Monday, July 29, 2013

Col. Yuriy Ivanovich Moskalevskiy?

The JFK Case: The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend (Part 10: Nightmare in Mexico City) By Bill Simpich (about the author)   Permalink 

  When it comes to working the Oswald legend, there's no one quite like Ann Goodpasture, the station case officer at the CIA's Mexico City station in 1963. Although she received the highest rating as outstanding in her fitness report, she made several supposed mistakes that would humiliate a rookie. Let me offer a brief hypothesis of how Goodpasture used the Oswald file in a clever maneuver designed to see who had impersonated Oswald in a telephone call in Mexico City two months before the JFK assassination.   

Goodpasture had good reason to believe that there might have been enemy spy in her immediate circles. I believe that Goodpasture used a photo of a KGB operative to create a pretense that the Mexico City station believed that that this KGB Mystery Man might be Lee Oswald.  

Her objective was to kick off an operation designed to figure out who was trying to penetrate the CIA's wiretap operations in Mexico City.  

Oswald had twelve prominent legend makers who used him in various ways as an intelligence asset during the last years of his life. Goodpasture was legend maker #11 - she used Oswald's biography for her own purposes. What she wound up doing was causing even more confusion over who Oswald really was. She may have had an idea, however, who was trying to penetrate the CIA's wiretap operations.   

I will stick my neck out and say that I believe that someone impersonated Oswald in a phone call precisely to convince the Mexico City and CIA HQ to conduct a mole hunt to find the impersonator. 

I'll take this hypothesis further and say that the paper trail created by the mole hunters was an effective way to blackmail the CIA and the FBI from conducting an effective investigation of the assassination of John F. Kennedy.   

To me, the best way to analyze the JFK assassination is to focus on the cover-up. If you understand Goodpasture, you understand why the cover-up had to happen.

A little background on Goodpasture, Oswald, and Sylvia Duran

During the sixties, Ann Goodpasture was the chief aide to Mexico City station chief Win Scott. Starting in August 1963, she picked up new tapes and simultaneously delivered new ones to a new agent in Mexico City, a Soviet analyst named Bill Bright.  

Bright was with the counter-espionage unit that reviewed Oswald when his file was used in a molehunt during May 1960. [i]  (See Part 3 of this series.) Bright's role is intriguing, still being studied, and will be addressed later on in this article.

She would review the summary of the transcripts from the LIENVOY wiretap operation on the Communist embassies at about 8 am every morning after the taps were picked up and transcribed. She would process the take between 8-9 am, and have any items of unusual significance on Scott's desk by nine. [ii] Transcripts on the Cuban and Soviet wiretaps arrived every day. [iii]

Goodpasture also played a key role in the more old-fashioned - but more secure, as we shall see - LIFEAT wiretap operation. During 1963, LIFEAT tapped individual locations rather than relying on the centralized telephone exchange like LIENVOY. She would also disseminate the take from the three cameras trained on the Soviet embassy compound. [iv] No one at the station knew the wiretaps and hidden cameras as well as Goodpasture.

When an American calling himself Lee Oswald appeared in Mexico City on Friday, September 27, he bounced between the Soviet and Cuban consulates in an effort to get himself an instant visa to visit these countries.  I'm going to put on ice for the moment whether this man was actually Lee Oswald - what I'm concerned about is the phone calls he made to the consulates, not the personal visits to the consulates.    
In June 1963, Oswald applied and received a new passport.  His wife Marina was pregnant. She wanted to return to the Soviet Union and spend time with her family while the baby was an infant. Oswald wanted to go with her.

However, the Oswalds had been unable to get the Soviets to issue them a visa for almost a year. Their previous negotiations had all been with the Soviet consulate in Washington, DC. Now Lee was trying his hand in Mexico City. It's hard to believe that he would have gone to the USSR without her. Their second child was due in a few weeks. Lee was a devoted father.

The smart way to get a Cuban visa was to make prior arrangements with the American Communist party or the Cuban Communist party prior to arrival in Mexico City.  

Oswald had done none of those things, even though he had written a number of letters to various American Communist officials.

Oswald's effort in shuttle diplomacy between the Soviet and Cuban consulates did him no good. All sides pretty much agree that he visited the Cuban consulate three times and the Soviet consulate once on Friday the 27th. He told the Cubans he got the visa OK from the Soviets, and told the Soviets that he already had a Cuban visa. Cuban consulate secretary Sylvia Duran talked to the Soviets, and both sides determined that Oswald was lying.   

By the end of the day, Oswald had struck out at both consulates. Oswald made one final pitch to the Soviets at about 10 am on Saturday the 28th, which also ended in failure. [v] The conversations between the Soviet and Cuban consulates about what to do with this unprepared man were all picked up on tape. Mexico City chief Win Scott wanted to know if this man could be identified.

Oswald was identified, and quickly. Shortly after Oswald left the Soviet consulate on Saturday the 28th, a call came in from the Cuban consulate to the Soviet consulate.   Goodpasture reported that "Oswald came to the attention of the listening post operators from a tap on the Soviet line".

The initial caller on the line identified herself as the Cuban consul's secretary, a young Mexican woman named Sylvia Duran. She told the Soviets that she was with a man had a question. She then put a man on the phone, and insisted in speaking in what was described as "broken Russian". It was reported that two individuals who heard the tapes reported that the man was also speaking "broken English". The linguistically challenged man told the Soviet officer that he had a contact number that he wanted to pass on to the Soviets. The Soviet officer told the man to come on over.  

Three days later, the man called again, inquiring about the status of his visa that had been the purpose of his call on Saturday the 28th.  He said his name was Lee Oswald.
The CIA's translators reported that they received tapes of the Oswald phone calls right after they were made. After JFK was killed, these translators were left strictly alone.

The CIA's translators, the husband-and-wife team of Boris and Anna Tarasoff, listened to these tapes. Boris focused on Russian voices; Anna focused on English and Spanish voices. Boris reported that both of these tapes were rushed over to them right after the phone calls were made.

Boris' testimony is consistent with the general procedure, which was to get tapes from the Soviet compound to the translator and pick them up all on the same day.  Boris was very clear that the voices on the September 28 tape and the October 1 tape were the same man.
Both the wiretap monitors and Tarasoff were trained to memorize the voices of the individuals who worked at the embassy compounds. When Tarasoff told Bill Bright that these tapes were of the same man who identified himself as Oswald, Bright got very excited.

On November 23, the day after JFK was killed, Goodpasture reported to HQ that Boris Tarasoff (also known as "Feinglass") was the man who had translated and matched up these calls. No one asked Boris or Anna any questions about these phone calls for thirteen years after the assassination -- not until the assassination probe was reopened. The Tarasoffs held invaluable information about Oswald and his contacts. Why in the world wouldn't the officials want to interview the Tarasoffs?   
The short answer is that certain high officials did not want the Tarasoffs interviewed.   Ann Goodpasture is still alive, and should be interviewed and asked why.

The long answer starts with an assumption driven by the facts. Goodpasture and the other lead officers in Mexico City knew that there was a problem with the tapes that portrayed the voices of Duran, Oswald, and an unknown Soviet on September 28, as well as the tape of Oswald on October 1. One enterprising CIA officer even made a chart of the supposed Oswald visits and the times that the CIA cameras trained on the embassies were in operation, trying to figure it all out.  He also created a very short and effective index of the alleged Oswald visits and phone calls.

The problems flowed from a few obvious questions.  

How did Oswald get into the Cuban consulate on Saturday the 28th, when the consulate was generally closed?  

How did Oswald convince Duran to call the Soviet consulate and put him on the line?  
Especially after the Soviet and Cuban officials had compared notes on Oswald on the 27th and had concluded that he had lied to both of them in his attempts to obtain an instant visa?  

Why did Oswald try to speak in "broken Russian"?  And why would a native-born American like Oswald speak in "broken English", according to two of the individuals who heard the tapes?

Another problem was the voice of Duran on the tape.  Duran had been working at the consulate all summer long. Duran was identified by name in the station's photo logs back in 1962 and as recently as September 30, 1963. The monitors would have known her voice in late September.  

A Cuban undercover agent, Luis Alberu, also known as LITAMIL-9, worked inside the Cuban embassy. Alberu would regularly meet CIA officer Robert Shaw in his car and talk with him about the people who were working at and visiting the Cuban embassy.  

Later, Robert Shaw said, I kept an eye on Duran. He knew who she was. Alberu would look at the CIA's photos of visitors to the Cuban compound and identify who they were.

If it wasn't Duran's voice on the tape, the wiretap monitors would have known it.   Goodpasture would have known it.  What would a reasonable CIA officer do in this situation?

There is no record of anyone identifying Duran's voice on the September 28 tape. Until 1976, no one ever asked either of the Tarasoffs about this call from Duran and Oswald.

Sylvia Duran has consistently said that she never saw Oswald again after the 27th.  If she is telling the truth, then the callers on the 28th were not Duran and Oswald. The day after the assassination, Duran was seized by Mexican authorities and held incommunicado  until CIA officials figured out how to handle her story.  A few days later, CIA covert action chief Richard Helms went so far as to write that "we do not want any Americans to confront Silvia Duran or be in contact with her". [vi] Helms did not want it to get out that Duran never met with Oswald on the 28th. Until 1978, no American official ever asked Duran about this call.

Similarly, there was no effort to identify the Soviet officer that picked up the call from the Cuban consulate on the 28th.  Boris Tarasoff prided himself on knowing the voices of the Soviets who worked in the embassy compound. Tarasoff believed that the Soviet officer was probably a man named Konstantinov. The Soviets say that the switchboard was closed that day to the public. A review of the transcript of the 28th reveals that this was the only call that was not made by friends or family of someone who worked at the station. The calls for that day concerned social affairs like going on a picnic, grappling with the grippe, and taking care of the children and the chickens.

Goodpasture knew that the LIENVOY wiretap system could be penetrated by other spies 
Goodpasture, Scott and a few other insiders also knew that the LIENVOY wiretap system that had picked up the Cuban consulate call of the 28th might have been penetrated by spies. The problem was that LIENVOY was run by the DFS, one of the most corrupt agencies in the Mexican government. Goodpasture knew that LIENVOY was insecure. [vii]

A CIA memo -- almost certainly prepared by Goodpasture -- describes the section of DFS working with the CIA in Mexico City as a "hip-pocket group run out of the Mexican Ministry of Government. This Ministry (Gobernacion) was principally occupied with political investigations and the control of foreigners.  Its employees were cruel and corrupt". [viii]    

After Win Scott saw the photos of Oswald on TV the night of the assassination, he wrote HQ saying that he suggested to Mexican presidential candidate Gustavo Orto  (LITEMPO-2) that Duran be arrested and held incommunicado until she provided all details on Oswald, as she was on the Sept. 28 transcript with Oswald in her office at the Cuban consulate.   Scott added that "LITEMPO-2 can say DFS coverage revealed call to him if he needs to explain." [ix] This is an indicator that DFS had its own set of tapes and transcripts from the Mexico City station, and was not forced to rely on CIA largesse.

So both the CIA and DFS had access to tapes from the Mexico City station -- and they weren't the only ones!   The FBI also had access to these tapes -- one story is that the FBI got their tapes from the DFS! [x] So, now, three agencies had access to these tapes.

The FBI's Mexico City field office was considered to be a security problem by the CIA.  

A key factor was a joint CIA-FBI operation in 1963 designed to convince Soviet military attache Valentin Bakulin to defect. Both the CIA and the FBI were using double agents in this effort.[xi] The aforementioned Bill Bright who had handled Oswald's file in the Soviet Union was part of this operation. Win Scott's people concluded that the FBI Mexico City office had been penetrated by LAROB, an FBI double agent working on Bakulin. After a meeting with another double agent on October 1, Bakulin was immediately placed under physical surveillance by the CIA.

Concern about this alleged penetration was the focus of discussion between CIA HQ and the Mexico City station from October 2 to October 5. [xii] On October 7, twenty sets of reports about double agent LAROB were sent by the FBI Mexico City field office to the CIA's Mexico City station and Headquarters.

The molehunt: It looks like Goodpasture tried to smoke out a spy who was trying to penetrate CIA operations by pretending that the station believed that a photo of a KGB operative was really Oswald.

Cuban covert action chief David Phillips left Mexico City for Washington and Miami right after the Duran-Oswald call was allegedly made on September 28. It looks to me like he put his head together with Goodpasture as soon as he came back to Mexico City.
On October 8, after an unheard-of one week delay by the highly efficient Mexico City station, the Mexico City Soviet desk was finally given the go-ahead to prepare a memo to CIA HQ on the October 1 phone call from Lee Oswald. CIA HQ now had a total heads-up as to what would be coming from Mexico City. A molehunt designed to see who was trying to penetrate CIA operations by impersonating Oswald was about to begin.

Goodpasture got things started by referring to a Mystery Man photo for a memo sent out to HQ on October 8.  The Soviet desk officer said that Goodpasture told her that the photo log portrayed a six-foot "Mystery Man" with an athletic build leaving the Soviet consulate on October 1. She figured that since he looked like an American, he might be Oswald. Goodpasture admitted finding the photo, but refused to take responsibility to admit that she thought the Mystery Man might be Oswald, saying that she didn't remember who suggested it.

It was not unusual for the station chief Win Scott to press the officers to match a report of a phone call with a corresponding photo. It's unusual, of course, for these two female Mexico City officers to disagree about such a fundamental issue involving Oswald. It was also unusual for Goodpasture to refer to the exact date and time of a photo in a log created on October 2, while pretending that it was taken on October 1.  

Goodpasture was supposedly relying on a photo log that separated the dates of October 1 & October 2 with a full line of red percentage marks. She claimed many years later that this was her mistake.  She was ordered to review the dates immediately after the assassination and didn't catch the mistake. In 1967, she was asked again and referred to "Log 145" when the actual photo and chronology for October 1 was in "Log 144". This is not the kind of mistake that an exceptional officer like Goodpasture would make, who routinely received the highest rating of "outstanding" in her fitness reports. The staff of the House Select Committee on Assassinations reviewed this evidence in the 1970s along with her explanation, and concluded that Goodpasture's story was highly implausible.   Staffer Ed Lopez concluded that Goodpasture belonged in jail.

Much evidence indicates that CIA knew that the Mystery Man was a Soviet intelligence operative named Yuri Moskalev.

There are strong indications that the Mystery Man was a Soviet intelligence operative named Yuri Moskalev, whose cover was that of a scientist in Mexico City whose papers "rarely, if ever, were specific, or presented new data." [xiii] A CIA source who used to work with Cuban intelligence identified him as "Yuri", a KGB officer who he met in Moscow in 1964 while attending an intelligence course. The CIA's file card for Moskalev identified him as "35, medium height". [xiv] The photo shows he had an "athletic build".   He fit the legend being told about Oswald.

Several identification experts from the Disguise and Identification Section reviewed photos and concluded that "Moskalev could very likely be identifiable with the unidentified man." [xv]  A photo of Moskalev in 1971 is available and can be viewed within this endnote. [xvi] Moskalev's dossier stated that the famed spy Oleg Penkovsky identified a 1961 photo as "Col. Yuriy Ivanovich Moskalevskiy, Air Force colonel and GRU officer". [xvii]  As late as 1978, the Chief of the CIA's Latin American Division protested that this finding was "entirely theoretical". [xviii]   Nonetheless, the man who handled Oswald's CI file in the 70s, Russ Holmes, came to the conclusion that the Mystery Man might be Moskalev.  Given the number of sources and the strength of the evidence, a strong argument can be made that the Mystery Man is Yuri Moskalev.

Headquarters went along with Goodpasture's ruse

Ann Egerter at CIA HQ, the analyst from counterintelligence chief Jim Angleton's "office spies on spies", was in on Goodpasture's ruse. Egerter came up with a response to the October 8 memo that Goodpasture helped put together. (See Part 3 -- Angleton was legend maker #1, and Egerter was legend maker #5) Egerter and Angleton were skilled in smoking out spies, also known as the art of the molehunt. Egerter's foray can be found in twin Oct 10 memos that were cleverly crafted.  

One memo went to the national headquarters of the FBI, State, and Navy, and contained a description of Oswald as "6 feet tall, athletic build, age 35". This description was wholly inaccurate, but it did match up with Goodpasture's "Mystery Man" photo described in the October 8 memo but not sent to HQ at that time. It claimed that this information was being shared "with your representatives in Mexico City". But that was not true.

The second memo went directly to the Mexico City station itself, with a different description of Oswald as "5 foot 10, 165 pounds" that matched the description of Robert Webster that had been used for molehunting purposes by the CIA and FBI during Oswald's days in the Soviet Union.    (See Part 5 of this series).   

Unlike the first memo, the second memo said that the last information on Oswald was when he was in the Soviet Union during May 1962, where he had "matured". And where the first memo provided the Mystery Man description to the headquarters of the FBI, State and Navy, the second memo instructed the station to share the Robert Webster-like description with the local Mexico City offices of these same agencies!   

A clever aspect of all this was that the memo to Mexico City said that their latest info on Oswald was from May 1962, but to hold this information back from the FBI and other agencies. Otherwise, the whole game would have been blown, as FBI HQ agents and others had provided post-May 1962 information about Oswald to the CIA.  

When the ruse didn't work, the result was that the CIA and FBI were now effectively the victims of blackmail

The hope was that one of these marked cards would pop up in the wrong hands in the midst of this clash between the agencies' headquarters and the local agencies' offices.   But it didn't happen.

Instead, Lee Oswald was accused of killing President Kennedy on November 22, 1963.  
Goodpasture's immediate response on November 23 was to tell CIA HQ that the September 28 tape was destroyed before the October 1 tape was obtained. [xix] But that doesn't make any sense, as the rule was to hold tapes for at least two weeks. For tapes that emanated from the Cuban consulate, the rule was to hold on to them for 30 days.     By the 24th, the word from the Mexico City station was that all the tapes involving Oswald's voice had been destroyed.  

In fact, Goodpasture's boss Win Scott played the tapes for the Warren Commission investigators several months later in a successful effort to convince them to get the Commission to shut up about them.   The Warren Commission investigators had no idea that Oswald might have been impersonated, so they put no special value to his voice. [xx]

Meanwhile, the Mexico City station was sitting there with all the above-mentioned memos, tapes, and transcripts about Lee Oswald over the past two months of his life. If they had released these documents to the public, it would have probably meant the end of their agencies and the careers of the officers involved. The solution was for the CIA to provide paraphrased versions of the documents to the Warren Commission.  

Goodpasture does not appear to be in on any plan to kill Kennedy. She does appear to be in on a molehunt to find out who made the Oswald calls, which created a paper trail that had to be covered up and hidden from the Warren Commission after November 22. In other words, it appears that she was involved in a compartmentalized operation and took action like any officer would to protect the operation.

Who made those phone calls? I will address my thinking on that in my book on Mexico City, coming out in late September. I will say this much. If whoever made those calls genuinely had a hard time speaking either Russian or English, their native tongue was probably Spanish. Oswald was not a Spanish-speaker.

[i]      Bright was with the counter-espionage unit that reviewed Oswald when his file was used in a molehunt during May 1960:   Routing and Record Sheet, opened 5/31/60.   Oswald 201 File, Vol 1, Folder .

[ii]       She would process the take between 8-9 am, and have any items of unusual significance on Scott's desk by nine:    Memo by Paul Levister, October 1963, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 23: LIENVOY, LIFEAT, LIONION) / NARA Record Number: 104-10188-10447.

[iii] Transcripts on the Cuban and Soviet wiretaps arrived every day: Request for Renewal of LIENVOY Project, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 23: LIENVOY, LIFEAT, LIONION) / NARA Record Number: 104-10188-10049.

[iv] She would also disseminate the take from the three cameras trained on the Soviet embassy compound: The LIFEAT tap and Soviet photographic take was obtained by Goodpasture,
A memo in September 1964 says that Goodpasture would continue to analyze the finished take from the photo surveillance sites: 
[v] Oswald made one final pitch to the Soviets at about 10 am on Saturday the 28th, which also ended in failure:   Read the first-hand account in Oleg Nechiporenko's Passport to Assassination. 
[vi]  A few days later, CIA covert action chief Richard Helms went so far as to write that "we do not want any Americans to confront Silvia Duran or be in contact with her" :   Memo from Richard Helms ("Knight") to Win Scott ("Curtis") 11/27/63. HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 7: Duque - Golitsyn) / NARA Record Number: 104-10169-10451.
[vii]    Goodpasture knew that LIENVOY was insecure:    Comments on Book V, SSC Final Report, Goodpasture memo, created in 1977, p. 3.    HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 36 / NARA Record Number: 104-10103-10360.
[viii]   A CIA memo -- almost certainly prepared by Goodpasture -- describes the section of DFS working with the CIA in Mexico City as a "hip-pocket group run out of the Mexican Ministry of Government. This Ministry (Gobernacion) was principally occupied with political investigations and the control of foreigners.  Its employees were cruel and corrupt": Id., 
[ix]    After Scott saw the photos of Oswald on TV the night of the assassination, he wrote HQ saying that he suggested to Gustavo Ortiz (LITEMPO-2) that Duran be arrested and held incommunicado until she gives all details on Oswald":   Memo from Win Scott to HQ, 11/23/63, Russ Holmes Work File / NARA Record Number: 104-1042210090.

Gustavo Ortiz is LITEMPO-2:   See "LITEMPO:   The CIA's Eyes on Tlatelolco", Jefferson Morley, National Security Archive.
Ortiz became president of Mexico from 64-70 and was a candidate at the time of the assassination. As can be seen from the discussion above, Ortiz was securely within the CIA's orbit.

Tippit's Widow Today

January 27, 2004

By MICHAEL GRANBERRY / The Dallas Morning News;wap2

For the widow of Dallas police Officer J.D. Tippit, the hardest weeks came just after the murder. Curtis, her youngest, would sit by the window night after night, wondering when Daddy was coming home.

It was small consolation to a 5-year-old boy that his father was killed doing a job he loved. Or that his death at the hands of Lee Harvey Oswald led to the capture of President John F. Kennedy's apparent assassin.

"We lived at the end of the street," says the widow, Marie Flinner, giving her first extensive interview about the twin tragedies of Nov. 22, 1963. "Curtis would sit by the window for hours and watch for his daddy. And that was really difficult."

The Warren Commission concluded that Oswald killed the president in Dealey Plaza and then, 45 minutes later, gunned down Officer Tippit at the corner of Tenth Street and Patton Avenue in Oak Cliff. It's an intersection she visits often, most recently about a month ago.

"It's such a sadness," she says. "A sadness to know that I wasn't there, and even if I had been, I couldn't have done anything for him anyway. It severed his main artery. Nobody ... could have done anything."

For Mrs. Flinner, now 75, the anguish of that moment has lingered 40 years. She says no amount of time can take away the pain she feels for a man she loved. And for anyone who thinks she's "over it," well, she says, they never really knew J.D. Tippit.

The goodness of others helped temper the grief, but conspiracy theories – the most outlandish of which suggest her husband was part of an assassination plot – have left her isolated, frustrated and angry.

She continues to feel touched by the 40,000 letters she received, including more than $600,000 in donations from around the globe. She even got a letter and an autographed picture from Jacqueline Kennedy, expressing sorrow for the bond they shared. The president's brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, called her and all but apologized for the trip to Texas.

She says he told her that if his brother had not come to Dallas, Officer Tippit would still be alive. "I said, 'But, you know, they were both doing their jobs. They got killed doing their jobs.' He was being the president, and J.D. was being the policeman he was supposed to be."

Key evidence

In being the policeman he was meant to be, Officer Tippit may have provided the strongest piece of evidence linking Oswald to the president's murder.

Witnesses described seeing the patrolman stop to question Oswald just before 1:15 p.m. They say he then fired four shots at the officer, the last striking him in the temple.

"Once the hypothesis is admitted that Oswald killed Patrolman J.D. Tippit," wrote David W. Belin, assistant counsel to the Warren Commission, "there can be no doubt that the overall evidence shows that Lee Harvey Oswald was the assassin of John F. Kennedy."

Assassination cynics call that "the official story." It's also the only story Marie Flinner believes.

"The conspiracy stuff was so untrue, so totally unfounded," she says. "That was really difficult for me. Everyone that knew J.D. knew better. That part really made me angry."

Her husband, she says, was a good man, a good father and a good police officer for whom certificates of merit were commonplace. He was also no stranger to putting his life on the line.

"If you're an average person, a good person, well, I guess that isn't newsworthy," she says. "There's got to be something wrong with somebody. They got to make something bad or wrong out of everything. And that really makes me angry. But we in the family know it's all total lies."

In recalling her late husband, Mrs. Flinner remembers a man so different from the sad-eyed, high-cheekboned officer whose public photographs seem so stark. "I have a picture of him laughing, and that's the way I remember him," she says. "When he came home, he was always playing with the kids and had everyone laughing."

And she smiles at the memory of a family laughing and playing together, before the word "Oswald" entered their lives.

'Madly in love'

Marie Gasway grew up in Red River County, near Clarksville. She and J.D. Tippit lived in the same rural area. When he returned home after serving in the 82nd Airborne Division as a paratrooper during World War II, Miss Gasway decided it was time to act. So she asked him to church.

"What did I not like about him!" she says with a girlish laugh. "He was considerate, always happy and smiling. He was always doing something for someone else. I just fell madly in love. So we got married and moved to Dallas."

The date was Dec. 26, 1946. She was 18; he was 22. For a while, they lived with Mr. Tippit's sister and her husband, "before we were able to find a place of our own," says Mrs. Flinner. "It was a very bonding time. J.D. had a loving, close-knit family."

He had two sisters and four brothers, with whom Mrs. Flinner remains close. "I'm still a member of the family and always will be," she says. "It's just wonderful to have married into that family." Officer Tippit's father is still alive, living in a nursing home, where he turned 101 in January.

The newly married J.D. Tippit worked for Sears, then Dearborn Stove Co. He even tried farming near Clarksville. A cotton crop gone bad and a cow drowning in a stock tank soured him to the point that he returned to Dallas to apply for a Police Department job.

"J.D. was always helping somebody else," she says. "His whole family is like that."

As an example of the way her husband was respected for his goodness, she remembers a black woman who came to the door of the church in the hours before his funeral. Because it was the Jim Crow era of 1963, police officers came to the widow's door to get permission for the woman to view the body.

"And I said, 'By all means, let her in.' I said, 'He has done something good for her and her family. She just wants to show her respects,' " says Mrs. Flinner.

Mr. Tippit joined the force in 1952, shrugging at the danger it promised.

"I tried to talk him out of it and did – once," she says. "That lasted about a month. But obviously, that's what he wanted to do. So I said, 'If that's what you want to do, I'm behind you 100 percent. I just want you to do what you're happy with.' "

Long before meeting Oswald, Officer Tippit stared death in the face. Once, a suspect's gun failed to fire. Another time, he was stabbed in the knee with a knife. His wife loved the therapy recommended by the doctor – dancing. So the couple made regular visits to a Dallas dance club, where they lovingly embraced while dancing to Bob Wills' "Faded Love."

They had three children – Charles Allan, born in 1950; Brenda, born in 1953; and Curtis, born in 1958.

Behind the couple's house was a creek where Officer Tippit and Allan played for hours, once stretching a cable from one tree to another, allowing them to swing over the water.

"He built a tree house with the kids and played football with them. He was so close to those kids, and Brenda became Daddy's little girl. I breast-fed her but couldn't put her to sleep. So I'd give her to him, and he'd put her to sleep," she says, chuckling at the memory. "He loved those kids so much."

Tragic day

On the morning of Nov. 22, 1963, Mrs. Tippit made breakfast for her husband, who routinely left the house no later than 6:15 a.m. She, too, had a hectic schedule. To make extra money, she was baby-sitting a boy during the day and other children during the evening.

Later that morning, she received a call from the nurse at Allan's school, telling her he was vomiting and needed to come home. So he was there when his dad came home for lunch one last time.

"I made J.D. a sandwich, and he had some fried potatoes with it," she says. Officer Tippit left to return to duty, while his wife and oldest son turned on the television in hopes of hearing details about the visit of the president, for whom both the Tippits had voted.

What they heard instead was the news of his death.

"When I heard about the president, it just blows your mind," she says. "You think, 'This cannot be happening.' "

Within an hour, the news got worse. Officer Tippit's sister, Christine Christopher, called to ask, "Have you heard from J.D.? Do you know if he's all right?"

"Why?" his wife asked, her startled tone followed by Ms. Christopher's admission that she had heard a news report about an Officer Tippit being shot in Oak Cliff, possibly by the same man who murdered the president.

"So I called the station," says Mrs. Flinner. "There was so much confusion going on. But they told me he was dead. I just freaked out. I couldn't believe this was happening. 'Here the president and now my husband! You've got to be wrong!' It was total devastation."

The night of the shooting, Mrs. Tippit's world was "complete chaos."

"The doctor came over and gave me a shot, but I never went to sleep," she says. "The days and weeks and months that followed were just terrible. You keep on going because you have to. You say your prayers and you feed your children and you read your Bible and you live one day at a time, so it gets to the point where you can live a single day without crying. ... I don't see anything wrong with people crying."

As recently as this week, Mrs. Flinner and her children, who have given her 11 grandchildren, found themselves discussing, once again, what may have prompted Officer Tippit to stop Oswald.

After a description of the suspect in the president's murder had been released on police radio, Officer Tippit was assigned to patrol central Oak Cliff. Most officers had been dispatched to the downtown area.

Arousing suspicion

Investigators say Oswald was wearing a zipped-up jacket, which concealed a handgun, and had to be sweating. It was 68 degrees.

"That's just the kind of thing that would have gotten J.D.'s attention," says Mrs. Flinner.

Within 3 minutes of the president's shooting, Oswald had left the Texas School Book Depository, where he was employed. About 18 minutes before Officer Tippit's slaying, Oswald returned to his Oak Cliff rooming house at 1026 North Beckley, where landlady Earlene Roberts said he walked in hurriedly and left about three minutes later without speaking.

A witness to the Tippit slaying, Helen Markham, "saw exactly what happened," says Mrs. Flinner. Ms. Markham and other witnesses later identified Oswald in a lineup.

"Ms. Markham told me that J.D. stopped him, and Oswald walked over and put his hands on the side of the car," says Mrs. Flinner. "He looked in the window and spoke with J.D., who got out of the car. When J.D. was even with the front wheel of his car is, she said, when Oswald shot him."

Dale K. Myers, author of With Malice: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Murder of Officer J.D. Tippit, has interviewed several witnesses to the shooting. Some saw Oswald walking east, others saw him walking west. Mr. Myers speculates that Oswald turned abruptly when he saw the patrol car, which would have attracted the officer's attention.

He also dismisses any suggestion that Officer Tippit was part of a conspiracy.

"It's totally ludicrous," he says. "I talked to a great many friends and family members, all of whom say it was totally foreign to J.D.'s personality to be involved in anything like that. In other words, his character would not have permitted such a thing. And B, he had no time to get involved in anything like that. In addition to being the married father of three children, he was working three jobs at the time he was killed."

And because he was, Mrs. Tippit's problem was both how to cope and how to function. Paying the bills became an immediate concern.

Soon, however, the money poured in. The largest single donation came from Abraham Zapruder, who contributed the initial payment of $25,000 he received from Life magazine for his 8mm movie of the assassination. A $330,000 police trust fund helped pay the college expenses of Officer Tippit's children.

But nothing could take away the hurt from Mrs. Tippit.

"I couldn't figure out how in the world I was going to manage to keep going. He was the other part of me," she says. "There was just no way. My mother, my daddy, kept saying, 'You've got the children. You've got us. We're all here to support you.' "

Without family support and faith – Mrs. Flinner is a lifelong Baptist, as was Officer Tippit – she would have been lost in a sea of grief, she says.

She says police told her that her husband was a hero, that Oswald might have escaped had he not had the instinct to stop him. "Because Oswald killed J.D., he was captured," she says. Thirty-six minutes after her husband's murder, Oswald was arrested in the Texas Theatre, where he came close to killing another officer.

Mrs. Flinner says she never felt bitterness for Oswald, just overwhelming sadness at having "to live every day without my husband. I had so many people tell me he was a very cautious officer. And yet he stopped Oswald. ... I'm sure there was some real suspicion on his part or he never would have stopped him."

She also feels no bitterness for Oswald's widow, Marina Porter, who, like Mrs. Flinner, has remained in the Dallas area. "I never met her," says Mrs. Flinner. "But you know, my heart kind of goes out to her. She's had a lot to live with all these years. And her kids, too. I'm sure they've had a rough time."

Mrs. Flinner says she never considered leaving the city, believing "you don't run away from heartache or sadness or problems. They always go with you." She still lives in Oak Cliff.

Tippit's children

Now 44, Curtis Tippit says he remembers "a little bit" of waiting by the window for his father but can't remember the details like his mother can. He does remember what a wonderful mom she was.

Curtis says the hardest part "was not being able to talk to a real father or ask advice or figure things out. I was so young, I don't have all the memories to be attached to, so it's the feeling of loss in that regard, not being able to have that kind of relationship with a father that everyone should have."

Today, he's the father of eight children. Like his mother, he despises "the false things written."

"People want sensationalism. Mom's been abused," he says, by conspiracy theories and tabloid publications, and as a result "wouldn't talk to anybody about it for years."

Too many people, he says, want to cling to a false history, "believing my father was in on something with Jack Ruby and went to meet him and all this stuff. Really, it's all kind of silly and funny. If anybody knew the facts, they'd see how false these theories are. Anybody in a conspiracy would not take care of the kids the night before and be in bed by 9:30. But a whole lot of people thrive on it."

Curtis sitting by the window was, Mrs. Flinner says, the worst of many awful moments. She would hold him and tell him his daddy loved him and that she missed him as much as he did. Brenda, now 50, suffered devastating stomachaches and "for the longest time, just couldn't handle it," her mother says.

The death may have hurt his oldest son more than anyone. "Allan had a terrible time coping," she says. "It affected him for years. He couldn't talk about it for a very long time."

He "was arrested and got involved with drugs, but he's gotten himself straightened out," says Mrs. Flinner, who believes her husband's death "was the major contributor. Allan was so torn up over that."After four years, the officer's widow decided it was time to re-marry. "My preacher and my doctor and all my friends were saying, 'You ought to get married again. Your kids need a daddy and a man in your life.' "

She said yes to Dallas Police Lt. Harry Thomas, her husband from 1967 to 1982, when he died of cancer. "I'm sure I was never the wife I could have been," she says sadly. "Because I just wasn't ready to get married again. Harry was a wonderful fellow. He was good to me, and he did the best he could as a stepfather." She eventually married a third time, to current husband Carl Flinner.

Normal life

All along, she says, she kept trying to return her children to some semblance of normalcy. Hoping to shield them from the public eye is the reason she gives for having spurned numerous book offers and hundreds of interview requests, until this week.

"I just wanted my children to have a chance to grow up as normal, average kids," she says. "And not to be judged by every little thing that came up."

She compares her approach to that of Jackie Kennedy, who she says "did her best to try that tactic with her kids – to protect them. It's important for kids to grow up and be themselves without being judged by events that happen. And being in the public eye was certainly not going to help them be normal kids."

More than anything, she says, she misses her first husband. And what does she miss the most? "Just him not being here!" she says, with a tear in her eye. "If he was just here, if he could just be here! I've never stopped wanting that."

And the lesson learned from her fallen hero? "To be loved," she says. "I was privileged to have been married to J.D. for 17 years. He was a good husband and a good father. And I knew I was loved. You know, that is the most important thing in your life. To be loved. And to be able to express that love to others. And that's what J.D. was for me."


Christoph Messner:
Witness Frank Wright, who lived in a ground floor apartment on 10th Street, about half a block east of the murder site:

        “I was sitting watching television with my wife. I was sitting in a chair next to the door. I wasn’t but two steps from the door. I heard shots. I knew it wasn’t backfire. I knew it was shots. As soon as I heard them, I went out the door. I could see a police car in the next block. It was toward the end of the next block. I could see it clearly. The police car was headed toward me. It was parked on the south side of the street. In other words, it was parked across the street from our apartment house. I saw a person right by the car. He had fallen down. It seems as if he had just fallen down. He was on the ground, and then he turned over face down. Part of him was under the left front fender of the car. It seems to me that I saw him just as he hit the ground. I saw him turn over and he didn’t move any more.
        “I looked around to see what had happened. I knew there had been a shooting. I saw a man standing right in front of the car. He was looking toward the man on the ground. He stood there for a while and looked at the man. The man who was standing in front of him was about medium height. He had on a long coat. It ended just above his hands. I didn’t see any gun. He ran around on the passenger side of the police car. He ran as fast as he could go and he got into his car. His car was a grey, little old coupe. It was about a 1950–1951, maybe a Plymouth. It was a grey car, parked on the same side of the street as the police car but beyond it from me. It was heading away from me. He got in that car and he drove away as quick as you could see. He drove down 10th Street, away from me. I don’t know how far he drove. After he got into the middle of the next block between Patton and Crawford, I didn’t look at him any more.
        “I looked at the car where the man was. I looked to see what had happened there. About the same time as I came out, or maybe a little while after, a woman came down from her porch. She was at the house about three or four doors from the intersection of 10th and Patton. The house was on the same side of the street as the police car. Just as the man in the car pulled away she came toward the police car and then she stepped back. I heard her shout, ‘Oh, he’s been shot!’ throwing up her hands. Then she went back toward the house. There was no one out there except me and that woman when I got there, except for the man I described earlier. I couldn’t figure out who did the shooting. I didn’t see a gun on the man who was standing in front of the car. There wasn’t anyone else but the man who drove away and the woman who came down from her porch. I was the first person out. I knew there wasn’t anyone else there at all. It wasn’t any time at all until the ambulance got there. By the time the ambulance got there, there were maybe 25 more people outside. Then after a while, the police came up. I tried to tell two or three people what I saw. They didn’t pay any attention. I’ve seen what came out on television and in the papers but I know that’s not what happened. I know a man drove off in a grey car. Nothing in the world’s going to change my opinion. I saw that man drive off in a grey coupe just as clear as I was born. I know what I saw The can say all they want about a fellow running away, but I can’t accept this because I saw a fellow get in a car and drive away."
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Only two Commission witnesses were identified as actually having seen the shooting, Helen Markham and Domingo Benavides. Joseph Ball, senior counsel to the Commission, has referred to Markham's testimony as "full of mistakes," and characterized her as "utterly unreliable."[29] Markham made numerous false statements before the Commission, such as claiming to have been alone with Tippit's body for twenty minutes after the killing.[30]
Benavides was not taken to a police lineup. He later testified that he had told police after the killing that he did not think he could identify the assailant,[31] but he did say that the killer resembled pictures he had seen of Oswald.
Additionally, certain witnesses who did not appear before the Commission identified an assailant who was not Oswald. Both Acquilla Clemons and Frank Wright witnessed the scene from their respective homes within one block of the murder. Clemons saw two men near Tippit’s car just before the shooting. After the shooting she ran outside and saw a man with a gun, whom she described as "kind of heavy". He waved to the second man, urging him to "go on".[32] Frank Wright also emerged from his home and observed the scene seconds after the shooting. He described a man standing by Tippit’s body who had on a long coat, and who immediately ran to a car and left the scene.[33]
There is also evidence to indicate that the cartridge shells recovered from the scene may not have been those subsequently entered into evidence. Two of the shells recovered at the scene were given to police officer J.M. Poe. Poe testified to the Commission that he believed that he had marked the shells with his initials, although he couldn’t "swear to it".[34] However, no initials were found on the shells later produced by the police.[35] Poe later told researchers that he was absolutely certain that he had marked the shells.[36] Further the appearance of cartridge shells at the crime scene raises question for some because, according to Officer Hill, who took possession of Oswald's revolver at his arrest, the gun's six chambers were fully loaded with unspent cartridges and that Oswald had no loose ammunition on his person.[37]
Jim Garrison stated in his book 'On the trail of the Assassins' that 3 of the bullets came from a side ejector pistol (due to the markings left on the casings) proven markings as per any side ejector pistol; and one came from a revolver (no ejector markings).
About Tippit's connection to the Chicago mafia policeman and most possible TSBD shooter Richard Cain I still have to study. So far I know that it is quite unlikely that these two men were unaquainted with one another. Tippit had been working security for Club 80, which was owned by Ruby maybe. In any case, if it wasn't ruby, it seems if Tippit worked one club, he'd certainly work another. Tippit did have some Chicago history. Let me find out which. 

Christoph Messner:
Pretty interesting this thread "Was J.D. Tippit part of the conspiracy?" on educationforum:
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I think post #7 from Dixie Dea is most interesting:

"According to the Dallas Underground, by several reserchers.......

Tippit was most likely involved in the conspiracy and knew both Ruby and Oswald. Tippit was what is referred to, as a redneck and also a corrupt cop. Although Tippit was also a womanizer, I will leave out the possible repercussions to Tippit in this regards.

An undercover narcotics officer working for Sheriff Bill Decker, was also working as a musician in various night clubs, including Jack Ruby's. He claims that Tippit was one of the Dallas Police Officers closest to Ruby and who performed tasks for him.

Mack Pate, owner of a garage, who knew a large number of the Dallas police heard from several of them who took their cars to him, that Tippit was a "dirty cop." A friend of Tippit's own mother also confirms this.

Mack Pate's mechanic, T. F. White, who was interviewed by the FBI, spotted a car parked at the El Chico restaurant, across from their garage, just after the shooting at Dealey Plaza. White insisted the man sitting in the car was Oswald.

Mack Pate and Wes Wise checked around Oak Cliff for some time and found quite a number of people who had seen Ruby and Oswald together on many occasions during the weeks preceding the assassination. (Wes Wise later became Mayor of Dallas.)

Earl Crater of the Pig and Whistle restaurant said that LHO, Ruby and Tippit had breakfast there on a number of occasions at 7:00 A.M. Crater said that LHO never had more then a cup of coffee.

It is believed that Tippit went home for lunch on the 22nd. Then, about 12:45, 15 minutes after JFK was shot, Tippit was parked at the south end of the Houston Street Viaduct, in North Oak Cliff, facing the cars coming off the viaduct....presumably watching for someone.

Several employees of the Good Luck Gas Station saw Tippit sitting there for several minutes. Then he was observed driving away from the gas station at a high rate of speed, at about 12:50 and headed south. Tippits radio call at 12:54 places him at E. 8th and Lancaster, a few blocks south of the service station

At no time that afternoon was Tippit in his assigned district and he was always in North Oak Cliff. That district was assigned to Officer William D. Mentzel.

Tippit made a call from Top Ten Records on Jefferson, a few blocks west of 12th and Marsalis, around 1:00 P.M. When he came out, he was agitated and drove off fast. Tippits movements and actions appeared to be as though frantically looking for someone.

Tippit then, cut off a car driven by an Insurance salesman, James Andrews, who was headed west on 10th Street about eight blocks west of where Tippit would be killed. Tippit, also driving west behind the salesman's car passed him, pulled to the right in front of him, blocking him in. Tippit then rushed to the drivers side of the car and looked at the floor between the seats. Tippit apparently did not see what he was looking for, jumped back in his patrol car and drove away quickly, reversing his direction and heading back east.

The salesman who experienced this incident, James Andrews, worked for American National LIfe Insurance, which had not long before also employed Roscoe White, until he began at the Police Dept. Roscoe White and Tippit knew each other.lived near each other and their families were connected. Mrs Tippit had been a bridesmaid at Whites wedding to Geneva.

According to DPD personnel records, starting in 1956, Tippit worked security at the Stevens Park Theater, which showed both English and Spanish speaking films. The owner, Manuel Avila, was allegedly involved in prostitution, in the hispanic community and ran a well-known Latin Club. Avila had ties to anti-Castro Cubans. Before coming to Dallas, Avila had been a CBS correspondent in Mexico and was the Dallas Spanish Language Voice of America correspendent.

Dallas researcher, Prof. Bill Pulte says:

"There can be little doubt that Avila knew Ruby, given the proximity of Avila's theater to downtown Dallas, where Ruby's clubs were located plus given the mutual interest in prostitution of Avila and Ruby. Tippit worked for Avila for several years. Ralph Paul owned the Miramar Restaurant, catty-corner to Avila's theater and Tippit got to know Paul.

A good friend of Paul's was Austin Cook owner of Auston's Barbeque. This may have been how Tippit took a second part-time moonlighting job, at Austins. In addition, Ralph Paul was Ruby's backer and silent partner. The Warren Commission also raised quesations about the possibility that Tippit was involved with drugs."

Little has been mentoned or known about Tippit working for Avila. The focus has been on his moonlighting as security at Austin's Barbeque.

Tippit had a close friend, Officer Billy Anglin, and both had adjoining patrol areas which included Harendale--the sreet in East Oak Cliff where a house full of violent Cuban conspirators involved in the anti-Castro movement (SNFE/Alpha 66) and arms smuggling was located.

Anglin last saw Tippit on the morning he was killed, having had coffee at "The Old Drive-In" about 11:30-11:45. The Warren Commission never called any relative, associate or police officer who worked with Tippit to testify. Even the HSCA wondered why not!

What was Tippit doing in the section of North Oak Cliff where Ruby and Oswald both lived--not his assigned district--when most other police were concerned with the assassination and in Dealey Plaza? Oak Cliff was Tippits district, although three miles away and primarily the downtown police officers were called to Dealey Plaza.

Dispatcher, Jim Bowles (later Sheriff) said that Tippit was in his assigned district. Although he didn't seem to be, he was apparently several miles from where he was supposed to be. He was ordered to move into "Central Oak Cliff" at 12:45 p.m.This order was not in the first transcript produce by the DPD and then suddenly appeared in a later transcript. This has caused many reserchers to speculate this order was later dubbed into the tape by the police friends of Tippit.

There was no reason for Tippit to be moved to that area, which was far from his assigned area. Yet it is believed he strayed over to that area many times. Many witnesses say they saw Tippit in that area quite often, and in fact some thought he even lived in that area....particularly around the area where he was killed.

It is quite possible that the Cubans were directed to rent a house in Tippit's or Anglin's district to provide them with protection and a blind eye to the arms going in and out. If perhaps as some believe, Oswald was an undercover agent reporting on illegal arms to law enforcement agents or perhaps to the Dodd Committee, then Oswald would be targeted by the Cubans, if perhaps they were on to him. There is some belief that Oswald had been to the house at 3126 Harlendale too.

A group of Mexican-Americans were involved with the Cubans and acted as translators, some provided by Manuel Avila, who most probbaly knew Jack Ruby, also involved in ilegal arms sales. Avila was a honcho in the Mexican-Americamn community, and he employed J D Tippit, in a part-time security job.

Working for Avila gave Tippit knowledge of the Latin underworld and the fringe of the Cuban undergound. The Mexican-American group moved into the 3200 block of Harlendale about the same time that the Cubans moved into 3126 Harlendale.
Compiled from information in Harrison Livingstone's, The Radical Right and the Murder of John F. Kennedy....(2004)"

And post #12:

"A woman by the name of Mrs. Doris Holan, lived at 409 E Tenth Street, She lived upstairs directly across the street and her windows looked directly on Tippit's Patrol car and the murder scene.

Mrs Holan has been an unreported witness all these years. Yet she was dying of terminal cancer and talked to Dallas Researcher Michael Brownlow prior to her death in 2000. She met with Brownlow twice and once accompanied with reseracher Prof. BIll Pulte.

Mrs Holan had just returned home from her job that morning, a few minutes after 1:00, then she heard gun shots. She hurried to her window and saw Tippit's patrol car, across the street and parked in front of the driveway between 404 and 410 E. Tenth Sreet. Tippit was lying on the street, near the left front of the car. She saw a man leaving the scene, moving westward towards Patton.

Mrs Holan also noticed something else that had not previously, ever been reported. A second police car in the driveway, which went all the way back to the alley, moving forward slowly towards Tippit's car on Tenth. Near the police car she also saw a man in the driveway walking toward the street where Tippit was parked.

She went downstairs at once and over to Tippit. The man in the driveway continued to the street, walked in front of Tippit's patrol car, paused and looked down at Tippit's head, and retraced his path up the driveway. At the same time, the police car changed direction and backed up in the driveway to the alley running parallel to Tenth, behind the houses on 404 and 410.

In 1963, the driveway could be entered from the alley from the rear, as well as from Tenth. Because Tippit's car was parked in front of the Tenth Street entrance, the alley provided the only passage from the driveway for the driver of the police car.

Mrs. Holan's account of a second police car is supported by the comments of Sam Guinyard, who told Brownlow in 1970 that he saw a police car in the alley shortly after the police shooting. The man in the driveway was apparently also seen by others: a resident of the neighborhood, who wishes to remain anonymous, told Prof Pulte, in 1990, that he had heard about a man in the driveway who approached Tippit's car.

Another thought...Earlene Roberts saw a police car stop and honk in front of the boarding house on 1026 N Beckley, where LHO lived.... at around 1:03. Tippit was shot at around 1:10 to 1:15 at the latest. This could possibly have been the police car she saw."

Bill Brown:
Christoph said:  "According to the Dallas Underground, by several researchers......."

Key words there, "according to the Dallas Underground".   This is simply more hearsay, and nothing more.
Christoph Messner:
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Christoph said:  "According to the Dallas Underground, by several researchers......."
Where or when did I say that?
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Key words there, "according to the Dallas Underground".   This is simply more hearsay, and nothing more.

How do you know, that it is nothing more?

Mrs. Kilgallen's reporting brought her into contact with Mark Lane who had himself received an amazing story from the journalist Thayer Waldo. He had discovered that Jack Ruby, J. D. Tippet and Bernard Weismann had a meeting at the Carousel Club eight days before the assassination. Waldo, who worked for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, was too scared to publish the story. He had other information about the assassination. However, he believed that if he told Lane or Kilgallen he would be killed. Kilgallen's article on the Tippit, Ruby and Weissman meeting appeared on the front page of the Journal American. Later she was to reveal that the Warren Commission were also tipped off about this gathering. However, their informant added that there was a fourth man at the meeting, an important figure in the Texas oil industry. 

Mark Lane testified before that Warren Commission that Thayer Waldo, a journalist on the staff of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, had told him that Weissman was involved in a two-hour meeting with Jack Ruby and J. D. Tippit at the Carousel Club on 14th November, 1963. According to Joachim Joesten (How Kennedy Was Killed), "a rich oil man" was also at this meeting. Weissman denied he had ever been to the Carousel Club and had never met Ruby or Tippit.

George Senator told reporters that Jack Ruby had tried to contact Weissman after the assassination. According to Seth Kantor (Who Was Jack Ruby): "He (Ruby) couldn't get to Bernard Weissman. There was no such person in the Dallas phone book." 

FOIA Machine Kickstarted

Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), ordinary U.S. citizens have the right to request information from the federal government. The law is often used by journalists to report important stories, and is used (at least in theory) to help keep the government operating in a lawful, transparent manner.

Sounds great, right? The problem is that each state has its own FOIA laws and regulations, making requesting state records complicated. Even the federal law is riddled with exemptions and bureaucratic red tape. So even though you or I have the right to request information from our government, in reality, only seasoned pros familiar with the law are able to take advantage of it. Even worse, they may not always be able to get the information they want — or they may be charged hefty fees for information that’s supposed to be free.

The Center for Investigative Reporting has decided enough is enough. They’ve teamed up with developers and America’s top investigative reporters to create a new online tool that takes the pain out of the FOIA request process.  Called FOIA Machine, the site automates the request process and helps novices navigate the different laws, regulations and loopholes that might normally keep their request from being granted. It even tracks important deadlines and contact information for you.

At the moment, the system is being tested out by 15 reporters, with another 800 signed up to try it as soon as it goes live. By the end of the year, the tool is expected to be open to the public, so that anyonecan request whatever information they need quickly and easily.

This could make it easier for citizen journalists, bloggers, activists and people who simply have questions about what their government is doing to get the answers they need. In fact, the CIR is encouraging average citizens to use this information to break important stories even if they’re not journalists.

In an age where it seems unflattering (and sometimes frightening) information about government surveillance is coming out every day, it’s important to be able to use every tool available to keep the government in line. In time, the application will be expanded to help people in nations outside the U.S. request information from their governments as well.

Of course, not everyone thinks that greater access to government records is a good thing. Some are warning that government agencies are going to need to prepare for a wave of requests once the project goes public.

Right now, FOIA Machine is fundraising for the full version of their site on Kickstarter.

They reached their initial goal within just a few days of posting the project, but they’re still accepting donations to help implement extra features.

Mel on Max - "JFK Assassination Tapes"

Mr. Ayton is the author of The JFK Assassination: Dispelling The Myths (2002) and Questions of Controversy: The Kennedy Brothers (2001)

MEL AYTON WRITES in defense of Max Holland:

Max Holland first established his credentials as a JFK assassination expert through his painstaking research into how conspiracy theorists had misled the public about the role the CIA and other intelligence agencies played in the assassination. He was also one of the first researchers to provide evidence which established that a Soviet disinformation campaign had been responsible in creating many myths about alleged US Government involvement in the death of JFK.

Holland’s research concerning Soviet efforts in the dissemination of false information about CIA involvement in the assassination is bolstered by Christopher Andrew’s ‘The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB’ which establishes the nature of KGB disinformation techniques in the USA during the 1960s and 1970s.

Holland’s research into New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison’s bogus investigation of the assassination has never been seriously challenged. Together with Patricia Lambert’s thorough examination of Garrison’s investigation (‘False Witness’) Holland’s work has done much to demolish long-standing myths associated with the alleged New Orleans-based conspiracy to kill JFK. Through his excellent articles (The Nation, Wilson Quarterly, The Atlantic and American Heritage) detailing how conspiracy theorists had skewered the truth about the assassination Holland has provided the American public with an understanding of how and why conspiracy ideas captured the imagination of the American public for the past four decades. His research into the work of the Warren Commission also established how conspiracy theorists had wrongly concluded that Commission members deliberately sought to cover up the truth about the assassination. His forthcoming book about the Warren Commission is eagerly awaited.

It was therefore surprising to read a review of Max Holland’s new book “The Kennedy Assassination Tapes” that did not recognise the author’s previous contributions to the subject. I am always suspicious of anonymous reviews by newspapers and weeklies which cover subjects as complex as the JFK assassination. What credentials and authority do the reviewers possess and how much time have they spent researching the subject? With this in mind I read Publishers Weekly review of Max Holland’s book.

It should be clear to many JFK assassination researchers that Publishers Weekly has not understood the importance of Holland’s work and how it has advanced the knowledge and understanding of LBJ’s role in the events of November 22 nd 1963. The magazine’s writer maintains that “…much of Holland’s book is redundant with Michael Beschloss’s recent and better executed ‘Taking Charge’ ….the bulk of the tapes in question…have for the most part, already been thoroughly digested, parsed and summarised…” However, Publishers Weekly has misrepresented Holland’s contribution. The writer is obviously unaware of the author’s unique expertise in matching the contents of the tapes with his own erudition in the field of JFK assassination studies, an erudition that does not extend to most writers who previously used the LBJ presidential recordings. What differentiates Holland from previous writers is the way he combines his extensive knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the assassination and the subsequent government enquiries with his own work transcribing and interpretating the presidential recordings.

Although the books written by historians Michael Beschloss and Jeff Shesol have been rightly acclaimed they are, in part, flawed. Both writers have taken crucial assassination-related conversations out of context in their books ‘Taking Charge’ and ‘Mutual Contempt’. Holland’s superior knowledge and intimate familiarity with the presidential recordings has allowed him to correct the record. This can be no better exemplified than in the way Holland provides the correct context to many of the statements LBJ made about the assassination, the Warren Commission investigation and the endless speculation that went on between 1963/69 about the possibility of a conspiracy to murder President Kennedy.

Holland correctly relates how LBJ’s oft-repeated assertions about a ‘JFK conspiracy’ have, over the years, led conspiracy advocates to lay claim to having ‘proof’ that a conspiracy existed. But Holland’s background knowledge of the assassination and also his knowledge of the way LBJ verbalised his thoughts is crucial. As he demonstrates, comments made by Senator Richard Russell to LBJ – ‘I don’t believe it’ – and LBJ’s reply ‘I don’t believe it either’ – have been misused by numerous writers to imply that both men rejected the conclusions of the Warren Commission investigation. However, as Holland correctly points out, both men were discussing the single-bullet theory, not the conclusions of the Warren Commission investigation. Holland also corrects previous interpretations by showing how both men’s rejection of the single-bullet theory was not based on considered judgements but simple opinion.  the time of the conversation in question both men had not been privy to the ballistics evidence which supported the theory. And LBJ’s manner of speaking, Holland states, his ‘well-known penchant to exaggerate and speak for effect’, has long been recognised by LBJ historians.

Furthermore, Holland, unlike Beschloss, puts the assassination-related conversations all in one volume together with his extensive added commentary. The result is a clearer understanding of what transpired when LBJ became embroiled in the conspiracy controversy and the related Warren investigation. Holland also takes the story to the waning days of LBJ’s presidency.

This excellent book quickly and decisively silences the conspiracy critics who believe that LBJ had a hand in the murder of his predecessor. And, whilst conceding that LBJ may have harboured fears that foreign involvement in the assassination was a clear possibility, Holland nevertheless presents LBJ’s musings in the correct context of Cold War realities and the fears the conflict engendered; fears that led LBJ into speculation about whether or not Lee Harvey Oswald had been acting alone. LBJ had been conflicted as to whether or not conspirators murdered JFK.However, he was never able to substantiate his suspicions beyond simple guesswork. In the end he merely speculated that Castro was likely to blame.

This book is by far the most lucid and compelling account of the role President Johnson played in the investigation of President Kennedy’s assassination. His book should be read not only by JFK assassination researchers but also future LBJ historians.

No Military Coups for America? What About 11/22/63?

July 11, 2013

An interesting aspect of the military coup in Egypt has been the attitude of American mainstream commentators who suggest that unlike Egypt and other countries, the chances of a military coup in the United States are virtually nil. See, for example, “America the Coupless” by Rosa Brooks and “Could a Military Coup Happen in America?” by Paul Greenberg.

Really? What about November 22, 1963?

“Oh, Jacob, don’t be silly. President Kennedy’s assassination couldn’t have been orchestrated by the U.S. national-security state, notwithstanding the overwhelming amount of evidence pointing in that direction, because it’s just inconceivable that such a thing could happen here in our country. That’s just a conspiracy theory. Such things only happen in places like Egypt … or Chile … or Iran … or Guatemala … or South Vietnam and, yes, oftentimes with the support and participation of the U.S. military and the CIA, but such a thing could never happen here in our country.”

Oh, really? So, what you’re saying, Mr. Statist, is that if the democratically elected president of the United States is engaged in policies and actions that are leading to the nation’s destruction, the U.S. national-security state apparatus — i.e., the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA — will simply stand aside and let it happen — despite the fact that the U.S. military and the CIA have supported and even participated in military coups that purportedly save foreign countries from their rulers.

Consider Chile. The Chilean people elect a communist, Salvador Allende, in a democratic election at the height of the Cold War. U.S. officials say that this cannot stand. So, President Nixon orders the CIA to foment a massive economic crisis within the country, much like the economic crisis leading up to the military coup in Egypt. “Make the economy scream” are Nixon’s exact words.  The CIA faithfully obeys his orders notwithstanding the fact that the Constitution does not authorize any such action. The Chilean military, with the support of the U.S. national-security state, ousts Allende in a coup and imposes brutal military rule under Army General Augusto Pinochet.

Pinochet’s military-intelligence goons immediately went about arresting Allende’s supporters and suspected communists, jailed them, tortured and raped them, and executed them. To this day, supporters of the coup say that all this was justified to save the country from the mistake that the Chilean electorate had made in electing Allende president.
The U.S. national-security state did its part by helping to execute a young American mannamed Charles Horman, whose only “crime” was having the same leftist leanings as, say, President Franklin Roosevelt. (See “What Were the Standards for Executing Charles Horman?” by Jacob G. Hornberger.) It was a cold-blooded murder of an innocent American, a murder for which the still-unidentified CIA killers have never been held to account, no doubt because the operation was conducted in the name of “national security,” the two magical words that have played the biggest role in the lives of the American people in our lifetime.

Why wouldn’t that same mindset that was used to justify the Chilean coup operate here in the United States? If U.S. national-security state officials helped foment a coup in Chile that they believed was necessary to save Chile (and the United States) from its duly elected president, why wouldn’t they do the same here in the United States if the survival of the nation depended on it? Would they really say: “Golly, we’ll do what is necessary to save Chile (and America) from a bad Chilean president but we’ll just have to let the United States be destroyed by a bad president here because it would be illegal or wrong for us save our nation with a coup or assassination”?

That’s patently ridiculous. It is the job of the national-security branch of the U.S. government to protect national security. To suggest that the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA would help foreign militaries oust their rulers to save their countries but would not do the same for the United States when faced with similar circumstances makes no sense. After all, don’t national-security statists often tell us that the Constitution isn’t a suicide pact?

So, certain questions naturally arise: Did President Kennedy pose a threat to national security? Were his policies and actions leading America to destruction? Did the nation’s survival depend on his removal from office?

From the standpoint of a national-security statist, there really isn’t any question about it. In fact, looking at the situation through the mindset of a national-security statist, what Kennedy was doing here in the United States was infinitely worse than what Allende was doing in Chile, or Mubarak and Morsi were doing in Egypt, or Mossadegh was doing in Iran, or Arbenz was doing in Guatemala, or what Diem was doing in South Vietnam.
Consider Kennedy’s policies actions from the standpoint of an ardent national-security statist at the height of the Cold War. Here’s how an ardent national-security statist viewed Kennedy and his administration:

While Kennedy had talked a good game against the communists during the 1960 presidential campaign, his policies and his actions left the United States extremely vulnerable to a communist takeover, as follows:

1. During the Bay of Pigs disaster, Kennedy double-crossed the CIA and the Cuban exiles by refusing to provide them with air cover, thereby bringing failure and shame to the United States. Kennedy’s hesitation and weakness left a communist outpost 90 miles away from American shores, an outpost that would become a place where the Soviet Union based nuclear weapons aimed at the United States.

2. While Kennedy publicly accepted responsibility for the Bay of Pigs disaster, he privately blamed the fiasco on the CIA. He fired the highly respected Alan Dulles as head of the CIA (whom LBJ would later appoint to the Warren Commission, a conflict of interest if there ever was one) and two of his main subordinates. Kennedy also went to war against the CIA, promising “to splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.” If the threatened destruction of the CIA at the height of the Cold War wasn’t a grave threat to national security in and of itself, what was?

3. After the Bay of Pigs, Kennedy refused to approve Operation Northwoods, a top-secret military plan unanimously recommended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, whereby the U.S. national-security state would initiate fake terrorist attacks and airplane hijackings to provide the justification for invading Cuba and ousting Castro’s communist regime. Kennedy’s refusal to adopt the plan left Cuba in the hands of Fidel Castro, who would shortly permit Soviet nuclear missiles to be based there.

4. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy refused to invade or bomb the island, which is what the Pentagon and the CIA wanted him to do. Instead, he showed weakness by negotiating with the communists and, even worse, letting the Soviets and Cubans prevail in the crisis by promising that the United States would never invade Cuba again, leaving the communists with a permanent outpost 90 miles away from American shores. Kennedy also secretly promised the Soviets that he would withdraw nuclear missiles in Turkey that were aimed at the Soviet Union.

(I would be remiss if I failed to mention that during the Cuban Missile Crisis Bobby Kennedy communicated to the Soviets that President Kennedy was faced with the distinct possibility of a U.S. military coup — yes, the same type of coup that just occurred in Egypt. This was, of course, just a couple of years after President Eisenhower had warned Americans in his Farewell Address that the Cold War military-industrial complex posed a grave threat to America’s democratic processes.)

5. No longer trusting the judgment of either the military establishment or the CIA, JFK, who had continued to oppose them by adamantly refusing to commit any combat troops to Vietnam, decided to pull out all 16,000 U.S. military advisers by the end of 1965. That was bad enough because as the military and the CIA (and a lot of other Americans) were convinced, the loss of Vietnam to the communists would start the dominoes falling, with the final domino being the United States. But while Kennedy’s weak and cowardly decision to get out of Vietnam was part of the reason for the ire that the national-security state had toward Kennedy, it was only a part.

After the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy entered into secret negotiations with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev to do something much bigger than simply get out of Vietnam. He and Khrushchev were secretly negotiating to end the entire Cold War, which would leave the Soviet Union and the United States in peaceful coexistence, much as communist China and the United States are today.

Needless to say, that was anathema to the military and the CIA. Everyone knows that communists can’t be trusted. This was a formula for surrender by an inexperienced, weak, and naive president.

(As an aside, I should point out that many U.S. conservatives considered the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dismantling of the Soviet Union to be an elaborate ruse by which the communists were lulling America into a false sense of security. I personally recall one well-known conservative who for years continued hewing to this position under the assumption that communists could never be trusted.)

If the Cold War was ended, what would that mean for America’s national-security state — i.e., the already enormous and ever-growing military-industrial complex and the CIA, which former President Truman, only a month after the Kennedy assassination, would observe had become, in the eyes of many around the world, a sinister force?

6. Kennedy was supporting and defending Martin Luther King, whom FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was certain was a communist, and the civil-rights movement, which Hoover was convinced was a communist front.

7. Kennedy was having sexual affairs with countless women, including a girlfriend of a Mafioso and an erratic Hollywood star, thereby subjecting himself and the country to the possibility of blackmail. After all, if FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover could use personal information about people’s sex lives to blackmail them, why couldn’t the communists do the same? In fact, who’s to say that communist blackmail wasn’t the reason that JFK was effectively surrendering America to the communists with his secret negotiations with Khrushchev to end the Cold War, especially since he was doing so without even advising or consulting with the military or the CIA about the negotiations?

8. Circumstantial evidence suggests that Kennedy might well have been smoking dope and possibly even taking LSD with one of his mistresses, Mary Pinchot Meyer, the ex-wife of a high-level CIA agent. What if the Soviets launched nuclear missiles at the United States one night while Kennedy was stoned? If that’s not a grave threat to national security in and of itself, what is?

Compare Kennedy’s actions to those of Morsi, or Allende, or Arbenz, or Mossadegh, or Diem. What those rulers were doing to place their nations in jeopardy pale to insignificance compared to Kennedy’s actions and policies. Are we really supposed to believe that the U.S. national-security state would support regime-change operations to protect those nations (and the United States) from their rulers but would stand aside and do nothing to protect the United States from one of its rulers? Does that make any sense?
For a deeper, fuller explanation of the context of Kennedy’s relationship with the military and the CIA, especially after Kennedy’s soul-searing experience of the Cuban Missile Crisis, I highly recommend two books: JFK and the Unspeakable by James W. Douglass and volume 5 of Douglas P. Horne’s book Inside the Assassination Records Review Board. (Volume 5 is Horne’s overview of why Kennedy was assassinated. It is a gripping and fascinating expose of JFK’s internal war, over foreign and military policy, against his own national-security establishment.)Horne served on the staff of the ARRB, which was formed in the 1990s in the wake of the storm of public opinion produced by Oliver Stone’s movie JFK, especially the film’s revelation that the federal government was continuing to keep records of the Kennedy assassination secret from the American people.

Horne’s book mostly revolves around Kennedy’s autopsy, which has always been sold to the American people as nothing more than negligence and incompetence on the part of the military officials who performed the autopsy.


Consider the following aspects of the autopsy, as detailed in Horne’s five-volume book:
1. Two separate brain exams involving two separate brains were conducted, one of which, to belabor the obvious, did not belong to President Kennedy. The brain whose photograph made it into the official record weighed more than a normal-size brain, notwithstanding the fact that most everyone acknowledged that the gunshot to the president’s head had blasted out approximately one-third of his brain tissue.
The official photographer for the autopsy, a federal employee, ultimately swore under oath before the ARRB that none of the brain photographs in the official collection (consisting of 14 photographs) were taken by him and that none of the brain photographs that he did take are in the official collection.

Moreover, an FBI agent who was at the autopsy also stated under oath to the ARRB that the brain photos in the autopsy collection could not be pictures of JFK’s brain because too much mass was present.

Are we to assume that that both the official photographer and FBI agent were negligent and incompetent?

2. Many witnesses, including the Dallas doctors and nurses and even highly trustworthy federal employees stated that Kennedy had an exit hole the size of a baseball or small orange in the back of his head, notwithstanding the fact that the official autopsy photos show no such hole. Are we to assume that all those witnesses were just negligent and incompetent?

3. Many witnesses, including U.S. military personnel, stated that the president’s body was brought into the Bethesda morgue about 1 and ½ hours early in a body bag inside a cheap shipping casket rather than in the expensive ornate heavy casket into which the body had been placed in Dallas. Are we to assume that all those witnesses were just negligent and incompetent? (See “The Kennedy Casket Conspiracy” by Jacob G. Hornberger.)

4. Two FBI agents who attended the autopsy wrote in their official report that one of the Bethesda pathologists stated at the outset of the autopsy that the president’s head had been subject to pre-autopsy surgery, a report that, not surprisingly, did not find its way into the Warren Commission report. In fact, neither agent was even called to testify before the Warren Commission. Are we to assume that those two FBI agents were just negligent and incompetent?

5. Secret Service agents, brandishing guns and threatening deadly force against the Dallas coroner, pushed the president’s casket out of Parkland Hospital in order to get it into the waiting plane of LBJ, who was already quickly making room for it, notwithstanding the fact that Texas law required an autopsy to be conducted in the state of Texas. Are we to assume that those Secret Service agents and LBJ were just negligent and incompetent?
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Horne’s five-volume treatise is not an easy read but one thing is for sure: Anyone who carefully reads this well-researched and detailed book can reach but one conclusion: the autopsy performed by the U.S. national-security state on John Kennedy’s body was a cover-up designed to cover up the fact that Kennedy had been shot from the front.

And there’s an important point that no one has ever been able to deny since the day of the assassination: The U.S. national-security state had exclusive control over Kennedy’s autopsy. Not the Mafia. Not the Soviets. Not Castro. Not aliens from outer space. Only the national-security state had control over the autopsy and the resulting cover-up. There is no way to escape that fact.

Is it just a coincidence that LBJ, himself an ardent Cold Warrior, reversed what Kennedy was doing in foreign affairs, including his secret negotiations to end the Cold War? Is it just a coincidence that the military and the CIA got their war in Vietnam, a war based on lies that needlessly cost the lives of some 58,000 American men and more than a million Vietnamese? Is it just a coincidence that not one single president since Kennedy and Eisenhower has dared to challenge the military, the CIA, and the NSA and their ever-increasing budgets? Is it just a coincidence that we’re still living under the yoke of a Cold War national-security state notwithstanding the fact that the Cold War ended almost a decade-and-a-half ago?

But hey, let’s just keep living our little myths and deferring to the wisdom and authority of our beloved Cold War national-security state, which suspends our freedom and privacy in order to keep us “safe” from the threats of terrorism that it itself produces.

Let’s just keep believing that it’s only foreigners, not Americans, who make “mistakes” in elections — mistakes that unfortunately sometimes have to be rectified with coups and assassinations. While our national-security state believes in helping foreign counterparts protect their nations from bad rulers through coups and assassinations, let’s just keep telling ourselves that it would never do the same here at home.

Reprinted from The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Jacob Hornberger [send him mail] is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.