Welcome to the sixth in my examination of the assassination of JFK. Over the course of the first two parts of this series I considered the two regions --Dallas/Forth Worth and New Orleans --where Oswald resided before the assassination, upon his return from the Soviet Union, and the synchronicities and high strangeness that surrounded these stays. During the third installment I outlined the plotters behind the assassination while part four considered possible ties figures who appear in assassination lore had to the CIA's behavior modification experiments, most notably Project Artichoke.
In the fifth I began to consider the presence of various secret societies and orders that appear around the assassination, first briefly touching upon the over-emphasized Masonic presence before breaking down the appearance of members Skull and Bones as well as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM) in assassination lore.
The SMOM, more commonly referred to as the Knights of Malta, is one of the most mysterious secret societies around. Its presence near the Kennedy assassination is rarely addressed despite the fact that more than a few individuals who played a role in the assassination and subsequent cover-up (i.e. Allen Dulles, James Jesus Angleton, Dame of Malta Clare Booth Luce, etc) were members of the SMOM. Claiming direct lineage to the Medieval Knights Hospitallers, the SMOM frequently appears in conspiracy literature as an extension of the Masons though there is little basis for these claims. If anything, the two orders seem to have been rather bitter rivals, as discussed in part five.
Before moving along to other aspects of the assassination there is one final secret society that I would like to consider: the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta (SOSJ, sometimes referred to as the "Shickshinny Knights of Malta" due to the order's long time headquarters being based out of Shickshinny, Pennsylvania). Like the SMOM, this knightly order claimed descent from the Knights Hospitallers, but via the Russian line of succession. While these claims are highly dubious the order and its long time Grand Master, Charles Pichel, fell under the patronage of the Romanov family, most notably Grand Duke Cyril and his son Grand Duke Vladimir, by the 1930s. Pichel himself was also suspected of having ties to Nazi intelligence during WWII and even boasted of it in the post-war era.
By the late 1950s the order began to attract several former high ranking military officers and even a few CIA assets into its membership roles. One of the most notable was Major General Charles Willoughby, Douglas MacArthur's long time chief of intelligence in the Far East. In the wake of WWII Willoughby became involved with the Golden Lily (the gold and other precious metals Imperial Japan had looted during the war, some of which was later hidden in underground vaults in the Philippines) as well as the yakuza. During the Korean War Willoughby and MacArthur would also be involved in the establishment of Civil Air Transport/Air America (sometimes referred to as Air Opium), giving Willoughby ample contacts in organized crime as well as access to vast sums of black market gold. More information the SOSJ and Willoughby's criminal enterprises can be found here.
Its European faction, the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations, had its roots in Nazi Germany and had been brought into the European anti-communist network Dulles, Frank Wisner and James Jesus Angleton began creating in the post-war years. This network also included the Gehlen Org, several Italian fascist organizations, and other fellow travelers. By the late 1950s the flagrant Nazi backgrounds of various members of this network made it a political liability and it was taken off the CIA payrolls. From there on support was provided by a "private aid" network that included Willoughby, then an "agent" for the Hunt oil empire.
|H.L. Hunt, one of Willoughby's most notorious patrons|
It was not simply powerful CIA officials such as Angleton promoting the communist conspiracy, however. This narrative was also taken up by the conspiratorial right and continues to be promoted to this very day. At this "grass roots" level, the SOSJ played a key role in spreading the communist conspiracy narrative.
"After the assassination, Frank Capell was active in disseminating conspiratorial 'phase one' stories linking Oswald to Russia and Ruby to Castro's Cuba... some of them apparently from intelligence sources such as Carlos Bringuier's colleagues in the DRE... Capell was not acting alone: 'phase one' stories linking Oswald and Ruby to Communists were circulated by Willoughby's associate, Philip J. Corso, a veteran of army intelligence who had retired by 1963 to work for the segregationist Senator Strom Thurmond, and Cuban exile Salvador Diaz Verson, a former chief of Cuban military intelligence.
"Corso, the army intelligence veteran, was like Willoughby a foe of the CIA from the right, having tangled with the Agency in his years under C. D. Jackson as a member of Eisenhower's Operations Control Board. In 1963-64 Corso and Willoughby were part of a secret right-wing group, the 'Shickshinny Knights of Malta' (so called after their headquarters in Shickshinny, Pennsylvania, to distinguish them from the more famous Roman Catholic Sovereign Military Order of Malta based in Rome). The group provided a home to dissident retired military officers disaffected with the CIA's internationalism, many of them, like Willoughby and General Bonner Fellers, veterans of the old Hunt-MacArthur-Pawley coalition in the early 1950s. By 1963 the group's leading asset in their anti-CIA propaganda was a Polish intelligence defector, Michal Goleniewski, who had claimed to audiences inside and outside the CIA that the Agency was penetrated by the KGB at a high level.
"Corso built on this anti-CIA paranoia by telling his friend and fellow Senate staffer Julian Sourwine, who made sure it was relayed to the FBI, that Oswald was tied to a communist ring inside the CIA, and was doubling as an informant for the FBI. Shickshinny Knight Herman Kimsey, who claimed to have been Goleniewski's handler inside the CIA, also spun an elaborate story about how his CIA duties had put him in touch with Kennedy's assassin – the mystery man in Mexico. Finally, the chief press contact of the Shickshinny Knights of Malta, Guy Richards of the New York Journal-America, published the claim (soon taken up by Frank Capell, by the John Birch Society, and by Willoughby's American Security Council) that Oswald, like another alleged KGB assassin (Bogdan Stashynsky), had been trained at a KGB assassination school in Minsk. A toned-down version of this story was subsequently published by Julian Sourwine's Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, with help supplied via Senator Thomas Dodd from within the CIA."
(Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, Peter Dale Scott, pgs. 214-215)
|Senator Thomas J. Dodd, who sat on the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee with Wickliffe Preston Draper agent Senator James Eastland|
Colonel Philip J. Corso is most well-known to conspiracy researchers due to his role in the UFO field. His book The Day After Roswell was for years the primary source concerning the alleged Roswell crash and his 1997 interview with Art Bell on Coast to Coast AM concerning the UFO question is one of the broadcaster's most famous interviews. By and large he is still held up as a highly credible source in UFO field despite his ties to the SOSJ and work for military intelligence, which placed him in some rather nefarious operations.
Corso, who was the personal emissary to Giovanni Battista Montini (later Pope Paul VI) at the Vatican in the post-WWII era, is widely suspected of playing a role in the establishment of the Nazi "Rat Lines." He would continue to have involvement in the European fascist underground well into the 1950s
"So was Colonel. Philip J. Corso, a twenty-year Army intelligence career man until his retirement in August 1963. He had been the military Operations Coordinating Board's delegate to the CIA group planning the 1954 Guatemalan coup. In 1956 Corso had sought to reactivate fifty surviving garrisons of East European paramilitary units still hanging out in West Germany and tied to the Gehlen spy network. When his Volunteer Freedom Corps, dedicated to rolling back communism, was scuttled as too radical by the Eisenhower administration, Corso attributed the defeat to 'lies by our liberal darlings.' A staunch foe of what he considered a laissez-faire CIA, Corso testified before Congress on 'military muzzling' after General Walker was kicked out of West Germany in 1961..."
(The Man Who Knew Too Much, Dick Russell, pg. 529)
Then there is Polish defector Michael Goleniewski and his alleged CIA handler, Herman Kimsey. These two Shickshinny Knights are quite mysterious in their own respective rights as well.
"Retired CIA official Herman Kimsey (who was listed as the group's 'Associate Chief of International Intelligence' in 1970) was another intriguing Knight. Although Kimsey has been described as a former Chief of Research and Analysis for the CIA, his actual position inside the Agency remains unclear. Whatever he was up to, foreign heads of state showed up at his Washington funeral. Kimsey championed the cause of a Knight named Michal Goleniewski. Goleniewski was a Polish intelligence officer who defected to the West in January 1961. One of the CIA's most important assets, he is credited with exposing top Soviet agents like Gordon Lonsdale (a Soviet 'deep cover' agent whose real name was Conon Trofimovich Molody); George Blake, a high-ranking member of British intelligence's MI6; and Heinz Felfe, one of Reinhard Gehlen's lieutenants inside the BND.
"Goleniewski believed that the CIA had been heavily penetrated by Soviet intelligence. He was so worried that he initially attempted to contact J. Edgar Hoover so that his defection could be handled by the FBI and not the CIA. After he was safely in the United States, Goleniewski began claiming that he was really Aleksei Nicholaevich Romanov, son of Czar Nicholas II, and rightful heir to the Imperial Throne. He also accused Henry Kissinger of working for the KGB. His supporters claimed that in 1961 he told the CIA that the Soviets had recruited Kissinger under the code name 'Bor' in 1946, when Kissinger was working for U.S. military intelligence in Oberammergau, Germany. Herman Kimsey and Cleve Backster, a lie-detector expert and the Knights' 'Chief Interrogation Officer,' took out ads to support Goleniewski. The attack on Kissinger was endorsed by another Knight, Frank Capell. Capell, a devout Catholic best known in far-right circles for his publication The Herald of Freedom, later broke with Pichel in a factional split inside the Knights."
(Dreamer of the Day, Kevin Coogan, pgs. 605-606)
"In a 1975 interview, Herman Kimsey – a CIA/Army counterintelligence agent – told researcher Hugh McDonald that 'Oswald was programmed to kill, like a medium at a séance. Then the mechanism went on the blink and Oswald became a dangerous toy without direction.' Three weeks after this interview, Kimsey himself died due to an apparent heart attack, not an uncommon occurrence among the ranks of those with heretical knowledge pertaining to the Kennedy assassination."
(The Prankster and the Conspiracy, Adam Gorightly, pgs. 182-183)Kimsey actually died in 1971, while the McDonald book was published in 1975. Journalist Dick Russell gave some ore compelling details concerning Kimsey's claims:
"Kimsey also told McDonald that the actual JFK assassin was a European contract killer code-name 'Saul,' hired by 'a private group, but that group had strong government connections.' When McDonald set out to find Saul – which he eventually managed to do – he went through an émigré network in Europe that he called by the code name 'Blue Fox.' McDonald's description of this group is very close to the Gehlen-White Russian-Ukrainian underground – with its connections to Charles Willoughby and the CIA. Herman Kimsey, interestingly enough, was, like Willoughby, a member of the Military Affairs Committee of the Shickshinny Knights of Malta."
(The Man Who Knew Too Much, Dick Russell, pgs. 675-676)In the immediate wake of the assassination Knight Frank Capell would play a significant role in spreading "phase one" stories amongst the conspiratorial right.
"Frank Capell was also a source for an anti-CIA 'phase one' assassination article in the John Birch Society publication American Opinion, by yet another Hargis associate, Revilo Oliver. Oliver was not just a Bircher, but a featured speaker and award-winner at the Congress of Freedom meeting in New Orleans attended by Joseph Milteer, where plans to assassinate politicians were allegedly discussed.
"As summarized by Warren Commission counsel Jenner, Oliver's article claimed that the JFK assassination
was part of a Communist plot engineered with the help of the Central Intelligence Agency, that Lee Harvey Oswald was a communist agent trained... in a school of international criminals near Minsk, Russia, under order from Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara...
"Oliver argued that the assassination grew out of the conspiracy between Khrushchev and Kennedy to enact a 'fake "revolt"' against Castro, and replace Castro with a crypto-Communist '"agrarian reformer."' Roughly the same story was circulated at this time by John Martino and by the Minutemen.
"Questioned by the Warren Commission about the sources of his article, Oliver identified his 'research assistant,' Frank Capell, 'a private expert on Communism and Communistic information, who, I understand, has the cooperation of many former intelligence officers of the Army and former members of the FBI...' It seems clear that the Foreign Intelligence Digest network (FID), through Corso, Capell, and possibly Kimsey, enjoyed connections inside the official intelligence world. Though their claims were distorted to the point of absurdity, there may have been a germ of truth to their claims, enough to have embarrassed and possibly even blackmailed the FBI."
(Deep politics and the Murder of JFK, Peter Dale Scott, pgs. 215-216)
|Congress of Freedom attendees Milteer (top) and Oliver (bottom)|
But let us move along now from the secret societies and consider what is possibly the strangest aspect of the assassination lore: the bizarre churches and preachers that appear throughout. I already touched upon this topic briefly in the first installment when addressing the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) and its intelligence ties. The ROCOR was hardly the only church with such ties to appear amongst the personalities and organizations linked to the assassination, however.
At least one of these churches had strong ties to the SOSJ: the Church of Jesus Christ-Christian. This "ministry" was founded by Colonel William Potter Gale, a former military intelligence officer who had served under Willoughby during World War II, and steeped in Christian Identity "theology." As I addressed here, the Reverend Gale's brand of Christian Identity was particular peculiar, depicting white people as a celestial Aryan race while reducing Jews to demonic beings from outer space. Throughout the 1960s he held services for his ministry in Glendale, California in a Masonic lodge.
|the "Reverend" Gale|
|Hall (top) and Crisman (bottom)|
"When Lee Harvey Oswald made his famous trip by bus to Mexico City in 1963, ostensibly to obtain a visa for Cuba, he said next to an Englishman by the name of John Howard Bowen, alias Albert Osborne. Bowen was an 'itinerant preacher' of the Baptist persuasion, an elderly gentleman who traveled frequently to Mexico, according to the Warren Commission exhibits (mostly FBI interrogation reports). When confronted by the FBI, Bowen claimed he borrowed the identity of Albert Osborne, an Englishman who was also an itinerant Baptist preacher, when investigated by the Mexican authorities at a time when he couldn't find his own identification. He claimed that Osborne was an Englishman but that he, Bowen, was born in the United States. Unfortunately, the other passengers on that fabled bus trip to Mexico City identified Bowen as an Englishman, and eventually the FBI concluded the Bowen and Osborne were one and the same. What is interesting is the fact that Bowen-Osborne was a devoted Nazi both before and during World War II, opposing America's entry into the war, and ran a fascist camp for boys in rural Tennessee until it closed down in 1942."
(Sinister Forces Book III, Peter Levenda, pg. 30)Osborne's full name was Albert Alexander Osborne. Oswald used the name Alex as an alias regularly and used the name Osborne to order his Fair Play For Cuba Committee leaflets in the spring of 1963. According to former military intelligence officer and CIA asset Richard Case Nagell, Oswald also used Albert as a false name at times.
Osborne reportedly lived on both sides of the US/Mexico border --in the Mexican state of Oaxaca and in Laredo, Texas. Laredo is where heroin shipped by Civil Air Transport/Air America was originally smuggled into the United States at, as noted before here. Two members of the SOSJ, Charles Willoughby and Admiral Charles Cooke, were involved in establishing this network. Laredo was also reportedly the site of a UFO crash on July 7, 1948, almost exactly one year to the day from the Roswell incident.
Osborne's movements after his encounter with Oswald in September of 1963 are equally curious.
"Though there is no known sighting of Oswald and Osborne together after the bus ride, only twenty-four hours separated their departures from Mexico City in early October. On October 2, Osborne crossed back into Texas at the Laredo border and journeyed on to New Orleans. On October 3, Oswald crossed back into Texas at the Laredo border, and was in Dallas by that same afternoon.
"On October 10, Osborne showed up at the Canadian consulate in New Orleans, producing a true birth certificate (and false record of service in the Canadian armed forces) to obtain a new passport in his own name. He told Canadian officials he had just arrived by bus from his residence in Montréal and was en route to Mexico City for a vacation. Instead, he set off on a lengthy trip across the southern United States 'visiting churches and collecting religious books,' he would tell the FBI.
"Then Osborne wrote to the Knoxville Journal. A short article that appeared on November 14, 1963, is headlined: 'Bowen Leaves for Overseas.' It went on: 'John Howard Bowen, organizer of Boys Club here and missionary to the Mixteca Indians in Mexico for the past 20 years, left New York yesterday for a speaking tour in England, Spain, Portugal and Italy... Bowen was invited by evangelical groups of each country.'
"The day after the article appeared, Osborne, not Bowen, wrote to American Express in Mexico requesting that all letters to 'Bowen' be forwarded to him at their offices in New York City. Then he departed on an overseas trip, but there is no record that Osborne did any speaking that autumn of 1963. When first questioned by the FBI, he sought to conceal the fact that he had been out of the country for the three week shortly before and after the assassination. He had flown first to Scotland, then traveled some three hundred miles to Grimsby, England, to stay with his sister and visit a brother at a home for the elderly. 'This was the first time his relatives in England had seen him in about 40 years,' according to the FBI.
"After staying three days in Grimsby, Osborne left shortly before the assassination, telling his sister he was going to London. On November 22, 1963, from an English town a short distance from Grimsby, a mysterious phone call was made to a newspaper in Cambridge, about 25 minutes before the president was shot. 'The caller said only that the reporter should call the American Embassy in London for some big news and then rang off.' a CIA cable released in 1976 reports.
"On November 28, Osborne postmarked a letter from Madrid, Spain, noting that he planned to return to the United States in a week. Records show that he arrived in New York on December 5, and proceeded directly to Texas. After a considerable research, the FBI found him in Mexico in January 1964, and conducted the first of four interviews. Only at the final session in March did he admit that he was not 'Bowen,' but Osborne. The FBI while having 'established he is a con-man and an inveterate liar,' found 'no data of a subversive nature. Since no connection between Osborne and Oswald has been established, no additional investigation, re Osborne will be conducted.'
"That is unfortunate, since Osborne suspicious trail through Mexico, New Orleans, Texas, and abroad bore all the earmarks of someone who might have been able to tell us quite a bit more. He is said to have died in Texas sometime in the early 1970s. Hugh McDonald, an ex-CIA contract agent who wrote two books on the assassination, claimed to have uncovered information that Osborne was a KGB courier who operated for years in Spain, Canada, Mexico, and the southwestern United States. But as an 'itinerant preacher,' there is no ruling out that he rode a similar circuit as Billy James Hargis – or, for that matter, David Ferrie, who set up his own branch of the Orthodox Old Catholic Church of North America. During World War II, Osborne was discovered by the FBI to of been a near-fanatical supporter of Nazi Germany."
(The Man Who Knew Too Much, Dick Russell, pgs. 485-486)
|an scene from Grimsby|
"At the time of the Kennedy Assassination in 1963, there were persistent rumors that Bowen-Osborne was running a school for assassins in Mexico, somewhere in Pueblo, under the guise of a 'missionary effort.' (When Bowen was first interrogated by the FBI, he claimed that he had been ordained a minister in 1914 by the Plymouth Brethren in Trenton, New Jersey. The Plymouth Brethren is the sect which Aleister Crowley's parents belonged, and from whom he 'discovered' his true identity as the Great Beast 666.) Even the Warren Commission could not accept the testimony of Bowen-Osborne, and they were easy marks. Gradually, stories about Bowen's connections to American paramilitary organizations began to circulate, including his involvement with the Minutemen. It was Fred Crisman's purported relationship to the same paramilitary group that led to his interrogation by Jim Garrison, in 1968."
(Sinister Forces Book III, Peter Levenda, pg. 30)The highly controversial "Torbitt document" (which is inaccurate on several levels in this researcher's opinion) made several sensation claims concerning this assassination school.
"... there were twenty-five to thirty professional assassins kept in Mexico by the espionage section of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation; that these men were used to commit political assassinations all over North, South and Central America, the east European countries and in Russia; that these men were the absolute world's most accurate rifleman; that they sometimes took private contracts to kill in the United States; that the contact man for employment of the rifleman was a man named Bowen posing as an American Council of Christian Churches missionary in Mexico; that you could reach Bowen through the owner of the St. Anthony Hotel in Laredo, Texas...
"Albert Alexander Osborne, alias John Howard Bowen , alias J. H. Owen, a charter member and employee of the A. C. C. C., met Lee Harvey Oswald and accompanied him to Mexico City in late September 1963.
"Osborne or Bowen in 1942 organized and operated a Nazi black shirt group called the 'Campfire Council' in the country near Knoxville, Tennessee. The 'Campfire Council' was sponsored by the espionage cover group, the 'American Council of Christian Churches.' Osborne so vehemently opposed the United States war with Nazi Germany that during 1942 he tore down an American flag and stopped it into the ground. The neighbors complained of the pro-Nazi activities of Bowen and his young Fascists, even though the rural area in Tennessee where they were located was very sparsely populated..."
(NASA, Nazis & JFK, "Nomenclature of an Assassination Cabal," "William Torbitt," pgs. 108-109)
Its also interesting to note that reports concerning some type of curious "school" or training center located in Mexico appear throughout conspiracy literature.
"We looked at the claim of alien abductee Whitley Strieber who said that, as a child in the 1950s, he had been taken to a 'secret school' with other small children. A claim with very little documentation to support it, until we came across other 'secret schools' in operation at the same time, including one attended by theoretical physicist Jack Sarfatti and operated by the Sandia Corporation, a company that ran on Defense Department contracts. Then we come across a man who shared a bus ride into Mexico with Lee Harvey Oswald, a man who ran a 'secret school' in that country and who had been a Nazi supporter during World War II, running a paramilitary camp for adolescents in Tennessee. Strieber claimed his 'secret school' had two locations: one in San Antonio, at the Olmos Basin, and another in Monterrey, Mexico. Strieber had also been taken to Randolph Air Base, which was staffed with more than a hundred former Nazi scientists and medical officers under the Paperclip program, including General Hubertus Strughold: men responsible for experimentation on live human subjects at the death camps.
"Then we came across the startling episode of the Finders, a group of cultic pretension and CIA protection, with an international reach that specialize in children, shipping, some of them to a 'secret school' in Mexico. In 1987."
(Sinister Forces Book III, Peter Levenda, pg. 409)
|author Whitley Strieber's most noted work|
"Just a couple years at into his incarceration, he told his story in a book written for him by a sympathetic author. The book, entitled The Hand of Death: The Henry Lee Lucas Story, tells of Henry's indoctrination into a nationwide satanic cult. Lucas claimed that he was trained by the cult in a mobile paramilitary training camp in the Florida Everglades. His training, he said, including instruction in abduction and arson techniques, as well as in the fine art of killing, up close and personal. Henry further claimed that leaders of the camp were so impressed with his handling of a knife that he was allowed to serve as an instructor. Following his training, Henry claimed that he served the cult in various ways, including as a contract killer and as an abductor of children, whom he delivered to a ranch in Mexico near Juarez. Once there, they were used in the production of child pornography and for ritual sacrifices. Henry has said that the cult's operations were based in Texas, including trafficking in children and drugs, among other illegal pursuits."
(Programmed to Kill, David McGowan, pgs. 73-74)
Lucas' description of a paramilitary training camp for the Hand of Death in the Florida Everglades is usually one aspect of his story most vigorously attacked. And yet anti-Castro Cubans and their American trainers (of whom the above-mentioned Loran Eugene Hall was one) did use the Florida Everglades as a paramilitary training ground until at least the early 1960s (Henry claims to have joined the cult around 1980), thus Lucas' claim is hardly with out precedent. What's more, both drug and arms trafficking as well as sexual slavery (involving adult women) were conducted amongst the alliance of anti-Castro Cubans, Syndicate figures, Minutemen, and US intelligence assets that operated out of Florida, Texas, Louisiana and Mexico during in the time frame leading up to the Kennedy assassination, as noted before here.
Then of course there was the bizarre cult headed by drug trafficker Adolfo Constanzo in Mexico, most notably near Matamoros and Mexico City, during the late 1980s. Constanzo, who became a key figure in the Gulf Cartel around this time, was a Santeria and Palo Mayombe practitioner. He was also a Cuban-American by birth who spent a good part of his formative years in Miami. More on Constanzo can be found here, here, here and here. But I digress.
"... the American Orthodox Catholic Church (AOCC) had its origins in Eastern Orthodoxy, which was in disarray after the Russian Revolution. In the 1960s, Bishop Carl Stanley was one of the church's leaders in the Midwest. He had participated in the consecration of Jack Martin and David Ferrie, two of the most notorious members of what New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison decided was a conspiracy of anti-Castro Cubans, right-wing zealots, intelligence agents (and others) to murder the President. Stanley himself, according to documents in the National Archives, was a convicted felon with a substantial rap sheet. He was under investigation by the FBI after the assassination, evidently because Stanley himself had reported on his relationship with Ferrie and Martin and his suspicion that the two men were involved in the killing of the President. Garrison picked up on these threads during his own investigation in 1967-68, and cast a wider net: eventually, he would be seeking to dispose wandering bishops as far afield as candidate, including one Earl Anglin James, who had consecrated the bishop who consecrated Stanley in the first place. From the aristocratic Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia to the somewhat sleazier American Orthodox Catholic Church, the ties to the Kennedy assassination were numerous and suggestive.
"One of Stanley's associates, and the man who would take over the AOCC as its 'patriarch' a few years later, was Bishop Walter Myron Propheta. Stanley was based in Kentucky at the time, and Propheta in the Bronx...
"Propheta was a hard-line anti-Communist who had supported Dewey during the campaign against President Truman. A Ukrainian by birth, he had been a priest with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – another staunchly anti-Communist organization, since the Ukrainian people had suffered tremendously under the Moscow regime, which had tried to exterminate their language and culture along with a number of their political activists – and had left the church to form his own congregation. The reasons for this are a little murky, and may have had more to do with politics than religion, since leaving the Church led by Bishop Bohdan and joining a suspect group that has been dismissed by most commentators as a kind of 'bishop mill' could not be seen as a particularly intelligent move.
"The key word here is 'intelligent,' for it seems that the AOCC – particularly under Propheta – was just that: a front for an intelligence organization. As suspected by Jim Garrison, the AOCC was hand in glove with a number of convert intelligence operations being run in the United States and abroad, the Church providing 'cover' in the form of authentic-looking religious documents, clerical outfits, and a widespread network of wondering bishops who for the most part were all rabidly right-wing. David Ferrie and Jack Martin were only the tip of the iceberg, for Propheta found himself involved in everything from the Biafran civil war to the Italian elections in the 1960s. One of his successors is now believed – by Italian military intelligence – to been involved in money laundering for Serbian terrorists during the latest crisis in Bosnia and Kosovo."
(Dead Names, "Simon," pgs. 61-63)
Levenda is the only researcher to attempt an in-depth study of the AOCC, first in the initial volume of his groundbreaking Sinister Forces trilogy, and later in a series of lengthy articles published on his "Sinister Forces" blog entitled "The Bishop and the Boys." Unfortunately it seems as though Mr. Levenda has taken the series, of which there are three parts, down but it was cut and pasted in its entirety on a forum that can be found here. There are a few compelling points made in this series that need to be repeated. The first is the fact that Ferrie and Jack Martin were not the only "wandering bishops" working of Guy Banister in New Orleans in 1963.
"... At one time, there were as many as four “bishops” functioning from Guy Banister’s Camp Street office, and these included virtually all of his investigators, from David Ferrie and Jack Martin to Thomas Beckham and the lawyer Thomas Jude Baumler. Beckham was a bishop with the Universal Life Church, along with his friend Fred Lee Crisman (the man who was involved with the seminal UFO event of the 20th century, the Maury Island affair) and with Raymond Broshears, yet another minister of the Universal Life Church and later with one of the Orthodox sects with lines to Stanley, and who became a well-known gay activist in San Francisco later on. (Broshears would claim, probably falsely, to have lived with David Ferrie in New Orleans; however, it seems certain that he was at least an acquaintance of Ferrie.) In addition, Ferrie, Martin, Beckham, Broshears and Baumler all shared the same apostolic succession: that of Bishop Earl Anglin James in Canada (about whom more later) and of Bishop Carl Stanley of the American Orthodox Catholic Church."
("The Bishop and the Boys, Part II," Peter Levenda)
|the Universal Life Church is one of the most notorious "bishop mills" out there|
"In the first place, the American Orthodox Catholic Church (at least, the version we are discussing) had not yet been created. That would happen less than a year later. Stanley at the time was bishop of something called the Holy Catholic Apostolic Church, as well as of the Byzantine Primitive Catholic Church, Old Catholic Church in North America. (He was joined in both of these operations by one Cyril T. Omarra, about whom the author can discover nothing so far.) Martin claimed to have been investigating Stanley 'for several private clients' during the period 1959-1966, and had ordination and consecration certificates from Stanley’s various churches dating from as early as 1960. Yet, Martin was an eager and active participant in the American Orthodox Catholic Church until his death, hardly the position of someone who held a dim view of the organization. Was his politicking against Stanley (and Ferrie) of a piece with what Propheta was doing in New York? Or was there a deeper motive involved, an attempt to divert attention away from someone or something?
"That Martin and Stanley had a falling out in 1963 is certain; Stanley’s report to the FBI that year that Martin and Ferrie were involved in a conspiracy to assassinate the President is proof positive of bad blood between them. What doesn’t make much sense is the fact that Martin was a close associate of the other bishops who, together with Stanley, formed the AOCC in 1964, after Stanley dropped the dime on Martin and Ferrie. The whole affair would begin to look like an inspired disinformation operation if it weren’t for the fact that the central characters are so … odd."
|a document canonizing Bishop Stanley in the wake of his death, making him "Saint Stanley"|
"In the same year, Walter Propheta was in New York City forming the East Coast version of the AOCC. In 1967, Propheta was involved with J. Edgar Hoover who evidently installed him as the “primate” of the American Orthodox Catholic Church at a dinner in Manhattan. (This tie between Propheta and the FBI was known to the author from Propheta’s own admission to him in 1968.) Once installed, he advised the other bishops that they had to present their credentials to him to be approved as part of the new AOCC. While the other bishops refused, Stanley eagerly raced to New York City. One wonders what “credentials” this convicted felon offered to Propheta and the FBI, for a month later he was dead ... a few weeks after the controversial death of his bishop, David Ferrie.
"Ferrie had been introduced to Stanley by Jack Martin, an investigator with Guy Banister’s detective agency in New Orleans. Martin has been portrayed as a hopeless drunk in Oliver Stone’s film of the assassination, and has been given short-shrift in other studies of the New Orleans connection. Martin himself ratted out Banister, Stanley and Ferrie to the FBI after the assassination when it became clear that District Attorney Jim Garrison was investigating the case. We should not take this all at face value, however, for Martin – even though he pretended to be investigating Carl Stanley – remained a bishop of the American Orthodox Catholic Church for many years after the assassination and until the day he died, even participating in the consecration of Thomas Jude Baumler – a self-admitted fascist and attorney who also worked briefly as an investigator for Guy Banister and as a New Orleans politician in his own right – as late as 1974.
"Martin first attempted to have David Ferrie consecrated by another bishop on the East Coast, but the bishop felt that there was something “unholy” about Ferrie, and he declined. Ferrie then went on to Stanley where he was more successful. This occurs in the three year period before the Kennedy assassination."
"Carl Stanley met with Propheta in New York City in early February, 1967 according to information provided to the author by another bishop. David Ferrie died in his New Orleans apartment on February 22, 1967. Ferrie’s associate, Eladio del Valle (an anti-Castro Cuban) was murdered in a parking lot in Miami on the same day. The following day – Feb 23, 1967 – Carl Stanley met with the FBI according to an FBI teletype dated March 9, 1967. (Was this on orders or advice by Bishop Propheta, the FBI-installed "Primate"?) According to the available documentation, he used that opportunity to further slander David Ferrie and Jack Martin. Ferrie, of course, had died just the day before. Clay Shaw was arrested on March 1, 1967. Carl Stanley then died of an apparent heart attack on March 8, 1967 in Louisville, Kentucky."
|J. Edgar Hoover: wandering bishop?|
The FBI also seems to have performed services for the AOCC. Levenda goes on to report that Jack Martin was able to furnish FBI files for applicants into "Holy Orders."
"My informant goes on to insist that Martin could be relied upon to furnish FBI files on 'future applicants for Holy Orders', a strange capability for a hopeless drunk. It is widely rumored that Martin had a source at FBI headquarters in New Orleans who provided him these files, but he also made it known that he was an investigator for the District Attorney’s office – something of which the DA was presumably not aware! Yet he had an income of some kind, for he was known to travel extensively throughout the United States for years on one errand or another involving the bishops, a true 'wanderer'."
("The Bishop and the Boys, Part III," Peter Levenda)What were these "Holy Orders" and why were they important enough to warrant FBI background checks? And how did Jack S. Martin, a figure often portrayed as a hopeless drunk, end up providing this service? Earlier Levenda had given some incredible background details concerning the highly mysterious figure of Martin:
"Jack Martin is a pretty common name, so perhaps we should not be surprised to see a Special Agent Jack S. Martin appearing on Project Blue Book documents dating back to 1949, years before Edward Suggs changed his name (as far as we know). This particular Jack S. Martin was in California at the same time as our Ed Suggs, but was working for the OSI, or Office of Special Investigations, a department of the US Air Force. This is shown by OSI documents from October 1949 in which S/A Jack S. Martin was investigating UFO sightings in northern California by an Edward W. Gurband, a Roy Oliver Neely, and a Reverend Curtis Daniels that had taken place on August 1, 1949 in the San Francisco area. Our Jack S. Martin, however, is not known to have changed his name that early and, besides, there is no evidence at all that he ever worked for the Air Force. However, just to be devil’s advocate for a moment, there was no US Air Force during World War II; it was known as the Army Air Corps then, so it is possible – just barely possible – that Suggs/Martin did work for the Army Air Corps as an enlisted man or even as military police, but I have been unable to find Suggs’ military record to confirm or deny this possibility. I just leave it here as an unresolved issue. It would be amusing (if not a little unnerving) to discover that both Guy Banister and Jack Martin were investigating UFOs for the government at the same time, though!
"Getting back to Suggs, however, we find that he was passing himself off as variously an FBI agent or a CIA agent in the late 1950s and early 1960s, before the Kennedy assassination. An alcoholic, he wound up in a mental ward at New Orleans’ Charity Hospital in January of 1957, with 'sociopathic personality disorder, antisocial type'. All during this time he was married to the long-suffering Paula Martin and even had a child, but he was unable to hold down a job for any length of time.
"This is a familiar pattern in the Kennedy assassination case. Lee Harvey Oswald had the same track record as a married man with children, unable to hold down a job, and who had been under psychiatric observation (at least, in the Soviet Union). If we are to believe the record, both men had delusions of grandeur and could be considered antisocial sociopaths. And, of course, both had military service and both wound up in New Orleans at the same time, working out of Guy Banister’s Camp Street office. Oswald, however, was not an alcoholic nor was he one of Carl Stanley’s bishops.
"As another aside, both Ferrie and Martin were involved in unorthodox medical practices and experimentation. Ferrie’s obsession with curing cancer is well-known and documented, as well as his practice of hypnosis, and Martin had an on-again, off-again fascination with various forms of medicine, homeopathy, chiropracty, hypnosis, and the like.
"In 1960, Martin was interviewed by the FBI on charges that he was impersonating an FBI agent. Martin seemed to have offered the Feds a deal in which he would reveal that one Carl J. Stanley of Kentucky was running an illegal operation by furnishing false ordination certificates and other worthless paper. The FBI interviewed Stanley himself, and came away with the opinion that both Stanley and Martin were fruitcakes.
"There it would have ended had it not been for the events in Dallas of November, 1963 and a series of bizarre phone calls that took place between Stanley and the FBI, and Martin and the FBI in the hours after the Kennedy assassination."
"... it should be noted that Jack S. Martin had in early 1957 spent time in the psychiatric ward at New Orleans' Charity Hospital, where some patients from the East Louisiana State Hospital were transferred after they had been used as subjects in LSD and other experiments."
(A Secret Order, H.P. Albarelli Jr., pg. 82)As noted in part four of this series, East Louisiana State Hospital was used for CIA "behavioral modification" experiments under the auspices of Projects MKULTRA and/or Artichoke. And that brings us to Martin's interest in hypnotism. As noted above, this was an interest that Martin shared with David Ferrie, a man whom compelling evidence has emerged over the years that Martin greatly despised. Still, the relationship of these two men may well have been far more complex than many researchers have imagined, as Levenda alluded to above.
Which begs the question, is it possible either man could have been involved in some aspect of the CIA's "medical" experiments? After all, both men appear to be hypnotists with ties to the US intelligence community operating out of an area (New Orleans) that was engaged in behavior modification experiments during the same time frame. In this next and hopefully final installment of this series I shall consider this possibility. Stay tuned.