not granting his request to allow him to see his two children.  So he thinks he can fire off a gun in a bank to get access to his kids?  When sent to Springfield for a psych evaluation, he told Dr. Joseph Alderete that it was a plea for help–he did it to get psychiatric treatment since he claimed that the VA Hospital he approached had turned him down.  So many reasons and few make any sense although the last one seems the most probable.  He did get to see a shrink, finally.
And on top of all of this, the assassination plot that Nagell is supposed to have learned of from his KGB sources is supposed to go off in September of 1963 and in the locale of Washington, DC.  Where is Dallas?  It is not in play.  More strangeness from Richard Nagell’s damaged mind and as usual, no existing correlation.
Ultimately it's hard to make sense of major parts of Richard Case Nagell's story.  Dick Russell admits as much in his final chapter.  The whole thing is totally on the fringe.  No doubt, this man is a kooky character.  Most JFK researchers take a look at Nagell and head in the other direction.  Not a bad move.  
He's sort of like a Judyth Vary Baker–a fringe character with a offbeat story that most researchers don't include in the overall analysis of what happened.  It's a tangent too far.  While there is a ring of truth to their accounts they basically tell us what we already suspected–namely, there was a conspiracy and Oswald was somebody different that what we were told.  In Baker's story he is a hero trying to overthrow a plot and ends up being branded the patsy and murdered. In Nagell's account Oswald is a Cold War agent following orders even if that means murdering a President.  As in Baker’s account, it’s a complex chess game where the assassin is pumped and dumped.  Odd how they both seem to get around to knowing all the major figures in their respected dramas and arrive on the scene of many major events that transpire in the chronology.  While both Nagell and Baker tie up some loose threads in the overall narrative, much comes down to their individual stories, with some details that are difficult, if not impossible, to discern.  And both tell different versions of their tales filled with updates over the intervening years which they can't seem to impart in the first telling.  (This seems to advance from the arrival of new facts that appear to contradict an early account.)
I'm going to leave Richard Case Nagell in the shadows of Cold War history.  Most do.  He's a more comfortable fit in military tactical battles fought in secret places.  Other than that he becomes an unkind diversion with much to say and little to verify.  He dies a lonely, broken man.  And yes, like many of these men who know too much, his claimed cache of documents, audio tapes, photos, and whatever, that could blow the whole thing wide open, vanish upon his demise like they always do–if they ever existed at all.

Since 20 years have passed I won’t criticize Dick Russell for making some mistakes. The basic narrative of the book is accurate despite recent file disclosures and the work of agencies such as the ARRB to release government documents concerning the Kennedy assassination.
Whatever his source was, two men Russell listed as OSS agents in WWII apparently were not.  One was Louis M. Bloomfield (p.217) and the other is Lev Dobriansky (p.254).  You can download the declassified OSS agent PDF list HERE and see that these two men are not listed.  This is not to defer from the fact that Dick Russell is a meticulous researcher and has an excellent grasp of the various fundamentals of the case.