Monday, March 2, 2015

GUEST BLOGGER POST: Bill Cosby and the Reagan Era Reckoning by Eric Frost-Barnes

Bill Cosby and the Reagan Era Reckoning  

More than thirty years ago, as then President Ronald Reagan spoke to us about coming “to a turning point, a moment for hard decisions,” Bill Cosby was seemingly giving us something else all together; manageable life lessons through a lot of laughter and a sense of comfort.

President Reagan’s quote is from his second inaugural address, referring to a “time of reckoning” in terms of what he described as “fifty years of deficit spending.”  Reagan wanted to make cuts and curb certain governmental spending habits, and through his well-rehearsed “aw-shucks” delivery, we, as a trusting nation, went along with him on a fiscal journey that has since proven to have been far more harmful than helpful, in terms of balancing the budget and helping those Americans in need.

In other words, we trusted dear, sweet Ronnie – and as a result, we took an economic beating for it.  

But at least we could look back on Bill Cosby and his shining symbol of the near-perfect American father, that now iconic character’s name being Cliff Huxtable.  Excuse me, I mean, Dr. Cliff Huxtable.  Cosby’s portrayal of the good doctor was everything we as a nation were looking for; a father who loved his wife and children, and a man who never shied away from a teachable moment.  In short, Dr. Cliff Huxtable was a devoted family man who appeared to tell it like it was (much like our loving grandfather-figure in the White House) through honesty, humor, and rarely seen TV candor.

And for eight seasons (coincidentally, the same length of time Reagan was in the Oval Office) we trusted dear, sweet Dr. Huxtable – and as a result, we were taken for a ride by someone who (Cosby, the man) was, at times, behaving in ways far different than his beloved television persona.  (In hindsight, the fact that Dr. Huxtable was an obstetrician with an office in his home basement seems horribly creepy and a bit of a “tell” as to how the real Cosby thought).  At the time of writing this piece, more than thirty-three women have stepped forward publicly and claimed they were either sexually harassed or raped by Bill Cosby, with some of these alleged incidents happening as far back as the late 1960s and early 70s.  

It seems that two of our most beloved men from the 1980s were actually nothing like the men they played in front of the cameras.  When Americans of a certain age ask one another, as well as themselves, why they’ve become a bit more jaded, they’ll need to look no further than these two icons of the 80s.  Michael J. Fox?  Those of us who grew up during this time are looking to you to keep our hope alive.  Please don’t prove to be a closeted serial-killer or to have had inappropriate relations with barn-yard animals.

So what is there to do when two of your seemingly greatest father-figures prove to be not only flawed, but something far more inept or sinister?  You can approach their memory like Fox News does with former President Reagan and only push the myth, making Reagan appear like the absolute pinnacle of leadership, despite the fact that history shows him to have been far less so. Or you can be like certain friends of mine who refuse to believe Bill Cosby is actually guilty of the sexual crimes he’s been repeatedly accused of.  You can keep your head in the proverbial sand, clinging to your memories of Cliff Huxtable the fiction, or of the likeable stand-up that made you love chocolate cake even more than before.

The problem is, however, we know as a society that these men were the beneficiaries of celebrity, and with that a certain level of protection is afforded them.  But if we’re to move past our own disappointment and see these flawed men for what (and who) they are, then we have to see them in terms of whole beings.  We can still appreciate some of the positive qualities they shared with us, but it is equally important to hold them accountable for their negative (and possibly criminal) attitudes and behaviors.  We can no longer pretend that President Reagan didn’t know about trading arms for hostages, or that Bill Cosby was a wonderful guy who was really just playing a variation of himself on The Cosby Show, as more than a couple of people I know still want to believe about both men.  

It is time to make some “hard decisions” about these 80s icons and own up to the truth.  The Reagan era came with a lot of smoke and mirrors, and now that smoke is finally – and rightfully – dissipating.  And what are left are icons that are far less than what their supporters have pumped them up to be.  We need to see these men for whom they are and use their own flaws as teachable moments for ourselves; in the sense that we strive to be better and to hold both each other and ourselves to higher standards.  After all, it’s what the fictional versions of Bill Cosby and President Reagan would want.  

Friday, February 20, 2015

The X Factor

On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X, I would like to examine the evidence of government involvement.  There's no question that there was a conspiracy where his assassination is concerned.  The sequence of events on February 21, 1965 leave little doubt.  From an article originally in Newsweek:

Death came moments after Malcolm stepped up to a flimsy plywood lectern in Manhattan's Audubon Ballroom, just north of Harlem, to address 400 of the faithful and the curious at a Sunday afternoon rally of his fledgling Organization of Afro-American Unity. The extermination plot was clever in conception, swift and smooth in execution. Two men popped to their feet in the front rows of wooden folding chairs, one yelling at the other: “Get your hands off my pockets, don't be messing with my pockets.” Four of Malcolm's six bodyguards moved toward the pair; Malcolm himself chided, “Let's cool it.”

Volley: Then came a second diversion: a man's sock, soaked in lighter fluid and set ablaze, flared in the rear. Heads swiveled, and as they did, a dark, muscular man moved toward the lectern in a crouch, a sawed-off shotgun wrapped in his coat. Blam-blam! A double-barreled charge ripped up through the lectern and into Malcolm's chest. From the left, near the spot where the two men had been squabbling, came a back-up volley of pistol fire.

Malcolm tumbled backward, his lean body rent by a dozen wounds, his heels hooked over a fallen chair. The hall was bedlam. Malcolm's pregnant wife, Betty, rushed on stage screaming, “They're killing my husband!” His retainers fired wildly through the crowd at the fleeing killers. Four assailants made it to side doors and disappeared.

The man with the shotgun, identified by police as 22-year-old Talmadge Hayer of Paterson, N.J., dashed down a side aisle to the stairway exit from the second floor ballroom. From the landing, one of Malcolm's bodyguards winged him in the thigh with a .45-caliber slug. Howling in pursuit (“Kill the bastard!”), the ballroom crowd caught Hayer on the sidewalk, mauled him, and broke his ankle before police rescued him.

Hayer was charged with homicide. Five days later, police picked up a karate-trained Muslim “enforcer,” Norman 3X Butler, 26, as suspect No. 2.

The arrest of a Muslim surprised almost no one. For all his many enemies, Malcolm himself had insisted to the end that it was the Muslims who wanted him dead. They seemed to dog him everywhere he went; a bare week before his death, he was firebombed out of his Queens home, the ownership of which he had been disputing with the Muslims.
Malcolm X  1925-1965

Beyond the obvious role the Nation of Islam (NOI) played, I want to explore the role of government agencies.  To do so, I am not going do my usual thing as I do when exploring the role of government agencies in the JFK assassination.  I will not be quoting from books dedicated to investigating government conspiracy in Malcolm X's assassination, though I know there are a number of well written books on the subject.  What I will do is quote from a single history book, the National Book Award finalist Malcolm X A Life of Reinvention by the late Manning Marable.  And I will use an evidentiary standard familiar to many investigators of the 9/11 conspiracy: LIHOP, or Let It Happen On Purpose, as opposed to MIHOP, or Made It Happen On Purpose.

I've always rolled my eyes at the "debate" between LIHOP and MIHOP as those acronyms were used to assign responsibility for the 9/11 debacle. To my mind, the two terms represent a logical fallacy, a distinction without a difference.  It's quite possible the assassination of Malcolm X was LIHOP for the FBI and Martin Luther King was MIHOP. So fucking what?! They're still responsible. Whether they latch on to another organization's plot already in progress and help facilitate it by removing impediments or hatch the plot on their own, the intent to have the plot succeed is the same.  I've written before about how the 9/11 Truth movement lost direction and momentum; perhaps if more people had understood the logical fallacy at play, the search for Truth might have lead to Justice.

For starters where the subject of conspiracy in the assassination of Malcolm X is concerned, let's look at the issue of security stripping.  While Joseph E. Green in his review of Marable's book does an excellent job illustrating how unusual and often unwarranted security changes contributed to facilitating the assassinations of JFK, RFK and Fred Hampton, as well as the events of 9/11, I think Marable shows how the same factor was at play on February 21, 1965.  Green quotes Marable in his review from page 445:

For the detectives working the case, too many facts didn’t make sense. The request from Malcolm’s team that the usual police detail be pulled back several blocks from the Audubon seemed strange, as did the police’s agreement to do so in light of the recent firebombing. The detectives were also suspicious when they learned that nearly all the MMI and OAAU security had been unarmed and that none of the audience had been checked for weapons.”

As far as government agency complicity is concerned, Marable spells out how he sees the truth of the assassination of  Malcolm X in his book as early as page 13: 

"Although in 1966 three NOI members were convicted of the murder, extensive evidence suggests that two of these men were completely innocent of the crime, that both the FBI and the NYPD had advance knowledge of it, and that the New York County District Attorney's office may have cared more about protecting the identities of undercover police officers and informants than arresting the real killers."

The two innocent men erroneously convicted for the crime are Norman 3X Butler and Thomas 15X Johnson.  (Both were paroled during the 1980s.)  Both men had alibis for the time of the assassination, yet were convicted largely by prosecution witness Cary 2X Thomas, who "prosecutors and police persuaded ... to revise his testimony" regarding the shooter, and undermined by defense witness Charles Kenyatta, who under cross-examination identified Johnson and Butler as members of an NOI "hundred-man enforcing squad."  What was not revealed at the time was that Kenyatta was an informant for the NYPD (New York Police Department) and BOSS (Bureau of Special Services and Investigation), a secret operations unit within NYPD.

After their 1966 conviction, the patsies Butler and Johnson were sentenced to life in prison.  The third man convicted, Talmadge Hayer, signed an affidavit in early 1978 that four other "torpedoes from New Jersey" were responsible for killing Malcolm X.  Famed attorney William Kunstler petitioned to the appellate division of the New York State Supreme Court for a new trial for Johnson and Butler.  But the FBI refused to release its findings about the assassination to the court.  On November 1, 1978, Justice Harold J. Rothwax denied the motion to set aside their convictions and refused to set a new trial.  This was during a time when the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations was investigating the assassinations of Reverend Martin Luther King, President John F. Kennedy.  Yet despite a petition signed by Ossie Davis, Huey P. Newton and Maxine Waters, no congressional hearings were held.

Regarding the four other men named in Hayer's affidavit, the most notorious is Willie Bradley.  Identified by journalist Abdur-Rahman Muhammad as being "the man who fired the first and deadliest shot" killing Malcolm X, he was charged with robbing the Livingston National Bank of Livingston, New Jersey on April 11, 1968.  But he received "privileged treatment", as Marable put it, and the charges against him were dismissed.  He wrote about it in more detail on page 475:

Bradley's special treatment by the criminal justice system in 1969-70 raises the question of whether he was an FBI informant, either after the assassination of Malcolm X or very possibly even before.  It would perhaps explain why Bradley took a different exit from the murder scene than the other two shooters, shielding him from the crowd's retaliation.  It suggests that Bradley and possibly other Newark mosque members may have actively collaborated on the shooting with local law enforcement and/or the FBI.  The existing evidence raises the question of whether the murder of Malcolm X was not the initiative of the Nation of Islam alone.

There have been some recent articles highlighting this research noting that Bradley is still alive, residing in Newark under the name Al-Mustafa Shabazz.  It's certainly important to remember that there is no statute of limitations in this country for the crime of murder.  But I believe it's more important to remember that to focus on the trigger man to the exclusion of the organizations that set him up just creates another patsy which deflects from the pursuit of real justice. But let's at least get the ball rolling on a pursuit that's been asleep for 50 years.

Fiat justitia, ruat caelum.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

George de Mohrenschildt and the Paines: Connections Central in the JFK Assassination

There are two factors motivating my writing of yet another blog post on the assassination of JFK.  First, I want to follow up on my most recent post on my love for Choose Your Own Adventure books to say that my youngest sister was kind enough to fulfill my birthday request for a present of the Lose Your Own Adventure book Who Killed John F. Kennedy?  To say that my enjoyment of this book exceeded my expectations is an understatement.  I just wrote a review on Amazon to express just how good I think this book is.

One thing I didn't include in my review that I want to write about here: I actually learned something new about the JFK assassination through this book.  Did you know that on November 20, 1963, two days prior to the assassination, two Dallas police officers on patrol entering Dealey Plaza saw several men engaged in mock target practice aiming rifles over the fence on the grassy knoll in the direction of the plaza?  I didn't know this until I read it in a Lose Your Own Adventure book, which is a testament to how seriously Justin Sewell took his research in preparing the book.  It seems that there is confirmation of this in two separate books, which the following blog post references:

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Target Practice in Dealey Plaza

From Mafia Kingfish by John Davis (paperback Signet Books edition, 1989)

That same morning [Wednesday, November 20, 1963], in the center of Dallas, two police officers on routine patrol entered Dealey Plaza, through which the presidential motorcade would pass on Friday, and noticed several men standing behind a wooden fence on a grassy knoll overlooking the plaza. The men were engaged in mock target practice, aiming rifles over the fence, in the direction of the plaza. The two police officers immediately made for the fence, but buy the time they got there the riflemen had disappeared, having departed in a car that had been parked nearby. The two patrol officers did not give much thought to the incident at the time, but after the assassination of the President two days later, they reported the incident to the FBI, which issued a report of it on November 26. For reasons that have never been satisfactorily explained, the substance of the report was never mentioned in the FBI’s investigation of the assassination and the report itself disappeared until 1978, when it finaly resurfaced as a result of a Freedom of Information Act request.
I have been unable to track down this November 26 FBI report. However, confirmation of it comes from historian Michael Kurtz in his book Crime of the Century where on page 218 of the second revised edition he says:

Two days before the assassination, two Dallas police officers were making their usual rounds on patrol. As they entered Dealey Plaza, they observed several men engaged in target practice with a rifle. The men were situated behind the wooden fence on the Grass Knoll. By the time the policemen reached the area the men had vanished, apparently leaving in a car parked nearby.
Kurtz cites an FBI report, 26 Nov 1963, from Federal Bureau of Investigation. Papers on the Assassination of President Kennedy. 15 vols., 3847pp. Linus A. Sims Memorial Library, Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond, LA

Until I actually read the report from the police officers, one of whom, if Sewell's research is correct, is Captain George Doughty, I will withhold from confirming the veracity of the claim.  If true, it would be pretty ridiculous to try to dismiss it as coincidence.  Honestly, if you're going to resort to cliche and apply Occam's Razor, isn't it more likely that such an incident two days prior in the same damn place is indicative of foreknowledge and conspiracy than simply just one of those things?

I keep coming back to the Kennedy assassination, not just because of an intense personal interest, but because it continues to generate popular responses here.  The post that has received the most comments so far on this blog is The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Operation Gladio and the Assassination of JFK.  The most recent comment from Tommy Wilkens posed the question, "How do you see George de Mohrenschildt's involment ?? Isn't he really one of the keys to this whole mystery ??"  My attempt to answer that made me realize an appropriate response deserves its own blog post.  But if I'm going to explore de Mohrenschildt, I'm also going to have to explore his accomplices in subterfuge, Michael and Ruth Paine.  Together, they represent a confederacy of connections central to the assassination because of all the interests their lives intersect with: oil, intelligence, military, business, organized crime, the Russians, the Nazis, the Bushes, and most important, Oswald himself.  That list of interests, believe it or not, is abridged.  This is only a blog post, after all, and the connections, both in number and importance that these three characters have with parties who stood to profit most from the assassination of JFK deserves its own book.

Let's start with George de Mohrenschildt.  He was born in Russia on April 17, 1911; Spartacus has a very revealing biography on him worth reading.  According to Jim Garrison's On the Trail of the Assassins, George's father Baron Sergius de Mohrenschildt was governor of the province of Minsk for the Czar.  Clearly he was born into a life of privilege that would not have been compatible with the coming revolution.  As the Spartacus link shows, the riches of his noble lineage come from oil; his father and uncle ran Branobel Oil Company in Baku.  So it should be no surprise that after his father was imprisoned and then escaped with his family from the Bolsheviks to Poland in 1921, George eventually became involved in the oil business.  What is surprising is who he went to work for a year after emigrating to America in 1939: Humble Oil, co-founded by Prescott Bush. This was not his only Bush family contact.  He also met Prescott's son George H. W. Bush during the 1940s when Bush's roommate at Andover was Edward Hooker, de Mohrenschildt's nephew, whom he would continue working with in 1950 with the oil investment firm Hooker and de Mohrenschildt.  It was during the 1940s that strangely enough, de Mohrenschildt met young Jacqueline Bouvier, who would sit on his knee and call him "Uncle George."  He seemed to hobnob with the elite all his life; he went on to work for Pantopec Oil in Venezuela during the 1940s.  This company was owned by the Buckley family (as in William F.) and had connections with the CIA.
George de Mohrenschildt

I'm getting ahead of myself.  In addition to oil, de Mohrenschildt also was coming on the radar for his skills in the department of espionage.  Prior to coming to America, he claimed that he was involved in a pro-Nazi plot to kill Joseph Stalin.  This claim may have validity as British intelligence services warned the American government that de Mohrenschildt may be working for German intelligence.  Prior to working for Humble Oil, he worked for the Shumaker company in New York under Pierre Fraiss, connected with French intelligence.  There de Mohrenschildt collected intelligence on people involved in "pro-German activity."  But according to Dick Russell's The Man Who Knew Too Much, George later told his wife Jeanne (whom he married in 1959) that while he was a French counter-intelligence operative in World War II, he was "playing a double game."  This revelation seems pertinent regarding his work on a documentary on the Polish resistance in 1941 by Film Facts.  This company was run by his cousin, Baron Maydell, a known Nazi sympathizer.

It is within this context that we may understand de Mohrenschildt's original motivating factors for working with American intelligence.  He attempted to join the forerunner of the CIA, the OSS, in 1941 but failed.  His next formal interaction with the CIA happened in 1957 when he made an extended trip to Yugoslavia for the International Cooperation Administration looking for government help on an oil deal.  In response, Richard Helms, Deputy Director of Plans for the CIA at the time, wrote a memo that George provided Yugoslavian foreign intelligence "disseminated to other federal agencies in 10 separate reports" as documented by James W. Douglass in J.F.K and the Unspeakable.  As a result of this, the CIA claims it maintained informal contact with de Mohrenschildt until 1961.

There is considerable evidence the CIA is being dishonest about that date.  First, there is George's association with J. Walton Moore, which began in 1957.  De Mohrenschildt insists that an "associate" of Moore gave him Oswald's address and Moore, by phone, "encouraged" the relationship, according to Dick Russell's The Man Who Knew Too Much. They seemed to hit it off immediately.  On October 7, 1962, George visited Oswald in his Fort Worth apartment.  The very next day, Oswald packed and moved 30 miles to Dallas, where de Mohrenschildt lived, and according to George's wife and daughter, he got Oswald a job at Jaggers-Chiles-Stovall, a graphics house with a Pentagon contract where Oswald would be doing photographic work at a time when U-2 jets were taking the photos over Cuba that lead to the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Interestingly enough, it was during this same time, October 1962, that according to Dick Russell, de Mohrenschildt told Moore that he had a manuscript from Oswald detailing his time spent in Minsk.  Shortly after mentioning this, his apartment was robbed.  Moore, the CIA's Domestic Contacts person in Dallas at this time, naturally denies any involvement with hooking up Oswald with de Mohrenschildt.

But there is another CIA contact with de Mohrenschildt in which we have a paper trail documenting this.  According to John Newman's Oswald and the CIA, George's other CIA contact at this time was Nicholas M. Anikeeff, who knew him since World War II.  Anikeeff met with de Mohrenschildt in the spring of 1963 in Washington D.C. prior to his trip to Haiti.  At the time, Anikeeff was branch chief of the Soviet Russian Division.  This is documented proof the CIA was lying about maintaining contact with de Mohrenschildt only through 1961.  Nor was Anikeeff the only high official de Mohrenschildt met with regarding his trip to Haiti.  He met in New York City and Washington D.C. with CIA and military intelligence officials, including Dorothe Matlock with the Army chief of staff for intelligence and liaison to the CIA.  L. Fletcher Prouty said Matlock was "from a real black intelligence arm of the Pentagon.  It's very strange that she met with de Mohrenschildt."

He also met with Thomas J. Devine, who in addition to serving the interests of the CIA, was one of George H. W. Bush's colleagues at Zapata Off-Shore Company.  Perhaps this explains why when police found George de Mohrenschildt dead from a gunshot wound to the head on March 29, 1977, they found an address book from the 1950s with a Midland address for George Poppy Bush (Poppy is a well-known nickname for Bush 41) and a Zapata reference.  Perhaps Bush's contact with de Mohrenschildt was more extensive than what he admitted as Director of Central Intelligence when de Mohrenschildt reached out to him for help in 1976 to stop the harassment he felt he was receiving from federal agents as far as knowing him in the 40s through Edward Hooker.  Bush replied he was "unable to find any indication of interest in your activities on the part of Federal authorities in recent years."  Jeanne de Mohrenschildt, as well as many others, do not believe that George committed suicide.

Getting back to the Haiti trip, there are a number of different views about it.  For the lone-nut theorists, this was a straight-up business trip that gave de Mohrenschildt a perfect alibi for not being involved in Oswald's business on November 22, 1963.  Being out of the country at the time of the assassination, he could then be called in by the Warren Commission (Prouty said de Mohrenschildt had several private lunches with Allen Dulles during the time he was testifying before the Warren Commission) and recount his association with Oswald without the slightest suspicion of anything untoward.  Others see the Haiti oil exploration deal as quid pro quo by the CIA for taking Oswald under his wing.  But in Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, Peter Dale Scott examines another angle to the trip through connections to organized crime.  Chiefly, this connection comes through de Mohrenschildt's partner on the Haiti trip, banker Clemard Charles, who had a Pentagon-CIA meeting with de Mohrenschildt in Washington D.C. in May 1963.  Charles's mob contacts were Andre Labay, a French intelligence agent and drug trafficker, Mitch WerBell III, an OSS operative later infamous as a representative of Nugan Hand Bank, and Mario Renda, for whom Charles laundered money for in the 80s.  Renda was a Savings and Loan broker for Carlos Marcello associate Herman Beebe.  Beebe is also connected to de Mohrenschildt through his "walking trip" through Mexico in 1960.  His companion was Tito Harper, whose brother Richmond Harper was indicted in 1972 in a complex arms-for-drugs smuggling plot with Murray Kessler, a Gambino family associate, and Barry Seal, infamous for both the Bay of Pigs and Iran/Contra, among other things.  As Scott puts it, "This tripartite example of an intelligence-mob-corporate gray alliance, one of many in this period, is an example of the kind of milieu in which a plot against the President could have developed." 

Now, let's get neck-deep in the corporate dirt.  Through his position in the oil industry, de Mohrenschildt was friendly with many tycoons.  In addition to the names mentioned above, he either worked for or was friends with John Mecom, Sid Richardson, Clint Murchison and Haroldson L. Hunt.  Both Murchison and Hunt have long been suspected of involvement in the JFK assassination.  Much of the hobnobbing occurred through organizations of mutual interest.  In 1952, de Mohrenschildt moved to Dallas and joined the exclusive Dallas Petroleum Club, as well as attending regular meetings of the Council on World Affairs, (created by Bush family friend and head of Dresser Industries, later Halliburton, Neil Mallon) according to his Warren Commission testimony.  It is in the realm of the oilfield services industry that we see some strange alliances form.  One is familiar to researchers through his association with Lyndon Baines Johnson, George Brown, head of the corporate giant Brown and Root.  De Mohrenschildt worked for George and was also friends with his brother, Herman.  There is another less familiar, but equally intriguing: the Schlumberger Corporation.

According to On the Trail of the Assassins by Jim Garrison, de Mohrenschildt was a close friend of Jean de Menil, the president of Schlumberger which had close ties with the CIA.  This was corroborated by Dick Russell, who in The Man Who Knew Too Much mentioned that de Menil allowed his New Orleans branch to be used as an ammunitions conduit for the CIA.  What is truly illuminating about this alliance is detailed in a footnote by Garrison on page 61, "The CIA and Schlumberger had a mutual interest in the OAS, an organization led by former French generals who had revolted against President Charles DeGaulle in 1961 when Algeria was in the process of winning its independence.  The Agency had been a staunch, although secret, supporter of the French anti-Gaullist movement."  In my earlier post The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Operation Gladio and the Assassination of JFK, I documented how the Organisation Armee Secrete (OAS) had a captain, Jean Rene Souetre, who had previously attempted an assassination of de Gaulle who the CIA verified was "in Dallas in the afternoon" of November 22, 1963 and "expelled from the U.S....48 hours after the assassination."  There were further revelations by Dick Russell that the OAS had contact in New Orleans with anti-Castro groups, that Souetre met Howard Hunt in March-April 1963, and that Souetre was training with Alpha 66 in the New Orleans Mandeville region in the summer of 1963 - headquartered at the infamous 544 Camp Street address that appeared on Oswald's handbills.  So it appears that on the "industrial" side of the Military-Industrial Complex conspiracy to assassinate JFK, de Mohrenschildt's close friend Jean de Menil was involved in a support role similar to CMC/PERMINDEX in facilitating OAS's involvement in the assassination, with guidance from elements of the CIA and DIA.

There are more strange threads to de Mohrenschildt, but the most integral to the assassination concerns his connection to Michael and Ruth Paine.  The Paines met Lee and Marina Oswald through a party arranged by George.  I think James W. Douglass does the best job of explaining the true significance in J.F.K and the Unspeakable:

When de Mohrenschildt left Dallas in April for Haiti (stopping off in Washington D.C. for a meeting with CIA and Army intelligence officials), Ruth and Michael Paine stepped into his place as the Oswald's Dallas benefactors.

It was as if de Mohrenschildt had handed off the Oswalds to the Paines like a football in a reverse end run.  When the Dallas play-action began, the Oswalds were being carried by a prominent White Russian anti-Communist.  As de Mohrenschildt with CIA assistance left the Dallas action for Haiti, the Oswalds were suddenly in the hands of a Quaker-Unitarian couple who belonged to the ACLU.  If it was in fact a handoff, one trick play in a larger game plan, its sleight of hand was so successful that when the game was over, hardly anyone even remembered this one critical play.
Ruth and Michael Paine

The image of the Paines as ideologically liberal, the "Quaker-Unitarian couple who belonged to the ACLU" is part of the Warren Commission legend.  In the context of the times, this gave them a 'safe' background, normal, ordinary, nothing unusual, everything on the up-and-up, like liberal JFK himself.  It was all just a terrible mistake that this average middle-class couple hooked up with a Marxist presidential assassin and his Russian wife.  That Ruth convinced Marina Oswald to move in with her while Lee was stirring up trouble in New Orleans was just an unfortunate accident. 

But as with most facile legends, a deeper examination reveals a darker reality.  Jim Garrison discovered outlines of this during his investigation of the JFK assassination as District Attorney of New Orleans.  When he tried to obtain the income tax returns of Michael and Ruth Paine, he found out they were classified as secret.  He also learned that there were at least 33 Warren Commission documents; Document 212 relating to Ruth, 218 relating to Michael, 258 relating to Michael, 508 relating to Michael's sister and Documents 600 through 629 regarding relatives of Michael Paine all classified as secret.  Why all the hush-hush, not just over this supposedly average middle-class couple, but their relatives as well?  More about that later.

James W. Douglass, through his phenomenally researched J.F.K and the Unspeakable, sheds some light on why Garrison faced these roadblocks in regard to Ruth and Michael.  FBI director J. Edgar Hoover had written a letter to the Warren Commission October 23, 1964 urging them not to release certain FBI "reports and memoranda dealing with Michael and Ruth Paine and George and Jeanne de Mohrenschildt."  Hoover warned, "Making the contents of such documents available to the public could cause serious repercussions to the Commission."  Why?  Perhaps part of the reason is the Paine's ties with the intelligence community, especially through Ruth.  Her father, William Avery Hyde, received a government contract from AID for three years as their Regional Insurance Adviser for all of Latin America in October 1964, right after the publication of the Warren Report.  I've written previously about how AID has provided cover for the CIA; Hyde's end-of-tour report in 1967 did in fact go to the State Department and the CIA.  Ruth's younger sister Sylvia Hyde Hoke, whose husband worked for AID, had been working for the CIA since 1955.  Ruth claimed not to have known where her sister worked when questioned under oath by Jim Garrison in 1968; since her sister's CIA files were classified, Garrison couldn't find out.  Finally, Marina Oswald was advised by the Secret Service to stay away from Ruth Paine because "she was sympathizing with the CIA."

How might this "sympathizing" been expressed?  Ruth was the one who not only got Lee Oswald an interview for his fateful job at the Texas School Book Depository, but when a call to the Paine household about a better higher paying job for Oswald as an airport cargo handler came in, she turned down the offer and did not inform Oswald of it.  She also showed a similar helpfulness regarding a letter that Oswald supposedly composed to the Soviet Embassy (they later determined it was a CIA plant) on November 9, 1963.  Though Ruth testified that "my tendency is to be very hesitant to look into other people's things," she secretly read his rough draft after he left the room having typed the final version.  She copied the rough draft by hand as he took a shower and though she claimed under oath, "I am not used to subterfuge in any way," she took his draft of the letter and hid it in her desk to give to the FBI next time they came.  After the assassination, she provided crucial evidence to bury Oswald: photos of Oswald posing with guns and commie rags, the "spy camera", fake Alek Hidell documents.  She lead police to the blanket where he supposedly stored his Mannlicher-Carcano rifle.  She dragged her feet on getting Oswald legal representation, though she and her husband were ACLU members.

But in spite of all this evidence of back-stabbing, there is the possibility Ruth may have tried to help Oswald in his role in the conspiracy.  Deputy Sheriff Roger Craig identified Oswald leaving the Texas School Book Depository at 12:40 pm on November 22, 1963 getting in a light green Rambler station wagon on Elm Street driven by a husky Latin male.  This fact was confirmed by Oswald himself, but when the police pressed for further details, he replied, "That station wagon belongs to Mrs. Paine.  Don't try to drag her into this."  Perhaps attempting to conceal her role, but possibly realizing his cover was blown, Oswald then muttered in a low dejected tone, "Everybody will know who I am now."

With Michael Paine, there are not only intelligence connections in his history, but a unique bloodline with the elite of society, much of which I learned about through Sinister Forces Book One: The Nine by Peter Levenda.  On his father's side, Michael's lineage goes back to Robert Treat Paine, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.  His father George Lyman Paine Jr. was a Trotskyite leader in California, yet had intelligence connections through CIA consultant James Burnham, a Trotskyite colleague.  Burnham was a friend of William F. Buckley Jr. and Howard Hunt.  On his mother's side, Ruth Forbes Paine Young was a descendant of the blue-blood Forbes family of Boston.  Allen Dulles knew her through her best friend, Mary Bancroft.  Bancroft worked side by side with Dulles in Switzerland as a spy during World War II and became his mistress.  She was also the mistress of Henry Luce (of Time-Life, where the Zapruder film wound up.  Fans of the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker Kentucky Fried Movie might understand how he helped add to the confusion.)  After divorcing George Paine, Michael's mother married Arthur Young.

It is through Michael's stepfather that we can understand deeper connections to the JFK assassination through the Military-Industrial Complex.  I believe Oliver Stone was hinting at this in the movie JFK during the scene where X, played by Donald Sutherland, explains to Jim Garrison some of the darker, more powerful forces and motives at work in the conspiracy:

You know how many helicopters
have been lost in Vietnam? Nearly
three thousand so far. Who makes
them? Bell Helicopter. Who owns
Bell? Well, Bell was nearly bankrupt when
the First National Bank of Boston
approached the CIA about developing
the helicopter for Indochina usage.
How 'bout the f-111 fighters? General
Dynamics in Fort Worth, Texas. Who owns
them? Find out the defense budget
since the war began. $75 going on a
hundred billion ... Nearly $200 billion'll
be spent before it's over. In 1949 it
was $10 billion. No war, no money.
The organizing principle of any society,
Mr. Garrison, is for war.
The authority of the state over its
people resides in its war powers.


Perhaps the reason why out of all the historical characters in the movie, the Paines are among the few not identified by name, renamed Janet and Bill Williams, is that through Michael Paine there is a direct connections with one of the entities Stone calls out above, Bell Helicopter.  It runs deeper than the fact that Michael was working as a research engineer with Bell Helicopter at the time he was questioned by the Warren Commission.  His stepfather, Arthur Young, was the inventor of the Bell Helicopter.  Prior to working directly for Bell, Michael worked directly for his stepfather.  He set up shop in Arthur Young's barn in the early 1950s building model helicopters until the summer of 1959.  As with his wife, there seems to be a disparity between the image of him and the reality.  They were Quakers, which projects an image of pacifism - yet Michael spent two years in the Army and was sent to Korea at the height of the Korean War.  No mention of his war record was made in the Commission transcripts.  He took Oswald to his first ACLU meeting, but also took Oswald to his first John Birch Society meeting.  He had a security clearance with Bell Helicopter, but told the Warren Commission he didn't know what the classification was.

While we can only imagine what degree of influence Arthur Young had over getting his stepson a job at his old firm, there is no question about who was running Research and Development at the time Michael Paine workde for Bell: former Nazi General Walter Dornberger.  This scientist, brought to the United States with his protege Wernher von Braun as well as more than 1000 German scientists, many suspected of being Nazis, by the Army as part of Operation Paperclip in the 1940s, was no lip-service Nazi.  He was the chief of the Nazi space program at Peenemuende and, later, at the Mittelwerke at Nordhausen.  He was responsible for the deaths of thousands of concentration camp inmates as slave laborers.  Yet instead of being prosecuted at Nuremberg, he was brought to America to become an integral part of the Military-Industrial Complex.

Which kind of prompts a larger question: who really won the war anyway?

Friday, December 19, 2014

Choose It or Lose It

I've recently been going on a nostalgia trip through my library.  This past summer and fall, I re-read my entire collection of Choose Your Own Adventure books from my childhood.  A sad synchronicity with this journey down memory lane occurred last month:

R.A. Montgomery, 78, Dies; Published Choose Your Own Adventure Series

From the picture in the article above, I see at least 10 titles that I own.   I first got into Choose Your Own Adventure books when I was around 9 or 10 years old, so sometime in 1982 or 1983.  The first one I bought was the 14th book in the series, "The Forbidden Castle."  In that story, you journey into the Cave of Time, which takes you back to the Middle Ages where you encounter a couple of knights who reveal a riddle about a forbidden castle.  You spend the rest of the story either trying to solve the riddle or trying to avoid it, depending on your choices.

The excitement of being able to choose different story lines within the same book got me hooked on this series.  I particularly liked the element of time travel and was curious to read the first book in the series, "The Cave of Time."  This was one of my favorite books in the series, where different corridors in the cave would lead you to different time periods.  Apparently, it was a favorite among many of the fans.  Not only was "The Forbidden Castle" an unofficial sequel, but when the series became so popular that they got up to 50 titles, they decided to make the 50th book "Return to the Cave of Time."

Looking back on the series with the passage of 30+ years in some cases, I became aware of a barely perceptible shift in the narrative tone from the first book to the 50th that coincided with the shift in the political tone in America during that period of time.  "The Cave of Time" was written, or at least the first edition was published, in 1979.  While there are 40 possible endings, there were a couple that stood out for their presentation of a hopeful future.  One occurs in which you encounter a girl named Louisa from the year 2022.  She tells you that since 1997, they've allowed no new roads to be built, only bike trails.  The country she describes is filled with bike trails that run through forests and plains instead of alongside buses and trucks.  There's even hostels for bikers paid for by taxes on gasoline.  When you eventually get back to your time (1979), you both see a billboard that says, "CADILLAC - the Car of the Year, every Year!"  Louisa's response is, "What's a Cadillac?"  The second story line illustrating a future scenario occurs in the year 3742.  Through the Cave of Time, you have entered a society that is a sort of paradise.  Computers do everything for humans, so there is no need to work and the world is at peace.  You spend all your time in your beautiful bedroom with a choice of over 10,000 movies.  (Netflix Utopia?)  But when you venture out of your place for human interaction, none of the people you meet are very interesting.  You settle into your new life watching the greatest movies of all time with the awareness of one slightly disturbing thing: no one has made any new movies in the last 300 years.

The 50th book, "Return to the Cave of Time", was initially published in November 1985.  I believe I received a copy for Christmas that year.  It was "morning in America", the first year of the second term for President Reagan.  I've written before about the probability of an October Surprise that decided the 1980 election, but aside from the issue of Iran, voters were at a crossroads with an even bigger issue in terms of our overall well-being: the Carbon Crisis.  The two choices, Reagan and Carter, represented diametrically opposed viewpoints where energy and the environment were concerned.  This opposition was brilliantly expressed in a satirical manner by The Onion:

Campaign '80
Which message will resonate with voters?
"Let's talk better mileage"
- Jimmy Carter
"Kill the Bastards"
- Ronald Reagan
Responding to a question about America's reliance on fuel from OPEC nations, President Carter said "We have an opportunity to use American technology and know-how to develop our own alternate, renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, freeing us from reliance on foreign oil. This is sound policy, not just for America, but for Planet Earth". 

Republican challenger Ronald Reagan said "Mr Carter is missing one very important point. That is, if American is to continue to prosper in the 1980s and beyond, we must join together and kill the bastards. Kill them! Kill them!"

Since it was clear by 1985 which message resonated with voters, Edward Packard, who wrote all the Cave of Time books in the Choose Your Own Adventure series, reflected the diminished importance of protecting the environment in favor of consuming our way to prosperity with increased reliance on the Military-Industrial Complex in one of the future scenarios of "Return to the Cave of Time."  To describe this scenario as dystopic is an understatement.  You are on a planet Earth filled with the grey clouds of a greenhouse effect gone wild.  There is so much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that the oxygen content is only 2.3 percent.  You must wear an oxygen-generating helmet at all times.  What little hope exists for the planet consists of a team of alien custodians from a group called the Planetary Council who have improved the planet's environment tenfold "during the past few hundred thousand years" by their own account.  You might even get to witness their most recent accomplishment: rain, albeit in a slicker, greasier form.  The smartest choice, at this point, is to return to the Cave of Time and hope to escape to a time before the planet went to hell in a hand-basket.

After revisiting the halcyon days of childhood, I couldn't help wondering if there were books being written today in that style, but for adults who grew up on the Choose Your Own Adventure thrill.  I believe that I have found a book that not only captures that style, wit and adventure, along with a knowing wink to the adults who know where it's coming from, but also appeals to my own political interests of investigating conspiracy.  It is a Lose Your Own Adventure book, a parody of the original from a smart-ass company that calls itself Despair, Inc.

Lose Your Own Adventure #1 | by Despair, Inc.
It was supposed to be a happy occasion- a visit to your hometown by the President of the United States. But no sooner had he arrived than he was gunned down in cold blood! You're a brilliant kid detective on your toughest case ever! Your Dad, the Chief of Police, has a suspect in custody, a Marxist named Lee Harvey Oswald. But is he really the assassin? You're not so sure- since the deeper you look, the more it seems like everyone from the Mafia, the Cubans, and the Military-Industrial Complex wanted him dead! And they might not be finished!
How will you fail to solve this mystery? If you question the suspect in custody, turn to page 4. If you investigate the crime scene first, turn to page 12. Or if you follow-up on a tip from the mysterious Dr. Vivalzi, turn to page 21.
Retro-Sized Edition
4.1875" x 7"
$12Buy 3+ save 33%, 6+ save 40%, 10+ save 50%
Deluxe-Sized Edition
5.38" x 9" | 25% Bigger!
$18Buy 3+ save 33%, 6+ save 40%, 10+ save 50%
Product Details
Author: Justin Sewell
Publication date: 7/21/13
Pages: 190
Over 30 unique endings!
Over 70 retro Illustrations!
Rave Reviews!

Hint to my relatives reading this: my birthday is coming soon and though I haven't read this yet, I think it would make a perfect gift for me!  To everyone else reading this, I wish you a happy holiday season.  I recommend celebrating it by seeing The Interview, which someone told me was a great film and that Seth Rogen and James Flacco are a couple of great guys.  'Tis the season!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Degree Absolute and the JFK Assassination Conspiracy

Having recently been turned on to the joys of internet TV, I spent the early part of autumn with my family watching The Prisoner on Crackle.  This is a British TV series that ran just one season, 17 episodes from 1967-68, but I've had a number of people recommend it over the years.  Now that I've seen every episode from start to finish, I understand why it got so many raves.  It was groundbreaking, truly ahead of its time, not just for its presentation but also its content.  The presentation has its origins in the creator and star (and producer, director and writer of many of the series episodes, often under an alias) Patrick McGoohan, who had risen to fame from 1960-62 for his role as John Drake in Danger Man, playing a secret agent.  Three years later, the series was revamped as Secret Agent.  While this was one of the first British TV series to gain fame in the United States, by 1966, McGoohan yearned for something a little different.

The Prisoner, like Danger Man, has a British secret agent played by McGoohan as the lead character.  This secret agent (there is much debate among fans as to whether it is the same character in both series or not) abruptly turns in his resignation.  However, the agency he works for is not so eager to accept his resignation.  While packing his bags in preparation for departure, his home is gassed and McGoohan passes out.  When he comes to, his home seems just as it was, completely undisturbed.  When he opens the window, he is startled to discover that instead of London skyscrapers, he has the view of a garden.  Upon further investigation, he finds he is in a secluded coastal place called The Village where everyone is either a prisoner or a warden, but there are no identities; everyone is assigned a number.  McGoohan is assigned Number Six (which he resists proclaiming, "I am not a number!  I am a free man!") and is constantly kept under surveillance by Number Two.  In almost every episode, Number Two is replaced by a "new Number Two", either to confuse Number Six or because the 'old' Number Two was outsmarted by Number Six.

I loved every episode from the pilot to the finale, even the episode set in the Wild West, which actually fit into the pattern of interrogation perfectly.  My favorite episode was the penultimate titled Once Upon a Time.  It begins with Leo McKern, who had previously played Number Two in the second episode of the series, The Chimes of Big Ben, returning to the role for one last shot at breaking Number Six.  He asks on the phone to his superior and gets approval to use "Degree Absolute" on Number Six.  Degree Absolute is an extreme form of regressive therapy in which Number Two guides Number Six, who has mentally regressed to a child, through Shakespeare's Seven Ages of Man in the hopes of discovering, as every Number Two throughout the series has attempted, why Number Six resigned.  Throughout these seven ages, Number Two conducts tests in which he plays an authority figure and Number Six must react in a subordinate role.  However, Number Six turns the tables eventually locking Number Two in a room for torment as time for the session runs out.  Number Two collapses, apparently dead, and when the Supervisor played by Peter Swanwick enters to ask what Number Six wants, he agrees to give Number Six an audience with the figure he's been asking to confront ever since his imprisonment in The Village: the elusive Number One.

What makes this episode both ahead of its time and incredibly relevant to today is in illustrating how the combination of torture and drugs have been used in the pursuit of mind control.  I've written previously on this blog about the subject of MK-ULTRA, the CIA mind control program conducted in secret during the 1950s.  Yet knowledge of this classified program did not become public until the 1970s.  So in that regard, McGoohan seems to be extremely prescient (or extremely connected) in his enactment of mind control techniques.  As for contemporary relevance, one need only read Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine to understand that these same techniques have become the favored method of pressure on "enemy combatants" kept prisoner at Guantanamo Bay.  Not only has this "enhanced interrogation" been applied to foreign detainees, but in the case of Bradley Manning we have an American citizen whose lawyers alleged that while in solitary confinement at Fort Quantico, Manning was alternately kept naked and forced to sleep in a straitjacket, while being "drugged heavily with antidepressants."  Whatever you may think of what Edward Snowden did with his subsequent leak, in the wake of these allegations, can you blame him for escaping from the USA and preferring to spend the rest of his life in exile?

But I digress.  We're approaching another anniversary where JFK's assassins have escaped justice.  Strangely enough, there is an incident where an intelligence operative who sought to expose part of the charade erected by the conspirators faced his own Degree Absolute.

In January 1964, Yuri Nosenko, a KGB agent who had been selling secrets to the CIA while stationed in Geneva since 1962, asked to defect to the United States because he feared Moscow was aware of his relationship to US intelligence.  While one of his CIA handlers George Kisevalter tried to talk him into remaining in place since he was Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko's "watchdog", Nosenko reminded him that he had been in charge of recruiting Americans in Moscow and that he had detailed knowledge of the KGB's relationship to Lee Harvey Oswald during the time Oswald was in the Soviet Union.  The CIA brought Nosenko to the US, much to the consternation of James Jesus Angleton.  As chief of the CIA's Counterintelligence Staff, Angleton was convinced Nosenko was a fake defector.  According to Joseph Trento's The Secret History of the CIA, Angleton's favored defector Anatoly Golitsyn had convinced him that the KGB would send false defectors for the "fools at the CIA" to discredit him.  Angleton then uncovered tiny holes in Nosenko's story: he lied about his rank to inflate his status, plus the NSA was unable to intercept a recall message from Moscow.  As Trento writes on page 285-286:

It was this last bit of evidence that Angleton used to convince Richard Helms and others in the CIA hierarchy that Nosenko should be incarcerated until his reliability could be determined.

At Camp Peary, the CIA's training base for new agents outside Williamsburg, Virginia, construction began on a tiny cement-block house for Nosenko.  Under the supervision of the Office of Security and Pete Bagley from the SR Division, Nosenko was incarcerated under harsh conditions.  He was not permitted outside at night because the CIA feared that, with his naval training, he would be able to look at the stars and figure out where he was.  Nosenko, then 36, spent the next three years being sweated by experts from the Office of Security.  Everything he said, every answer he gave, was picked apart.

For George Kisevalter and others in the Soviet Division, the treatment of Nosenko was shameful.  "What he [Angleton} had done to Nosenko," said Kisevalter, "is a crime beyond anything that we, as Americans would stand for ... to torture a person for nothing."  To Kisevalter, the irony of the United States using Soviet methods to force a confession that never came was something he could never forgive.

The irony gets even thicker when we discover one page later that Nosenko was able to finger a KGB agent that Golitsyn was unable to, which Golitsyn then proceeded to resell as new information to British intelligence.  How bad was the torture?  In his book Plausible Denial, Mark Lane writes, "during the process many of his teeth were knocked out."  Former director of the CIA Stansfield Turner goes into more details about Nosenko in his book Secrecy and Democracy, which like The Prisoner (and allegedly Bradley Manning) also, not surprisingly, includes Nosenko being drugged against his will:

"His prison cell was concrete, about eight feet square, with no windows, only an opening with steel bars in the top half of the door.  A single steel bed with a mattress but no pillow or sheets and an occasional blanket were the only furnishings.  From time to time he was allowed to go outside into a small compound surrounded by walls so high that he could see only the sky.  His clothing was inadequate for the Virginia winters.  He was denied toothpaste and a toothbrush and was permitted to shave and shower only once a week.  During the entire period he was administered one or more of four drugs on seventeen occasions.  Doctors periodically also pressured him psychologically."

What exactly was the nature of the information Nosenko had on Oswald that resulted in his incarceration and torture?  It was that Oswald was definitely not a KGB agent.  This fact ran contrary to the story the CIA, particularly Angleton, was trying to push in getting the Warren Commission to close the case and cover up the truth about the JFK assassination.  The CIA story revolved around Oswald's alleged visit to Mexico City in September through October 1963.  The objective of the story was to show that when Oswald went to the Soviet Embassy there, he met with Valery Kostikov, a KGB operative responsible for planning assassinations in the Americas.  Doing so would insure that any investigation uncovering this information would risk starting a World War III nuclear holocaust if made public, thus necessitating a cover-up.  One problem negating the veracity of this scenario: the phone call in which Oswald allegedly spoke of meeting with Kostikov was proved by the FBI the day after JFK was killed to be someone impersonating Oswald.  We know this because J. Edgar Hoover told President Johnson this in a phone call on November 23, 1963:

jeh (cont.) accommodation will be mad of that He did carry some kind of a package down there which could have bean the gun yesterday morning in the car Nome of us can swear to that But the important thing 
at the time is that the location of the purchase of the gun by a money order apparettly to the Slain Gun Company in Chicago we were able to establish that last night lbj Have you established any more about 
the visit to the Soviet Embassy in Mexico in September jeh No that's one angle that's very confusing for this reason We have up her the tape and the photograph of the man who was at the Soviet Embassy using 
Oswald same That picture and the taps do not correspond to this man's voice nor to his appearance In other words it appears that thus is a atcond person who was at the Soviet Embassy down there We do have 
a copy of a latter which was written by Oswald to the Soviet Embassy here in Washington inquiring as well as complaining about the harratsmsat of his wit and the questioning of his wife by the FBI Now of course 
that letter information wa process all mail that goes to the Soviet Embassy - it's a very secret operation No mail is delive the Embassy without being sasardned and ops vs so that we know what they receive Such a 
latter wa Iliq1tfiFmhassy bythis fellow Oswald making a oo bsrrassed and being quoatioaed Tb case as it stands now isn"t strong enough to be able to get a conviction Then there is !■s angle...I disk we have a very very 
close plan Now if we can identify this asap who is at the Mexican Embassy at - the Soviet Embassy in Mezdco Qty the Embassy is Mexico Qty -• this man • iwald has still denied everything He doesn't know 
anything about anything but the gun thing of course is a definite trend lbj It definitely established that he -• the same gun killed the policeman jab That is an entirely different gas We also have that gun That was 
a revolver

So who was impersonating Oswald?  This question, along with other inconvenient details, were purposely swept under the rug by the Warren Commission.  LBJ appointed the Warren Commission for the express purpose of avoiding the prospect of World War III and assuring the public that Oswald acted alone, Ruby acted alone, move along, nothing more to see.  Once again, we have a transcript of a phone call as proof, this time between LBJ and Senator Richard Russell, who LBJ appointed to the Warren Commission.  In this conversation, LBJ explains that playing the World War III trump card is how he got Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, who had previously turned down the request, to head the Commission:

r -6 Now No. that's true I've bothered you more and made you eta spend more hours with me telling me what's right and wrong and.. than anybody except my mother.. DR I've done more than anybody wants to do... 
LBJ No.. No..I never made you do anything that was wrong. I never.. DR I didn't say wrong...I said more things I didn't want to do.. but Bobby and Ernie are two of the most loyal friends you'vIA earth.. they 
both called me up and said you've just got to do whatever Mr Johnson says. LBJ No...I don't want you to do that .I just want to counsel with you and I just want your judgment and your wisdom ...cause 
I haven't got any Daddy and you're going to be it. and you just forget it. DR Well Mr President you know..I think you know me LBJ I do .I do .I know you for your country and period Now 
you just get ready to tni do this and you're my man on there .. DR Well if you hadn't announced it. I would absolutely be. LBJ No. you wouldn't. no you wouldn't. DR Yes I would.. yes I would. 
LBJ I told Warren.. Warren told me he wouldn't do it under any circumstances .. didn't think the Supreme Court Justice ought to go on  .wouldn't have any thing to do with it .he said a man that criticised 
this fellow that went on the Nuremberg trial . Jackson.. he told me what he thought about Goldberg ...he thought he was terrible.. and I said let me read you one report. and I just pied up one report and 
read it to him.. and I said O,K   there's s million Americans involved here.. DR Well you see I may be totally wrong ...I think Mr Warren would serve on anything you'd give xhim any publitity on.. LBJ Well 
you want me to tell you the truth You know what happened Bobby and them went up to see him today and he turned them down cold and said NO Two hoursi later I called him and ordered him down 
here and he didn't want to come I insisted he come. came down here and told me No twice and I just pulled out what Hoover told me about a little incident in Mexico City and I say now I 
don't want Mr Kruschev to be told tomorrow and be testifying before a camera that he killed this fellow . and that Castro killed him and all I want you to do is look at the facts and bring in 
any other facts you want in here and determined who killed the President and I think you can put on your uniform of World War I .fat as you are.. and do anything you could to save one American life 
  and I'm surprised that you sad the Chief justice of the U S would turn me down. And he stalked crying and said well I won't turn you down..1111 just do whatever you say. but he turned the 
General down.. DR Well you ought not to be so persuasive. LBJ Well I think I ought to  DR I think you did wrong in getting Warren and I know damned well you did wrong Copy LBJ Library

Do you notice any contradiction within the chronology?  Why would President Johnson be warning Senator Russell and Chief Justice Warren about the specter of World War III and 40 million Americans dead in an hour if KGB complicity in the JFK assassination were made public on November 29 when J. Edgar Hoover told him on November 23 that the damning phone call came from an Oswald impersonator?  John Newman examines this conundrum in his book Oswald and the CIA and what that implies on page 633:

There was a darker purpose, however, for the suppression of the tapes.  As long as the tapes survived, the story in them was undermined by the fact that Oswald's voice was not on them.  The cover-up of the Mexico tapes began three hours after Hoover told Johnson that the voice on them was not Oswald's.  If this dark detail became widely known, LBJ would not be able to play the WWIII trump card on leaders like Senator Russell and Chief Justice Warren.  It is possible that the order to concoct a cover story saying that the tapes were erased before the assassination came from the White House.

With that loose end tied, the Warren Commission then followed the CIA story about the "little incident in Mexico City" President Johnson described exactly as the CIA and LBJ intended.  Conveniently, Nosenko was never called to testify.

However Nosenko, like The Prisoner's Number Six, was able to achieve a victory, albeit a somewhat Pyrrhic victory, over his Degree Absolute.  After three and a half years of incarceration, interrogation and torture, he was released.  The CIA concluded in 1967 that he was a genuine defector and that the information he provided, both prior to his defection and while incarcerated, was truthful and important.  They purchased a home for him in North Carolina and arranged for him to become a US citizen with an annual allowance of $30,000.

Victory in the form of a courtroom validation came courtesy of Hunt v. Liberty Lobby, in which attorney Mark Lane successfully defended Liberty Lobby against E. Howard Hunt, who was suing their publication the Spotlight for defamation after they published an article alleging that Hunt was involved in the conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy.  Lane wrote an entire book about the case, Plausible Denial, in which he details his defense strategy: for the first time since Jim Garrison in 1969, Lane would try the CIA in open court and prove for the benefit of his client that there was no defamation because the CIA, which employed Howard Hunt, did in fact conspire to assassinate JFK.  Lane was successful, first, because while cross-examining Hunt, he was able to trip him up on his own sworn testimony.  Lane details this exchange on pages 282-283:

At this trial he acknowledged the accuracy of that deposition transcript and asserted that his statements were truthful.  I then asked him about the testimony he had offered at the first trial of the Liberty Lobby case, on December 16, 1981.

Q. Do you recall testifying back on December 16, 1981, that when the allegation was made that you were in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963, your children were really upset?  Do you recall testifying to that?
A. Yes.
Q. Do you recall testifying that you had to reassure them that you were not in Texas that day?
A. Yes.
Q. That you had nothing to do with the Kennedy assassination?
A. That's right.
Q. And that you were being persecuted for reasons that were unknown to you?
A. Yes.
Q. Did you say that the allegation that you were in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963, was the focus of a great deal of interfamily friction, and tended to exacerbate difficulties in the family?
A. I did.

Although neither Hunt nor his attorneys seemed to sense what danger was about to befall them, it appeared that the jurors were anticipating the next question, confident that they knew what it would be.

I put down the dog-eared copy of the 1981 trial transcript.  I looked at Hunt and softly asked the most difficult question he was going to face at this trial:

"Mr. Hunt, why did you have to convince your children that you were not in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963, if, in fact, as you say, a fourteen-year-old daughter, a thirteen-year-old daughter, and a ten-year-old son were with you in the Washington, D.C., area on November 22, 1963, and were with you at least for the next forty-eight hours, as you all stayed glued to the T.V. set?"

If someone had struck Hunt in the face his reaction would not have been more physical.  His head jerked back.  He stared at his attorneys.  Snyder and Dunne, apparently thunderstruck, began to speak to each other in whispers.  The delay before Hunt responded seemed interminable.  In absolute time it probably was not more than half a minute.

Hunt then proceeded to waver and dissemble before the court.  Lane summarizes the full impact of this response on page 285:

Hunt had told so many stories, and given so many differing versions of his actions and whereabouts on November 22, 1963, that he had apparently failed to realize that two sets of stories - that he had been with his children the whole time and that his children did not know were he had been at the time - were mutually exclusive explanations.

The jurors understood, however, and in my view before Hunt's cross-examination had concluded his cause had been lost.  Yet ours had just begun.

What had "just begun" was sworn testimony proving CIA complicity in the assassination of JFK.  Lane did so in the form of a deposition reading of the sworn testimony of Marita Lorenz.  She detailed how she had worked with Frank Sturgis, who along with Hunt was later convicted for his role in the Watergate burglary, during November 1963.  She witnessed Hunt, operating under the alias Eduardo, making payments to Sturgis in a motel room in Dallas, Texas, on November 21, 1963.  Was there anyone else she and Sturgis met at the motel room besides Hunt?  Lorenz testified that after Hunt left, one other person came to their room the day before JFK was assassinated: Jack Ruby.  When Lorenz was cross-examined, she not only stood by her statements, but added upon request the names of others that were in the car with them on the way to Dallas, such as Pedro Diaz Lanz and Gerry Patrick Hemming.

To try to undermine this testimony, Hunt's lawyers brought the deposition of Newton Miler.  Miler testified that as a CIA founder who served under Ray Rocca, who reported only to James Jesus Angleton, he had no knowledge of Marita Lorenz or Frank Sturgis being employed by the CIA.  Hunt's attorney Kevin Dunne tried to make it look as if Miler's credentials were impeccable.  But when Lane cross-examined Miler, he admitted that he couldn't prove either Lorenz or Sturgis were not employed by the CIA.  Then Lane went in for the kill to completely dismantle Miler for having any credibility as an upstanding citizen with his trump card: the story of Yuri Nosenko.  From pages 311 and 314-315 of Plausible Denial:

For years Miler had controlled that interrogation, preparing questions, analyzing the responses and determining, with others including Angleton, that Nosenko should be illegally arrested, imprisoned without access to the judicial system, and routinely tortured.

Q. Have you ever played any part in the interrogation of Nosenko in terms of reading reports or suggesting questions for him?
A. Yes sir.

I questioned Miler about Nosenko, not really in the belief that  he would provide truthful answers, but rather to permit the jury to hear him discredit himself.  The deposition concluded with Miler becoming increasingly uncomfortable.  He perspired profusely in the temperature controlled room, continually looked to his attorneys for help and bolted out of the room the moment the deposition was completed.

Q. Was Nosenko held illegally under arrest for more than three years by the Central Intelligence Agency?
A. I would object to the term illegally under arrest.  According to the House Assassination Committee, according to the Church Committee and so forth, he was held - incarcerated.
Q. Did the House Select Committee on Assassinations find that the holding of this man for some three years was improper?
A. Was it the House Assassinations Committee that did that?  I don't know whether it  was that or one of the other Committees.  Yes, they did.
Q. And did the Central Intelligence Agency admit that this was an illegal action by the CIA?
A. That I am not certain of what it admitted to.
Q. Did Mr. Nosenko agree to be locked up in a cell for three years?
A. I do not know that from my knowledge of Nosenko.
Q. Was he ever charged with a crime after he came to the United States?
A. Not to my knowledge - not under U.S. law.
Q. Well, he was in the United States after he came here wasn't he?  Did any court in the United States order him to be held in a cell?
A. Not to my knowledge.
Q. You were involved then in an illegal operation against the rights of Mr. Nosenko?
A. How do you mean involved in the illegal rights of Mr. Nosenko?
Q. Did you know that he was being held during that period of time?
A. Yes.
Q. Were you not an accessory after the fact in the destruction of the rights of Mr. Nosenko?
A. I can not interpret that in a legal way.
Q. I have no further questions.

After these revelations, Hunt's lawyers called no more witnesses and closing arguments were made.  Unlike the Garrison trial on March 1, 1969, in which Clay Shaw, and by extension the CIA, was acquitted of the charges of conspiring to assassinate President Kennedy, on February 6, 1985, the verdict was for the defendant, Liberty Lobby, and against the plaintiff, E. Howard Hunt.  While there was concurrence in the unanimous decision as to the reason for finding for the defendant, the forewoman Leslie Armstrong was clear that the evidence presented showed the CIA had killed President Kennedy.

How far above Hunt does responsibility with the CIA lie?  In the 2008 Epilogue to his book Oswald and the CIA, John Newman offers his views on page 636:

It is now apparent that the WWIII pretext for a national security cover-up was built into the fabric of the plot to assassinate President Kennedy.  The plot required that Oswald be maneuvered into place in Mexico City and his activities there carefully monitored, controlled, and, if necessary, embellished and choreographed.  The plot required that, prior to 22 November, Oswald's profile at CIA HQS and the Mexico station be lowered; his 201 file had to be manipulated and restricted from incoming traffic on his Cuban activities.  The plot required that, when the story from Mexico City arrived at HQS, its significance would not be understood by those responsible for reacting to it.  Finally, the plot required that, on 22 November, Oswald's CIA files would establish his connection to Castro and the Kremlin.

The person who designed this plot had to have access to all of the information on Oswald at CIA HQS.  The person who designed this plot had to have the authority to alter how information on Oswald was kept at CIA HQS.  The person who designed this plot had to have access to project TUMBLEWEED, the sensitive joint agency operation against the KGB assassin, Valery Kostikov.  The person who designed this plot had the authority to instigate a counterintelligence operation in the Cuban affairs staff (SAS) at CIA HQS.  In my view, there is only one person whose hands fit into these gloves: James Jesus Angleton, Chief of CIA's Counterintelligence Staff.

Does the buck stop with Angleton, or was there a 'maestro' in the conspiracy that he answered to?  I believe the answer to that question is that he did answer to someone above him in the top levels of the Military-Industrial Complex.  The most likely candidate would be Angleton's former boss, Allen Dulles.  As the DCI fired by President Kennedy over the Bay of Pigs, along with his deep ties with the triumvirate that ran the DIA, as well as being the architect of Operation Gladio, swimming with the financial elite as a partner with his brother of the Wall Street law firm Sullivan and Cromwell and initiating talks while head of the CIA with the criminal elite of Johnny Roselli and Sam Giancana, Dulles had the means, motive and opportunity to pull it off.  As the most active member of the Warren Commission, he had the means, motive and opportunity to cover it up.

Perhaps in some alternate reality, Allen Dulles and James Jesus Angleton are facing their own Degree Absolute - and hopefully losing the battle.