Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Lee Harvey Oswald Was An American Hero? Paul Kuntzler Speaks


"Lee Harvey Oswald Was An American Hero" - those are the words of Paul Kuntzler, President of Miller Reporting Company, Inc., a transcription and court reporting service, who wrote a rambling, two-page open letter to The Washington Post Chairmen of the Board, Donald E. Graham, published in today's edition of the New York Times.
[Editor's note: The complete text appears at the end of this article.]

Mr. Kuntzler charged that:

"President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was murdered by Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson in a widespread, incredibly complex and brilliantly planned conspiracy that involved the Federal Bureau of Investigation directed by J. Edgar Hoover, the CIA directed by David Atlee Phillips, The Secret Service, elements of the United States Air Force, including General Curtis LeMay of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the United States Army, the United States Navy, Henry R. Luce's LIFE Magazine, The Ford Motor Company, the Dallas Police, including Dallas Mayor Earle Cabel, big Oil of Midland, Texas, the Texas political establishment, the mafia, the anti-Castro Cubans, Southern racists, including retired General Edwin Walker, and others. President Richard M. Nixon was also involved." [NYT, 07/31/07, pp.A16-17]

I half-expected to see Kohler (makers of the kitchen sink) listed among the conspirators, and don't think that Mr. Kuntzler didn't consider them. They're probably under the catch-all category of "others".

Mr. Kuntzler presents a long list of supporting evidence to back up his charge, although, not one bit of it has a lick of credibility behind it. No wonder his open letter to Graham is published as an Advertorial - all the news that's fit to print, as they say.

Mr. Kunzler's open letter, which contains such gems as "...Oliver Stone's film JFK, which is about 98% accurate...," (gee, I wonder what 2% he got wrong?) is about as subtle as a sledgehammer and as goofy as The Onion's spoof of the Kennedy assassination.

Mr. Kuntzler comes off as a certifiable nut, dragging David Talbot, author of Brothers, whom he mentions four times, along with him.

Lucky for Mr. Kuntzler (or is it a coincidence?) that those he bravely mentions as having participated in the crime of the century are long dead, thus avoiding a sure lawsuit.

I doubt that anything will come of Mr. Kuntzler's two-page rant, which doesn't seem to have a point other than to inform. And yes, it's very informative.


[Editor's note: The following is the complete text of Paul Kuntzler's two-page advertorial as published in the New York Times. Mr. Kuntzler, age 65, a former exhibits and sales director of the National Science Teachers Association, and once a prominent D.C.-based gay activist, first became interested in the JFK assassination in 1991 after reading Jim Marrs' book, "Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy". In 2004, Kuntzler's longtime partner, Stephen Miller, died of complications from AIDS and left him Miller Reporting Co., which had transcribed Assassination Record Review Board documents that Kuntzler believes are relevant to the assassination. Following the company's demise due to "millions in estate taxes", he sold the building that housed it, using the money to pay off his credit card debts (including $25,000 he spent organizing an assassination panel discussion last year) and spent $186,000 on the New York Times ad. Altogether, Kuntzler estimates he's spent a quarter of a million dollars on what he calls "the last opportunity for the American public to have confirmation on what happened on Nov. 22, 1963."]



Established 1960

735 8th Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003

July 27, 2007

Mr. Donald E. Graham
Chairman of the Board
The Washington Post
1515 15Th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20071

Dear Mr. Graham:

As you know, I wrote to you on April 4, 2006 about the conclusive evidence that there was a government-wide conspiracy resulting in the murder of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy in Dallas, Texas on Friday, November 22, 1963. You thanked me on April 7, 2006 for sending you my letter about the Kennedy assassination and told me that you would pass on the material to Leonard Downie Jr., The Post’s Executive Editor.

My communications with the The Post began on January 12, 2006 when Milton Coleman, The Post’s Deputy Managing Editor arranged for me to meet with Michelle Garcia, Post reporter. During my meeting I gave Ms.Garcia various materials related to the assassination, including the two censored videos, The Men Who Killed Kennedy, The Final Chapter, Volumes 1 and 2.

Subsequently, I began having conversations with The Washington Post’s New York bureau. On March 30, 2006, I had a meeting in the New York office on West 57th Street.

But later, The Washington Post after repeated requests had never returned the Kennedy assassination material. I then had to ask my Washington attorney, Roy Kaufmann of Jackson & Campbell, P.C. to write to The Post requesting the return of my property. After repeated requests, I then had to retain the services of John J. Janiec, an attorney with offices in The Empire State Building. It was not until Mr. Janiec filed summons against The Washington Post in the Supreme Court of the State of New York did The Post finally relent and returned most of my property during November 2006.

But The Post has still not returned the important video, The Man Who Killed Kennedy, The Final Chapter, Volume 1.

The Post’s actions are symptomatic of how the American newsmedia has worked to keep the truth from the public about the most atrocious crime in U.S. history.

With a few exceptions such as journalists Helen Thomas and Robert McNeil, the media—both individually and collectively --- have safeguarded the government’s false version of what happened on that terrible day in November 1963.

Indeed, David Talbot in his new book, Brothers, wrote that in 1965 “the press was rushing to close the case on the assassination of President Kennedy.”

The media, including The New York Times, allowed themselves to be infiltrated by the CIA. Talbot reported that “the CIA alone had over four hundred American journalists on its payroll.”

The best example is Gerald Posner. His 1993 book, Case Closed, was written for an elite audience, primarily journalists, predisposed to believe the government’s false version of events. In my opinion, Posner’s book is full of inaccuracies. Random House editor Robert Loomis solicited Posner to write this book with the promise of full CIA cooperation.

President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was murdered by Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson in a widespread, incredibly complex and brilliantly planned conspiracy that involved the Federal Bureau of Investigations directed by J. Edgar Hoover, the CIA directed by David Atlee Phillips, the Secret Service, elements of the United States Air Force, including General Curtis LeMay of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the United States Army, the United States Navy, Henry R. Luce’s LIFE Magazine, the Ford Motor Company, the Dallas Police, including Dallas Mayor Earle Cabel, big Oil of Midland, Texas, the Texas political establishment, the mafia, the anti – Castro Cubans, Southern racists, including retired General Edwin Walker, and others. President Richard M. Nixon was also involved.

Miller Reporting Company did the reporting for the Assassination Records Review Board. Congress created the John F. Kennedy Records Act in 1992 that created a five-civilian member board entrusted with the responsibility to review and declassify documents held by the CIA, FBI, Secret Service, etc. President Bill Clinton made the appointments to the board.

On Monday, November 9, 1998, the National Archives released to the public all the working files of the Assassination Records Review Board and its staff covering the recently completed 4-year effort of that independent Federal agency to find and release government records related to the Kennedy assassination. Among the internal records released that day was a 32-page research paper, written by AARB’s Chief Analyst for Military Records, which provide compelling evidence that there were two different brain specimens examined following the autopsy on the body of JFK—President Kennedy’s brain, as was expected, and a fraudulent, substituted brain specimen at a later date—and that the brain photographs in the National Archives today in the so-called “autopsy collection” are not images of President Kennedy’s brain, but are images of someone else’s. All photographic records of President Kennedy’s brain have disappeared, since its pattern of damage was consistent with being shot from the front; the images of the substituted specimen show damage generally consistent with the official version of what happened of being shot from above and behind.

The final shot that killed President Kennedy came from the front from an assassin in the storm sewer to the right of the limousine, entered his right temple and exited from the back causing a massive hole in the back of Kennedy’s head. The assassin used an explosive bullet that flattens out and doesn’t leave a trace. This explains the massive hole in the back of Kennedy’s head. The small hole in the right temple was covered up, and in the forged photographs, a soft-matte insert was put in its place to cover up the massive hole in the back of his head.

The reasons why President Kennedy was murdered were varied: First of all, as President Dwight Eisenhower warned about at the end of his administration was the military-industrial complex. On October 11, 1963 Kennedy issued White House Directive NSAM 263. Kennedy planned to withdraw 1,000 military advisors from Vietnam by the end of 1963 and the balance of 15,000 military advisers would be withdrawn by late 1965. There would have been no Vietnam War.

Secondly, Kennedy planned to get rid of J. Edgar Hoover in his second term. He also planned to scale back the CIA to the manner that President Harry Truman envisioned the agency: as an intelligence agency---not one that sponsors wars and assassinations.

It was also known that Kennedy thought that the oil depletion allowance was too generous. He planned to lower it thus angering the oil people. The anti-Castro Cubans were enraged because of Kennedy’s refusal to invade Cuba. Southern racists were bitter because Kennedy supported civil rights. The mafia were out to destroy Kennedy because John and Robert Kennedy had targeted the mafia.

Then there was Vice President Lyndon Johnson who was exceedingly corrupt, possessed an overpowering ambition to be president, and would stop at nothing to obtain his goal.

Robert A. Caro, the renowned biographer of Lyndon Johnson has already published three of his four volumes of The Years of Lyndon Johnson. Caro published this paragraph in the introduction to his first volume, The Path to Power. The introduction is called “Patterns.”

The dark thread was still present after college. It would be present throughout his life. The Path to Power, the first of three volumes that will constitute The Years of Lyndon Johnson, ends in 1941, when Johnson is only thirty-two years old. But by 1941, the first major stage of his life is over. A young man—desperately poor, possessed of an education mediocre at best, from one of the most isolated and backward areas of the United States--- has attained the national power he craved. He has won not only a seat in Congress but influence that reaches far beyond his district’s borders. And by 1941, also, the major patterns of his life are established and clear. In attaining this influence, he has displayed a genius for discerning a path to power, an utter ruthlessness in destroying obstacles in that path, and a seemingly bottomless capacity for deceit, deception and betrayal in moving along it. In every election in which he ran---only in college, but thereafter—he displayed a willingness to do whatever was necessary to win: a willingness so complete that even in the generous terms of political morality, it amounted to amorality.

After Lee Harvey Oswald was shot, President Lyndon Baines Johnson called Parkland Hospital. Phyllis Barlett, Chief Telephone Operator for Parkland Hospital remembers the call: “The call came in and said “hold the line for the President,” and for a second I was still thinking Kennedy, and I didn’t... I was kind of taken aback for a minute and a few seconds. It was just a matter of a second, that’s when he came on in a loud voice and said: “This is Lyndon Johnson. Connect me to the accused assassin’s doctor.” It sounded the same as it had been on newcasts when I would hear him speak.”

Ms. Barlett then put the President through to an office adjoining the operating room, where Dr. Charles Crenshaw was urgently called to answer the phone. He recalls: “I picked up the phone and it was there that I heard this voice like thunder that stated: “This is President Lyndon B. Johnson.” And he asked: “How is the accused assassin doing?” I was so startled the only thing that I could say was: “He is holding his own. He has lost a lot of blood.” He said: “Would you take a message to the chief operating surgeon?” It was more of an order than a question. “There is a man in the room, I would like for him to take a deathbed confession.” And all of a sudden the phone went off. I returned to the operating room, I tapped Dr. Shires on the shoulder, he looked at me like “What are you talking about?” Everyone was working feverishly in the operating room trying to correct the wounds there. I said: “Guess who I have been talking to? The President of the United States called and he wants that man over there to take a deathbed confession.” And Shires looked at me like I was crazy. And we both realized that Lee Harvey Oswald, had he survived, would not have been able to give any testimony until two or three days after the procedure. But still in all, the President had called and I did relay the message.”

The Assassination Records Review Board obtained a 14-page document from the Russians on March 6, 1995. The document was once a top-secret KGB intelligence report. On page 9 of the report is this statement:

“On September 16, 1965, this same source reported that the KGB residence in New York City received instructions from KGB headquarters in Moscow to develop all possible information concerning President Lyndon B. Johnson’s character, background, personal friends, and family and from which quarters he derives his support in his position as President of the United States. Our source added that “now” the KBG was in possession of data purporting to indicate President Johnson was responsible for the assassination of the late President John F. Kennedy.”

Turning now to President Richard M. Nixon. Nixon authorized the break-in at the Watergate Complex during the night of June 16-17, 1972 because Nixon was fearful that National Chairman Larry O’Brien might have documents in his files indicating that Nixon was involved in the Kennedy murder—he was. Richard Nixon had been at the party of Clint Murchison’s, the Dallas oil billionaire, and he had gone into the private meeting with J. Edgar Hoover, LBJ, Edward Clark, Johnson’s attorney (and the secret boss of Texas) in the early morning hours of Friday, November 22, 1963, about eleven hours before President Kennedy was murdered.

On page 21 Ira David Wood III wrote in his chronology in Murder in Dealey Plaza (edited by James H. Fetzer) the following:

“Later that morning, Nixon flew out of Dallas Love Field at 9:05 a.m. on American Airlines Flight 82. He was then legal counsel for Pepsi-Cola and was allegedly in Dallas to attend a company meeting.

CIA agent Russell Bintliff will tell The Washington Star in 1976 that Pepsi-Cola had set up a bottling plant in Laos in the early 1960’s... One of the immediate consequences of the JFK assassination will be the escalation of American involvement in Vietnam, in theory providing the alleged Pepsi-Cola plant with a great deal more business”.

LIFE Magazine played a major role in The Conspiracy beginning with the photograph of President Kennedy’s limousine. LIFE cropped the photograph on page 23 of the November 29, 1963 issue so that the bullet hole in the left windshield is not visible.

In this same issue (written during Saturday and Sunday, November 23 and 24, 1963) Thomas Thompson wrote a long story about Lee Harvey Oswald which may have deceived the American people:

Thompson wrote the following:

“But slowly, methodically, the police were building their case. (They were not.) --- connecting Oswald with the mail-order purchase of a rifle like the one that fired the bullet (Oswald never owned a rifle.) placing him on the scene with a long parcel the size and shape of a rifle (It wasn’t. The package was only two-thirds that size and contained curtain rods.) comparing his palm-marks with the one found on the murder weapon.” This is Thompson’s most appalling lie. The FBI flew the cheap Italian carbine rifle to Washington and then flew it back to Dallas. On Monday morning, November 25, agents took the rifle to the Dallas funeral home where Oswald’s dead body was. Paul Grudie, the funeral home director, reported that agents asked to have the preparation room to themselves. Afterwards, Grudie had to clean the ink from Oswald’s dead hand. The FBI then announced that they had found Oswald’s palm print on the rifle!

In the subsequent issue, December 6, 1963, Thompson continued his lies. In the February 21, 1964 issue, LIFE magazine published on its front cover the fraudulent photograph showing Oswald’s head superimposed on someone else’s body holding the cheap Italian carbine rifle.

Regarding the Ford Motor Company’s involvement, Henry Ford II and LBJ were friends. The Secret Service secretly flew Kennedy’s limousine to Detroit’s Willow Run Airport on Sunday, November 24, 1963 and took it to the Ford River Rouge Plant. On Monday morning, November 25, the windshield with its hole was stripped from the car and replaced with a new windshield. The limousine was then secretly flown back to Washington and returned to the White House garage. Detailed information about the Ford Motor Company’s involvement can be found in The Men Who Killed Kennedy, The Final Chapter, Volume 1, as well as from numerous other sources.

Evidence of the Secret Service’s involvement in The Conspiracy is clearly demonstrated in the film of Kennedy’s motorcade at Dallas Love Field. Secret Service Agent, Emory P. Roberts, in the limousine in front of Kennedy’s car, waves away the Secret Service agent Henry J. Rybka from Kennedy’s limousine. Rybka throws up his arms in astonishment with the implied message: “This is not what I was trained to do!”

David Talbot writes about LBJ’s distrust of the Secret Service: “Just honestly, Mike,” LBJ told Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield in a September 1964 phone conversation recorded by the president’s Oval Office taping system,--“ and I wouldn’t have this repeated this to anyone—my judgment is that they’re more likely to get me killed than they are to protect me.”

In the opening and lead story by journalist Tom Wicker in the Saturday, November 23, 1963 edition of The New York Times is conclusive evidence of The Conspiracy. On page 2 Wicker reports Acting White House Press Secretary Malcolm Kilduff’s press conference at Parkland Hospital at 1:30 p.m. (Central Standard Time). Kilduff said: “President John F. Kennedy died at approximately one o’clock Central Standard Time here in Dallas. He died of a gunshot to the brain, Dr. Burkley told me.” (Burkley was Kennedy’s personal physician) “It was a simple matter at the time of a bullet right through the head.” (Kilduff raised his right arm and used his right index finger to point to the entrance wound in the right temple.)

In the second column on page 2, Wicker wrote this: “Later in the afternoon, Dr. Malcolm Perry, an attending surgeon, and Dr. Kemp Clark, Chief of neurosurgery at Parkland Hospital gave more details:

Mr. Kennedy was hit by a bullet in the throat, just below the Adam’s apple, they said. This wound had the appearance of a bullet’s entry.

Mr. Kennedy also had a massive, gaping wound in the back and one on the side of the head. However, the doctors said it was impossible to determine immediately, whether the wounds had been caused by one bullet or two.”

Oliver Stone’s film, JFK, which is about 98% accurate, shows a superb frame-by-frame analysis of the Zapruder film showing the six shots. Two of the eight assassins were in the lower part of the Dal-Tex Building. Another two assassins were on the sixth floor of the Texas Book Depository Building. One of the assassins was Malcolm Wallace. His finger print was found on one of the boxes in the sniper’s nest. Another assassin was on the fourth or fifth floor of the Texas Book Depository Building.

The CIA had the mafia hire three killers from Marseilles, France. Two of those killers were behind the picket fence on the grassy knoll. The third assassin was in the storm sewer to the right of the limousine. The first shot came from an assassin on the left side of the Stemmons Freeway, crashed through the front windshield and hit Kennedy in the neck. The second shot came from behind from an assassin in the Dal-Tex Building and hit Kennedy in the back. The third shot came from behind from the fourth or fifth floor of the Texas Book Depository Building and hit Governor John Connolly. The fourth shot came from an assassin in the Dal-Tex Building and flew over the motorcade and hit cement. A concrete fragment hit by-stander James T. Tague in the cheek. The fifth shot came from an assassin in the Texas Book Depository Building and hit Kennedy in the side of the head. And the sixth and final shot came from the assassin in the storm sewer; hit Kennedy in the right temple, blasting out from the back of his head killing the President.

Both the Warren Commission and the House Select Committee on Assassinations were cover-ups. Allen W. Dulles was an active member of The Conspiracy as well as the cover-up. Gerald Ford was a forceful member of the cover-up and acted as an FBI informant regarding some of the secret proceedings of the Warren Commission. Senator Richard Russell privately knew that the Warren Commission’s findings were absurd, but Congressman Hale Boggs had his papers eviscerated by the FBI and he was murdered by the CIA, as were dozens of others during the 1960’s and 1970’s in the ongoing effort to cover-up The Conspiracy.

Connie Kritzberg was a reporter for the Dallas Times Herald. She conducted a telephone interview a couple of hours after Kennedy’s death with the two principal doctors among the 16 doctors who attended Kennedy at Parkland Hospital. Both doctors, as did all 14 other doctors and four nurses reported that he was shot twice from the front, first in the neck and finally in the right temple.

Kritzberg talked to Dr.Williams Kemp Clark, head of neurosurgery, and Dr. Malcolm Perry. She asked the two doctors how many wounds there were in Kennedy’s body. Dr. Clark told Kritzberg that he was working on the gaping hole in the head, and Dr. Perry said he was working on the entrance wound in the neck. Kritzberg said that Dr. Perry said three times that “there was an entrance wound from the front.”

Connie Kritzberg then said she wrote “a simple story, only about 12 inches long, titled “Neck Wound Brings Death” and turned it in.”

The next morning, Saturday, November 23, Kitzberg found that the story she filed had been changed. She found in the story “an unprofessional sentence” in the third paragraph. It said, “A doctor admitted that it was possible there was only one wound.”

“I was very upset,” Kritzberg said. “I called the city desk and talked one of the assistant city editors. I asked him ‘Who changed my story?’ Kritzberg said. “He knew immediately what I meant,” She asked him, “ Who put in that sentence?” The assistant city editor said, “The FBI.”

Arlen Specter, now Senator Specter, who was a lawyer on the Warren Commission, invented the single bullet theory known as the “magic bullet.” Kenneth O’Donnell, JFK’s special assistant, recalls Specter’s effort at another deception:

“I distinctly remember that when Johnson and I talked at the hospital there was no mention of which of the two planes he should use. Nor was there any mention that he was considering waiting for Jackie and the President’s casket to be on the same plane with him before he left Dallas. Later as a lawyer for the Warren Commission, Arlen Specter, pointed out to me that according to Johnson’s testimony, I had told him to board Air Force One, Specter asked me, to my amazement, if I would change my testimony so that it would agree with the President’s. Was I under oath?’ I asked Specter, as, of course, I was. Certainly I wouldn’t change anything I said under oath.”

President George Herbert Walker Bush, as a former director of the CIA, continues to this day to be intensely involved in the cover-up of the murder of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. President Bush strenuously opposed passage of the J.F.K. Records Act and refused to make the appointments to the five civilian-member board. The appointments had to wait until Bill Clinton became President. Indeed, at the funeral for President Gerald Ford on January 2, 2007, Bush falsely charged that Lee Harvey Oswald killed Kennedy.

There are many reasons why the Kennedys remained quiet all these years. David Talbot wrote in Brothers that Robert Kennedy in 1965 told an old family friend: “If the American people knew the truth about Dallas, there would be blood in the streets.” Robert Kennedy was also concerned about his own personal safety. He also shared a sense of guilt about his brother’s death. Kennedy set up in his office an operation to assassinate Castro, but the government took over that operation to kill his brother. RFK also intended to break open the case once he became president, but he was assassinated on June 5, 1968.

Lee Harvey Oswald was working for the FBI at the time of the assassination making $200 a month. He was also working for the CIA. On or about Tuesday, November 12, 1963, Oswald delivered a note to his FBI supervisor, James P. Hosty, Jr., warning him that the assassination was about to take place. Hosty sent out a wire on November 17, 1963 to all FBI Offices. The wire read: “Bureau has determined that a militant revolutionary group may attempt to assassinate President Kennedy in his proposed trip to Dallas, Texas, November 22, Nineteen Sixty-Three.” After the assassination, all the wires were destroyed except the one in the New Orleans Office. The Warren commission, whose members were appointed by LBJ, held an emergency, executive session on Saturday morning, January 22, 1964 to discuss Oswald’s FBI number and FBI salary. While the two assassins on the sixth floor of the Texas Book Depository Building were shooting the president, Oswald was in the second floor lunch room. He briefly stepped out on the steps of the Texas Book Depository Building and was photographed. Oswald was already in the Texas Theater before Officer Jefferson Davis Tippitt was killed.

In a very real sense, Lee Harvey Oswald was an American hero. At great personal danger to himself, Oswald entered into The Conspiracy in an effort to prevent President Kennedy’s murder. Jack Ruby who was a member of The Conspiracy then murdered him. Oswald was then made a villain and the self-serving and deceptive American news media has perpetuated this lie for now for than 43 years.

In Brothers Benjamin Bradlee, Executive Editor of The Washington Post acknowledged to David Talbot that he didn’t do more to investigate the assassination because he was concerned that further reporting might harm his career.


/s/ Paul Kuntzler

Paul Kuntzler

For more information write to:

619 G Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20024
Or call 202-484-0330

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Definitive Proof? The Secret Service Killed JFK


This month, author Dan Robertson introduced his debut book, "Definitive Proof: The Secret Service Murder of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy," which attempts to resurrect the theory that the Secret Service driver William Greer shot Kennedy from the front seat of the limousine. I thought we had heard the last of this goofy theory years ago, but apparently Milton William Cooper lives!

You may recall Wild "Bill" Cooper, the UFO conspiracist, tax resister, and self-styled "militiaman" who claimed that JFK was assassinated by his driver, citing a special "washed out" version of the Zapruder film that seemed to show Kennedy’s driver, William Greer, turning to shoot the President — an allegation easily refuted by simply looking at the original Z-film that clearly shows that Greer doesn't have a gun in either hand. Cooper was shot and killed during a shoot out with Apache County, Arizona, sheriff’s deputies in November, 2001, when they attempted to serve Cooper with an arrest warrant at his residence.

Author Dan Robertson apparently doesn't have any problem bringing Cooper's theory back to life by simply ignoring reality. Robertson's press release states:

"The totality of the evidence indicates that the Secret Service was the major player in the assassination and that a Secret Service Agent sitting in front of President Kennedy fired the fatal head shot. Robertson's conclusion is buttressed in particular by the forensic and ballistics evidence indicating that the head wound proceeded along the right side of President Kennedy's head, such that the gunman had to have been positioned almost directly in front of, or directly behind, the president, and at a point nearly horizontal with the president -- not high above him or below him. The forensic evidence, according to experts, also indicates that the fatal head wound was likely caused by a handgun fired at close range, not a rifle fired from a distance. This evidence, in turn, fits with testimonial evidence of the smell of gunpowder at street level moments after the assassination and testimony that the fatal head shot had a different sound and effect than the shots that hit President Kennedy in the neck and back. Compelling confirmation of Robertson's conclusion is contained in the digitally-enhanced version of the original Zapruder film."

Compelling confirmation? I think not.

Roberston apparently doesn't seem so sure of himself. While his book is titled Definitive Proof, his press release says, "Evidence presented in this film suggests that the secret service clearly had a major involvement in the assassination of President Kennedy." So, I guess the definite proof that Robertson refers to is really only a "suggestion." How's that for definitive?

What a waste of time. You can pick up your copy of this baloney sandwich at Amazon.com.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Of Crosstalk and Bells: A Rebuttal to Don Thomas' "Debugging Bugliosi"


I'd like to respond to Don Thomas' recent article, “Debugging Bugliosi,” that appeared on the Mary Ferrell Foundation website, in which Thomas wrote: "[Vincent] Bugliosi and [Steve] Barber are easily bamboozled, and Linsker, Garwin and colleagues willing bamboozlers" when it comes to the alleged Deputy Chief N.T. Fisher crosstalk, 'I'll check it.'

Here's what Thomas says about the Fisher transmission:

"The instance of crosstalk closest to [the assassination] was a broadcast two seconds earlier by Deputy Chief Fisher, saying, "Naw that's all right, I'll check it." The last words, "I'll check it," crossed over to Ch-1, just two seconds before the first acoustically identified gunshot. Hence this simulcast establishes close synchroneity between the shooting and the deposition of the suspect sounds on Ch-1.

"In denial of this evidence Bugliosi cites Steve Barber's misinterpretation of the spectrographic comparison (voiceprint analysis) of the Fisher simulcast by Linsker et al. (2006), claiming that the pair failed the test. The exact opposite is true. Bugliosi and Barber are easily bamboozled, and Linsker, Garwin and colleagues willing bamboozlers."

Hardly. Don Thomas' claim that a portion of the channel 2 transmission made by Deputy Chief N.T. Fisher, "I'll check it," crossed over to channel 1 three seconds before the first BBN impulse is a lie - plain and simple.

Thomas' claim is demonstratively proven to be false by the simple fact that the alleged "I'll check it" crosstalk on channel 1 is accompanied and surrounded by heterodyne tones - those pesky frequencies that occur when two competing microphone transmitters are fighting for the same radio space. Heterodyne tones cannot be produced by crosstalk (when a microphone transmitter on one channel picks up second channel radio traffic emitted from a nearby speaker and re-transmits it) because only one microphone transmitter is involved. The fact that a heterodyne tone accompanies the alleged "I'll check it" transmission on channel one is proof positive (i.e., beyond any doubt) that the transmission is originating from channel one and not a re-transmission via crosstalk of a channel two broadcast.

That, ladies and gentlemen, was the central point of the endnote in Vincent Bugliosi's book to which Don Thomas was referring in his article. Where does Thomas address this key point? No where. It's not mentioned at all. How's that for dodging the heart of the issue?

Needless to say, there's much more that Thomas fails to mention with regard to the alleged Fisher crosstalk. For instance:

1. Thomas fails to mention that the tone of the two voices (Deputy Fisher on channel 2 and the voice on channel 1) differ drastically - even taking into consideration the speed differences between the two recordings.

2. The pronunciation and the tone of the first word spoken on channel 1 simply does not match Deputy Fisher's pronunciation of the word "I'll" on channel 2.

3. The Fisher transmission on channel 2 contains the phrase, "That's alright. I'll check it." Yet we only hear two words spoken on channel 1 - either "Alright Chaney" or "Alright Jackson". If the channel 1 transmission were actually crosstalk, why don't we hear the entire phrase? Thomas doesn't say.

Thomas' entire argument for a tie point between channels 1 and 2 using the Fisher transmission, which he argues vindicates the HSCA's acoustic analysis, is completely and utterly destroyed by the heterodyne tones that accompany the alleged Fisher crosstalk on channel 1. It just cannot be, period. The fact that Thomas fails to address this fact shows just how bankrupt his argument truly is, and frankly, he's gambling that the conspirati are too stupid to realize it.

As for Thomas' charge that I misinterpreted the work of Linsker et al. in their intial report, Synchronization of the acoustic evidence in the assassination of President Kennedy, published in Science & Justice [Volume 45 No. 4 (2005) 207 – 226] in 2005, in which they concluded,

"Even if the same words 'I’ll check it' appear on both channels, we conclude that they were spoken separately, and at different times," [p.222]

and in their report Acoustic synchronization: Rebuttal of Thomas’ reply to Linsker et al, published in Science & Justice [Correspondence] in 2006 - I'll let you be the judge.

Here's what R. Linsker, Richard L. Garwin, H. Chernoff, and Norman F. Ramsey had to say about it:

"Thomas has misunderstood or misrepresented our analysis, and wrongly claims that the results of our pattern cross-correlation (PCC) tests support his conclusion that CHECK is a crosstalk...[Herein] we prove that the CHECK utterance on Channel 1 is not a crosstalk from the CHECK utterance on Channel 2..."

"...Thomas says that our 'stated reason (p.221) for [concluding that CHECK is not a valid crosstalk] is that “if CHECK were a valid crosstalk its timing would be incompatible not only with HOLD, but also with the timing of the well established crosstalk YOU...”.' No, this was not our stated reason for our conclusion about
CHECK. Our statement of the incompatibility is a statement of fact, as is shown arithmetically directly following that quote. Our conclusion that CHECK is not a valid crosstalk stemmed from several lines of convergent evidence, including PCC analysis, direct spectrographic comparisons, and the timing incompatibilities discussed both at p.221 and p.225. As for Thomas’ blanket statement that 'because there are offsets between all of the crosstalks, any crosstalk is incompatible with all other crosstalks!,' it is a fact that recorder stoppage during transmission silences was a built-in feature of the recording system, so the assumption that such stoppages occurred at such times is not an 'unsupported' assumption. The particular times and durations of such stoppages are indeed unknown, and we have not relied on any assumptions about the particular times and durations of any such stoppages..."

"The utterances CHECK and CHECK1 do not constitute a valid crosstalk, as shown by PCC analysis and now by direct spectrographic observation."

I wrote Bugliosi the following, and he published it as an endnote:

"...In addition, a 2005 article published in the British Scientist and Justice journal [vol.45, no.4] written by authors Ralph Linsker, Richard L. Garwin,
Herman Chernoff, Paul Horowitz, and Norman F. Ramsey—all prominent physics scientists who participated on the 1980–82 NAS-CBA panel—published sound spectograms (“voiceprints”) establishing beyond question that the Fisher transmission on channel 2 and the crosstalk on channel 1, which Thomas erroneously believes to be identical, are in fact two separate and distinct transmissions — a point that I was able to deduce with my own ears." [Bugliosi, Vincent, Reclaiming History, CD Endnotes, p.213]

So, exactly where do I misinterpret Linsker et al?

That brings me to a second issue - the "carillon bell," which Don Thomas mentioned during a recent email exchange with researcher Todd W. Vaughan. Thomas wrote:

"...It is not true that BBN's identification of the carillon bell on the DPD recording was scientifically refuted? Mr. Vaughan is referring to a 1982 IBM report which concluded that the bell sound was probably an electrical interference pattern. The presence of this sound is indeed an anomaly. But the proposal that it is an interference pattern was not based on an analysis of the sound, but rather as an explanation for how a sound like this could appear on both channels simultaneously. The problem is that if the noise is an ambient sound (of any kind, bell or not) the simplest explanation for its presence on both channels would be as crosstalk. But if so it must have crossed over from Ch-1 where it is loud and clear on to Ch-2 where it is weaker. But that simple explanation is contradicted by the fact that all of the crosstalks are going in the opposite direction, from Ch-2 on to Ch-1, in particular the Decker crosstalk just 7 sec away. Alternatively, as opposed to a crosstalk, the simplest way a noise can be on both channels would be an electrical interference pattern originating somewhere in the circuitry shared by the instruments on the separate channels. This hypothesis by IBM explains the presence of a signal on both channels simultaneously, but does not explain the acoustical characteristics of the signal.

"An interference pattern would be a white noise, that is, a sound without a characteristic frequency, but rather a random or chance frequency or combination of frequencies. In theory a random noise could by chance produce a sound resembling almost anything, even a bell. In this case though, the problem is not that the noise sounds like a bell, but that it has the specific acoustical characteristics of a specific kind of bell, a carillon bell: that is, a blend of five major musical tones, along with some minor overtones, each of which is an exact multiple of the frequency of the fundamental tone, except for the second major which is a fifth above the octave. The expectation that a random noise, such as an interference pattern, could replicate those same characteristics is like expecting a monkey with a typewriter to produce the star spangled banner – theoretically possible, but not very likely. Hence, the electrical interference hypothesis does not explain the data. Evidently the IBM folks were among the many (including Linsker et al.) who did not realize that the police radio system was capable of picking up sounds from multiple microphones simultaneously..."

Todd W. Vaughan replied to Thomas, as did Michael O'Dell, pointing out that "...BBN themselves never scientifically identified the sound as originating specifically from a bell, that the IBM study determined that the sound's simultaneous co-existence on both Channels 1 and 2 could not be the result of conventional speaker to microphone crosstalk, and that similar electronic interference-type sounds exist at other locations on the recordings..."

In his response, Michael O'Dell included excerpts from the channel 2 recording which contained sounds similar to the buzz of the so-called "carillon bell". The most important one occurs at 12:46 on channel 2 during a transmission made by the dispatcher. That sound, which can only be described as an electronic buzz or beep, is nearly identical to the so-called "carillon bell". The fact that it occurs during a transmission originating from the dispatcher's office proves that the "sound" cannot have originated from a "bell," unless one was inside the dispatch room.

When Don Thomas and Gary Mack appeared on the Fox special, "Fox in Focus: JFK: Case Not Closed", which aired during the 40th anniversary in 2003, Gary played a clip from a sound film made by a local Dallas news crew that captured the sound of a bell tolling at 1 o'clock in the Dealey Plaza area in 1964, marking the 1 year anniversary of JFK 's death. He played the bell toll from the news clip alongside the so-called "carillon bell" sound as it appears on channel 1, insinuating that the two sounds were one and the same.

Unless one is completely tone deaf, the two sounds do not match at all - even when taking the speed differences between the two recordings into consideration. It's not even close.

I believe the evidence convincingly shows that the sound described as a "carillon bell" is nothing more than electronic interference - which is what I pointed out to the people at IBM in 1982.

But hey, I'm just a lowly "rock musician". What do I know?


Steve Barber is a seasoned percussionist from Shelby, Ohio, well-versed in the mechanics of audio and audio recording. Linsker et al have acknowledged Mr. Barber's contribution to the acoustic issues surrounding the JFK assassination, writing in their 2005 report: "We thank Steve Barber, who played a crucial role in the NRC report by pointing out the crosstalk ["Hold everything secure"], and notified us of the independent analysis by Michael O’Dell, who has kindly shared his analysis."

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Man With No Name


I guess comedian Ron White was right. You can't fix stupid. It seems that some of the conspiracy folks who populate John Simkin's U.K. based Educational Forum just can't let a good yarn die no matter what the facts are.

Take one of the more recent discussions entitled "Jefferson Davis Tippit" in which a long dead factoid was resurrected by William "Bill" Kelly, who wrote:

"...nobody names anybody with a name or a nickname that doesn't stand for anything.

"If Jay Dee was his real and only name, then he had an uncle or a godfather or his father had a buddy in the service with that name or there was an instance that created a reason for him to be named J. D. and those initials stand for something. If not Jefferson Davis then John Doe, but not nothing.

"I understand that it is the Tippit family who says that Tippit was named JD and that it is not an abriviation for Jeff Davis, and the meaning might not be Jeff Davis, but it is, I can assure you, means something. And the family's reluctance to acknowledge or reveal what it means makes me even more suspicious of what it really does mean."

Uh? NEWSFLASH, Bill: The Tippit family told me eleven years ago that J.D.'s initials didn't stand for anything - certainly not, "Jefferson Davis," as conspiracy nutjobs on numerous conspiracy forums and websites keep insisting; essentially refusing to accept the truth. I printed the truth about J.D.'s name in my book With Malice: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Murder of Officer J.D. Tippit in 1998 - nearly ten years ago. The fact that you haven't had time to read my book sometime during the passed decade is understandable. You must be busy chasing down the big conspiracy.

If the information in my book wasn't enough, I learned from the Tippit family after the publication of my book, the complete story behind Tippit's naming and published that story at www.jdtippit.com, the official website dedicated to J.D. Tippit's memory. Here's what you'll find there regarding Tippit's name:

"Edgar and 'May Bug' named their first born son after a character in a book that Edgar had read about once. 'He use to read a little you know, when he was hunting,' J.D.'s brother Don recalled. 'He'd read a story about a guy named "J.D. of the Mountains," and gave him that name. Guess it fascinated him.' The initials, despite some claims over the years, never stood for anything."

So, what is so hard to understand?

I guess Bill and his fellow buffs are upset because they can't twist J.D. Tippit into some kind of a right-wing, neo-Nazi, Gestapo, boot-stomping, rebel named after confederate rebel Jefferson Davis. How inconvenient. It would be so much better for the conspiratii if Tippit was a no-good, backstabbing, s.o.b. who liked to gun down goofy little innocents like Oswald, right?

Too bad. I guess these inconvenient little facts just spoil everyone's good time. Maybe Bill and friends should stop fantasizing and actually read about the man they love to hate. (Gee, what a novel idea.) They might actually learn something.

I guess it's too much to expect the "Jefferson Davis" moniker to disappear from the vast wasteland of useless JFK assassination factoids. I can only hope that those interested in the truth about the assassination will come to realize that J.D. Tippit is the original Man With No Name.


Friday, July 13, 2007

Camelot and Cuba: A Review of David Talbot's Camelot and Cuba: A Review of David Talbot's "Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years"


The following review originally appeared at www.washingtondecoded.com, the brainchild of journalist and author Max Holland, who serves as the website's editor-in-chief. Don Bohning's deconstruction of David Talbot's book Brothers is laudable and a breath of fresh air in a world so readily accepting of anything cloak-and-dagger, no matter who serves it up. It is also heartening to see that Mr. Holland recognizes the difference between Talbot's superficial fiction and Bohning's bone-deep facts, especially in the wake of Holland's own spin on the events of Dealey Plaza. [See: Max Holland's 11 Seconds in Dallas for a refresher course.] DKM

Max Holland’s Introductory Note: David Talbot’s book on John and Robert Kennedy, Brothers, has garnered almost as much attention as Vincent Bugliosi’s exhaustive book on the assassination of President Kennedy, Reclaiming History. Bugliosi staunchly defends the finding that Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, killed the president, while Talbot is squarely in the camp of those who believe JFK was killed by men breathing together. [1]

Both books cannot be true, so which one is false? Two major reviews of Talbot’s book, one in The New York Times and the other in The Washington Post, were both hedged and overly credulous, written as they were by authors who could not challenge Talbot based upon a superior knowledge of the facts. Washington DeCoded thought it was time to subject Brothers to examination by an author, Don Bohning, with expertise in some of Brothers’ subject matter.

Bohning covered Latin America for The Miami Herald for almost four decades. His first-hand knowledge of the Cuban exile community, the CIA, and their anti-Castro activities from the late 1950s into the late 1970s is probably unrivaled among American journalists. Before and after retiring, Bohning spent 10 years researching the U.S. government’s secret war against Cuba, and in 2005 published a reliable and unsparing book about Washington’s fixation on Cuba from 1959 to 1965.

While Bohning does not address the assassination conspiracy issue head-on, it is reasonable to extrapolate that the defects he identifies in Brothers apply to the book as a whole.

David Talbot believes John F. Kennedy’s assassination was not the deranged act of a lone gunman, but the result of a much larger conspiracy.

Talbot’s prime suspects are identified in Brothers' opening pages: “The CIA, Mafia and Cuba—Bobby [Kennedy] knew they were intertwined. The CIA had formed a sinister alliance with underworld bosses to assassinate Fidel Castro, working with mob-connected Cuban exile leaders.” [2] Consequently, immediately after the assassination of his brother the president, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy began hunting for the responsible party within this trio of possible culprits, according to Talbot.

A central thesis of Brothers is that Robert Kennedy only gave lip service to the U.S. government’s official verdict. While publicly endorsing the Warren Commission’s findings of a lone gunman, RFK believed the assassination was a conspiracy and quietly dedicated himself to identifying those responsible. This quest, in turn, helped fuel his 1968 presidential run, which ended tragically with his own assassination in June of that year. Talbot was a teen-age volunteer in that campaign in which RFK won the California primary, only to be mortally wounded minutes after his victory speech. Undoubtedly, this was a formative moment in Talbot’s life; unfortunately, he shows little evidence of having moved on from a 16-year-old’s starry-eyed view of the Kennedys.

An inextricable sub-theme of Brothers involves the U.S. government’s efforts, beginning in late 1959 under President Eisenhower and persisting until 1965, to rid Cuba of Fidel Castro. Essentially, Talbot contends that unintended consequences from these efforts, or “blowback” in intelligence lingo, precipitated John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

I do not profess to be a student of the Kennedy presidency or the assassination per se, yet I do know something about the U.S. government’s secret war against Cuba. And when it comes to the subject of Cuba and the Kennedys, Brothers is not only a disappointment, but strives to turn that history upside down. Talbot attempts to do this via a familiar tactic: he draws from the recollections of staunch Kennedy friends and insiders, with proven track records of bending the historical record so that it reflects kindly on the Kennedy brothers. But in a new twist, Talbot also dredges up on the most dubious sources imaginable to further his argument.

An example of the latter is Angelo Murgado Kennedy, a Bay of Pigs veteran who claims to have been close to Robert Kennedy. [3] Had Talbot asked any of Murgado’s fellow veterans, he would have heard him described as a “persistent liar,” “a charlatan,” and a man with “no credibility”—and these are the printable comments. [4]

Murgado’s name first surfaced in Joan Mellen’s risible, mind-numbing conspiracy book, Farewell to Justice, in which she defended the indefensible—the 1967-69 persecution of Clay Shaw by an out-of-control New Orleans prosecutor named Jim Garrison. Prior to Mellen’s 2005 book, Murgado had been virtually unheard of amongst the Cuban fighters identified in the rather robust literature about the Bay of Pigs. [5] Yet in Mellen’s book Murgado suddenly appeared as a member of the inner circle—he was part of RFK’s intelligence “brain trust” on Cuba. [6]

Curious about Murgado’s bona fides, right after Mellen’s book appeared I asked Erneido Oliva, the deputy commander of the Bay of Pigs brigade, and the late Rafael Quintero, one of the first Cuban nationals to enlist in the brigade, about Murgado. Oliva and Quintero (who died in October 2006) were both known for having grown close to Robert Kennedy in the aftermath of the debacle. They told me then they had never heard of Murgado. Oliva went further and wrote in an e-mail that Mellen’s description of Murgado as having been part of RFK’s “brain trust” was BS, and spelled it with capital letters. When asked again about Murgado in light of Talbot’s book, Oliva repeated that he had never heard of Murgado until I brought up his name in 2005.

Murgado is not instrumental to Talbot’s tale, but he is exceptionally useful. Through him Talbot buttresses the notion that hard-line Cuban exiles hated President Kennedy, presumably to the point where they were motivated to kill him. Murgado, elaborating on the tale he first told Mellen, was so alarmed by the murderous talk in Miami’s exile community that he approached RFK and offered to keep an eye on the most dangerous exile elements for the attorney general. Murgado told Talbot how he and two other prominent Cuban exiles met with RFK at the Kennedy compound in Palm Beach. “I was thinking we have to control and keep a sharp look on our Cubans, the ones that were hating Kennedy,” Talbot quotes Murgado as saying. “I was afraid that one of our guys would go crazy. Bobby told us to come up with a plan and do it . . . . He was fanatic about his brother, he would do anything to take care of him.” [7]

In the summer of 1963, Murgado’s alleged surveillance work led him to New Orleans, of all places, where he came across a “curious gringo” named Lee Harvey Oswald. [8] Murgado’s team, Talbot writes, “came to the conclusion that Oswald was an FBI informant,” and after returning to Florida the dutiful Murgado reported on his surveillance targets, including “the mysterious Oswald.” [9]

Are we really supposed to find this bunkum credible? To believe Murgado is to believe that Robert Kennedy preferred to entrust his brother’s security to an obscure Cuban exile rather than the one agency actually charged with protecting the president, the U.S. Secret Service. More to the point, Murgado is a former building inspector for the city of Miami who plead guilty in 1999 to accepting bribes in return for zoning favors. [10] Even criminals sometimes tell the truth, of course, but surely Murgado’s word is subject to a big discount, and his claims are not to be believed absent rock-solid corroboration. In place of confirmation, however, Talbot suggests that Murgado should be believed because his story has “not been refuted.” [11]

Everything about Talbot’s credulous use of Murgado can also be applied to Talbot’s use of unproven assertions allegedly made by E. Howard Hunt, the recently deceased former CIA officer most noted for leading the Watergate break-in during the 1972 presidential campaign. Talbot supplies information that was not even directly propagated by Hunt, but comes from his long-estranged son, St. John Hunt, a meth addict for 20 years, meth dealer for 10 of those years, and twice-convicted felon. [12]

St. John Hunt claims to have been privy to a death-bed confession by his father. E. Howard Hunt allegedly recalled that in 1963, he was invited by Frank Sturgis (later, a member of Hunt’s Watergate team) to a clandestine meeting at a CIA safe house in Miami. During the alleged meeting, a group of men discussed “the big event” coming up, which was a plot to kill President Kennedy. Late in the meeting, Sturgis ostensibly asked Hunt, “Are you with us?” [13]

There are only a few problems with this story. Hunt, even when he was still alive, was not known for his veracity. And Sturgis, whom I personally knew quite well in Miami when he went by the name Frank Fiorini, was one source never to be believed or trusted, someone who was rather notorious even in a field brimming with con men and blowhards, most of whom hinted they were working for the CIA. [14]

Another example of Talbot’s creative use of innuendo involves the late Dave Morales, a CIA officer of Hispanic origin who has been frequently linked by conspiracy theorists to President Kennedy’s assassination. Guilt-by-innuendo is a familiar tactic of buffs seeking to associate the CIA with the assassination. It’s exceedingly easy, given that the careers of officers in the clandestine service, like Morales, were shrouded in secrecy. It’s also cost-free. The libel is usually leveled when the target is dead, and like others who have been fingered as complicit, Morales is deceased and cannot defend himself.

Talbot eagerly joins in the well-trod defamation of Morales. “He has been connected to a bloody trail of CIA exploits,” writes Talbot, “from the 1954 Guatemala coup, to the hunting and execution of Che Guevara in 1967, to the violent overthrow of Chile’s Salvador Allende in 1973. (Morales later stated that he was in the palace when Allende was killed.)” [15]

Having been part of the The Miami Herald’s coverage of both Guevara’s demise in Bolivia and the Chilean coup d’état, I found Talbot’s assertion puzzling since I had never heard of Morales being involved in either of these dramatic events. I contacted Tom Clines, Morales’s friend and CIA colleague in the 1960s at both the JMWAVE (Miami) station and later, in Southeast Asia. Clines stated flatly that Morales was neither involved in Guevara’s capture in Bolivia, nor in Chile at the time of the coup against Allende. [16]

Clines’s denial was seconded by Larry Sternfield, the CIA station chief in La Paz at the time of Guevera’s capture, and someone who most certainly would know if Morales had been involved. Sternfield said during a recent telephone interview that “definitely no,” Morales was not in Bolivia. [17]

Talbot’s thinly-sourced book (given the weighty allegations) provides no citation for the claim that Morales was in Bolivia. With respect to Chile, Talbot cites Anthony Summers’s 2000 book The Arrogance of Power. [18] Since both Talbot and Summers exhibit a similar, elastic definition of the facts, citing Summers is not much of a reference. But it’s actually worse than that.

Summers’s cited sources were Robert Dorff, a novelist and self-styled expert on the JFK assassination, who reportedly once interviewed a childhood friend of Morales; Gaeton Fonzi, who worked for the House Assassinations Committee as an investigator; and Noel Twyman, a retired industrial engineer. [19] Dorff’s work is rightly considered fictional, and his interview amounts to unsubstantiated hearsay. [20] In 1979, the House panel flatly rejected all of Fonzi’s theories about CIA involvement, although that did not stop him from propagating them in a 1993 book, The Last Investigation. In any case, Fonzi does not put Morales in Chile. [21] Twyman’s revelation was contained in a deservedly obscure 1997 book called Bloody Treason. And Twyman’s source for the ostensibly damning allegation about Morales? Well, Twyman simply doesn’t cite a basis for his assertion that Morales’s involvement in CIA activities “included heavy-duty assassination operations such as murdering President Allende of Chile in 1973.” [22]

In this manner history is written, or at least Talbot’s version of it. Allegations never proven in the first place are recycled, as if repeating them enough times will turn them into the truth.

Notwithstanding these problems, there is something more troubling about this book than Talbot’s factual errors, use of innuendo, and credulous reliance on such questionable sources as Murgado and the Hunts. And that is Talbot’s persistent failure to provide the full context of several pivotal events during the height of U.S. efforts to topple Fidel Castro. Via the exclusion of many inconvenient facts, and the misrepresentation of specific events, he leaves the reader with a distorted perception of what actually occurred. The pattern is so persistent it appears to be calculated.

One example concerns Talbot’s rendering of a November 15, 1960, staff meeting of the CIA’s Cuba Task Force, which was charged with organizing what eventually would become the Bay of Pigs invasion the following April. This meeting was held in anticipation of John Kennedy’s first briefing on the agency’s anti-Castro plans, to be conducted in Palm Beach by CIA Director Allen Dulles and Richard Bissell, chief of the CIA’s Directorate of Plans (covert operations).

According to a document first highlighted by CIA historian Jack Pfeiffer, author of a multi-volume, partially-declassified internal history of the Bay of Pigs operation written in the 1970s, by November the Cuba Task Force realized the agency’s initial plan had to be scrapped:

The CIA’s original concept is now seen to be unachievable in the face of the [internal security] controls Castro has instituted. There will not be the internal unrest earlier believed possible, nor will the defenses permit the type [of] strike first planned. Our second concept (1,500-3,000 man force to secure an airstrip) is also now seen to be unachievable, except as a joint Agency/DOD action... [23]

In Talbot’s hands, this one document is transformed from a notable observation by the task force into proof positive that the CIA (Bissell, specifically) knew all along that the operation was destined to fail, but did not level with the president-elect. (Bissell is a key villain in Talbot’s tale, of course, because he was the CIA official who conceived of the agency’s pact with the Mafia). [24] Talbot writes that Pfeiffer’s history “contained proof that Bissell concealed [emphasis added] the operation’s bleak prospects from Kennedy when he briefed him about it for the first time shortly after JFK’s election.” [25]

But any fair rendering of the document in context reveals that the Pfeiffer volume was mute on the very point Talbot claims it proves. Nowhere does Pfeiffer provide evidence, either one way or the other, about what Bissell actually said to Kennedy during the briefing on Cuba. And with all the principals dead, it is impossible to know whether Bissell concealed information from Kennedy as Talbot asserts.

It is quite true that Bissell was later charged with not telling people what they needed to know. This point was made to me repeatedly in extensive interviews and other communications I had with Jake Esterline and Jack Hawkins, the project director and paramilitary chief, respectively, for the Bay of Pigs operation. Several specific instances of Bissell’s uncommunicativeness up and down the chain of command were described in my book, The Castro Obsession. But whether that occurred during this briefing of President-elect Kennedy, at which Allen Dulles was also present, I have no idea. It’s unlikely that anyone does, certainly not Talbot.

It’s worth remembering, too, that Kennedy’s briefing occurred at a time when the concept of what would eventually become the Bay of Pigs invasion was undergoing major changes. (Pfeiffer, the CIA historian, entitled the part in which the document is cited “Changing Concepts”). Members of the Cuban Task Force expressed varying opinions about the success of the covert project at different points in time, and plans were adjusted accordingly. But no one involved in the planning believed that it was an utterly hopeless and futile exercise six months before the invasion actually occurred, and that Bissell systematically kept this internal estimate secret from the president-elect. It is disingenuous of Talbot to claim, categorically, that this one document provides proof that Bissell concealed information about the viability of the operation from Kennedy. [26]

Another striking example of how Talbot tweaks the facts to suit his bias pertains to a controversial episode that occurred in the period immediately before the Bay of Pigs landing, the reported call for the brigade to “mutiny” if the covert operation were called off at the last minute. In Talbot’s telling there is nothing murky or unknown about this episode. Rather, it was indicative of a CIA that was scarcely under the White House’s control. As Talbot puts it, in early April, Bissell sent a very different message to the military leaders of the Bay of Pigs brigade in their Guatemala training camp. They were informed that “there are forces in the administration trying to block the invasion” and if these “forces” succeeded, the brigade leaders were to mutiny against their U.S. advisors and proceed with the invasion. This stunning act of CIA defiance would provoke a public furor when it was later revealed by Haynes Johnson in his 1964 book about the Bay of Pigs. [27]

Johnson, then a 33-year old reporter with the Washington Star, wrote the first detailed book on the Bay of Pigs, one based upon extensive research and interviews with four of the top brigade leaders. And the mutiny anecdote did provoke a stir when The Bay of Pigs: The Leaders’ Story of Brigade 2506 was published in 1964. But at no point did Johnson suggest that Bissell sent the mutiny message (if, in fact, such a message was sent at all). And in the four decades since Johnson’s book first appeared, no evidence has surfaced to show that Bissell did what Talbot alleges, notwithstanding Talbot’s flat assertion.

I investigated this episode quite carefully for my own book on the covert war against Cuba. While there is little doubt something happened along these lines, the episode remains murky and the full truth will probably never be known. The story, as it originally appeared in Johnson’s book, was based on the recollections of several Cuban leaders interviewed for the book: José Pérez San Román, the brigade’s commander; Erneido Oliva, its deputy commander; and Manuel Artime, political representative of the Cuban Revolutionary Council, which was to be installed as the new government once the invasion succeeded.

According to Johnson, in early April, a “Colonel Frank” (not Bissell) told the Cuban exiles that “There were forces in the administration trying to block the invasion, and that Frank might be ordered to stop it.” [28] Frank then suggested the Cubans prepare to mutiny if the operation were canceled; they should ostentatiously take their CIA advisers in custody, and proceed with the invasion as planned. “It cannot be determined what bosses, if any, gave Frank such instructions,” Johnson wrote. “But Artime, San Román and Oliva never doubted that he was speaking for his superiors.” [29]

“Colonel Frank” was in reality U.S. Army Lt. Colonel Frank Egan, the chief American trainer in Guatemala, where the Cuban force was being whipped into shape for the invasion. Erneido Oliva was the only one of the three brigade leaders involved who is still alive. During my research, he provided me with a copy of his unpublished memoirs, which describe this episode. Oliva recounted the story in essentially the same way Johnson reported it, without any more clues about what “forces” in the administration were opposed to the invasion, and who Frank was speaking for. To this day Oliva remains convinced that Egan was not acting on his own, but has no idea who else might have been involved.

In 2001, when I raised the matter with Marine Colonel Jack Hawkins, the invasion’s paramilitary chief, he flatly rejected the notion that anyone back in Washington— including, specifically, Richard Bissell—authorized Egan to speak in such terms. Egan, who died in 1999, refused a request from Pfeiffer to be interviewed for the CIA’s internal history while it was being prepared in the 1970s. In fact, Egan’s only direct remarks about this incident came during his May 1, 1961, testimony before the board of inquiry into the Bay of Pigs presided over by General Maxwell Taylor, JFK’s senior military adviser at the time.

At one point, Egan was asked, “What would have happened if the operation had been called off after the first part of April?” His answer, spoken three years before Haynes Johnson’s account appeared, confirmed—but in reverse—the notion that the Cubans might ignore the wishes of their sponsor, and boldly take matters in their own hands. “It would have depended upon the posture [the Cubans] were in at the time,” responded Egan. “If it had been called off after they were actually on the way, they would have taken over. They said that as a friend, we want you to direct all your people not to resist if this comes about, because we don’t want anybody to get hurt. Consequently, I had all our people turn in their side arms.” [30]

When Johnson’s book was published in 1964, creating the controversy, the CIA let it be known that “Colonel Frank” (though unnamed) “denie[d] absolutely that he ever said U.S. authorities were to be ignored.” The army officer reportedly said that the exiles’ imperfect command of English had led to a misunderstanding. Former DCI Allen Dulles was also reported to be “furious” over the allegation that such instructions were ever conveyed to the Cuban leaders. [31]

A third possibility was injected into the record in the mid-1970s when CIA historian Pfeiffer interviewed the late Jake Esterline, the CIA’s project director for the Bay of Pigs. Pfeiffer quoted Esterline as speculating that Guatemala’s Miguel Ydigoras Fuentes and Nicaragua’s Anastasio Somoza Debayle might have wanted to make known their interest in providing the logistical support essential for the invasion if Washington backed out at the penultimate minute. For ample reasons of their own, both rulers were cooperating fully with the covert operation to depose Castro.

Only one thing seems clear given these conflicting, and by-now unresolvable accounts. There was no message from CIA headquarters to the Cuban exiles in the field suggesting that they gird themselves to defy the Kennedy administration, and prepare to stage a half-phony mutiny in order to see the invasion through. Talbot’s assertion to the contrary is dubious and certainly unproven.

Talbot’s tendentious rendering of this episode points to what is the single greatest defect of Brothers. Talbot is firmly in the CIA-as-rogue-elephant camp, a school of thought embraced by Kennedy acolytes and apologists once the depth of covert activity directed against Castro from 1961 to 1963 first became documented in the mid-1970s. No amount of evidence matters to Talbot if it contradicts his perspective of a lethal, out-of-control CIA. Simultaneously, Talbot blows all out of proportion other events in order to suggest that the Kennedys’ attitude toward Castro was not as deadly as it appears. Indeed, if Talbot is to be believed, rapprochement between Washington and Havana was just around the corner but for the CIA’s unredeemable cold warriors.

Thus, Brothers devotes five pages to the highly publicized but initially-secret meeting in August 1961—four months after the Bay of Pigs—between Richard Goodwin, a Kennedy White House aide, and Ernesto “Che” Guevara, the Argentine-born Cuban revolutionary. Neither Castro—as he said at a 2002 conference in Havana—nor Kennedy knew in advance of the meeting in Uruguay, and it was largely a media kerfuffle. Nothing ever came of it except a box of Cuban cigars for Goodwin, who passed them onto Kennedy.

Talbot goes on to identify Goodwin as a “benign influence in White House foreign policy councils.” [32] Oddly, nowhere does the reader learn that just after the Bay of Pigs debacle, Goodwin had been named head of a new task force dedicated to Castro’s downfall. The government-wide, overt and covert program that resulted, Operation MONGOOSE, might be called many things, but hardly benign. When it was unveiled at a November 3, 1961 meeting at the White House, less than three months after Goodwin’s celebrated encounter with Guevara, Robert Kennedy’s handwritten notes of the meeting, which reflected his own deep involvement in the planning, stated that “My idea is to stir things up on island with espionage, sabotage, general disorder, run & operated by Cubans themselves with every group but Batistaites & Communists. Do not know if we will be successful in overthrowing Castro but we have nothing to lose in my estimate.” [33]

Eleven months later, the world came very close to a direct superpower clash of arms, if not a conflict that could easily have involved tactical, theater, or even intercontinental nuclear weapons. Operation MONGOOSE, far from being risk-free as Robert Kennedy would have it, was a key factor in Havana’s acceptance of Soviet missiles on Cuban soil, with nearly catastrophic consequences for everyone concerned. But rather than identifying the grave consequences of the Kennedys’ fixation, Talbot focuses on the trivial aspects of policy.

“There is no denying that Cuba’s revolutionary government was a major focus for the brothers,” writes Talbot. “But it was not simply a morbid one. John Kennedy had an intellectual and even playful curiosity [emphasis added] about the Cuban experiment and its leaders that would eventually lead him to explore openings in the cold wall that had been erected between the two nations.” [34] “Intellectual and playful curiosity” hardly seems an apt description of the White House’s attitude toward Castro’s Cuba, given the fact that a president named Kennedy initiated, and an attorney general named Kennedy oversaw, a new covert program approved in June 1963 to precipitate Castro’s overthrow.

After refusing to acknowledge the nexus between MONGOOSE and missile crisis, it is not surprising that Talbot ignores completely this subsequent effort, which spoke openly of liquidating the “Castro/Communist entourage” and eliminating the Soviet presence in Cuba prior to the November 1964 election, lest the GOP try to blame JFK for communism 90 miles off the coast of Florida. [35] As before, assassination of Fidel Castro himself was an integral element of this plan, though that aim was a tightly-held, compartmented secret. What was referred to as the “possible death of Castro” could hardly have been more central to the Kennedys’ scheme, as evinced by the fact that Robert Kennedy “personally managed the operation on the assassination of Castro,” as Richard Helms explained to Henry Kissinger in 1975, just before the CIA’s darkest secrets began to be officially exposed. [36] Instead of conveying accurately the complexity of what happened, Talbot insists the CIA was insubordinate. [37]

Despite its deep, even egregious, flaws, Brothers is a book worth reading, but not necessarily for the reason intended by Talbot. His book is more about the continuing inability of a generation to come to grips with the Kennedys, and much less about the brothers themselves. Brothers, in other words, is best understood as the latest in a long series of efforts to obfuscate what happened in the early 1960s, if not turn that history on its head. Talbot’s book is a less sophisticated version of the kind of tortured history about the Kennedys and Cuba that the late Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. once produced. Yet even Schlesinger knew better than to insinuate that elements of the U.S. government were involved in JFK’s assassination. There has been only one honest and candid appraisal of the Kennedy/Cuba nexus by a Kennedy insider, Harris Wofford’s 1980 book, Of Kennedys & Kings.

Lest readers wonder where I’m coming from politically, I am a lifelong Democrat who voted for Jack Kennedy in 1960 and would have voted for him again in 1964, had I the opportunity. I likely would have voted for Robert Kennedy in 1968 had he won the nomination. While the Warren Commission’s findings had their flaws, I still accept the panel’s conclusion of “a lone gunman” being responsible for President Kennedy’s assassination. I would change my mind if convincing evidence were forthcoming, but I have yet to see any.

George McGovern, the former senator and 1972 Democratic presidential nominee, was my academic adviser and instructor during my first two years at a small Methodist college in South Dakota. He probably did more than any single person to shape my political worldview, introducing me in his classes to such journalistic muckrakers as Lincoln Steffens and Ida Tarbell, as well as such magazines as The Nation and The New Republic. In 1961, President Kennedy named McGovern a special assistant and the first director of the Food for Peace program. In the White House and later in Congress, McGovern became close to Robert Kennedy.

I remain in occasional touch with McGovern, and spoke with him briefly after he gave a lecture in Jupiter, Florida shortly before my book was published in the spring of 2005. I mentioned that it was coming out and told him that it was “pretty hard on the Kennedys.” His response: “When it comes to Cuba, it deserves to be.”


About the Author: Don Bohning began working on The Miami Herald’s Latin America desk in the spring of 1964, became its editor in 1967, and retired in 2000. During his 41 years with the Herald, he won numerous journalism awards, including the Maria Moors Cabot Prize in 1974 for contributions to inter-American understanding. He is the author of The Castro Obsession: U.S. Covert Operations Against Cuba 1959-1965 (Potomac Books, 2005).


[1] A recent issue of TIME magazine featured a direct debate (of sorts) between Talbot and Bugliosi. David Talbot and Vincent Bugliosi, “The Kennedy Assassination: Was There a Conspiracy?” TIME, 19 June 2007.

[2] Talbot, Brothers, 6, 12.

[3] Murgado reportedly changed or added “Kennedy” to his name after RFK’s assassination in 1968. For some unexplained reason, Talbot refers to him only as “Angelo Murgado,” and leaves off the “Kennedy”—perhaps to make Murgado appear less ridiculous.

[4] Descriptions supplied to author via e-mail, June 2007. Due to the fractious rivalries still existing within the exile community, none of Murgado’s brigade colleagues were willing to be identified by name. But one was in the same paratroop battalion as Murgado.

[5] The two standard works on the Bay of Pigs are Haynes Johnson, with Manuel Artime, José Pérez San Román, Erneido Oliva, and Enrique Ruiz-Williams, The Bay of Pigs: The Leaders’ Story of Brigade 2506 (New York: W.W. Norton, 1964), and Peter Wyden, Bay of Pigs: The Untold Story (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1979). Angelo Murgado Kennedy appears in neither book, an omission that is particularly striking with respect to the former. According to reliable sources, RFK actively encouraged and cooperated with Haynes Johnson’s effort, to the point where the attorney general helped arrange interviews with all the key Cuban exiles.

[6] Joan Mellen, A Farewell to Justice: Jim Garrison, JFK’s Assassination, and the Case That Should Have Changed History (Washington, DC: Potomac Books, 2005), 378.

[7] Talbot, Brothers, 11-12.

[8] Ibid., 179.

[9] Ibid., 179-180.

[10] Manny Garcia, “Former Miami Zoning Inspector Pleads Guilty,” Miami Herald, 13 October 1999.

[11] Talbot, Brothers, 180.

[12] St. John Hunt’s attempt to cash in on his father’s notoriety was recently exposed by Erik Hedegaard in “The Last Confessions of E. Howard Hunt,” Rolling Stone, 21 March 2007.

[13] Talbot, Brothers, 405.

[14] In 1975, Sturgis testified under oath before the Rockefeller Commission that “at no time did he engage in any activity having to do with the assassination of President Kennedy.” Commission on CIA Activities within the United States, Report to the President (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1975), 253. Talbot, incidentally, implies without actually saying so that Sturgis was a CIA operative. The Rockefeller Commission stated categorically that “Sturgis was not an employee or agent of the CIA either in 1963 or at any other time. He so testified under oath himself, and a search of CIA records failed to discover any evidence that he had ever been employed by the CIA or had ever served it as an agent, informant or other operative.” Ibid., 252. Talbot supplies no evidence to contradict this finding.

[15] Talbot, Brothers, 398-399. Even if Morales was in Chile at the time, it is most unlikely he would have been in La Moneda, the presidential palace, with the building under bombardment by the Chilean military as the coup unfolded. Talbot also refers to Allende being “killed” during the coup. An official Chilean inquiry, the results of which were generally accepted, even by Allende family members, determined he had committed suicide.

[16] Telephone Interview with Clines, 12 June 2007. Clines also repudiated a statement attributed to him that is posted on Spartacus Educational, a left-wing, British-based website of often questionable veracity, e.g., that “Morales helped Felix Rodriguez capture Che Guevara in 1965 [sic].” Guevara was captured and killed in 1967.

[17] Telephone interview with Sternfield, 13 June 2007.

[18] Talbot, Brothers, 446.

[19] Anthony Summers with Robbyn Swan, The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon (New York: Viking, 2000), 587.

[20] Apart from “The Dorff Report,” a short-lived and now-defunct newsletter, Dorff’s only written contribution to the assassination literature is a self-published novel, 22 Days Hath November, which comes highly-praised by Fonzi.

[21] Gaeton Fonzi, The Last Investigation (New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press, 1993), 382-383. The House panel flatly rejected Fonzi’s unsubstantiated theories re CIA complicity, finding in 1979 that “The Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Central Intelligence Agency were not involved in the assassination of President Kennedy.” House Select Committee on Assassinations, Final Report (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1979), 2.

[22] Noel Twyman, Bloody Treason: On Solving History’s Greatest Murder Mystery, The Assassination of John F. Kennedy (Rancho Santa Fe, CA: Laurel Publishing, 1997), 438-439.

[23] Jack Pfeiffer, “Official History of the Bay of Pigs Operation: Volume 3, Part III: Changing Concepts,” 7, Box 1, CIA Miscellaneous, JFK Assassination Records Collection, National Archives, College Park, Maryland. Talbot errs in attributing declassification of Pfeiffer’s report to the National Security Archive. Although that non-profit organization has done yeoman’s work in getting documents about U.S. covert operations declassified, the Pfeiffer volume cited was discovered at the National Archives by David M. Barrett, a political science professor at Villanova University (and member of Washington DeCoded’s editorial board). Barrett located the Pfeiffer volume while conducting research for his book, The CIA and Congress, and posted it on his website in 2005.

[24] Talbot’s portrait of Bissell reflects another factual error on his part. Talbot erroneously describes Bissell as “the principal architect of the Arbenz coup,” who “would reassemble the key members of his Guatemala team for the Bay of Pigs operation.” Talbot, Brothers, 44. Frank Wisner, who headed the Directorate of Plans in 1954, was in complete command of the Guatemalan operation, code-named PBSUCCESS, which resulted in deposing President Jacobo Arbenz in 1954. As Bissell himself wrote in his posthumously published memoir, “Some historical accounts of the Guatemala operation have attributed a larger role to me than I actually played. For the most part, I served as either a liaison or troubleshooter . . . ” Richard M. Bissell, Jr., with Jonathan E. Lewis and Frances T. Pudlo, Reflections of a Cold Warrior: From Yalta to the Bay of Pigs (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1996), 90.

[25] Talbot, Brothers, 47.

[26] Curiously, instead of quoting from the Pfeiffer volume itself, which is readily available, Talbot cites a Miami Herald article about the multi-volume history. And even this news article contained a paragraph—not mentioned by Talbot—underscoring the uncertainty about what Kennedy was actually told. “Historians say it is unclear whether CIA Director Allen Dulles and his deputy [Bissell] passed this assessment along three days later, at Kennedy’s post-election national security briefing in Palm Beach—and whether changes were made as a result of the finding.” Carol Rosenberg, “Bay of Pigs Plotters Predicted Failure,” Miami Herald, 11 August 2005.

[27] Talbot, Brothers, 46.

[28] Johnson, Bay of Pigs, 75.

[29] Ibid., 76. It bears mentioning that the episode was not given any additional credence in Peter Wyden’s widely acclaimed 1979 history of the Bay Pigs operation.

[30] Seventh meeting of Taylor Commission, 1 May 1961. Egan’s comments are contained only in the fully declassified (22 March 2000) version of the Taylor Commission and not the earlier and heavily redacted version, entitled “Operation Zapata: The Ultrasensitive Report and Testimony of the Board of Inquiry on the Bay of Pigs,” edited by Luis Aguilar and published in 1984 by University Publications of America.

[31] Jack Raymond, “Books on CIA and Bay of Pigs Disturb Officials,” NYT, 8 June 1964.

[32] Talbot, Brothers, 64.

[33] U.S. Department of State, Foreign Relations of The United States, 1961-63, Volume X, Cuba 1961-1962 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1997), 666.

[34] Talbot, Brothers, 60-61.

[35] U.S. Department of State, Foreign Relations of The United States, 1961-63, Volume XI, Cuban Missile Crisis and Aftermath (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1996), 828.

[36] Ibid., 794, and Memorandum of Conversation between President Ford and Secretary of State/National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger, 4 January 1975, Gerald R. Ford Library. For an article that puts this memo in context, see Why RFK Shunned the Inquiry into His Brother’s Assassination.

[37] Talbot, Brothers, 229.