Monday, November 26, 2012

The Addendum to “Our Man in Haiti.”

The Addendum to “Our Man in Haiti.”

Joan Mellen’s Addendum – to “Our Man in Haiti (p. 335- 386) titled “H.L. Hunt & Sons and CIA” is an added bonus to the book, and is a somewhat sidetracked take-off to Chapter 4. “Philippe Thyraud De Vosjoli: Everyone is Connected,” and it could be a sample of another book she is working on about “The Texas Mafia.”

When a group of JFK assassination researchers met with Cuban intelligence officers in Rio, the Chief Justice of the Brazilian Supreme court said, “We are not here to determine whether or not there was a conspiracy in the assassination of President Kennedy, but to determine who was behind the conspiracy.”

While they pointed to a motley group of anti-Castro Cubans, Mafia dons and high level CIA officers, there are others, including Texas Oil Barons, who are also among the usual suspects in the murder of JFK, such as depicted in the movie, “Executive Action” and the 1968 book “Farewell America,” written by the pseudonymous “James Hepburn.”

Published in Lichenstein, where libel laws would not be enforced, “Farewell America” asserts that “the upper spheres of the CIA were certainly not informed of the preparations for the assassination, (but)…rogue operatives might well have played a roll in the crime.”

Mellen points out that “Chapter Ten of Farewell America is titled ‘Oilmen.’ Yet only one oil man is singled out fr culpability – H.L. Hunt.”

Advance copies of “Farewell America” were sent to New Orleans D.A. Jim Garrison, whose investigation of the assassination was underway, and according to Mellen: “In the hope of obtaining the source notes, or ‘background material’ for Farewell America, believing naively that such documentation actually existed, Garrison sent a young volunteer to France to meet with “Hepburn.”

Bill Turner, who also worked with Garrison at the time, said that he believed Bobby Kennedy also had a hand in the composition of “Farewell America,” which it was believed would hurt LBJ and have an influence on the 1968 election, during which the incumbent LBJ pulled out of the race. (Turner also notes that Garrison’s “young volunteer” sent to France to investigate “Farewell America” sources was named Jaffe, if anyone wants to track down his records.)

As Mellen relates the story from Garrison documents, at some point Garrison’s investigator “was taken to a Latin Quarter dive called ‘Club Karma,’ where he was introduced to a man… ‘Philippe,’ the former head of French Intelligence (Deuxieme Bureau) in the United States,” which Mellen observes, “could only mean that ‘Philippe’ was either actually was or was impersonating Phillipe de  Vosjoli. De Vosjoli had resigned from the French service and defected to the United States five years earlier, in October 1963,” which relates to a character in Haiti that Mellen writes about in Chapter four – “Philippe Thyraud De Vosjoli: Everyone is Connected.”

De Vosjoli is the real person behind the chief character in Leon Uris’ book “Topaz,” a story developed into a movie by Alfred Hitchcock.

In the capitol of Haiti, which was once a French colony, there is or was a restaurant popular with politicians and spies called Le Peicardie, which Mellen describes as, “located in a white stucco chateau high on a cliff complete with battlements, so that you felt secure and protected as you sat down to one of the tables outside looking down on the city of Port-au-Prince.” Owned and operated by one Jacqueline Lancelot, the beautiful and vivacious host frequently catered to such men as de Vosjoli, George DeMohrenschildt and US Naval attaché Joseph F. Dryer. Jr. Lancelot had a very tight intelligence network that was the source of information concerning DeMohrenschildt’s Haitian bank account.

Mellen: “Intelligence people frequented Le Picardie, and the CIA agents would head from the airport to Jacqueline’s restaurant even before they checked in at the U.S. Embassy. Among Jacqueline Lancelot’s informants in Port-au-Prince was a Pan American Airlines employee who was working for CIA; Pan American was used in Haiti for a CIA cover. Jacqueline’s Haitian contacts also included the head of tourism and his brother, the Commander of the Palace Guard. To the CIA agents who frequented her restaurant, Jacqueline passed information about the Duvalier government.”

Well if that was the case, then it is most likely she was working for French Intelligence and de Vosjoli was her case officer. As France’s “Man in Washington” de Vosjoli had an office at the French Embassy and on December 7, 1960 hosted a party attended by the CIA’s then DD/P Richard Bissell and his successor Richard Helms and where the guest of honor was Jacques Soustelle, of the Organization of the Secret Army (OAS). At the time the OAS was trying to assassinate French President DeGaul in order to keep Algeria a French colony.

In April 1961, around the same time as the Bay of Pigs, high level CIA officers met with OAS leaders in both Washington and France and appeared to lend support to their attempted French coup over Algerian independence. (See NYT, April 29, 1961, Time Mag. May 12) But after being called on the carpet by JFK, according the Mellen, Helms categorically denied that the CIA “at any time had sided with the rebel generals.”

As for its connections with the JFK assassination, there was the matter of the munitions stash at the Schulemberger bunker that was said to be destined to the OAS generals but instead was diverted to the anti-Castro cause and possibly used at the Bay of Pigs. The raid of this bunker was carried out by David Ferrie and other New Orleans associates of Guy Banister, whose offices were used to stash some of the munitions. Schulemberger was a French company in Texas that specialized in oil related businesses and owned, in part by Jean DeMenil, one of those oilmen who would get mixed up with the same crowd that surrounded Oswald and his family when they first arrived from the Soviet Union. Mellen does not mention these related details.

She does focus in on De Vosjoili, who also went into Cuba in 1962 at the behest of the CIA to confirm the presence of Soviet missiles shortly before the Cuban Missile Crisis, and returned with the evidence, which he presented not only to the CIA but to New York Republican Senator Kenneth Keating, who was also working closely with the ABC TV reporter who brokered the JFK-Castro back channel via the United Nations envoys.

Mellen: ‘On August 31, 1962, on the floor of the Senate, Keating revealed intelligence on the Soviet missiles in Cuba of which even John F. Kennedy was unaware.”  As Mellen also points out, RFK would revenge Keating’s backstabbing political treachery by defeating him in the next election.

“Under the cover of French intelligence, de Vosjoli became a CIA agent. Walter Elder, a special assistant to John McCone, revealed…that “De Vosjoli was recruited and worked for us. It was a CI (Counter-intelligence) operation run by Angleton.”

De Vosjoli also became entwined with Soviet defector Anatoliy Golitsyn, and warned De Gaulle his cabinet was penetrated by the Soviet KGB, and like William Stevenson, he believed Golitsyn was a real defector and others that came after him were sent over with disinformation.

Interviewed by the HSCA investigators, de Vosjoli told them that while in New York City on November 19, 1963 he spotted Monsieur Herve, of French intelligence with Col. George de Lannurien, chief of counter-intelligence for SDECE, and followed them to the Harvard Club, where they had lunch with “a group of right-wing extremists from Texas,” a meeting that De Vosjoli believed had something to do with the assassination.

Mellen also notes the “National Archives claims that it cannot locate a copy of the full transcript of the (HSCA) interview with de Vosjoli.”

While the “Phillipe” that Garrison’s investigator met with in France had an office that ajoined that of Charles deGaul, then President of France, Mellen believes that he was an imposter and not de Vosjolij. “This fictional ‘Phillipe’” writes Mellen, “asserts that ‘South Texas’ people plotted the assassination. His area of expertise is the oil industry, he claims, lending credibility to ‘Hepburn’s’ claim that H.L. Hunt was the mastermind of the Kennedy assassination.”

Whoever he was, ‘Phillipe’ was seriously connected and said “he went to Mexico City where at the ‘Hotel Luna’ he met with some of the ‘ambush group,’ Cuban assassins of President Kennedy, even as the real-life de Vosjoli did travel to Mexico after his October 1963 resignation....It seems as if a faction of French Intelligence, furious with de Vosjoli, was taking the opportunity of the Garrison overture to exact revenge on its former employee. On its last page, the author of Fairwell America, whose real name apparently was Herve Lamarre, thanks a ‘Philippe’ who was ‘in France.’”

The Hotel Luna of course, is also mentioned prominently by the American bullfighter in Mexico City who is said to have met there with Oswald and where the cast of characters of Dick Russell’s “The Man Who Knew Too Much” also gathered.

Herve Lamarre is also quoted as saying that Kennedy’s assassination at Dealey Plaza was a covert operation conducted “like a magic trick, complete with fake props, actors and mirrors.”

Mellen seems to think that one of Hunt’s underpaid employees, Paul Rothermel was also one of the contributors to “Farewell America,” at the behest of the CIA. She makes a strong case that Rothermell was a CIA asset, and his investigation into the assassination was actually a ploy to blame the assassination on Hunt and Texas oil barons and take the heat off the CIA.

Mellen claims that Rothermel was actually working for the CIA and rather than deflect the assassination investigation from Hunt, he directed attention to him.

Mellen writes: “Rothermel was joined in his efforts to cast blame on the Huts for the assassination by other CIA assets…On the afternoon of the Kennedy assassination, on the pretext that H.L. Hunt’s Life Line radio program had been anti-Kennedy, and with Rothermel’s encouragement, the FBI shuttled Hunt out of Dallas. They insisted that he hide out at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington.D.C., to the old man’s displeasure.”

A number of quotes from this section serve as sort of bullet points worth discussing.
- “Over the years, some Hunt employees left and beat a path to CIA’s door. One was Mack Rankin, who worked for Hunt from 1955 to 1967, and then became vice-chairman of Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold, formerly Freeport Sulpher, a CIA cover company in Cuba.”

Not mentioned here is the fact that one of the board members of Freeport Sulpher, Robert Lovett, was offered a cabinet post by JFK, but instead, recommended a few other men, who became some of the “best and the brightest,” including McGeorge Bundy and Robert McNamara. Freeport Sulpher is also listed on the manifest of the airplane piloted by David Ferrie that included passengers Clay Shaw and a Hidell, and the company was connected in Cuba to some of the activities of David Atlee Phillips in the waning days of the Batesta regime.

- “Meanwhile H.L. Hunt settled into his Dallas niche. He published right-wing pamphlets and newsletters and sponsored radio programs like “Facts Forum” and “Life Line.” Supporters of Facts Forum included the Republic National Bank and Dresser Industries.”

Copies of these newsletters were found in Jack Ruby’s car after he shot and killed Oswald, and it has been documented that the chief writer for these newsletters and radio programs was a former CIA propaganda officer.

While some of Hunt’s employees and associates worked for or were clearly assets of the CIA, the theme of Mellen’s final chapter is Hunt’s refusal to allow the CIA to place agents and assets in his business operations abroad, which many other multi-national corporations did, including Freeport Sulpher, IBM and many media organizations.

- “CIA’ s animus toward Bunker Hunt dated from the late 1950s when Bunker pursued an oil venture in Libya….In 1957 he secured a concession in the Sarir Field, the richest oil field in Africa and the tenth largest in the world. Things were quiet in Libya until November 1961 when low sulphur oil was discovered at the Sarir Field…Three times in 1966,…CIA requested of Nelson Bunker Hunt that they be permitted to place agents in his Libyan operations. Three times Bunker declined.”

Others involved in oil ventures in Libya include Volkmar Schmidt, who incited Oswald to kill Gen. Walker, comparing him to Hitler and mentioning the Valkyrie assassination plot, and Jack Crichton, the US Army Reserve officer who associated with DeMohrenschildt’s friends.

- “What sets H.L. Hunt apart from all these Texans was his increasingly visceral dislike of both Dulles brothers. Hunt not only wanted nothing to do with CIA, but he was not shy about making his antipathy to Allen Dulles in particular, public...Over a period of years, Hunt bombarded several presidents with warnings about the disloyalty to the Republic of Allen and Foster Dulles. It was a disloyalty Arthur Goldberg had suggested to President Roosevelt in the late 1930s when he called Allen Dulles a ‘traitor’ for his dealings with high Nazi figures and corporations.”

- “When John F. Kennedy declared war on the Central Intelligence Agency and began to transfer some of the powers over to a Defense Intelligence Agency, Hunt was elated.”

- “The release in 1998 of the CIA/FBI cooperation agreement of 1948 would provide conclusive documentary evidence of the symbiotic relationship between the two agencies” (This agreement is published in Mellen’s appendix p. 389-403).

- “Eighteen days before the event, on November 4, 1963, (Paul) Rothermel distributed within Hunt Oil an inter-office memorandum titled POLITICS that all but reveals his foreknowledge of the assassination, or at least, an act of violence about to be perpetrated on the president… He would claim that the sources for the information contained in his November 4 memo were the FBI and groups created by right-wing General Edwin Walker at North Texas State University at Denton.”

Some of those involved in the violent attack on UN Ambassador Adle Stevenson a few weeks before JFK visited Dallas were from Denton, and the news photos and TV film of that demonstration were reviewed by the Secret Service to see if anyone could be identified and their photos were distributed to the security agents at the Dallas Trade Mart, where demonstrations were expected at the site of the luncheon where JFK was to give a speech. It was these Secret Service agents stationed at the Trade Mart who sent New Orleans Secret Service Chief of Station John W. Rice on a wild goose chase in North Louisiana investigating “John Martin,” the first true suspect in the assassination.

It is interesting to note that she says, “Lamar Hunt went on to found the American Football League; his “Texans” in 1963 became the Kansas City Chiefs. It was Lamar Hunt who christened the NFL Championship game based on his children’s ‘super ball.’” Which certainly places Lamar Hunt on the board with other NFL owners like John Mecom of New Orleans Saints and Carroll Rosenbloom of the Baltimore Colts, both of whom are also entwined in this drama.

- “Seizing on the rumor he had from Gary Schoener and Bernard Festerwald that Jim Braden had visited the Hunt the day before the assassination, Rothermel passed on this disinformation as his ‘distinct impression’ to author Pete Noyes, author of Legacy of Doubt. In a September 1970 conversation, Rothermel treated Noyes to an attack on Bunker, who was ‘taking a million dollars out of Libya every three days.’ Bunker had a member of El Fatah on his payroll, Rothermel confided. Bunker believes Jews are more dangerous than Communist, he said.”

And you can throw this on the missing records file: “…(Paul) Rothermel added that the Hunt Oil log books and long distance telephone logs for September and October 1963 had disappeared. (The incident has an eerie double: the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum informed the author that the log book for 1963 of Bobby Kennedy’s secretary, Angela Novello, had disappeared. All of Novello’s records were available, but for this one.”

I don’t believe the KGB fabricated the “Dear Mr. Hunt” letter to implicate either the oil barron H.L. Hunt or E. Howard Hunt, the CIA man, as KGB defector Mitrokin suggests, but its clear that it is a disinformation ploy that originated in some psy-war ops branch of a major national government intelligence agency – if not the KGB, it was certainly not beyond the talents of high level CIA officers or possibly, as Mellen suggests, with a little help of Paul Rothermel. She writes: “Lee Harvey Oswald had allegedly written a letter addressed to a ‘Dear Mr. Hunt,’ suggesting ‘that we discuss the matter fully before any steps are taken by me or anyone else.’ There is no evidence that the ‘Mr. Hunt’ was H.L. Hunt, rather than the CIA’s E. Howard Hunt, or any other Hunt.”

Some tidbits that fit in to John Simkin’s study of “Mockingbird” – Mellen writes -…Paul David Pope in a memoir of his father, Gene Pope, the Enquirer’s publisher, had worked for the CIA since his twenties when he served at the Italy desk, psy ops. He left the CIA to serve in Korea. After Pope bought the failing New York Enquirer with a loan from mobster Frank Costello and transformed it into the National Enquirer, CIA hovered as an editorial presence…So the National Enquirer joined Reader’s Digest, Conover Mast Publications, to which CIA assigned the cryptonym LP/OVER, and respectable publishing houses like Farrar, Starus & Giroux, as media entities cooperating with CIA.”

“Paul Rothermel fell off the roof of his house and died on October 10, 2002,” writes Mellen, “Like Allen Dulles, Richard Helms and other CIA employees higher on the chain of command, Rothermel died with secrets.”


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