ECHOES OF CONSPIRACY                                         February 28, 1986
Vol. 8, #1                                                        Paul L. Hoch

<<"Reasonable Doubt":>>
     Henry Hurt's book should be in your local bookstore now, although it did
not reach some of the big chains quickly.  The official publication date was
January 27.  (Holt Rinehart Winston, 555 pp., $19.95)
     I am too close to the case (and to the book) to judge "Reasonable Doubt"
as a whole, rather than by assessing each piece of evidence as new or old, and
each argument as familiar or unfamiliar, persuasive or implausible.
     We will see what the reviewers and publicists do with a book which claims
that it is not pushing a specific solution to the mystery of the JFK assass-
ination.  So far, I have seen no ads and only the reviews listed below.
     Hurt's reluctance to endorse a single solution is particularly under-
standable in light of the history of his involvement in the case.  Exposure to
the legendary Ed Epstein and then to a volunteered "confession" could make
anyone wary of anybody's solution.  The beneficial result of that introduction
is that Hurt was very willing to look at the work of critics who could provide
hard facts and careful analysis.  Even the jacket copy says nice things about
the buffs, and nothing about who killed JFK.
     Understandably, Hurt is not optimistic about the chances for a resolution:
"The seeds of neglected evidence sown across the landscape in the wake of the
assassination have matured into a jungle of powerful contradictions.  Nourished
by solid information, each promising theme contends with other themes.  The
entanglement has become so impenetrable that no single theory, no final
answer, can break free to stand unchallenged as a solution...."  (P. 429)
Hurt endorses Jim Lesar's suggestion of a special unit in the Justice Depart-
ment, with specific Congressional funding, patterned after the anti-Nazi
Office of Special Investigations.
     Since I don't think I know who killed Kennedy, Hurt's approach generally
appeals to me.  I think the book does a good job of reflecting the ambiguity of
much of the evidence, and the variety of plausible explanations.

     Hurt's most striking new evidence, surprisingly, does go directly to the
question of "who did it" -- but in the Tippit case.  He does not overemphasize
it, but it is a lead which raises the same kind of basic challenge to the
integrity of the Dallas evidence as David Lifton's work does to the Bethesda
     Hurt persuaded me that Tippit was in Oak Cliff an hour after JFK was shot
to take care of some very personal business.  Hurt talked to a woman who had
an affair with Tippit.  She thought she was pregnant by Tippit; the timing
suggests that she may have just learned this on November 22.  This was a
problem not only for Tippit, who was married, but also for the woman.  She had
recently been reconciled with her ex-husband, who was previously jealous
enough to follow her and Tippit around Oak Cliff at night.
     Hurt's exposition reflects the kind of caution that lawyers would be
expected to encourage.  For example, he does not name the woman, whom I will
refer to as Rosetta Stone.  Her name is available to anyone with access to the
HSCA volumes who can ignore a typo in Hurt's footnote and find the Tippit
material in Vol. 12.  (Or see "Coverups," 12/85)  Her name has been known to
some critics for years.  Hurt credits Larry Harris with finding her, prompted
by an anonymous 1968 letter to Jim Garrison which Gary Shaw obtained.
(Rosetta was not named in that letter, but described as a waitress who worked
with Tippit at Austin's Barbecue.)
     It is not clear if Hurt believes that he and Harris have discovered why
Tippit was killed, or merely why he was in Oak Cliff.  He seems persuaded by
other evidence that Oswald did not do it.
     The jealous husband and Rosetta "both deny any knowledge of Tippit's
death other than what is in the official account."  (P. 168)  Hurt does not go
into detail, but I doubt that he accepted Mr. Stone's denial at face value.
8 EOC 1                              -2-

     Hurt does quote a retired DPD officer who "asserted flatly and without
prompting that he believed Tippit was killed as a result of a volatile
personal situation involving his lover and her estranged husband.  He added,
`It would look like hell for Tippit to have been murdered and have it look
like he was screwing around with this woman....  Somebody had to change the
tape....  Somebody had to go to the property room and change those [cartridge]
hulls and put some of Oswald's hulls in there....'"  Other DPD officers
reportedly share these beliefs.
     The book contains a brief discussion of the implications of this account.
"The purpose [of the alteration of evidence], perhaps, would be twofold:
to seal the case against Oswald [in the JFK case] by showing irrevocably his
capacity for violence and to wrap up the case of Tippit's murder without
disgracing him, his family, and the unborn child.  And, of course, there would
be an outpouring of grief [and financial support - PLH] for a police comrade
slain by the presidential assassin."  (P. 168)  I would emphasize that if such
relatively innocent tampering can be confirmed, the question of tampering with
the evidence against Oswald in the JFK case has to be raised with new intensity.
     This area seems ripe for additional investigation, official or unofficial.
For example, what can we now make of the sighting (near the Tippit murder
scene) of a license plate number traced back to a friend of Tippit, Carl
Mather?  (12 HSCA 37)  The HSCA apparently failed to reach a conclusion, but if
you ignore the claim that Oswald was in the car, the story -- and Mather's
nervousness when interviewed by Wes Wise -- might be significant.
     Hurt reviews the familiar evidence on Tippit's problematic presence in
Oak Cliff, and the radio instructions which sent him there.  He interviewed
R. C. Nelson, supposedly instructed to go to Oak Cliff at the same time, who
seemed puzzled by Hurt's questioning and reluctant to talk.  Dispatcher Murray
Jackson "stoutly denied knowledge of any fraudulent manipulation of the tapes
in order to provide an excuse for Tippit's being so far away from his assigned
district at the time of his death," but his account seems unsatisfactory to
me.  (Pp. l62-3)
     Before I knew about Rosetta Stone, I argued that the messages in question
didn't sound right.  In November 1981, I raised this issue in a letter to Dr.
James Barger.  (#1986.1, 2 pp.)  If tampering with any of the recordings could
be shown, the timing problem in the acoustical analysis resulting from the
"hold everything secure" crosstalk match might have to be reconsidered.
     I suggested that both the tone and wording of two key messages were in
the "formal mode" which one would expect only in important messages -- or in a
later re-creation.  "You are in the Oak Cliff area, are you not?" seemed
significantly more formal than "What's your location?", "Are you en route to
Parkland, 601?", and similar inquiries recorded that day; it resembles "You do
not have the suspect.  Is that correct?", where the "formal mode" is expected.
Similarly, "You will be at large for any emergency that comes in" contrasts
with "Remain in downtown area, available for call" and "Stand by there until
we notify you."
     This kind of analysis has been of evidentiary value in at least one other
case, involving a tape (released by Larry Flynt) purportedly of a conversation
between John De Lorean and FBI informant James Hoffman.  Jack Anderson
reported that psycholinguist Murray Miron was able to establish that the tape
had been faked.  (24 May 84, SFC, #1986.2)  In addition to the anomalously
unresponsive content of "Hoffman's" remarks, his "speech cadences... `are
consistent with those to be expected from one who has rehearsed or is reading
from a script.'"  Anderson described Miron as a "longtime FBI consultant."
The Justice Department should certainly sponsor that kind of analysis of the
Tippit messages.

     There is a second very provocative piece of new evidence, resulting from
Hurt's 1982 phone call to Adm. George Burkley.  He said "that he believed that
8 EOC 1                              -3-

President Kennedy's assassination was the result of a conspiracy."  He
subsequently refused "to discuss any aspect of the case."  (P. 49)
     As JFK's personal physician, and the only doctor present at Parkland and
the Bethesda autopsy, Burkley was in an especially crucial position.  He did
not testify to the Warren Commission (which published his contemporaneous
report containing basically no medical details, CE 1126.)  He did give five
interviews to William Manchester (the last one in July, 1966).  Manchester
recently told me that Burkley did not then believe there had been a conspi-
racy.  However, Hurt notes that in a 1967 oral history interview, Burkley was
asked if he agreed with the Warren Commission on the number of bullets that
hit JFK; he replied, "I would not care to be quoted on that."  The HSCA
interviewed Burkley at least once, generating in addition an outside contact
report and an affidavit -- all unpublished and unavailable.
     Along with the Tippit evidence, the Burkley assertion of conspiracy calls
for intense examination by the Justice Department and, I hope, by some
reporters.  (For my letters to Assistant AG Stephen Trott, ask for #1986.3
[1 Feb 86, on Burkley] and #4 [2 pp., 4 Feb 86, on Tippit].)
     Hurt devotes only a few pages in a "grab bag" chapter to Lifton's thesis,
but there is some interesting speculation in an area where Burkley might know
crucial facts.  (Incidentally, much of the "classical" critique of the single
bullet theory and other aspects of the medical and physical evidence in Hurt's
earlier chapters seems obsolete.  The SBT is implausible but supported by a
surprising amount of HSCA evidence; if it is wrong, tampering on a Liftonesque
scale must have taken place, and we need to either pursue Lifton's argument or
come up with another scenario.  Studying the flaws in the official inves-
tigations is not likely to produce progress in this area.)
     Hurt concludes that "Lifton builds a powerful case" that JFK's body was
separated from the ceremonial motorcade, and that his "evidence is equally
strong on the point that <> happened to the wounds on the body between
Dallas and Bethesda.  However, his sinister interpretation of what might have
happened does not have the strong supportive evidence found for his basic
points."  (P. 427)
     Hurt suggests that "the Secret Service and other powerful elements in the
government might have felt an overwhelming necessity to examine the body for
evidence at the soonest possible moment," given fears of a conspiracy.  "It
does not seem unreasonable that these circumstances could have coalesced into
an overriding concern for national security that demanded the President's body
be placed on an autopsy table as soon as humanly possible -- without awaiting
the folderol of transporting the body through the streets with the family and
public at hand.  Moreover, it does not seem unreasonable that certain security
people in the government were appalled that the official autopsy was going to
be conducted at the whim of the family and by Navy brass with pitifully little
experience in forensic pathology."
     When I saw this speculation in Hurt's draft of this section, it struck me
as plausible and well worth pursuing.  The perspective of people who realized
that the body might provide conclusive evidence of a conspiracy should be
taken into account (and I don't think it generally has been).
     Certainly an "innocent national security autopsy" does not explain away
Lifton's evidence indicating changes to the wounds, and Lifton can discourse
at great length (and with considerable persuasiveness) against such a hypo-
thesis, which I raised with him in general terms long ago.
     At the very least, however, Hurt's analysis might lead us to new infor-
mation about what key people really think happened to JFK's body before the
Bethesda autopsy.  I have assumed for years that there must be some expla-
nation going around in official and family circles, and I was surprised that
none surfaced after "Best Evidence" was published.
     Hurt's manuscript led me to check the record on the authorization of the
autopsy.  Is it possible, I wonder, that the record significantly minimizes
Jacqueline Kennedy's opposition to an autopsy?  If the opposition was very
8 EOC 1                              -4-

strong or more prolonged than is generally assumed, I have no trouble
believing that someone decided to go ahead with an "inspection" regardless.
     Burkley's own account noted that, while kneeling before Jackie, he
"expressed [the] complete desire of all of us and especially of myself to
comply with her wishes, stating that it was necessary that the President be
taken to a hospital prior to going to the White House.  She questioned why and
I stated it must be determined, if possible, the type of bullet used and
compare this with future material found."  (CE 1126, p.6)  This makes more
sense if you insert a few words:  "her wishes to go directly to the White
House, but stating...."  In his oral history interview, Burkley said that
Jackie's decision to go to Bethesda was arrived at "after some consideration,"
which might mean it took a while to convince her.
     It is not unfair to read Burkley's comments critically, with the
suspicion that he was minimizing Jackie's reluctance to authorize an autopsy
or even his own knowledge of alternative plans.  As late as the 1967 oral
history interview, he took the Kennedy family line on JFK's adrenal and back
problems, describing JFK as an "essentially normal, healthy male," with above-
average "vigor and vitality."
     Kenneth O'Donnell testified that "we didn't tell her [Jackie] there was
to be an autopsy."  (7 WCH 454-5)  Evidently the matter was discussed with her
in terms of going to a hospital to remove bullets.
     Restrictions during the Bethesda autopsy have been dealt with in some
detail by both the HSCA and Lifton.  The HSCA did not publish anything about
earlier restrictions -- e.g., Jackie's resistance to the whole idea of even a
limited effort to remove the bullets.  The HSCA may well have gathered
relevant evidence.
     One reason Hurt's hypothesis appeals to me is that concern for Jackie's
feelings -- since her wishes were essentially bypassed -- might explain why
there was no quasi-official detailed rebuttal to Lifton's book.  I would be
glad to share more of my thoughts on this hypothesis with reporters or anyone
else in a position to work on it.

     The chapters on Oswald in New Orleans and on the questions relating to
intelligence agencies are particularly good.
     Neither the HSCA nor its case against the Mafia gets a lot of attention.
I generally like Hurt's analysis of Garrison, but I am not impressed by his
treatment of Blakey and the HSCA.
     The detailed citations, including many to unpublished FBI and CIA
documents, add to the value of the book as an overview.  There are also many
references to Hurt's own interviews.
     Some interesting hypotheses were already familiar to me (and some got to
Hurt through me), but I'm particularly pleased to see them in wider circulation.
     For example, Hurt explores the idea that Oswald was (or thought he was)
working on behalf of Sen. Thomas Dodd's investigation of mail-order firearm
sales.  This was suggested by Sylvia Meagher ("Accessories," p. 194) and
pursued in detail by Fred Newcomb.  It might explain Oswald's peculiar weapons
purchases.  (P. 300 ff.)
     In this context, Hurt also reports some of my old analysis of a Klein's
Sporting Goods ad in Oswald's possessions, torn from a magazine which was
found in Adrian Alba's garage -- after a mysterious stranger, claiming to be a
friend of Alba's, showed up on the morning of November 23rd to "borrow" some
magazines.  (P. 297)
     Hurt also reports Larry Haapanen's observations on the official concern
about Commie influence in the Clinton civil rights drive, and its possible
relevance to Oswald's alleged presence there.  (See 3 EOC 7, pp. 3-5.)
     The book also includes quite a few interesting points which were
completely new to me.  For example:
     A Naval Intelligence officer at the Moscow Embassy says he thought that
8 EOC 1                              -5-

Oswald was being handled for the CIA by someone in the Naval Attache's office.
(P. 243)
     There is some new information from Hurt's old interviews (for "Legend")
of some of Oswald's Marine associates.  One such person told Hurt that he had
been recruited for intelligence work when he left the Marines.  (P. 243)
     SA Vince Drain believes the palmprint on the rifle was faked.  (P. 109)
     There is a more-plausible-than-most story of a telephone warning by Ruby
to Billy Grammer of the Dallas Police.  Hurt notes that if Ruby was really
under Mafia pressure to kill Oswald, it would make sense for him to try to
abort the transfer with such a phone call.  (P. 407)
     A technical examination done for Hurt suggested that the curbstone at the
location of the Tague shot may well have been patched.  (P. 138)
     Hurt interviewed alleged Marcello and Ruby associate Harold Tannenbaum,
who was not as dead as the HSCA thought.  He denied any Mafia connections.
(P. 180)
     Billy Joe Lord, who shared Oswald's cabin on the boat to Europe, added
little of substance about Oswald, but told of a peculiar interest in him by
someone in France.  Hurt suggests this could have been a KGB check to see if
U.S. intelligence was talking to people who had been associated with Oswald.
(P. 207)
     Louise Latham of the Texas employment office made some odd comments,
suggesting that she sent Oswald out for a job more than once.  Hurt seems
suspicious of her husband's "post office" career.  (P. 221)
     John Hurt's widow told Henry Hurt that he had admitted being drunk and
trying to call Oswald in jail.  (This should take care of that story.)
(Pp. 244-5; cf. 2 EOC 7, p.5)
     Hurt speculates that the KGB's interest in the Oswalds may have been to
establish Marina as a sleeper agent.  (Might that explain the allegedly
anomalous friendship between the Oswalds and the DeMohrenschildts?)  (P. 240)

     It's... Chapter 12, "The Confession of Robert Easterling."
     At least, I think it's completely different.
     I find Easterling's story too incredible to be worth summarizing here.
Whenever I hear about meetings involving the speaker, Oswald, Ruby, Ferrie,
and Shaw, I reach for my skepticism.  In fact, any story involving Clay Shaw
starts with two strikes against it.  Hurt makes a point of the alleged
uniqueness of Easterling's claim of direct involvement (pp. 348-9), but what
strikes me is the similarity of so many elements in his story to others we
have heard over the years.
     I do not believe Easterling's story has anything like the same level of
plausibility as even the most speculative allegations elsewhere in the book.
My impression is that this chapter fails to reflect the critical judgment
which Hurt applied to the more familiar evidence in other chapters.
     The chapter both starts and ends with descriptions of Easterling as a
psychotic, alcoholic, violent criminal.  A long footnote (p. 351) describes
aspects of his "confession" as "flagrantly preposterous" and delusional.
Certainly Hurt can't be accused of hiding all the flaws in Easterling's story.
     Some of Hurt's justification for devoting a chapter to Easterling is mild
enough.  He grants that "By any standard, [he] is a terribly sullied witness."
However, "in the absence of a full revelation of facts by government agencies,
it would be irresponsible not to present Easterling's story."  (P. 383)  As a
reader, I would have settled for an appendix or a long footnote.
     Fortunately, Easterling's name does not appear outside this one chapter.
But this confession is what got Hurt into his own research on the case, as he
explains in the introduction.  (P. 7)  It must have colored his approach to
the evidence he later encountered.  His personal experience in dealing with
the FBI on this matter certainly contributed to his very negative evaluation
of the official investigations of the JFK case.  That is, Hurt learned that
8 EOC 1                              -6-

Easterling's was definitely not the best of the conspiracy allegations which
were not taken seriously.
     The publisher's handout (#5, 5 pp.) does devote a paragraph to "the most
shocking revelation of all" in the book, alleging that "Easterling presents...
a convincing case that he could have been involved with a group that murdered
the president."  As is all too common in a publisher's supplementary material,
the other specifics mentioned in this handout fail to reflect the general
coherence and scope of the book.  They include some familiar questions which
the book does not claim to answer.  (For example,  why did Humes burn his
notes?  The book just reviews the old evidence; Hurt called Dr. Humes about
Lifton's book, but he would not discuss details.  [Pp. 42, 427].  Similarly,
"what government official permitted [Souetre's] deportation?"  See p. 419;
Hurt doesn't seem to know.)   Unfortunately, this handout may discourage
reviewers from focusing on the important new information.
     It would be disappointing if many readers and reviewers dismiss the whole
book because of this one chapter.  On the other hand, if any official
investigators, or many reviewers or EOC readers, seem to be taking Easterling
seriously, I will be glad to jump into any debate on the details.
     One structural problem is that the bad Easterling story has the same
relationship to the rest of the book as the good story about Mr. & Mrs.
Rosetta Stone does to the Tippit chapter:  each appears towards the end, each
is fairly heavily qualified (and many readers won't be able to tell how much
of the caution is <>), and there is not the detailed followup or
evaluation of the new material that I would like.
     Disclaimers aside, there are signs that Hurt has taken Easterling very
seriously at some point.  (Some of his language suggests that his conclusions
were rewritten and somewhat weakened.)  For example, "In the end, [his]
claims... could not be substantiated to the point that no doubts about the
veracity of his confession remained."  (Intro, p. 8-9)  The chapter itself has
a slightly less disturbing formulation:  "In the final analysis it is not
possible to prove that the Easterling confession is true."  I think it is
possible to conclude, from Hurt's presentation, that the confession is false.
Hurt's fallback justification is more defensible, although I do not agree with
it:  "However, it is possible to show that there is, at least, every reason
for the FBI to investigate Easterling's leads vigorously."  (P. 389)
     Another example of hedging which gives Easterling's account more support
than it deserves:  "A careful reading of Easterling's account cannot lead to
any certain conclusion as to who killed John F. Kennedy.  It is perhaps
significant, however, that when one considers those who may have wanted
Kennedy dead -- Cuban exiles, Fidel Castro, fanatical right-wing oil men,
renegade elements of the intelligence services, the mob -- they all play roles
in this remarkable story."  (P. 390)  I would turn this observation around:
almost all the plotters in the most popular conspiracy theories play roles in
Easterling's account.
     Unfortunately, the section of this chapter entitled "A Final Assessment"
includes a recounting of some of the familiar old evidence which allows Hurt
not to dismiss Easterling entirely, but which in fact supports any number of
conspiracy theories.  The existence of such evidence is indeed crucial to a
final assessment, but only in combination with a very skeptical approach to
     My guess is that Easterling's alcohol-soaked brain became incapable of
distinguishing between what he remembered happening to him, and what he had
heard about the JFK case.  I wonder if a psychiatrist familiar with the crim-
inally insane would tell us that this particular kind of delusion is common.
     In any case, the omission of a professional psychiatric opinion of
Easterling's story, by someone familiar with the kind of details on the JFK
case which have been publicized, is a conspicuous deficiency in this chapter.
     As noted in my comments on Blakey's book, there may well be no signif-
icance to a claim by Johnny Roselli that he "knew" there was a shot from the
8 EOC 1                              -7-

grassy knoll.  (3 EOC 3, p. 3)  I have no trouble believing that Roselli or
some member of his family (or Family) heard Mark Lane's lecture (if not
Garrison's scenario) and was convinced.  (Everyone has heard Lane, it seems.)
Admittedly, it is a little harder to picture Easterling in a public library,
reading "Accessories After the Fact."  Still, anyone living in Baton Rouge at
the time of the Garrison investigation would be exposed to a regular flow of
details about the mysteries of the case.  (P. 379)
     I think the most likely explanation for Easterling is not simply a hoax
but a basically genuine delusion, supplemented by the prospect of financial or
other benefits.
     Hurt says that, if Easterling's confession is a hoax, "then there is a
fascinating story to be told about such an extraordinary scheme."  (P. 351)
True enough, and even if it is a delusion which Easterling himself never
understood, there should be an interesting story about how and why Hurt (and
the Reader's Digest) took it seriously enough to pursue.
     Hurt does not discuss the Digest's original interest in the project, or
its decision not to publish the book.  (See 6 EOC 2, p. 6.)  Hurt told me
that the new editor-in-chief was not completely persuaded that the thrust of
the book was correct.  In fact, the book does not identify Hurt or the two men
to whom the book is dedicated as Reader's Digest employees.  (Why, the reader
might wonder, was Hurt doing interviews for Epstein's "Legend"?  [P. 7])  Was
the Digest ready to publish the Easterling story in one of the three excerpts
which were to appear starting in the June 1984 issue, using more of the
confession and fewer of the doubts?  There may well be a story buried here.
     Although it is hard to take the confession seriously enough to really
worry about its impact if the Digest had endorsed it, any allegations
involving Fidel or Raul Castro have a potential for serious mischief.
In 1974, the brother of Easterling's original Cuban contact showed him photos of
material "apparently... exhibited in Raul Castro's den."  (Pp. 380-1)  This
included photos of Easterling, Oswald, Ruby, Ferrie, and Shaw/Banister, with
X's over the faces of the deceased and a question mark for Easterling.  Oh,
and also the Czech rifle which had been used, mounted, with a plaque reading
"Kennedy 1963."  The best I can say about this fantasy is that Easterling
might have thought -- if he was thinking at all -- that the Reader's Digest
wanted to hear it.
     I have many specific objections to Hurt's analysis.  For example, he has
the same problem as the HSCA with the claim that Shaw was associating with
David Ferrie and Oswald.  The stories (of Easterling, and of the Clinton
witnesses) are much more plausible if it was Guy Banister, not Shaw.  The HSCA
wrote around the witness-credibility problem, concluding that Oswald had been
seen with "Ferrie, if not Clay Shaw."  (HSCAR 145)  Similarly, Hurt talks
about Easterling being with Ruby and the man he believed was Clay Shaw.  (Why
not "Shaw and the man he believed was Jack Ruby"?)  (Pp. 363, 381)
     If I had any reason to find Easterling's story credible in the first
place, I would do a thorough search of published sources to see where similar
elements appear.  For example, Hurt notes that Easterling's claim to have
driven Oswald from New Orleans to Houston fills in a gap in the official
account of his travels.  I would start by testing the hypothesis that Easter-
ling read about this problem.  I certainly would not treat this as "perhaps the
most significant point of confirmation for Easterling's story."  (P. 369)
     Likewise, what about the coincidence between Easterling's claim that he
was to wait for Oswald in Monterrey, Mexico, and the allegation by Donald
Norton that he delivered $50,000 to "Harvey Lee" in that city?  (RD, p. 367;
Brener, "The Garrison Case," p. 195)  Or the similarity between Easterling's
firing test (with coconuts!) and a test-firing scene at the beginning of
"Executive Action" (the book, if not the movie)?
     Not surprisingly, the points which Hurt could even try to verify had
little direct connection to the assassination.  Discovering (even with
difficulty) that there was a fire like one Easterling described does nothing
8 EOC 1                              -8-

to support his claim that he was picking up Oswald nearby.  The story of Igor
Vaganov (Esquire, 8/67) is a useful reminder that there were many odd things
going on in Dallas in November 1963 which had nothing to do with the JFK
     Easterling may well have been up to something, perhaps criminal, perhaps
with some Cubans.  Even it if could be established that he knew Ferrie or some
other person who has been named in the assassination controversy, which
in itself would not be unusual, the odds would still be high that his
"confession" was nothing but a delusion.

     6.  22 Nov 85  (Pub Wkly)  Brief and mostly favorable.  "The prose is a
bit breathless at times," but "the components of [the] mystery are laid out
with notable clarity."  The theory of a "Cuban conspiracy" involving an Oswald
impostor "does not seem so outlandish after [Hurt] produces a likely candidate
[Thomas Eli Davis, I suppose] and a witness whose testimony, though `terribly
sullied,' provides an abundance of plausible detail."
     7.  23 Feb 86  (NYT Book Review)  "Oswald and others?" asks reviewer Adam
Clymer, a veteran reporter who is now an assistant to Abe Rosenthal.  A fairly
short and quite positive review of Hurt's "compelling yet fundamentally calm
analysis."  Clymer likes Hurt's critical analysis but non-conspiratorial
evaluation of the old investigations.  "Original research is not what commends
this book," and the reviewer mentions none, except for the "psychotic drifter"
Easterling.  He endorses the book's least credulous comments on that story:
"Hurt does not take this source as a touchstone.  Instead, he argues that Mr.
Easterling's story ought to be given official attention."

     "The Lobster" has reprinted almost all of the Afterword from the U.S.
paperback edition of Tony Summers' "Conspiracy."  Summers reported significant
progress in his search for Maurice Bishop, and prepared additional information
for articles in the London Observer.  "Unfortunately," notes Steve Dorril,
"owing to continuing legal difficulties with David Phillips, they were never
officially published.  Much of the material appears now in [the] Afterword and
the following notes (which are the responsibility of The Lobster.)"  [#1986.8,
4 pp., from issue #10; the Afterword alone was previously listed as #1981.314]
     Dorril's notes include much information which seems to come from a good
HSCA source, if not from the HSCA's Mexico City staff report (which, Summers
revealed in 1983, he had "had sight of"; see 6 EOC 1, p. 1).  For example:
"We understand that the [HSCA] confirmed that [journalist Hal] Hendrix was a
CIA contract agent."
     "A number of Phillips' colleagues... have indicated that the Phillips/
`Bishop' identity `holds water.'  They include the Naval Attache in Cuba."
Incidentally, Gary Mack reports that Phillips has threatened to sue Hurt.
(Coverups, 12/85)  So perhaps I should emphasize that, whether or not Phillips
was Bishop, I am not inclined to believe Antonio Veciana's story that he saw
him with Oswald.
     Dorril gives the real names of "Ron Cross," "B. H.," and "Doug Gupton."
"Cross" allegedly helped set up the DRE (but not Bringuier's N.O. chapter).
     The CIA man in charge of surveillance of the Cuban consulate in Mexico
City recently was the director of the Berlitz School in Madrid.  (On Oswald's
alleged contact with Berlitz, see "Oswald in New Orleans," pp. 344 and 348,
and "Conspiracy," p. 318.)
     "In a long memorandum or manuscript [Winston] Scott refers to `a photo of
Oswald.'  Three CIA officers claim to have seen it [the memo? the photo?]
whilst two others claim to have heard of it."  Phillip Agee is among the five,
all named.  (I'll pass up the opportunity to list unfamiliar people here.  Any
reporter who wants to make a test case out of those CIA names is welcome to do
so.  I hear that "The Lobster" is developing a reputation in the U.K. for
8 EOC 1                              -9-

naming sensitive names.)
     A named CIA officer "is believed to have told an untruth to the HSCA"
about the 1 Oct 63 photo of the mystery man.  The 10 Oct 63 teletype to CIA
headquarters about this "was, in fact, doctored, according to evidence devel-
oped by the HSCA investigators."  (This sounds like what Counsel Sprague was
going on about in 1977; I have still seen no evidence to support this claim.)
     Virginia Prewett, a journalist whom Summers found from a clue provided by
Veciana, "was a CIA asset handled by Phillips."  The five CIA "disinformation
agents" in Mexico City (four run by Phillips) and two other agents of Phillips
are named by "The Lobster."
     This is clearly very important material, but I'm rating it only two stars
as a reminder to be careful:  just the fact that the HSCA staff believed it
and it got locked up for fifty years doesn't make it all true.
     In the case of Phillips-as-Bishop, at least, there is evidence that some
CIA people were trying to mislead the HSCA.  As with the Nosenko case, the
HSCA may have bumped into issues of great sensitivity inside the CIA, where
selected facts were passed around for the purpose of making one faction or the
other look bad.  (For example, one can be skeptical of the account of Angleton
making off with a photo of Oswald.)
     Although I am inclined to trust the HSCA staffers who specialized in the
CIA investigation, I have many problems with what I know about the unpublished
and published investigation in other areas, and I know that some HSCA sources
doubt some conclusions of the Mexico City staff report.

     In October 1985, Garrison told Ted Gandolfo that he was working on a new
book, entitled "A Farewell to Justice."  He said that "there is no question in
my mind that it is the absolute and ultimate truth down to the last detail
about the Kennedy assassination," but that he can not get a publisher "because
they are controlled by the CIA."  (This is from the first issue of Gandolfo's
newsletter, "Assassination U.S.A."  Write him at 1214 First Ave., NYC 10021,
or ask me for information.)
     Garrison sent a long letter to Louis Sproesser, a buff who inquired about
this book.  [#9, 30 Dec 85, 3 pp.]  The book is "completed" and being
considered by a publisher.  Garrison has been working on it for four years.
     Garrison's rhetoric has not softened over the years, and I'll be very
surprised if his critical attention to the facts has improved.
     Judge Garrison asserts (on Court of Appeal stationery) that "Anyone who
wishes to understand the assassination, must appreciate at the outset that the
deep involvement of the Agency in the President's assassination requires that
it give the maximum reinforcement to the two major false sponsors which it has
created:  Organized Crime and Fidel Castro....  If the author [of a book] so
much as infers that Organized Crime or Castro were behind what so plainly was
an <>.... then one has in his hand the typical product of one of
the Agency's stable of hungry scribes."
     Garrison also disputes allegations that Organized Crime is behind him.
"While I lay no pretense to being the epitome of virtue, with regard to
connections with organized crime I think that you can safely place me as
having approximately the same such connections as Mother Theresa and Pope
Paul."  Obviously the CIA's disinformation machinery is at work, he says.
(Is Garrison dropping a hint about various popes?  And this "Mother Theresa,"
usually known as "Teresa" -- is she related to Vinnie Teresa?)
     In particular, Garrison complains that a recent book "by a dashing
Englishman (one of the Agency's more accommodating prostitutes) refers to `a
secret meeting'" between Garrison and John Rosselli.  "The `author's'
complicity in this attempted discreditation is underscored by his having had
the book published without ever troubling to learn that I have never even seen
John Rosselli in my life..."
     The reference is to p. 498 of "Conspiracy," by Tony Summers (who is,
8 EOC 1                              -10-

indeed, sort of dashing), which accurately asserts that the CIA found such a
meeting "particularly disturbing."  Summers quotes (but does not cite) an HSCA
staff report by Mark Flanagan, which in turn refers to an unpublished page of
the CIA Inspector General's Report.  The allegation of a Garrison-Rosselli
meeting also appears on page 118 of the IG Report, which is published.  (See
10 HSCA 190-1 (note 55), 4 HSCA 146-7.)
     As usual, there is a trace of validity in Garrison's complaint.  The IG
Report is obviously not an unimpeachable source, even if endorsed by an HSCA
staffer.  But Garrison's overall certitude doesn't seem to need much anchoring
to reality.
     Hurt's book includes a rather good discussion of the Garrison affair, and
of the subtleties of the interactions between Garrison, the real New Orleans
evidence about Oswald, and the vulnerability of Clay Shaw due to his
apparently irrelevant CIA links and homosexuality.
     If any of you want to spring to Garrison's defense, here is my $64
question:  at the time he arrested Clay Shaw, what serious evidence did he
have that he had in fact conspired with anyone to kill JFK?

     <>  There were only 3 issues of EOC last year.
The mimimum rate for a paid subscription is $0.05 per page plus postage, or
$1.96 for 1985 in the U.S. and Canada.  For postage to Europe, add $0.48 per
issue; to Australia, $0.60.  Payment must be in U.S. currency; please make any
checks payable to me, not to EOC.

     <>  Thanks to S. Dorril (#8), G. Hollingsworth (6,7), H. Hurt (5),
R. Ranftel (7), and L. Sproesser (9).

     The following items arrived as this issue was being completed.  They are
from the Chicago Sun-Times, 9 Feb 86.  (Thanks to J. Gordon.)
     10.  "Who killed JFK?  Not Oswald, book claims"  [2 pp., with a big
page-one headline]  Apparently based on an interview of Hurt by William Hines.
Castro "had ample reason to want Kennedy dead, Hurt said....  Revenge was
clearly Castro's motive to mount a counter-assassination campaign, and
organized crime in the U.S. was his avenue of attack."  A Hurt quote is
singled out for emphasis in large type:  "My feeling is that some combination
of Cuban interests and organized crime in this country pulled off the
assassination.  How they did it, I don't know."
     Is that reasonable?  I doubt it.  The book doesn't allege that, much less
make a case for it.  Even if Castro was in control of Cubela, Hurt concluded,
"that does not yield a clear answer to the ultimate question of whether Castro,
as a desperate act of self-preservation, brought about the assassination.
Today, all that can be said is that whatever his connection, if any, Castro was
better served than any other leader in the world by [JFK's] death."  (P. 345)
     Mafia involvement in a Castro plot has been advanced from time to time,
notably by Roselli and by George Crile (who focused on the Castro-Trafficante
relationship; 5 HSCA 308-11).  In their book, Blakey & Billings rejected this
theory, "because all the reasons that militated against Castro's striking at
Kennedy by himself could be applied to his doing it in conjunction with
gangsters."  (P. 156)  They also made the first of many obvious counter-
arguments:  that Oswald, "a known leftist, pointed squarely at Castro."
     11.  "A Startling Confession"  [3 pp.]  A long article by Jim Quinlan.
"According to Hurt, the center of this historical storm was Robert Easter-
ling...."  Except for a reference to Easterling's mental state, this article
applies no critical judgment to his account.
     12.  A photo of Hurt, and a sidebar on his secluded office in Redeye, Va.
     13.  Photos accompanying #11.  [3 pp., routine]

*From Illumi-Net BBS - (404) 377-1141* [ Don's note: I doubt this BBS is
still up ].


-* Don Allen *-  InterNet: dona@bilver.UUCP  // Amiga..for the best of us.
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/\/\ What is research but a blind date with knowledge. William Henry /\/\

From: dona@bilver.uucp (Don Allen)
Newsgroups: alt.conspiracy
Subject: JFK Text: Echoes of Conspiracy - EOC2.TXT
Message-ID: <1991Dec26.194933.19897@bilver.uucp>
Date: 26 Dec 91 19:49:33 GMT
Organization: W. J. Vermillion - Winter Park, FL
Lines: 617


-----BEGIN PART 2/4-----------------------------------------------------------

ECHOES OF CONSPIRACY                                             July 17, 1986
Vol. 8, #2                                                        Paul L. Hoch

     "An interesting theory can always outrun a set of facts," according to
psychologist A. Holliday, at a 1959 conference on LSD therapy chaired by Dr.
Paul Hoch, CIA consultant and "opinion leader."
     From "Acid Dreams:  The CIA, LSD, and the Sixties Rebellion," a new book
by Martin A. Lee and Bruce Shlain (Grove, $12.95).  A fascinating social
history, particularly the chapters on the CIA's early interest in LSD.
("Funny and irreverent" - WP)
     There are a few references to John and Robert Kennedy, but nothing new on
the Mary Pinchot Meyer story.  If people like Meyer's friend Angleton knew of
her dabbling in drugs with Leary and apparently with JFK, did it matter?  I
wonder, but the book avoids speculation along such lines.  There is no mention
of "Did Lee Harvey Oswald Drop Acid?," the article co-authored by ex-AIB'er
Lee.  (5 EOC 1, p. 4)  (#1986.14:  Publisher's press release, consisting of
advance comments by Ginsberg, Stockwell, Krassner, et al.)

     In November, Showtime will present four hours of "The Trial of LHO," with
Vincent Bugliosi for the prosecution and Jerry Spence for the defense.  (Ed
Bark, DMN, 21 Jun 86, reprinted in Coverups, 6/86 [#15].)  An earlier report
by Jerry Rose identifies the producers as London Weekend Television.  (See
2 3D 3.21; that is, The Third Decade, Vol. 2, #3 [Mar 1986], p. 21)  Although
there are risks in having lawyers present the case, this should a good show.

     16.  22 Nov 85  (Fredericksburg, VA "Free Lance-Star")  "JFK questions
persist"   A summary of what has and hasn't happened since the HSCA report, by
guest columnist (and buff) Harry Nash.  "The simple fact is that Justice, like
many agencies of government over the years, would like for the question to go
away.  If you think the reason is just 'bureaucratic', think again.  The
murders [of JFK and MLK] did not occur in a vacuum.  William Faulkner (in
another context) said it best:  'The past isn't dead; it isn't even past.'"
     This is the only anniversary article I recall which dealt with the
ongoing controversy over the assassination.  Were there others?  (I have the
original version of the widely publicized account of how the WC damaged the
Hoover-Warren relationship; it should be in the next EOC.)

     17.  5 Mar 86  (LA Herald-Examiner)  "RFK slaying report lacks all the
facts"  [2 p.]  Quotes Paul Schrade and Greg Stone, who said that "what is
important is the 97% of material which remains withheld."  The commission
asked Mayor Bradley to form a committee to develop standards and a schedule
for release of the remaining material.  This advisory panel has been set up.
     People interested in encouraging fuller disclosure should get in touch
with Stone or Phil Melanson.  There is much concern about the processing of
the remaining material.  The summary report itself costs $150 ($0.10/page!)
plus postage, and is probably not worth it.  For earlier coverage of the
release process, see 7 EOC 3, p. 1.
     18.  5 Mar  (NYT)  "Summary of Report Released...."   "Critics said the
commission's report contained nothing that was not published in [Robert
Houghton's] 1970 book...."  Stone tells me that it is worse than that;
published information has now been deleted.
     19.  5 Mar 86  (LAT)  "Summary of Police Probe Says Sirhan Acted Alone"
[3 pp.]  Page one, but hardly news.  "Release of the 1,500-page summary [on
March 4] did little to mollify critics...."  Schrade accused the police
commissioners of "arrogance" and challenged Chief Gates to explain the
trajectory of the bullet which struck him.
8 EOC 2                              -2-

     20.  5 Mar  (SFX)  "RFK murder probe is 'a P.R. gesture,' victim
complains"  [2 pp.]  Also quotes Prof. Melanson.
     21.  4 Mar  [25 pp.]  Partial transcript of the board meeting, including
comments by critics.
     Other March 5 reports, mostly from wire services:  #22, USA Today
(incomplete copy); #23, AP; #24, Hartford Courant; #25, SFC (from LAT),
[2 pp.]; #26, Detroit News.
     27.  6 Mar  (LAHE)  Editorial, "A call for public disclosure"
     28.  9 Mar  (Dubin, Phila. Inquirer)  "RFK summary sharpens demands for
all files"  [2 pp.]  A rather good summary, including comments from Stone and
Schrade (whose doctor called it "crazy to think that Sirhan acted alone").
     29.  16 Mar  (Providence Journal)  "Assassination and gun control:  RFK
report puts spotlight on protection of president"  [3 pp.]  Primarily an
interview of Melanson.
     30.  28 Mar  (LAT)  "Sirhan Denied Parole; Crime's 'Enormity' Cited"
A staff psychiatrist described him as "generally rehabilitated."

<<"Reasonable Doubt":>>
     31.  20 Apr 86  (Boston Herald)  "JFK's death:  Let's find the truth"
An op-ed piece by Henry Hurt, directed at Boston Congressional candidate
Joseph P. Kennedy.  "The bond of silence that began with Robert Kennedy has
remained inviolate.  Indeed, the members of this illustrious family are among
a tiny minority of Americans who have not vigorously debated this important
issue....  In a recent profile of Joe Kennedy in Life Magazine, he is quoted
as saying that it is time for his campaign 'to take the initiative on
something.'...  If Joe Kennedy fully accepts the simplistic official version
of JFK's death, then let him say so."  (Reprinted in 2 3D 4.4.)
     32.  (Same paper, same date)  "Joe Kennedy urged to reopen JFK probe:
Author cites conspiracy theory"  (but not Easterling)   A page-two news story
based on an interview of Hurt.  Joe Kennedy was not available for comment; his
campaign manager said he may make a statement.  (As far as I know, he has made
none, and nothing has come of this.)
     33.  16 Feb 86  (WP Book World)  [2 pp.]  Reviewer Anthony Lukas notes
that Hurt "is most convincing in his meticulous dissection of [the WC]
scenario," but "less persuasive when he seeks to assemble an alternative
scenario.  Everyone in his story has a purpose....  There is little room for
chance....  And the only major piece of new evidence [Easterling's testimony]
is singularly unconvincing."  Lukas concludes that, until there is access to
the secrets Hurt believes to be still locked up, "anything and everything is
possible."  I don't think he is being sarcastic; perhaps Hougan's revisionist
analysis of Watergate, which Lukas took seriously (#1984.180), influenced his
perspective on the JFK case.
     34.  March 86  (3D)  A nine-page "review essay" by Jerry Rose, positive
in general but with several points of disagreement.  (You should have your
subscription copy, so I won't describe it further here.)
     In response, Hurt has written a letter to Rose, challenging readers to
name another "detailed, on-the-record account of personal involvement in a
successful conspiracy."  Perhaps such a distinction can be drawn, but in my
opinion the similarities between Easterling's story and many others far
outweigh the differences.
     35.  Mar 86  (Coverups)  "Significant Doubt about 'Reasonable Doubt'"
Gary Mack considers the book "one of the most disappointing and misleading
'major' works" on the case.  I disagree with some of the specific points Mack
disputes - e.g., the John Hurt phone call, and Harrelson as the tall tramp -
and I have no problem with the book leaving out the backyard photos, the
umbrella man, and even the acoustics.  In any case, Mack's specifics do not
establish his most serious criticism, that the book was "very carefully,
cleverly constructed" to build a case that Castro did it, and to give the
8 EOC 2                              -3-

impression that it completely covers the major open questions.  I didn't get
that impression from the book; if the Justice Department or many reviewers
were to respond that way, I would reconsider.
     36.  Jun 86  (Coverups)  Reporter Johann Rush recounts his own
impressions of Easterling, who was trying to sell his story for money when
Rush talked to him in 1981-83.  The records of the alleged "diversionary fire"
show no damage to the building, just a little to some furniture; no hydrant
was used, alleges Rush.  [2 pp.]
     37.  26 Jan 86  (Cincinnati Enq.)  A "must read," but the reviewer
complains (with some validity) that Hurt ignored Dr. Lattimer's work on the
single-bullet theory and the head snap.
     38.  9 Feb  (St. Petersburg Times)  "Another dubious conspiracy"
"The conspiracy theorists' main fault is that they, like Hurt, deprive Oswald
of personality."
     39.  16 Feb  (Baton Rouge Sun)  A short review, mostly negative ("a
rehash").  "The Easterling chapter is riveting, but not worth the $19.95...."
     40.  23 Feb  (Richmond T-D)  A mixed review by a retired member of the
Foreign Service.  "The endless reporting on Easterling raises the question of
why a well-regarded journalist should have devoted so much time to 'Reasonable
Doubt.'  The surest answer lies in the incredible divergence of the reports
from governmental investigations of the assassination."
     41.  Mar 86  (Village Voice Literary Supp.)  A positive review - even
Easterling's story "compels attention" - consisting mostly of the reviewer's
favorite old anti-WC arguments.  (Carl Oglesby is singled out among those who
have previously made "extremely plausible guesses" about the culprits.)
     42.  3 Mar 86  (Pub. Wkly)  "Challenge, Inc. Continues Two Libel Actions"
Also, David Phillips "is considering a suit" against Hurt "for allegations...
that he was 'Maurice Bishop,' CIA case officer for Lee Harvey Oswald."
     43.  7 Mar 86  (SFC)  "From Castro's Plot To the Botched Autopsy"
"Like the creature from the swamp in a C-grade movie, it [the case] won't be
put to rest."  Tantalizing, but "conspiracy is not really explosive news at
this date unless you can name the conspirators," and Hurt's book, like the
HSCA report, "suffers from that deficiency."
     44.  10 Mar 86  (Roanoke Times)  "'Reasonable Doubt' a lesson for shuttle
investigation"   (That is, "be thorough, get it right the first time," unlike
the Warren Commission.)
     45.  12 Mar 86   My rough handwritten notes on Hurt's appearance on WWCN
radio, Albany.  Does he think that "Mr. Stone" killed Tippit?  Here, he says
that he has come up with the person "who probably did."  Hurt thinks that JFK
would have "gotten Castro out of this hemisphere"; that LBJ thought Castro
killed JFK, and got the message, thus deciding to fight Communism in Vietnam
instead of Cuba.  Given the evidence on JFK's involvement in Vietnam, and the
ongoing pressure against Castro under LBJ, this is too speculative for me.
     46.  23 Mar 86  (Milwaukee Journal)  "More doubt on JFK"   Reviewer David
Wrone is critical of the Easterling chapter ("No cub reporter would turn in a
story like this") and of much more.  The anti-WC chapters are "solid" but Hurt
"cannot evaluate witness testimony" and "is blinded by an anti-Communism"
which "enables him... to portray the murder as the work of Castro Communists
[and] the Mafia."
     47.  Apr 86  (Freedom)  [2 pp.]  A generally negative review, suggesting
that Hurt deliberately played down the possibility of government involvement.
(This monthly magazine, linked to the Scientologists, publishes investigative
reports on various important topics, but unfortunately a substantial part of
what it prints ranges from a bit overdone to quite silly indeed.)
     48.  6 Apr 86  (Oakland Tribune)  "Volume opens forum to more JFK
assassination theories"  [2 pp.]  A favorable review by Jonathan Marshall, now
the Trib's editorial page editor, focusing on Burkley, Tippit, and suppression
of evidence by federal agencies.  "Worst of all, however, was the decision of
8 EOC 2                              -4-

the [HSCA] to put a 50-year seal on most of the thousands of pages of
documents it assembled.  'The irony of the situation... is clear,' noted
Berkeley-based assassination scholar Paul Hoch.  'The congressional
investigators who broke the JFK case wide open and reversed the official
government verdict have left us with more material withheld than ever
before.'"  (4 EOC 5.1)
     "The assassination deserves whatever study it still receives.  For even
if the conspirators are never identified, much less caught, careful analysis
of the crime and its aftermath will continue to shed light on the many
political pathologies that rippled outward from the center of the
assassination itself."
     49.  13 Apr 86  (Phila. Inquirer)  A review by Jean Davison, author of
"Oswald's Game."  (5 EOC 4)  On the whole, she is not overly negative:
"Anyone who has followed the controversy will probably want to read the latest
round in the debate.  Whether one agrees with them or not, conspiracy books
like this one are seldom dull."
     "It is not unusual... for conspiracy theorists to make their attacks on
the Warren Report sound utterly convincing - until they try to explain what
<> happened.  Then some sticky questions inevitably arise.  For instance,
why does all the physical evidence point to Oswald's rifle and to no other
weapon?...  If a better rifle was used, where did its bullets go?...  Hurt
provides a novel explanation....  Readers who prefer complex solutions to
simple ones will find much to admire in <>."  (She might be
wrong about any given area of evidence, but she does have a point.)
     Easterling's confession "has the dreamlike quality of a delusion....
[He] seems to have been working for everyone on the conspiracy theorists' list
of Top Ten Suspects....  It seems not to have occurred to Hurt that Easterling
could have gotten many of his ideas from reading earlier books about Dallas."
(Hurt certainly did think about that explanation, but, indeed, you wouldn't
know that from the book itself.)  "Sadly, Easterling's confession sounds like
an unconscious parody of the theories presented there."
     50.  22 Apr 86  [3 pp.]  A letter from Hurt to the Inquirer, defending
his handling of the neutron activation analysis and noting that Davison's book
was not, as the Inquirer said, "a critical examination of conspiracy theories"
but, in Davison's publisher's words, "an anti-conspiracy book about Oswald's
assassination of President Kennedy."  Hurt also says "I accept Miss Davison's
attack on the credibility of Robert Easterling."
     51.  19 Apr 86  (Montreal Gazette)  A positive review by Brian McKenna,
who directed two CBC documentaries on the JFK case.  He notes Hurt's work on a
report of Oswald handing out FPCC literature in Montreal, and regrets that
Easterling may have taken Hurt away from "more fertile trails."  "In his
graceful and diplomatic treatment of the lonely work of the critics, Hurt
refrains from the poisonous backbiting that has so divided many of the best
ones over the years."  (Reprinted in Coverups, June 1986)
     52.  (Same paper, date, and author)   "How careers like Dan Rather's were
built on [the] JFK assassination"   Rather told McKenna in 1978 that he
personally believed there was a conspiracy, but despite the HSCA he allegedly
continues to reflect the lone-nut view, and was among those who vetoed a
potential story by "60 Minutes" based on Lifton's evidence.  Quite far out for
a sidebar (a far-out-bar?):  "What this suggests is that like many high U.S.
officials in every branch of government, Rather's career and the official
story are welded together."  McKenna's brings up Rather's erroneous
description of the Zapruder film, and the WC's "printing error" resulting in
transposed frames (both of which I accept as non-sinister mistakes).
     53.  25 May 85  (Jackson, MS Clarion-Ledger & News)  "Book explores
confession in Kennedy assassination"  [2 pp.]  Hurt, who used to work for the
Jackson News, met with two FBI agents "who had examined Easterling's file.
'The whole tone was, one of, "Listen, you're a fairly sensible fellow, how can
8 EOC 2                              -5-

you get taken in by this man?"  And my position was I'm not being taken in by
him.  I'm trying to find out the full story.  I don't understand why you folks
haven't taken a more vigorous interest in the man,' Hurt said....  Attempts to
contact the FBI about Easterling's story were unsuccessful."  (#53a: an
accompanying review, not noteworthy.)
     There is some interesting information on Hurt (rather than on the case)
in the following articles from Virginia papers, which are mostly profiles
based in part on interviews:
     54.  16 Feb 86  (Danville Register)  [3 pp.; photo: #54A]
     55.  9 Mar  (Richmond T-D)  [2 pp.]
     56.  10-12 Mar  (Lynchburg News)  [5 pp.]  Also quotes Ed Tatro.
     57.  16 Mar  (Roanoke Times)  [2 pp.]
     A few more reviews, short and/or not particularly noteworthy:  #58 (19
Jan), Fort Wayne Journal; #59 (23 Jan), Macon, MS Beacon; #60 (16 Feb),
Anniston, AL Star;  #61, Detroit News; #62 (24 Apr), Daily Express (UK).

     Several people have challenged me to explain how Tippit's affair might
have actually played a role in the events of November 22.  Indeed, it would be
quite a coincidence if he happened to be the victim of a killer with a
personal grudge just when Oswald was in the vicinity.  Such things do happen -
that's why they are called coincidences - and it is plausible that the DPD
would have used the dead Oswald to clear up an unsolved crime.  But a more
complex scenario may make more sense.  Joanne Braun speculates that Tippit's
problems may have caused him to go to some unsavory characters for help, for
example to get some money which his wife would not know about, and that he may
have gotten entangled with, and in debt to, some hypothetical conspirators,
who then set him up as they set Oswald up.  Also, David Lifton reminded me of
the eyewitness evidence suggesting that Tippit had been waiting for someone
coming from the same direction as Oswald.  (Ramparts, Nov 66)  And of course
Tippit's affair might explain only why he was in Oak Cliff.

     Ted Gandolfo sent Jim Garrison part of 8 EOC 1, and sent me a copy of
Garrison's reply.  (Letter of 14 Apr 86 to Gandolfo, #1986.63; quoted almost
in full here.)
     The Judge had "nothing to say concerning [Hoch's] comments about me.
Frankly, I found them to be incoherent."
     "I cannot guess as to the origin of his emotional hang up [sic] about me.
In any case, I will not attempt to reply to him in a similar vein...."  Some
of my earlier research on the assassination was "quite competent.  Moreover --
in view of the solid front presented by the federal government in its cover-up
of the assassination -- it seems to me childlike for one assassination critic
to attempt to dis-credit another publicly."  (I suppose calling Tony Summers
"one of the [CIA's] more accomodating prostitutes" doesn't count.)
     "One statement of Hoch's, however, does concern me enough to require a
comment.  He refers to the 'vulnerability of Clay Shaw due to his apparently
irrelevant C.I.A. links and homosexuality.'  Mr. Hoch should go straight to
the bathroom and wash his mouth with soap."
     "Throughout our trial, in everything I have ever written and in every
public statement I have ever made -- I never once have made any reference to
Clay Shaw's alleged homosexuality.  What sort of human being is Mr. Hoch that
he is impelled to so gratuitously make such a reference in a newsletter which
he widely distributes to the public?  For all his faults or virtues, Shaw is
dead and unable to defend himself from that kind of off the wall canard.  No
matter how virtuously Hoch might couch it, a smear is still a smear."
     I will let you decide if my reference (or Hurt's) was gratuitous.  Out
here, referring to someone's homosexuality stopped being a canard years ago;
8 EOC 2                              -6-

at least, it's not as serious as charging someone with conspiring to kill JFK.
     Does Garrison now think Shaw was involved in the conspiracy which led to
JFK's death?  If so, the reference to "all his faults or virtues" is
remarkably mild.
     In 1969, J. Edgar Hoover himself called me "a smear artist", for
suggesting that there may have been an undisclosed relationship between Oswald
and the FBI.  [#64, 2 pp.]  So Garrison is in good company.
     As for my question in 8 EOC 1 about Garrison's case, asking what evidence
he had when he arrested Shaw:  The most enthusiastic answer came from
Gandolfo, who said, "Did't you know that Shaw was connected with Permindex,
which just happens to be one of the most efficient assassination organizations
around??  Didn't you know that Shaw was CIA?"  Also, Shaw's friend Ferrie was
CIA and there is Russo's testimony.  That is, of course, exactly the sort of
evidence which I did know about but which does not relate to my question.
     Gandolfo also promised to expose me as "just a CIA coverup bastard" in
his newsletter, to which I do not subscribe.  Does anyone out there want to
send me a copy?
     The best semi-serious answer came from Robert Ranftel and Jim Lesar, who
sent me an FBI letterhead memo dated March 2, 1967, the day after Shaw's
arrest.  (#65, 2 pp.)  The memo, discussed in Hurt's book (p. 281), notes that
one of Shaw's alleged homosexual contacts said on March 19, 1964, that Shaw
was into S&M.  On February 24, 1967, two sources reported that they thought
Shaw had "homosexual tendencies," and two sources (possibly the same ones)
indicated that Shaw was Clay Bertrand, who allegedly contacted Dean Andrews on
Oswald's behalf.  Unnamed FBI sources are not necessarily reliable, but in any
case none of this evidence even suggests that Shaw conspired with anyone to
kill JFK.  Sorry, but the prize for my $64 question remains unawarded.
     Incidentally, Lou Sproesser pointed out a problem with the Hurt-HSCA
hypothesis that Banister, not Shaw, was with Oswald and Ferrie in Clinton.
Marshall J. Manchester testified at the Shaw trial that he checked out the car
and that Shaw said he was from the Trade Mart.  (NYT, 7 Feb 69, 2 pp., #66)
Manchester is not necessarily credible, but this shows that untangling the
Clinton story by believing just some of the testimony is not easy.
     While I was in the mood to discredit my fellow critics, I came across a
letter from Garrison to "Freedom" (May 1986, #67) which is worth some
attention.  It offers a rare opportunity to scrutinize Garrison's analytical
work in an area where the evidence is accessible and not crucial.
     I think the buffs should keep in mind that what got many of us into the
case in the first place was the demonstrable inadequacy of the Warren Report -
for example, conclusions and summaries in the Report which did not even
adequately reflect the published evidence, much less what was not published.
In my own case, at least, the inference was that any investigation which was
so clearly unreliable on details could certainly not be trusted to get the
difficult and uncheckable answers right.
     These days, assertions by Garrison and his ilk tend to get accepted into
the mythology of the case if they sound plausible, without much detailed
scrutiny.  It is not easy to deal with most such claims.  For example, no
matter how exaggerated Garrison's (or Sprague's) comments about the HSCA staff
and investigation under Blakey seem, and how implausible their conclusions
about what was behind the HSCA, most of the rebuttal evidence is known only to
HSCA people, and everyone who dealt with the HSCA knows their investigation
was inadequate in many ways - at least in many small areas.  So, it is hard to
argue against the conclusions of Garrison or Sprague (either Sprague, in fact)
without seeming to defend certain indefensible aspects of the HSCA's work.
     Likewise, when implausible things are said about Oswald in New Orleans
(by the HSCA) or about Cuban exiles, one may be reluctant to be properly
critical if one believes, as most of us do, that those areas probably are
central, and that someone might well have come up with new and important
8 EOC 2                              -7-

(but unverifiable) evidence.
     So I have no qualms about taking a close look at Garrison's charge that
the Warren Commission may have relied on a CIA asset to solve one evidentiary
problem.  Garrison wrote that an earlier "Freedom" article on Hemingway "may
have contributed to the identification of a possible CIA 'asset.'"  In about
1961, Dr. Howard Rome, a Mayo Clinic psychiatrist, gave Hemingway shock
treatments.  In September 1964, Rome gave the WC an analysis of Oswald, which
"would appear to have been obtained and inserted just prior to the printing
deadline in order to mask one of the major holes still remaining in the
official fiction:  Oswald's motivation.  The thrust of Dr. Rome's evaluation
was that Oswald's spelling problem was not inconsistent with his having
murdered the president of the United States."  In Wesley Liebeler's words,
"the frustration which may have resulted [from Oswald's reading-spelling
difficulty] gave an added impetus to his need to prove to the world that he
was an unrecognized 'great man.'"
     Garrison does qualify his factual conclusion (enough to make it
nonlibelous?):  "One cannot ignore the fact that it is just possible that Dr.
Rome might have been functioning all along primarily as an agency 'asset.'"
Then he takes off again:  "Those men who function clandestinely as CIA assets
will do anything and help destroy anyone for a share of the CIA's cornucopia.
To give but one example, consider how successful the media and 'journalistic
author' assets have been in giving life to the two remaining scapegoats in the
JFK assassination -- Fidel Castro and organized crime."
     It is the jump to such a broad allegation which justifies attention to
Garrison's comments on the Rome matter.  His analysis is, basically,
unsupported by the evidence Garrison himself refers to, and to some degree
contradicted by it.  Some terse one-word assessments spring to mind, but I
don't want to be told again to wash my mouth out with soap.
     The details are not interesting enough to reproduce here, but I'll send
my analysis to anyone who wants it, at no charge.  (#68, 3 pp.)  If very few
people ask for it, I'll probably draw some inferences from that.
     One question for the third decade (and for Jerry Rose's journal as well)
is how to deal with the survival of myths about the assassination other than
the Warren Commission's.  That is, what is the role of "scholarly research"
when many of the people still interested in the case are sure that the head
snap proves there was a shot from the front, that the single-bullet theory is
a joke, that the HSCA's primary goal was to hide the truth, or that Garrison
solved the case with the arrest of Clay Shaw?
     The April and May 1986 issues of "Freedom" include a long article by
Richard E. (critic) Sprague and two "Freedom" staffers, "The Ultimate Cover-
up," focusing on the CIA, the HSCA, Ruby, and mind control.  (There are also
parts of a long series by Fletcher Prouty on the CIA, dealing with the
assassination in the May issue.)  Each issue is $1.50 from 1301 N. Catalina
St., Los Angeles, CA 90027.  Certainly many of the details are correct, and
maybe some of the big charges are, but I do not think these articles
consistently meet essential standards of exposition and logical argument.

     What follows is essentially the complete text of a letter I sent to the
Justice Department on May 13, 1986.  Once again, an assassination lead brings
us back to the hidden history of the Kennedy administration's war against
     In connection with the Justice Department review of the report of the
House Select Committee on Assassinations, I would like to bring to your
attention one area in which the report was incomplete.  I believe that the
published information may be unfair to one of the named individuals, Paulino
Sierra Martinez.
     Mr. Sierra is mentioned on page 134 of the HSCA report, which states that
8 EOC 2                              -8-

a certain "arms deal was being financed through one Paulino Sierra Martinez by
hoodlum elements in Chicago and elsewhere."  A staff report on the organi-
zation he headed (JGCE, the Junta del Gobierno de Cuba en el Exilio) is
published in Vol. l0, pp. 95-103.  This HSCA report appears to be based
entirely on a review of existing documents (mostly from FBI and CIA files).
     The HSCA's information relating to Sierra is summarized in a book by HSCA
staff members Robert Blakey and Richard Billings, "The Plot to Kill the
President."  The Sierra material takes up a substantial part of the chapter
entitled "Cuban Exiles and the Motive of Revenge."
     Blakey and Billings said that a "background check [on Sierra] stimulated
our interest in a Cuban exile - Mafia connection that just might have had a
bearing on the assassination."
     Sierra reportedly said that he had backers who would provide a large sum
of money - $30 million - to finance an invasion of Cuba.  "Sierra was saying
publicly that it [the money] was being donated by U.S. corporations whose
assets in Cuba had been expropriated....  According to several sources, the
real benefactors were members of the underworld, whose gambling interests in
Cuba had indeed been expropriated by Castro....  There were other indications
that organized-crime figures were behind the Sierra plan...."  By June 1963,
the FBI in Chicago concluded that Sierra was "a con artist."
     Blakey and Billings said that they "were able to document in detail
Sierra's activities and his apparent connection, or that of his backers, to
organized crime," but that "the relevance to the assassination remained
undetermined."  (P. 174)
     My colleague Peter Dale Scott and I studied the HSCA's Sierra material in
some detail when the report was published.  At first, Scott (like Blakey and
Billings) was interested in the apparent connections between Sierra and
various people whose names had become familiar in the JFK assassination
controversy.  (For example, Antonio Veciana, Gerry Patrick Hemming, and Rich
Lauchli.)  Scott found additional possibilities for links between Sierra's
associates and Lee Harvey Oswald.
     Scott came to doubt Blakey's belief that organized crime was the dominant
force behind Sierra's Junta.  Scott interviewed a number of the principals,
including Sierra.  (Sierra's employer, William Browder, essentially supported
Sierra's account of the formation of the JGCE.)  Sierra was displeased that
the HSCA had depicted him in such a sinister light, and that he had not been
interviewed by the Committee or its staff.
     Sierra specifically objected to the implication that he was working in
opposition to the policy of the Federal government.  According to Blakey and
Billings, "Sierra told the exile leaders that he spoke for a group of American
businessmen in Chicago who wanted to join forces with them to overthrow
Castro, with or without the approval of the U.S. government."  (P. 174)
     Scott found a published reference to Sierra which indicates that he was
indeed coordinating some of his actions with the U.S. government at a high
     In his biography of Robert Kennedy, Arthur Schlesinger discussed an anti-
Castro operation in Central America involving Manuel Artime.  "Hal Hendrix of
the <> supposed [this operation was] managed either by CIA or, 'on a
hip pocket basis,' by the Attorney General [Robert Kennedy] himself."  Luis
Somoza, "son of the thieving Nicaraguan dictator," tried to learn of the
attitude of the U.S. government toward that operation.  Somoza "was soon
telling Carribean notables that he had received a 'green light' from Robert
     Schlesinger noted that a State Department official said that Somoza had
not in fact gotten that approval, when Somoza's claims were repeated to him in
a meeting in August 1963.
     Scott was able to obtain a memorandum concerning that meeting under the
Freedom of Information Act....  (Memo by John H. Crimmins, Coordinator of
8 EOC 2                              -9-

Cuban Affairs in the State Department, August 17, 1963)
     The man who repeated Somoza's claims was Paulino Sierra, who said that he
had been in touch with Somoza, who had offered him a site for a base.  "Sierra
and Rivero said they had to know what truth there was in Somoza's assertion
about U.S. support for him before deciding whether to accept his offer or to
go it alone."  (Crimmins memo, p. 2)
     Sierra and his associate, Felipe Rivero, described themselves as
"[d]evoted... to the United States and conscious of the need to do nothing
that would run counter to U.S. policy."  (P. 4)  Sierra "emphasized again the
desire of his supporters not to operate contrary to U.S. policy."  (P. 6)
     Prior to the meeting, the Attorney General's office informed Crimmins
that "the Attorney General had been talking to Enrique Ruiz Williams and that,
as a result, Dr. Sierra would be calling [Crimmins] for an appointment."
Williams, also known as Harry Williams, is generally considered to have been
Robert Kennedy's principal liaison with the anti-Castro Cuban community.
In his phone call, Sierra apparently suggested that Williams was a "mutual
friend" of himself and Crimmins.
     It is possible, of course, that this contact with the government was an
attempt by Sierra to provide a cover for his true motives.  However, Scott
believes that the operations of the Junta may have been part of the policy of
"autonomous operations" against Cuba, which was formally approved in June
1963.  While the Kennedy administration was openly cracking down on the most
prominent anti-Castro groups operating in the U.S., it was also encouraging
deniable operations abroad.
     According to the HSCA, State Department counsel Walt Rostow "proposed a
'track two' approach to Cuban operations to parallel regular CIA-controlled
Cuban teams."  The U.S. "would provide general advice, funds and material
support," but "would publicly deny any participation in the groups[']
activities."  "All operations had to be mounted outside the territory of the
United States."  (10 HSCA 77)
     In contrast, Blakey and Billings emphasized that when Sierra came on the
scene in Miami just a month earlier, in May 1963, "the exile movement was in
disarray:  the United States had just stopped funding the Cuban Revolutionary
Council; U.S. law enforcement agencies were cracking down on guerrilla
activities; and factions within the exile community were politically
polarized...."  (P. 171)
     Blakey and Billings noted that Sierra was "virtually unknown (his only
mark of public prominence was that he had formed a Cuban lawyers association
in Chicago)...."  (P. l7l)  After talking with Sierra, Scott concluded (with
support from documents at the Kennedy Library) that Robert Kennedy's office
was worried about the many Cuban exile professionals who were doing menial
work in the U.S., and directly encouraged the formation of such organizations.
That is, Sierra's previous public activity may be not an exception to his
relative obscurity but a clue to his key sources of support.
     As Schlesinger noted, the record of the mid-1963 anti-Castro efforts
based in Central America "is unusually murky."  Someone in the CIA got the
Crimmins memo, although its existence is not reflected in the CIA material
quoted by the HSCA.  Blakey and Billings quoted a CIA memo dated two days
before the assassination of President Kennedy, whose author reportedly found
it "curious that Sierra had for so long managed to hold a position in the
exile hierarchy:  'Perhaps his mysterious backers are providing him with
sufficient funds to keep the pot boiling....'"  (Pp. 173-4)
     To improve the historical record, I think that the Justice Department
should at least perform a more complete file review than reflected by the
published HSCA material.
     In addition, any surviving principals should be allowed to respond to the
HSCA's charge that the JGCE may have been a tool of organized crime.

8 EOC 2                              -10-

     69.  Excerpts from Schlesinger, "Robert Kennedy and his Times."
     70.  Crimmins memo, 17 Aug 63, 6 pp.
     In an informal interview published in "Lobster" (#1985.99), Peter Scott
apparently gave Robin Ramsay his "three-hurricane theory" of the
assassination.  That expression, from Mark Allen, derives from a powerful
alcoholic drink popular in New Orleans, after three of which any buff will
tell you what he <> thinks happened in Dallas.
     "I think that the Kennedys really had started a new type of Cuban exile
movement against Castro, the chief element of which was that there would be
money to go anywhere else they liked, in the Caribbean, to find their bases.
They would get money for training and they would get a green light, but it
meant the Cubans got out of the U.S....  And I think this operation was
penetrated from the very beginning.  This may be the key to the assassination,
in fact.  [Ramsay:  Penetrated by whom?]  First of all by the CIA because they
wanted to know what was going on, for a minimum.  But this was another slap at
them:  the Kennedys doing what they were supposed to do.  And they, that is
the CIA, were being accused by Bobby Kennedy of having dealt with organized
crime people.  And I think the first thing the CIA did was to get Cubans into
the operation who quickly turned round and started dealing with organized
crime figures.  This was the so-called Junta....  The CIA files on this
operation, the Junta, make it look more and more like an organized crime
operation from beginning to end.  The House Committee, rather foolishly,
without interviewing anybody, put the contents of this file into Vol. 10 of
its report as if it were all fact.  Now, what a perfectly invulnerable vantage
point to have shot Kennedy from, if you used the assets of that operation to
kill him.  That would explain Bobby's sense of paralysis, because it was his
     Based on what I know at the moment (i.e., not counting all the material
from Scott which I have forgotten), the possibility of relevance to Oswald or
the assassination is intriguing, but it seems so tentative, indirect, and
speculative that I don't want to offer a further opinion at the moment.
     In any event, the Sierra story says something interesting about the HSCA
investigation.  Putting it as generously as possible, it suggests that
Blakey's expertise in finding organized crime links had the effect of a filter
in a case where obscure links also pointed in other directions.  This problem
differed from those the HSCA faced with Oswald and Ruby, where most of the
alternative interpretations were well known in advance.  I am not saying that
the organized-crime angle was definitely absent, but the actual situation
regarding Sierra was both more complicated and more interesting than the
Blakey & Billings version indicates.
     Peter Scott's half of the unpublished 1980 book "Beyond Conspiracy" dealt
in part with the milieu of the Chicago Junta, and related matters.  Although
the manuscript was set aside after Pocket Books decided not to publish it, we
have not forgotten about it and still hope to get the information out in due

     This issue of EOC is dedicated to the memory of my mother, Dr. Cornelia
Hoch-Ligeti, who died in May at age 79, after a long career in medical
research.  (WP, 31 May, p. B6)
     Thanks to T. Cwiek (#49), T. Gandolfo (63), G. Hollingsworth (30),
H. Hurt (37-42, 44, 49-50, 53-60), F. Krstulja (19, 22), P. Lambert (19),
M. Lee (14), H. Livingstone (51-2), B. McKenna (51-2), G. Mack (15, 35-6),
J. Marshall (18, 20), P. Melanson (27, 29), J. Mierzejewski (26, 61), H. Nash
(16), R. Ranftel (33, 41, 65), M. Reynolds (41), J. Rose (34), M. Royden (62),
P. Scott (69-70), G. Stone (17-8, 21, 28), E. Tatro (31-2), and D. Wrone (46).
And thanks to L. Iacocca and Cheerios for the address labels.

*From Illumi-Net BBS - (404) 377-1141* [ Don's note: I doubt this BBS is
still up ]


-* Don Allen *-  InterNet: dona@bilver.UUCP  // Amiga..for the best of us.
USnail: 1818G Landing Dr, Sanford Fl 32771 \X/ Why use anything else? :-)
UUCP: ..uunet!tarpit!bilver!dona - Why did the JUSTICE DEPT steal PROMIS?
/\/\ What is research but a blind date with knowledge. William Henry /\/\

From: dona@bilver.uucp (Don Allen)
Newsgroups: alt.conspiracy
Subject: JFK Text: Echoes of Conspiracy - EOC3.TXT
Message-ID: <1991Dec26.195034.19962@bilver.uucp>
Date: 26 Dec 91 19:50:34 GMT
Organization: W. J. Vermillion - Winter Park, FL
Lines: 613


---BEGIN PART 3/4-------------------------------------------------------------

ECHOES OF CONSPIRACY                                          October 31, 1986
Vol. 8, #3                                                        Paul L. Hoch

     One reason for questioning the authenticity of the DPD Dictabelt is the
presence of certain messages relating to Officer Tippit.  Basically, the
following exchanges are suspect because of their content, the formal tone of
transmissions 590 and 592, and the apparent absence of the expected reaction.
(See 3 EOC 7.2.  The message numbers and the transcriptions are from the
Kimbrough transcript.)
     389.  [Disp.]  87, 78, move into central Oak Cliff Area.
     390.  [78 (Tippit)]  78, I'm about Kiest and Bonnie View.
     391.  [87 (Nelson)]  87's going north on Marsalis on R. L. Thornton.
     392.  [Disp.]  10-4....
     588-589  [Disp.]  78.  [78]  78.
     590.  [Disp.]  You are in the Oak Cliff area, are you not?
     591.  [78]  Lancaster and Eighth.
     592.  [Disp.]  You will be at large for any emergency that comes in.
     583.  [78]  10-4.
     I sent my analysis to Prof. Murray Miron, a psycholinguist whose work on
another case was described in 8 EOC 1.2.  The following is from a letter I
sent to the Justice Department on September 16, 1986, describing his
independent analysis, which provided some support for my own work:
     "Prof. Miron... has not yet prepared a formal report, but he has provided
me with the following conclusions:  'Our preliminary findings... suggest that
the communications directed to Officer Tippit are anomalously at variance with
the other transmissions of the tape record....  The transmissions to Tippit
are quite stilted.  They have the appearance of transmissions made more for an
audience's benefit than those for which the intent is to convey instructions.
The query regarding Tippit's current position is rhetorical rather than
     "Prof. Miron emphasized to me that his analysis does not preclude a quite
innocent explanation for the anomaly.  The messages could have been added to
the recording after the fact, or they might have been made in 'real time' but
sound anomalous because the persons involved knew that something unusual was
going on."
     "For example, if Tippit was taking time to attend to personal business
(as suggested by Mr. Hurt's book), a dispatcher might have covered for him by
assigning him to the Oak Cliff area, with his voice betraying his knowledge
that the assignment was not routine but somehow designed to keep Tippit out of
trouble.  (This is clearly speculation, of course.)"
     "Even alteration of the recording after Tippit's death could have been
motivated by nothing worse than a desire to protect his reputation."
     "On the other hand, the rebuttal of the HSCA's acoustical analysis by the
Ramsey Panel rested in part on the belief that the police would not tamper
with important evidence."
     The rest of this letter [#71; 4 pp., including my 1981 letter to Barger
on these messages] mostly repeats information from EOC (e.g., 7 EOC 2.2), with
one other new point:
     "Mr. Todd Vaughan sent me a copy of a letter from the National Archives
to him, dated March 2, 1982.  [#1986.72]  In response to an inquiry about the
disposition of the Dallas Police Dictabelts, Mr. George Perros told Vaughan
that the Justice Department, since receiving that evidence from the HSCA, has
'returned it to the Dallas Police Department, according to an official of the
Justice Department.'  I hope that you did keep copies; in any event I think
you really should get the originals back."
     Unfortunately, it is very unlikely that anyone will do anything with
this; my letters to Justice are not even routinely acknowledged these days.
As far as I know, the JD has neither finished nor abandoned its long-overdue
review of the HSCA report.
8 EOC 3                              -2-

     73.  31 Jul 86  (NY Post)  "23 year[s] later, Oswald goes on trial"
Twenty-five witnesses recently appeared before TV cameras (and a judge and
jury from Dallas) in London.  They included medical, forensic, and ballistics
experts, and some eyewitnesses; several were not called by the Warren
Commission.  The verdict is being kept secret.  Edited highlights will be
shown on two nights, around November 22.
     Harry Chandler, director of program development at Showtime, said that
some of the witnesses "had a real tough time on the stand.  It was
fascinating.  There were matters brought up which were not considered by the
Warren Commission, matters relating to the body of the President and his
wounds.  The jury saw a version of the Zapruder film... which was enhanced...
and there was information in the stills I was unaware of."
     "Said prosecutor [Vincent] Bugliosi:  'In the future, this is the
document that researchers into the assassination will want to get their hands
on.'  Defense attorney [Gerry] Spence:  'It doesn't matter who won the case.
The American people are the winners here.'"  Spence is good at dramatically
presenting the innocence and virtue of his clients - probably not the best way
to get at the historical truth about Oswald, but we'll see.
     I hope that LWT will be able to make available any information which was
too complicated for TV but of potential value to researchers.  Letters to
Showtime can't hurt.
     74.  16 Jul 86  (AP)  General comments by a LWT spokesman.  The program
"would be 'a documentary exercise, not a dramatized reconstruction.'"  It
"would be modeled on the company's recent mock trial of... King Richard III."
     75.  16 Jul 86  (AP)  Comments by U.S. District Judge Lucius Bunton (a
cousin of LBJ), who was to play the judge (trying the case under present
federal law, not 1963 Texas law).

     I missed "Yuri Nosenko, KGB" on HBO in September.  Would someone like to
give us more information than these clippings?
     76.  31 Aug 86  (NYT)  The story is told "from the perspective of the CIA
agent [in the Soviet Bloc Division, under Angleton] who virtually scuttled his
own career by insisting that Mr. Nosenko was a Soviet double-agent sent to
spread disinformation."  British playwright Stephen Davis said he "spent six
months trailing around after people from the intelligence community who were
centrally involved."
     77.  5 Sep  (LAT)  A very favorable review.  Davis' best guess:  Nosenko
was a disinformation agent whose "job was to be dangled in front of the CIA in
Europe, but... he was not supposed to defect....  The central mystery is why
the CIA went to such extraordinary lengths to rehabilitate Nosenko, as if he
had been trustworthy.  I think the case is unresolvable."
     78.  5 Sep  (UPI)  The 90-minute program is "fascinating... history."
     79.  Sep 86  (Cable Guide)  [2 pp.]  "Davis spent a year researching the
script with the help of Edward Jay Epstein."  The Russian emigre actor who
played Nosenko thinks he was a real defector.  Davis concluded that "every way
you turn it around you find it's like a Rubik's Cube that won't ever quite
work out."  Not a bad analogy for the whole JFK case.

     If you did not get a letter from AARC in mid-August, please ask me for a
copy.  (#80, 2 pp., no charge)  This includes a "special plea for permanent
members" from Bud Fensterwald.  The primary goal is not to get the membership
fees, but to demonstrate a substantial degree of public support when
approaching private foundations - the few which are willing to become involved
with such a controversial topic.  Institutional memberships would be
particularly appreciated.
8 EOC 3                              -3-

     Item #80 also includes a progress report, dated August 1.  Among other
things, Jeff Meek's massive index of (mostly) published JFK material has been
computerized.  I am now on the Board of Advisors, not the Board of Directors.
     "The Third Decade" (see 6 EOC 4.4) needs (and deserves) more subscribers.
     I have a descriptive form letter from FAIR, "Fairness & Accuracy in
Reporting."  [#81, Sep 86, 2 pp.]  The director of this new progressive
counterpart to AIM is Jeff Cohen; fellow AIB veterans Marty Lee and Bob Katz
are also involved.  FAIR has been involved "in the effort to expose and
counteract ABC's pending 12-hour miniseries, 'Amerika.'"

     A story on the Warren Commission got a lot of newspaper play on the day
after Thanksgiving last year - remarkable, even though that was, as usual, a
slow news day.  As noted in the NYT's news summary (#82, 29 Nov 85), the WCR
"apparently ended a long political alliance between [Warren and Hoover],
according to Government documents just released.  The commission criticized
the FBI for what it called its 'unduly restrictive view of its role in
preventive intelligence.'  Mr. Hoover said the criticism was unjust."
     The story itself appeared on page 32, with a Durham (NC) dateline, as a
"special to the NYT" with no authorship indicated.  (#83, with photos)  The
article seems rather unfocused.  (It does not even specify what 1300-page file
had been released under FOIA; it was the FBI's file on Warren.)
     Among other things, the dispute got Warren dropped from Hoover's list of
favored correspondents, although he had been there on a first-name basis.
     The NYT story derived from an article in the Durham Morning Herald by
Durham lawyer Alexander Charnes (aided by a grant from the Fund for
Investigative Journalism).  [#84, 24 Nov 85, 3 pp.]  Experts quoted include
Harold Weisberg, who "believes that Warren knew that the FBI was withholding"
but "felt that it was his 'national duty to preserve tranquility,'... and
therefore... did not press the FBI."  (Charnes noted that some of his
information came from previously released documents which Weisberg had.)
Warren biographer Edward White said that "the chief justice really believed,
given what they were investigating, that the FBI and CIA would cooperate with
the commission."
     The rift is not news to us; it was mentioned in some of the press
coverage of the 1977 FBI release.  Charnes' account emphasizes how closely
Hoover cooperated with Warren in previous years.
     The topic of the FBI-WC interaction (expecially on the question of what
the FBI knew about Oswald) has long been a special interest of mine.  It was
the subject of a draft manuscript which I put together in 1972, in those pre-
Watergate days when I thought what we had to do was persuade some people, with
detailed arguments based on WC documents, that just maybe the Warren
Commission (without being part of a conspiracy) had blown it.  That manuscript
is quite out of date, of course.  Now I often find myself trying to convince
people that the original investigation was not simply a complete and
deliberate coverup.  The released FBI documents tend to support my original
analysis - although the FBI's hostility was far worse than I could infer from
the WC files.  The manuscript did serve some purposes; among other things, I
think it led the HSCA to uncover much of the story of the deletion of the
Hosty entry from the FBI listing of Oswald's notebook.  (HSCAR 186)  If you
did not see that 1972 manuscript long ago, please let me know if you are
interested.  (98 pages, each two reduced pages of double-spaced clean
typescript; index included; cost (including postage):  $6 or less, depending
on the number of requests received by January 1, 1987.)

     Current clippings are generally less interesting than, e.g., old
8 EOC 3                              -4-

clippings and the HSCA volumes.  What are people interested in reading about
in EOC, or getting copies of?  (My Garrison analysis [#1986.68] generated just
one request for a copy.)  What about new FBI and CIA documents, or my old
files of WC documents?
     I would particularly like to hear from the people who have been helpful
by sending me clippings, especially if you feel I have incurred an obligation
to list them in EOC, or to otherwise preserve or disseminate them.
     I just drifted into doing a newsletter; should I drift back to reading
documents, or to some other projects?  Do we collectively have the computer
power, the time, and the interest to divide up work on indexes, lists of
clippings and documents, and chronologies?  I would appreciate help with these
difficult questions.  In the meantime, some documents, more or less from the
top of the pile on my desk.

     As noted in 7 EOC 3.10, some of Warren's files at the Library of Congress
have been released.
     In March 1974, Alfred Goldberg (the WC's staff historian) interviewed
Warren about the Commission's work.  The transcript [11 pp.] is #85;
correspondence about it is #86 [2 pp.]  Warren took Goldberg up on his offer
to make changes; according to his secretary's letter, he "expressed
reservations to me about the wisdom of including the material concerning the
personal and political views of certain members of the Commission....  He has
never made any comment about the difficulties he may have encountered with the
other members, and after reading what he had told you he felt it would be
better if those portions were not included."
     Of course, the passages marked for deletion are the most interesting.
"The Department of Justice sent a young man over to the Commission to act as
liaison with them.  He was very critical of me from the time he came over to
us.  Lee Rankin as Chief Counsel was in a very delicate position."  This
reference is probably to Howard Willens (age 32), who was listed as liaison
with the Justice Department, and who can be rather difficult, I am told.
Warren may also have been thinking of Charles Shaffer (age 31), who (according
to John Davis' book) was detailed to the WC by RFK to keep an eye on Hoffa-
related leads.
     There are other deletable tidbits on personnel matters, and other fairly
interesting comments.  For example, Sam Stern's report on the SS and FBI was
not thought to be "objective or logical" (his work was actually quite good);
the story of Oswald in Alice, Texas, held up the Report (news to me, if true);
there were "no special problems from Hoover and the FBI"; and the testimony of
the autopsy doctors was the "best evidence" on the wounds.
     Warren's files include a nonsubstantive response to Wesley Liebeler's
memo of November 1966, in which he recorded David Lifton's observation of the
"surgery of the head" remark in the Sibert-O'Neill report.  (See "Best
Evidence," Ch. 10.)  In a short note to Rankin, dated 12 Dec 66, Warren said
that what Rankin told "Liebler" in his letter of 1 Dec "was correct and in the
right tone.  I believe that many people who were somewhat enamored by Lane and
Epstein are finally becoming disillusioned."  (#87)
     Speaking of the Warren Commission staff, "Professional men who wear bow
ties to the office are distrusted by almost everyone, says image consultant
John Molloy.  Attorneys traditionally avoid putting a bow tie wearer on a jury
because they believe the wearer is not likely to be moved by sound argument."
(#88, UPI, 28 Dec 85)
     Also from the Warren papers:  a letter from the publisher of "Six Seconds
in Dallas" to John McCloy, urging him to do the right thing [#89, 5 pp.];
McCloy's draft response, saying that he was not impressed [#90, 16 Jul 69,
3 pp.], and an exchange of letters between McCloy and Warren [#91, 3 pp.], in
which Warren agreed with McCloy but suggested that he not send the letter.
8 EOC 3                              -5-

     Last November, the CIA released eleven documents to Bud Fensterwald in
connection with his FOIA request for records relating to efforts to identify
the Mexico Mystery Man (MMM), the man whose description (taken from Embassy
surveillance photos) was attached to Oswald in October 1963.
     The new documents are among 54 which "relate to a theory explored in 1977
that a particular foreign national might be the 'unidentified man.'  That
individual had been a target of CIA intelligence interest for many years for
reasons unconnected with the Kennedy assassination."  (From #92, CIA to
Fensterwald, 29 Nov 85, 2 pp.)
     The substance of this material interests me less than the fact of the
CIA's interest.  The suspect's nationality is withheld, but I would guess he
is Russian or Cuban.  I see no reason to assume that he was thought to be a
KGB or DGI covert operative, rather than (say) someone involved in "innocent"
diplomatic or technical activities of interest to the CIA.
     The basic CIA analysis is a "memorandum for the record," dated April
1977.  (#93, 12 pp., with much deleted)  Oddly, the author seems to take
seriously the "Saul" story in Hugh McDonald's book, "Appointment in Dallas."
(Although I found little credible in that book, McDonald and his purported
friend, Herman Kimsey, were interesting people.)  Over half of this memo
tallies "striking parallels between the backgrounds of 'Saul' as given in
McDonald's book and [deletion]."  (Only the published half of these parallels
is not deleted.)  After noting that "McDonald said he believes 'Saul' was
telling true story," the CIA author wrote "I do too."
     This memo seems to have been prompted by the fact that "On 17 March 1977,
[deletion] recognized photographs of the unidentified man as [deletion]."
(#94 records a request of March 11 to show an MMM photo to an unnamed
subject.)  McDonald's Indenti-Kit composite of Saul is said to "bear a
striking resemblance to the photos of [deletion]."  (Speaking of striking
resemblances, anyone who is not convinced that they sometimes occur by
coincidence, not conspiracy, should have a copy of my #95, including a photo
of Zbigniew Brzezinski looking rather like the MMM.  I will not entertain
conspiracy theories involving Brzezinski.)
     Items #96 (25 & 29 May 77, 3 pp. in all) relate to a photographic
comparison which concluded that, within the limitations of poor photo quality,
the two subjects "could very likely be the same person."
     Another memo, also dated only April 1977, seems to be a summary of the
theory.  (#97, 3 pp.)  Practically everything of substance is deleted.
     This information may have been made available to the HSCA.  Scott
Breckinridge was instructed to review this material and make it available to
Blakey and Gary Cornwell "if appropriate."  (13 Jul 78, #98)  The author of
this memo tried to maintain some distance from the theory.  "Although the
material contained in the attached folder is entirely theoretical and does not
constitute an official file or position of this Division or Agency, it may be
of interest to... the HSCA."  If made available, it would be "with the
understanding that it is a theoretical unofficial research undertaking."  The
folder contains "informal and preliminary research based on a <> that
[deletion] might be identifiable with" the MMM.
     What do we know about the CIA researcher who pursued this hypothesis?
Only that she "undertook to research the theory that [deletion] might be the
unidentified man as a result of the indepth study she conducted as the
[deletion] of this Division's efforts to determine if there could have been
Cuban complicity in the John F. Kennedy assassination."  (From #98)
     What an interesting effort for the CIA to undertake during the HSCA
probe.  I assume it was not done to absolve Castro.  Why was it done, at least
in part, "unofficially," and by someone who took the Saul story seriously?
What else did she and her colleagues believe?  Can anyone tell us more about
this in-depth CIA study?  I guess it was related to the Task Force Report
8 EOC 3                              -6-

prepared in response to the Schweiker Report.  (HSCAR 108, 10 HSCA 156)
     The memos, as released, do not say much about possible Cuban involvement.
The second April 1977 memo asks three questions, including "Could [deletion]
be 'Saul'?" and "Could [deletion], therefore, be mystery man who boarded plane
in Mexico City for Havana on 22 November 1963?"  (Cf. HSCAR 117)  (The third
question is deleted.)
     Related released documents:  #99, 4 pp.  The CIA list of 40 documents on
this subject (dated 12/62 through 7/78, mostly withheld) is #100, 3 pp.

     Former Justice Department official John Loftus made some noteworthy
comments in his House testimony on a GAO report on Nazi war criminals in the
U.S.  (For more on Loftus, see 6 EOC 4.10.)  In a list of 29 areas which he
could talk about only in executive session, he included "17.  Nazi connection
with covert assassination programs" and "19.  Warren Commission files
involving Nazi recruitment programs."
     Does anyone know what this might be about?  Larry Haapanen suggested that
CD's 597, 8l7, 1096, and 1544 might be related.  CD 1096 (6 pp.) appears to be
a routine review of a French book entitled "Fascists and Nazis Today," which
speculated that right-wing Hungarian refugees were under close FBI
surveillance; this book came to the Commission's attention because it was
mentioned in the NYT.  CD 597, described as a BND [West German Intelligence]
file, came to the WC from the FBI.  According to CE 3107 (to which CD 1544
relates), CD 597 is a routine-sounding unsupported allegation of a pre-
assassination reference to Oswald.  CD 597 could be the material forwarded by
the WC to the CIA, whose reply, CD 817 (CIA #660-833), was described (in the
uncensored CD list) as relating to allegations concerning Anton Erdinger.  The
CIA indicated that the subject matter was so peripheral to the WC's work as to
call for no further investigation.
     Loftus' testimony is #1986.101 [17 Oct 85, House Judiciary Committee
Serial 39, 8 pp.]  Among other interesting points, he noted that several of
the most famous KGB moles in England were involved with Nazi immigration into
the U.S., and he said that "the Nazi groups which we imported from the British
[were] riddled with communist double agents."  (P. 90)
     Loftus also alleged that "in 1944, the Eastern European fascist leaders
began to defect back to the British and were reorganized into a new front
group called ABN (the Anti-Bolshevic Bloc of Nations)."  (P. 89)
     In 1959, the secretary-general of the American Friends of the ABN was
Spas T. Raikin.  He is now a history professor at East Stroudsburg University,
in Pennsylvania; his letter on the history of the oppression of his fellow
Bulgarians recently appeared in the NYT.  (#102, 10 May 86)
     As a volunteer for Traveler's Aid, Raikin talked with the Oswalds on
their return from the USSR.  (Peter Scott discovered Raikin's interesting past
connection to ABN; see "The Assassinations," p. 366, or "The Dallas
Conspiracy, p. II-23.)  I know of no actual evidence that his contact with
Oswald was other than routine.
     Raikin apparently was the conduit for a claim by Oswald that he went to
Russia with the State Department's approval, either to work as a radar
specialist or to serve with the Marine Corps at the Embassy.  (CD 1230, p. 3;
26 WCH 12; Oswald's claim is erroneously reported as a fact known to HEW in CD
75, p. 461, and Summers, p. 217.)
     Most probably Oswald himself was trying to mislead people about his stay
in Russia.  I wonder, however, if Raikin might have had an interest in
portraying Oswald as an agent of the State Department, rather than (say) as a
loner, or as an agent of another intelligence agency?  (Just speculating.)
.CP 6
8 EOC 3                              -7-

     Kitty Kelley's new book on Frank Sinatra ("His Way," Bantam, $21.95) is
rather political, with quite a bit on the Kennedy-Exner-Giancana-Sinatra
nexus.  I think there is some new information, much of it apparently based on
allegations by Peter Lawford (who would not talk about JFK's "broads").
     For example, Lawford "formally approached his brother-in-law by making an
appointment to see the attorney general in his office at the Justice
Department.  There Lawford begged Bobby to listen to Sinatra's pleas for
Giancana.  Robert Kennedy intended to make Frank's mobster friend the Justice
Department's top priority in Chicago and curtly told Lawford to mind his own
business."  (P. 293)
     Notre Dame professor "Paul Blakey" (then a JD lawyer) told Kelley about
an opposing attorney who indicated an acquaintance with the then-Attorney
General, RFK; Blakey was told that, from electronic surveillance, it was known
that the attorney "had Sinatra's money in West Virginia and that it was mob
money."  (P. 530(n))
     "FBI records indicate that when in 1961 Carlos Marcello... had become one
of Bobby Kennedy's targets for deportation, the New Orleans don contacted
Santo Trafficante... who in turn called Frank to use his influence with 'the
President's father' on Marcello's behalf."  (P. 295)  This story has appeared
(with little emphasis) in the Blakey-Billings book (which does not specify
that a contact with Sinatra was made; p. 242) and at 9 HSCA 70 (which does not
specifically refer to JFK's father).
     Years after the JFK assassination, "when [Sinatra] learned that Lee
Harvey Oswald had watched <> a few days [sic] before shooting the
President, he withdrew the 1954 movie in which he played a deranged assassin
paid to kill the president.  He also forbid the re-release of <>."  (P. 328; cf. 1 3D 6.13, noted at 7 EOC 3.9)
     In a column prompted by the book, W. Safire called Reagan's award of the
Medal of Freedom to Sinatra "obscene."  [30 Sep, #103]  In 1975, Safire had
strong words about the Sinatra-Exner-Giancana story (Davis, pp. 740-1); I
don't know if the Church Committee took up his challenge to question Sinatra.
     There is a provocative sentence in Dan Moldea's new book on Reagan, MCA,
and the Mafia, "Dark Victory."  In a discussion of Joseph Hauser, "a convicted
insurance swindler who... allowed himself to be used as the hub of several FBI
sting operations... that yielded a pending indictment against [Trafficante]
and the bribery conviction of Carlos Marcello...," Moldea asserts that "Hauser
had also received thinly veiled admissions on tape from Marcello during...
BRILAB... that he had been directly involved in the assassination of John
Kennedy twenty years earlier."  This unfootnoted claim is contrary to what I
recall from earlier reports, which were along the lines of Blakey's assertion
that even though Marcello admitted his Mafia membership, he "pointedly refused
to discuss" the assassination.  (Blakey & Billings, p. 242)
     Can anyone clarify this issue for us?  One reason for my skepticism is
apparent overstatement in some other references to the JFK case.  Moldea says
that Oswald "had close ties with the Carlos Marcello Mafia family in New
Orleans, particularly with Charles Murret, a top man in Marcello's Louisiana
gambling network.  Oswald had also been seen by numerous witnesses meeting
with Marcello's personal pilot just days before he murdered the president."
While Murret's importance to Marcello and his closeness to Oswald are
debatable, the claim in the subsequent sentence is news to me.  Also news to
me in part, and disputable in part:  that "many of those on the panel [i.e.,
the Warren Commission] had been directly involved with the CIA in the CIA-
Mafia plots to murder Fidel Castro - which the Kennedy brothers had no
knowledge of until May 1962, at which time they ordered them stopped."  Who on
the WC besides Dulles?  (See Moldea, pp. 234-5, 338-9; #104 [2 pp.])
     I have also read "Alias Oswald," by W. R. Morris and R. B. Cutler, and
"JFK:  The Mystery Unraveled," from the Liberty Lobby's "Spotlight."
8 EOC 3                              -8-

(#105: ad from "Spotlight" for the book [107 pages for $6.95]; see #1985.102
for one chapter.)  I would prefer not to have to say more about these books,
so I won't, at least in this issue.
     I have some relatively routine reviews of the Hurt book, and a few of the
Davis book (which is now out in England, and will appear next March in a
German edition with new material on Marcello).  The first part of "Best
Evidence" has been out in Japan for some time now, and you can have a sample
page to impress your friends.  (#106, with drawings of the head wound)
     If you are interested in the problems facing authors of serious
nonfiction, I recommend "Publishers wary of lawsuits:  Libel Lawyers Wield
Blue Pencils on Books."  (#107, LAT, 26 Jun 86, 3 pp.)

     Three months after the KAL disaster, while the press was noting the
twentieth anniversary of the JFK assassination, the government was seemingly
commemorating it with a major coverup, arguably the biggest in twenty years.
     On the occasion of the publication of Seymour Hersh's new book, "The
Target is Destroyed," Time magazine drew a different parallel:  "Like the
Kennedy assassination, the KAL incident has created a cottage industry of
conspiracy theorists....  Hersh's explanations [excerpted] in the <>
seem far more convincing.  They involve no conspiracies or even any evil
intent on either side.  Yet that is hardly reassuring.  It is in some ways
more frightening to be reminded just how fragile sophisticated military
systems are and how frail their human operators can be."  (#108, 1 Sep)
A valid enough conclusion, but I think it is a misreading of Hersh's book, and
even more so of his evidence, to call his account nonconspiratorial.
     # 109 is a favorable review and good summary by J. Nance.  (28 Sep, SFC)
Hersh's main point is "the mishandling of intercepted electronic intelligence
by the Reagan administration....  He paints a fascinating picture of how an
outraged government seized on the worst possible interpretation of the
earliest intelligence reports and jumped to the conclusion (without adequate
evidence) that the Russians had indeed indentified the target as a civilian
airliner," although Air Force Intelligence knew promptly that they had not.
     There are indeed parallels to the JFK controversy.  Hersh' appearance on
TV in SF was very deja vu, reminiscent of the Lane - Belli encounters of 1964.
Hersh was cast into the Belli role, arguing against allegations that KAL 007
was on a spy mission, partly with facts and partly by asking if people could
really believe that our CIA would send 269 people to certain death.  The role
of Mark Lane was taken by Melvin Belli, of all people, who is representing the
families of some victims.  Belli acted old and lawyerly.  The direct
involvement and intensity supplied by Marguerite Oswald in 1964 was provided
by the mother of one of the victims.  To my surprise, the studio audience was
very conspiratorial, and I found myself sympathizing with Hersh.
     There is, of course, very little hard evidence available.  The argument
about whether 007 could have been off course by accident is reminiscent of the
acoustical analysis.  It is even more technical, and looks to me like an
argument among experts, unresolvable by laymen.  For its flavor (with somewhat
out-of-date information), see the rather nasty exchange between M. Sayle and
D. Pearson (#110, NYRev, 25 Apr and 26 Sep 85, 27 pp.)
     Hersh's Arlen Specter is airline pilot Harold Ewing, whose "single-bullet
theory" is a detailed reconstruction of the chain of errors and omissions
which could have put 007 on the course it took.  Remember, I'm inclined to
believe the SBT, so that is not a putdown - but if you believe Ewing's account
you may never want to fly again.
     Hersh's Angleton is General James Pfautz, the head of Air Force
Intelligence.  He is not as peculiar as Angleton, but almost as heavy.  The
book, however, does not speculate on the possible importance of the split
represented by someone of his rank going public with his dissent.
8 EOC 3                              -9-

     One parallel drawn by "Time" and others is basically misleading - the
allegedly nonconspiratorial nature of Hersh's "innocent" explanation.  Indeed,
Hersh seems to treat the ideology of Reagan and his crew as an external,
almost extenuating, factor.  (They rushed to judgment "in what amounted to
good faith...."  [P. 249])  The story of how the Air Force version was
discounted emphasizes normal inter-service bureaucratic infighting and
personal conflicts.
     With the same facts, someone could make what happened sound like a very
substantial conspiracy.  Hersh does tell us that a general requested a phony
report justifying provocative action against Russia, but was turned down
(p. 74), and that a hardline deputy to William Clark discussed military action
against Cuba (p. 122-3).  The government's insistence on "look[ing] the other
way when better information became available" (p. 249) is arguably at least as
bad as planning a covert action which unpredictably failed.  I don't find that
alternative as implausible as Hersh tried to make it sound when arguing with
the conspiracy buffs.  The government's anti-Soviet campaign based on false
intelligence undeniably did endanger many innocent people, albeit obviously to
a lesser degree than using an airliner on an intelligence mission.
     For a moderately conspiratorial view, see the book "Shootdown," by Oxford
professor R. W. Johnson.  (#111 [2 pp.] is his own summary, from the London
Telegraph (18 May 86), as reprinted in Intelligence/Parapolitics.)  Before
reading the Hersh book, I found "Shootdown" quite plausible in concluding that
KAL 007 was probably being used as a passive probe, in the reasonable
expectation that the worst that could happen was that it would be forced to
land.  Hersh did not completely convince me that Johnson was wrong.
     Johnson, in contrast to Hersh, is emphatic about how extreme - and how
besotted with covert operations and dubious information - the Reaganites are.
After all, they have given us the Contras, the plot against the Pope, Grenada,
Libyan hit squads, and Star Wars.  Johnson's distance from an American
perspective is occasionally off-putting, but more often helpful.
     Hersh's debunking of more conspiratorial accounts is often persuasive,
but not always.  For example, his suggestion that the Russians planted a phony
black box, and that the crash site can be located in Russian waters from the
testimony of Japanese fishermen who turned up with gasoline-soaked notes more
than 30 days later, may be true, but the book doesn't deal with Johnson's
detailed arguments about the search for the black box.
     Hersh has no indexed reference to the KCIA (whose alleged connections to
KAL get much attention from Johnson).  More relevant to his own story, Hersh
does not (I think) refer at all to Korean COMINT capabilities, or to the
presence or absence of US COMINT facilities in Korea.  In my mind, this leaves
a gap in his assertion that he came across no indication of any prior or real-
time knowledge of a mission involving KAL 007, and that he would have done so.
     The book certainly doesn't give the impression that the story was in any
sense handed to Hersh, or that he is a friend of the intelligence community.
For example, he throws in an apparently gratuitous disclosure of the location
of some NSA facilities.  (P. 47n)  There are many other juicy details.  But
one has to wonder if what he learned represents a major ongoing split within
the government.  People talked to him, and he got things using FOIA.  Was that
just because he is a good reporter?
     The existence of dissenting positions in the intelligence community is
not a completely new story; some newspapers reported on it in 1983 (pp. 177,
265), and there was a bit of a flap when a witting Pierre Trudeau revealed
some of what he knew in October 1983.
     I wonder about the timing of a decision by "a senior military
intelligence officer" to give Hersh his "first account" of the abuse of COMINT
in this case "late in 1984."  [P. xi]  Did the people in the intelligence
community who knew the story wait until the 1984 elections were out of the way
before spilling the beans?  As with Watergate and Epstein's "Legend", the
8 EOC 3                              -10-

disclosure of important information may itself be a bigger part of the real
story than the casual reader (of "Time," and even of this book) would think.
     This is in EOC because we all should be interested, not just because of
the parallels with the JFK case.  The case is in the courts and will not just
go away.  There seems to be a network of 007 buffs - are any EOC readers in
touch with them?
     Readers of the Grassy Knoll Gazette are familiar with Bob Cutler's
analysis, according to which KAL 007 was not shot down by the Russians, but
destroyed by an on-board explosion at the same time the Russians shot down a
U.S. military plane.  Cutler has published a book, titled "Explo 007."  If you
are willing to keep Occam's Razor sheathed, and if you trust Cutler to have
convincingly eliminated all simpler explanations, you should read that book;
I haven't.

     Q77.  According to P. Maas' book on Ed Wilson, in 1964 the CIA helped get
Wilson a job as an advance man in Humphrey's VP campaign, in connection with
his assignment to "Special Operations."  (P. 24, #112)  On the assumption that
the capitalization is not a typo, can anyone tell us about such a CIA unit?
     Q78.  Can anyone provide a copy (or photocopy) of "Lucky Luciano," by
Ovid Demaris (Monarch Books paperback, 1960, 148 pp.)?
     Q79.  Does anyone have an FBI document describing a test, prior to
November 29, 1963, of the firing speed of Oswald's rifle?

     Speaking of theories of Cuban involvement (as we were on page 5):  in his
March 16 speech on Contra aid, President R. Reagan closed with an anecdote
from Clare Booth Luce, who recently spoke of an encounter with JFK.  She said
that history has time to give any great man no more than one sentence.
Kennedy asked what she thought his would be.  "'Mr. President,' she answered,
'your sentence will be that you stopped the Communists - or that you did not.'
Tragically, John Kennedy never had the chance to decide which that would be."
(#113, NYT, 17 Mar 86)
     It sounds like Reagan was just one word away from blaming the Communists
for JFK's death.  ("Tragically" could have been "ironically" or "of course" or
"it is no coincidence that.")  (See 6 EOC 3.6 for Reagan's 1979 suspicions.)
The case may not be quite as dead as it seems.
     For a different perspective, see "One Thousand Fearful Words for Fidel
Castro," a pre-invasion 1961 poem by S. F.'s Lawrence Ferlinghetti.  "It looks
like Curtains for Fidel/ They're going to fix his wagon/ in the course of
human events....  History may absolve you, Fidel/ but we'll dissolve you
first, Fidel."  This copy [#114, 4 pp.] bears the rubber stamp of the S. F.
chapter of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, with genuine phone and P.O. box

     David Phillips is to receive "substantial" damages in a settlement of a
libel suit against the London Observer, over excepts from Summers' book
"Conspiracy."  ("Challenge" press release and clips, #115, 2 pp.)

<>  Thanks to M. Ewing (#115), B. Fensterwald (80), J. Goldberg (73),
L. Haapanen (101), G. Hollingsworth (77-8, 105), M. Lee (81), D. Lifton (106),
P. McCarthy (83), J. Marshall (102), S. Meagher (84), J. Mierzejewski (79),
G. Owens (76), R. Ranftel (85-7, 89-94, 96-100, 107, 110), P. Scott (104,
112), E. Tatro (74-5), and T. Vaughan (72).

*From Illumi-Net BBS -- (404) 377-1141* [ Don's note: I doubt this BBS is
still up ]


-* Don Allen *-  InterNet: dona@bilver.UUCP  // Amiga..for the best of us.
USnail: 1818G Landing Dr, Sanford Fl 32771 \X/ Why use anything else? :-)
UUCP: ..uunet!tarpit!bilver!dona - Why did the JUSTICE DEPT steal PROMIS?
/\/\ What is research but a blind date with knowledge. William Henry /\/\

From: dona@bilver.uucp (Don Allen)
Newsgroups: alt.conspiracy
Subject: JFK Text: Echoes of Conspiracy - EOC4.TXT (end)
Message-ID: <1991Dec26.195226.20027@bilver.uucp>
Date: 26 Dec 91 19:52:26 GMT
Organization: W. J. Vermillion - Winter Park, FL
Lines: 618


-----BEGIN PART 4/4-----------------------------------------------------------

ECHOES OF CONSPIRACY                                          December 8, 1986
Vol. 8, #4                                                        Paul L. Hoch

     Among EOC readers, access to Showtime cable TV seems scarcer than
interest in the LWT production, "On Trial:  Lee Harvey Oswald."  I was able to
see the program, so it seemed like a good idea to get this issue out as soon
as possible.  It is less edited than usual; my allocation of space probably
does not accurately reflect the relative importance of the various witnesses,
or of the program as a whole.
     The mock trial used real lawyers, real witnesses, and no script.  Five
and a half hours were broadcast on November 21 and 22.  (An additional 18
hours will reportedly be shown next January, or maybe it will be just 12 and a
half hours.)  There were 21 witnesses in all - 14 called by prosecutor Vincent
Bugliosi, seven by defense lawyer Gerry Spence.  There were nine "November 22"
witnesses (six who were in Dealey Plaza, two on the Tippit case, and one from
Bethesda); four people who knew or investigated Oswald and one who knew Ruby,
and seven people who testified to or participated in the HSCA and Warren
Commission investigations.  Not much documentary material was used in the
trial, other than the Zapruder film and some 1963-64 film clips.
     High points, in my opinion, for viewers already familiar with the case:
Ruth Paine talking about Oswald, Ed Lopez on his HSCA investigation of Oswald
in Mexico, Paul O'Connor on the circumstances of the autopsy.
     Low points:  the cross-examination of Ruth Paine, Jack Anderson as a
commentator, conspiracy witness Tom Tilson, Cyril Wecht's testimony on the
single-bullet theory, the trial as a fact-finding vehicle, and Gerry Spence
(who came across like Mark Lane imitating Sam Ervin).
     Prior to the filming, I talked with (and consulted for) some of the LWT
people, primarily producer Mark Redhead and researcher Richard Tomlinson.
They had a good understanding of the subtleties of the case, and of the
limitations imposed by the trial format.  Unfortunately, those limitations
were more apparent in the final program than the new insights and information
they developed.  In real life, I am told, there is more of a fact-finding
process in the work of trial lawyers than the jury ever knows.  The LWT effort
might look much more productive after we see the outtakes (or if there is a
book or long article - I have heard nothing about one.)  LWT definitely got
some interesting comments from potential witnesses who were not even mentioned
in the final version.

     The first evening's segment (three hours) comprised the prosecution case.
It was the basic WC-HSCA evidence against Oswald, presented in a rather
straightforward way by Bugliosi.
     Bugliosi's presentation included relatively little that offended me,
except for a few things like some comments in his opening statement about
Oswald as a Commie (which Spence pounced on).  Bugliosi was much worse on
"People are Talking" in S.F. in mid-November, where he dredged up Joseph
Goebbels and the "big lie" to bash the critics with.  Bugliosi's trial
presentation did tend to refer more to what "the critics" had said than to "my
opponent," and he tried to discredit Wecht by calling him "the darling of the
conspiracy buffs."
     Opening statements followed a brief introduction by Edwin Newman,
including some stock footage.  The stated aim of the show was to restore the
rights of Oswald to a trial, and of the American people to see justice done.
The London set looked like a courtroom, with a jury brought over from Dallas,
an apparently working court reporter, and an audience of actors.
     Bugliosi's real record was one acquittal in 106 felony prosecutions, and
Spence had not lost a jury trial in 17 years; at some level these guys were
clearly playing for keeps.  This may have led to strategies aimed at winning,
rather than at, say, coming up with newsworthy new evidence or good TV.
8 EOC 4                              -2-

     Bugliosi began his opening statement with negative comments about
conspiracy buffs.  A frameup is a "preposterous" idea; Oswald was a "deeply
disturbed and maladjusted man" and a "fanatical Marxist."
     Spence said that when he started work on this trial, he thought Oswald
(generally referred to as "Lee") was guilty, but he was now convinced that we
have been carrying a "national lie" with us.  At the end of the trial, the
jury would still want to know why Bugliosi, representing "this huge polithera
[sic] of power in this country" had still not come forward with the whole
truth, and would therefore have to return a "not guilty" verdict.
     By and large, the prosecution witnesses repeated their earlier
statements, often by saying "yes" to Bugliosi's leading questions.  I suppose
that was like a real trial, and it certainly kept the proceedings from
dragging, but in many cases this limited the opportunity to judge the demeanor
of the witness.  I'm not sure anything came out in direct testimony which we
didn't already know, but if it did, we would have trouble judging whether it
was a real subtlety or one introduced by Bugliosi's paraphrasing.
     First witness:  <>, slightly graying.  He lives "here in
Dallas."  He said that Oswald was the only employee missing at a roll call.
Spence opened with a little joke, and bugged Bugliosi by mispronouncing his
name.  He led Frazier to say that Oswald was nice, liked kids, was not a
madman, and had not previously lied to him.
     The real issues involving Frazier, particularly his interrogations by the
police, did not surface.  (LWT had been referred to Chapters 10 and 11 of
George O'Toole's book "The Assassination Tapes.")  Of course, all my comments
about what was not done are subject to revision when we see the rest of the
testimony next year.
     <> described what he saw of the shooting.  To Spence, he
conceded that he had called himself an expert on those few seconds.  The
Zapruder film was shown, to make the jury experts too.  Brehm argued a bit
when Spence described the head snap in exaggerated terms.  Spence carried on
about the direction tin cans move in when hit by rocks, and he was reprimanded
for his theatrics.  There's a mind-bender.  If a witness misbehaved, would he
be cited for contempt of television?  (And sentenced to watch "Dallas"?)
     <> was led through his description of hearing the shots and
falling cartridge cases on the next floor up.  Spence aptly noted that Norman
did not try to escape from the armed man in the building, and Spence
inscrutably suggested that what he heard could have been other metal objects
dropping.  Norman seemed a bit evasive, or perhaps just understandably puzzled
by the whole exercise.  Oddly, he indicated that he had resisted the efforts
of the FBI to put words in his mouth, on the question of whether what he heard
was "above" or "right above" him.  Spence tried (inadequately) to clarify the
issue of when employees were freed to leave the building.
     Sheriff <> described the sniper's nest, and his discovery of
the rifle, saying that "Mauser" was used as a generic term.  Typically, Spence
did not really cross-examine Boone about what he had said, but used his
testimony as a way of presenting his own speculation.  Spence suggested that
the gun was meant to be found, and that the cartridge cases were found in
positions inconsistent with ejection to the right from the rifle.
     As in a real trial, I guess, Boone didn't get to point out that
cartridges can bounce, and he played along with Spence's resurrection of the
old Mannlicher - Mauser identification problem.  Boone conceded that he was
not able to identify the rifle as the one he found, just in the sense that it
did not have his marks on it.  Having testified that he found no powder burns
on the foliage on the knoll, he conceded that there were none on the sixth
floor either.
     Officer <> described his encounter with Oswald on the second
floor.  Spence emphasized that Oswald did not seem excited.
     <> told of seeing Oswald run past his used-car lot with his
8 EOC 4                              -3-

pistol, and of checking Tippit's pulse and calling in on his radio.  On cross,
Bugliosi objected to Spence cutting off Callaway's responses, but was
overruled.  I wonder if anyone got to sit down with these witnesses and have a
decent session of questioning without playing by legal rules, and if a record
of such conversations will ever become available.  If not, that would be a
real loss.
     About an hour into the show, there was the first exchange I found
potentially valuable.  Callaway conceded that Capt. Fritz said before the
lineup that they wanted to wrap up the case on Oswald, and linked him to JFK's
murder, but Callaway said he had asked first.  He continued to defend the
handling of the lineup (e.g., the clothing worn) and the validity of his
identification:  "I could have made it, sir, if they had been 'nekkid.'"
     Bugliosi called Frazier back, to identify Billy Lovelady standing in the
doorway a few steps in front of Frazier.  Spence had gotten Callaway and Baker
to say that the man in the Altgens photo resembled Oswald.  Spence tried to
make an issue of Frazier not having identified Lovelady before.  This is a
good example of muddying up the facts on what really is a non-issue.
     <> (known to us as Johnny Calvin Brewer) told of seeing Oswald
outside his shoe store, and of his role in the capture of Oswald.  Did we know
that the police briefly held a gun on him?  Good testimony from a human-
interest viewpoint, but we did not learn how Brewer felt about jumping into
that dangerous situation.  To Spence, he conceded that Oswald's odd behavior
was consistent with being a patsy, that a policeman struck Oswald, and that he
did testify that he heard someone say "Kill the President, will you" - but he
does not know who, or even if it was a policeman.  (It did not come out that
he told David Belin that it was "some of the police," and that he thought he
"had seen him [Oswald] some place before.  I think he had been in my store
before."  [7 WCH 6, 4])
     After a "break," during which Ed Newman retraced Oswald's route, <> testified about his HSCA photo analysis, primarily of the Zapruder film
and the backyard photos.  Kirk had better graphics capabilities this time -
stop action video, and a light pen (as used for play analysis in football
games).  This production reportedly cost about $1 million; the HSCA spent only
about $5.5 million investigating the JFK and MLK cases.
     Spence suggested, in a patronizing and artificial way, that the sudden
stop of the running girl (Rosemary Willis) may have been caused by her mother
- she presumably did have one, right? - calling her name.  Spence tried to get
Kirk to admit that he could not detect a CIA or KGB fraud; he stood his
ground.  I remain impressed by Kirk.  I really believe that many of the HSCA
panelists would have been delighted to come up with evidence of conspiracy.
(That has been said about the WC staff too, but there I have strong doubts.)
     An odd bit of role-playing:  Bugliosi objected to the playing of a 1964
clip of Connally talking about the shots, when he must have realized that it
was good television and would not be passed up.
     Dr. <> testified about the HSCA pathology panel, attributing
the head snap to a neuromuscular reaction.  Cross-examination was dreadful -
did you ask the FBI or the CIA "to produce the brain of the President?"  Even
expert witnesses don't get to talk.  The HSCA public hearings were usually a
lot better than a real trial, imperfect as they were.  (Remember "I just have
one more question, Mr. White.  Do you know what photogrammetry is?"  [2 HSCA
344])   Petty looked authentically and appropriately amused by the antics of
the lawyers.
     Bugliosi and Spence seemed genuinely puzzled by the panel's observation
that the photos and X-rays contradicted the autopsy surgeons on the location
of the head entry wound.  (7 HSCA 129)  Spence erroneously introduced this as
a conflict between the photos and the X-rays, and the real issue here (which
the HSCA was unable to resolve) was totally obfuscated.
     HSCA firearms expert <> described a re-enactment he did for
8 EOC 4                              -4-

Bugliosi this May, getting three hits in 3.6 seconds once, and two hits the
other four times.  Spence noted that this was not an exact duplication.  He
made this point in such an obnoxious way that his success with juries both
surprises and disturbs me.
     <> testified about his neutron activation analysis.  The
cross-examination (reproduced on p. 9) was in some ways typically awful.
Spence emphasized that Guinn had not examined 28 additional bullet fragments
which were "found" in the head.  (In fact, they were "found" in X-rays.)  The
erroneous implication that 28 other fragments were removed and then ignored
just slipped by.  (Or was that my inference, not Spence's implication, as Mark
Lane used to say?)  Guinn wasn't allowed to say what he knew on that point.
     Insofar as there is a real inauthenticity issue, i.e. in the context of
Lifton's evidence, it was not pursued in any meaningful way on the air.
     The next witness was a surprise to me, and a new face:  former FBI
documents expert <>.  He gave straightforward testimony about
the Klein's order form for the rifle and Oswald's diary and letters, with a
reading of the sections indicating the most hostility to the U.S.  Spence
played the innocent:  "Well.  Do you realize what you've been used for here,
doctor?... to smear my client, isn't that right?"  Presumably used to this
sort of thing in real life, Shaneyfelt did little but answer the questions.
Reading from 8 HSCA 236, Spence noted the expert testimony that the diary was
written in only a few sittings.  Shaneyfelt stood up to him on his use of
microfilm copies for analysis.
     Spence suggested, hypothetically, that assuming Oswald was working for
"the CIA or for the Army Intelligence or for the Navy Intelligence," he might
establish his loyalty by sending anti-American letters through the censored
mail.  A confused double hypothesis:  an agent wouldn't ordinarily keep a
diary, but he wanted his to be read.  Shaneyfelt conceded that it was a "fair
assumption" that the CIA and FBI can create good forgeries.
     A bit of real-life drama emerged in the testimony of <>, now
a chef in Arkansas.  He and Oswald were both "130%" pro-Castro in the Marines.
He agreed with Spence's description of his (previously reported) fears that
the FBI would get him, and Bugliosi wondered - without probing the reasons for
his fears - if Delgado didn't think that the FBI would have gotten him if they
really wanted to.  Delgado said he was "just old news" now, and revealed that
he had indeed been shot in the shoulder.
     The last government witness - on the stand for about 25 minutes - was
<>.  Wasn't this her first extended public appearance?  It was
interesting to see her in person, but the constraints of the format were
overwhelming.  She was trying to be precise, thoughtful, and fair, and
apparently found talking about Oswald a difficult experience; the lawyers were
busy acting like lawyers.  For example, Spence asked if she were a CIA or KGB
agent, ridiculing her (as she noted) for laughing at the first question.  He
badgered her about the coincidences involved in her studying Russian (to work
for US-USSR friendship), befriending Marina, having the gun in her garage, and
getting Lee the TSBD job - all, it seems, to make the point that she now knows
how Lee would have felt about being (falsely) accused.  Dreadful.  Why she sat
still for this, I don't know.  She did say that she hoped to show "for the
historical record" that a "very ordinary person" like Lee "can kill the
President without that being something that shows on them in advance."
     A discussion with Ruth Paine on her own terms could have been very
illuminating.  There are many questions she has apparently not been asked -
about her previous interrogations, for example.  I'm sure that even the buffs
with suspicions about her relationship with the Oswalds could come up with a
list of questions which could be asked in a productive and non-hostile manner.
I hope she doesn't think Spence is a typical critic; I think some of us should
write to her and apologize.
     If Spence's whole case really were typical of what the critics have to
8 EOC 4                              -5-

offer, it would be time to retire.  My reaction to Mark Lane in 1964 was that
all those little points must add up to something; my reaction to Spence is
quite the opposite.  His ability and inclination to suggest doubts about
whatever a prosecution witness said told me less about what happened in Dallas
than about how lawyers work.
     The first defense witness was <>, who described seeing Kennedy
and Connally hit.  It was established that there was room for doubt in his
opinion of the direction of the shots, since (when he was excited and upset)
he signed a statement saying the JFK had stood up in the car.
     Spence called <> of the DPD to tell his story about someone who
looked just like Ruby (whom he knew) throwing something into a car just past
the knoll, right after the shooting.  Tilson then followed him but the license
number he called in was apparently not pursued, and Tilson's copy was lost.
Sure.  Bugliosi didn't get Tilson to recant on the stand, but his story
certainly didn't look plausible when he was done.
     Earl Golz's article on Tilson does not suggest that he thought the man he
chased was Ruby.  (#116, 2 pp., DMN, 20 Aug 78, just six days before the HSCA
interviewed Tilson; see also 12 HSCA 15-16, or "Conspiracy," p. 82.)  Golz's
most provocative statement (given Hurt's account of funny business in the
Tippit case) is that Tilson was close enough to Tippit to be a pallbearer.
     Of all the conspiracy witnesses around, why would Spence want this one?
I fear he really chose to suggest that Ruby was running around Dallas, on the
knoll with a gun and planting a bullet at Parkland.  That is hardly a leading
hypothesis for a conspiracy involving Ruby; the only advantage seems to be
that one can exploit it, in a very naive way, to incorporate some of Seth
Kantor's testimony and at the same time cast doubt on Guinn's.
     The testimony of Dr. <> generally resembled his HSCA appearance,
in tone as well as content.  Wecht still takes a hard line on the question of
how he could be right and the rest of the HSCA panel wrong, suggesting the
"subconscious" influence of their government grants and appointments.  In the
program's second gratuitous reference to nudity, Wecht asserted that he was
the only panelist with "the courage to say that the king was nude and had no
clothes on."
     In response to Wecht's best point - the condition of CE 399 - Bugliosi
did not bring up the test firings by Dr. John Nichols (and later by Dr. John
Lattimer), where shooting this ammunition into a block of wood left the bullet
in good condition.  (Lattimer, p. 271-2)  That's not the same as a comparable
bullet from a real shooting, but it should be noted.
     I cannot defend Wecht's use, in attacking the single-bullet theory, of
the same schematic diagram he presented to the HSCA (1 HSCA 341).  It is an
unfair representation of what the government now claims CE 399 did.  One can
debate the SBT trajectory, but one must now start with the results of the
HSCA's trajectory analysis.  There may be minor errors on that work, but the
SBT path is clearly not as implausible as Wecht presented it.  Bugliosi scored
a point by asking where the Kennedy bullet went if it did not end up in
Connally, but he did not bring up the HSCA's trajectory work.
     Perhaps the most impressive defense witness was hospital corpsman <>, one of the important Bethesda witnesses in Lifton's "Best Evidence."
He described the removal of JFK's body from a body bag, the "constant"
interference by Dr. Burkley (apparently on behalf of the family), and the
condition of the head, which left no need for the procedure he usually
performed to cut the skull and very little of the brain to be removed.
     Bugliosi's cross-examination produced one dramatic moment.  First he
established that the surgeons did "most of the mundane jobs" usually done by
the technicians, but O'Connor insisted there was no brain to remove.  If this
was so shocking, Bugliosi wondered, why didn't he tell the HSCA?  He seemed
genuinely surprised when O'Connor said he had been "under orders not to talk
until that time."
8 EOC 4                              -6-

     Unfortunately, issues relating to these orders were not pursued on the
air.  O'Connor, who was nervous, referred to getting permission from the HSCA
to talk to Navy brass, and also indicated that the HSCA had not asked the
right questions.  The sequence of events is unclear:  Bugliosi referred to an
hour-and-a-half interview with the HSCA; I think the volumes cite only an
"outside contact report" (which was often based on a phone call) dated June
28, 1978, but that does not preclude an earlier interview.  The 1963 orders
not to talk were not modified until March 1978, when permission to talk with
the HSCA was reluctantly given.  (Best Evidence, p. 608)
     The broadcast did not mention the Sibert-O'Neill report or the other
indications of head surgery.  Spence seems to have used O'Connor's evidence
only to establish the absence of the brain, without much of a scenario to
explain it.  O'Connor's interpretation was not brought out; Lifton's book said
he basically believed the Warren Report.
     Spence also brought up the missing brain with Wecht and Petty, and in
connection with the Zapruder film.  As with his version of a Ruby conspiracy,
the missing brain is representative of but not really central to the mysteries
of the medical evidence.  Bugliosi's presentation of the HSCA investigation of
RFK's probable role in the post-autopsy destruction of a brain may have unduly
lessened the impact of O'Connor's testimony.
     Former FBI SA <> was called as an adverse witness.  It was
valuable to see him, but I don't recall much new information in his testimony
on Oswald's note, the information "withheld" from him about Oswald's Mexico
trip, and other matters.  (Spence's grasp of the evidence seemed imperfect; he
indicated at first that a page had been removed from Oswald's notebook
itself.)  It was Bugliosi who got Hosty to say that he was not suggesting
Soviet consul Kostikov was involved in the assassination.
     Hosty thinks the Mexico mystery man was assumed to be Oswald because
prior wiretap information suggested - at the time - that Oswald was going to
come over to pick up his visa.  Where has this explanation been dealt with?
     The next witness was HSCA researcher <>, barely recognizable
as a short-haired and properly attired lawyer, talking about Oswald in Mexico.
(His style during the HSCA investigation was informal; see p. 211 of Gaeton
Fonzi's article on the HSCA, 2 EOC 10.2.)  Like O'Connor, Lopez did not
provide many facts the buffs did not already know, but he probably made quite
an impression on the viewing audience.  His personal conclusions were that
Oswald was in some way associated with the CIA, and was a patsy.
     Lopez concluded that there had been an Oswald impostor for all the
Embassy visits - partly on the basis of his review of CIA photos taken from
three sites.  He specified that the surveillance was around-the-clock,
contrary to David Phillips.  [The Night Watch, p. 124; cf. Summers, p. 384]
Spence noted that, in a real trial, Lee could have demanded production of the
still-classified 280-page HSCA report on Mexico.  On cross-examination,
Bugliosi let Lopez talk a bit, and managed to effectively touch on some of the
evidentiary difficulties with his conspiratorial conclusions.
     The final defense witness was <>, whose testimony provided a
pretty good summary of the basic issues relating to Ruby, whom he knew.
Bugliosi raised some of the standard non-conspiratorial rebuttals.  I don't
recall any facts which are not in Kantor's book on Ruby or the HSCA volumes.
     In terms of factual information alluded to, Kantor, Lopez, and O'Connor
certainly deserve more space in EOC than all the prosecution witnesses put
together.  However, we have not heard Lopez' evidence - he said he was still
bound by his secrecy oath.  The fact that Lopez went public with his personal
conclusions is significant, in any case.  On the whole, the evidence involved
in the defense case was better than Spence's presentation of it.
     I am told that the taped testimony included three additional witnesses,
and that three more were flown to London but not used.  (I do not know the
names of those witnesses.)
8 EOC 4                              -7-

     Bugliosi's closing arguments were effectively delivered and generally
straightforward.  He did not push a "no conspiracy" argument, but alleged that
Oswald was "guilty as sin."  He could have been much worse; he cited Oswald's
defection to the USSR not as evidence of his serious political beliefs, but as
one indication that he was "utterly and completely nuts" and "bonkers," as one
must be to shoot the President.  He noted that Spence kept his cowboy hat on
the table and didn't put it on anyone as a conspirator.
     There were certainly holes in Bugliosi's argument - when he asked, for
example, if there was such a sophisticated conspiracy, why frame a poor
marksman who had a $19 rifle?  That one can be answered.  In general, I don't
think an uninformed viewer got a good sense of the political context of the
assassination.  Bugliosi said Spence was too smart to say the FBI or CIA
killed JFK, which would sound "downright silly," and he asserted that neither
the CIA nor the Mafia had "any productive motive whatsoever" to do so.
     Spence propped a photo of Lee in a chair, and said that Lee would
probably say he was scared and could not explain a lot of the evidence.
Spence would tell him to just trust the jury.  Of course, he emphasized that
each juror had to dispel all his reasonable doubts.  (Neither lawyer was about
to abandon successful techniques for this very special case, which is why
Spence had to argue with Kirk about the running girl, for example.)  Spence
dragged up all the "coincidences" involving Ruth Paine, and various other
alleged coincidences.  He said that the only firm truth in this case is that
the "closet" of hidden evidence is still locked.
     Spence closed with a melodramatic metaphor in which a bird in a child's
hand represented Lee's fate in the jury's hands.  The speech's distance from
the hard facts reminded me of Garrison.  At this point, if I had been a juror,
Spence's style would have led to me decide that some of the doubts he had
planted were not really "reasonable" and could be ignored.  One small
consolation is that the lawyers did not get a lot of money for appearing on
the program - just a lot of publicity.
     While waiting for the verdict, we heard a discussion involving defense
lawyer Alan Dershowitz and two men who could well have been witnesses, former
AG Ramsey Clark and Jack Anderson.
     Anderson's self-promoting remarks argued for a verdict of guilty as part
of a conspiracy.  Among other things, he claimed that he began digging into
the CIA after the assassination, and that he found that the CIA had recruited
Mafia killers to get Castro.  Oswald killed JFK "little over three [sic]
months" after Castro's "warning" interview with Daniel Harker of the AP, "and
we've had plenty of testimony showing [Oswald's] links to the Castro
movement."  John Roselli was killed by Trafficante's people because he gave
Anderson details of Castro's involvement.  Anderson also talked about an
immediate briefing of RFK by McCone.  He also said that Hoover "made a public
statement" to the effect that he was "under pressure to finger" Oswald.  As a
guide to Anderson's reliability, note that he referred to the acoustical
evidence as if the HSCA's results had not been seriously challenged.
     Does Anderson have some sort of first-amendment immunity against being
properly questioned?  His 1967 column suggesting that Castro had retaliated
against plots pushed by the Kennedys was certainly an event in the
controversy, not just a description of it.  (Ed Newman, at least, did
challenge his Roselli story.)
     If anyone wants to transcribe Anderson's comments, or other parts of the
program, I can provide an audio tape.
     Among other things, Ramsey Clark suggested that the Castro-did-it theory
is CIA disinformation.  He praised the Warren Commission for doing a
"marvelous job," and alleged that RFK had no doubts about FBI or CIA
involvement.  The issue, he thinks, is how we can keep our idealism without
succumbing to "irrationality and to violence."
     Dershowitz emphasized the importance of maintaining the integrity of the
8 EOC 4                              -8-

fact-finding process.  Even more than Spence, he would have emphasized that
the process had been tampered with.  Clark said that sort of thing happens all
the time.  Dershowitz thought Spence got some new facts out, and showed the
advantages of the adversary process.  Clark, correctly, disputed that.
     Spence and Bugliosi made a few general remarks to the TV audience, mostly
on the value of the mock trial.
     The jury's verdict:  guilty.  On the question of conspiracy:  seven no,
three yes, two undecided.
     There was also a telephone-poll verdict, provided by an unspecified
number of viewers who saw at least part of the defense case and thought giving
their opinion was worth fifty cents:  14% guilty, 86% not guilty in the West,
15% and 85% in the East.  That is generally consistent with the 1983 Gallup
poll often referred to by Hurt, and with Fensterwald's poll of "experts."
(#1984.36, #1984.166-7)  Newman thought the variance of the two verdicts was a
"remarkable" state of affairs.  (For my sentiments about polls of the general
public, note item #126 below.)  Newman said that the unavailable evidence, if
relevant, should be made public, in light of the "continuing disquiet."
     How I would have voted?  In a real trial, not guilty (unless the rest of
the jury was unanimously not guilty, in which case I might have taken the
opportunity to hang the jury and get some more facts out the next time
around); in a mock trial, based just on what was aired, guilty and conspiracy.
But, as with my limited real-life trial experience, my strongest opinion was
that at least one of the lawyers should be locked up.  Despite my bias against
Bugliosi for his prior comparison of some buffs to Dr. Goebbels, I think he
did an acceptable and often persuasive job on the air.
     The credits included special thanks to Tony Summers and Mary Ferrell.
The copyright is held by LWT.

     117.  For 15-16 Nov 86  (Seth Kantor, Cox papers and NYT service)
[3 pp.]  "Despite the impact of the testimony, the realistic trial is
dominated by the hand-to-hand courtroom combat" of Spence and Bugliosi, who
"do not like each other, on and off camera."  A good pre-broadcast overview,
with a few quotes from the witnesses.
     118.  9 Nov 86 (LAT)  "Oswald goes on trial"  [4 pp.]  An amusing account
by Bill Bancroft of Dallas, who worked as a researcher for the program.
Norman was hard to locate; Amos Euins was afraid to participate; a judge who
looked like one was not easy to find; some "jurors" (deliberately chosen to be
under 35) were (understandably) suspicious of the LWT offer.  (One checked
Bancroft's credit rating.)  There was much tension during the filming.  "All
18 hours are scheduled to be shown on Showtime in 1987."
     119.  Nov 86  (Cabletime)  This Showtime ad does not mention LWT, but
does use the dreaded "d" word:  "Innocent or guilty?  You decide after
watching this docu-drama of the controversy behind the Kennedy assassination."
     120.  21 Nov 86  (SF Examiner)  "Oswald inherits his day in court at
last; a goose teaches a boy to be a man"  (Two separate items.)  "In a curious
way, this massive program elevates the 'People's Court' genre while degrading
both the reality and the mythos behind legendary 'Inherit the Wind' court
battles."  TV critic Michael Dougan is more generous to Spence than I can be:
he "transfixes the jurors (and, I suspect, many viewers) with his intense
magnetism, his down-home demeanor, his unflappability and confidence."  But
Dougan sees the basic problem:  "Where 'On Trial' disappoints is in the
implied promise that this may be a ground-breaking investigation, bringing
fresh evidence - or, at least, perspective - to the fore....  Alas, most of
the time is devoted to rehashing old arguments...."
     121.  16 Nov  (Schneider, NYT)  "Bringing Lee Harvey Oswald to 'Trial'"
The "main weakness", Bugliosi said, was the time limitation on cross-
examination and closing statements.
8 EOC 4                              -9-

     122.  19 Nov  (AP)  "Kennedy case put to a jury"  [2 pp.]  Researcher
Tomlinson said the program "produces no new evidence" and is not "the final
word on who killed Kennedy."  O'Connor's "dramatic" testimony is noted.
     123.  4 Nov  (LA News in NY News)  "TV gives Oswald his day in court"
Spence is "best known as the flamboyant lawyer who won a multi-million-dollar
verdict in the Karen Silkwood case."  (I am told that the Law Enforcement
Intelligence Unit played a role in that case; to get some idea of why I am
interested in the LEIU, and the possibility that it knew about Oswald, see the
documents listed in EOC for 16 Jun 79.)  "The lawyers were chosen not only
because of their visibility but also because... 'We wanted people who would
take this seriously.'"  Bugliosi "combed through" the WC and HSCA volumes,
"and 'all the books by the conspiracy buffs.'"  (Did he talk to any of us?
Not that I know of.)
     124.  22 Nov  (LAT)  "Oswald Skeptics' Night in Court"   "If the emotions
aren't genuine, then these witnesses are among the world's best amateur
actors.  The posturing is by lawyers, not witnesses, proving that real people
telling real stories are far more compelling and believable than characters
speaking dialogue."
     Speaking of flamboyant lawyers whose style didn't cut it in this case:
     125.  23 Nov  (Wice, Hartford Courant, in SFC)  "The Botched Trial of
Jack Ruby"  [3 pp.]  "A lawyer less concerned [than Melvin Belli] with his
public image probably would not have gambled his client's life on an
implausible [epilepsy] defense."  The press, prosecutor, and judge didn't do
so well either, making "a mockery out of due process of law."
     126.  3 Nov (SFC)  In a poll at four named colleges, 30% of the 1000
responding students said they believed that "aliens from outer space visited
Earth in ancient times."  About the same fraction believe in Bigfoot and
Atlantis.  More than half "said they are creationists."  So let's not take our
85% in the JFK case too seriously.
     127.  20 Nov 86  (Corry, NYT)  A good critique of the lawyers' styles and
the witnesses' demeanor; quotable, but I'm short on space and time.

     The entire broadcast cross-examination of Prof. Vincent Guinn:
     GS:  Well, I'd rather cross-examine Mr. Bugliosi than the doctor, since
he's the one that's given all the testimony.  [Judge:  But the doctor's on the
stand.]  Doctor, will you answer my questions, nice and simple, yes and no,
like you did for Mr. Bugliosi?
     VG:  Wherever that's possible, yes, sir.
     GS:  Here's a picture of the skull, X-ray of the skull, of the President.
And what we see are an artist's drawing of the fragments that were seen in the
X-ray.  I understand that you examined only two of the 30 fragments that were
found in the skull; is that correct?
     VG:  There were only two that were delivered to me, I'm not sure...
     GS:  (Interrupting)  Please, is that correct?  [VG:  That is correct.]
You did two.  [Yeah.]  Only two.  And do you know which two?  [No.]  And so do
you know what the composition is of the other 28 fragments found in his brain?
     VG:  Yes.
     GS:  Have you checked them?
     VG:  No, but I know what they are.
     GS:  Well, have you examined them, put them through the neutron
activation analysis?
     VG:  They were not available, the other pieces.
     GS:  Thank you.  Now, doctor, did you analyze the large copper fragment
that was found in the limousine?
     VG:  No, this was only an analysis of bullet lead.
     GS:  I'm gonna ask you once more, Dr. Guinn, did you analyze the large
copper fragment that was found in the limousine?  [VG:  No.]
8 EOC 4                              -10-

     GS:  Are you aware of the fact, doctor, that dishonest evidence can be
honestly examined?  [VG:  Of course.]
     GS:  That means that an honest examination can be made of evidence that's
been manufactured or planted.  [VG:  It's always possible, yes.]
     GS:  Your testimony isn't to be interpreted by the jury that you find
that this is honest evidence, is it?
     VG:  I cannot say; I have no reason to doubt the authenticity of the
evidence; [VG ignored GS's interruption:  No, but you can't say one way or the
other, can you?]  it came to me in the original FBI containers with their
designations on them, and in all appearances the specimens matched what was in
the Warren Commission report description of them.  I have no reason to doubt
that they are completely authentic; they were brought to me from the National
Archives by a man of the National Archives.
     GS:  I'm understanding that, sir, but you're not testifying to this jury
that you can vouch for their authenticity, are you?
     VG:  No, you never can do that, in any criminal case.
     GS:  Your testimony isn't to be interpreted to mean that you know that
the bullet parts that you examined actually came from the body of the
President?  [VG:  No way, unless I were the surgeon.]
     GS:  And you just examined what they gave you, isn't that true, doctor?
     VG:  Correct.  [GS:  Thank you, doctor.]

     The "settlement" referred to at 8 EOC 3.10 did not involve any admission
or court ruling that Phillips had been libeled.  It seems safe to assume the
the potential cost of going to trial resulted in a settlement.  The Observer
conceded that the Summers extracts "could have been read to suggest that Mr.
Phillips was himself involved in a conspiracy relating to the assassination
and in the suppression of evidence about it," and "accepted that there was
never any evidence to support such a suggestion."  The case involved not only
excerpts from "Conspiracy" but subsequent articles in the South China Morning
Post based on Summers' research, as distributed by the Observer.
     "Goddess" is out in paperback (Onyx, $4.95), with a substantial new
chapter (45 pages) on various aspects of the Monroe-Kennedy story.

     Q80.  WBAI's anniversary program featured John Davis, David Lifton, and
Phil Melanson.  Can someone provide a tape?
     Q81.  Investigations of Oswald's activities in New Orleans turned up
several references to Tulane (where some FPCC handbills were found, for
example) and (I think) one or two to Loyola.  Does anyone know of any
references to LSU at New Orleans (now the University of New Orleans)?  That
was the downtown public college, and at least as likely a place for Oswald to
do his work as the two major private colleges.  (I know of only 10 HSCA 127,
which says that Guy Banister checked out Cuban students at LSUNO for the CRC.)
     I have again gotten far behind in my correspondence, and I expect to
catch up now that the case is quiet again - unless someone comes up with a
photo of Col. North on the grassy knoll.  (I'm being sarcastic only about the
tendency of a few conspiratorialists to link some of the mysterious old
evidence to whoever emerges in the newest scandal.  Some aspects of the latest
disclosures certainly have roots in the Cuban issues of 1963, and we should
not be surprised if some of the newly prominent names can be linked to people
who have been mentioned in the assassination controversy.  Peter Scott has
already come up with some interesting ideas along these lines.)

<>:  Thanks to B. Fensterwald (#116), J. Goldberg (127), G. Hollingsworth
(122, 124), S. Kantor (117), P. Melanson (118, 123), G. Owens (121),
R. Stetler, and G. Stone (118).

*From Illumi-Net BBS - (404) 377-1141* [ Don's note: I doubt this BBS is still
up ]

---END OF ARTICLE---------------------------------------------------------------

-* Don Allen *-  InterNet: dona@bilver.UUCP  // Amiga..for the best of us.
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