ECHOES OF CONSPIRACY December 31, 1987 Vol. 9, \#3 Paul L. Hoch 9 EOC 3 -#- Pro

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Skeptic Tank!

ECHOES OF CONSPIRACY December 31, 1987 Vol. 9, \#3 Paul L. Hoch 9 EOC 3 -#- <> Producer Nigel Turner and Sheila Kogan, representing British-based Central ITV, have already talked with many critics around the country. They appear to have the resources and the desire to pursue various good leads. There is also some interest at PBS. Scott Malone told me that a proposal is in for programs both on "Frontline" (for whom Malone, a buff, has previously worked) and on the science series "Nova." Prospects for the commercial U.S. networks are not so good. According to Liz Smith, the Kennedy family (particularly Jackie) squelched a proposed ABC "documentary salute" planned for next fall. (#1987.137, 21 & 25 Dec 87) Thiswas to be "a glorious look at our recent history"; coverage of the assassinations is not likely to be more popular with the family. I have not yet heard of any major print-media projects. PBS will air a history of television starting in January 1988; I was told that coverage of the assassination will get considerable attention. <> This may be the buffs' last chance to get some investigative resources, official or unofficial, put on the case. We should try to help reporters go after our favorite topics. I would be glad to assist people who would like EOC to serve as a distribution point. Reporters have asked several times for my opinions about areas where some effort could result in major progress on the case and a good story. I have a short list of key areas where I have some information or ideas which are not widely shared. It includes the following topics: * The autopsy, and David Lifton's analysis in "Best Evidence" * The FPCC and Oswald (in the context of COINTELPRO-type operations, and from the perspective of people then active in the FPCC) * The FBI coverage of Oswald in New Orleans, in particular the work of SA Warren DeBrueys * Army Intelligence (as set out in my Third Decade article [see 7 EOC 3.9], including the suppression of a file from the Warren Commission, its later destruction, and the HSCA testimony of Col. Robert Jones) I am not much interested in debating what this personal short list does and does not include (the acoustics or the Mafia, for example). I also have some special interest in issues which are less likely to be central to the assassination, but which might turn into strong stories. For example, * The DPD's lack of prior knowledge of Oswald; the LEIU * The views of Marina Oswald and the Oswald children * The stories of ATF agent Frank Ellsworth and John Thomas Masen * The disposition of the "hot leads" unpublished by the HSCA but, according to just one published report, provided to the Justice Department * RFK's reaction (especially the Haynes Johnson stories involving Enrique Ruiz Williams; 6 EOC 1.6) * Ed Butler of INCA, and his colleagues (9 EOC 1.10) * Antonio de Varona's roles in the secret war against Castro * Comer Clarke, Nina Gadd, "Solo," Oswald's visit to the Cuban Embassy, and Castro's analysis of it * Oswald's interest in Albert Schweitzer College * The Dodd Committee investigations of mail-order gun sales, and of the FPCC (as discussed in Henry Hurt's book) * The Garrison investigation (and the counter-attack, from the perspective of someone who takes seriously the evidence of a conspiracy involving Oswald's New Orleans activities) I know that other buffs are particularly interested in, or actively working on, various issues. (I would refer reporters to them if they showed any interest in those topics. I do not feel at liberty to list the names in EOC at present.) In no particular order, here are some of those topics: * The FBI and CIA material given to the HSCA. (Maybe we can at least get someone to index and summarize what has been released.) * Carlos Marcello; the FBI investigation of Mafia allegations * Antonio Veciana's story; Alpha 66; (Alpha 66 founder Eloy Gutie'rrez Menoyo has been released by Castro after 22 years and might provide an interesting interview; #138, NYT 18 Oct 87, 6 pp.) * Oswald in Mexico; the CIA photos of the mystery man at the Embassy * The Somoza connection (see Scott van Wynsberghe's interesting 13-page compilation in The Third Decade for July 1987) * The Tippit case, especially the DPD investigation * The authenticity of the DPD Dictabelts * Paulino Sierra and his connections (8 EOC 2.7) * JFK's Cuban policies * DeMohrenschildt's Haitian and intelligence connections * The political context of Oswald's New Orleans activities * The legendary James J. Angleton and his friends; Michael Eddowes * A re-examination of Oswald's possessions at the Archives * Oswald's military records I would like EOC readers to send me short position papers on any of these topics, or others, which they would recommend to reporters who are looking for 25th-anniversary angles. Keep in mind the kind of story which will interest the press. Include your address and phone number, if you are willing to be contacted, and references to published material. Unless anonymity is specifically requested, I will list and summarize the submitted information inEOC, and make it available to anyone who wants it. <> The Institute for Media Analysis has announced that it "is acquiring the rights to a major study of the role of the media in shaping the public perception of the investigation of the assassination," by Jim Garrison, who "conducted the only criminal investigation of the assassination." His "study is particularly revealing with respect to the way the press and broadcasting industry worked with powerful interests in and outside of government to trivialize critical views of the official version...." "The Institute will co-publish the book with an established publisher to maximize distribution. Publication is planned to coincide with the twenty- fifth anniversary...." (For the two key pages of a recent IMA pamphlet, ask for #139; all five pages are #140.) I assume that Garrison has only one book in the works, referred to variously as "Coup d'Etat" and "A Farewell to Justice," and that the IMA has focused on the book's relevance to its stated media-related goals. The Institute is based in New York; I do not have its address. The directors include Ellen Ray and William Schaap, formerly of the Covert Action Information Bulletin. I wonder how much Alexander Cockburn, who is on the IMA board of advisors, knows about Garrison's forthcoming book. He recently spoke in Berkeley, and mentioned Daniel Sheehan's Christic Institute - trying to be positive but adding that some of their work "verged on assassinology, if you know what I mean." (That may be a paraphrase.) The audience laughed, and he said, "I guess you do know what I mean." An odd bedfellow for Garrison. <> A substantial excerpt from Garrison's book was published in the April-May 1987 issue of "Freedom." (#141, 11 pages; an earlier excerpt was mentioned at 9 EOC 1.4.) This material, under the title "The Murder Talents of the CIA," looks like it could be from one of the concluding chapters. Not much of the content is explicitly about the JFK case. Garrison reviews some of the CIA's most notorious covert operations, establishing that the Agency developed the capability to perform assassinations. The conspiracy "was expertly organized, employing a variety of clandestine supervising teams, from the control of Russian e'migre's in Dallas to the anti-Castro adventurers in New Orleans...." Garrison infers that JFK was struck by a frangible bullet - one of the CIA's typical "toys" for special operations. He finds it worth a footnote that Charles Cabell of the CIA "happened to be the brother" of the mayor of Dallas; the relevance is not explained. (Pp. 16, 25, 27) Garrison emphasizes the CIA's use of "false sponsors" - "a term used in intelligence, normally associated with an assassination operation, which describes the individual or organization to be publicly blamed after the murder...." In this case, "Oswald, of course, was the original false sponsor," followed by various others from "the government's propaganda mill... In recent years, the emphasis has dwindled to one or the other of two remaining false sponsors: organized crime and Fidel Castro." (Pp. 14-15) Properly, this article marshals many of the arguments against putting Fidel on the grassy knoll - a hypothesis which certainly has been entangled, over the years, with various disinformation efforts generated by people with their own agendas. The case against Castro is not quite as absurd as Garrison makes it sound. Sure, it didn't make sense for Castro to want to kill Kennedy, but if making sense is the only criterion, how can we explain the plots to kill Castro? Nonetheless, Garrison's argument about Oswald's "flamboyant" FPCC activities remains compelling. The alleged "180-degree reversal of John Kennedy's foreign policy immediately following his death" is important to Garrison's thesis, and his account has no room for such complexities of the historical record as the role of the Kennedys in Operation Mongoose. For Garrison, it was simply events like Kennedy's failure to back fully "the CIA's attempted invasion of Cuba" which made the CIA unhappy. (Pp. 14, 16) Garrison himself finds it useful to talk about the Castro hypothesis, with a transparent rhetorical touch: "In order to appreciate the cosmic irrelevance of these red herrings disseminated by the government-sponsored literature, consider, for example, just one of those receiving particular emphasis in recent years as the designated villain: Fidel Castro." A good choice; his article can thus say little about organized crime and dismiss it as just the government's other candidate. (P. 16) Garrison has made it clear in his correspondence that anyone who even raises the possibility of Mafia involvement is a CIA tool. (8 EOC 1.9) Thisarticle includes a few noteworthy remarks about the hypothesis of Mafia involvement and those who advocate it. "As for the inane projection of organized crime as 'Kennedy's assassin,' it is fair to say that organized crime - in contrast to the clandestine apparatus of a modern intelligence agency - is more disorganized than organized. It is one thing to step into a New York restaurant and gun down one of the diners. It is quite another to accomplish the long-range preliminary nurturing of a scapegoat, thereafter break through the defensive net protecting the president and then follow this up by having the government help to cover it up for you." (P. 15) Garrison has a point - like Castro, the Mafia didn't determine what happened at the Bethesda autopsy - but one of the possible models he should have considered is that things were covered up for all sorts of reasons, independent of each other and of the identity of the assassin(s). One sentence is particularly odd: "It goes far beyond the bounds of reason to conclude that the FBI ever could have been persuaded to help conceal any assassination participation by representatives of the Genovese, Gambino, Bonanno, Columbo and Luchese families." (P. 15) Does this mean that the real Mafia consists of just those five families? (Recall his earlier reference to a "New York" restaurant.) Has anyone accused those families of involvement? Does Garrison really believe that Marcello does not head a Mafia family? Or was the FBI not hostile to Mafia families outside New York? Is Garrison just avoiding the obvious arguments that the government could have chosen to cover up involvement by Trafficante (because of his role in the CIA-Mafia plots), Giancana (because of the Exner connection as well), or Marcello (because of the FBI's failure to crack down on his organization)? Garrison concludes by asking "cui bono?" "Who gained by this murder? The application of all possible models makes it clear that the Central Intelligence Agency was a major force which gained directly from the covert operation which killed Kennedy and that it indeed was a covert part of this arm of our own government, however unauthorized it might have been at the command level of the agency, which was directly responsible for the slaughter of the young president." (P. 27) When Garrison asked the same question in 1967, he had a different answer - not the CIA, but Lyndon Johnson. In January 1968, his response was on the front cover of "Ramparts": "Who appointed Ramsey Clark, who has done his best to torpedo the investigation of the case? Who controls the CIA? Who controls the FBI? Who controls the Archives...? Who has the arrogance and the brass to prevent the people from seeing that evidence? Who indeed? The one man who has profited most from the assassination - your friendly President, Lyndon Johnson!" According to the author of the article, Bill Turner, "Garrison made it clear that he was not accusing Johnson of complicity in the crime.... 'Iassume that the President of the United States is not involved,' he said. 'But wouldn't it be nice to know it?'" Garrison's rhetoric certainly fit the anti-LBJ sentiments of much of the country at that time. I suppose Garrison's analytical skills have just improved over the years. Former Attorney General Clark, by the way, has abandoned his torpedoes and is on the Board of Advisers of the Institute for Media Analysis. Turner's article introduced Garrison as "a rackets-buster without parallel in a political freebooting state," who turned down "a Mob proposition that would have netted him $3000 a week as his share of slot machine proceeds." The conspiracy to kill JFK made him "as angry as if... the Mob had attempted to use political clout to get him off their backs.... Only this time... it isn't <>, but the... government which is trying to keep him from his duty." (The Mob in New Orleans? The Luchese family, I presume?) Taking Garrison's methodology seriously - without worrying about his ability to apply "all possible models" - it is clear that "cui bono" may not be the way to solve a Presidential assassination, however useful it might be in ordinary criminal cases. If everyone who benefited from JFK's death and had the capability of killing him had tried to do so, gunmen would have been lined up three deep on the grassy knoll. (I am reminded of a cartoon I saw years ago: a Cuban gunman on the grassy knoll says "That's for the Bay of Pigs"; LBJ stands up and takes a shot at JFK himself; and, in the TSBD window, Oswald fiddles with a stuck bolt and complains about his $20 rifle.) As for media analysis, Garrison has choice words for some unnamed books whose authors have less trouble than him in finding a major publisher. "Invariably disarming and smoothly written, beautifully bound and published under the imprimatur of some well-established and even beloved publishing house, they are infiltrated into the nation's bookstores.... They always contain substantial new tidbits of previously unknown material (unknown largely because, prior to these particular publications, such material had been kept firmly in the hands of the federal agencies until given to or 'uncovered by' these particular writers.... [E]ach such book, with the aid ofexpensive supportive advertising and marketing, becomes a best seller." (P.15) I'm afraid that I can't deduce which particular books have drawn Garrison's wrath; I see none on my shelf with especially beautiful bindings. <> In October 1988, Warner Books is scheduled to publish "Promises to Keep," a first novel by lawyer George Bernau. We can expect a massive promotion campaign, since the publisher paid $750,000 for the rights. The manuscript "reviews American history during 1964-1969" under the premise that President Jack Cassidy has survived an assassination attempt. "The prodigiously researched novel grows out of the author's two-decades-long 'obsession' with the Kennedy assassination, a single-minded focus that Warner senses much of the country shares with the first-time author." (#142, Pub. Wkly, 14 Aug 87) With the help of an FBI agent, "President Cassidy 'starts to unravel the conspiracy to assassinate him,'... Bernau said." Apparently the conspiracy involved Oswald, but the book "is not necessarily Bernau's best guess of what happened in Dallas." (#143, LAT in Sacramento Bee, 23 Nov 87, 2 pp.; #144: abrief item on a forthcoming four-hour ABC movie based on the book, 5 Jan 88) Perhaps this theme does have a broad appeal. The 70th anniversary of JFK's birth was the occasion for a column entitled "If only Oswald, Dallas had been just a dream." (#145, 29 May 87, David Nyhan, Boston Globe, in the St. Paul Pioneer Press) If Kennedy had lived, "one is entitled to a scenario where he would have skillfully withdrawn American combat forces from Southeast Asia," according to an editorial in the Lincoln Journal. (#146, Oct 87) <> As noted in the last EOC, there is a 49-page chapter on the assassination in "Kelley: The Story of an FBI Director." ($17.95, co-authored by James K. Davis) Reviewer Robert Sherrill observes that "Other chroniclers of the Kennedy assassination have made equally severe judgments of the bureaucracy's role, but Mr. Kelley has a special call on our attention because he is, or at least he comes across in this book as, the essential bureaucrat." (#147, NYTBR, 13 Sep 87) Kelley's analysis involves more than routinely bungling bureaucrats, and indeed seems worthy of treatment and followup as a news story. Perhaps because the publisher is Andrews, McMeel & Parker, based in Kansas City, the book seems to have gotten relatively little attention. There are not many former FBI Directors around, and Kelley takes a strong position. Kelley concludes that "had our intelligence communities pooled their information on Oswald, had the Oswald-Kostikov-Mexico City information been distributed among the various agencies..., had the Secret Service... been aware of all the Oswald data, and had the information been distributed to the New Orleans and Dallas FBI field offices in time for them to act then, without doubt, JFK would not have died in Dallas on November 22, 1963." Specifically, if Hosty had known about Kostikov's KGB connections, "the FBI in Dallas would have (after learning that the president was coming to Dallas) undoubtedly taken all necessary steps to neutralize Oswald - perhaps by interviewing him on November 22." (Pp. 297, 274) The authors acknowledge SA James Hosty (like Kelley, a recent resident of Kansas City), who "devoted considerable time and energy to assisting us with data on the Kennedy assassination." (P. 317) A source familiar with Hosty's views told EOC that much of this chapter reflects them, and that Kelley appears to have adopted much of Hosty's speculation, in addition to openly focusing on the story as Hosty experienced it. It is nice to have Hosty's views out, even if not under his own authorship and control. Kelley headed the FBI from July 1973 to February 1978. This covers the first part of the HSCA investigation, but there is no mention of the HSCA. There is a passing reference to the Edwards and Schweiker-Hart Committee investigations; "nothing substantive came out of them." The chapter deals at length with the disclosure of the Oswald note to Hosty, and the internal FBI investigation; on a casual reading, the facts seem familiar. Kelley attributes the coverup to "the Dallas group," including nobody from HQ. Perhaps to distance the FBI from Hosty's speculation, the chapter is subtitled "My Appraisal after Leaving the Director's Chair." Kelley disclaims interest in "theories about the Mafia, the Orient connection, the true Jack Ruby role, etc." (P. 255) He remains troubled by how the assassination could have happened, in light of the government's prior information on Oswald. Kelley is surprisingly indiscreet about sources. He refers to CIA wiretaps and "ultrasensitive CIA surveillance cameras" at the Soviet Embassy, and "some very highly placed informants within the Embassy itself." The FBI's informant "Solo" "met with Castro after the assassination." (Pp. 268-9) The chapter makes much of the Kostikov meeting ("The importance of Kostikov cannot be overstated" [p. 268]), as did Hosty in his LWT mock-trial "testimony." Hosty's position is apparently that he would have reacted strongly if he had known Kostikov's particular connection with the KGB. Itstill surprises me, however, that a contact with any Soviet Embassy official did not trigger as much of a response. I think Hosty was unfairly blamed for much of his handling of the Oswald case, and I can see why he would want to pass some of the blame up the line on this point. The same internal FBI review which punished Hosty censured a supervisor at FBIHQ for "failing to instruct field to press more vigorously after subject made contact with Soviet Embassy." (#148, p. 9 of Gale memo to Tolson, 10 Dec 63) Ironically, Kelley notes (in another chapter) that most agents feared telling Hoover the truth (pp. 39-40), which makes Gale's critical judgments of both Hosty and the supervisor particularly suspect. Without spelling out his reasoning, Kelley says that "It appeared [sic] that Oswald confided to the Soviets and the Cubans that he had information on a CIA plot to assassinate Fidel Castro," which he would exchange for visas. "It is possible to assume that at the Soviet Embassy he offered to kill President Kennedy.... Despite the Kostikov meeting I personally think the Soviets informed Oswald that they wanted no part of his scheme." Kelley still calls Oswald a "lone madman." (Pp. 268-9, 296) The fact-checking for this chapter is not totally reliable. The authors say that Oswald was arrested twice in New Orleans for disturbing the peace, on August 9, 1963, and a week later. And did Mark Lane really write a book suggesting that JFK's death resulted from "a Mafia plot"? (Pp. 265, 228) More to the point, there seems to have been no attempt to shore up a speculative account of the post-assassination reaction of high officials in Washington by reference to testimony or documents. Kelley says that what William C. Sullivan discovered about the Kostikov connection in the Oswald file "must have astounded him.... [He] probably went straight to Hoover [and then to the NSC] No doubt, President Johnson was then apprised." This is what led to "the silence imposed on Jim Hosty" - e.g., the order to stop cooperating with the Dallas Police. (Pp. 293-4) Such actions by Sullivan are just the sort which would have been carefully recorded for or by Hoover, I think. Kelley's reconstruction is plausible enough as speculation, but it would have been nice if, while Director, he had asked someone to research it. (Or did Hosty get through to Kelley only after Kelley left the Bureau?) Kelley attributes LBJ's warning about rumors which could lead to war to "a number of researchers, including Anthony Summers and Edward Jay Epstein," rather than to the primary sources (Warren and LBJ), so it seems plausible that he just relied on Hosty's speculation. The points relating to Sullivan, and other specific items in Hosty's account, should be carefully checked out. For example, Hosty says that the two key Soviet-related documents were removed from his Oswald file shortly before his Warren Commission testimony, so that he "could not substantiate" his account of his controversial encounter with DPD Lt. Jack Revill. "It has since been learned" that the documents were removed under orders from Sullivan, who "almost certainly received his orders from the White House," which wanted to avoid a confrontation with the Russians. (Pp. 295-6) This is a fairly serious charge; as far as I know, it is new and unsubstantiated. Does Hosty think that the Kostikov contact means that the KGB was in fact behind the assassination? It is hard to tell from Kelley's chapter; his emphasis on Kostikov certainly raises that question. Hosty backed down a bit on LWT, conceding that there is "no evidence to that effect" when Bugliosi said, "you are certainly not suggesting to this jury that Kostikov... had anything to do with the assassination." Does Hosty now think that the alleged pre-assassination withholding of information from him was just bureaucratic bungling (Kelley's view), or something worse? A sinister Oswald-Kostikov meeting is a bit like the political mirror image of a meeting between Oswald and Maurice Bishop. (One difference is that Oswald did meet with Kostikov - unless you are convinced there was an impostor in Mexico; I am not.) I have never been swayed from the Warren Commission's view, which seems to have been, in essence, that Kostikov might have been asked to deal with a peculiar unknown American with a visa problem. Or maybe Oswald-Kostikov is more like Oswald-Shaw-Ferrie, or the Marita Lorenz caravan to Dallas. On the other hand, sometimes sinister people do get together - for example, Desmond FitzGerald did meet personally with AM/LASH. <> The publication of "Disinformation, Misinformation, and the 'Conspiracy' to Kill JFK Exposed" was noted at 9 EOC 1.5. The dust jacket says that the author, Armand Moss, "French by birth, is an American citizen whose previous books [sic] on the Kennedy assassination were published in France. He has also published books on French literary history," i.e., Baudelaire. The book itself makes no reference to his 1980 "biography," "Lee H. Oswald: la fausse e'nigme de Dallas." (240 pages; has any EOC reader seen it?) His target audience may be his fellow Frenchmen, many millions of whom <> be wrong, he believes. Moss is at least not coy about his thesis: "The object of this study is to demonstrate that if the United States is no longer in the eyes of its allies the great country it was in the 1960s, it is in large part because of the campaign of disinformation waged by the Kremlin at every opportunity...." For example, "During the years of war in Vietnam, draft dodgers and deserters felt perhaps they were justified when they read interviews with Jim Garrison in <>." (Pp. 181, 137) Disinformation on the assassination was not only a major part of that campaign, but the driving force behind the controversy, along with "authors hoping for a best-seller, and... serious writers who relied on chapter 7 of the <>." (P. 182) Much of the book is just an ineffective attack on the critics, the HSCA, and the press, combined with fulsome praise of the Warren Commission (except for Wesley Liebeler). Moss does not argue that the KGB killed Kennedy; Oswald did it alone. Hethinks that real Marxists don't go in for assassination - a line suggested in 1963-64 by a united front ranging (if I remember right) from Dean Rusk to Fidel Castro and the CPUSA. Why devote space in EOC to this book? Some of it is worth quoting, to establish that the book is not reliable enough for anti-buffs to use against us. The silly stuff provided an easy way to fill up this issue. It's easy to ridicule the book just by quoting it, and that isn't even unfair. Since I don't know Moss, I don't worry about offending him. I don't mind showing that I am not hostile only to people who are nominally on my side, like Garrison. Also, the publisher was kind enough to send the review copy I requested. There is always the possibility that viewing the JFK case as "disinfor- mation" could catch on in influential circles, in a more sinister form - i.e., blaming the Evil Empire for the assassination. (The well-known anti-Soviet writer Robert Moss is Australian, and presumably not Armand's relative.) Let me know if anyone important is taking Moss seriously. I plan to get a bit more substantive in a later EOC about flaws in his analysis of the case, and also about his possibly valid insights into Oswald's character. (Not all his insights are persuasive: "Oswald may have decided that the right place for his gun, the proof of his virility, was in his room." (P. 88)) If you can't wait, my preliminary draft notes are available now. (8 pp., #149) Moss focuses on the Soviet newsweekly <> - it is like having the CP's instructions laid out before us, he explains. (Pp. 22-3) This leads to some bizarre perspectives, even in chapter titles: the HSCA is covered in the chapter entitled "New Commissions of Investigation and <>." Moss's attempt to Red-bait Mark Lane and the National Guardian is either incompetent or half-hearted - the Guardian opposed the Marshall Plan and carried ads for the NY School for Marxist Studies! (P. 31) There are some obvious errors, both in editing ("Michael L. Kurtz's <>") and in substance. As an "outright lie," Moss dismisses the valid <> claim that "Ruby was an 'FBI informer.'" Ruby's links to organized crime are preposterously minimized: "The fact was that Ruby had grown up in a poor neighborhood in Chicago and that some of his playmates had come to no good." Also, "The individuals in the photograph were [not Hunt and Sturgis but] two tramps known in the neighborhood." (Pp. 157, 141, 145-6, 135) Moss' orientation towards France - he admits to having started with "a rough manuscript written in a combination of French and English" - shows in some minor points of style. For example, in Easterling, Henry Hurt failed to "recognize a typical case of ethylic mythomania." (Moss is right, though.) (Pp. vi, 176) More seriously, Moss is off-base on the political context of the assassination and the dynamics of the investigation. For example, "As for the 'racists' who were accused [of involvement], they could not have cared less what happened to him: desegregation had started with Dwight D. Eisenhower, was carried on by Kennedy, and in the event of his demise, would be implemented by Lyndon Johnson, who would automatically succeed him and apply the Democratic party's platform." (Pp. 19-20) Moss is incredibly pro-Warren Commission (much worse than me), except concerning Liebeler's chapter 7: "Millions of pages have been written about 'the conspiracy'; not a single one contains any valid information. In contrast, not a single sentence in the <> concerning the major points - Oswald's guilt, the total absence of any evidence of a conspiracy, and Ruby's role - needs to be altered." (P. 133) "All the necessary information on the facts was provided by the investigative agencies... to the Warren Commission, which published them. Thecommission's files, deposited in the National Archives, do not give any supplementary information." (P. 207-8) "...certain [WC] witnesses of limited intellectual capacity gave testimony in which mistakes were so obvious that the commission did not consider it essential to publish their declarations with the other exhibits. The commission's critics used these omissions to accuse it of having discriminated among the testimonies." (P. 38; no footnote) The FOIA produced a resurgence of interest in 1975, when "researchers could consult [WC] documents kept in the National Archives...." (What was I doing there in 1970, then?) (P. 132) "Two early studies [by Dwight Macdonald and John Sparrow] deserve a particular mention." (P. 208) Moss's work has certainly earned a place alongside Sparrow's, as an often cranky and wrong-headed curiosity piece. <> Ray Ritchie has compiled an index to the first four years (#1-28) of Gary Mack's valuable newsletter, "Coverups!" The 37 pages cover subjects as well as names. You can order a bound copy for $5.25 from Ritchie at 5 Belmont Avenue, Randolph, ME 04345, to show your appreciation and to support his work. (Hehas almost completed a cross-reference listing of documents cited in the footnotes of the HSCA volumes, which will be useful to students of the HSCA investigation.) Also, while some local copying prices remain low, I can provide an unbound photocopy for $2.50 postpaid (#150). Users of the computerized AARC database should be aware that it does not purport to be a complete index of the books it refers to. (Details: #151) By the way, I have no index to EOC; any IBM-compatible volunteers? <> The anniversary rated two sentences in the "On This Date" feature in the S.F. Examiner. I have seen no press reports mentioning the controversy. Associated Press carried a photo of an unnamed family at JFK's grave, and noted that Ethel Kennedy and Evelyn Lincoln had visited Arlington Cemetery; Edward Kennedy was there on November 20, RFK's birthday. (#152, SFC, 23 Nov) <> Perhaps the closest thing to anniversary coverage of the assassination was part of a four-hour dramatization, "Hoover vs. the Kennedys: The Second Civil War." The title is misleading, since the subtitle refers to the potential explosiveness of the civil rights movement. The program is mostly about how Hoover and the Kennedys dealt with it, and with each other. On the assassination, the main theme is that RFK did not really want to know if his suspicions of a conspiracy were true. What may have really happened is summarized in a meeting - completely fictional, as far as I know - in which Clyde Tolson tells Hoover about the evidence of a conspiracy which is his to reveal: Oswald's alleged possession of Ferrie's library card (!), which links him to Marcello, the Mafia, and thus the plots against Castro; also, the indirect links from Oswald, his uncle, and Ruby to Marcello. Hoover says that he would lose his job if things like Oswald's note to Hosty and the FBI's taps on gangsters threatening the Kennedys came out. My impression of the program as a whole was that the writers were careful to use accurate quotes where possible; there were many familiar lines, but they made such events as RFK's meeting with CIA officers about the Mafia plots seem less than realistic. It was evidently thought necessary to explain the key events of the Kennedy administration for the under-forty audience. (Do British historical dramas seem better just because of the writing and acting, or does it help to be unfamiliar with the history?) The reviews I saw tended to be negative, particularly about the acting and about the whole idea of another Kennedy drama. (All 17 Nov: #153, SFX; #154, LAT; #155, SFC ["The second-worst show I've ever seen on TV, surpassed only by 'Roller Girls'"]) For the views of Daniel Selznick, who also produced "Blood Feud" (5 EOC 2.4), see #156 (3 pp., 15 Nov, SFC). (Photos: #157; comment on the poor ratings: #158, SFC, 19 Nov) There is a nine-page section on the assassination in "Secrecy and Power: The Life of J. Edgar Hoover," by Richard G. Powers. It is critical of Hoover, mostly in unsurprising ways, mostly based on secondary sources such as the Schweiker Report. (If one must use secondary sources, that is a good one.) Powers argues that "Hoover's greatest failure under Kennedy may have been his blindness to the implications of the rabid opposition the president was attracting, and from this followed his failure to provide the White House with pointed commentary and intelligence on the magnitude of the threat to Kennedy." (P. 390, citing Schlesinger's RFK book) This may have been why the fictional Hoover in the Selznick production was shown as dismissing a specific (but undescribed) threat against JFK from Dallas. <> Tom Mangold, who is writing a biography of Angleton for Simon & Schuster, would appreciate hearing from anyone with documents or other information about his intelligence career, definitely including Nosenko and other matters relating to the JFK assassination. His researcher, Jeff Goldberg, is an expert on the JFK case, formerly with the AIB. If you are privy to unfamiliar details or have ideas to share, write Goldberg at 1410 26th St. NW, #2, Washington, DC 20007. Mangold, co-author with Tony Summers of "The File on the Tsar," can be reached c/o BBC TV, London W12 7RJ. Angleton's close friend and employee, William Hood, is also working on a biography. (See #159, Pub. Wkly, 18 Sep, on Hood's book, and #160, WP, 20 Dec, on both projects.) <> The newly formed Association for Responsible Dissent, an anti-covert- action group, includes several well-known ex-CIA agents, such as J. Stockwell, P. Agee, D. MacMichael - and Ilona Marita Lorenz (#161, WP in Oakland Trib, 27 Nov 87). She now says that her son by Castro is working as a doctor, although she originally thought (and was told by the FBI and CIA) that he was dead at birth. She claims that later she was part of Operation 40, did a black-bag job for the FBI, and was set up by the CIA with Pe'rez Jime'nez of Venezuela. (#162, Village Voice, 8 Dec 87, 2 pp) It is hard to decide just how much of this biography to dismiss, but I am even less inclined now to believe that she went to Dallas in November 1963 (tomeet Jack Ruby) with Oswald, Sturgis, Hemming, and others. (10 HSCA 93) <> The HSCA reported an intriguing story of contacts by DeMohrenschildt with particularly interesting U.S. intelligence figures, and with Clemard Charles. The HSCA staff report described Charles rather discreetly, focusing on his contacts with U.S. intelligence. In his book on the Nugan Hand affair, Jonathan Kwitny calls him a "banker and bagman" for Duvalier, jailed (I wonder when) allegedly for "overrewarding himself." (#163, 2 pp. The book, "The Crimes of Patriots," has much on Ed Wilson.) In 1979, Charles became the candidate of Mitch WerBell (!) to be President of Haiti if Baby Doc could be overthrown. Author Herb Gold has reported that Papa Doc celebrated the assassination and let it be known that he had directed voodoo magic against JFK. A tangled web. <> Lane has added his perspective on the controversy over what the FBI allegedly told Kenny O'Donnell not to tell the Warren Commission. (See 9EOC2.2) "For almost a quarter of a century those closest to Kennedy have conspired, upon the initiative of the FBI, to conceal... the truth...." O'Donnell was questioned for the WC by Arlen Specter, "whose rise to prominence was over the body of the president and the truth about his death." Prof. Norman Redlich "achieved sufficient fame in suppressing the facts... to secure promotion." Dave Powers "declined to testify" and submitted an affidavit instead, apparently fearing probing questions. In 1975, O'Neill was "the major obstacle" to the establishment of the HSCA. (#164, "O'Neill Blows Lid Off JFK Coverup," Spotlight, 5 Oct 87, 2 pp.) "If FBI agents had sufficient temerity to advise two important White House aides to commit perjury..., one can only imagine how they influenced the testimony of the hundreds of other witnesses...." As I noted earlier, one can think about this story before letting our imagination take over; there is probably more to it than the villainy of the FBI. "Spotlight" also noted that Lane has joined Victor Marchetti on the staff of "Zionist Watch," a new newsletter. Marchetti called Lane "one of the most articulate and best-known American Jewish critics of Zionism." (#165) <> Thanks to J. Davison (#144), J. Goldberg (160), G. Hollingsworth (142-3, 147, 153, 154, 159, 164-5), J. Lesar (148), M. Longton (141), J.Marshall (139-140, 161), R. Ranftel (162-3), R. Ritchie (150), C. Silvey (146), and T. Summers (138). I am far behind in some correspondence; please remind me if you are expecting copies or specific information.


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