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

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 milieu 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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