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.”
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.)
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. . . .
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.’ ”