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Days of Future Passed, Part 2: JFK, RFK Assassinations and the Tate/La Bianca Killings

Carlos Bringuier (left) and Ed Butler.

COMMENT: A recent post highlights a claim that LAPD wiretap tapes of Manson Family member and convicted killer Charles “Tex” Watson indictates the possibility that there may be 12 more victims of the Manson clan whose cases have yet to be properly investigated.

One case that has more to it than reaches the eye is the murder of Sharon Tate. Deeply involved with Robert F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign in the Los Angeles area, Tate had been present at a dinner shortly before Kennedy’s assassination at which he reportedly said that he would re-open the investigation into his brother’s murder after getting into the White House.

Her murder by the Manson cadre eliminated an important potential witness in the Robert Kennedy case.

Interestingly and significantly, an article appeared in a right-wing magazine out of Southern California called Aware penned by one Ed Butler in which he claimed that the Tate/La Bianca killings were clearly the work of the Black Panthers or other “Black Militants.”

Sharon Tate's Corpse

Recall that the Manson killings were intended to provoke the group’s vision of a race war called “Helter Skelter” and references to which might be seen as leading in the direction of “black militants” were scrawled in blood at the crime scene.

Butler, it should be noted, is floating the cover story of the Manson killings well before the arrests were made in the case! Furthermore, Butler is no stranger to the annals of political intrigue.

With long-standing connections to the intelligence community and the far right, Butler’s name is one of a number of evidentiary tributaries that link the assassinations of both Kennedy brothers.

  • Operating in conjunction with an intelligence community and far-right millieu in New Orleans, Butler arranged a press conference on WDSU in New Orleans. Featuring the ostensible leftist Lee Harvey Oswald and an anti-Castro Cuban named Carlos Bringuier (of the CIA controlled DRE), the interview highlights Oswald’s alleged leftist sympathies. In the talk, Bringuier asks Bringuier if he agrees with Fidel Castro that President Kennedy was “a ruffian and a thief.” This interview was broadcast all over the United States on the evening of President Kennedy’s assassination.
  • Shortly after Robert Kennedy’s assassination, Butler helped facilitate a press conference staged by American United (run by far right activists John Steinbacher and Anthony Hilder) at which an anti-Castro Cuban named Jose Antonio Duarte linked Sirhan with the political left and the Soviet bloc.
  • Butler, again, also floated the disinformation/cover story for the Tate/La Bianca killings well before the arrests of the Manson suspects. Miscellaneous Archive Show M16 sets forth the Butler connections to the JFK, RFK and Tate/La Bianca investigations. Side b and side c contain substantive, relevant discussion.
  • George Joannides was CIA liaison to the anti-Castro Cuban groups including the DRE to which Carlos Bringuier belonged and also in charge of psychological warfare for the CIA’s stateion JM Wave in Miami. Joannides was appointed as the liaison between the Agency and the House Select Committee on Assassinations. (More about this in FTR #698.)
  • Joannides was also present at the Ambassador Hotel on the evening of Robert Kennedy’s assassination! (More about this in FTR #582.)

“CIA Role Claim in Kennedy Killing” by Shane O’Sullivan; BBC News­night; 11/21/2006.

EXCERPT: New video and pho­to­graphic evi­dence that puts three senior CIA oper­a­tives at the scene of Robert Kennedy’s assas­si­na­tion has been brought to light. The evi­dence was shown in a report by Shane O’Sullivan, broad­cast on BBC News­night.

It reveals that the oper­a­tives and four uniden­ti­fied asso­ciates were at the Ambas­sador Hotel, Los Ange­les in the moments before and after the shoot­ing on 5 June, 1968. The CIA had no domes­tic juris­dic­tion and some of the offi­cers were based in South-East Asia at the time, with no rea­son to be in Los Ange­les.

Kennedy had just won the Cal­i­for­nia Demo­c­ra­tic pri­mary on an anti-War ticket and was set to chal­lenge Nixon for the White House when he was shot in a kitchen pantry. A 24-year-old Pales­tin­ian, Sirhan Sirhan, was arrested as the lone assas­sin and note­books at his house seemed to incrim­i­nate him. How­ever, even under hyp­no­sis, he has never been able to remem­ber the shoot­ing and defense psy­chi­a­trists con­cluded he was in a trance at the time. Wit­nesses placed Sirhan’s gun sev­eral feet in front of Kennedy but the autopsy showed the fatal shot came from one inch behind. Dr Her­bert Spiegel, a world author­ity on hyp­no­sis at Colum­bia Uni­ver­sity, believes Sirhan may have been hyp­not­i­cally pro­grammed to act as a decoy for the real assas­sin.

The report is the result of a three-year inves­ti­ga­tion by film­maker Shane O’Sullivan. He reveals new video and pho­tographs show­ing three senior CIA oper­a­tives at the hotel. Three of these men have been pos­i­tively iden­ti­fied as senior offi­cers who worked together in 1963 at JMWAVE, the CIA’s Miami base for its Secret War on Cas­tro. David Morales was Chief of Oper­a­tions and once told friends: ‘I was in Dal­las when we got the son of a bitch and I was in Los Ange­les when we got the lit­tle bas­tard.’ Gor­don Camp­bell was Chief of Mar­itime Oper­a­tions and George Joan­nides was Chief of Psy­cho­log­i­cal War­fare Oper­a­tions. Joan­nides was called out of retire­ment in 1978 to act as the CIA liai­son to the Con­gres­sional inves­ti­ga­tion into the JFK assas­si­na­tion. [Empha­sis added.] Now, we see him at the Ambas­sador Hotel the night a sec­ond Kennedy is assas­si­nated. . . .

“C.I.A. Is Still Cagey About Oswald Mys­tery” by Scott Shane; The New York Times; 10/17/2009.

EXCERPT: For six years, the agency has fought in fed­eral court to keep secret hun­dreds of doc­u­ments from 1963, when an anti-Castro Cuban group it paid clashed pub­licly with the soon-to-be assas­sin, Lee Har­vey Oswald. The C.I.A. says it is only pro­tect­ing legit­i­mate secrets. But because of the agency’s his­tory of stonewalling assas­si­na­tion inquiries, even researchers with no use for con­spir­acy think­ing ques­tion its stance.

The files in ques­tion, some released under direc­tion of the court and hun­dreds more that are still secret, involve the curi­ous career of George E. Joan­nides, the case offi­cer who over­saw the dis­si­dent Cubans in 1963. In 1978, the agency made Mr. Joan­nides the liai­son to the House Select Com­mit­tee on Assas­si­na­tions — but never told the com­mit­tee of his ear­lier role.

That con­ceal­ment has fueled sus­pi­cion that Mr. Joannides’s real assign­ment was to limit what the House com­mit­tee could learn about C.I.A. activ­i­ties. The agency’s decep­tion was first reported in 2001 by Jef­fer­son Mor­ley, who has doggedly pur­sued the files ever since, rep­re­sented by James H. Lesar, a Wash­ing­ton lawyer spe­cial­iz­ing in Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act lawsuits. . . .

. . . . In August 1963, Oswald vis­ited a New Orleans shop owned by a direc­torate offi­cial, feign­ing sym­pa­thy with the group’s goal of oust­ing Mr. Cas­tro. A few days later, direc­torate mem­bers found Oswald hand­ing out pro-Castro pam­phlets and got into a brawl with him. Later that month, he debated the anti-Castro Cubans on a local radio station.

In the years since Oswald was named as the assas­sin, spec­u­la­tion about who might have been behind him has never ended, with var­i­ous the­o­ries focus­ing on Mr. Cas­tro, the mob, rogue gov­ern­ment agents or myr­iad com­bi­na­tions of the above. Mr. Mor­ley, one of many writ­ers to become entranced by the story, insists he has no the­ory and is seek­ing only the facts.

His law­suit has uncov­ered the cen­tral role in over­see­ing direc­torate activ­i­ties of Mr. Joan­nides, the deputy direc­tor for psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare at the C.I.A.’s Miami sta­tion, code-named JM/WAVE. He worked closely with direc­torate lead­ers, doc­u­ments show, cor­re­spond­ing with them under pseu­do­nyms, pay­ing their travel expenses and achiev­ing an “impor­tant degree of con­trol” over the group, as a July 1963 agency fit­ness report put it.

Fif­teen years later, Mr. Joan­nides turned up again as the agency’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the House assas­si­na­tions com­mit­tee. Dan Hard­way, then a law stu­dent work­ing for the com­mit­tee, recalled Mr. Joan­nides as “a cold fish,” who firmly lim­ited access to doc­u­ments. Once, Mr. Hard­way remem­bered, “he handed me a thin file and just stood there. I blew up, and he said, ‘This is all you’re going to get.’ ”


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