MAE BRUSSELL: "Now in Volume 23 of the Commission hearings are some exhibits from the Marines sent to the Warren Commission that are published, these volumes I bought from the government printing office, and there's a long history of Lee Harvey Oswald's service in the Marines. The subject they say is 'in accordance with the request of your memorandum of May 1964, "The Warren Commission: Wanted Information," that covers three categories. A: the description of advanced or formal training which Oswald received while a member of the Marine Corp. Now remember, when he wanted to be at 16, he wasn't accepted, so he went home and memorized the entire Marine manual, and when he was 17 he went back in. Oswald attended Aviation Fundamental School, Naval Air Technical Training Center Naval Air stationed in Jacksonville, Florida, and during this period his course of instruction consisted essentially of the following: security of classified matter, US Marine Corp organization admissions and systems, Navy plotting, symbols and lectures, practical application of above, basic radar theory, equipment and safety measures, communication search and rescue procedures, air traffic procedures, map reading, weather aircraft recognition and combat information centers. In May 1957 to June 1957, he went to Aircraft Control and Warning Operator Course at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi and his course of instruction was radar familiarization, operation of radar indicators, aircraft warning indicators, aircraft control and warning systems, electronic countermeasures, operation of aircraft, warning installations and familiarization courses in the organization of Marine aviation, Marine air support and control systems. In 1957, he went to the Aviation Electronic School in Memphis, Tennessee, where he became incorporated in the Division Five of the FBI, the group that was responsible for the political assassinations; now this is one of the most...
PHIL COGAN: (interrupting) Now, now wait a minute, Mae.
BRUSSELL: OK. Volume...
COGAN: Now I've got to say something. In 1957...
BRUSSELL: Aviation Electronic School in Memphis, Tennessee. This has been one of the most secret training periods that he's gone into and I have documents for the southwest; you'll find this in Volume 23, 797, and anybody who's in Navy Intelligence can look up what the Aviation Electronic School consisted of in Memphis, Tennessee, in July 1957 that Oswald attended.
COGAN: What did it consist of?
BRUSSELL: This was a special department of Navy Intelligence. Division Five of the FBI. This was...
COGAN: (interrupting) Now the FBI is tied in with Navy Intelligence there?
BRUSSELL: Yes, but in the assassination the FBI used agents from Navy Intelligence. And if you look up this very, see, when you talk about Lee Harvey Oswald in the Warren Report, there's no mention of any of these skills that he learned. And he is stationed at Atsugi Base, later where the U2 flights get their training and he's in Russia at the same time Gary Powers is flying over there. Oswald went to the Soviet Union and his cover story was that he didn't like America and that he would give them all the information on our radar systems, and we routinely check them when he went there, but he had the mental capacity, which I'm going to show you, to understand, and the training to understand these systems. You see, he's made out to look like a really sick boob floating around with no friends, no meaningful relationships, you see, his handwriting shows you that he's this loner, or egotistical; to say that Lee Harvey Oswald had no accomplices because he has those characteristics is so wrong. And what I want to do is show his training.
COGAN: I'm still interested in Division Five of the FBI. Where's the documentation behind that?
BRUSSELL: I'll bring the documentation of that. I have a whole book on that that came from lawyers in the southwest. This is the group that ties in with the space agencies and the political assassinations. I can bring that in and do one whole show on that, if you like.
COGAN: Well, that's kind of a heavy statement to make. This school, the Aviation Electronics School in Memphis, Tennessee involved with Navy Intelligence is also directly tied in with Division Five of the FBI, what is Division Five of the FBI?
BRUSSELL: Well, Division Five comes under Defense Intelligence Agency. It's different than the CIA, and it's larger than the CIA and nobody is aware or talks about the Defense Intelligence Agency. It began in screening people who are employed in space agencies or rocket factories or missiles, everybody employed in all these agencies has to be screened out and the intelligence apparatus of this particular Defense Intelligence Agency has more funds, more men and more power than the CIA. And there are some books on the Defense Intelligence Agency; we hear a lot about watchdogs for the CIA and nobody's gone into this particular agency.
COGAN: Is Division Five of the FBI referred to in any publications?
BRUSSELL: (interrupting) Common knowledge? The people that have done the research, who have pinpointed the political assassination, refer to Division Five, the researchers point to it all the time. But the way the intelligence system breaks down, if I say, 'Oswald was an agent of Navy Intelligence' you know, if you're in the service, how complicated the network is and which particular branch or vein or artery that he came from has to be pinpointed by the researchers eventually down to the modus operandi. To just say, 'He's an agent' isn't enough, so I'm pinpointing him to this particular division.
COGAN: Is this the first evidence that you have of Oswald's connection with a government intelligence agency?
BRUSSELL: What do you mean?
COGAN: Well, is this tie-in between Oswald, the Aviation Electronics School, and Division Five of the FBI, has he been associated with an intelligence operation before this time in July of '57?
BRUSSELL: Well, the whole training that he got the minute he came into the Marines going off to Jacksonville, Florida, then Mississippi, and then down to Memphis indicates that he was always to be in intelligence."
While Brussell does have a tendency in her speaking style to stumble over some specifics, the content of her research is quite shocking. But is it true? I wanted to make sure, as I have not read that Oswald was an agent of ONI (Office of Naval Intelligence) in any books on the JFK assassination, and I've read over a dozen. As I mentioned in the comments section of the earlier JFK/DIA post, if Oswald worked for Naval Intelligence prior to 1961, that means the DIA definitely should have known of Oswald's intel activities before November 22, 1963. That's because after 1961, ONI would fall under the purview of the DIA. I find this possibility extremely intriguing, especially considering Guy Banister's connections with ONI.
However, it appears that the "whole book on that that came from lawyers in the southwest" Brussell is using as documentation is Nomenclature of an Assassination Cabal by one man claiming to be a lawyer from the southwest, William Torbitt. I read a couple chapters through online links, including one elaborating on how Oswald's recruitment into Division Five of the FBI was originally through David Ferrie in 1956. While trying to verify the validity of Torbitt's research from others in the JFK assassination research community, I came across this entry:
William Torbitt is the pseudonymous author of Nomenclature of an Assassination Cabal (1970). When the book was published the author claimed he was a lawyer working in the southwestern part of the United States.
During the Second World War he served in the United States Navy. After completing a law degree from the University of Texas he worked as a prosecuting attorney (1949-51). He admits that his clients includes people involved in committing political murder. He claims he has also represented people involved in the "financial dealings of organized crime in Texas".
In Nomenclature of an Assassination Cabal Torbitt claims that John F. Kennedy was assassinated by a "fascist cabal... who planned to lay the blame on honest right-wing conservatives, if their first ploy, to lay the blame on Oswald and the Communists, was not bought."
Torbitt argues that a Swiss Corporation named Permindex engineered the assassination. Also involved included Defense Industrial Security Command, organized by J. Edgar Hoover and William Sullivan. Torbitt claims that DISC agents included Clay Shaw, Guy Banister, David Ferrie, Lee Harvey Oswald, Jack Ruby with Louis M. Bloomfield of Montreal, Canada in charge.
According to the author Permindex was comprised of:
(1) Solidarists, an Eastern European exile organization.
(2) American Council of Christian Churches led by Haroldson L. Hunt.
(3) Free Cuba Committee headed by Carlos Prio Socarras.
(4) The Syndicate headed by Clifford Jones, ex-lieutenant governor of Nevada. This group also included Bobby Baker, George Smathers, Roy Cohn, Fred Black and Lewis McWillie.
(5) Security Division of NASA headed by Wernher von Braun.
According to Torbitt, others involved in the assassination included Lyndon Johnson, Walter Jenkins, Fred Korth, John Connolly, William Seymour, Robert McKeown, Sergio Arcacha Smith, Lee Harvey Oswald, Ruth Paine, Micael Paine, Gordon Novel, and Clint Murchison. For example, he claims that Seymour impersonated Oswald in the School Book Depository and killed J. D. Tippit.
Torbitt adds that the "anti-Castro Cuban part of the plan was to tie the Castro regime into the murder of Kennedy and thus to have the U. S. military give all service to the overthrow of Castro".
In his book Who Shot JFK? (2002) Robin Ramsay argues that Nomenclature of an Assassination Cabal was an attempt by the Central Intelligence Agency to link the Federal Bureau of Investigation to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. "Torbitt took Garrison's inquiry into the ClA's links to the assassination and converted them into a story about the FBI's responsibility for the assassination. (This, in my view, tells us that the author/s of Torbitt were working for the CIA, trying to diminish the 'Garrison effect.')" (emphasis added)
Torbitt also argues that J. Edgar Hoover and Louis M. Bloomfield planned the execution of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy. He names Albert Osborne as the man who organized these two assassinations.
What do members think of Torbitt's book?
You can read the full manuscript here:
Ramsay is not the only author who considers Torbitt a suspicious source. So does Jim DiEugenio and Seamus Coogan of Citizens for Truth about the Kennedy Assassination (CTKA), who consider the "Torbitt document" CIA disinformation. So does the author of Crossfire, Jim Marrs, who verified Torbitt's real name as David Copeland. I don't blame Brussell for believing the source at the time, much of what is written runs parallel to information uncovered through the Garrison investigation. But as there is no other source for corroboration of the Division Five/DIA angle, this revelation is unverifiable.
Now there are elements in Brussell's account that are verifiable. Where she quotes from Volume 23 in the Warren Commission Exhibits, we are getting a documented account of Oswald's training that, in Brussell's words, "indicates that he was always to be in intelligence." Could Oswald have been working for multiple intelligence agencies? As David Krall commented in the previous JFK/DIA post, "hi-level assassinations...are NEVER (!)the result of the planning of or from one segment/element or from one dept. of an agency." According to Dick Russell's The Man Who Knew Too Much, not only was Oswald an informant for the FBI, but was also an INS customs agent, in addition to his intelligence work for the CIA corroborated by Richard Case Nagell.
But what of Volume 23's documentation of Oswald's training at Aviation Electronics School in Memphis in July 1957? Does this prove Oswald was an ONI agent? Well, that depends on which Oswald you're talking about. While I haven't read the entire book (I certainly hope to soon), I read an excerpt from The Assassinations: Probe Magazine on JFK, RFK, MLK and Malcolm X that indicates the phenomenon of Oswald doubles that I have written about it earlier posts may have started at the beginning of Oswald's military career. From page 109:
After boot camp and ITR (Infantry Training Regiment), "Lee Oswald" left for Jacksonville, Florida. According to the Warren Commission, Lee attended Aviation Fundamentals School. But Allen Felde (WC Exhibit 1962) said he and Oswald attended an A & P School in Jacksonville, which is a mechanics school, quite different from a beginning course in Aviation Fundamentals. Again, two different Oswalds: "Lee" attended Aviation Fundamentals School; "Harvey" attended A & P School with Allen Felde in the spring of 1957. Oswald's Marine records show his attendance at Aviation Fundamentals School but fail to note anything about A & P School.
"Lee Oswald" attended Radar School in Biloxi, Mississippi in June 1957, transferred to El Toro, California in July and left for Japan in August. During this time - June and July 1957 - Allen Felde and "Harvey Oswald" attended an Aviation Electronics School in Memphis, Tennessee. Felde remembered Oswald constantly discussing politics and Communism (once again, "Harvey" is promoting Communism). Marine records show "Lee Oswald's" attendance at Radar School in Biloxi, but contain no reference to Aviation Electronics school or any assignment in Memphis. "Harvey" was last seen by Felde in September 1957, a time when "Lee Oswald" was already in Japan.
Sounds like another case of truth being stranger than fiction. In the case of "William Torbitt", it is fiction in the clever disguise of fiction. It's a textbook example of disinformation at its finest: incorporate as much truth as possible into a narrative that ultimately misdirects attention from the real guilty party. It is the most toxic strain of disinformation because while it may reveal amazing new facts, once the source is discredited, anything associated with it has the appearance of being tainted.
Speaking of toxic strains...
Philip Seymour Hoffman 1967-2014
Just want to shift topics for a moment to say how stunned I was to hear about Philip Seymour Hoffman's tragic death at age 46. It truly was a jaw-dropping moment to read the news about his overdose. More details are coming out now that there were 70 bags of heroin found in his apartment, including five used bags, presumably of heroin. The latest report is that the police believe the heroin Hoffman used was not a toxic strain mixed with fentanyl that was responsible for a number of deaths on the East Coast. But we won't know for certain until we get the official autopsy results.
There are conspiracy rumors (I won't call them theories as it's all hypothetical speculation at this point) around his death that Scientologists are responsible. This is due to his role in Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master, where he plays a character loosely based on L. Ron Hubbard in a portrayal that is not very flattering where cult leaders are concerned, as shown in this scene:
What is fueling the conspiracy speculation is that the actor playing John More in the scene above, Christopher Evan Welch, died two months ago at age 48. Now, my intuition is telling me this is probably just a coincidence, that like the recent tragic death of Paul Walker, any conspiracy rumors will wither away due to lack of evidence. After all, Welch's death was due to lung cancer. Then again, that's how Jack Ruby died, and he believed he had been injected with cancer cells.
But ultimately I included this story in this post because of how sad it is to lose, as one of my best friends put it, one of the best actors of his - or any - generation. R.I.P. Philip Seymour Hoffman, you will be missed.