When it comes to conspiracy theories nothing has quite captured the mind of the American public – with the possible exception of 9/11 and the UFO question – quite like those surrounding the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the nation's 35th president. This is hardly surprising – it was in many ways the defining event of the baby boomer generation and few who came of age back then do not distinctly remember what they were doing when they found out that President Kennedy had been shot. It was as though the nation collectively sensed that an end of some type of era had transpired as a result of those events in Dallas on November 22, 1963.
As a result, more than a few intrepid souls who came of age from that generation and those who preceded and followed it developed what would become a lifelong obsession with providing an alternative explanation for what many have long felt was a weak (if not outright outrages) explanation given to the American public by the federal government via the Warren Report. To say that this makes the prospect of someone like me who was not born until almost two decades after the assassination took place weighing in on the subject a daunting proposition would be an understatement.
There are countless fine researchers out there will been studying this topic for longer than I've been alive and as a result I have no intention or desire to provide an all-encompassing account of the Kennedy assassination and the numerous personalities involved. What's more, I will also be writing this piece with the assumption that the reader is at least somewhat familiar with JFK assassination lore --those of you who are not are advised to at least track down a copy of Oliver Stone's groundbreaking JFK to have some point of reference.
My intention in approaching this topic –which has surely spawned hundreds if not thousands of books – is to address elements of the assassination the many scholarly researchers as well as the more fringe have avoided for various reasons. In particular, I would like to place a special emphasis on the synchronicity and the high strangeness surrounding the assassination for all these things surely make it one of the most bizarre events in human history. In doing so I shall attempt to address the more arcane aspects of the assassination – the bizarre secret societies, political organizations, and religious denominations that appear throughout; the drugs and drug trafficking; the possibilities of mind control was used against several of the most significant figures in the assassination; and of course, the UFOs.
If nothing else, this promises to be a long, strange trip.
So, with an objective set, let us begin our journey. Simply picking a starting point for the Kennedy assassination is in and of itself a difficult choice. For the sake of brevity I have opted to begin with Oswald's return to the United States after his alleged defection to the Soviet Union, though I shall likely return to events that transpired beforehand throughout the series. But on to the matter at hand.
The Marine defector's return transpired on June 13, 1962, when Lee Harvey Oswald and his wife, Marina, and their infant daughter June arrived in New Jersey after their departure from the Soviet Union. Shortly after disembarking from the ship that had taken them on the final leg of the journey they were met by a most curious individual.
"... in 1962 Spas Raikin earned a small and permanent spot in history when he was employed as a 'case worker' for the Travelers Aid Society in New York City. The Travelers Aid Society was a philanthropic service group that was under contract with the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare to assist repatriation cases assigned to HEW by the U.S. State Department. According to HEW records issued in 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald and his wife and daughter were ' three of 42,891 persons helped by the New York [Travelers Aid] in 1962.'
"On June 13, 1962, the society dispatched Bulgaria-born Spas Raikin to meet the SS Maasdam of the Holland-American Line when it arrived from Rotterdam and docked at Hoboken, New Jersey. Raikin's specific assignment, according to FBI documents, was to 'assist LEE OSWALD and his family, who were arriving from Russia.' According to all available records regarding Raikin's assignment, the fact that he had been born in Bulgaria and spoke Russian fluently, as well as three other languages, had nothing whatsoever to do with his being assigned to meet the Oswald family."
(A Secret Order, H.P. Albarelli Jr., pgs. 191-192)
Raikin was also interviewed three separate times by the FBI after the assassination. During the first encounter he described his role as being little more than assisting the Oswalds procure the funds necessary to travel to the New York Port Authority by bus. During the second go around Raikin noted that Oswald claimed to have been a guard at the US Embassy in Moscow who was abducted by Soviet agents. Apparently J. Edgar Hoover himself ordered a follow-up interview of Raikin in 1964 as a result of the comments Raikin made concerning Oswald's kidnapping allegations. This time around Raikin backed off of the kidnapping claims and conceded that Oswald may have said that he had deserted the Marines. According to H.P. Albarelli, Hoover's interest in Raikin's claims may have been related to a 1964 book called The Red Roses of Dallas by Nerin. E. Gun. Allegedly the CIA blocked this book from publication and made a consorted effort in 1964 and 1965 to destroy any copies it could lay its hands on in the United States, France and England.
But even stranger than Hoover's interest in Raikin in relation to The Red Roses of Dallas is the Bulgarian's background.
"According to several CIA documents generated in 1957... Raikin and two other Bulgarians, on May 6, 1951, deserted their Trudovaks (Bulgarian Labor Corps) military unit 'and made their way to Plovdiv [city in Bulgaria] and into Greece.'
"A November 1957 FBI report, in response to the CIA's request to the Bureau for any information it had on Raikin, reads: 'The reason for [Raikin's] desertion was to join an alleged illegal group working in the mountains south of Plovdiv. Unable to make contact with the group [Raikin and his two fellow deserters] wondered around the mountains obtaining provisions from relatives and friends. Unable to hold out any longer they enter Greece on June 19, 1951.'
"The report elaborates on Raikin's desertion: 'Subject's [Raikin's] desire to desert was to join in the fight against communism in the name of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. When he found it would be impossible to do so inside Bulgaria, he decided to escape to Greece and join such a church group there, if such existed. If nonexistent, he desired to form a militant illegal church group to fight communism inside Bulgaria...'
"The same FBI report also cites a September 12, 1951 CIA report 'concerning the Bulgarian Orthodox Church prepared from information furnished by Raikin, who considers himself an ordained priest in the Bulgarian church. In preparing the information [Raikin] use the nom de plume Prezviter KOSMA. The FBI field station comments that [Raikin] was brought to Athens from Salonika [a major port in Greece] on July 19 1951 to work for CIA LKB.. GSAP/10.' [Emphasis added...] GASP and GASP/10 were elite, ultra-secret CIA interrogation teams...
"A CIA memorandum written on November 26, 1951 and sent by air pouch the same day to the CIA FDP chief provides a wider look at Spas Raikin's first encounter with the CIA in Greece, following his interrogation. Chief station Lloyd K. Desmond, a CIA official who played a still-unexplained role in the CIA's hasty post-assassination investigation into Lee Harvey Oswald's Mexico City phone communications, signed the document. ('Lloyd K. Desmond was a pseudonym for an unidentified high-ranking CIA official...) The 1951 memorandum reveals events that occurred after Raikin's interrogation.
"In his memorandum, Desmond notes that Spas Raikin, along with six other Bulgarian men who had escaped to Greece, have been interrogated by both GASP and GSAP/8 'in order to get an organized report on their situation and to check their individual statements against each other in an effort to find out if any of the individuals may be a Bulgarian agent.' Desmond also noted that Raikin and the other escapees had been interrogated 'to ascertain their future possible operational use.'"
(A Secret Order, H.P. Albarelli Jr., pgs. 210-212)
Raikin's interest in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and his claims of being an ordained priest therein will be highly interesting in light of revelations yet to come in this series, so keep it in mind dear reader as we shall encounter a host of curious Catholic and Orthodox (and even a few Protestant) sects throughout this series. As for Mr. Raikin's potential CIA employment, the Agency opted to make an offer.
"Neither the FBI nor the U.S. Department of Justice, nor any other federal group, including the Warren Commission, made any mention that Spas Raikin was a contract employee for the CIA. Raikin's covert employment by the CIA would remain a closely held secret for decades.
"According to CIA documents dated 1957... Spas Raikin was first cleared and approved for hire by the agency on August 22, 1957. W. M. Knott of the Agency's Personal Security Division, Office of Security, issued Raikin's final clearance for CIA employment with Project USJPRS in New York City on November 13, 1957. Project USJPRS was a just organized program within the United States Joint Publication Research Service, whereby mostly unwitting CIA contractors reviewed foreign language technical and defense-related publications for the Agency. The USJPRS was created within the U.S. Commerce Department's Office of Technical Services in March 1957 'to provide government agencies with translations of unclassified foreign documents and publications worldwide.'
"This would be the beginning of a somewhat mysterious professional relationship lasting at least 15 years between Raikin and the Agency. Here, however, it is important to note that the initial CIA request for Clearance for Contract Personnel, listing Spas Raikin and seven others to become contract employees with the Agency, specifically stated that all names on the list 'will not be made witting of true employer [CIA].' It would be another two years, in 1960, before Raikin would become fully aware he was working for the CIA.
"Additionally, a FBI document dated November 20, 1957, designated 'SUBJECT: RAIKIN, Spas T' and sent by courier to the CIA, reveals a deeper interest in Raikin. The two-page document details Raikin's wife, family background, and military activities in Bulgaria, as well as is coming to America in 1954, where he quickly became Secretary of the Bulgarian Escapee Program of the Church World Service in New York City. Shortly after, he became Secretary-General of the right-wing, anti-communist Bulgarian National Council headquartered in New York City, a position he held when he encountered Oswald in New York.
"One of Raikin's first acts in this position, as revealed by Raikin's CIA 201 file, was to send a letter on September 19, 1962 to CIA director John McCone. The letter invited the DCI to come to New York City to take part in a memorial event honoring 'the fifteenth anniversary of the tragic death of Nikola Patkov, leader of the Bulgarian parliamentary opposition to the communist regime in Sofia.' Raikin's letter to McCone also states: 'The Bulgarian National Council is greatly honored to announce that the official Proclamation issued by Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller declared September 23, 1962, the NIKOLA PETKOV DAY will be read at the celebration...' Raikin also sent a steady stream of ingratiating letters to the House Un-American Activities Committee, frequently forwarding carbon copies to the White House, U.S. State Department and CIA. At the same time, according to a number of declassified 'SECRET' CIA personnel 201 assignment forms, Raikin was 'sponsoring' a long line of Bulgarian refugees for work assignments with the Agency.
"At least 100 pages of CIA documents concerning Spas Raikin remain classified 'SECRET.' However, a declassified CIA 'Confidential Notice of Security Action' reveals that in January 1967, four years after the JFK assassination, Spas Raikin applied for full-time employment with the CIA. Following at least one Agency polygraph session, Raikin was cleared by the CIA's Office of Security for several possibly sensitive positions in Washington, D. C. and Langley, Virginia: 'at the headquarters building;' 'at building # 213 Naval Weapons Plant,' 'as a GSI employee in the headquarters building,' 'as a C. and P. Telephone Co. employee in Agency buildings,' and 'as an independent contractor of US/JPHS.'"
(ibid, pgs. 208-210)
"Spas Raikin's anti-communist connections: A 'Report to the Rockefeller Commission' by Ralph Schoeman dated March 26, 1975, reads: 'And on their arrival back from the Soviet Union, the Oswalds were met by Spas T. Raikin, supposedly of the Travelers Aid Society, who helped them through customs [sic]. Raikin in fact was an official of the American Friends of the Anti-Bolshevik Nations, Inc., its secretary-general and was in touch with the Central Committee of the Kuomintang in Taiwan. This extreme right-wing group was part of the World Anti-Communist Congress for Freedom and Liberation, together with such as the former officer of the Abwehr in Riga and Lisbon from 1939 to 1945. The supposed communist, Lee Harvey Oswald, who would pretend to be a spokesman for a Fair Play for Cuba Committee was met by man of the extreme neo-Nazi right with intelligence affiliations. But what was to prove important was that the World Anti-Communist League of Raikin had contact with Carlos Bringuier of the Cuban Revolutionary Council. The CRC was the organization of the CIA and E. Howard Hunt located at 544 Camp Street in New Orleans, the headquarters to be of Oswald's dummy Fair Play for Cuba Committee. Raikin thus was related to intelligence operations of Hunt and of the CIA supported Student Revolutionary Directorate (DRE) with whom Oswald was to have consistent contact. Oswald in Dallas was to have consistent contact as well with the right-wing Russian émigré community with oil, intelligence and military industrial connections. George Bouhe was of Texas Instruments. Max Clark was security director of Convair and with General Dynamics, Paul Raigorodsky was director of the Tolstoy Foundation performing confidential missions for the U.S. government in Europe.'
"Peter Dale Scott writes: 'Spas T. Raikin was also the Secretary-General of the American Friends of the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations, a small but vigorous group of right-wing revanchiste Eastern Europeans in direct touch with the FBI... and Army intelligence – and also with the Gehlen spy organization in West Germany; the Kuomintang in Taiwan, the mother of Madame Ndu, right-wing Cubans like Oswald's DRE contact Carlos Baringuier, and other elements of a shadowy "World Anti-Communist League." This WACL had contacts with U.S. anti-Communists in New Orleans, in the building with the Camp St. address... used by Oswald on his pro-Castro literature, and also by the CIA's Cuban Revolutionary Council of which Bringuier had once been press secretary. As I have indicated in my book, The War Conspiracy, Mr. Raikin's personal correspondents in Taiwan (the Asian People's Anti-Communist League) were intelligence agents involved in the Kuomintang's narcotics traffic – a fact dramatically illustrated by the 1971 arrest in Paris of the Chief Laotian Delegate to the APACL, whose suitcase contained 60 kilos of high-great heroin, which have been worth $13.5 billion in the streets of New York...' (For decades now there has been strong tightly-maintained intelligence chatter in several closed circles concerning that when Oswald in 1963, months before the assassination, visited the Habana Bar, New Orleans, he may have been exposed to possible drug trafficking dealings connected to either DRE or CRC. Some people in these circles wink and nod at related reports that accompanying Oswald on at least one of his visits to the Habana Bar was David Sanchez Morales.)
"Not noted by Peter Dale Scott are Raikin's eventual connections through the World Anti-Communist League, formed in 1966, with other assassination-related persons and groups. Through this League connection, and many of the organizations Raikin was already aligned with, there exists the possibilities that he could have encountered, Gen. Edwin Walker, H. L. Hunt, Edward Butler, Clay Shaw, David Ferrie and others. Indeed, several documents 'withheld' from government and private researchers appear to indicate a possible link between Raikin and a 1962 plot to assassinate Fidel Castro...
"In 2012, Spas T. Raikin, at 90 years of age, donated his papers to the Hoover Institute, Stanford University. The university released a detailed press release on January 20, 2012 about the donation headed: 'Oswald's Bulgarian Connection: The Spas Raikin Papers.' The release reads in part: 'In New York, Raikin became a social worker who helped resettle Bulgarian refugees in the United States under a State Department Program, as well as a staff member in the Travelers Aid Society. It was in that capacity that he was directed to meet Lee Harvey Oswald upon his return from Russia. Raikin found a hotel for Oswald, his wife, and baby, and handed [Oswald] a check that paid for their move to Fort Worth, Texas. [Emphasis added] Obviously, this public relations claim is less than truthful, unless, of course, the FBI and Travelers Aid Society of New York, as well as the New York City Welfare Department all lied to the Warren Commission and others. Raikin's biography, as detailed in the press release says nothing about his work for the CIA."
(A Secret Order, H.P. Albarelli Jr., pgs. 440-441n)
This effectively means that one of the very first individuals Oswald encountered upon his return to the United States after his alleged defection to the Soviet Union was a man who was both a CIA asset as well as an affiliate of the mysterious international far right-wing lobby group known as the World Anti-Communist League, an organization long suspected of playing a significant role in international terrorism and drug trafficking. Much more information about the history of the WACL as well as its various nefarious activities can be found here, here, here and here. Keep this in mind dear reader as the appearance of Spas T. Raikin at this juncture in Oswald's life will have especial significance when his time in New Orleans is addressed during the next installment. Also important to keep in mind is the possibility that Raikin was exposed to "enhanced interrogation" methods (the above-mentioned "GASP" and "GASP/10") during his deflection to Greece and subsequent recruitment by the CIA.
But moving along. Shortly after arriving in the Dallas/Forth Worth area Oswald made the acquaintance of the mysterious White Russian émigré Baron George de Mohrenschildt, who claimed to have known Lee and Jackie Bouvier (later Kennedy and Onassis) as young girls while living in New York. De Mohrenschildt also had some type of relationship with George H.W. Bush, who was an Andover roommate of de Mohrenschildt's step-nephew, Edward Hooker. The Baron apparently felt this relationship was cozy enough to write Bush in 1976 when Bush I was CIA director requesting his assistance over what researcher Joan Mellen described as harassment by "vigilantes." Needless to say, De Mohrenschildt has long been suspected of having intelligence connections, among many others.
"... For most critics, Oswald's intelligence connection in Dallas is personified by the mysterious Baron George de Mohrenschildt. A suspected spy during World War II, de Mohrenschildt acted very much as a classic intelligence 'baby-sitter' for the Oswalds (or at a minimum for Marina), driving them to parties and other appointments, and possibly arranging for the job at Jaggars-Chiles-Stovall [for Lee -Recluse]. De Mohrenschildt and his wife claimed that, before cultivating the Oswald, they received assurances that Oswald was 'okay' from a overt CIA employee in Dallas, George's friend J. Walton Moore. (Moore has consistently denied giving this assurance, or that he even knew of Oswald.)
"The House Committee added to what was known about the de Mohrenschildts' intelligence connections. It revealed that, when leaving Dallas in may 1963 for Haiti, the de Mohrenschildts travel to Washington and took part in a Pentagon-CIA meeting with de Mohrenschildt's business ally, a Haitian banker named Clemard Joseph Charles. A former CIA contract agent has since suggested that one of de Mohrenschildt's purposes in moving to Haiti was to oversee a CIA-approved plot to overthrow Haitian dictator Francois 'Papa Doc' Duvalier.
"This seems quite possible. Clemard Charles did advocate the overthrow of Duvalier in the Washington meeting...; and in 1967, the year in which the de Mohrenschildts were smuggled secretly out of Haiti, Charles was reportedly jailed for his role in an anti-Duvalier plot. Charles was jailed again for having financed an abortive military revolt of April 1970, in which a major role was played by the French intelligence agent Andre Labay, later arrested as a major drug trafficker. At the time of the meeting in May 1963, a U.S. task force of eight ships with 2,000 Marines was menacing Duvalier by their presence, just outside of Haitian waters.
"From the outset Clemard Charles may have had mob contacts and assistance for his intrigues in Haiti. His influence their increased in 1964, when he helped Duvalier break a U.S. arms embargo and acquire to T-28 fighter planes, possibly with help from U.S. organized crime. After his exile to the United States in the late 1970s, Charles's business deals involved a number of intelligence and organized crime figures. In 1979, Charles discussed yet another possible ouster of Duvalier with veteran guerrilla warfare expert Mitchell WerBell III, a veteran of Cuban exile missions against Castro, and a representative of the Nugan Hand Bank, a bank involved in both intelligence operations and the financing of drug deals. During the savings-and-loan scandals of the 1980s, Charles laundered money for Mario Renda, a leading mob moneybroker for failed savings-and-loan banks, a number of them controlled by alleged Carlos Marcello associate Herman Beebe. Charles also became an officer or director of Florida corporations with Albert Krieger, the attorney for convicted drug figures Larry Freeman and Jack DeVoe, and with Frank Sturgis...
"De Mohrenschildt was also in contact with the dubious milieu of Herman Beebe and his associates, from as early as 1960. In that year the de Mohrenschildts embarked on a mysterious walking trip to Mexico to the Panama Canal, stopping first at the ranch of 'some very close friends who own a big ranch' at Piedras Nigras on the Mexican side of the U.S.-Mexican border. These friends were Tito Harper and his wife Conchita... Tito's brother, Richmond Harper in Eagle Pass, Texas, across the river, was a banking associate of Herman Beebe. Richmond Harper was indicted in 1972 for his alleged part in a complex arms-four-drugs smuggling plot, along with Barry Seal, later a notorious drug pilot, and Murray Kessler, an associate of New York's Gambino crime family. According to Barry Seal, Richmond Harper had 'very deep ties right into the [Nixon] White House;' this claim was corroborated when Nixon's top drug enforcer, Myles Ambrose, was revealed to have visited the Harper ranches straddling the border, and subsequently resigned."
(Deep Politics and the Assassination of JFK, Peter Dale Scott, pgs. 78-80)
"... many of the White Russians brought to the USA after the war came via the Tolstoy Foundation, which is recipient of yearly subsidies from the CIA. In addition, the Russian Orthodox Church, which had a branch in Dallas also received CIA funds."
(Destiny Betrayed, James DiEugenio, pg. 193)DiEugenio's above mentioned description of the Russian Orthodox Church is a bit off. During this era the "official" Russian Orthodox Church was under the control of Soviet intelligence while various breakaway branches in the US and abroad came under the sway of Western intelligence agencies. This was a process that began well before the beginning of World War II and was not always under the auspices of the United States government.
"The White Russian community in the United States had rallied around the Russian Orthodox Church and around several ersatz political groups that held parades and other consciousness-raising events around the country. These groups were often so extreme in their anti-Communism that they were pro-Nazi and, indeed, the Russian Orthodox Church in New York City was a center of Russian fascism. The Orthodox Church had split into several factions after the Russian Revolution of 1917. one group remained loyal to Moscow, through duress; this was the Patriarchate of Moscow which, of course, was headquartered in Russia and had to make accommodations with the Soviets to survive. They maintained a cathedral on West Ninety-Seventh Street in New York which was well-known as a conduit for KGB agents coming to the United States, agents disguised as priests.
"Another group was the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia – usually referred to as the Synod – which was based on Park Avenue at Ninety-Third Street. This community was supported by the Romanovs and other escaped Russian royalty. This group was – during World War II – pro-Nazi, seeing in the Nazis potential liberators of the motherland.
"The CIA and other political and intelligence organizations made use of these groups to run agents, gather information, or whatever could be valuable to the cause. Psychological warfare officers were familiar with the main characters in the Russian Orthodox scenario, and Radio Free Europe (an acknowledged CIA front) would broadcast religious messages into the Communist bloc on behalf of various Christian groups, but especially the Synod.
"This use of Orthodox churches in the fight against Communism was more widespread than most Americans realize, simply because to them the Eastern Orthodox church is to ethnic, to mysterious to understand...
"... Support of the Eastern churches was an essential element of the Cold War, as they provided a moral and cultural context for the fight against the Soviet Union. Rather than try to explain why dialectical materialism is flawed, or how putting the means of production in the hands of the State is doomed to failure, it was far easier to say that Soviets were 'Godless,' were atheist bent on destroying Christ's church. This meant that the struggle against Communism was a war of Light against Darkness. In addition, the misguided attempt by the Soviets to completely eradicate certain of the ethnic minorities – such as the Ukrainians – by prohibiting publications in their native tongues was an attack on the cultural heritage of millions. The Eastern churches were repositories of not only Christianity, but also of ethnic culture, since each Eastern church celebrates its rituals in the vernacular of its people and is a repository for their traditions; thus, the ceremonies of the Greek Orthodox Church are in Greek, of the Syrian Orthodox Church in Arabic, of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Ukrainian, etc."
(Sinister Forces Book I, Peter Levenda, pgs. 272-273)
The above raises some intriguing possibilities. The Park Avenue-based Russia Orthodox Church involved in the Russian fascist movement of the 1930s was likely the domination ran by Reverend Alexander Tzuglevich (Reverend Tzuglevich's church was originally based in Long Island but he seems to have eventually relocated to Manhattan), a close associate of "Count" Anastase Vonsiatsky, America's premier Russian fascist. Vonsiatsky did indeed have ties to the Romanov family (though he was also independently wealthy, having married Marion Ream, daughter of livestock baron Norman Ream), but he was said to be close to Prince Nikita (the son of Grand Duke Alexander) rather than Grand Duke Cyril, the foremost claimant to the throne of the Romanovs. Indeed, Prince Nikita had been 'elected' Tsar of Russia by a White Russian monarchist faction who refused to back Cyril in the late 1920s. Nikita neither accepted or rejected this honor, but according to author John J. Stephan in The Russian Fascists Prince Nikita "maintained a discreet silence" (pg. 114) concerning the whole thing. Others have insisted that "Count" Vonsiatsky was more closely aligned to Grand Duke Cyril, one of the chief early financial backers of the Nazi party, than his apologists have been willing to acknowledge.
"A major figure of the White Russian movement in the United States was count Anastase Vonsiatsky, popularly known as Annie. He embodied his role of Nazi to the hilt. He had huge shoulders, powerfully muscled arms, and a barrel chest; he was over six feet tall and weighed over two hundred pounds. He had an enormous head, and he liked to dress in uniform of brown shirt, thick, studded leather belt, riding breeches, and leather thigh boots. His office was decorated with maps of the world, showing the czarist empire before it was destroyed by the Soviets, pictures of the Romanoff royal family, photographs of their slaughter at Ekatarinburg, and ship models of the czarist fleet.
"He had a large following – a small battalion of armed followers situated in Thompson, Connecticut. His favorite remark to visitors of his own persuasion was 'America First does good work. It is a must when Hitler wins. Your Senators Wheeler, Nye, and D. Worth Clark will save your America for you Americans.' And Lindbergh is great! And father Coughlan!' Vonsiatsky saw this group correctly as the forerunners of the Fourth Reich, when America would join with Germany in the New Dawn of racial purity. In common with other White Russians, he dreamed of the restoration of royalty in Europe. He wanted to see the Romanov Grand Duke Cyril on the throne in Moscow and St. Petersburg and the Gestapo-employed sons of the Kaiser back in Berlin. If Hitler opposed this scheme, he must be deposed in favor of Himmler..."
(American Swastika, Charles Higham, pg. 121)
|Grand Duke Cyril|
But back to the Baron.
Unsurprisingly, de Mohrenschildt himself has long been suspected of serving as a spy for Nazi Germany during WWII.
"According to Warren Commission Document No. 1012, dated June 13, 1964, and declassified May 31, 1977, Richard Helms, formerly CIA Deputy Director of Plans, admitted that in 1942, the Office of Strategic Services, forerunner of the CIA, considered de Mohrenschildt for employment but did not hire him because of allegations that he was a Nazi agent..."
(Nemesis, Peter Evans, pg. 93n)Acclaimed researcher Joan Mellen also notes that de Mohrenschildt's father, Sergius, was suspected of being a Nazi agent as well.
"According to former federal prosecutor John Loftus, de Mohrenschildt's father was among Allen Dulles' postwar recruits from the Nazi intelligence services. Loftus does not name the source, except to say that it was a 'confidential interview, former agent, OPC (Office of Policy Coordination),' Frank Wisner's clandestine services at CIA. The OPC would soon change its name to DDP (Deputy Director for Plans, both an individual and a CIA component). The word was that the Nazis had assisted the elder de Mohrenschildt in his peripatetic adventures. According to Loftus, Sergius had been a spy reporting on the Bolsheviks for the Abwehr, the German intelligence services."
(Our Man in Haiti, Joan Mellen, pg. 13)Mellen also goes on to note that George de Mohrenschildt also had contact with an individual involved with the Gehlen organization, a group of former Nazi intelligence assets headed by Reinhard Gehlen that would forge close ties with the CIA in the wake of WWII and dominate the BND (West Germany's chief intelligence agency) for decades.
"According to historian Larry Haapanen, among those de Mohrenschildt did meet in Washington DC that May of 1963 was a CIA officer named Nicholas M. Anikeeff, who had known de Mohrenschildt back in the thirties, before World War II. For CIA's Soviet Russia division, Anikeeff had liaised with the Gehlen group, Alan Dulles' private Nazi intelligence recruits. Anikeeff have been involved in operations behind the iron curtain."
(ibid, pg. 108-109)
In fairness to the Baron it should be noted that he long denied any links to the Nazi intelligence services. Further Judyth Vary Baker, in her highly controversial Me and Lee, argued that Oswald considered the Baron a true friend and that he was even managing LHO's off-the-books wages in the time frame leading up to the assassination. And indeed, the Baron spoke well of LHO when journalist Dick Russell interviewed him in 1975, stating: "Lee Harvey Oswald was smart as hell... Lee was the most honest man I knew... He was ahead of his time really, a kind of hippie of those days..." (The Man Who Knew To Much, pg. 170). This is consistent with the description of LHO given by Baker, who depicts him as an intelligent, extremely well read individual acutely concerned over the growing Civil Rights movement in the United States at that time. But again, Baker's account is highly controversial.
|the Baron (left) as depicted in Oliver Stone's JFK|
"The order came from the 112th Military Intelligence Group in Texas. They wanted to know any and all information in the files on Lee Harvey Oswald, a.k.a. 'Harvey Lee Oswald' and 'Alek James Hidell'... They were also seeking information on George and Jeanne de Mohrenschildt, anything pertaining to Polish fighter pilots in World War II, and anything about the Teutonic Knights.
"When Southwood saw the name 'Hidell,' he thought of his friend Don Heidel who'd succeeded him as editor of the West Point paper. 'All the information I had about Oswald had been given to the 112th by George de Mohrenschildt. It was basically that Oswald was a peculiar guy, that he had strained sexual practices, that he was constantly in trouble with his wife, and that he should be watched closely. The request from the 112th said that de Mohrenschildt talked about being a member of this Teutonic Knights organization, and so was Oswald.' [Emphasis added]"
(The Man Who Knew to Much, Dick Russell, pg. 456)
|the coat of arms for the Teutonic Knights|
But enough about the Baron George de Mohrenschildt for now. Let us move along to an infinitely fascinating couple that the Baron allegedly introduced the Oswalds to, Michael and Ruth Paine. The Paines, much like the wealthy Dallas White Russian community de Mohrenschildt had introduced the former Marine to, were seemingly well above Oswald's social class. Both Paines, but especially Michael, came from prominent Eastern Establishment families.
"Ruth Hyde had married Michael Paine – Ruth Forbes Young's son by her previous marriage to George Lyman Paine – on December 28, 1957 in a Quaker ceremony in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Ruth Hyde's background alone is suggestive: her father had been employed by the Agency for International Development (AID), which was a well-known CIA front and which lost a few overseas officials to terrorism... Her brother-in-law – based in Washington, D.C. – was also employed by AID. Ruth Hyde had been working in Philadelphia when she met Michael. Upon their marriage, she moved in with Michael, Ruth Forbes Young and Arthur Young at their home in Paoli, where the couple remained until the summer of 1959, Michael working directly for Arthur Young in his stepfather's barn... building model helicopters. This part of the story sounds quite strange. According to his Warren Commission testimony, Michael Paine set up shop in Arthur Young's barn (sometime in the early 1950s) and started working for himself. The nature of his work was not clarified, nor why Michael Paine would have been using Arthur Young's barn to 'work for himself.' Eventually, Arthur hired Michael to make model helicopters for him. This sounds suspiciously like make-work, since Arthur Young by this time had given up on helicopter design and was involved full-time in mystical pursuits. The other problem with Michael Paine's testimony is that he cannot give dates; he does not know when he began working for Bell Helicopter, he doesn't have a firm grasp of when he left school, joined the Army, re-enrolled in university, or anything else about his past. Nor is he aware of what level of security clearance he has at Bell. In fact, he cannot even remember what year he married Ruth Hyde! He has further lapses of memory throughout his testimony; anything to do with his relationship to Ruth Hyde Paine becomes vague and ephemeral.
"What we do know with some certainty is that Michael Paine – a native of New York City – graduated from high school in 1947. He then went to Harvard for two years, but had to drop out as he was failing academically. That would have been in 1949. His mother had married Arthur Young in 1948, while Michael was doing his first year at Harvard.
"At some point, he wound up working for a nuclear research firm, the Bartol Research Foundation at Swarthmore, doing something vague with machines, while attempting to finish a bachelor's degree. His claims that he would have been in the class of 1953, at Swarthmore, had he stayed in school. With two years at Harvard already accomplished (and for which he probably receive credit at Swarthmore) that puts him there in 1951, but according to his testimony, he only worked about a year at Bartol before leaving for the Army.
"He spent two years in the Army, and was sent to Korea. This would have been during the height of the Korean War. There is no indication in his testimony before the Commission about what his duties were even what his rank might have been. It seems odd that his war record was not read into the transcript, or that an attempt to get accurate dates out of him was not strenuously mounted by someone at the Commission, but so it goes."
(Sinister Forces Book I, Peter Levenda, pgs. 264-265)
|Ruth and Michael Paine|
"Michael Paine's ancestors are Boston Brahmans of the Forbes and Cabot first families of America. Michael's grand uncle, Cameron Forbes, was both governor and later ambassador, to the Philippines. Prior to his death in 1959, he joined his Cabot Forbes, was both governor and later ambassador, to the Philippines. Prior to his death in 1959 he joined his Cabot relatives on the board of United Fruit. One of these relatives, Thomas Dudley Cabot, was Michael's cousin. Thomas was actually a former president of United Fruit Company. In 1951 he was working in the State Department Office of International Security Affairs. Thomas' brother, John M. Cabot, was also in the State Department around this time, and was exchanging information with Maurice Gatlin about the preparations of the CIA-United Fruit overthrow of Jacob Arbenz. In the early sixties, Thomas was president of the Gibraltar Steamship Corporation, which leased uninhabited land ninety miles off the coast of Honduras named Swan Island. Gibraltar was a CIA front. It owned no ships. But it was on that island, through the Gibraltar front, that David Phillips establish Radio Swan, the CIA radio station broadcasting into Cuba, Mexico, and Central America. During the Bay of Pigs invasion, Radio Swan broadcast secret messages to certain people in the know about the operation."
(Destiny Betrayed, James DiEugenio, pg. 196)Money doesn't get much older in this nation than this. What's more, the time frame Paine was reportedly in the Army would have been while General Douglas MacArthur was the commander of US Forces during the Korean War. As noted before here, MacArthur was one of the major patron saints of the modern conservative movement and a long time object of idol worship amongst the far right.
What's more, Paine's blueblood background (the ranks of the OSS and early CIA were filled with the offspring of prominent Eastern Establishment families, a practice that reportedly never entirely stopped) and mysterious military record could indicate that he was recruited into the US intelligence community during this time. If so, there's a distinct possibility that he may have served under, or at least encountered, MacArthur's chief of intelligence, Major General Charles Willoughby. Willoughby had close ties to the World Anti Communist League as well as the American Security Council (another powerful far right "think tank") as noted before and is a figure we shall encounter again throughout this series.
But anyway, back to the Michael Paine's family for a moment. Before getting to his and Ruth's time in Dallas, a few more details should be given concerning Michael's stepfather and Ruth's father-in-law, Arthur Young. Young, simply put, was one of the most influential figures in the emerging New Age movement in the twentieth century. During the early 1950s he became involved with the mysterious figure of Andrija Puharich. In 1953 both Young and Michael's mother, Ruth Forbes Young, would participate in a séance involving Puharich and other members of American Yankee blueblood clans such as the Astors, Bouveries (both via Alice Bouverie, born Ava Alice Muriel Astor, a descendant of John Jacob Astor) and the Du Ponts (via Marcella Du Pont). During this séance the participants were reportedly contacted by The Nine, who claimed to be both the Grand Ennead of ancient Egypt as well as extraterrestrial beings.
While it would be easy to dismiss this incident as insignificant to the Kennedy assassination out of hand, the fact is that the UFO question and these other, bizarre occult overtones appear again and again throughout the events leading up to it (and afterwards). The fact that this séance was attended by members of the Astor, Bouvierie, Forbes, and Du Pont families is suggestive that this endeavor was taken very seriously by someone. What's more, Andrija Puharich was a military intelligence officer long thought to also be connected to the CIA.
"Arthur Young's travels with Andrija Puharich to Mexico and elsewhere, his long support of Puharich's Round Table Foundation, as well as his inclusion in the first 'séance of The Nine,' may reveal an intelligence operation – a truly bizarre intelligence operation – that is connected to the Oswald affair. Puharich, as we have seen, was working for either Army intelligence, the CIA, or more probably some combination of two, out of Fort Dietrich, which was a staging ground for both. Although Arthur Young's interest in the paranormal was very probably innocent and well-meaning – so many of his admirers will insist – that is not to say that he did not cooperate with government agencies when he could, or when he was asked to do so, Puharich being the first known example. There is a tantalizing lack of published information about Arthur Young's life between 1952, when he found something called the Foundation for the Study of Consciousness in Philadelphia, and in 1973, when founded the Institute for the Study of Consciousness in Berkeley."
(Sinister Forces Book I, Peter Levenda, pgs. 273-274)
Young and Puharich were behind a loose network of intellectuals, artists and scientists that included such individuals as Wilson, Temple, physicist Jack Sarfatti, computer scientist and Ufologist Jacques Vallee, author Philip K. Dick, and psychonauts John C. Lilly and Timothy Leary (who may even have had some indirect linkage to Kennedy via Mary Meyer), among others, by the 1970s. Keep this network in mind as we shall encounter another individual loosely affiliated with it (especially with Robert Anton Wilson) when we consider Oswald's time in New Orleans.
"Michael and Ruth Paine moved to Irving, Texas (a Dallas suburb) in 1959 and somehow had two children. By September 1962, Michael and Ruth were separated but still on good terms. She was thirty years old. He was thirty-four. They would be officially divorced in 1971.
"Michael Paine had managed to get a job at his stepfather's old firm, Bell Helicopter, at a branch facility they had in Fort Worth, Texas. One can only imagine that this job was due to his stepfather's influence at Bell, since Michael's work record is spotty and he had no college degree. Michael Paine's job was essentially the same as the one he had at Arthur Young's barn: building model helicopters. At this time, Bell's R&D was being run by the former Nazi General Walter Dornberger... a scientist brought to the US under Operation Paperclip along with more than 1,000 other German scientist, many of whom were suspected of being committed Nazis, including both Dornberger and his protégé, Wernher von Braun. (This association has given rise to much speculation that somehow the Nazis themselves were behind the Kennedy assassination. While this may be an exaggeration, there is no lack of Nazi influence in and around the events leading up to – and away from – the assassination.)
"Ruth Paine met Lee Harvey Oswald and his wife, Marina, at a party in Highland Park, Texas (a short drive from Irving) on February 22, 1963. Ruth at this stage of her life was a Quaker, having converted in the first few months of 1951; her mother was a Unitarian minister. As one reads her Warren Commission testimony, it becomes obvious that religion was important in her life at that time, and living in close proximity to Arthur young for almost two years something of his interest in spirituality must have rubbed off. Ruth Paine was also interested in learning Russian – a politically-suspect language to study in 1963 – an interested as well in square-dancing and madrigal- singing... These varied interests had her joining several different groups and making friends over a wide spectrum of the population, including the White Russian émigré community...
"Marina Oswald – who spoke very little English – was invited to stay with Ruth Paine at her home in Irving, along with Marina's child. This way, according to Ruth Paine, they could swap language lessons (a plan that seems to have been abandoned immediately after Marina moved in). Lee Oswald would go to New Orleans to seek work, and during that time he became modestly famous for about a week due to his 'Fair Play for Cuba' leafleting and subsequence media appearance. When he returned to Dallas, he took up residence in a rooming house, once Ruth Paine had managed to network him into the Texas School Book Depository, and Marina remained with Ruth at Irving. When the assassination occurred, it was the Paines who led the police officers to the place (and the blanket) were Lee had supposedly stored his Mannlicher-Carcano rifle.
"In fact, Ruth Paine was more than helpful. Much of the evidence that would eventually damn Oswald in the eyes of the Warren commission (and the public) came from Ruth Paine: some of the famous photographs of Oswald posing with the rifle and copies of the Communist newspaper, the 'spy camera,' the fake Alex Hiddel documents, and much else besides. There is even a growing body of evidence that Michael's father – George Lyman Paine, who was a Trotskyite leader in California – had intelligence connections that led straight-backed William Buckley, Jr. and E. Howard hunt, through one James Burnham, who was George Paine's colleague in the Trotskyite party to which they both belong, and who was also a consultant to the CIA and a friend of E. Howard Hunt of Watergate 'Plumber' fame. E. Howard hunt himself had no little interest in the occult, and was the author of three occult novels (as well as numerous spy novels) under various pseudonyms; one of the occult stories was a thinly disguised attack on the Kennedy family. He even lived on 'witches Island.' Hunt, it may be remembered, was one of those CIA agents in charge of the Bay of Pigs invasion, and thus no lover of Jack Kennedy. He also had a hard time accounting for his whereabouts on November 22, 1963."
(Sinister Forces Book I, Peter Levenda, pgs. 266-267)
|E. Howard Hunt|
"As an OSS officer operating out of Switzerland during World War II, Dulles got to know a woman named Mary Bancroft. Both personally and professionally. That is, he ran her as an agent, and he had a continuing sexual affair with her. Although the affair eventually cooled, they remain friends for decades after. Bancroft was also a friend of publisher Henry Luce. Bancroft's best and longest lasting female friend with Ruth Forbes. Or, as she said, she 'knew the mother of Michael Paine where Oswald stayed. She was Ruth Forbes, a very good friend of mine.' When Ruth divorce Michael's father, George Lyman Paine, she married Arthur Young and now became known as Ruth Forbes Young. Ruth and Arthur now became intimates of Bancroft."
(Destiny Betrayed, James DiEugenio, pg. 195)
"... the ARRB declassified an interesting FBI report about a man talking to certain college students at Luby's Restaurant near SMU in Dallas. The man would accost certain students, and then praise the Castro revolution to them, while protesting America's policies towards Cuba. The man claim to know a communist, an ex-Marine who had recently returned to the USA with a Russian wife, clearly a reference Oswald. This event occurred in April 1963. Someone thought this a little unusual for Dallas at the time. So an FBI agent came down and started interviewing some of the students the man had talked to. After one student physically describe the man, the agent pulled out a picture of Michael Paine. The student said Paine was the man. So the question with Michael Paine is this: What would a man living off of trust funds from the Cabot and Forbes families – which he was at the time – and with a security clearance from Bell Helicopter, why would such a man be promoting Castro in Dallas with college students?
"The answer appears to be that he was doing the same thing Oswald was about to do. For in Brush with History, Eric Tagg's book about sheriff's deputy Buddy Walthers, he reports that Walthers was one of the officers at the Paine household on the twenty-second. He was there to do a search and seizure since the authorities learned that Marina Oswald was living there and her husband's possessions were likely located there. Walthers later talked about finding several 'metal filing cabinets full of letters, maps, records, and index cards, with names of pro-Castro sympathizers.' Sheriff Decker mentioned the metal boxes in his official report provided to the Warren Commission. This created quite a stir, and therefore the Warren Commission made it go away in the Speculation and Rumors part of its report. One can safely guess that some of the SMU students who agreed with Paine about Castro had their name inserted in those file boxes."
(ibid, pg. 198)
These practices were always highly controversial and were officially stopped shortly after the end of WWI, but not before the contributed to the nation's First Red Scare. By the late 1920s, however, the FBI and the military had quietly reactivated their industrial security network and it would continue to operate on the sly for decades to come. By the 1950s industrial security operations designed to ferret out "communist subversion" had gone into overdrive, giving rise to powerful lobby groups such as the American Security Council (ASC). For more information of the origins of industrial security and the ASC, check here and here.
Lee Harvey Oswald has long been suspected by researchers as being an informant for industrial security concerns. Indeed, he seems to have become involved in such operations shortly after arriving in the Dallas/Forth Worth area after his return from the Soviet Union.
"In late 1962 this allegedly Marxist Marine veteran was able to get employment at the photographic firm Jaggars-Chiles-Stovall in Dallas, a firm doing classified work for the Army Security Agency (ASA). While there, he exhibited 'Communist tendencies'..; yet 'Oswald had complete access to the worktables on which the secret lists of place-names for the Army Map Service were. In theory, these were supposed to be "restricted areas" in which only employees with a security clearance from the FBI were allowed to be present.'
"According to the Warren Commission, Oswald's new job was found for him by the Texas Employment Commission... However, according to investigative journalist Anthony Summers, George de Mohrenshildt's wife and daughter both said that de Mohrenschildt, who, as we saw had CIA connections in both Dallas and Washington, arranged for the job.
"At work his most frequent companion was apparently Dennis Ofstein, a young veteran about Oswald's age, who had learned Russian while he served in the Army Security Agency. Shortly after beginning work, in the same month of October, Oswald and his wife established social contact with Max Clark, the chief of industrial security for the General Dynamics plant in Fort Worth, which secured the controversial TFX contract in the fall of 1963.
"Thereafter, Oswald's proximity to subversives, worthy of investigation, seems to have been continuous. April 21, 1963, two weeks after he left Jaggars-Chiles-Stovall, is the date on which his FBI file shows his first alleged contact with another FBI target, the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. Even during his next job, at the Reily Coffee Company in New Orleans, both he and his co-workers talk of moving soon to the newly opened NASA Space Center in nearby Michoud...
"Even at the Texas School Book Depository, Oswald's workplace on November 22, there was a potential security target, the TSBD's credit manager, Joe R. Molina. Molina had a rough time of it during the early 'phase one' investigation by the Dallas police of Oswald as an international terrorist. A veteran like Oswald, he had joined the American G.I. Forum, which 'the Dallas police consider possibly subversive...' Thus Molina had become the subject of FBI reports as well as of a Dallas Police Department security file...
"All this suggests that ... Oswald's true employer may not have been the firms, but a private investigative agency doing industrial-security work. This would explain the FBI's zeal to cover up the paycheck anomalies, and the reluctance of the government, to this day, to release Oswald's income-tax records."
(Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, Peter Dale Scott, pgs. 245-246)
Michael's wife, Ruth Paine, had no shortage of intelligence links either. Her father, William Hyde, had worked for the OSS during WWII before joining AID, for instance. But this is only scratching the surface.
"... In that summer of 1963, Ruth made a cross country trip visiting certain friends and relatives. Before Ruth came down to pick up Marina – and finally achieved her goal of separating Marina from her husband – she had been visiting her sister in Falls Church, Virginia. Falls Church adjoins Langley, which then house the new headquarters of the CIA. When Ruth appear before the New Orleans grand jury, Jim Garrison observed that her sister's occupation was being withheld by the government. The DA asked why that was so. Ruth replied that she was not even aware it was classified. So Garrison asked her what agency of government her sister worked for. Ruth replied that she did not know.
"That is the fourth sworn statement by the couple which begs credibility. But there is a reason for the evasiveness. Ruth Paine was the younger sister of Sylvia Hyde Hoke. In 1993, a CIA security file was declassified, which revealed that Sylvia had been employed by the Agency for a number of years prior to 1963 as a psychologist. Ruth, who had just spent a couple of weeks was Sylvia, somehow never knew where her sister went to work in the morning and was not even curious enough to ask, even though Sylvia's association with the CIA have been printed in the City Directory. And to top it off, Sylvia's husband John Hoke, like Ruth's father, work for AID. Ruth did mention this fact in her appearance before the New Orleans grand jury, but this was just before the exposure of AID made it into the press. Odd that Ruth would know who her sister's husband worked for, but not her sister.
"... Allen Dulles was aware of how compromising all these associations were to him and his service on the Warren Commission. In fact, according to one of his biographies, he actually joked about it:
Dulles joked in private that the [JFK] conspiracy buffs would have had a field day if they had known... he had actually been in Dallas three weeks before the murder... that one of Mary Bancroft's childhood friends had turned out to be a landlady for Marina Oswald... and that the landlady was a well-known leftist with distant ties to the family of Alger Hiss.
"This tantalizing quote does not just reveal that Dulles understood how dangerous the exposure of all these associations were to his veneer as an impartial investigator. But that last clause suggests that he understood how important Ruth Paine's veneer as a 'leftist' was in her association with the Oswalds...
"... the collecting of the names of leftist sympathizers continued with Ruth during the days of American involvement in the Contra War in Nicaragua. Sue Wheaton was a volunteer for a religious group who journeyed to Nicaragua to help the Sandinistas consolidate their leftist revolution. There she met Ruth as part of another group. But Ruth's group ran a sawmill project on the east coast of Nicaragua, a Contra holdout and nexus of CIA-based activities. Further, Ruth was associated with a man names Jon Roise who was trying to recruit former Contra members to speak at Casa Ben Linder in Nicaragua. Whenever Wheaton would encounter Ruth, she said, Ruth would be taking copious notes and be accompanied by others who would take snapshots and also tape record proceedings. Wheaton concluded that Ruth was taking down information about Americans in Nicaragua who opposed U.S. policy there and that she was probably then giving it to members of the American Embassy, who she said she knew.
"This posturing as a liberal Quaker, but then acting as a surveillance agent, was not just vaguely suggested by Allen Dulles. It was clearly suspected by other intelligence agencies about the Paines. And again, it surfaced through Garrison's grand jury proceedings. When a member of the grand jury asked Marina Oswald if she still associated with Ruth Paine, Marina replied that she did not. When she was asked why she did not, Marina said that it was upon the advice of the Secret Service. She then elaborated on this by explaining that they had told her it would not look good if the public found out that, 'she [Ruth] had friends over there and it would be bad for me if people find out connections between me and Ruth and CIA.' An assistant DA then asked, 'In other words, you are left with the distinct impression that she was in some way connected with the CIA?' To which Marina replied in the affirmative.
"In Nicaragua, because the situation was so confrontational and since there were no powerful mainstream media to protector, the suspicion of Ruth being an asset of the Agency was widespread. Steve Jones followed up on Sue Wheaton's information with another female worker who knew Ruth in Nicaragua and befriended her. When Ruth's surveillance activities finally became too suspicious in Nicaragua, the two women drove to Costa Rica for some R&R. When they arrived near the Costa Rican camp, some people approached the car to help them out. When they saw it was Ruth, they walked away moaning, 'Oh no, it's Ruth Paine. Keep her away from us. She's CIA.' It got so bad, the pair had to leave.
"When they got back to the USA they remained friends. The woman actually won Ruth's confidence. For Ruth admitted to her that her father, William Hyde, had worked for the CIA. She even told her that she had an estranged daughter who would not talk to her until she came to grips with the evil she had done in her life. When the woman asked Ruth, 'What evil?' she clammed up. But the friend is certain that she was talking about the Kennedy assassination since the assassination was the previous context of the discussion."
(Destiny Betrayed, James DiEugenio, pgs. 197-200)
Its also interesting to note that Ruth Paine's initial Russian language tutor, a Mrs. Dorothy Gravitis, eventually ended up appearing before the Warren Commission. The elderly Mrs. Gravitis was a Latvian who was born while the nation was part of the Russian Empire under the Czars. She made it to the United States after the Second World War and eventually ended up as part of the Dallas/Forth Worth White Russian community. During Ruth Paine's testimony before the Commission Allen Dulles seems to have tactically avoided broaching the subject of Mrs. Gravitis.
"Dulles becomes helpful to Ruth Paine's testimony on more than one occasion. Each time her Russian language tutor is mentioned, Dulles heads off the line of questioning by asking something else before Ruth can answer. This happens first on page 467, Volume 2 of the Warren Commission Hearings, and then again on page 473...
"When the Commission finally did get around to asking Ruth Paine about her Russian language tutor, Dulles was conveniently absent from the hearings that day."
(Sinister Forces Book I, Peter Levenda, pg. 268)
|Allen Dulles (far left) during the Warren Commission|
"She taught Ruth Paine only two official classes at Berlitz, but remained a friend of hers in Texas and taught her privately after that. Ruth asked her to check on Marina when the former was out of town, in May of 1963 when she was evidently in San Antonio. Mrs. Gravitis spoke with Marina on the phone twice, and never met her, but they discussed Lee from a perspective that should have been very disturbing to the Commission, but which seems to of been passed over.
"When asked by the Commission why she decided to distance herself from Marina before the assassination, she said it was because of Marina's remarks concerning Lee Oswald. Marina had used a very specific term in Russian to describe Lee's political beliefs. This word is not easily translatable into English, and her interpreter –Mamantov – had difficulty with it. It is a word that signifies that Lee was in the second phase of becoming a member of the Communist Party, the phase where he had to prove himself to the Party in some material way. And in the Soviet Union of Mrs. Gravitis' experience, that usually meant spying.
"What many Americans never realize about both the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China is that there have been actually very few members –per capita – of the Communist Party in each country. To be a party member is to be one of the elite class, and to lose Party membership is tantamount to social as well as political suicide. Thus, the requirements for attaining Party membership are usually quite strict, and a demonstration of Communist loyalty and zeal was required before one can be given a Party card. Within the Soviet Union (as in China), this usually meant spying on your neighbors, your co-workers, even your own family to discover anti-Communist actions or beliefs. You would then report all of this to the Party member in charge of your advancement, like a cat showing up with a dead mouse. What Marina was telling Mrs. Gravitis, then, was that Oswald was in the second phase.
"Marina may simply have been bragging or exaggerating for the benefit of old Mrs. Gravitis... Whatever the truth of the matter was, Gravitis decided she wanted nothing to do with Lee Oswald, afraid that he was spying on the Russian émigré community in Texas on behalf of the Soviets. Since last thing the Warren Commission wanted was evidence linking Oswald to the KGB – evidence that might have precipitated a Third World War – this aspect of the case was downplayed or ignored.
"Another possibility, also never followed up, is that Oswald told Marina the story in order to direct her away from his real activities, which also included spying not on the White Russian community, but for a faction of the US government."
(ibid, pg. 271)
"The possibility that Mrs. Gravitis – or her interpreter-son Mamantov– might have been allied with one or another of the anti-Communist underground organizations in Texas might have occurred to Dulles, if he did not actually know of this beforehand. He would not have wanted to reveal the CIA's interest in – and support of – these groups in an open forum, and this might have been one reason why he kept changing the subject when Ruth Paine mentioned the tutor, in essence, keeping her from saying her name while Dulles was present."
(ibid, pg. 273)Levenda's explanation is far more plausible than it may initially seem. Many JFK researchers strongly believe that linking Oswald to either Soviet and/or Cuban intelligence was done extensively both before and after the assassination to spur reluctant officials to go along with the "lone nut" scenario as to avoid a nuclear war with the USSR. At the forefront of the JFK-Assassination-as-a-Communist-Plot advocates were various organizations aligned with the far right, many of whom were also linked to organizations such as the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations and the World Anti-Communist League. More on this subject shall be said in a future installment.
Before wrapping up Oswald's first go-round in the Dallas/Forth Worth area (at least after his alleged defection) it behooves me to briefly address Oswald's alleged involvement in an assassination attempt aimed at General Edwin Walker. First, a bit of background on Walker:
"Walker briefly became a household word during the Kennedy era. As commander of the 24th Infantry Division in Augsburg, West Germany, in 1961, he had issued a manifesto declaring communism a 'satanic enemy of mankind' that 'must be destroyed by a concentrated and determined effort of all God's people.' That April, JFK had asked Defense Secretary Robert McNamara to look into Walker's indoctrination of his troops with the beliefs of the John Birch Society. Walker was relieved of his command pending an investigation, and then, in November 1961, the general angrily resign from the Army to run for governor of Texas and 'throw out the traitors.' He ran as a Democrat, with a long-range goal of challenging JFK for president in 1964, but finished dead last in the 1962 Democratic primary.
"Then, late in September 1962, the general made headlines around the world. James Meredith was seeking to become the first black ever admitted to the University of Mississippi. It was a landmark moment in the fight against racial segregation. Meredith's entry was mandated by a federal court order and, when Mississippi governor Ross Barnett set out to block it, the Kennedys ordered National Guardsmen deployed on Meredith's behalf. That was when General Walker called for ten thousand civilians to march in Oxford, Mississippi, in opposition. Walker was on the scene when rioting broke out against four hundred federal marshals escorting Meredith onto the campus. Despite JFK's national televised plea for calm, a melee left two people dead and seventy injured.
"The next morning, Walker was arrested by federal authorities on four counts, including insurrection, and flown for psychiatric observation to the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri. Once again, he became a cause célèbre of the radical right. After being held in Springfield for a week, Walker was released on a $50,000 bond after agreeing to submit to a psychiatric examination in Dallas. Some 250 enthusiastic followers greeted his return flight to Love Field..."
(The Man Who Knew Too Much, Dick Russell, pg. 195)
|General Edwin Walker|
"On July 20, 1961, during heightened tensions over Berlin, President Kennedy attended a National Security Council meeting. He listened attentively as the Joint Chiefs of Staff, including General Lyman Lemnitzer and Alan Dulles, who was still in charge at the CIA, presented a plan for a first-strike, preemptive nuclear attack on the Soviet Union that would take place in late 1963, preceded by a well-orchestrated series of events designed to produce 'heightened tensions' between the two superpowers. This scheme for 'heightened tensions' was eventually codenamed Operation Northwoods, and it had the written approval of all the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon. According to author James Bamford, who first reported it in his best-selling book Body of Secrets, 'the plan called for innocent people to be shot on American streets; for boats carrying refugees fleeing Cuba to be sunk on the high seas; for a wave of violent terrorism to be launched in Washington, D.C., Miami, and elsewhere. People would be framed for bombings they did not commit; planes would be hijacked. Using phony evidence, all of it would be blamed on Castro, thus giving [General] Lemnitzer and his cabal [at the Pentagon] the excuse, as well as the public and international backing, they needed to launch their war...'
"Aghast at the above referenced NSC meeting 1961, President Kennedy nonetheless, respectfully asked, 'Had their ever been an assessment of damage results to the U.S.S.R. which would be incurred by a preemptive strike?' and what would be 'the period of time necessary for citizens to remain in shelters following an attack?' The president became so agitated that such a plan was even being considered that he directed 'that no member in attendance at this meeting ever disclose even the subject of meeting.' Disgusted, he finally got up and walked out. As he made his way back in the cabinet room to the Oval Office with Secretary of State Dean Rusk at his side, he was said to have muttered, 'And we call ourselves the human race.'"
(Mary's Mosaic, Peter Janney, pgs. 237-238)
|General Lyman Lemnitzer|
An assassination attempt was made against Walker in April of 1963 that was later blamed on Oswald in the wake of the Kennedy assassination and after LHO was already dead. Needless to say, whether or not Oswald had any involvement in the assassination attempt on Walker has been a source of much controversy amongst JFK assassination researchers for years. Even the circumstances surrounding the linking of Oswald to the Walker shooting are murky but intriguing, as journalist Dick Russell learned during an interview with General Walker himself.
"... The first mention of Oswald's attempt on Walker had appeared in the Deutsche National-Zeitung und Soldaten-Zeitung, a right-wing newspaper out of Munich, West Germany, on November 29, 1963. Yet Marina Oswald would not tell her story to the FBI until four days later, purportedly the first awareness anybody had of it.
"Assassination researcher Peter Dale Scott's look into the newspaper's history revealed that it had several ex-Nazis and ex-SS men on its staff and a long arm into American far-right circles. Its editor, Gerhard Frey, was closely tied in Munich to the Ukrainian ABN, as well as to two men whose names show up among General Willoughby's correspondents (Dr. Theodore Oberlander and Walter Becher).
"Just how, I asked Walker, had the Munich newspaper obtained its 'scoop'?
"'Well, how do you know they published it before Marina Oswald said it?' the ex-general replied testily. I explain the discrepancy in the dates. 'That's interesting, Walker said, rubbing his chin. 'Of course, the Germans have terrific sources over here. I'll give the Germans credit for the finest intelligence in the world, even to this day. We paid Germany $5 million for international intelligence up to '57. I don't think anybody can beat them, except maybe Israel. But it never quite dawned on me that they published this beforehand.'
"But hadn't the Munich newspaper called him all the way from Germany on the morning after the assassination? Walker had been in Shreveport, Louisiana, at the time, having flown there from Dallas on November 22 to give a speech to the segregationist Citizens' Council of Louisiana.
"'Yes,' Walker nodded, 'they woke me up. I didn't know anything about Oswald shooting at me, and had no idea. And they didn't say a word about that. But I do think it was within a couple days that Marina spilled something! They certainly tied something together in there right quick, didn't they? The subject of their conversation was what did I know about Oswald. I said, "Well, Oswald has said he's a Communist." They say, "Well, that answers the question, we can go to print now." They just said I was the only one in the United States they could think of that would tell them the truth. I thought that was quite a compliment.'
"According to all official versions, including Walker's, the ex-general had never heard of Oswald until the day of the assassination. Yet in 1992, John Curington, H.L. Hunt's chief staff assistant during that period, told me a different version. Curington said he himself 'had run across Oswald before the assassination. He was sort of known in certain circles as being an extremist, very vocal about certain issues, and his name had just come up in conversation or some of our reviews.'
"I pressed Curington to be more specific. 'Well,' he added, 'General Walker was a pretty good friend of Mr. Hunt's and we visited in his home. Walker told us one night that Oswald's name had come up in an investigation of the sniping there against him. I don't remember just when, but this was before the assassination.'"
(The Man Who Knew Too Much, Dick Russell, pgs. 199-200)
Unsurprisingly, Ruth Paine also played a significant role in linking Oswald to the Walker shooting.
"... But Ruth also figured prominently in producing questionable evidence to help the FBI and Warren Commission finger Oswald for a previously unsolved rifle assault. This was an unsuccessful shooting attempt at General Edwin Walker back on the evening of April 10, 1963. It is important to note that in the entire nearly eight month span the Dallas Police had this case under inquiry, Oswald's name never surfaced in any part of their investigation. Let us now observe how a German newspaper and Ruth Paine combined to give the Commission and the Bureau pretext to convict Oswald in the public mind in the Walker case.
"On November 29, a reporter named Helmet Hubert Muench published an article for a conservative West German newspaper published out of Munich. There was actually two articles, one a straight story and one a transcript of an alleged conversation with Walker on the twenty-third – and perhaps a follow up on the next day – by what appears to be another German reporter named Hasso Thorsten. Thorsten had called Walker when he was in Shreveport on a speaking engagement right after Kennedy's murder. The point of both articles was the Walker had told the paper that it was Oswald who would fired at him in April, that this was known earlier – that is, before the assassination – and yet nothing was done about it. But if something had been done, then Oswald would not have shot Kennedy. The problem with the story is the Walker denied under oath saying this to Thorsten, and in no uncertain terms. In fact, Walker said that the accusation against Oswald in his case was not made until after the interview, so he could not have said such a thing.
"But then, a day later, on November 30, a piece of evidence emerged from Ruth Paine's home. The Dallas authorities had spent a large part of two days looking through Ruth's home for evidence against Oswald. Their inventory list was forty-nine pages long. Somehow they missed a note, which was inside a book. It was a note allegedly written by Oswald in Russian which ominously tells Marina what to do if he was in jail, and how to find him there. Why did Ruth produce this book at the time? She said Marina had to have two books with her. One was entitled Our Child and the other was Book of Helpful Instructions. She had to have them since Marina used them each day. (This while Marina was being detained at a hotel and under twenty-four-hour watch by the FBI and Secret Service.) The note was then found in the latter book by the Secret Service. The note was not dated and did not have Oswald's latent fingerprints on it. This, even though the note took up almost one side of a sheet of paper. But also interesting is this: the FBI did happen to take seven latent fingerprints off the note; yet none of the match Lee or Marina. Prior to this, the police had retrieve photos of the exterior of Walker's house from Ruth Paine's garage. It was the confluence of these three elements – the news article, the photo, and the note – that provoked the FBI to take a new look at the Walker case. Yet even Wesley Liebeler of the Warren Commission asked an obvious question: Why would Oswald keep the incriminating notes and photos around for well over seven months?
"The problem was this evidence is that it does not at all fit the parameters of the case. First, the shooting of Walker vitiates the marksmanship in the Kennedy case. In the latter, one has to believe that Oswald fired three shots from a manual bolt action rifle in six seconds and got two of three direct hits at a moving target, from as far away as 270 feet. Something that the best Army snipers could not do. In the Walker case, Walker was sitting at his desk in his study, a stationary target. The sniper had time to line up the still target. The distance was approximately 30 yards. And he missed. True, it was night, but Walker's house was illuminated by the lights from a church parking lot next door. In a discussion with the officers after a reconstruction, the police were stupefied as to how the gunman could have missed. Walker himself reportedly said that whoever it had been had to have been a lousy shot. There were two principal witnesses. The first was Robert Surrey, an aid to Walker. Surrey had told police that four nights prior to the shooting he had seen two men sitting in a brown Ford behind Walker's house. They got out of the car and walked around Walker's home. When the car pulled out, he followed it. He could detect no license on the car. He lost the car near downtown Dallas. The other witness was young Kurt Coleman. Coleman's testimony corroborated Surrey. He said that he saw two men drive off in separate cars from Walker's home after the shooting attempt. One of the men threw something down on the floor of his car before pulling away. Concurring with Surrey, Coleman said that neither man resembled Oswald. Oswald, according to the Commission, did not drive, and did not own a car. Further, who could be his accomplice? The FBI agents in Dallas were particularly impressed with Coleman as a witness. But Coleman never testified to the Commission. In fact, Walker complained to the Commission that he had been blocked from getting any info on the case since the FBI took it over. Also, that he could not talk to Coleman, since the witness had been told to keep his mouth shut. This makes perfect sense in light of Hoover's upcoming agenda on the Walker case. For by June 10, Hoover – after leaking to the press that Oswald had shot at Walker – were shutting down the inquiry. Even though his agents in the field came to no conclusion in the case. In fact, the chief suspect prior to the FBI taking over the case was a man named William Duff, a former employee of Walker. Walker's lawyer said the Duff actually admitted firing on Walker to a former girlfriend.
"Also, why would a communist be shooting at both a rightwing ideologue like Walker and the most liberal president since Franklin Roosevelt? Further, it was Kennedy who pushed Walker out of his command after a thirty year career in the service. This was for distributing rightwing, John Birch Society literature to his troops. No one from the Commission posed these obvious questions. The Commission was enthralled by Ruth Paine now producing questionable evidence to implicate Oswald in the shooting.
"And the exhibits produced by Ruth, almost by necessity, had to be dubious. As mentioned above, the FBI cut off Walker from all communications about their investigation. In fact, it appears that they also deliberately misinformed him. During his testimony, Wesley Liebeler showed Walker many photo exhibits. Near the end of his testimony, Walker said that he had heard the FBI have matched up the bullet fired at him with the alleged Oswald rifle. This last statement explains why, among all the photos shown to him, Walker was never shown the most important one of all: The bullet the FBI said they had matched up to Oswald's rifle. For they were now saying that it was a 6.5 caliber, copper-jacketed bullet. One compatible with the allege rifle and evidence. Yet, this was not the bullet the police retrieved from Walker's house that night and Walker had held in his hand. That bullet was a 30.06, steel jacketed bullet. As the reader can see, the combination of Ruth Paine with the FBI allowed the Warren Commission to manufacture a case that likely did not exist...
"On December 4, five days after she delivered Oswald's 'Walker Note' in Marina's book, Ruth Paine was visited by two Secret Service agents. They were returning the 'Walker Note' since they thought it was from her. (Recall Marina's grand jury testimony about the Secret Service suspecting Ruth was associated with the CIA.) Ruth said she had not seen it before..."
(Destiny Betrayed, James DiEugenio, pgs. 200-203)
If the Dallas police or any other law enforcement agency had never even suspected Oswald in the Walker shooting before the JFK assassination, then this would imply that Walker was already planting the seeds of Oswald as a communist wacko even before the assassination if H.L. Hunt's former assistant, the above-mentioned John Curington, is to be believed. This would also raise the possibility that Walker had indeed told the German newspapers that Oswald had been the shooter possibly a week before Ruth Paine dropped evidence linking LHO to the crime in the lap of the Secret Service and FBI. Thus, there is a possibility that Walker was consciously engaged in the portrayal of Oswald as an unhinged communist. As we shall see, he was not the only individual affiliated with Charles Willoughby's intelligence network making such allegations in the wake of the assassination.
|General Walker at a rally in the midst of short-lived political aspirations|
" .... U.S. Representative John Rousselot, an ardent member of the John Birch Society in the 1960s and 1970s, when he was serving in the U.S. Congress...
"Meanwhile, in 1975, man named Harry Dean, who claimed to have been a former undercover agent for the FBI and CIA, reported that in 1963 he had covertly infiltrated the John Birch Society, where he learned that Rousselot, in partnership with fellow arch conservative Army General Edwin Walker, had hired two assassins, Loran Hall and Eladio del Valle, to kill President Kennedy in Dallas, Texas. Dean had no evidence to back up his bold claim, but credible reports that both men had been in Dallas on the fateful day made easy dismissal difficult. Oswald, it may be recalled, allegedly had at one time attempted to murder General Walker.
"Loran Hall, one of these hired assassins, was a self-made soldier of fortune with strong ties to the Mafia. The other one, Eladio del Valle, was a former Cuban police officer and elected official under the Batista regime overthrown by Castro. Unfortunately, del Valle, in February 1967, the day before David Ferrie died in New Orleans, was brutally murdered in Miami. His murder remains unsolved, although many people suspect that the Mafia or CIA or both. Noteworthy is that del Valle was close to Mafia chieftain Santo Trafficante and reportedly had worked closely with David Ferrie in running guns and bombing raids against Castro's Cuba. Cuban intelligence officials in the Castro government to this day maintain that del Valle was in Dallas on November 22, 1963."
(A Secret Order, H.P. Albarelli Jr., pgs. 324-325)The above mentioned Loran Hall, a member of the Minutemen, is a figure we shall return in the near future but another incident involving Dallas and Hall bares mentioning here: In September of 1963 three men showed up at the door of Dallas-based Cuban refugee Silvia Odio. The three men have been described as two Cubans and an American sympathizer named "Leon." Reportedly Leon and the others made several comments to Miss Odio about assassinating Kennedy before they left. Hall reportedly acknowledged being one of the three men to FBI agent Leon Brown in September of 1964. Several days later, however, he denied this charge. Odio herself insisted that Hall was not one of the three men who had approached her as well.
And with I shall wrap things up. In the next installment we shall consider the mysterious of 544 Camp Street. Stay tuned.