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About the Author
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The Journey Begins
I began this improbable journey almost a half century ago. After John Kennedy was murdered, events sped by in whirlwind disorder. J. Edgar Hoover, perhaps the most distrusted official in the country, quickly proclaimed that the assassin was a young man who was guilty beyond all doubt and that there was no possibility that anyone else had been involved. Walter Cronkite, at the time said to be the most trusted man in the country, agreed. Then Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin (how rarely was that cautionary word employed by the media), was shot to death while Americans observed the murder on national television. Oswald was shot in the Dallas Police and Courts Building while surrounded by police officers by an old and dear friend of many of the cops, including those on duty that day. That Jack Ruby, the murderer, had worked for the FBI as an informant and had been previously employed by Congressman Richard M. Nixon, who was looking into subversive actions by his fellow Americans, was among the many facts suppressed by local and national police and their loyal assets in the news business.
I had known John when he was a senator seeking to become a president. I supported him for the Democratic Party nomination that took place that year in Los Angeles. I was active in efforts to wrest control of the Democratic Party in New York, led by Carmine DeSapio, from its established leaders, most of whom had substantial connections to organized crime. The founders of our Reform Movement were Eleanor Roosevelt, former governor Herbert Lehman, and many young people who, as in my case, were naïve enough to believe that change is possible. I still hold to that vision in spite of the existence of all evidence to the contrary.
Murray Kempton, a very clever writer for the then somewhat liberal and somewhat crusading New York Post, observed that the Reform Movement was "mostly comprised of young lawyers seeking to become old judges." I told him that I was in touch with my colleagues every day and that he was barely acquainted with them. In reply he smiled and nodded. As it turned out he knew them better than I did.
Both John and his brother Bobby, as well as some of his advisors from Massachusetts who came to New York to look over the political scene, were wary of the regular organization and not quite sure about the reformers either. They suggested a compromise regarding the campaign. Each of the warring branches of the Democrats would select a person to manage the campaign in crucial New York, and they would hopefully work together to get Kennedy elected. They asked that I be the reform designee and the reform leaders, who much preferred Adlai Stevenson as their nominee in any event, were willing to comply.
I was also nominated by community groups in Yorkville and East Harlem to be their candidate for the New York State legislature. Senator John F. Kennedy endorsed me; I helped to run his campaign locally, and we were both elected. It was during that period that I was able to meet with John and Bobby and discuss political events.
I had been practicing law in a storefront office in East Harlem for less than ten years. Much of my work had been as a defense counsel in criminal cases. I believed in due process, the presumption of innocence, and the other pillars of our judicial system. I saw them all traduced moments after President Kennedy had been assassinated. Doubts about Oswald's guilt, or his lone guilt, arose when the evidence was even superficially examined. I thought then, as I do now, that our system of justice was on trial and was not faring too well. There was also the consideration that if Oswald was either innocent or had acted with others, the murderers of a man I knew and respected went unpunished. I could not understand why those believing in law and order were not similarly concerned.
I began to look into the facts surrounding the assassination and that inquiry resulted in the first book I had ever written, Rush to Judgment. It immediately, to my great astonishment, became a best-selling book. Establishment polls concluded that it had changed the perception of the Warren Report and resulted in America's developing a credibility gap about unproven governmental assertions.
I never meant to devote a major part of my life to this one subject. I thought that after writing Rush to Judgment, I would move on to other matters and let this one sort itself out. Now, these many years later, I am still here due to the fact that the defenders of the myth, their reputations in tatters, nevertheless tenaciously hold on to a demonstrably false version of history and enjoy the support of their apologists in the media. The CIA has become increasingly more influential, now even commanding its own air force and making policy, while influencing the media, and its assets have become more servile.CHAPTER 2
After years of the Eisenhower Age, with foreign policy dominated by a reckless and relentless John Foster Dulles rendering a compassionate domestic approach a concept forgotten or repudiated, the lights were burning again at night in the White House, where a young and energetic leader and his family were in residence. In our country, people, many, but not all, young, were asking what they could do for their country. For some the answer was the Peace Corps, for some a new commitment to equal rights for all, and for others various ways to reshape their careers.
The new administration was not the sudden reappearance of Camelot and its policy was for cautious rather than substantial change, yet it inspired hope for millions who yearned for a better day for their country. For those of us who knew him and had worked with him, his death was also a personal loss. To millions of Americans whom he had inspired, his murder created almost unprecedented apprehension and sorrow. To the world, the assassination of the president of the United States, the most powerful nation on the planet, during the Nuclear Age and a time of incipient proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, promised almost unimaginable threats.
It was a truly American scene. The president was seated next to his wife in an open limousine riding through a prominent city on a bright sunny day in mid-America as spectators smiled, waved, and applauded. Suddenly sounds of gunfire shattered that moment. Hope died that day along with Kennedy and fear traumatized the conscience of a nation, challenging our concept of national security.
In that time of national paralysis the federal police acted at once. The rush to judgment began when J. Edgar Hoover, on the same afternoon of the assassination, callously told Robert Kennedy that his brother was dead and that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin. To people who maintained their ability to reason, a question emerged. How could the FBI have reached a final conclusion without having first conducted an investigation, especially in view of Oswald's denials that he had committed any crime? Clearly, a prospective defendant's assertion of innocence is not proof, in some instances not even evidence, but in the absence of a signed confession, on what basis could anyone almost immediately claim that the case was solved, or that even if Oswald was the lone gunman, that he had not, at some time in the past, conspired with anyone?
J. Edgar Hoover, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a position he considered to be a lifetime sinecure, issued a report as the echo of gunfire from Dealey Plaza had barely faded. He determined, within twenty-four hours and without any serious inquiry, that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin. Hoover did not lack self-esteem; his agents and special agents in charge were required to officially refer to his office as the SOG, meaning Seat of Government. Hoover saw American presidents as politicians permitted to remain in office just four or eight years, or even less, as they passed through his continuing reign. Unfortunately for him, many others had begun to fear, resent, and ridicule him rather than respect his judgment.
Frame-ups are best managed from the shadows, for they confront serious obstacles if the crime is witnessed by many during daylight hours, when forensic evidence abounds, and especially if the events are caught on film. In those trying circumstances, the fabrications require unlimited respect for the investigators and unquestioning loyalty to their conclusions from the media. They require, as well, suppression of some evidence, destruction of other evidence, and a blissful ignorance of the most relevant facts and the rules of logic.
There had been calls for numerous investigations by various committees of both houses of the Congress. Those inquiries would have been well publicized and the facts they uncovered would have been widely available. The congressional committees would have been granted, and likely have used, the power of subpoena.
The new president, Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas, appointed a commission of inquiry. Its purpose, it announced, was "to avoid parallel investigations." Johnson appointed a political commission to secretly investigate. The press was banned from the hearings and the transcripts were marked top secret. The formal name of the group was The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy. It was popularly called the Warren Commission and was comprised of two Republicans, one a senator and one a member of the House of Representatives, and two Southern Democrats during the era of heated civil rights differences in which Southern Democrats rebelled by often supporting Republican candidates. There was not a single strong Kennedy supporter on the commission.
In addition, Johnson appointed John McCloy, the former assistant secretary of war, notorious for his refusal to endorse bombing raids on the rail approaches to the Auschwitz concentration camp — raids that would have saved countless Nazi Holocaust victims — and for supporting Hitler at least until 1939 (he shared a box with Hitler in Berlin at the 1936 Olympics). After the war, McCloy refused to endorse compensation for innocent Japanese Americans who had been held in American concentration camps. In short, McCloy was kind to criminals, but took a strong stance against the innocent.
Johnson also appointed Allen Dulles, the former director of the CIA, who had been fired by John Kennedy for lying to him about the CIA's Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba and for numerous other deceits. Formerly top secret documents, now available, including transcripts of executive meetings, disclose beyond doubt that Dulles ran the Warren Commission. He was, in fact, the only active member of the group.
Dulles was familiar with assassinations. Under his leadership, the CIA was involved in numerous efforts to remove foreign leaders by covert means, including CIA- led coups. His organization was responsible for deposing democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh of Iran in 1953 through Operation Ajax, and President Arbenz of Guatemala in 1954, through Operation PBSUCCESS.
Dulles also organized attempted assassinations of heads of state who espoused policies different from those supported by the agency. His organization, the CIA, was responsible for the Phoenix Program, the selective assassinations of more than 25,000 civilians in Vietnam, many of whom were village chiefs or other elected officers.
Dulles relied upon Leon Jaworski to help suppress evidence from Dallas. The commission praised Jaworski for his role and for being "helpful to the accomplishment of the commission's assignment." Jaworski was later canonized by the media for his role in Watergate. We are indebted to The New York Times for recently publishing a decision of the United States Army review board which demonstrated that twenty-eight black soldiers were falsely convicted of starting a riot that led to a death. All were victims of a court martial during 1944, one of the largest army courts-martial of World War II. All twenty-eight were sent to prison and given dishonorable discharges. After twenty-six of the men died, the army concluded that they were innocent and that the unethical and unlawful conduct of one man was responsible for the miscarriage of justice. That man was Lt. Col. Leon Jaworski, who had in his possession important evidence demonstrating the innocence of the soldiers. In violation of relevant ethical standards, Jaworski refused to share that evidence with the defense lawyers, thus leading to what he knew would be unjust convictions. Jaworski was later chosen to provide all of the relevant evidence from Texas to the Warren Commission.
The chairman of the group, Earl Warren, was an active politician and prosecutor. He had been appointed, not elected, district attorney of Alameda County, California, when his predecessor resigned. He established a reputation for conducting his office in a high-handed manner and in arguably denying rights to defendants. He was elected governor of the state as a takeno-prisoners prosecutor, whose reputation was similar to that which Thomas Dewey had developed in New York. As governor, Warren played a pivotal role in implementing the plan to establish concentration camps in the United States in which innocent Japanese Americans were imprisoned, while members of Warren's voting blocks seized their property. In 1948, he ran for vice president of the United States with Dewey. That Republican ticket, although strongly favored to win, was defeated by Harry Truman and Alben Barkley. Later Warren was appointed Chief Justice by President Eisenhower, who later said that the appointment had been a major error. In that position he organized a series of unanimous decisions that barred the racial segregation of public schools and established certain rights for those being held and interrogated by law enforcement officers.
All of the members of the commission had full-time jobs that occupied them, with the exception of Dulles, who, then unemployed, devoted his time to running the inquiry. Johnson had not put some untrained little fox in charge of the hen house. He had awarded that position to Col. Sanders.
At an early meeting, for which the minutes were classified top secret (later released as a result of Freedom of Information legal actions brought in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia with the invaluable assistance of the American Civil Liberties Union), Dulles told the members that they need not worry about anyone doubting their false conclusions. Maybe, he suggested, at worst many years will have passed before some professor might study the evidence and by then it would not matter. Albert Einstein was proven by Dulles once again to be right when he said, "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."
Predictably, the Warren Commission adopted the FBI report and concluded that Oswald had been the lone assassin. The FBI report had been relied upon almost exclusively by an old CIA hand who had been the agency's director longer than any other person in American history. The commission's report was an intelligence fabrication.CHAPTER 3
For those readers not acquainted with the facts regarding the conclusions of the Warren Commission, I have prepared a glossary to assist in comprehending the tortuous path chosen by the government to fabricate its case:
The Magic Bullet
I originated the phrase in an effort to describe the official explanation in 1964; in 1966 it served as a title for Chapter 4 of Rush to Judgment. It refers to the unprecedented mystic and acrobatic propensities of a bullet as imagined by two junior lawyers for the Warren Commission, Arlen Specter and David Belin, two lawyers each in search of a career, who reprised the Roy Cohn and David Schine days with Sen. Joe McCarthy where dedication to the facts was also hardly a virtue. While the bullet took a most fancy flight in their inventive minds, the explanation was not a meaningless flight of fancy; it was absolutely required to save the false conclusions reached by the Warren Commission.
The bullet's formal name is CE (Commission Exhibit) 399, but not unlike Earvin Johnson it is better known to millions by its nickname. Here are some relevant facts. The evidence demonstrated that at least four shots had been fired and that one had struck a curb, causing a minor injury to a bystander. All the shots had been fired during a period of not more than 5.6 seconds, as demonstrated by a film of the assassination that served as visual evidence and as the clock for the shooting; the frames ran through the camera at the rate of 18.3 frames per second. The rifle that the commission claimed fired all of the shots was an ancient and inaccurate Mannlicher-Carcano. The weapon, with a hand-operated bolt action, was tested by experts who testified that it required at least 2.3 seconds to reload between shots, and that was without time spent in aiming the weapon.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Last Word"
Copyright © 2011 Mark Lane.
Excerpted by permission of Skyhorse Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Book 1 The Assassination 1
The Journey Begins 2
The Investigators 5
Assassination Nomenclature 10
The Witnesses 21
Silent Voices 25
Implausible Denial 44
The Real Firing Line: The Brothers Novo and the Brothers Buckley 64
Book 2 The Media Response 71
The KGB and Jim Garrison by Oliver Stone 72
Contacts with Totalitarian Structures 76
A Bodyguard of Lies 37
The Government and the Media Respond 98
The CIA and the Media 105
Vincent Bugliosi and Rewriting History 133
Book 3 The Secret Service 155
Abraham Bolden 156
The Actions of the Secret Service Agents in the Presidential Limousine 164
The Secret Service Agents in the Vice President's Car 172
The Actions of Secret Service Agents in the Follow-Up Car 175
The Secret Service Speaks After Forty-Seven Years of Silence 177
The Assassin Is Confronted 188
Book 4 Mexico City 193
The Scenario Begins 194
The Legend Is Established: The CIA's Mexico City Caper 199
A Trip to Washington 207
Book 5 The Indictment 237
Harry Truman Writes: Limit CIA Role to Intelligence 239
The CIA Today 242
The Indictment 246
MKULTRA: The CIA's Dark Secrets 255
Locating the Assassins 271
The Fourth Branch 277
An Open Letter to the President 288
Appendix: The George De Mohrenschildt Stay 290