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FTR #1053 Interview #22 with Jim DiEugenio about “Destiny Betrayed”

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This broadcast was recorded in one, 60-minute segment.

House Select Committee on Assassinations Assistant Counsel Jonathan Blackmer: “. . . . ‘We have reason to believe Shaw was heavily involved in the Anti-Castro efforts in New Orleans in the 1960s and [was] possibly one of the high level planners or ‘cut out’ to the planners of the assassination.’ . . . .”

Introduction: This is the twenty-second in a planned long series of interviews with Jim DiEugenio about his triumphal analysis of President Kennedy’s assassination and New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison’s heroic investigation of the killing.

(Listeners can order Destiny Betrayed and Jim’s other books, as well as supplementing those volumes with articles about this country’s political assassinations at his website Kennedys and KingJim is also a regular guest and expert commentator on Black Op Radio.)

This program continues examination of the House Select Committee on Assassinations.

Eventually, the collaborationist mainstream media began an assault on Richard Sprague and the work of the committee. The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post began the assault, which quickly drew blood. . . .

Destiny Betrayed by Jim DiEugenio; Skyhorse Publishing [SC]; Copyright 1992, 2012 by Jim DiEugenio; ISBN 978-1-62087-056-3; pp. 333-334.

. . . . The only time he ever had his credentials questioned was during the six months he agreed to swerve as counsel to the HSCA. And that is simply because he was going to supervise a real investigation of the JFK case. Yet, the same thing happened to him as happened to Jim Garrison. In fact, like Garrison, Sprague was also even accused of being in bed with the Mafia. When the first press attacks began. HSCA staffer Chris Sharrett remembers thinking, ‘It’s Garrison all over again.’ Or, as Joe Rauh, who knew Sprague from Philadelphia and had a front row seat to the controversy in Washington said, ‘You know, I never thought the Kennedy case was a conspiracy until now. But if they can do that to Dick Sprague, it must have been.’ With Sprague’s resignation, the House Select Committee survived. The interim Chief Counsel was Tanenbaum with Al Lewis, a friend and colleague of Sprague’s as his deputy. . . .

Lee Harvey Oswald: Ersatz Communist

In the interim, between Sprague’s resignation and the ascension of G. Robert Blakey to the Chief Counsel position, George DeMohrenschildt died of a shotgun wound to the head.

DeMohrenschildt: was part of the family that managed the Nobel Oil Fields for the Czar; was the cousin of Baron Konstantin Maydell, in charge of Abwehr operations in the United States for a time (Abwehr was German military intelligence); was a suspected Nazi spy in World War II; was an associate of George H.W. Bush; was a longtime CIA asset; was a petroleum geologist.

DeMohrenschildt implemented the Oswalds’ introduction to the White Russian milieu in Dallas. Of particular significance for our purpose is the fact that he made contact with the couple at the suggestion of J. Walton Moore, who was the primary CIA officer in the Dallas area!

The White Russians appeared to be working to separate Marina and Lee, and were involved in handling Marina after the assassination.

Oswald the Patsy

A long-standing CIA asset, DeMohrenschildt had worked with the agency on numerous projects in Yugoslavia, Haiti and elsewhere. Suspected of having spied on the Aransas Pass Coast Guard Station (in Texas) for the Third Reich, DeMohrenschildt was the cousin of Baron Kontantin Maydell, who oversaw Abwehr operations in the U.S. for a time. (The Abwehr was German military intelligence.)

As discussed in FTR #712we highlighted DeMohrenschildt’s links to former CIA director George H.W. Bush, for whom CIA headquarters is named. In that same program, we covered Bush’s involvement  in the JFK assassination. LIke DeMohrenschildt and many of the White Russians who associated with the Oswalds in the Dallas area, Bush had roots in the petroleum industry.

Noteworthy in the context of Oswald’s presence in Dallas, is that this alleged traitor was employed by Jaggars, Chiles and Stovall, a firm that did classified work for the military, including projects associated with the U-2 spy plane! That the “traitor” Oswald, who offered to disclose classified information about the U-2 and U.S. aviation operations to the Soviets could be employed by such a firm is unthinkable, IF we are to take the official version of Oswald at face value.

Ultimately, DeMohrenschildt handed the Oswalds–Lee and Marina–off to the “Quaker liberals” Michael and Ruth Paine.

DeMohrenschildt’s death was ruled a suicide, but the circumstances surrounding his demise are noteworthy.

At the time he died, DeMohrenschildt was networking with a Dutch journalist named Willem Oltmans, who began spreading disinformation after DeMohrenschildt’s demise. DeMohrenschildt was also networking with journalist Edward Epstein, who pressed the “Soviets did it” meme for a time and whose behavior vis a vis DeMohrenschildt is questionable.

Prior to his death, DeMohrenschildt was undergoing psychiatric treatment, apparently including electro-shock therapy, from a Dallas physician named Mendoza. DeMohrenschildt’s widow thinks the treatments may have had something to do with her husband’s death.

The physical evidence in connection with DeMohrenschildt’s death suggests the distinct possibility of foul play.

George DeMohrenschildt

Destiny Betrayed by Jim DiEugenio; Skyhorse Publishing [SC]; Copyright 1992, 2012 by Jim DiEugenio; ISBN 978-1-62087-056-3; p. 337.

. . . . Even though a coroner’s inquest ruled his death as self-inflicted, there are some serious questions about DeMohrenschildt’s demise. First, according to the crime scene report and the autopsy, there was not any exit wound to the rear of the skull. Yet DeMohrenschildt allegedly placed a shotgun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. It’s true that shotgun shells disperse more quickly than jacketed bullets. But his shot was almost within contact distance. Neither the maid nor the cook heard the shotgun blast, even though both women were right below the room that DeMohrenschildt was in at the time. The police also had problems explaining the blood spatter on the wall. When a blood spurt hits a flat surface, it creates a different pattern than if it hits a surface that is perpendicular to it. In looking at photographs of the spatter pattern, it appears that the bathroom door was closed at the time the shooting took place, because the blood pattern looked continuous. But the police said this was not the case. The bathroom door was open at the time. The testifying officer demeaned the jurors for asking this question and then jumped to a new topic. But it would appear that someone altered the crime scene afterwards. The final oddity about the scene is the position of the weapon after death. It fell trigger side up, parallel to the chair DeMohrenschildt was in, with the barrel resting at his feet and the butt of the rifle away from him and to his left. The police had a problem with this issue and so did the inquest jurors. As author Jerry Rose has noted, this strange positioning of the rifle suggests it was “placed” by someone.

Ms. Tilton was not at home at the time of DeMohrenschildt’s death. But she had left strict instructions for the maid to record her favorite TV programs. The home had an alarm system which caused a quiet bell to ring, anytime an outside door or window was opened. During the hearing, the tape of the program was played. When it was the alarm bell went off and then the gun blast was heard. . . .

Subsequently, writer Jerry Policoff felt that Oltmans was threatening him and that the Dutch journalist was a malefactor.

An initial candidate to replace Richard Sprague was former Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg, who had been JFK’s Secretary of Labor.

Destiny Betrayed by Jim DiEugenio; Skyhorse Publishing [SC]; Copyright 1992, 2012 by Jim DiEugenio; ISBN 978-1-62087-056-3; p. 339.

. . . . Former Justice of the Supreme Court Arthur Goldberg was one candidate who turned down the job. Al Lewis had talked Goldberg into filling the position. But Goldberg had one reservation. He wanted to know if the CIA would cooperate with him. Lewis suggested calling up Stansfield Turner, President Carter’s CIA Director. So Lewis called him and told him Goldberg wanted to talk with him. He put Goldberg on the line and the candidate asked Turner if he could guarantee the Agency would cooperate if he became Chief Counsel. A long silence ensued. It got so long and so quiet that Goldberg turned to Lewis and said, ‘I’m not sure if he’s there anymore.’ Lewis suggested that he say something. So Goldberg asked if he was still on the line and Turner said he was.  Goldberg asked him for an answer to his question. Turner said, ‘I though my silence was my answer.’ . . . .

Eventually, the HSCA settled on G. Robert Blakey as Chief Counsel and Richard (Dick) Billings as a key aide. Both had been involved with tarring Jim Garrison with the Mafia brush in a 1967 Life Magazine series.

Destiny Betrayed by Jim DiEugenio; Skyhorse Publishing [SC]; Copyright 1992, 2012 by Jim DiEugenio; ISBN 978-1-62087-056-3; p. 276.

. . . . But [David] Chandler’s most serious blast against Garrison and his inquiry was a two-part article written for Life in the fall of 1967. This appeared in the September 1 and September 8 issues of the magazine. The pieces masqueraded as an expose of Mafia influence in large cities in America at the time. But the real target of the piece was not the mob, but Garrison. The idea was to depict him as a corrupt New Orleans DA who had some kind of nebulous ties to the Mafia and Carlos Marcello. There were four principal participants in the pieces: Chandler, Sandy Smith, Dick Billings, and Robert Blakey. Smith was the actual billed writer. And since Smith was a long-time asset of the FBI, it is very likely that the Bureau was the Bureau was the originating force behind the magazine running the piece. . . .

. . . . It was the work of Chandler, a friend of both Clay Shaw and Kerry Thornley, which was the basis of the completely phony concept that Garrison was somehow in bed with the Mafia and his function was to steer attention from their killing of Kennedy. . . .

Blakey:

  1. Effectively eclipsed the New Orleans leads developed by Jim Garrison.
  2. Bought into the Magic Bullet Theory.
  3. Eclipsed evidence about “Oswald’s” sniper’s nest in the Texas School Book Depository.

Most importantly, Blakey gave the intelligence services the right to veto what information would go into the committee’s report.

Destiny Betrayed by Jim DiEugenio; Skyhorse Publishing [SC]; Copyright 1992, 2012 by Jim DiEugenio; ISBN 978-1-62087-056-3; p. 350.

” . . . . When Robert Blakey took charge of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, he agreed to do something that Richard Sprague would not. In return for access to classified materials, members and employees f the committee signed agreements pledging not to disclose any information they garnered while doing their work. Then, when Blakey, Gary Cornwell, and Dick Billings edited the report and volumes, the agencies they made agreements that [the agencies] were allowed to veto what information was included in the published volumes. This is the reason that the HSCA report on Mexico City–assembled by two law students of Blakey’s from Cornell–was not part of the published volumes in 1979. For when it came time to vet the report for release, Blakey, Ed Lopez and Dan Hardway met with the CIA representatives. The Agency made so many objections, it took four hours to get through the first two paragraphs. The report is over 300 pages long. It was therefore classified until the ARRB was created. And then it had to go through several reviews. But even today, an annex to the report, ‘Was Oswald an Agent of the CIA’ has not been released. This long classified report confirms that, as Garrison wrote in 1968, the Commission version of what happened in Mexico City was deliberately covered in mist. . . .

Near the end of his investigation, Blakey was on the receiving end of some questionable behavior from CIA liaison Regis Blahut:

Destiny Betrayed by Jim DiEugenio; Skyhorse Publishing [SC]; Copyright 1992, 2012 by Jim DiEugenio; ISBN 978-1-62087-056-3; p. 340.

. . . . Toward the end, when CIA liaison Regis Blahut was caught mishandling Kennedy’s autopsy photos while they were secured in a safe, the Agency offered Blakey four ways to do an inquiry of what had happened. The main object being to see if Blahut was part of  a larger operation to undermine the HSCA. One option was to do the inquiry through the D.C. police, another was through the FBI, and the third was an internal HSCA inquiry. The last was to have the CIA do it. Even though the Agency officers at this meeting strongly encouraged Blakey not to choose them to do the investigation, he still did. The reporting officer, Haviland Smith, made the only conclusion he could from this meeting He wrote that his interpretation of what Blakey wanted was the Agency ‘to go ahead with the investigation of Blahut and that he expects us to come up with a clean bill of health for the CIA.’ Which, of course, they did despite the fact that Blahut flunked three polygraph tests. When the author talked to HSCA staffer Eddie Lopez about this matter, I told him that in reading these memoranda, I was struck by  how friendly Blakey was with these CIA officers. That is, what a  seemingly easy rapport he had with them. I said, ‘You know, Eddie he talks to them . . . “Lopez interrupted me in mid-sentence and completed the thought for me: ‘He talks to them like he’s one of them.’ . . . .”

We note that, during the early phase of the HSCA’s investigation, George H.W. Bush was in charge of the CIA. George Joannides, who managed the DRE for CIA, was the Agency’s main liaison to the HSCA.

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