Thursday, November 21, 2013

Frequently Asked Questions on the JFK Assassination (Pt. 9): Earlier Plots, Designated Assassins, Oswald Double

  1. I understand there were earlier plans afoot to kill JFK? Where and anyone identified in them?

There were at least two earlier plots for assassinating JFK – one in Chicago, timed for November 2, to coincide with the assassination of the Diem brothers in Vietnam, and one on Nov. 18th in Miami.   The latter fell apart after an FBI informant, William Somerset, used a wire to record the words of one Joseph Milteer who calmly forecast that Kennedy would be shot and killed from a tall building using a rifle with telescope sight. Kennedy was in Miami at the time to give a speech, and his motorcade was cancelled.

The Chicago threat was the more serious of the two, as a warning had been phoned in (by an FBI informant named “Lee”)   that a team of snipers planned to shoot Kennedy in a motorcade while on the then Northwest (now Kennedy) Expressway, en route to Soldier Field for a football game (JFK ended up cancelling these plans). Author James Douglass has noted the eerie resemblance of the motorcade route to that in Dallas, starting with the site of the original building at 625 West Jackson,  an old eight story building that had been remodeled for apartment dwellers”. As he notes[1]:

“From its roof I could look down and over to where JFK’s presidential limousine had been scheduled to make a slow turn up from the Northwest Expressway exit ramp onto west Jackson on November 2, 1963. It was analogous to the slow curve the limousine would make in Dallas in front of the Texas School Book Depository three weeks later.”

  1. Was Oswald one of the assassins then, or was it some one else?

In fact, Lee Oswald is believed (certainly by James Douglass, and myself) to have been the FBI informant “Lee” who warned of the hit, or more exactly the real threat in a phone call to the Chicago FBI office[2].  The latter issued from a team of four Cubans who were the actual direct threat to Kennedy while a chosen patsy (Thomas Arthur Vallee) was designated to be arrested as the lone assassin in the IPP-Litho Plate building on West Jackson. (Similar to Lee Oswald at the Texas Book Depository)

A separate tip (warning) on Vallee came from Chicago Police Lt. Berkeley Moyland, who observed Vallee in a cafeteria and sized him up as “damaged unbalanced personality”. Evidently, it was remarks of Vallee concerning Kennedy that caused Moyland to phone in a tip to the Treasury Department (under which the Secret Service operates). Moyland received a call back from a Treasury official who committed him to absolute silence and was told: “Don’t write anything else about it. Don’t tell anybody about it. Just forget about it”.[3]

Thanks to Moyland’s alertness and “Lee’s” willingness to give a timely heads up, JFK got an extension of nearly two more weeks to live. The latter’s tip busted the main threat, with rifles recovered from a Chicago boarding house. The perpetrators, or planners, escaped. Thomas Arthur Vallee was arrested on a pretext just 2 ½ hours before JFK’s plane was to touch down at O’Hare. The main blessing, is that Vallee was spared the stigma of being identified as JFK’s assassin.


3.     What was the skinny on Vallee? Was his background similar to Oswald’s?

It was, and we can thank author James Douglass for his diligent work here, including interviewing Vallee’s sister.  Like Oswald, Vallee enlisted in the Marines, and for a 2nd term starting in February, 1955. Also, like Oswald, he’d been assigned to a U-2 base, this one in Camp Otsu, Japan.  An extensive psychiatric evaluation by the Marines for his re-enlistment led to a diagnosis as exhibiting “schizophrenic reaction, paranoid type #3003”.[4]

While at Camp Otsu, Japan,  Vallee came under the control and manipulation of the CIA just as Oswald had while in the capacity of a radar operator at Atsugi, Japan. Also like Oswald, Vallee had trained with Cuban exiles,  in his case at Levittown, Long Island, while Oswald trained near Lake Pontchartrain, La.  In August, ’63, as Lee Oswald was preparing to move from New Orleans to Dallas, Vallee was preparing to move from New York to Chicago.[5]

Another salient fact: the New York license plate on Vallee’s 1962 Ford Falcon: 31-10RF, was later found to be restricted to U.S. intelligence agencies. This was learned after a relative of a Chicago NBC employee attempted to trace it and was told it was “frozen” and “only the FBI could obtain this information”.[6]

The single fact here is that, had  the informant “Lee” not called in a warning, we’d likely never have heard the name “Lee Harvey Oswald” – it would only have been Thomas Arthur Vallee. Reams and reams of words would be written about this “lone assassin” and the (earlier) Warren Commission set up would have found him the only assassin, despite the fact that he never had a chance to talk. (Likely eliminated just like Oswald). In which case the followup historical impetus wouldn’t be about the vindication of Lee Oswald, but of Thomas Vallee.

4.    With all the parallels in place it sounds suspiciously like the CIA had a program in place to churn out patsy lone assassins. True or not?

Your insights are spot –on. Former CIA Agent Victor Marchetti actually informed author Anthony Summers about this program[7]:

“At the time, in 1959, the United States was having real difficulty in acquiring information out of the Soviet Union. The technical systems had, of course, not developed to the point they are at today, and we were resorting to all sorts of activities. One of these activities was an ONI (Office of Naval Intelligence) program which involved three dozen, maybe forty, young men who were made to appear disenchanted, poor American youths who had become turned off and wanted to see what communism was all about. Some of these people lasted only a few weeks. They were sent into the Soviet Union or into eastern Europe with the specific intention the Soviets would pick them up and ‘double’ them if they suspected them of being U.S. agents, or recruit them as KGB agents. They were trained at various naval installations both here and abroad , but the operation was being run out of Nag’s Head North Carolina.”

Marchetti’s insights here help to explain a lot to do with the apparent quixotic behavior of Oswald. In this light, we see that Oswald’s entire defection to Russia was merely an intelligence ploy cooked up by the CIA or ONI. The overindulgence of Oswald while based at Atsugi is also now more understandable. Why else give him only six weeks or so in the brig for striking an enlisted officer, when normally it would be a court martial? Well, because they’d invested too much in him to have him meet that untimely and useless end!

5.     Would an Oswald “double” also factor into this? Help explain some of the strange behavior – like bragging about Russian cars to a Dallas auto dealer?

This is absolutely the case. The fact is there were just too many different sightings of Oswald, in too many different places to be attributed to one persona, or individual. The most critical and key sighting was made by Sgt. Robert Vinson who observed the Oswald double while on a flight back to Colorado Springs (to Ent AFB, while on the staff of NORAD), from Washington, D.C.[8]  Vinson “served as administrative supervisor of the electronics division and held a crypto-security clearance”, so he definitely was no derelict, loony, goofball or nut. Those nattering media nabobs today who blithely dismiss the whole notion of an Oswald double need to look carefully at Vinson's testimony instead of emulating ostriches.
 On November 22, Vinson took a bus to Andrews AFB to try to hitch a ride home on the first flight back to Colorado Springs (ibid.). He managed to secure space on a C-54 cargo plane, which bore no military markings or insignia.  On boarding, Vinson found the inside of the plane empty and then observed two men enter the plane via the cockpit door.

Most suspicious to Sgt. Vinson it that he wasn’t asked to sign a manifest (log), which was standard operating procedure whenever he hitched a ride with the Air Force.  En route, Vinson heard an unemotional voice simply report that “the president was shot at 12.29 p.m.”  By 3.30 p.m. Vinson saw the skyline he recognized as that of Dallas, and the plane turned and came in via a southeast direction, landing abruptly on a sandy flat near the Trinity River.  Two males, one Latino or Cuban and 6’ – 6’1” in height, the other Caucasian and 5’7” or so in height, boarded.

It was only after the fact, on landing and then accessing newspapers and TV coverage, that Vinson recognized the shorter male as the spitting image of Lee Oswald.  If not for Sgt. Vinson, the idea of an Oswald “double” might have remained forever in the realm of speculation or media claimed craziness, but as I showed earlier, others also made the observation at different times. It is also my contention that the real Lee Oswald never set foot in Mexico City. It was a totally different, heavyset male  mistaken for Oswald.
Meanwhile, the actual double was dispatched to conduct a host of outrageous behaviors to make the name ‘Oswald’ unforgettable: from going to a rifle range and firing at other users’ targets, to arriving at a Dallas gun shop and ordering a telescopic rifle sight while adding “I may be needing it in a few days” to firing rifle shots at General Walker and making a getaway (with a Latin or Cuban character) in a ’57 Chevrolet whose license plate was later rubbed out in a Warren Exhibit. (Bear in mind here, the real Lee Oswald didn’t drive, had no license.) To going to a Dallas car dealership and announcing that "if anyone wanted to give America an enema all he'd have to do is stick the nozzle right here in Dallas!"
The best optical-photographic evidence was prepared by specialist Jack White who spliced together two claimed "identical" photos of Oswald together at the chin interface.
Overlapped image of the two Oswalds.
It doesn't take any technical specialist ability to see how well all the features match except for the height differential.
Sec. B  E. Howard Hunt’s deathbed confession to Saint John Hunt

Note: E. Howard Hunt was one of the Watergate burglars with CIA affiliations, and also was in Dallas the day of the assassination. This section deals with his role in Dallas, confessed to his son, Saint John Hunt. 
1. Do you place any stock in the deathbed revelations of E. Howard Hunt regarding the assassination of JFK?

Actually, I do. Hunt in the context of both his NPR, and later literal (deathbed) revelations to his son (Saint John Hunt), noted that the closest book to describe the mechanics involved in the assassination was Weberman and Canfield’s Coup d’Etat in America. Having read it and studied the photos and documents therein, I am 99%  confident the photos shown (including one that is almost certainly Hunt in 1963) are legitimate and reveal at least some of the background mechanics.

Were these people capable of committing an assassination? Well, Frank Sturgis, as the authors document, had already murdered 61 pro-Batista supporters in cold blood, in Cuba in 1959. Castro ordered the killings as a pretext for Sturgis to openly demonstrate his loyalty to the revolution – since Castro plausibly figured he might be playing both sides of the table. Without hesitation, Sturgis aimed his weapon at the assembled supporters and mowed them down. If he had no compunction about slaughtering 61 people to prove a point,  he’d have none in eliminating one U.S. president, or at least playing a major role in it.

Interestingly, the sequence of photos of the “tramps” shown in the book, shows Sturgis, Hunt and one person identified to be a near-look alike of Lee Oswald’s. The trio were moving in the direction away from the Book depository and toward the railroad tracks. I’ve studied the photos with magnifiers and compared them to later photos of Hunt and Sturgis and both appear to be the same men, in their earlier years.

2. How would you confirm the two identities with an even higher probability?

This would require obtaining photos of the 1963 tramps, including the close-ups of their faces, and comparing them with later images – for example when both Sturgis and Hunt were apprehended in the Watergate break-in. Then, subjecting regions of the suspected same faces to a segmentation, pixel grid analysis of the described here:
One would then obtain the coefficient of variation  to show the faces were not statistically different.

3. Did Hunt in his deathbed revelations indicate anything astounding or not otherwise known?
Well, perhaps not otherwise widely suspected. He indicated that LBJ was involved (which many already believed) and also CIA agent Cord Meyer – whose wife had had an affair with JFK.  Virtually none of this, zero, came out at the time or in the wake, but we have to remember that Cord Meyer was Washington Post Editor Ben Bradlee’s brother –in-law and that’s one likely reason The Washington Post has been amongst the least willing sources to accept the conspiracy thesis or even publish any disclosures that might point to such.
In the course of his deathbed disclosures, Hunt also connected Cord Meyer’s name to two other CIA Agents, David Morales (a vicious black op specialist)  and Bill Harvey. Recall that Harvey "headed Staff D, assigned the task of developing the CIA Assassinations Project, ZR/Rifle”. ( Peter Dale Scott (Deep Politics Quarterly, Jan. 1994).  CIA Staff D, a SIGINT or signals intelligence operation run in concert with the National Security  Agency or NSA.   In addition, as noted by Peter Dale Scott (op. cit.) Oswald’s 201 file – indicated the letter 'D' on the cover page - showing that Oswald was involved in this operation.
Most researchers who've delved into this in much more depth than superficial 'buffs' (unlike some, I distinguish 'buffs' - who approach the subject like dilettantes from serious researchers) come away with the conviction Oswald was set up as part of ZR/Rifle. However,  with the plot now turned against Kennedy. Oswald was likely used as the dupe or decoy so the actual perps (likely Cuban exiles, and trained assassins - from the Army's Ft. Benning Assassin school) could escape . Scott and others believe he was told he'd help to expose the plot but he needed to be at the Texas School Book Depository to do so. No surprise that Ruth Paine, another CIA asset, steered him into the job at the Book Depository.
A CIA accountant with top secret clearance named James Wilcott, testified  the original plan was to "kill Kennedy, link Oswald to Castro, and use this as a pretext to invade Cuba". (Mellen, Farewell to Justice, p. 178) Wilcott had passed three successive lie detector tests to this in preliminary questioning by HSCA investigators. (ibid.)   Wilcott further noted the phony link to Castro could not be established firmly enough to hold and hence the need to brand Oswald as the lone assassin. (ibid.).


Amazingly, however, historically befuddled idiots like John Kerry continue to regurgitate it - as Kerry did based on a UK Guardian report a week ago.

Lastly, Hunt also indicated a connection between Morales and a “French gunman on the grassy knoll” which most of the recent assassination researchers have taken to be Lucien Sarte, though some (e.g. Walt Brown) believe was Jean Soutre,  hired out of the Corsican Mafia. (As disclosed in the BBC series, ‘The Men Who Killed Kennedy’ via interview in France with Christian David). It therefore seems that Morales made connections with the Corsicans to hire Soutre, and this was probably at Cord Meyer’s behest.

4. Any connections with David Atlee Phillips?

Hunt indicated in a later, more exhaustive exchange that Meyer discussed the plot with Phillips, and also William Harvey and Antonio Veciana.  Veciana apparently then met with Frank Sturgis to hatch an initial plan to eliminate JFK in Miami (when he went on Nov. 18 ) and also recruited Morales for the purpose.  LBJ then altered the itinerary to Dallas.
Likely the last occurred (I am conjecturing here- since this wasn’t part of Hunt’s disclosures) after J. Edgar Hoover (Johnson’s dear friend as revealed in numerous “Dear Edgar” letters) learned from an FBI informant (William Sommerset) in Miami that a plan was afoot to shoot Kennedy with a high powered rifle from a tall building. So, the stage was changed to Dallas, which was actually much more advantageous since given Johnson’s connections he’d be able to enlist the support of the Dallas Police, as well as ensure evidence could be “managed” wherever it appeared.
5. Isn’t that going a bit far? That Johnson would even think he could manage or manipulate whole chains of evidence?
Not really. Bear in mind this is the same character that went to extraordinary lengths to either remove or destroy all negative references and images of him appearing in college yearbooks, college newspaper articles available at Southwestern State Teacher College in San Marcos, Texas.   Evidently, while still an undergrad, Johnson arranged through the president of the college to have excised from all copies of the college yearbook any material that would give clues to his years there. Presumably in case they might prove detrimental to fully attaining any future ambitions.  This, in fact, is the template for how he managed evidence (not to mention the pseudo- investigation) in the wake of the Kennedy hit. As Author Robert A. Caro has put it ( The Path to Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Vol. I, pp. xviii-xix  )

“Lyndon Johnson not only attempted to create and leave for history his own legend, but to ensure that it could never be disproven.”

6. Was anything about Hunt’s confession reported anywhere in the media?

Not by the corporate mainstream, but in Rolling Stone, Apr. 5, 2007, ‘The Last Confessions of E. Howard Hunt’, in an article by Erik Hedegard. As the author specifically noted:

The "deathbed confession" audio tape in which former CIA agent and Watergate conspirator E. Howard Hunt admits he was approached to be part of a CIA assassination team to kill JFK was aired this weekend - an astounding development that has gone completely ignored by the establishment media.

Saint John Hunt, son of E. Howard Hunt, appeared on the nationally syndicated Coast to Coast Live radio show on Saturday night to discuss the revelations contained in the tape.

Hunt said that his father had mailed cassette the tape to him alone in January 2004 and asked that it be released after his death. The tape was originally 20 minutes long but was edited down to four and a half minutes for the Coast to Coast broadcast. Hunt promises that the whole tape will be uploaded soon at his website.”
He goes on, especially key aspects:

“E. Howard Hunt names numerous individuals with both direct and indirect CIA connections as having played a role in the assassination of Kennedy, while describing himself as a "bench warmer" in the plot. Saint John Hunt agreed that the use of this term indicates that Hunt was willing to play a larger role in the murder conspiracy had he been required.

Hunt alleges on the tape that then Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was involved in the planning of the assassination and in the cover-up, stating that LBJ, "Had an almost maniacal urge to become president, he regarded JFK as an obstacle to achieving that."
In the end, like most critical pieces of evidence (including anecdotal) in the assassination, there will be those who have a basis to accept it and others to reject it. The tragedy is, in E. Howard Hunt’s case and given he had nothing to lose, we are basically seeing the first genuine honesty going forward in this horrific event – and gaining an insight into some of the actual players. Unfortunately, most Americans will likely ignore it, because they’ve been propagandized and conditioned to do so by the corporate press, which, despite its almost universal disdain for getting at the truth of the JFK assassination, yet has the time, money and energy to squander on “Balloon Boy” hoaxes.


[1] J. Douglass, op. cit. p. 206.
[2] Op. cit., p. 207.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Op. cit. p. 205.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Op. cit. p. 203.
[7] Op. cit. p. 40.
[8] Douglass, op. cit. pp. 299-300. All the details to do with Vinson’s encounter are from Douglass’ book.


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