Sunday, May 31, 2015

Disinformation Definition

Deliberately misleading information announced publicly or leaked by a government or especially by an intelligence agency in order to influence public opinion or the government in another nation. 
is a type of untrue communication that is purposefully spread and represented as truth to elicit some response that serves the perpetrator's purpose.
Disinformation is sometimes confused with misinformation but the two are distinguished by their intention. The purpose of disinformation is to deceive. Although misinformation is also false, it is  presented as truth only because the communicator does not have the facts straight.

false information deliberately and often covertly spread (as by the planting of rumors) in order to influence public opinion or obscure the truth

is intentionally false or inaccurate information that is spread deliberately. It is an act of deception and false statements to convince someone of untruth. Disinformation should not be confused with misinformation, information that is unintentionally false.

Unlike traditional propaganda techniques designed to engage emotional support, disinformation is designed to manipulate the audience at the rational level by either discrediting conflicting information or supporting false conclusions.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Secret Hold on Senate FOIA Bill

Exempted Status, and Much More April 23, 2015


by Lauren Harper

Unknown Senators are placing a secret hold on the Senate’s FOIA bill, S 337. The bill was introduced by Senator John Cornyn (R-Tx) and cosponsored by Patrick Leahy (D-Vt) and Charles Grasssley (R-Ia), the ranking member and chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and is virtually identical to the bill that passed the Senate via unanimous consent last session.

The bill (now at risk due to the secret hold) would strengthen transparency by: increasing the independence of the FOIA Ombuds Office, the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS); improve access to digital records; codify a presumption of openness; require agencies to update their FOIA regulations within 180 days of the bills passage; and make clear that “unusual” FOIA requests (that are fewer than 50,000 pages) get the standard FOIA extension of 10 days.

In the past, transparency advocates have had to call every single Senate office to find out which Senator was holding up the bill, and why. Hopefully the hold will be lifted before requiring advocates to resort to such measures to improve the public’s access to information.

There is a limited-time-only chance to *suggest* which CIA operational files should be removed from their exempted status, a result of one of the most damaging B3 FOIA Exemption statutes ever passed.
According to a recent notice published in the Federal Register, “The CIA is in the process of conducting the 2015 decennial review of its operational files to determine whether any of the previously designated files, or portions thereof, can be removed from any of the specified categories of exempted files.”

The CIA Information Act of 1984 requires that the decennial review “include consideration of the historical value or other public interest in the subject matter of the particular category of files or portions thereof and the potential for declassifying a significant part of the information contained therein.”

BK: Thanks to Joe Backes at Justice for JFK for calling attention to this.

When Gandi was assassinated

When Gandi was assassinated at point blank range
I was about to trash and burn this book but read its title - Wherever You Go You Are There - and opened it at random and this is what I read:

When Gandi was assassinated at point blank range, he put his palms together in this way towards his attacker, uttered his mantra and died.

It allowed him to choose the attitude he would take in that very moment he was being robbed of his life. He didn't die angry or even surprised. But he had trained himself to march to the drumbeat of his own growing vision of what constituted wise action.

The Hand Mantra

All hand positions are mantras in that they are associated with subtle or not-so-subtle energies. Take the fist.

When we get angry our hands tend to close into fists. It waters the seeds of anger and violence within you every time and they respond by sprouting and growing stronger.

The next time you find yourself making fists out of anger try to bring mindfulness to the inner attitude embodied in the fist - feel the tension, the hatred, the anger, the aggression and fear it contains.

Then, in the midst of your anger, as an experiment, try opening your fists and placing your palms together over your heart in the prayer position. Notice what happens to the anger and hurt as you hold this position for only a few moments.

I find it virtually possible to sustain my anger when I do this.

It's not that the anger may not be justified, it's just that all sorts of other feelings come into play, which frames the anger and tempers it - feelings like sympathy and compassion for the other person and perhaps a greater understanding of the dance we are both in.

The dance of one thing leading to another, of the consequences set into motion - the end result can lead to ignorance compounding ignorance, aggression compounding aggression, with no wisdom anywhere or -

- Jon Kabat-Zinn  p. 114 - Wherever You Go There You Are - Mindfullness Meditayions 1994.

Tom Blanton Testifies on State of Open Government

Statement of Thomas Blanton
Director, National Security Archive, George Washington University

Before the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary Hearing on “Ensuring an Informed Citizenry: Examining the Administration’s Efforts to Improve Open Government”

Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 226, Washington D.C. Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of the Committee: thank you very much for your invitation to testify today about open government and the Freedom of Information Act. My name is Tom Blanton and I am the director of the independent non-governmental National Security Archive, based at the George Washington University.

At the Archive, we are veterans of more than 50,000 Freedom of Information requests that have changed the way history is written and even how policy is decided. Our White House e-mail lawsuits against every President from Reagan to Obama saved hundreds of millions of messages, and set a standard for digital preservation that the rest of the government has never yet achieved, as we know from the State Department. The Archive has won prizes and recognition ranging from the James Madison Award that Senator Cornyn deservedly received this year from the American Library Association – joining Senator Leahy in excellent company – to the Emmy Award for news and documentary research, to the George Polk Award for “piercing self-serving veils of government secrecy.”

This year we completed our 14th government-wide audit of agency FOIA performance, with more recommendations like the ones this Committee included in the landmark Cornyn-Leahy amendments in 2007 and again last year with the excellent FOIA reform bill this Committee passed unanimously through the Senate. My statement today addresses each of these areas of open government performance, and the lack thereof.

But first, I want to say that it is an honor to be here today on this panel with the general counsel of the Associated Press. Not only was the AP one of the founders of the now-ten-year-old Sunshine Week, the AP consistently ranks among the most systematic and effective users of the Freedom of Information Act. I am especially grateful to the AP for taking on the number-crunching task of making sense of agency annual reports on FOIA, and providing a common-sense analysis that parts ways significantly from the official spin. The White House proudly repeats Justice Department talking points claiming a 91% release rate under FOIA. But the AP headline reads, “US sets new record for denying, censoring government files.” Who is right? The AP is.

The Justice Department number includes only final processed requests. This statistic leaves out nine of the 11 reasons that the government turns down requests so they never reach final processing. Those reasons include claiming “no records,” “fee-related reasons,” and referrals to another agency. Counting those real-world agency responses, the actual release rate across the government comes in at between 50 and 60%.

In the National Security Archive’s experience, most agency claims of “no records” are actually an agency error, deliberate or inadvertent. I say deliberate because the FBI, for example, for years kept a single index to search when a FOIA request came in, even though that index listed only a fraction of the FBI’s records. But the FBI could say with a straight face, we conducted a full search of our central index, and found no records, and the requesters would go away. Only when we called them on their abysmally high rate (65%!) of no-records responses (most agencies were averaging closer to 10%), did the FBI change their process.

I say inadvertent because FOIA officers may not know where the documents are, and most often the requester doesn’t either. This is why dialogue between the agency and the requester is vital, why a negotiating process where the agency explains its records and the requester in return narrows her request, makes the most sense. This is why the Office of Government Information Services is so important, to mediate that dialogue, to bring institutional memory to bear, and to report independently to Congress about what is going on. This is why the original Freedom of Information Act back in 1966 started with the requirement that agencies publish their rules, their manuals, their organization descriptions, their policies, and their released records for inspection and copying. This kind of pro-active disclosure is essential, and our most recent audit showed “most agencies are falling short on mandate for online records.”

I’ll come back to that point, but let me first give you some of the big picture, since you are examining this administration’s overall performance on open government. The tenth anniversary of Sunshine Week this spring prompted some tough questions: are we doing better than when we started that Week 10 years ago, or worse, or holding our own? As with so many multiple-choice questions, the answer is probably “all of the above,” but I would also argue, mostly better – partly cloudy. My daddy of course once shoveled four inches of partly cloudy off the front steps, so we have a ways to go.

I would say for starters that many of the battles are very different today. For instance, our E-FOIA Audit of 2007, looking at the ten years of implementation after Congress passed the E-FOIA in 1996, found that only one of five federal agencies obeyed the law, posting online the required guidance, indexes, filing instructions, and contact information. Our agency-by-agency audit found that the FOIA phone listed on the Web site for one Air Force component rang in the maternity ward on a base hospital!

Now I would say almost all agencies have checked those boxes of the online basic information and the public liaison, not least because this Committee took the initiative with the 2007 FOIA amendments to put into the law the requirements for designated Chief FOIA Officers and FOIA public contacts, as well as reporting requirements, the ombuds office, and other progressive provisions.

The biggest shortcoming today, besides the endemic delays in response and the growing backlogs that the AP has so starkly reported, is that so few federal agencies (67 out of over 165 covered by our latest FOIA Audit) do the routine online posting of released FOIA documents that E-FOIA intended. We released these results for Sunshine Week this year, and I recommend for your browsing the wonderful color-coded chart we published rating the agencies from green to yellow to red, with direct links to each of the online reading rooms, or the site where they should be but aren’t. This was a terrific investigative project by the Archive’s FOIA project director Nate Jones and associate director Lauren Harper. The headline from their work is, nearly 20 years after Congress passed the E-FOIA, only 40% of agencies obey the intent of the law, which was to use the new technologies to put FOIA documents online, and reduce the processing burden on the agencies and on the public.

The fact of endemic delays and growing backlogs makes proactive disclosure even more important. As I’ve argued before, the zero-sum setting of FOIA processing in a real world of limited government budgets means that any new request we file actually slows down the next request anybody else files. Not to mention our own older requests slowing down our new ones, especially if they apply to multiple records systems. The only way out of this resource trap is to ensure that agencies post online whatever they are releasing, with few exceptions for personal privacy requests and the like. When taxpayers are spending money to process FOIA requests, the results should become public, and since agencies rarely count how often a record may be requested, requirements like “must be requested three times or more” just do not make sense.

There should be a presumption of online posting for released records, with narrow exceptions. I have found in many of the classes I teach that if sources are not online, for this younger generation, they simply do not exist. Many examples of agency leadership – posting online the Challenger space shuttle disaster records or the Deep Water Horizon investigation documents, for example – have proven that doing so both reduces the FOIA burden and dramatically informs the public.

Our audit this year found 17 out of 165 agencies that are real E-Stars, which disproves all the agency complaints how it’s just not possible to put their released records online. You can see the detailed listing of agencies in the charts, and there’s no difference in terms of funding or resources or FTEs or any other excuse between the E-Stars and the E-Delinquents – the difference is leadership. And oversight. And outside pressure. And internal will.

The complaint we hear the most against online posting is about the disabilities laws, that making records “508-compliant” is too burdensome and costs too much for agencies actually to populate those mandated online reading rooms. In fact, all government records created nowadays are already 508-compliant, and widely-available tools like Adobe Acrobat automatically handle the task for older records with a few clicks. The E-Stars dealt with the problem easily. Complaining about 508-compliance is an excuse, not a real barrier.

Since the State Department comes in for so much deserved grief on FOIA and records management, I need to point out that here, State’s performance on online posting is one of the very best. As an E-Star, State’s online reading room is robust, easily searchable, and uploaded quarterly with released documents – which allows requesters a useful window of time with a deadline to publish their scoops before everybody gets to see the product. State accomplished this excellent online performance using current dollars, no new appropriations. State’s FOIA personnel deserve our congratulations for this achievement. When Secretary Clinton’s e-mails finally get through the department’s review (which should not take long, since none are classified), State’s online reading room will provide a real public service for reading those e-mails.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Dan Hardway on Shenon

© 2015 Dan Hardway

Phil Shenon and I agree on at least a few things. In any resolution of the mysteries surrounding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Mexico City will undoubtedly be important.

The investigation into what happened there in 1963 was, for some reason, seriously curtailed by the U.S. government. The government has, since then, fought tooth and nail to keep the full story about what happened there secret.

While I have never met Mr. Shenon, I have spoken with him several times by telephone. I first heard from him when he called me around 2011. He introduced himself as a reporter for Newsweek Magazine. He said he was working well in advance on an article for that magazine for the 50th anniversary of JFK’s murder. He wondered whether I would be willing to talk about the HSCA’s investigation in Mexico City. I agreed to speak with him.

Over the course of that first conversation, and several follow-up calls from him over the next couple of years, it became apparent to me that Mr. Shenon was only interested in our work investigating what had happened in Mexico City in 1963 insofar as it might provide some kind of basis for linking Oswald to Castro or the Cubans. I tried to discuss the details of the HSCA investigation into what happened in Mexico City in its anomalous issues, but he was uninterested in those details. While there is an acknowledgment in his book, A Cruel and Shocking Act, stating that Ed Lopez and I were “generous with their time and interviews for this book,” precious little, if any, of what we shared with him made it into the book or any of his subsequent writing on the subject of Mexico City. Not only does Mr. Shenon ignore the post-HSCA materials we tried to bring to his attention, he also ignores the primary thrust of our report written for the HSCA.

I would not take issue with Phil Shenon if I thought what he is claiming is, merely, that the possibility of Cuban assistance to Oswald should be investigated. While I think the evidence of that is very weak at best, I will not deny that any avenue of investigation that remains open should be pursued. What I take issue with Mr. Shenon about is his single-minded concentration on that one issue and the resultant misrepresentation of facts and questions related to, and arising from, Lee Oswald’s activities in Mexico City. It appears to me that Shenon may be carrying water for the proponents of the original conspiracy theory – that Castro did it – rather than offering any objective review of the complete evidentiary base of that underlies the Mexico City visit. Shenon deliberately ignores the indicators and evidence that suggest Oswald’s trip to Mexico was either designed in advance, or spun in the aftermath, to give the appearance of Cuban and Soviet collusion in the Kennedy assassination.

Shenon’s thesis, as most recently explicated in his article in Politico, “What Was Lee Harvey Oswald Doing in Mexico?”, is built on suspicions expressed by some government officials after the assassination and Charles Thomas’s reporting of the Duran twist party – a report based on a story first told by Elena Garro de Paz. Many had initial suspicions after the assassination: Lyndon Johnson alleged a communist conspiracy within twenty minutes of JFK’s death; Bobby Kennedy’s first question to CIA Director John McCone that day was, “Did some of your guys do this?” (The Warren Commission, in Executive Session, was very concerned about Oswald’s intelligence connections, but Allen Dulles told them it was something that couldn’t really be proven, as a good intelligence officer would lie under oath to the Commission.)

When Shenon and I talked, I tried to get him to consider evidence and facts that have come to light about Mexico City and the CIA’s handling of various investigations since, including the one I worked on in 1978, in his evaluation of the twist party story that lies at the root of his speculations. My efforts had no effect. Any possible explanation other than Cuban complicity has been ignored by Mr. Shenon who seems hell-bent on promoting the idea that Castro was behind the assassination, refusing to address any other possibility.

I tried, in vain as it turns out, to get Mr. Shenon to consider that what we had learned about Oswald’s activities, and the government’s reaction to those activities, could support a different explanation which also pointed to an additional avenue of investigation that needed to be publicized and followed. In my view, Oswald’s activities are more consistent with his being involved in an intelligence operation being run by U.S. intelligence than with him trying to make contact with Cubans to garner support for an assassination attempt on the sitting leader of this country.

To fully appreciate why I say that, a little background from Washington in 1978, is necessary. In 1978 the CIA resisted the HSCA’s inquiry into Mexico City more than any other area of inquiry. The chief counsel, G. Robert Blakey, told the Committee on August 15, 1978, “[T]he deeper we have gotten into the Agency’s performance in Mexico City, the more difficult they have gotten in dealing with us, the more they have insisted on relevance, the more they have gone back in effect on their agreement to give us access to unsanitized files. For a while we had general and free access to unsanitized files. That is increasingly not true in the Mexico City area….” And we have since learned that they used George Joannides to shut down the investigation into Oswald and Mexico City.

George Joannides

In doing so, they lied to us about who he was. He ran propaganda operations in Miami in 1963-64 and was the case officer for DRE, the anti-Castro group that scored the anti-Fair Play for Cuba Committee coup using Oswald in New Orleans in August of 1963. As G. Robert Blakey has since acknowledged, “The CIA not only lied, it actively subverted the investigation.” I think the CIA expected we would take the superficial approach of considering the “Castro did it” theory, but when we went beyond the initial appearances and began pushing our investigation into the propaganda sources, seeking interviews with the actual penetration and surveillance agents, seeking to find others in Mexico City who may have seen Oswald, then the Agency resistance to our investigation turned to a stonewall. Shouldn’t it be enough to raise serious questions that when a Congressional Committee investigating specific disinformation operations ran by the CIA, the CIA brings one of those involved in the operation being investigated and uses him in an undercover capacity to forestall and subvert the investigation? But that’s not all.

Consider the scenario of U.S. intelligence involvement in Oswald’s activities in Mexico City that we were not able to fully investigate in 1978. Let’s start with some background on David Phillips. David Phillips was one of, if not the, most experienced, ingenious, respected, and qualified disinformation officers in the CIA. In 1963 he was stationed in Mexico City, but, in early October, he was temporarily assigned to duty at Headquarters because he was being promoted from running anti-Castro propaganda operations to overseeing all anti-Castro operations in the Western Hemisphere. He was an experienced hand. In the late 1950’s he had been under non-diplomatic cover in Havana, where he worked with the anti-Batista revolutionary group, the Directorio Revolucionario (“DR”) which would form the core of the early resistance to Castro. During the Bay of Pigs, Phillips was stationed at CIA Headquarters where he had responsibility for the propaganda and psychological warfare aspects of the anti-Castro operations.

In running those operations he not only oversaw the operations he ran personally from Headquarters, he was also the supervisor of the propaganda operations flowing out of the JMWAVE station in Miami by William Kent (aka Doug Gupton, William Trouchard). When the students who made up DR fled Cuba, they were reorganized under Kent’s tutelage into the Directorio Revolucionario Estudantil (“DRE”) based in Miami.

David Atlee Phillips

Phillips was transferred to Mexico City later in 1961 after the Bay of Pigs. Kent was promoted to Headquarters, and George Joannides took over Kent’s position in Miami, including supervision of DRE. While still stationed in Headquarters in the early 60’s, David Phillips had worked with Cord Meyer to develop the first disinformation campaign aimed at discrediting and disrupting a group of Castro sympathizers who had organized themselves into the Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC).

In the summer of 1963 Lee Harvey Oswald formed a chapter of the FPCC in New Orleans. In August of 1963 Lee Harvey Oswald, still in New Orleans, had an encounter with DRE which led to a lot of publicity linking Oswald to communists, labeling him as pro-Castro, and discrediting the FPCC. In July and August of that year there is strong evidence that Oswald was used to identify and contact pro-Castro students at Tulane University. In early September, Oswald was seen with David Phillips in Dallas.

On September 16, 1963, the CIA informed the FBI that it was considering action to counter the activities of the FPCC in foreign countries. To my knowledge, the operational files on this new anti-FPCC operation have never been released by the CIA. In New Orleans, on September 17, 1963, Oswald applied for, and received, a Mexican travel visa immediately after William Gaudet, a known CIA agent, had applied for one. On September 27 Oswald arrived in Mexico City. This activity did not occur suddenly or in a vacuum. Oswald had started establishing his pro-Castro bona fides earlier that summer in New Orleans, including establishing an FPCC chapter there.

There are too many similarities between Oswald’s activities in New Orleans and Mexico City to simply dismiss, without investigation or discussion, the possibility that he was being used in an intelligence operation, either wittingly or unwittingly, in both cities. In addition to his contacts with the Soviet and Cuban diplomatic facilities in Mexico City, which could have been part of an intelligence dangle, an attempt to discredit the FPCC, or both, there is now also evidence of Oswald’s contacts with students at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and his presence at social events with Cuban Consulate employees. David Phillips frequently lied about Oswald and Mexico City, but in a footnote in a little known book he self-published, Secret Wars Diary, he wrote: “I was an observer of Cuban and Soviet reaction when Lee Harvey Oswald contacted their embassies.” [Emphasis added.] One purpose served by an intelligence dangle is to enable the dangling agency to observe the reaction and, from that observation, identify roles of employees, procedures and processes of the enemy.

There can be little doubt that Oswald’s activities, especially the more flagrant, blatant and egregious ones such as those alleged by Shenon to have occurred at the Cuban Consulate, could only have scandalized the Cuban diplomats who heard the threats and bluster – all to the discrediting of the FPCC, just as the publicity about the New Orleans encounter between Oswald and the DRE formed one of the propaganda nails in that organization’s coffin. It is much more likely, in my opinion, that the seasoned Cuban diplomats would be offended than it is that they would support someone exhibiting Oswald’s alleged behavior to attempt an assassination. It is much more likely that the Cuban diplomats would have, as the evidence shows they did, consider Oswald as a U.S. intelligence provocation. The Cubans knew of the surveillance on their facilities.

Why would they use someone to do such a job who showed up under surveillance and announced his plans? On the other hand, someone as provocative as Oswald should have generated a cascade of response that, when observed by the watchers, would have revealed an abundance of information. It could also serve to discredit the FPCC with the Cubans. The CIA prevented us, in 1978, from interviewing then surviving penetration and surveillance agents who would have known more about such an operation.

In 1978, we knew not only about the allegations of the twist party, but also about the stories of Oswald’s contact with students. The CIA prevented us from interviewing Oscar Contreras, a student Oswald contacted. But Anthony Summers, and others, have interviewed him since. Contreras acknowledges that Oswald, in late September, 1963, approached him and three other students who were members of a pro-Castro student organization. He asked them for help getting a visa to Cuba from the Consulate. Contreras did have contacts at the Consulate and spoke to the Consul and an intelligence officer. Both warned him to have nothing to do with Oswald as they suspected he was trying to infiltrate pro-Castro groups. Contreras still wonders how Oswald identified him and his friends as the students, out of the thousands attending the University, as the ones with contacts in the Consulate. Shenon, some way or another, sees this incident as supporting possible Cuban involvement in the assassination. No mention is made to the similarity to what Oswald was doing with Tulane students in New Orleans.

While in New Orleans, Ruth Paine had asked fellow Quaker, Ruth Kloebfer, to check on the Oswalds while they were in New Orleans. Mrs. Kloebfer’s husband was a professor at Tulane University. There is information in the extensive records in this case that Oswald passed out FPCC leaflets near Tulane University and the homes of some of the professors there who were members of a local leftist group. The individuals who helped pass out pamphlets on the last occasion when Oswald passed out his FPCC literature in downtown New Orleans, were introduced by Oswald as students from Tulane. There are, keeping things in parallel, indications in the documentation about the case that Oswald, while in Mexico City, made contact with Quakers studying at the Autonomous University. There are indications that one Quaker student at the University at that time was an active agent of the CIA, although that person has never been identified and it has not been determined that he had any contact with Oswald in Mexico City. The reason that it has not been determined is that it has not been investigated.

It has to be pointed out that June Cobb, a known CIA agent, was very involved in Agency actions aimed at the FPCC in the early 1960’s. She appears again as the first person to report Elena Garro de Paz’s story about the Duran-Oswald twist party.

Sylvia Duran

At the time she made that report to the Mexico City CIA station, Cobb, a CIA asset, was renting a room from Elena Garro de Paz, Sylvia Duran’s cousin. And Shenon bases most of what he writes on a supposition that, based on this twist-party story, Duran was at the center of the Cuban recruitment of Oswald. But the fact is that it is still very much in question whether Duran had been recruited as an asset by the CIA.
David Phillips, as well as other CIA employees, in 1978, were of the opinion that she may have been targeted for recruitment by the CIA. The CIA, then and since, has gone out of its way to keep details about Duran buried, claiming, among other things, to have destroyed her Mexico City P file.

But the point is, the activities in Mexico City in September and October, 1963, are a capsule version of Oswald’s activities in New Orleans in June, July and August of 1963. In the context of the other information we’ve learned about the CIA’s FPCC black propaganda operation, the people involved in those operations and the role of at least one of those people, George Joannides, in subverting the HSCA investigation, how can anyone not seriously consider whether Oswald’s Mexico City activities were part of a CIA anti-FPCC operation?

The very first conspiracy theory, that Castro and the communists killed JFK – the one expressed by President Johnson 20 minutes after the assassination, and first seeing print in the DRE’s CIA funded newspaper, Trinchera, on November 23, 1963 – still has followers and proponents, the latest being Phil Shenon. None of the proponents, it seems, have ever really considered whether they may be the victims – or a part – of a very good, deliberate disinformation operation – possibly the best Phillips and Joannides ever ran.
Dan Hardway, J.D. Attorney in private practice; former investigator, House Select Committee on Assassinations.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Paul Hoch on Winnowing the Wheat and the Chaff

Paul Hoch on Assassination Research

Winnowing the Wheat and the Chaff

Unlike high-profile conspiracy authors such as Mark Lane, Robert Groden, and David Lifton, Paul Hoch is essentially unknown to the American public. But among the small fraternity of assassination researchers, he is a highly respected figure.

In 1993 he was invited to the Second Annual Midwest Symposium on Assassination Politics in Chicago to share his thoughts on JFK assassination research. The following are his comments.

Good morning; thank you for coming. I’m pleased that I was invited to be on this panel; for one thing, I am not very active as a researcher now. I try to help other researchers, and I’ve already had the pleasure of seeing some of you in person for the first time. I help mainly by being an informed skeptic. I understand that raising questions about other people’s work is relatively easy, but I know from experience how difficult it is to understand the available record and to get into the hidden record.

I am at a disadvantage talking this early in the symposium, but I intend to be frank about where I stand after nearly thirty years, off and on, of research. Primarily, I want to make a point to non-buffs and to new buffs in the audience: There is a lot of diversity and uncertainty among the critics.

If anyone wants to set up, as a test, the denunciation of Clay Shaw or of the Single Bullet Theory or of Burt Griffin, I won’t pass it. And I know there are many other buffs who share some of my doubts about what seems to be the new orthodoxy.

Doug Carlson suggested that this panel include a review of the public record, in the context of the science of independent research. Thinking of the state of the case in the public mind, my first reaction was, what’s research got to do with it? 

The success of Oliver Stone’s film and the subsequent movement to “free the files,” was built on facts and the work of many researchers, but it seems to really be about issues that go far beyond the events of November 22 — the nature of the press, of the government, of our society.

In this context, my key point about documentary research is that it may not be able to solve the case, but it certainly can make wrong solutions go away. There are plenty of allegations floating around which would not stand up to scrutiny based on the existing public record. One complication, of course, is that I’m not sure which of the allegations would go away. But I am confident that many would.

What results can we expect? Burt Griffin made a good point in his House Committee testimony in 1978: “consider the possible reality that under the American system of civil liberties and the requirement of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, that it is virtually impossible to prosecute or uncover a well-conceived and well-executed conspiracy.” (5 HSCA 480) So the ambitions of documentary research — which is just one of the tools of such an inquiry — probably should be quite modest.

I think that the most promising areas for research — in the existing files as well as the new ones — are the facts of the shooting (particularly the medical evidence), Oswald (especially what the agencies knew about him), and the political context (particularly Cuba).

First, keep an eye out for the innocent explanation; then test it. Remember, sources make mistakes, FBI agents make mistakes, even researchers make mistakes. And some sources lie.

I hope we will make some progress this weekend in planning to deal with new material. Of course I would like to have everything on indexed CD ROM’s. But we learned in 1978, from the work of Carl Oglesby and his AIB colleagues on the FBI files, that selection of interesting documents is a key step. Mark Zaid has put together some ideas along these lines. We’re in the position of paleontologists coming across an enormous find which might consist of real bones. There is a lot of junk in the files.

Tips for analyzing documents: First, keep an eye out for the innocent explanation; then test it. Remember, sources make mistakes, FBI agents make mistakes, even researchers make mistakes. And some sources lie.
Things that are deleted may not be important. Not everything put in an assassination file is relevant to the assassination. For example: Mark Lane said that Priscilla Johnson was a suspect in the assassination, no doubt referring to a certain document where, if the case caption is undeleted, it is clear that she was a suspect in a case of potential KGB recruitment. Years ago, it became clear than many people, such as Igor Vaganov, were involved in shady activities in Dallas that probably had nothing to do with the assassination.
In short, most of the apparent evidence will turn out not to be true, even if it is not obviously false. That is certainly the typical experience of those of us who have worked as scientists.

Anyone who spends time in the FBI files develops his own filters for detecting probable junk. For example, letters from citizens which are typed in all capitals — single spaced, with no margins — or handwritten with about ten words per page. I suspect that a useful measure of the plausibility of an allegation could be derived from the percentage of well-known names. If a source claims to have met with David Ferrie, Allen Dulles, and Fidel Castro in Jack Ruby’s nightclub, I’ll go on to the next document. Any post-Garrison story with Clay Shaw in it starts with a heavy burden of skepticism to overcome. I now put Roscoe White in the same category.

Suggestions on assessing the credibility of physical evidence: Most important, remember that only one thing happened.

It is no longer enough to just come up with leads and say they are interesting or should be investigated. I used to do that a lot myself. We need to filter out charges that don’t hold up, as much as we can.

The technical work of the House Committee had quite an impact on me. The key fact is that specific items of Dealey Plaza conspiracy evidence have tended to get weaker over the years. This has been a surprise, naturally underappreciated — especially by newer buffs and non-technical buffs.

I suspect that a useful measure of the plausibility of an allegation could be derived from the percentage of well-known names. If a source claims to have met with David Ferrie, Allen Dulles, and Fidel Castro in Jack Ruby’s nightclub, I’ll go on to the next document.
The big arguable exception is the medical and autopsy evidence, and I could never fully accept the official version of the shots until the anomalies in this area are more adequately dealt with.

We could argue at length about the imperfections in the House Committee’s work, and in the work of the National Academy of Sciences panel which rebutted the acoustics. As some of you know, I’ve done my share, particularly on the acoustics.

But the fact remains that the House Committee took a stab at the tests the critics wanted — not completely, and not perfectly, but we expected that any one of the tests would demolish the WC reconstruction — neutron activation analysis, trajectory analysis. And they didn’t.

Many people seem to agree with John Judge, who has said that we know where the shots came from, they came from the Pentagon. I don’t think we know nearly enough about Dealey Plaza to make a jump like that.
The single bullet theory is not a joke. Despite its well-known flaws, the Warren Commission/House Committee reconstruction may be in better shape than any other single detailed reconstruction. At least, it has to be taken seriously.

To me, a key lesson from the state of the physical evidence is that much of the other conspiracy evidence would be weakened if subject to comparable scrutiny.

Wallace Milam has said that we have identified twelve of the three gunmen. We need to think what this means about our collective methodology. Are we the men who know too much?

On interviewing witnesses: I don’t have any experience worth mentioning, so I’ll make just one point: Watch out for principals who have become buffs, and are basing conclusions on information outside their areas of direct knowledge or expertise. If John Rosselli, for example, knew there was a shot from the knoll, it might not have been from inside knowledge, but because some of his friends, like many others, heard Mark Lane’s stump speech. It seemed very significant that Dr. George Burkley said he thought there was a conspiracy, but the most I could find out was that he thought Oswald had more money than could be accounted for. One of the Dallas doctors, as I recall, thinks the head snap and simple physics constitute irrefutable proof of a shot from the front. They don’t.

Suggestions on assessing the credibility of verbal testimony: I’ll offer a corollary to Griffin’s statement: If you recognize that conspiracies do happen but don’t have a good methodology, you will end up believing in a big conspiracy behind any major political crime.

Watch out for principals who have become buffs, and are basing conclusions on information outside their areas of direct knowledge or expertise. If John Rosselli, for example, knew there was a shot from the knoll, it might not have been from inside knowledge, but because some of his friends, like many others, heard Mark Lane’s stump speech.

Do I know what constitutes a good methodology? Not really. A couple of obvious points: Go to primary sources whenever possible. Many books are unreliable on details. For an example, again I’ll pick on Mark Lane since he’s not here: Lane accurately quotes a memo by Melvin Eisenberg as saying that Warren said that LBJ “convinced him that this was an occasion on which actual conditions had to override general principles.” But it is obvious from the memo that the general principle being set aside is not Warren’s “belief system and his sense of justice,” as Lane says, but the principle that a sitting Supreme Court justice should not take an outside job like this. When people misinterpret documents that are readily available, how can you trust them on sources that are not easily checkable?

What about pitfalls? Watch out for allegations which look too good to throw out, for example because they seem to make the connection between Kennedy’s enemies and the assassination — that is, to provide the closure everyone hopes to find. For example, some people latched on to the FBI document mentioning George Bush of the CIA without considering if the George Bush would be referred to in that fashion, and whether the contact described was that important or sinister anyhow.

David Lifton pointed out to me that it has gotten hard to pin researchers down about sloppy analysis, now that their fallback position can be that what they are looking for is a metaphor or a myth.

Sometimes it seems that the stories which catch on in the public mind are those with particular value as metaphor, or those which are pushed vigorously by some buffs. Don’t assume that the best leads are the ones which have been waved around most prominently.

An example of a story which never caught on: I discovered that the lawyer who sent a telegram to Oswald in jail, offering to represent him, came from a civil-libertarian law firm here in Chicago which had defended Sam Giancana against alleged FBI harassment. I learned this quite by accident; the lawyer mentioned it to me. When I circulated this story, I played this connection down. But someone else could easily have picked it up and made a big deal of it, and then it would be one of those things that everyone knows is important.

Be careful not to give evidence a value proportional to the difficulty you had in finding it. Not everything being withheld is relevant. Realize how hard it is to discard as unimportant something you’ve spent many hours to get, but that’s what good journalists and scientists have to do all the time.

Partial confirmation can be misleading. For example, Henry Hurt confirmed — with some difficulty — that a fire described by Robert Easterling had occurred, which may have made Hurt too inclined to believe Easterling’s fantastic stories about the assassination.

Of course, one problem with concentrating on these pitfalls is that you might miss good allegations that look bad. For example, when I got the Sibert-O’Neill report from the Archives in 1966 and circulated it, Lifton was perhaps the only person not to discard the strange reference to “surgery of the head area.” I don’t know what it all means but I think he was right not to pass over it as obviously an FBI reporting error.
Watch out for allegations which look too good to throw out, for example because they seem to make the connection between Kennedy’s enemies and the assassination — that is, to provide the closure everyone hopes to find.

You may recall the story in John Davis’ book about the mayor of Darien, Georgia, who said he saw Oswald getting money in what turned out to be a mob-linked restaurant. I sent that document to John to show him that another allegation we were discussing was not that persuasive to me, because such stories were so common. But this one turned out to get better, not worse, as you looked into it.

One funny story: I remember Robert Ranftel doing a late-night radio talk show and telling several conspiracy-minded callers that their favorite stories had been discredited, or didn’t make sense anyhow. Then one caller started talking about his aunt having photographed Oswald in Russia, and got the same treatment; I was rolling my eyes and hoping that Robert would remember that, yes, some tourist did photograph Oswald.

Are we critics or researchers or skeptics or what? Being critical used to mean questioning the Warren Report.

At first, document research was easy — check out their footnotes, ask for the Sibert-O’Neill report. It’s harder now to ask tough questions about the beliefs of the anti-Warren Report majority and about the work of those who are building on the momentum of 29 years of research.

The critical community may be at a crossroads. Will the revived public interest in the case turn our research effort into something that belongs on shows like “Hard Copy,” along with UFO abductions?

I expect interesting discussions this weekend on unity among the buffs. Avoiding divisiveness on tactical grounds makes more sense for a minority movement than for people taking a view which is endorsed by an overwhelming percentage of the public.

We are not guaranteed progress towards the truth by adhering to the standards of science, or journalism, or law — certainly not law.

But those standards have justifications and are certainly more applicable than the standards of political activism or filmmaking in getting at what actually happened.

Do we want to reach people who are not already “pro-conspiracy” (particularly reporters, academics, people in government)?

I personally do.


My gut feeling is to make it clear that they don’t have to pick between two sides: a flat no-conspiracy viewpoint and a unified community of conspiratorialists (the most vocal of whom appear to be preaching to the choir).

I would emphasize that the no-conspiracy side is not where you find most of the people who are seriously asking valid questions. If there is a basis for unity, it is a skeptical methodology, not any particular conclusions or interpretations of the evidence.

Castro with Sniper Rifle

Saturday, May 9, 2015

David Atlee Phillips on Dealey Plaza

David Atlee Phillips, The AMLASH Legacy (unpublished)

I was one of the two case officers who handled Lee Harvey Oswald. After working to establish his Marxist bona fides, we gave him the mission of killing Fidel Castro in Cuba. I helped him when he came to Mexico City to obtain a visa, and when he returned to Dallas to wait for it I saw him twice there. We rehearsed the plan many times: In Havana Oswald was to assassinate Castro with a sniper's rifle from the upper floor window of a building on the route where Castro often drove in an open jeep. Whether Oswald was a double-agent or a psycho I'm not sure, and I don't know why he killed Kennedy. But I do know he used precisely the plan we had devised against Castro. Thus the CIA did not anticipate the President's assassination but it was responsible for it. I share that guilt.

One of these is from conversations which David Phillips had with Kevin Walsh, a former HSCA staffer who went on to work as a private detective in Washington, DC In a conversation not long before his death, Phillips remarked: "My private opinion is that JFK was done in by a conspiracy, likely including American intelligence officers." - David Atlee Phillips, July 1986.

More on the Hemingway Plot

To: Bill Kelly <>
Subject: [Fwd: Article from The Nation]
Date: Sunday, March 11, 2001 11:20 PM

A classic piece of slimy disinformation from the boys at The Nation, who
now it seems include Gus Russo. They are harder at work finding "proof"
that JFK or RFK wanted to kill Castro than finding out who succeeded in
killing them. First notice that the source is a note taken by Lansdale,
who had his own reasons to try to lend Presidential cover to his
skullduggery. Second note that the text does not at all clearly say what
they try to make it say with other references. Then note that ALL of
their positive sources are Mongoose, CIA and such scum for putting the
blame on JFK and RFK. Gus Russo has been doing the CIA's laundry for
several years now. Corn is at the same level of stupidity and conceit as
their other great JFK scholar Max Holland. This piece of tripe can get
in but real information on who killed them cannot, not even a letter,
though this deserves one.
John Judge

ps - I still contend that Operation Mongoose had NO intention of killing
Castro but was a cover for domestic assassination here. I just read an
interview where Jim Garrison began to lean that way, seeing a dual
purpose to it. But, it's more fun to think that all Presidents are
killers, instead of realizing JFK was killed for refusing to. Let's
throw in the rest of the Eisenhower/Nixon plots as well, and blame JFK
for Lamumba and Diem while we're at it. Now then, they had it coming,
didn't they? OK, go back to sleep America.

Gus Russo appeared in the late 80's claiming to be a JFK assassination
researcher, and tapped many unsuspecting folks for information (I was
always wary of him), then showed his true colors at a symposium in
Chicago where he openly became an apologist for the Warren Commission
version. Others in the research community kept dealing with him though.

At the inception of COPA in 1994, we got word from some of them that Gus
was lunching with the likes of Helms, Colby, etc. and that they were
probing him about the first COPA national conference and whether we were
going to blame their friend David Atlee Phillips for the murder. He was
flattered to be among them, and clearly bought their line. "They call me
Gus" he happily told one researcher. We had other names for him, of

He was hired as a consultant for a History Channel series about Oswald,
and he does keep exhaustive files. Of course the program came to the
same conclusion, Oswald was a skill-less malcontent who shot the

Russo wrote a book based on what the intelligence boys fed him (look
again at the Nation piece sources for the interpretation that this is an
assassination plot, even an unnamed CIA source - who needs the fucking
New York Times, now the Nation can use the same smarmy "journalism"
instead). It was originally titled Reap the Whirlwind. This is the

There was no rogue element in the CIA or Mongoose, they were just
following orders from JFK to kill Castro.

The old hands at the CIA were not comfortable with these assassination
plots, but they were forced to go along by the Kennedy brothers, who
were "out of control".

The plots to kill Castro, though unsuccessful, caused the "Commie"
malcontent Oswald to kill JFK in retaliation.

The Kennedy brothers "reaped the whirlwind" of their killing plots and
were killed themselves instead. (i.e. Had it coming).

David Corn, like Max Holland and Russo, are self-conceited intellectual
arbiters from the circles around IPS (note they quote Halpern too) who
despise the left and the counter-cultural movement. (Well, hell, all you
need to do is think about your previous CAQ editor to know the fucking
mentality, Lou.) Corn slammed me in print way back when I started the
Mae Brussell Center, linking me to the paranoid right wing militia.
Holland used to sleaze into the COPA meetings with Ben Franklin of
Washington Spectator for no other purpose than to do hit pieces. No
wonder they liked him at the Nation! Holland has a book coming that
defends the Warren Commission.

They fall in line behind I.F. Stone, Alexander Cockburn, Howard Zinn,
Noam Chomsky and whatever else passes for left intellectuals in this
culture, going beyond saying that it doesn't matter if there was a
conspiracy to actually attacking those who say there was.

The Nation has suppressed this information from inception, and one has
to wonder about the money behind it, especially the proto-fascist
Hamilton Fish, Sr. They hate the counter-culture and the grassroots
left. Look at their defense of Gore and slamming of Nader during the
last election for an example.

I suggest the new book False Mystery by Vincent Salandria, a brilliant
early critic, and also History Will Not Absolve Us by Martin Schotz for
clear left analysis of the case and early indictments of The Nation.

Russo is slick, full of "facts", and hard at work performing the second
assassination of the Kennedy's, along with the CIA's old wonder boy,
Seymour Hersh. Yes, there is a "dark side" to the Kennedy saga, all you
have to do is look at the old man for that, but it was when the boys
broke free that the trouble really started. They responded to the civil
rights and anti-nuclear movements in a way no one before or after them
ever did. Not because they were saints, but because they were clear
headed politicians. Whatever "dark side" they had it has to be compared
to the "black hole" of the forces that killed them first. Once we name
the killers, then we can talk about the crimes of the victims. These
"writers" will only address the latter. It's a lot safer, and they get
to lunch with the CIA and be told the "inside story" that no one has
ever heard before (yeah, right!).

John Judge


Thanks for the kind words about the Nation story. I was pleased with
the way it came out. In my opinion, the memo generates quite a bit of
smoke, as I doubt that RFK would have brought up any sort of plan to
assassinate Castro in the presence of his brother, the President, if
JFK had been sitting there with "virgin ears" that had never heard
talk of such a thing before. By implication, then, the memo shows
more knowledge on JFK's part than what he would have picked up in
that single meeting. On those other occasions, however, there was
no Lansdale present to indiscreetly record the discussions.

I'd like to hear more of your thoughts on the memo, and, for that
matter, on the Nation story.


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Marina calls LHO 007

Rick Nelson quotes Marina as telling LHO: "Stop spending so much time being James Bond and get a job, you have two kids to feed."

And Marina quotes LHO as saying with admiration, in Oct 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis: "President Kennedy will get us all out of this mess."

Other notes from Linda Minor - a really good researcher:

Ruth Hyde Paine's sister Silvia Hyde had an Air Force Security clearance - USAF OSI
Per Linda Minor

In July 1960 Bell Helicopter was bought by Textron for $34 million cash in deal backed by Blair & Co. And Prescott Bush at G. H. Walker & Co.

Father Sam Bush - from Columbus Ohio - home of the Defense Industrial Security Command.


As all of you may or may not know, the 6.5x52mm Carcano rifles (one version of these was reputedly used by Oswald to kill JFK) have a reputation for being inaccurate rifles. This is not a particularly fair judgement, as some models of Carcanos (the long rifles especially) are very accurate rifles, IF loaded with the correct ammunition.

While the Italians did embark on some rather silly programs in their efforts to economize the manufacture of 6.5mm Carcano carbines and short rifles, and while many of these programs ended in the production of disastrous rifles, the bulk of the blame for inaccuracy lies in the ammunition. Surprisingly, most of the ammunition problems were not with Italian military ammunition, and a good deal of these problems did not become apparent until long after World War Two.

However, we should begin with the Italian 6.5mm ammunition that was issued to troops in WWII, as it had its own unique problems.

By the time Italy entered WWII in June, 1940, the bulk of its 6.5x52mm rifle ammunition, manufactured for WWI and Italy's African campaigns in the 1920's, was twenty year old ammunition. While most good American made ammo will still be serviceable after twenty years, there was something unique to these cartridges that made very unreliable. The primers in these cartridges (the small round device at the bottom of the cartridge that is struck by the firing pin and ignites the gunpowder) were charged with a compound that proved to be very corrosive. Misfires (cartridge does not fire) and hangfires (cartridge fires several seconds or many seconds after the trigger is pulled) are consistently reported over the decades by gun enthusiasts attempting to fire military surplus Italian cartridges in their Carcanos, to the point that gun experts have routinely warned against shooting this ammunition. Needless to say, improper ignition of a cartridge's gunpowder load will seriously effect the accuracy of a bullet fired from that cartridge.

In a worst case scenario, the Carcano firing pin will rupture the corroded primer and allow burning gases from the gunpowder to escape the base of the cartridge. This has led to myths of American GI's in post war Italy firing Carcanos and, from a ruptured primer, having the Carcano rifle bolt driven through their skull. The starters of this myth are not only unfamiliar with the Carcano's Mauser bolt and its two forward locking lugs, they also must be unaware that bolt action rifles are equipped with gas port vents on the sides of the chamber that will vent high pressure gases in the event of a primer or case rupture.

More interesting about Italian milsurp ammo is that researchers have removed the bullets from these cartridges and discovered, in a box of 18 cartridges, vast differences in the amount of gunpowder loaded into each cartridge; indicating that quality control was seriously lacking in Italian munitions factories. One can only imagine how frustrating it was for Italian troops attempting to home in on the range of a target, only to have successive bullets leaving their rifles at different muzzle velocities.

But enough of Italian ammunition. The real reputation for inaccuracy enjoyed by the Carcanos began after WWII when these rifles began showing up on the domestic market in North America. There are many 6.5mm calibre rifles in the world and they all share one thing in common; a bore diameter of 6.5 mm or about .256". The rifling groove diameter of these rifles (also the bullet diameter) is also identical in every single one of these rifles EXCEPT the 6.5mm Carcano. While the world standard diameter for 6.5 mm bullets is .264", the makers of the Carcano elected to cut deeper rifling grooves in these barrels, and this rifle will only shoot accurately with a bullet that is .268" in diameter; the groove diameter of a Carcano barrel.

The problem is well detailed in this article:

As strange as it may sound, until 2002, the only 6.5mm bullets manufactured to a diameter of .268" were those loaded into Italian military cartridges pre-1945. In other words, for just over 50 years, sporting ammunition was made for Carcano rifles but, EVERY SINGLE MANUFACTURER was loading bullets into these cartridges that were too small. Finally, in 2002, Hornady addressed this problem, and made available to handloaders 6.5mm Carcano bullets that were the proper diameter of .268".

To those unfamiliar with ballistics, a difference in diameter of only .004" may seem insignificant, yet this is all that is needed to entirely throw off the accuracy of a Carcano rifle. Not only do the rifling grooves have insufficient grip on the smaller bullet to gyroscopically stabilize it in flight, there are now four gaps around the bullet, each .002" deep, that allow the propellant gases driving the bullet down the barrel to escape past the bullet; diminishing velocity.

This, of course, leads us to the ammunition purportedly used by Oswald to kill JFK; namely, the 6.5x52 mm Carcano ammunition manufactured by the Western Cartridge Co. of East Alton, Illinois, USA. The FBI provided a lovely little cock and bull story about the WCC manufacturing 4 million rounds of this ammunition in 1954 for the USMC who, of course, had no weapons capable of shooting this ammunition. In cloak and dagger fashion right out of the Spy vs. Spy comics, the FBI hints that this ammunition was, in fact, made for the CIA and spirited away to arm anti-Communist factions in some remote Third World theatre. It is an amusing story, and almost believable, until one looks at this period in history and realizes there were no armed conflicts, at that period in time, where one or both of the factions had a preponderance of 6.5mm Carcano rifles.

In an effort to quiet people such as myself, and to spread confusion amongst conspiracy theorists, Cointelpro agents have attempted a compromise, and let it be known, through various channels, that the WCC 6.5mm Carcano ammo MAY have been manufactured in 1949, but no earlier. The recipients this time were named as Loyalist (read anti-Communist) factions in the Greek Civil War. This is getting much closer to the truth but, it is still an outrageous lie, as the Greek Civil War was winding down by 1948 and ended in 1949; a little late to be supplying ammunition. Often the Greek Civil War is cited as taking place between 1946 and 1949, yet, to anyone who has studied History, this too is misleading. Although the Greek Civil War really got into full swing after the end of WWII (once those pesky Krauts were out of the way in December 1944), it was British forces siding with the Loyalist Greek forces and issuing a disarmament ultimatum to Greek partisans post-WWII that excluded right wing forces that finally set things in motion.

The Civil War actually started in 1942 with the German/Italian occupation of Greece, and the Greek government in exile. The occupation acted as a catalyst to Communist forces in Greece, as it did in many occupied nations, and while the various partisan factions all had the ultimate objective of expelling the occupying German/Italian forces, there were no illusions in the minds of any of these groups, and it was understood that the expulsion of the occupiers would leave a power vacuum that could only be filled by one group. The British and Americans were also aware of this, and were careful to assure that pro-government partisans received a higher level of aid than the Communists.

With the signing of an armistice on Sept. 8, 1943, Italy was officially out of the War; much to the disgust and dismay of their fellow occupiers in Greece, the Germans. As the Italians never really had their heart in the War, and now saw the Germans in Italy as nothing more than occupiers in their own country, the German commanders were painfully aware of the predicament they could place themselves in by allowing several thousand Italian troops to return home from Greece, still armed with their 6.5mm Carcano rifles. Each repatriated Italian soldier had the potential of becoming a Nazi killing partisan once he got back to Italy, and it was decided that all Italian troops would be disarmed, by force if necessary, before they returned to Italy.

Great caches of 6.5mm Carcano rifles went into storage in Greece and, when Germany retreated in December, 1944, it was first come first serve and the rifles were quickly divided amongst the opposing partisans.

At this point, it should be pointed out that the ammunition for the Greek infantry rifle, the 6.5x54 mm Mannlicher-Schoenauer Greek, was about as close as you could get to a 6.5x52 mm Carcano cartridge. The main difference is the .264" diameter bullet loaded into the Mannlicher-Schoenauer cartridge and the .268" diameter bullet loaded into the Carcano cartridge.

6.5 x 52 mm Carcano cartridge (.268" bullet diameter)

Interestingly, the rimless bases of the two cartridges and the angle of the shoulders are identical. The only differences are the overall length of the cartridges (54 mm vs. 52 mm) and the fact that the shoulder of the Carcano cartridge is 1 mm closer to the base than the MS shoulder is. For this reason, you CANNOT load a 6.5x54mm MS cartridge into a Carcano rifle, as the shoulder will bottom in the chamber just before the bolt is closed, but you CAN load a 6.5x52mm Carcano cartridge into a 6.5mm Mannlicher-Schoenauer rifle and close the bolt. The only thing stopping you from pulling the trigger is the knowledge that you have loaded a cartridge into your 6.5mm Mannlicher-Schoenauer that is loaded with a bullet that is .004" too big for the MS barrel, and if you pull the trigger, the rifle could blow up in your face.

Can anyone see where I am going with this, and how it relates to the assassination of JFK? No? Well, be patient, I've almost gotten to the good part.

As I said, the British and Americans were no dummies, and they could readily see the power vacuum evolving in Greece and several other Balkan states. They also had, following the Italian Armistice in 1943, many thousands of ex-Italian troops, still carrying their Carcanos, taking up the struggle against the Nazis in Italy. These were uncertain times and, while the Nazis were forced out of southern Europe mostly in 1944, the rugged Italian terrain and the tenacity of the German troops led many to believe the war in Italy could last well into 1946 0r 1947.

This led to a logistics problem for the Americans, who wished to supply Italian and Greek partisans with ammunition as economically as possible. To further complicate matters, Greek armourers took many of the captured 6.5mm Carcanos and converted them to 6.5mm Mannlicher-Schoenauers. This was a simple matter of machining the inner shoulder of the barrel's chamber 1 mm further into the chamber, allowing the 6.5mm MS cartridge to seat and the bolt to close. As stated before, a great deal of accuracy would be lost by now shooting a MS bullet .264" in diameter through a barrel designed for a bullet .268" in diameter but, if a partisan aimed for an opponent's stomach, he still stood a good chance of hitting him somewhere.

So let's see what we have. We have the Greek 6.5mm Mannlicher-Schoenauer rifle which will shoot a Carcano cartridge IF that cartridge is loaded with a bullet .264" in diameter, we have the converted 6.5 MS rifles that will shoot a Carcano cartridge (the Carcano brass will stretch to take up the 1 mm slack) loaded with either a .264" or .268" bullet, and we have stock 6.5mm Carcano rifles in Greece and Italy that will also shoot a 6.5mm Carcano cartridge loaded with either a .264" or .268" bullet. Can the Americans make one cartridge that would supply everyone? Yes.

As it was almost certain there would be a civil war in Greece, the 6.5mm MS rifles took precedence. This is why the American Defense Dept., prior to 1944, contracted the WCC to manufacture 4 million rounds of 6.5x52mm Carcano cartridges and had these cartridges loaded with bullets that were .264" in diameter.

I will stop here for now, and finish up tonight with the last installment of this tale.

 How the FBI Spilled the Beans
Before we start, I have a small confession to make. I have spent the last couple of years attempting to determine if the bullets loaded into the 6.5mm cartridges manufactured by the Western Cartridge Company, three of which were allegedly fired at JFK, were loaded with bullets that were .264" or .268" in diameter. I have attempted to purchase these cartridges but, as only 4 million were made roughly 70 years ago, the majority of them have either been fired or gone into the hands of JFK collectors. Besides that, with Canada's strict gun laws, importing ammunition is a difficult, if not impossible task.

What I was too dumb to see was that the answer was right in front of me all along and had been there since the FBI's firearms expert, SA Robert Frazier, testified to the Warren Commission in 1964. Frazier was even so good as to supply us with a photo of the Magic Bullet, CE 399, with a Metric scale in the photo in millimetres and centimetres that allows us to measure CE 399 for ourselves; just in case we wish to verify Frazier's measurements.

BTW, I should give credit here to David Josephs for posting the photo of CE 399 with the Metric scale, plus Frazier's testimony, on another thread. God only knows how much longer I would have continued looking at the obvious and completely missing it.

As I have stated before, Frazier was one of the biggest BS'ers to appear before the WC, and I take great delight in exposing his nonsense. Look closely at the photo of CE 399 below:

And now the best part, SA Robert Frazier testifying to the WC:

"Mr. EISENBERG - Yes; for the record, these cartridges were found on the sixth. floor of the School Book Depository Building. They were found near the south east corner window--that is, the easternmost window on the southern face of the sixth floor of that building.
Mr. Frazier, are these cartridge cases which have just been admitted into evidence the same type of cartridge-- from the same type of cartridge as you just examined, Commission Exhibit No. 141?
Mr. FRAZIER - Yes; they are.
Mr. EISENBERG - That is, 6.5 mm. Mannlicher-Carcano, manufactured by the Western Cartridge Co.?
Mr. FRAZIER - Yes, sir.
Mr. EISENBERG - You gave the weight of the bullet which is found in this type of cartridge. Could you give us a description of the contour of the bullet, and its length?
Mr. FRAZIER - The bullet has parallel sides, with a round nose, is fully jacketed with a copper-alloy coating or metal jacket on the outside of a lead core. Its diameter is 6.65 millimeters. The length--possibly it would be better to put it in inches rather than millimeters The diameter is .267 inches, and a length of 1.185, or approximately 1.2 inches.

Okay, now, Frazier, the great firearms expert, measured CE 399 and found it to be 6.65 mm in diameter or, as he testifies, ".267 inches". The actual diameter of a real Carcano bullet is .2677" and is normally rounded off to .268".

But, that is not the problem here. The problem here is that while Frazier may have measured the bullet and found it to be 6.65 mm, 6.65 mm does not equal .267". If you go to this handy dandy conversion site and use their calculator, you will see that 6.65 mm equals .2618", not .267". In other words, not only did Frazier like to stretch the truth, he was a bit on the lazy side as well. He measured the bullet diameter in millimetres but never did the conversion to inches. He likely read the measurement of .267" in a text and assumed 6.65 mm would equal .267".

However, as there is no bullet on the planet that measures 6.65 mm in diameter, I compared the diameter of CE 399 in the photo to the Metric scale above it and found the diameter closer to 6.7 mm. Now, if we process that, we find that 6.7 mm = .263779" or *SURPRISE!!!* .264", the standard diameter of every 6.5mm bullet in the world except the Carcano, and exactly the bullet I suspected was loaded into the WCC ammunition.

And there you have it, folks, right from the horse's mouth. No theory, no conjecture, no wild imagination. Instead, we not only have the WC testimony of an FBI firearms expert that CE 399 was only .264" (or less) in diameter, we have the picture to prove it, PLUS a Metric scale in that photo to confirm Frazier's testimony. One of the WC commissioners, McCloy, later questioned Frazier about whether he was sure he came up with a measurement of 6.65 mm, and Frazier was quite adamant this was the figure. The photo, of course, confirms it. McCloy must have been intelligent enough to do the conversion from Metric to inches, and spotted Frazier's error. It is strange he never mentioned anything.

The search is over. The 6.5mm Carcano cartridges found on the 6th floor of the TSBD and made by the WCC were loaded with bullets that were too small in diameter for the rifle they were being fired from. Considering all of the other deficiencies I have pointed out, there is simply no way Oswald or the Carcano found on the 6th floor were part of the assassination of JFK.
Last edited by Bob Prudhomme; 03-29-2014 at 01:06 PM.

i'm not disagreeing with you because CE 2766 was probably used as a diversion or bullet evidence gun, however wasn't the magic bullet slightly deformed causing its width to vary? I would think a caliper measurement would be the best way to discover what you are looking for. I'm not sure looking at a photo would be good for .004

Power of Suggestion

Power of Suggestion

Kreskin said he wasn't a magician - just a master at psychology - the primary tool of the psychological warrior, and proponent of the power of suggestion.

The power of suggestion comes into play in a number of key areas that make it appear the circumstances were completely happenstance and by chance when in fact they can, in retrospect, be shown to have been by design.

Volkmar Schmidt told me that the night he met Oswald at a party at his house in February 1963 he suggested to Oswald that General a Walker should be assassinated as Hitler should have been.

Ruth Paine suggested Marina Oswald move in with her in April and again in September 1963 and transported the rifle from Texas to New Orleans and back again.

In New Orleans Oswald's former neighbor drives him around and suggested he take an apartment on Magazine street, where Col./Dr. Jose Rivera in DC had known Oswald would live weeks earlier.

Phil Shenon tries to claim that at a party in Mexico City some Castro Cuban Communists suggested to Oswald that he kill JFK.

Ruth Paine suggested to Roy Truly that he hire Oswald at the TSBD.

Someone in his office building, which also included the ONI and Secret Service, suggested to Stephen Witt that he should protest the president by flashing his umbrella - a symbol of his father Joe Kennedy's support of Chamberlain and appeasement at Munich - and JFK - as he rode by - would get it. And if he did get the Umbrella Man's message it was the last thing he got before being shot in the head.

Abraham Zapruder's secretary suggested he buy an 8mm movie camera and film the president As he passed through Dealey Plaza.

Lingo and Nomenclature

Lingo and Nomenclature

Just as scientists, musicians, street gangs and con-artists have their own slang vocabulary, so do the the covert intelligence operatives who conducted the Dealey Plaza operation.

So if you want to understand how - not why JFK was killed, you have to learn and understand the lingo of the covert intelligence operatives - and some of them are the same as the confidence men and con-artists who pulled off the Big Con - magic trick at Dealey Plaza.

The confidence men and co-artists who concocted the Big Con stings were intelligent white collar professionals and looked upon by the common thrives and street gangsters as the elite of the criminal underground, and deservingly so.

While the main wizards and magicians behind the curtain at Task Force W - in the basement of the CIA's Headquarters were kept apart from the operators at JMWAVE in Miami, there was another level of security that kept what US Army Ranger Capt. Brad Ayers called the "inside men" like Ted Shackley from meeting the Cubans he was training and ordering around.

The contact with the Cubans were made by "case officers" like David Atlee Philips who ran Antonio Veciana and possibly Lee Harvey Oswald.

The Big Con, as described by David Maurer, also used the terms "inside" and "outside" men - as the Roper who identified and brought the Marks to the Store where they were fleeced by the "inside man."

Just as in the Big Con and "Sting" movie, the store front at JMWAVE was set up as a believable facade -?Zenith Technological Services, so if you went there you would only see what was in reality much like a Hollywood western town of fade fronts - behind which the covert operations were launched.

US Army Ranger Captain Bradley E. Ayers was assigned to the Special Warfare Section (SWS) to train anti-Castro Cuban commandos at JMWAVE -

After meeting Des Fitzgerald, William Harvey and other bigwigs at Task Force W in the basement of the CIA HQ, Ayers went to report to the SWS field office at JWMWAVE - that he describes in his book the Zenith Secret (p. 17): "The Miami HQ was a covered under a civilian corporation known as Zenith Technological Services -located at the University of Miami South Campus, adjacent to the abandoned Richmond Naval Air Station...At considerable expense the CIA had refurbished the old wooden buildings and set up operations as Zenith Technological Enterprise, a firm doing classified government research....They had missed no detail in setting up the false front of Technological Enterprise. There were phony sales and production charts on the walls and business licenses from the state and federal governments. A notice to salesman, pinned near the door, advising them of the calling hours of various departments. The crowning touch was the certificate of award from the United Givers (Way) Fund for outstanding participation in its annual fund drive."

Among the "Inside Men" at JMWAVE were station chief Ted Shackley and his director of Maritime Operations Gordon Campbell, whose "Outside Man" was "Karl" - a German whose cover was that of a contractor for a Texas petroleum research firm, and logistical coordinator for a commando team led by Tony Sforza.

Just as Paul Newman - aka Charlie Gondorf - the "Inside Man" in the movie The Sting - is apparently killed at the end of the Con - complete with fake blood, both the "Inside" and "Outside" men are apparently knocked off

As Big Con actors both Campbell and Karl were, like Gondorf and Oswald - "expendable" or at least their characters were killed off at mission's end - and they went on to other roles and other capacities in similar operations.

"Karl" was apparently "killed" when pushed out of a helicopter - as witnessed by Ayers and investigated by the USAF SIO; while Campbell officially died in 1962 - though Ayers recalls receiving instructions from him in November 1963 and says it was Campbell who disbanded the commando operations later that year.

See: Campbell death certificate - (Morley/Talbot)

and JFKCountercoup - Memo from Des Bundy to Dez Fitz - About those Cubans.

Glossary - Acronyms-crypts-codes:

Sunday, May 3, 2015

How JFK Was Killed - And Why It Matters

How JFK Was Killed - And Why It Matters -

 There are many books that try to explain who killed JFK and why - but by figuring out the Dealy Plaza MO -Modus Operandi - that of a successful covert intelligence operation - a planned military ambush - An operation that was piggy-backed by a Psychwar black propaganda operation that failed to be convincing - that Castro Cuban Communists were behind what happened at Dealey Plaza - but one that successfully helps keep the real truth from becoming known, recognized and accepted.

 Just as Stephen Hawking writes in the "Brief History of Time" that he was told that he would lose readers every time he used an equation or calculus he decided not to use any - except for E=MC2 - the Universal Field Theory of Dealey Plaza doesn't even factor in the ballistics, acoustics, photo or forensic evidence that only specialists can truly understand.

 It doesn't even matter if Lee Harvey Oswald was the line sniper or the patsy he claimed he was.

 The only thing necessary is to assume the basic facts that JFK was shot in the back and in the head by bullets fired from a high powered rifle in a military style sniper ambush while riding in an open car in a motorcade at Dealey Plaza and the a rifle alleged to have been used in the attack was found in the Texas Schoolbook Depository.