Friday, December 20, 2013

Two articles by Joseph Lazzaro in the International Business Times

JFK Assassination: Jacqueline Kennedy, RFK Did Not Believe Only One Person Assassinated President John F. Kennedy

on December 20 2013 1:44 PM

One week after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy privately communicated to the leadership of the Soviet Union that they did not believe accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.

Jacqueline Kennedy and RFK wanted the Soviet leadership to know that “despite Oswald’s connections to the communist world, the Kennedys believed that the president was felled by domestic opponents.”
Publicly, Jacqueline Kennedy endorsed the Warren Commission’s conclusion that Oswald acted alone, and it was not until 1999 that her and RFK’s private views were made known, when they were revealed by historians Aleksandr Fusenko and Timothy Naftali in their book on the Cuban Missile Crisis, “One Hell of a Gamble: Khrushchev, Castro, and Kennedy, 1958-1964.”
In the book, the historians reported that when Jacqueline Kennedy’s artist friend William Walton traveled to Moscow on a previously scheduled trip a week after President Kennedy’s assassination, Walton carried the above “felled by domestic opponents” message from Jacqueline Kennedy and RFK to another friend of the Kennedy administration, Georgi Bolshakov, a Russian diplomat. Bolshakov served as a back-channel link between the White House and the Kremlin during the October 1962 missile crisis.
Jacqueline Kennedy’s Analysis: Little Media Coverage
At the time of the book’s publication in 1999, Jacqueline Kennedy and RFK’s private views received very little attention from U.S. media outlets.
Further, in 2013, despite the enormous amount of media coverage of the recent 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination, when hundreds of media outlets sent reporters and TV crews to Dallas, there was relatively little coverage of what Jacqueline Kennedy, RFK or other public officials in office in 1963 thought occurred on Nov. 22, 1963, in Dealey Plaza in Dallas, even though many public officials have made their opinions and analyses known publicly since then. Here are a few of note:
“I think the [Warren Commission] report, to those who have studied it closely, has collapsed like a house of cards ... the fatal mistake the Warren Commission made was not to use its own investigators, but instead to rely on the CIA and FBI personnel, which played directly into the hands of senior intelligence officials who directed the cover-up."
-- U.S. Sen. Richard Schweiker, R-Penn., and former member of the Church Committee, which investigated U.S. intelligence community activities, including illegal operations (1976)
I told the FBI what I had heard [two shots from behind the grassy knoll fence], but they said it couldn't have happened that way and that I must have been imagining things. So I testified the way they wanted me to. I just didn't want to stir up any more pain and trouble for the family."
-- Ken O’Donnell, former Special Assistant to President Kennedy (1987) 
“Hoover lied his eyes out to the [Warren] Commission -- on Oswald, on Ruby, on their friends, the bullets, the guns, you name it …”
-- Hall Boggs, Majority Leader and Former Warren Commission member 
“Were they aiming at the president?” President Lyndon B. Johnson said.
"They were aiming directly at the president. There’s no question about that," Director Hoover said. "This telescopic lens brings close to you like they were sitting right beside you."
-- Lyndon Johnson, president of the United States, to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, on Nov. 29, 1963
“I never heard the shot that hit me.”
-- Texas Gov. John Connally, who had been seated in front of President Kennedy in the presidential limousine in Dallas
At The Center Of The Nightmare
Of course, in the years following the nation’s dark and ignominious day in 1963, many talented assassination researchers have offered rigorous, systematic analyses of what happened in Dealey Plaza, but the observations and thoughts of Jacqueline Kennedy, though often overlooked, are extremely pertinent: She was the closest witness to the crime and its intended victim, the president. She was, more than anyone else, at the center of the nightmare.
Moreover, the observations of the aforementioned and other public officials are data points of consequence and therefore relevant. These are not the observations of ill-informed adults or mere conjecture. To public investigators, these witnesses represent adults who had access to at least some of the hard evidence available, and, in regard to the Dealey Plaza witnesses, they comprise only those with first-hand evidence or observations.
A Preponderance Of Evidence
Further, if the above observations and thoughts had occurred in isolation, they would still be significant in the investigation of the president’s murder. However, when combined with the suspicious activity, anomalies and commonality of interests among key parties in the case, they form a preponderance of evidence that, at minimum, begs additional questions. Those suspicious activities/anomalies/commonalities include:
• Lee Harvey Oswald didn’t fire when the presidential motorcade was close.
• Gov. John Connally never heard the shot that injured him.
• Aristocrat George de Mohrenschildt befriended working-class Lee Harvey Oswald.
• Authorities arrested Oswald in about 90 minutes.
• Oswald’s paraffin test was negative: The test determined that he may have fired a revolver that day, but not a rifle.
• After an earlier arrest, in August 1963 in New Orleans, Oswald called a specific person at the FBI.
• Two days after President Kennedy was murdered, Jack Ruby murdered Oswald.
• Most Parkland Hospital emergency room physicians said President Kennedy had an exit wound, indicative of a gunshot from the front, but the Bethesda, Maryland, autopsy that followed did not describe the back-of-the-head wound as an exit wound.
• At least 21 law enforcement personnel in Dealey Plaza thought a gunshot came from the front of the presidential motorcade.
• The presidential limousine was washed before it was inspected for blood, bone and tissue evidence.
• No one physically saw Oswald at the TSBD’s sixth floor window at 12:30 p.m. Central Time, the time of the assassination.
• At three committee investigations, the Central Intelligence Agency either hid evidence or obstructed the committee from obtaining it. 
• Despite threatening to disclose “classified things” to the Soviet Union after defecting, Oswald was never punished by the U.S. government for doing so. Then, when Oswald said he wanted to return, despite saying he was a communist, and it being the height of the Cold War, the U.S. government let him return.
• Despite being interrogated for 10-12 hours after being arrested on Nov. 22, 1963, crime investigators did not make a legal, stenographic or audio recording of the interrogation.
• After Oswald was allowed to return to the United States, he was surrounded by talented, accomplished middle/upper class citizens at nearly every key point in his life through Nov. 24, 1963, even though Oswald held largely blue collar, low-pay jobs.
Making Public JFK Assassination Files Held By CIA Would Clarify Much
Further, the U.S. intelligence community in general, and the Central Intelligence Agency specifically, could resolve many of the questions/anomalies above by making public more than 1,100 classified files related to the JFK assassination.
In particular, when made public, the classified files of CIA Officer George Joannides; CIA Officer David Atlee Philips, who was involved in pre-assassination surveillance of Oswald; Birch D O’Neal, who as counter-intelligence head of the CIA, opened a file on defector Oswald; CIA Officers Howard Hunt; William King Harvey; Anne Goodpasture; and David Sanchez Morales -- when made public, these files will help the nation determine what really happened in Dallas, who Oswald was and how the CIA handled Oswald’s file. 
However, the CIA says the Joannides’ files and the files of the CIA officers -- which the Agency said are “not believed relevant” to the JFK assassination -- must remain classified until at least 2017, and perhaps longer, due to U.S. national security. But the CIA’s national security claim has never been independently verified, according to  Moderator Jefferson Morley.
Morley is the plaintiff in the ongoing Morley v. CIA suit, which seeks to make public Joannides’ classified files.
In Morley’s suit, his attorney has responded to the CIA’s latest brief, on the issue of court fees. Having won on appeal twice, Morley argues that the standard practice of the U.S government paying court fees for a successful appeal should apply. The CIA counters that the litigation has not generated any significant new information, and therefore the government should not have to pay the court fees. The issue is now in the hands of U.S. Judge Richard Leon.
It must be underscored that, to date, there is no smoking gun or incontrovertible evidence of a plot or conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy, but there is a pattern of suspicious activity, along with a series of anomalies and a commonality of interests among key parties, that compel additional research and the release of non-public documents.
Further, the CIA probably is not covering up some tectonic, systemic crisis-triggering secret about the assassination of President Kennedy, or even evidence of a colossal Agency operational failure that would prompt the American people to call for a dismantling of the national security state apparatus.
However, until all of the JFK assassination files are made public, the pattern of suspicious activity, anomalies, commonality of interests, along with the observations of the investigators and public officials, form a preponderance of evidence that strongly suggest that -- at minimum -- the American people do not know the full truth regarding the assassination of President Kennedy, and that the Agency is hiding something. 
JFK Assassination - 50th Anniversary - 4 Files The CIA Must Make Public: Analysis

Scholar and assassination researcher Josiah Thompson, author of “Six Seconds in Dallas,” said it best in the 2007 documentary film “Oswald’s Ghost”:

“As long as a mystery resides at the center of this case, it can’t be closed,” Thompson said.

That case, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, remains, for many, an open and unsolved murder case.

It remains open because the Dallas Police Department never had a chance to conduct a standard criminal investigation of the assassination. At the direction of Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Central Intelligence Agency officials present in Dallas, President Kennedy’s body was quickly flown on Air Force One back to Washington, D.C., that Friday afternoon.

The institution that did investigate the assassination, the Warren Commission, concluded in September 1964, about one year after the event, that Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, fired three shots from the Texas School Book Depository in Dealey Plaza and killed President Kennedy, while also wounding Texas Gov. John Connally and bystander James Tague.

The Warren Commission also concluded that Dallas nightclub/strip club owner Jack Ruby also acted alone when he shot and murdered Oswald two days after his arrest, on Nov. 24, 1963, as Oswald was being transported from Dallas police headquarters to a county jail.

And almost since the day the Warren Commission issued its report, it has been criticized for being implausible, unconvincing and grossly slipshod in its investigation procedures -- particularly for failing to collect 100 percent of the evidence, and for failing to analyze evidence it had collected -- and for other serious violations of basic protocols for criminal investigations.

Later, in 1978, a second investigation, by the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations, concluded that President Kennedy was very likely assassinated as a result of a plot/conspiracy, but the committee was unable to identify the other gunmen or the extent of the conspiracy.

To date, there’s no “smoking gun,” or, in other words, there’s no incontrovertible evidence of a plot/conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy, but there is a pattern of suspicious activity, along with a series of anomalies and a commonality of interests among key parties that compel additional research and the release to the public of key documents.

With the above in mind, four files -- when made public by the Central Intelligence Agency -- will help determine what really happened on Nov. 22, 1963, in Dallas.

The files are ranked from least important (number 4) to most (number 1):

4) David Atlee Phillips

David Atlee Phillips’ operational and management files should be made public. A Central Intelligence Agency officer for 25 years, Phillips’ highest rank was as the CIA’s chief of operations in the Western Hemisphere. An adept and creative strategist, perhaps Phillips’ best skill was his conceptualization of psychological warfare operations.
Research also suggests that Phillips, while working undercover in 1963, was involved in pre-assassination surveillance of Lee Harvey Oswald. Moderator Jefferson Morley, who is also an assassination researcher, said the CIA retains four files containing 606 pages of material on Phillips, who died in 1987.

3) Birch D. O’Neal

Birch D. O’Neal was head of the CIA’s counterintelligence office, which had tracked Lee Harvey Oswald from 1959 to 1963, and he reported to counterintelligence chief James Jesus Angleton. According to the House Select Committee on Assassinations, Angleton’s counterintelligence group opened a file on defector Oswald, and it also opened his mail under the CIA’s HTLINGUAL program run by O’Neal.

Further, while the HSCA qualifies in its report that “the existence of a 201 file does not necessarily connote any actual relations or contact with the CIA,” an argument can be made that if there were planned, repeated, mission-linked contacts between Oswald and the CIA, and/or attempts to manipulate Oswald without Oswald knowing about it, O’Neal likely recorded it in his files.

2) E. Howard Hunt

Those familiar with the 1972 Watergate scandal that resulted in the 1974 resignation of President Richard Nixon will remember E. Howard Hunt, who co-engineered the Watergate office building bugging and burglary of the Democratic National Committee and also conducted other undercover operations for the Nixon Administration.

Before his Nixon White House service days, Hunt, of course, was no stranger to covert operations. In 1963, then-CIA Director Richard Helms made Hunt the chief of the CIA’s Domestic Contacts Division.

In the final months/weeks of his life, E. Howard Hunt was interviewed by his son, Saint John Hunt, to whom he made several assertions regarding the assassination of President Kennedy, including individuals who were purportedly involved in the alleged plot/conspiracy, which E. Howard Hunt opaquely called “the Big Event,” and which person (not himself) had masterminded the plot. 

1) William King Harvey

One of the most highly regarded CIA officers of his time, Bill Harvey has been described as cerebral to the nth degree, without sentiment, highly skilled, and in possession of great stamina and determination.

He also was, arguably, the public policy official with the most contempt for President Kennedy and his brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.

When the CIA created an organization in 1960 capable of planning and undertaking assassinations, it was given the code name ZR-RIFLE and the agency put Harvey in charge.
Further, according to author and assassination researcher Bill Simpich, Harvey was the only real rival to the CIA’s James Jesus Angleton in CIA counterintelligence in this era; Harvey ran the CIA’s counterintelligence division prior to Angleton, then served as head of the CIA’s prestigious base in Berlin. In short, Harvey likely knew of the same secrets as Angleton.

Also: George de Mohrenschildt

A person not on Morley’s list, but one who also is associated with the events of Nov. 22, 1963, is George de Mohrenschildt, arguably one of the most fascinating -- and mystifying  -- figures to make a home in the Dallas area during that period.

De Mohrenschildt, who was 52 in 1963, was a conservative, sophisticated Russian émigré and petroleum geologist/professor who settled in Dallas and established many contacts in Dallas oil, business and conservative circles, including the very conservative Texas Crusade for Freedom.

In 1957, de Mohrenschildt was debriefed by the Central Intelligence Agency after traveling to Yugoslavia to conduct a geological field survey for the U.S. State Department that was sponsored by the International Cooperation Administration. During the trip de Mohrenschildt was accused by Yugoslav authorities of making drawings of military installations and fortifications. Upon returning to the U.S., the CIA debriefed him, both in Washington, D.C., and in Dallas.

De Mohrenschildt, to summarize, was a conservative, refined, accomplished, oil sector-based, White Russian émigré, with at least one U.S. intelligence community interaction. And with whom did de Mohrenschildt strike up a friendship in Dallas? Lee Harvey Oswald. Why would a conservative, business-oriented, sophisticated geologist in Texas’ prime sector -- oil -- one who was active in right-wing political circles, strike up a friendship with a pro-communist, non-middle-class, malcontent outsider earning slightly more than the minimum wage? And this occurred in the heart of the conservative, communist-hating, commerce-oriented hotbed that was Dallas in the early 1960s. DeMohrenschildt’s accomplished and multilayered life is so complex that it will require extensive interviews with key CIA officials who must be deposed, over several months, with sworn testimony provided, under penalty of perjury for false statements, in order for the public to learn more about him.

Accordingly, a special committee comprised of five researchers -- three selected by the U.S. president, one selected by Congress and one selected by the Supreme Court -- should be appointed and empowered to subpoena all records and information on de Mohrenschildt and report its findings within one year of the committee’s first meeting.

CIA Files – Filling In The Information Gaps

The Warren Commission report, due to omission of evidence, among many other mistakes, was a deeply flawed document. The making public of all records relating to the individuals above, David Atlee Phillips, Birch D. O’Neal, E. Howard Hunt, William Harvey and George DeMohrenschildt, will begin the process of filling in the gaps regarding what really happened in Dealey Plaza on Nov. 22, 1963.

It must be underscored that, to date, there is no smoking gun or incontrovertible evidence of a plot/conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy, but there is a pattern of suspicious activity, along with a series of anomalies and a commonality of interests among key parties, that compel additional research and the release of non-public documents.  

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