Thanks to RED for posting this.
Date: Sun Aug 9 1992
From: "Robert E Daniels"
The following is posted with the permission of Spectator Publications, Inc., and Grover B. Proctor Jr. Underlines indicate _italics_ in the original. Asterisks indicate *boldface* in the original. I have added one comment marked [/// thusly ///]
(919) 828 7393
Vol. No. 14 Publication Number 11
by Grover B. Proctor Jr.
In the summer of 1980, Spectator learned that Lee Harvey Oswald attempted to call
from the Raleigh, N.C. jail the night before he was
shot by gangster Jack Ruby. This
information came out of the report of the House Assassinations Committee,
convened in 1978, and was included in the book Conspiracy written by English author Anthony Summers. Spectator writer Grover B. Proctor Jr.
and editor R.B. Reeves conducted interviews with author Summers; Robert Blakey,
chief counsel of the House Assassinations Committee; and Victor Marchetti, a former Dallas CIA
executive officer. Our purpose was to
establish the validity of the call and to attempt to discover its meaning to
the investigation of the JFK murder. The following copyrighted features ran on
1980, as the second part of a two-part series. Readers will notice that the articles have stood the test of time and are integral parts of the newly awakened interest in the assassination instigated by Oliver Stone's movie, JFK.
July 24, 1980
[Copyright, 1980, Spectator Publications, Inc.]
After Spectator's report last week on the controversy surrounding the "Raleigh Call" by Lee Harvey Oswald, subsequent investigation, plus the examination of documents unavailable before the last article, have demonstrated that it is a legitimate aspect of the JFK assassination investigation. It is considered by leading assassination authorities to be a key in the unsolved mystery.
The story concerns a telephone call allegedly attempted by Oswald from the
jail to a John Hurt in Dallas , on the evening of Raleigh,
N.C. November 23, 1963. It was reported
to authorities by Mrs. Alveeta Treon, a telephone operator who was working that
the switchboard connected to the Dallas jail, and who kept a written record
of the numbers and name she
claims Oswald was trying to reach. The telephone call slip shows the telephone numbers
834-7430 and 833-1253. According to Mrs.
Treon's statement, her fellow operator, Mrs. Louise Swinney, after consulting
with two supposed government agents, told
Oswald the numbers did not answer, though she never tried to place the
[/// The original article included a photocopy of the operator's form noting the call. The preprinted form was filled out by hand and signed "L. Swinney." Mrs. Swinney, or whoever, also wrote the word "Collect" and underlined it in the top left corner. Above her signature is written "da" [?] which is underlined, and "Ca" which is circled. These are not explained ("dialed" ?, "Called" ??). I cannot read the printed word in the lower left corner, but the notation "A C 919" clearly refers to the area code for Raleigh which is 919. ///]
| Collect |
| ------- |
| C I T Y O F D A L L A S |
| LONG DISTANCE MESSAGES |
| Jail |
| Phone No._______Time_______Minutes_______Amount________ |
| Lee Harvey Oswald |
| Person calling_________________________Dept____________ |
834 - 7430 | Raleigh, N.C.
| To_____________________________________________________ |
| John Hurt or 833 - 1253 |
| Person called__________________________________________ |
11-23-63 da (Ca) |
| Date_______________ -- |
| L. Swinney |
| Received Payment________________________________ |
| ???? AC 919 |
The search for more information about the attempted call began after Anthony Summers (from whose book Conspiracy the "Raleigh Call" has gained its most recent public exposure) contacted this writer last week.
Summers related an incident that followed a nationally televised appearance the week before by him and the Chief Counsel of the House Assassinations Committee, G. Robert Blakey. After the program, during a longer, private conversation covering many aspects of the case, author Summers confided to Blakey some doubt he had about the authenticity of the call, especially concerning whether it was an incoming call to Oswald, or outgoing from him, as alleged by Mrs. Treon.
Blakey confessed to being troubled by the call as well, but, to Summers' surprise, for the exact opposite reason. As a subsequent interview with Blakey confirmed: "The call apparently is real and it I goes out; it does not come in. That's the sum and substance of it." Blakey continued, "It was an outgoing call, and therefore I consider it very troublesome material. The direction in which it went was deeply disturbing." (It should be noted that another reason for Summers' surprise at confirmation of the importance of the
reported in his book was that it came from Blakey, an
open critic of Summers' conclusions that elements of American
Intelligence, anti-Castro Cubans, along
with organized crime killed JFK. See accompanying article.) Raleigh
This kind of confirmation of the importance of the incident, from someone of Blakey's reputation, followed closely by former
officer Victor Marchetti's confirmation (see accompanying interview
["Victor Marchetti Disagrees", below]), gives a larger and deeper
context to the case. Why was the call made?
Whom was Oswald actually trying to reach?
If it was John Hurt, who was he? Why was the call not allowed to go through? And most important, what does this say about the larger picture of the assassination itself, and the people involved in it?
The most obvious concern of the incident is that, if Oswald was trying to contact a heretofore unknown accomplice or acquaintance, then the identity of this person and his connection to the case become extremely important. The fact that the first of the numbers is still to this day listed in the name of John David Hurt in
adds even more speculation to the incident. [Excerpts from a telephone
interview with a man identifying himself as John D. Hurt, who said he had
"no knowledge whatsoever" of a
call made from or to his number that day, appeared in the Raleigh July 17,1980, Spectator.]
The fact that John D. Hurt served in U.S. Army Counterintelligence during World War II, taken in context with allegations that Oswald may have had connections with the Intelligence community, was described by House Assassinations Committee staff lawyer Surell Brady, in charge of investigating the "Raleigh Call," as being "provocative. Though no connection between Hurt and Oswald has ever been demonstrated, that in itself has not quelled speculation concerning why Oswald would wish to call a John Hurt at that number.
Though the House Committee's final report did not mention the
call, Brady wrote a 28-page internal memorandum outlining the outcome of their
investigation of the incident. In an insert after page 15 of the document, it
is incorrectly reported that the two numbers listed on the telephone slip
"were unpublished in 1963." This information was reported as having
been supplied by Carolyn Rabon of Southern Bell Telephone Co. Raleigh
in 1978. Research has shown that the Raleigh Telephone Directory issued
December 2, 1962,
which would have been current at the
time of the assassination, and the Directory issued December 22, 1963, both list a John D. Hurt at
834-7430 and a John W. Hurt at 833-1253. Thus, both of these numbers would have
been available to anyone calling "Information"
in , asking for a listing
for a John Hurt. Raleigh
Taking this piece of information with a scenario provided by former
CIA officer Victor Marchetti allows
speculation on the intent of the call. Marchetti, interviewed from his Northern
Virginia home at some length about the Raleigh call and the JFK assassination,
seems positive in his own mind that
Oswald was following a set intelligence practice, that of contacting his case officer through what is known as a
‘cut-out,’ a "clean" intermediary who can act as a conduit
between agent and officer without ever
getting involved in the intelligence operation itself. All the cut-out knows is that if anyone ever
calls asking for a certain officer's real name, or pseudonym, he's then to
contact a predetermined person or
agency. The cut-out can legitimately say he never heard of the
agent calling, in this case thought to be Lee Harvey Oswald.
Who was Oswald's cut-out, if the above scenario is correct? Was it either of the John Hurts listed in
in 1963? According to committee record,
Mr. John David Hurt seems to have had an unusual career, but aside from his
Counterintelligence work in the second World War, there is nothing to confirm
or deny his candidacy as Oswald's cut- Raleigh
out. Chief Counsel Blakey told me, "I think the call occurred. Now whether it occurred to [John D.] Hurt or not, I'm not sure.... I was not able to come up with a feeling that there was anything sinister about Hurt." Concerning the other Mr. Hurt, John William, the committee memorandum says nothing.
If we cannot know who, says Marchetti, we can at least understand why the call and probably why
Marchetti once again confirmed the existence of an ONI op-center (operations
center) in Nags Head, N. C., for agents
sent to the North Carolina Soviet Union. The plan, according to Marchetti, was to send
young men there supposedly as defectors, but who in actuality were hoping to be
picked up as agents by the KGB. This process was known as "doubling,"
as the young men would then in effect be
double agents for both American and Soviet intelligence. Once placing an agent
in the KGB, American intelligence could then begin funneling in disinformation. According to Marchetti, this was the plan for
Oswald. Whether it worked or not, Marchetti did not say.
The logical conclusion to Marchetti's theory based on the facts as uncovered to date, is that Oswald, whether guilty or not of the assassination, once inside the Dallas jail was looking for some way to assure his interrogators, which may well have included agents of the
CIA, according to Marchetti,
that he was "okay." If this were true, then
one must imagine that Oswald remembered either the name John Hurt in Raleigh, or some other location which got confused with Raleigh in his attempt to call, and that either he or someone acting for him obtained the two telephone numbers he attempted to call. That the call was blocked from going through gives another disturbing, and as yet unsolved aspect to the incident.
The importance of the
call ultimately is that both Marchetti, who is convinced of at least a partial
involvement in the assassination by intelligence agents, and Blakey, who
eschews that explanation as unnecessary (sec
accompanying story), agree that it is
an important, disturbing aspect of the JFK case. Said Blakey, "I
consider it unanswered, and I consider the direction in which it went substantiated
and disturbing, but ultimately inconclusive. When asked if he would recommend
that the Justice Department look into the incident, if and when it reopens the
assassination case, Blakey said no. His reason? "The bottom line is, it's
an unanswerable mystery." Raleigh
`They Killed My President'
July 24, 1980
[Copyright, 1980, Spectator Publications, Inc.]
"Do I think I know what happened to the President -- not simply in the Plaza but who was responsible for it?" asked G. Robert Blakey. "The answer to that is yes. I think I do. As a matter of historical truth, I think I know who killed him and why." In an hour and a half interview with *Spectator*, the
law professor, who served
Chief Counsel and Director of the House Select Committee on Assassinations (which concluded in 1979 that a conspiracy was responsible for the assassination of John F. Kennedy) detailed his special "insider's" knowledge and his conclusions on who killed John F. Kennedy.
Blakey, whose 20 years as an Investigator have been highlighted by his work with Robert Kennedy's Justice Department as well as the House Committee, has no doubt about the status of the investigation to date. "Our duty now is to come to grips with the evidence," he said. In doing so, he is confident that the historical truth has been established.
There comes a point in any investigation, reported Blakey, where the investigator knows what happened, but cannot prove it in a court of law: "For historical purposes, I think we now know the Mob killed Kennedy. You give me 25 FBI agents, five investigative prosecutors and six months in the field, and I will tell you whether this case will be brought to a successful conclusion."
Blakey, long recognized as one of the country's leading experts on the Mafia, expressed doubt that the investigation would result in a successful criminal prosecution "And this is not because it's 17 years" he said. "Because, in fact, the people who would have been responsible for the President's death are, on the whole, still on the street. The problem is that the intermediate people may not be and that any number of the witnesses have since either died natural deaths or otherwise."
Blakey keys in on three elements of the plot: those in the Mob who were ultimately responsible for planning the murder, the "second gunman" on the Grassy Knoll and Lee Harvey Oswald. By limiting any future investigation to just the Mob, Blakey had drawn criticism from researchers such as Victor Marchetti (see box ["Victor Marchetti Disagrees", below]) and author Anthony Summers, who find evidence pointing toward the involvement of some elements of the American Intelligence community.
Blakey defends his assertions by saying it's "an area where the suspicions simply don't firm up in such a way that merits more attention." A central focus of the House Assassination Committee's work, Blakey said, was a possible involvement of the Federal Government. The result of that part of the investigation, Blakey explained, showed that
"this case simply does not point toward the intelligence community."
Anthony Summers, whose new book, Conspiracy, was reviewed in [the July 17, 1980] Spectator, was singled out for criticism by Blakey. "The problem I have with Tony's book, and I know it very well, is his perspective is slightly left of center, as a European intellectual." (Meaning he is looking for official involvement.) Though he admits Summers' book makes "an effort" to "evaluate and balance," Blakey insisted that only when one looks at the evidence "from the inside, from the kind of perspective Summers couldn't get," as Blakey claims to have done from his vantage as Chief Counsel to the House Committee, does one learn that the Intelligence angle "does not merit such attention."
Blakey said the bottom line is that "once I have a coherent theory of the assassination -- that is, the Mob -- the burden of proof is on you to complicate that. The Mob didn't need the American Intelligence community to kill the President." He continued by saying that even if they were involved in some way, their presence was "not significant."
The general principle Blakey uses in the JFK investigation, he said, is the Medieval philosophy of parsimony -- that is, that you don't "make unnecessarily complex an explanation of phenomena. You keep the explanation as simple as possible based on the evidence you have." To Blakey, the simplest explanation does not need Intelligence agents to make it work.
"I know -- and this is the order in which I know it -- that Lee Harvey Oswald was killed by Jack Ruby. Number two, there were two shooters in the Plaza. And only three do I come up with Lee Harvey Oswald shot the President. I know that Jack Ruby shot Oswald a lot stronger than I know that Oswald shot the President. I know that there were two shooters in the Plaza more than I know who either of them were." From these facts,
Blakey deduces that Jack Ruby is the key to the mystery.
"The next thing I want to do is analyze, who is Jack Ruby? And who is Lee Harvey Oswald? Are there any common things in their lives. When I make a careful analysis of Jack Ruby, it's the Mob pure and simple." Blakey claims this is the link that brought both men to the basement of the
jail on Dallas November 24, 1963.
Blakey further argues that the Warren Commission reasoned backwards, starting with Oswald killing the President and then Jack Ruby killing Oswald. He maintains that this reasoning does not get at the truth because it inverts the proportional relevance of the key factors.
Of the Mob bosses to whom the House report ascribed "motive, means and opportunity" to kill the President, Carlos Marcello of New Orleans and Santos Trafficante of Tampa, Blakey had little further to say. In fact, though he does not publicly doubt the Mob's ultimate culpability, he maintains that it was even possible that their subordinates executed the plot for them. Just as Henry II called out for some knight to "rid the
Kingt of a meddlesome bishop," Blakey said, so, too, could Marcello's reported Sicilian curse to the Kennedy's, "Let this stone be taken from my shoe" have been the basis for underlings to plot the assassination.
"Carlos Marcello himself may be perfectly innocent, but then people who worked for him did it on their own." Blakey is searching for this group of intermediaries.
Conversely, of the "second gunman" the House Assassinations Committee proved to have been firing from the famed Grassy Knoll in front of the President's motorcade, Blakey is much more verbal. "I can tell you an awful lot about him. First of all, I can tell you he was male. Of all of Oswald's companions, none have been suggested to be female. They also are not old men and they're not young men. They're 25 to 35. All of the people Oswald was seen with tend to be Cuban in character. So, the people who were involved in the assassination effort with Oswald in all likelihood were of Cuban derivation. I can probably give you a general notion of address, in the sense that in all likelihood he was Cuban, which would mean his address would be either
Orleans ." Miami
Blakey maintains that to this day the second gunman probably thinks he killed Kennedy. And assuming he was not eliminated as was Oswald after the assassination, he has secluded himself in fear of his life. The final shot fired from behind the President and the one the second gunman fired occurred within a second of each other. Blakey said the gunman heard his own shot, saw the President's head explode, and assumed he did it. Though the forensic evidence demonstrates quite clearly, maintains Blakey, that the fatal shot came from behind, the second gunman believes otherwise and fears for his life from authorities and from his Mob employers. Asked if he has any reasonable expectations that we will ever know who the second gunman was, Blakey confidently said, "Oh, sure."
Finally, of the guilt of Lee Harvey Oswald, Blakey does not equivocate. "The evidence is simply overwhelming that Oswald did it. Oswald is guilty beyond all reasonable doubt." Not all investigators agree.
Anthony Summers quotes eyewitnesses and plots the timing of Oswald's known movements to come to the conclusion that Oswald could not have been in the sixth-floor sniper's nest at the time the shots were fired. Commenting on Summers' reasoning, Blakey was adamant. "That's foolishness. Why Tony [Summers] would take that position I find very troublesome. In fact, it's almost to the point where it makes me tend to
question his judgment."
Blakey quickly listed the evidence against Oswald that makes him certain of guilt: It was his rifle, with which he was photographed and on which were found his fingerprints; the photos were signed on the back by Oswald; he was seen on the sixth floor about 45 minutes before the shooting, at which time he indicated he would not be going downstairs for lunch; his fingerprints were found on a carton that formed part of the sniper's nest and on the bag that may have been the vehicle for bringing the rifle into the building. And most telling, said Blakey, were his actions of fleeing the building, shooting a policeman and when caught, not screaming "Frame" vehemently.
Blakey describes Oswald as "a loner type, a misfit," who, while not formally well educated, "and thus having the defects of a person who has not been to college and studied systematically," was a prime target to be absorbed into the plot. "That organized crime figures would see in him someone to enlist in an effort to kill Kennedy seems to me perfectly obvious," Blakey said. He was asked if he thought this had been done
through Carlos Marcello's lieutenant and Oswald's long- time acquaintance David Ferrie, and he replied, "Absolutely. That's hard evidence."
Why continue the investigation, 17 years later? "They killed my President and got away with it!" said Blakey, whose own book on the assassination will be published in November. Though he believes in Oswald's guilt, he says it is irrelevant now. "I don't care whether he did it or not. The only issue that's outstanding in this case, in my judgment, is in behalf of whom did the person behind the fence act."
Finding these intermediate plotters and hence a "final truth" about the JFK murder, Blakey maintains, is well within our grasp if we will pursue it.
Victor Marchetti Disagrees
July 24, 1980
[Copyright, 1980, Spectator Publications, Inc.]
Victor Marchetti was for over 14 years an officer for the
where he rose to the position of executive assistant to the Deputy Director. He
is the co-author with John D. Marks of The CIA and
The Cult of Intelligence, the first
history to be subject to
pre-publication censorship. Mr. Marchetti agreed to talk with Spectator U.S.
about the so-called "Raleigh Call" and the larger picture of possible American Intelligence involvement in the Kennedy assassination. The following is an excerpt from that interview.
Spectator: Do you think the
was involved in any way with the assassination?
Marchetti: Yes, but not officially. My feeling, based on what I know, and I may be absolutely wrong, is that there's no way the Agency would get involved in this kind of mess. They may do a lot of things like overthrow governments, prop up dictatorships and a lot of other things, but there are certain things beyond the pale. However, there are individuals within the Agency who are willing to go beyond. So there may have been an individual, or two or three, within the Agency who was involved. There are certain renegades in the Agency -- or were, and probably still are - particularly people who were involved in the Cuban affair and never forgave Kennedy. These people are perfectly capable of pretty goddamn dirty tricks. E. Howard Hunt is the kind of guy, along with a lot of other people who were contract agents, who, in their anger and fury, were capable of doing something crazy like this, working along with other people. They're also smart enough to have messed it up so well that you could never figure out who was responsible for anything.
Spectator: So you see individuals at work -- not agencies?
Marchetti: That's right.
Spectator: Individuals such as
contract agents David Ferrie and Clay Shaw?
Marchetti: Yes, I think they were probably involved in some way. I just don't know how. There were a lot of people who wanted to get rid of the president for one reason or another. And I think they all just coalesced somehow, some way -- maybe by accident. I think that in that group -- and this is strictly personal opinion -- there were some FBI and
renegades. They did their job, cleaned up afterwards, and got the hell out of
One of the most talked about portions of the House Assassinations Committee's investigation was testimony by Antonio Veciana, A Cuban refugee leader, that he had seen a man he identified as Lee Harvey Oswald in the presence of one "Maurice Bishop," who for 13 years represented himself to Veciana as his
advisor. In its attempts to discover "Bishop's" identity, the House
Committee keyed on one
later identified by Committee sources as former
Western Hemisphere Chief David Phillips. As reported in [the July 17, 1980 edition of] Spectator, the
committee was allegedly suspicious of both Veciana's and Phillip's denials that
Phillips was "Bishop." Mr. Marchetti
[Spectator:] Is David Phillips "Maurice Bishop"?
[Spectator:] Do you know who "Maurice Bishop" is?
[Marchetti:] Yes. It isn't Dave [Phillips].
[Spectator:] Was "Maurice Bishop" connected with the assassination, to the best of your knowledge?
[Marchetti:] Look, when you're dealing in pseudonyms, forget it.
[Spectator:] What do you mean, "forget it"?
[Marchetti:] I mean just forget it, because you're not going to be able to prove a thing. But no, he [Phillips] wasn't "Maurice Bishop".
[Spectator:] But you did say that you know who "Maurice Bishop" is.
[Spectator:] I'm sure if I asked you, you would not tell me his identity.
[Marchetti:] That's right.
[Spectator:] If you were, as an agent, in trouble somewhere in
[Marchetti:] I was never an agent. I was an officer.
[Spectator:] Okay, if someone were an agent, and they were involved in something, and nobody believes they are an agent. He is arrested, and trying to communicate, let's say, and he is one of your guys. What is the procedure?
[Marchetti:] I'd kill him.
[Spectator:] If I were an agent for the Agency, and I was involved in something involving the law domestically and the FBI, would I have to a contact to call?
[Spectator:] A verification contact?
[Marchetti:] Yes, you would.
[Spectator:] Would I be dead?
[Marchetti:] It would all depend on the situation. If you get into bad trouble, we're not going to verify you. No how, no way.
[Spectator:] But there is a call mechanism set up.
[Spectator:] So it is conceivable that Lee Harvey Oswald was ...
[Marchetti:] That's what we was doing. He was trying to call in and say "Tell them I'm all right."
[Spectator:] Was that his death warrant?
[Marchetti:] You betcha. Because this time he went over the dam, whether he knew it or not, or whether they set him up or not. It doesn't matter. He was over the dam. At this point it was executive action.*
[Spectator:] Is the contact person's name ever the name of someone who is not necessarily an active agent but is just a contact person?
[Marchetti:] That's right.
[Spectator:] Then that person would go up to the next level?
[Marchetti:] That's right, and it would be a "funny name" - a pseudonym. Like for example, you would have a number to call.. If you were my agent, and you got yourself into a peck of trouble, you might try to contact me, bit maybe you can't get through.
[Spectator:] I would contact you by telephone, right?
[Marchetti:] Yes. But I might have covered my tracks real good so you can't contact me by telephone. In other words, I contact you, you don't contact me. But I give you a
(unintelligible) number. So you call him, but I've already talked to him and said, "Don't touch him." You're screwed up.
[Spectator:] But you would use, for that middle man, people who were not necessarily active agents or agency people, right?
[Marchetti:] That's right. Most likely they would be cut-outs.** You would have to call indirectly.
[Spectator:] Could Oswald have had a name ...
[Marchetti:] He was probably calling his cut-out. He was calling somebody who could put him in touch with his case officer. He couldn't go beyond that person. There's no way he could. He just had to depend on this person to say, "Okay, I'll deliver the message." Now, if the cut-out had already been alerted to cut him off and ignore him, then (unintelligible).
agents have been in the jail
as part of the investigation? Dallas
[Marchetti:] Well, I've been put in jails to interrogate prisoners.
[Spectator:] So it's not inconceivable that a
agent of some type could have been there?
[Marchetti:] That's the name of the game. Get it whatever way you can.
* Executive action: a
code phrase for assassination.
** According to Anthony Summers (_Conspiracy_, p. 314): "In the world of intelligence many operations are run through `cut-outs,' buffer organizations or individuals whose sins can never formally be laid at the door of an agency or government."