ECHOES OF CONSPIRACY May 31, 1987 Vol. 9, #1 Paul L. Hoch In September, I asked my Congres

Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

ECHOES OF CONSPIRACY May 31, 1987 Vol. 9, #1 Paul L. Hoch <> In September, I asked my Congressman, Ron Dellums, to forward my query. The reply, dated December 1, came from Assistant AG William Weld of the Criminal Division, by his deputy Victoria Toensing. (For my letter and the JD letter to Dellums, ask for #1987.1, 2 pp.) It's not much of an answer, but it's the latest information I have. (My letters to the Justice Department have often not even generated an acknowledgment, much less a substantive response. For the JD's 1984 reply to a Congressman, see 6 EOC 4.1.) My letter noted the old estimated completion dates (1984-85), and asked for the current one. Also, "I would like to know if the Department has been looking at anything other than the acoustical evidence gathered by the HSCA, and the Bronson film. In particular, have allegations of involvement by Mafia figures or the Cuban government been investigated?" The Department "has not announced an estimated completion date for the review of the [HSCA] report and of the evidence which the report recommended be reconsidered. We have continued to receive information and views from scientists and other concerned individuals. All such correspondence is reviewed carefully by Department attorneys and, when appropriate, investigative personnel of the [FBI]. It is envisioned that the Department will soon be satisfied that public comment regarding the two Department of Justice financed analyses of acoustical evidence have been considered adequately. At that time, the Department will summarize the results of the inquiry and will submit that information with a proposal for future handling of the assassination investigation to the Congress." As in some previous letters, the JD seems to place a surprising emphasis on the acoustical evidence, as if it were a major reason, if not the main reason, for the delay. If you know what or whom the JD has been taking seriously, please let me know. The JD letter does not quite say that they are looking at Mafia leads, but it certainly does not say that they are not. "The Department's examination of the assassination has concentrated upon those areas of investigation proposed by the [HSCA], primarily acoustical and other physical evidence. While we have initiated limited investigative activity regarding several other aspects of the assassination, we have not conducted additional extensive investigation of those conspiracy theories which have been rejected by previous investigations and by the House Committee." There are enough qualifiers in that paragraph to allow a wide range of interpretations, and I have no reason to believe that their language deserves careful exegesis. Maybe very little has been done since 1979 and there is just no perceived need for a statement to that effect. On the other hand, that language is quite different from that used by Robert Keuch in 1980, to the effect that the acoustics was "the only indication of a conspiracy." (2 EOC 10.1) Speaking of the wheels of justice, at least one of them has been in motion. Stephen Trott, who signed the 1984 letter referred to above, has been promoted from head of the Criminal Division to Associate Attorney General. (#2, SFC, 16 Jul 86) Trott was a member of The Highwaymen (a folk-singing group, not a band of Contras) before he attended Harvard Law. <> One of the HSCA's main suspects is no longer available for Justice Department scrutiny. Santo Trafficante Jr. was in a Houston hospital for heart surgery when he died at age 72. The HSCA concluded that he and Carlos Marcello were "the most likely family bosses" to have played a role in the JFK assassination. (HSCAR 169) (#3: UPI obituary, 19 Mar 87, SFC) The last previous news I had of Trafficante was: 4. 10 Jul 86 (UPI in SFC) "Mistrial Declared for Mob Figure" 9 EOC 1 -2- A federal judge in Tampa concluded that the prosecutors "had impugned Trafficante's character but failed to prove their case." Of the 11 people indicted with Trafficante on racketeering charges in 1983, ten pleaded guilty and one killed himself. Dominick Napolitano, the main source of the evidence against Trafficante, was killed in 1981. I have no idea if the Justice Department was investigating the HSCA evidence relating to Trafficante. Although the HSCA report puts him in the same category as Marcello as a likely suspect, Marcello seems to have gotten more public attention. The Blakey-Billings book, for example, discusses possible links between Marcello and Oswald, and between Trafficante and Ruby, but does not tackle the difficult task of a scenario involving Ruby or Trafficante before November 22. Trafficante's death might make some files on him more accessible under the FOIA. <> One of my unacknowledged letters to the JD last year directed their attention to Adm. George Burkley's comments to Henry Hurt, to the effect that he should be included among the majority of Americans who think there was a conspiracy. (See 8 EOC 1.2 for a discussion.) Dr. Burkley's comments to Hurt may well not have been based on what he knew about the medical evidence, according to information recently provided to me. William Manchester, who interviewed Dr. Burkley five times from April 1964 through July 1966, told me that at that time Dr. Burkley said he did not believe in a conspiracy theory, and was emphatic on that point. Also, Dr. Burkley recently told a relative of his that he did think that Oswald must have been part of a conspiracy, because the way he and his family lived and traveled was indicative of financial support. (This suspicion has been voiced by many people over the years, and the Warren Commission attempted to rebut in in Appendix XIV of the Report.) This relative also asked Dr. Burkley about Lifton's book when it was published; Dr. Burkley did not provide any clarification of the issues involved, nor did he indicate that he agreed with any of Lifton's analysis. If there is more information to be obtained about what Dr. Burkley knew, it will probably have to come from existing documents, or as the result of an official inquiry by the Justice Department. Another military doctor who might have known something about the peculiarities of the autopsy is Leonard Heaton, the Army's Surgeon General, who died in 1983. He is mentioned only a few times in "Best Evidence," but his Walter Reed Hospital is a likely locale for some of the pre-autopsy shenanigans of November 22nd. Heaton was profiled in the December 1963 issue of "Today's Health," evidently finished before the assassination. (#5, 3 pp., partial) "This doctor is a man in a hurry, a man who refuses to let a full- time administrative job force him to put his surgical skills on the shelf, who operates at seven a.m. so he'll be able to get to his office at nine or 10 and do a full day's work." According to Manchester's book, Heaton (on the ground in Washington) "sens[ed] conflict" in the discussions of where to take JFK's body for autopsy. He called former President Eisenhower, who had been his patient as well as his boss. (Heaton had also treated "the mortally wounded Nicaraguan President Somoza.") Manchester, who interviewed Eisenhower but not Heaton, reported only that Ike suggested that Heaton go to Andrews Air Force Base and stand by. Under the circumstances, I suppose the call to Ike was a reasonable one, although I would have expected a military officer to know standard procedures for dealing with conflicting instructions. If Heaton suspected that something Liftonesque was going on, the call would make more sense. Nothing about that phone call could be found for me at the Eisenhower Library. In any case it seems unlikely that Heaton deferred to the Navy so much that he did not know 9 EOC 1 -3- what was going on. The HSCA-related files extracted by Mark Allen include a memorandum of agreement between the FBI and the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, which "establishes procedures and assigns responsibilities for providing AFIP medical investigation [sic] expertise to the FBI upon request in the event of the traumatic or unexpected death of the President" or other high officials. [5 pp., #6] (Dr. Pierre Finck was Chief of the Wound Ballistics Pathology Branch at AFIP when he assisted at the autopsy.) Some of the language seems to reflect the controversy over the handling of the "best evidence" in the JFK case. For example, AFIP's responsibilities include "a complete medical investigation of death (forensic autopsy)," dispatching someone "to the scene of death to obtain information... and to accompany the remains," and assuming "custody and control of all [pertinent] medical records and biological substances." (What is "biological substances" likely to mean, other than removed organs such as the brain?) The FBI will "obtain release of remains to the AFIP from the custody of local authorities... by whatever legal means are deemed necessary and expedient," "obtain special mission aircraft when deemed necessary to expedite the medical investigation," "assign a Special Agent to attend the medical investigation of death to receive and retain custody of physical evidence obtained during the investigation," and take responsibility for the dissemination of the autopsy reports. To my surprise, this agreement was prepared well before David Lifton's book was published. It was signed by FBI Director Clarence Kelley and AFIP director Elgin Coward in August 1976, the month before the HSCA was set up. Might it be significant that someone was making an issue of accompanying remains back to AFIP, and maintaining custody over all the physical evidence? Finally, #7 is a cartoon by Edward Sorel from "The Nation." [6 Dec 86] It shows surgeons working nervously under the scrutiny of several menacing gentlemen in black suits and hats. The caption is "Friends say Frank Sinatra will require additional surgery. This time specialists from out of town will be on hand to insure success." Of course, I have recaptioned it "Bethesda Naval Hospital, November 22, 1963." The amended version provides a valuable synthesis of the Blakey and Lifton scenarios for an assassination conspiracy. <> Henry Hurt's op-ed piece urging young Joe Kennedy to make an issue of his uncle's assassination was noted in 8 EOC 2.2. I know of no formal response. On September 15, 1986, Kennedy was interviewed briefly by Mark Sommer of radio station WBCN in Boston. When Sommer started to refer to the HSCA's conclusions, Kennedy asked, "Where are we going with this?" Sommer started to explain that "there are a lot of lingering doubts regarding the assassination," and Kennedy said "I'm not getting into that, the whole issue, at all." Sommer: "You have no comment at all?" Kennedy: "I certainly don't." Sommer described Kennedy as taken by surprise and agitated by the question. It doesn't sound as if Kennedy will be much help on our kind of issues. He skipped a candidates' debate before the Coalition for Basic Human Needs at a church near Harvard, and said he "has had it with what he calls 'special- interest groups that hold these frigging forums.'" (#8, 11 Sep 86, 2 pp.) Kennedy was elected, of course. The former Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neill, was close to the Kennedy family. The new Speaker, who is expected to get the JD review, is Jim Wright of Texas, who is mentioned in the Warren Report himself. His office was contacted by Marguerite Oswald in her 1960 effort to locate her son. Speaking of Hurt, I have quite a few additional reviews of his book, which I will probably list eventually. The paperback edition will be out soon. (Catalog listing with blurbs: #9) A messy dispute between Hurt on the 9 EOC 1 -4- one hand, and Johann Rush and Gary Mack on the other, with which I assume you are familiar, has been featured in "Coverups!" I will pass up the opportunity to comment; the Easterling story doesn't seem worth the trouble one way or the other. Unlike Mack and some others, I do not view it as central to the evaluation of Hurt's other chapters. <> Perhaps you are among the 2,800 subscribers Ted Gandolfo claims for his "Assassination U.S.A." newsletter. If so, you are familiar with the article entitled "Jim Garrison Completely Vindicated," in his issue of 29 Dec 86 [#10, 6 pp.]. "Absolute proof that G. Robert Blakey... deliberately covered up Garrison's evidence of direct C.I.A. involvement in the J.F.K. assassination, on orders from his actual employers, the C.I.A. Conclusive evidence of these facts was uncovered by myself, personally, and has never been published anywhere before now, in this newsletter. I now have conclusive proof that this evidence of direct C.I.A. involvement in the crime was supplied by Jim Garrison to Clifford Fenton, who headed a 5-man investigative team for the Committee, and this conclusive, overwhelming evidence of direct C.I.A. involvement in the crime was then given, personally, to Blakey, who completely suppressed all of it from the citizens of this country, indeed, peoples of the whole world!!" Indeed, Gandolfo has proved something - that Blakey does not remember, after seven years, what is in the published HSCA volumes. Blakey stayed on the phone with Gandolfo longer than I would have, and told him that "just about everything he [Garrison] said was published. The substance of what he said was published, yes." In fact, very little of the work done by Counsel Sprague's people was published; perhaps some of the holdover members realized that some of it would embarrass them. Garrison's material is among the unpublished HSCA stuff I would like to see, but it is lower on the list than such things as the medical evidence. In an accompanying nasty letter, signed "curiously yours," Gandolfo challenged me to "publish this bombastic info." (21 Dec 86, #11; Gandolfo's letters to Blakey [#12] and the CIA [#13] are also available.) What, specifically, is the evidence that Blakey suppressed? Gandolfo says that Garrison provided Fenton with "conclusive, overwhelming evidence of direct C.I.A. involvement." In 1978, Garrison called Gandolfo and referred to the HSCA having "tape recorded meetings in which they are specifically discussing the assassination with Clay Shaw and David Ferrie present... Details... It's solid evidence on tape." (It is not really certain that these alleged tapes are of conspirators, rather than, say, tapes of Garrison talking to the HSCA.) For all the specific evidence, we may have to wait for Garrison's allegedly forthcoming book. I have no recent information about its possible publication. There was an article by Garrison in "Freedom" for November 1986, but it is almost all rhetoric, and familiar rhetoric at that. The closest it comes to a factual description of the assassination is the assertion that "we need no longer pretend that there is any mystery left about the assassination.... The President was murdered because he was genuinely seeking peace in a corrupt world." Oswald was an intelligence employee and a scapegoat. (#14, 4 pp.; #15, editorial by T. Whittle) I have obtained an undated memo from Garrison to Jonathan Blackmer, an HSCA senior staff counsel. (#16, 5 pp.) I don't want to be accused of covering it up, so here are some highlights. This seems to be genuine Garrison. In the first section ("Shaw in San Francisco on November 22, 1963"), Garrison notes a pre-assassination letter stating that Shaw is going to be in S.F. "from November 21 to 23," and comments, "Quite possibly, this is the first time since the introduction of the Gregorian calendar that a date has been described by its omission." 9 EOC 1 -5- The brief second section notes that Shaw was in Portland, Oregon, on November 25 - "interestingly enough," not at Trade Mart expense, so "it would not be unreasonable to conclude that... the additional trip up to Oregon... was treated as a non-Trade-Mart-related diversion chosen by him for some undisclosed reason." The key section of the memo is "Crisman residency factors with regard to Oregon." There are a lot of quasi-juicy details, to which I could not do justice here. Garrison notes that Shaw's notebook contained a reference to Steilacoom, Washington, a suburb of Tacoma, where Fred Lee Crisman allegedly worked and may have lived. "[T]his note was written by Shaw shortly above his interesting reference to 'Lee Odum, P.O. Box 19106, Dallas....'" By hand, Garrison noted that this was "the same P.O. number which Oswald has written in his own notebook." (It's probably "DD", not "PO"; see 16 WCH 58 and Counterplot, p. 29.) In conclusion, Garrison suggested that "you are likely to find that he [Crisman] was, through Shaw, either exerting a high degree of energizing influence on the New Orleans pre-assassination scene or, at the very least, monitoring it.... Shaw was ultimately caught -- in spite of his professionalism and the careful detachment he maintained from the lower level activities of the extremist anti-Castro elements and the Banister office menagerie here -- because of his own personal indiscretions and so, I suggest, will Crisman." Garrison is rather candid about his methodology and the fundamental perception of the case which compels it: "In the final analysis, as I mentioned during our conversations here, the most effective progress to be made in perceiving a professionally clandestine operation -- which is, of course, what you are dealing with -- is initially by the successive application of models until one finds the model which fits. After that, the acquisition of forensic evidence will follow rather routinely. Such an approach is necessary, of course, because the clandestine structure, the covers of its participants and the indirection of their pursuits are specifically designed to frustrate the conventional, traditional search (without an applicable model, a working hypothesis, in mind) for forensic evidence." That sounds pretty sensible, and it need not be a recipe for paranoia provided one applies rigorous standards to the "routine" acquisition of evidence, and does repeated reality testing of one's underlying assumptions. What can be said of Garrison's belief that the assassination was "of course... a professionally clandestine operation" in light of his analysis of specific, manageable, and verifiable bits of evidence, such as the role of Dr. Rome? (8 EOC 2.7, #68) <> In June, Archon books is scheduled to publish "Disinformation, Misinformation, and the 'Conspiracy' to Kill JFK Exposed," by Armand Moss. According to the publisher's announcement (#17), this expensive book (about 200 pages, $22.50) "catches the subtleties of Soviet propaganda in explaining how the KGB first played on European suspicions and prejudices" to foster the "conspiracy myth." The WC's conclusions "cannot be shaken, [but] the Commission itself helped to disseminate misinformation by portraying Oswald - a loner and a misfit suffering from low self-esteem - as a serious Marxist." The case still "fascinates Americans... after more than twenty-five years," but this "definitive analysis will put [it] to rest...." Does anyone know anything about this book? Is the author the same Armand Moss who has written two books, published in Paris, about the poet Baudelaire? <> Another man who is unhappy with the critics is David Phillips. 18. Jan-Feb 87 (Phillips, Columbia Journ. Rev.) "The man nobody 9 EOC 1 -6- bothered to call" [2 pp.] Phillips complains about his treatment by Tony Summers; Don Freed, Fred Landis, and Dr. William Pepper; Gaeton Fonzi and "Washingtonian"; and Henry Hurt. Phillips admits he "asked for it" by his public activities as a founder of the AFIO, but concludes, "What excuse can there be for journalism that hangs a man without allowing him to speak in his own defense?" Phillips' complaint is about journalists; some people have bothered to call him under oath. He barely mentions his testimony in 1976 and 1979 - presumably, before the Church Committee and the HSCA respectively. At least one aspect of his testimony "aroused the [HSCA's] suspicion." (HSCAR 136n) 19. Mar-Apr 87 (CJR) Letters from Don Freed and his publisher, and a reply by Phillips. Some facts remain unclear; Freed says he called Phillips, who refused to discuss the Letelier case; Phillips is convinced he did not. The significance of the settlement, and of the judge's rulings, is disputed. 20. 18 Apr 86 (Pub. Wkly.) The retraction by Freed et al. mentioned in the previous item. Among other things, "Death in Washington" "contained a photograph of Mr. Phillips, captioned 'The Other Lee Harvey Oswald.'" The authors "had no intention of charging or suggesting that Mr. Phillips... had any connection with Lee Harvey Oswald." (Sure.) 21. May-June 1987 (CJR) Hurt states that his "research associate did telephone [Phillips] to discuss various aspects of my treatment of his complex case.... [W]e did consider all that he had to say. We then printed precisely what we intended to print, and we stand by it." In reply, Phillips says that the associate did not mention a connection with Hurt. (#22: Hurt's unedited letter, 7 Feb 87) 23. 1987 (Lobster, #13) A short letter from Phillips (18 Dec 86), offering to "consider the matter closed" upon the publication of a paragraph noting the disposition of two cases involving Summers' allegations. Phillips' willingness to abandon legal remedies is presumably based on Lobster's precarious financial situation. Lobster's latest major article (8 EOC 1.8) included a number of previously unpublished names and allegations, in support of the argument that Phillips deserves scrutiny independent of the Veciana- Bishop-Oswald story. Lobster's reports of British intelligence operations against Harold Wilson's Labour government in the 1970's have been widely noted, and I would have expected the international intelligence community to welcome any attempt by Phillips to complicate Lobster's work. 24. The statement by the London Observer (noted at 8 EOC 4.10) about Phillips' noninvolvement in the JFK assassination. 25. 20 Oct 86 (South China Morning Post) "No evidence on CIA claim" A brief note on the Observer settlement. I do not have copies of the articles actually published by the Post (based on information from the Observer). I understand that the Post is one of the major English-language newspapers in the Far East. 26. 10 Mar 86 (New Haven Advocate) "'The CIA is not the Boy Scouts'" [2 pp.] Interview of Phillips. "There are no secrets about the CIA and the Kennedy assassination that have not been brought to light. There's no reason in the world that in that suit [against Summers in England] I couldn't subpoena CIA officials and get them under oath to say what they knew about the Kennedy assassination." <> 27. 23 Nov 86 (LAT) "Memories From a Last Motorcade," by Jack Valenti [2 pp.] (#28: Miami Herald version, 2 pp.) 29. 23 Nov 86 (Miami Herald) "Family in famous photograph can still hear shots ring in Dallas" Comments by witness Bill Newman. "The city of Dallas and the county Democratic Party planned no services Saturday," having decided a few years ago to commemorate JFK's birth instead. 30. 28 Nov 86 (Fredericksburg, VA Free Lance - Star) Letter to the 9 EOC 1 -7- editor from buff Harry Nash, noting the apparent failure of the Justice Department to follow up on the HSCA report. 31. 23 Nov 86 (AP photo & UPI text, in MH) The annual photo of Edward Kennedy at JFK's grave. "The commemoration of Kennedy's assassination, which traumatized the nation, has in recent years become a sparse, private affair." (#32: SFX, same photo, with AP's text.) 33. 24 Nov 86 (SFC) "A Mark of Dallas Remembrance" The words "Big Bang" were written in the dust on a sixth-floor TSBD window. The 22nd-anniversary coverage which reached me was so sparse that I got around to listing only one item, at 8 EOC 2.1. Here is a bit more. 34. 22 Nov 85 (Jack Anderson, in SFC) "It's only 22 years" since the assassination which "made fatalists of us all." 35. 22 Nov 85 (Herb Caen, SFC) A brief reference to "a tragedy that... sent the country into a tailspin from which it has never recovered." 36. 23 Nov 85 (AP in SFC) Sen. Kennedy at the cemetery. 37. Nov 85 (Lincoln Sun) "The Umbrella Man" Syndicated columnist W. A. Hamilton presents, as his "pet theory," the notion that conspirators who had not forgiven Joseph Kennedy for his pre-war politics used the symbol of appeasement as a signal to open fire. <> 38. 12 May (NYT) "James Angleton, Counterintelligence Figure, Dies" An understated obituary by S. Engelberg. "Mr. Angleton was inclined to doubt Mr. Nosenko's insistence that... the KGB had no connection to the attack on the President." (#39: Front-page photo) 40. 12 May 87 (LAT) Angleton, ill since December, was 69 years old. "After leaving the CIA, the chain-smoking Angleton refused to discuss any of his specific activities with the agency.... Richard Helms... said, 'James Angleton was to American counterespionage what Thomas Edison was to the development of electricity.'" <> In addition to Trafficante and Angleton, a number of figures in the case have died in recent years, including limousine driver William Greer (#41, WP, 28 Feb 85) and Judge Sarah Hughes (#42, AP & UPI, 25 Apr 85). If this issue of EOC has almost convinced you that the JFK case is fast becoming myth and ancient history, these items might finish the job: 43. 19 Mar 87 (SFC) "Kennedy Items Still Private" With the "25th anniversary... approaching," there has been talk of displaying assassination artifacts at the National Archives. According to Marion Johnson, such material as the bullets and JFK's clothing are "likely to remain private. 'There's an unspoken consensus in attitude that prevails,' he said, although the Kennedys have never requested that the items be withheld from public viewing." 44. 18 Mar (NYT) This account of Johnson's comments adds that "some think the election... of Joseph P. Kennedy 2d to Congress has made any shift in National Archives policy less likely to occur anytime soon. John F. Kennedy would have turned 70 years old this May." 45. 15 Feb 87 (Boston Globe) In a list of "101 things every college graduate should know about American history," the assassination is #26. Oswald shot JFK, but his responsibility cannot "be settled beyond question." 46. 8 Feb 87 (Ft. Lauderdale News, in SFC) "A Place to Relive Our Tragedies" "Today, you can see the lone gunman theory played out in the front window of Leon (Buddy) Hough's Tragedy in U.S. History Museum in St. Augustine." There is Buell Wesley Frazier's car, Oswald's comb, and the furnishings from the room he rented from Mary Bledsoe. "Oswald's photo of Kennedy hangs on the wall." (What photo?) 47. 4 Jan 87 (Mandel, SFX) "JFK's legend continues to crumble" 9 EOC 1 -8- A British paper alleged that "Ich bin ein Berliner" means "I am a doughnut," not "I am a Berliner," and that "ein" should have been omitted. (But I have it on good authority that either form is correct.) 48. 14 Mar 87 (Boyd, SFC) The first president to say "Ask not what you can do for your country, but..." was allegedly not JFK, but Harding. 49. 11 Dec 85 (SFC) A letter to the editor, complaining that the December 7 paper didn't mention Pearl Harbor. We'll be writing letters like that in a few years. <> I have no solid news about the possible broadcast of the additional testimony taken in London. I don't think a definite date has been set. After completing the review in 8 EOC 4, I was reminded that Vincent Bugliosi played a significant role in the events described in "The Assassination of RFK," the 1978 book by William Turner and Jonn Christian. He was brought in at the last minute to defend TV station KCOP against charges that it had libeled Rev. Jerry Owen. Bugliosi unsuccessfully offered a defense based on the possibility of a conspiracy in the RFK assassination. 50. 21 Nov 86 (Boston Herald) "I'll prove Oswald guilty, TV prosecutor vows" A short article by Bugliosi. "Based on the Himalayan mountain of uncovered [sic; uncontroverted] evidence against him, anyone who would believe he [Oswald] was innocent would believe someone who told them they had heard a cow speaking Spanish.... Though there are some notable exceptions, for the most part the persistent rantings of the Warren Commission critics, most [sic] remind me of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights." Nasty stuff. One wonders which critics particularly offended Bugliosi. Gandolfo has described (in #10) one of his three phone calls to Bugliosi (about TSBD witness Victoria Adams). Can Bugliosi consider Spence a typical critic? 51. 20 Nov 86 (Carman, SFC) "Putting Oswald on Trial at Last" The confrontation between the lawyers "is often testy and consistently enthralling." 52. 21 Nov 86 (MH) "Oswald TV 'Trial' has the ring of reality" [2 pp.] At normal rates, Bugliosi's time would have cost $300,000, but the lawyers received only nominal fees. 53. 24 Nov (London Guardian) "Guilty at last" "The compulsive charm of the trial was the American-ness of it." 54. 24 Nov (London Daily Telegraph) "The verdict on [LHO]" The jury's guilty verdict was a shock to the reviewer, because of Spence's "eloquence" and "marvellous closing speech." 55. 24 Nov (Independent [England]) "A lone viewer theory" "... there remained a residual doubt in my mind whether so recent, so tragic and so important an event should have been played quite so whole-heartedly for entertainment." 56. 1 Dec (Time) A positive review. "'I defy anyone who is familiar with the Kennedy assassination,' says Bugliosi, 'to look at the 18 hours of tape... and say that the gut issues of the case were not addressed or were treated cosmetically.'" <> 8 EOC 3.3 referred to a computerized version of Jeff Meek's collection of indexes of JFK material (mostly, but not exclusively, published books). Thanks to Daniel Brandt, Bud Fensterwald, and AARC, I now have a copy of this "Meek Index," including Brandt's search program, on five floppies, suitable for use on a IBM-compatible PC with a hard disk. I can make copies for about $5 plus postage. If there is much demand for a version to run on machines without hard disks, it might be possible to get one written. I will probably not get a printout of the index, because it will periodically be expanded. For Brandt's views of the value of computerized databases to progressive 9 EOC 1 -9- causes, see "Technology For Individuals Here At Last." (#57, from "Our Right to Know," F84/W85, 2 pp.) He argues against the application of privacy laws to public-domain information. Contragate may become the first computerized scandal - to be precise, the first in which buffs have access to the kind of indexing and database-building power which only the government used to have. (The Warren Report would have lost credibility even faster if a proper index to the 26 volumes had been available within weeks. On the other hand, the Commission might have done a better job if the staff had better indexes to their own files.) I have not tried to keep up with Contragate, but it is obvious that an immense amount of information has been published, and that there are probably connections and correlations worth making which are not going to be made by the mainstream press or by the Congressional investigations. Floppy disks should be flying back and forth by now. I hear that someone has indexed the Tower Commission report, and I hope that chronologies are being put together and distributed. If you are interested in joining any buff networks which are forming, I suggest contacting Brandt. <> A good source of data and interpretation will be "The Iran-Contra Connection: Secret Teams and Covert Operations in the Reagan Era," by parapolitics experts Peter Dale Scott, Jonathan Marshall (now editorial page editor of the Oakland Tribune) and Jane Hunter (editor of the newsletter "Israeli Foreign Affairs"). It will be published by South End Press, hopefully in June or July. According to a survey of potential Contragate books in the Washington Post, it will probably be the first post-Tower-Report book to appear, and "is likely to be an exercise in pure context." (23 Mar 87; #58 [partial]) For a preview, see: 59. 31 Jan 87 (Scott, Nation) "Our 'Disposal Problem': The Secret Team behind Contragate" [4 pp.] A series of articles by Scott for Pacific News Service, as printed in the Daily Cal, starting the week Hasenfus was shot down: 60. "CIA denial of involvement in Nicaragua echoes past" 61. 14 Oct 86 [2 pp.] "Have we discovered Contra-gate?" 62. 1 Dec [2 pp.] "Iran-Contra deal connected to CIA web of influence" 63. 12 Jan 87 [2 pp.] "Contragate: A CIA web of intrigue; Does Congress have the will to bare CIA terror network?" 64. 4 Feb [2 pp.] "Iran-Contra network recalls CIA abuses" 65. 18 Feb "CIA network supports war, defies the law" 66. 18 Feb "CIA's old networks may aid Contras" 67. 11-14 Nov (Oakland Tribune) A series of editorials: "Disposal problems," "The terrorist blowback," "An army of smugglers," "A region under fire" [7 pp.] 68. 6 Mar (Daily Cal) Report of a forum with the three authors. Is there likely to be any connection between Contraquiddick and the JFK case? (Rep. Louis Stokes of the HSCA is on the Joint Select Committee, by the way.) If you recognize the secret war against Cuba and "the whole Bay of Pigs thing" as part of the JFK-case controversy, you might see some familiar names. Ted Shackley is believed to be the JM/WAVE Station Chief whose testimony to the Church Committee was cited in the Schweiker-Hart Report, for example. An article in "Business Week," of all places, alleged that Rafael "Chi Chi" Quintero "played a key role in the Bay of Pigs invasion and in subsequent efforts to assassinate Fidel Castro." (#69, 29 Dec 86) This "Business Week" article also mentioned an allegation that North was a member of a Special Operations Group in Laos which engaged in political assassinations. An article by Jerry Meldon noted that some men named in recent accounts can be linked to the Cubans in the Letelier murder case. (#70, 22 Feb, Boston Globe, 2 pp.) Less seriously, "Trying Times" (Virginia 9 EOC 1 -10- City, Nevada) has wondered in print if North is really Oswald, and Poindexter "an aging Jack Ruby." (Jan 87, #71) William Safire has given us his "rules of fairness-in-scandalmongering" (#72, 24 Feb, in SFC), including "Do not fail to re-examine old, aborted stories in the light of new evidence." Although I am much more skeptical of conspiracy theories now than when I heard Mark Lane in 1964, I'll take that as encouragement to mention the following: <> There was one reference to Iran in R. W. Johnson's book, "Shootdown." [See 8 EOC 3.8.] He cited a Boston Globe article by Fred Kaplan, which noted, without any special emphasis, that "In the past year, KAL, along with two other Korean companies, bought 60 US Hawk antiair missiles and related spare parts, and then - against State Department regulations forbidding 'third-party transfers' - sold them to Iran." (19 Sep 83, #73) According to the London Daily Mirror, Rep. Feighan raised public questions about KAL arms purchases after the Contragate story broke. (29 Jan 87, #74) (Johnson, by the way, found Hersh's book a "disappointment". [23 Oct 86, London Review of Books, 4 pp., #75]) <> A recent discussion of the psycholinguistic aspects of the tapes of Oswald in New Orleans revived my interest in Oswald's radio adversary Ed Butler. Butler's INCA (the Information Council of the Americas) sounds as spooky as it ever did. Now that we know about MK/ULTRA, the 1967 description (by right-wing columnist Henry J. Taylor) of INCA's Dr. Alton Ochsner as a "consultant to the surgeon general of the U. S. Air Force on the medical side of subversive matters" has a certain resonance; I suppose it refers to brainwashing. (#76, Human Events, 7 Jan 67, 2 pp.) If time permits, I would like to review and rethink what I know about Oswald and INCA; for the moment, I would like to hear from people who share my interest, especially if they have relevant but not generally known information about Butler's activities, in the 1960s or recently. With regard to Q81 (8 EOC 4.10), about LSUNO: In addition to the HSCA claim that Banister ran background investigations on Cuban students there for the CRC, Michael Kurtz's book alleges, based on "confidential interviews," that Oswald and Banister twice visited LSUNO and "engaged students in heated discussions of federal racial policies." (Excerpts: #77) Q82. Someone would like to know about the weight and disposition of various bullet fragments, including those used by the FBI for analysis. (As far as I know, little or none of that information exists.) <> There were four 10-page issues of EOC last year. The minimum rate for a paid subscription is $0.05 per page plus postage, or $2.88 for 1986 in the U.S. and Canada. For postage to Europe, add $0.48 per issue; to Australia, $0.60. Payment must be in U.S. funds; please make any checks payable to me, not to EOC. No subscriptions expire without notice. This issue (and much correspondence) has been delayed by new supervisorial duties in my programming job at U.C. Berkeley, and by my acquisition of the Zenith Z-159 PC system on which this issue was printed. <> Thanks to D. Brandt (#57), B. Cutler (74), M. Ewing (18), T. Gandolfo (10-13), J. Goldberg (56), J. Goodenough (53-55, 75), L. Haapanen (17-18), L. Harris (41), G. Hollingsworth (27, 69), H. Hurt (9, 18, 22), P. Melanson (70), D. Meredith (45), J. Mierzejewski (42), H. Nash (30), L. Picker (26), R. Ranftel (5-6, 15, 19-21, 38-40, 44), M. Reynolds (26), T. Rubinstein (67), B. Rudgard (55), P. Scott (58, 71), C. Silvey (37), M. Sommer, T. Summers (24-25), E. Tatro (50, 73), and G. Winslow (28-29, 31, 52).


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank