Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.
The tag 'Mort Sahl' is associated with 3 posts.

FTR#1210 The Narco-Fascism of Chiang Kai-shek and the Kuomintang, Part 17

Intro­duc­ing the expan­sion of Amer­i­can expe­ri­ence with Chi­ang and his Kuom­intang fas­cists into U.S. Cold War pol­i­cy in Asia, we present Ster­ling Seagrave’s rumi­na­tion about Stan­ley Horn­beck, a State Depart­ment flack who became: “. . . . the doyen of State’s Far East­ern Divi­sion. . . .”

Horn­beck “ . . . . had only the most abbre­vi­at­ed and stilt­ed knowl­edge of Chi­na, and had been out of touch per­son­al­ly for many years. . . . He with­held cables from the Sec­re­tary of State that were crit­i­cal of Chi­ang, and once stat­ed that ‘the Unit­ed States Far East­ern  pol­i­cy is like a train run­ning on a rail­road track.  It has been clear­ly laid out and where it is going is plain to all.’ It was in fact bound for Saigon in 1975, with whis­tle stops along the way at Peking, Que­moy, Mat­su, and the Yalu Riv­er. . . .”

In numer­ous pro­grams over the decades, we have doc­u­ment­ed the fact that Pres­i­dent Kennedy’s assas­si­na­tion was a deci­sive event in the U.S. involve­ment in the Viet­nam War.

As laid out in NSAM #263 (craft­ed in Octo­ber of 1963), JFK had decid­ed to pull all U.S. forces out of Viet­nam by Christ­mas of 1965. Two days after his assas­si­na­tion, the Sun­day on which Ruby slew Oswald, Kennedy’s with­draw­al pro­gram was can­celed and the esca­la­tion pol­i­cy that became man­i­fest was put into effect, cod­i­fied in NSAM 273.

This is dis­cussed, in–among oth­er programs–FTR#978, as well as numer­ous pro­grams in our land­mark series of inter­views with Jim DiEu­ge­nio.

The Zaprud­er Film, which dis­proves the Oswald cov­er sto­ry, was pur­chased by Time Inc. and han­dled by Life Mag­a­zine, plac­ing this cru­cial bit of evi­dence in the domain of Hen­ry Luce, a pri­ma­ry pro­mot­er of Chi­ang Kai-shek and Mme. Chi­ang, aka Mae-ling Soong.

Thus,  Amer­i­ca’s eyes and ears on Chi­ang Kai-shek  were the same as Amer­i­ca’s eyes and ears on the assas­si­na­tion of JFK, which threat­ened to change the direc­tion on which the rail­way line described by Stan­ley Horn­beck was head­ed.

The Assas­si­na­tion Records Review Board accessed the per­spec­tive of a CIA pho­to­graph­ic expert, who opined that the Zaprud­er Film had been tam­pered with.

He viewed the film and saw what he believed was JFK react­ing to between six and eight dif­fer­ent shots, from at least three direc­tions.

Life’s pub­lish­er was C.D. Jack­son, a long­time intel­li­gence and psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare asset. He large­ly over­saw the Luce pub­lish­ing out­let’s han­dling of the film.

Dur­ing the course of the Cold War, Hen­ry Luce had become “ . . . . a key CIA media asset.”

C.D. Jack­son “ . . . . who had been in charge of Life since 1960 . . . . was no ordi­nary pub­lish­er. . . . Jack­son had been a spe­cial­ist in psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare for the gov­ern­ment . . . and was an expert in Cold War pro­pa­gan­da . . . .”

The mag­a­zine delib­er­ate­ly struc­tured its pub­lish­ing of still frames from the film to mis­lead a naive observ­er about the infor­ma­tion con­tained in the film.

Life also pub­lished a cov­er pho­to­graph of Lee Har­vey Oswald that had obvi­ous­ly been doc­tored, with the shad­ows in the pho­to­graph going in dif­fer­ent direc­tions!

Numer­ous eye­wit­ness­es to the killing gave tes­ti­mo­ny to the effect that, at one point, the motor­cade actu­al­ly came to a com­plete halt, giv­ing the snipers a sta­tion­ary tar­get at which to fire.

Among those who tes­ti­fied to that effect were Dearie Cabell, the wife of Ear­le Cabell, the may­or of Dal­las. Cabel­l’s broth­er, Gen­er­al C.P. Cabell, had been a Deputy Direc­tor of the CIA, and was fired by JFK for lying to him about the Bay of Pigs inva­sion. 

(Anoth­er of those fired was Allen Dulles, who served on the War­ren Com­mis­sion.)

Pres­i­dent Biden con­tin­ued the sus­pi­cious han­dling of JFK evi­dence by fur­ther delay­ing release of infor­ma­tion about the mur­der.

The notion that the doc­u­ments could com­pro­mise mil­i­tary, intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty or law enforce­ment method­ol­o­gy at this stage of the inves­ti­ga­tion strains cred­i­bil­i­ty.

The JFK assassination–the key event to keep­ing Amer­i­can Far East­ern Pol­i­cy trav­el­ing the straight rail­road line described by Stan­ley Hornbeck–was also a cen­tral event in the career of Mort Sahl, the bril­liant stand-up come­di­an and one of the inspi­ra­tions for Mr. Emory’s life’s work.

“. . . . Mr. Sahl worked on radio and on local tele­vi­sion in Los Ange­les, but he didn’t help his cause with what some felt was on obses­sion with the Kennedy assas­si­na­tion. His per­for­mances began to include read­ing scorn­ful­ly from the War­ren Com­mis­sion report [pub­lished by The New York Times—D.E.]. And he worked as an unpaid inves­ti­ga­tor for Jim Gar­ri­son, the New Orleans dis­trict attor­ney, who claimed to have uncov­ered secret evi­dence that Lee Har­vey Oswald was not the assas­sin, and who accused a New Orleans busi­ness­man, Clay Shaw, of con­spir­ing to mur­der the pres­i­dent. No con­vinc­ing evi­dence secret or oth­er­wise, was pro­duced at Mr. Shaw’s tri­al, and the jury acquit­ted him in less than an hour.

‘I spent years talk­ing with peo­ple, Gar­ri­son notably, about the Kennedy assas­si­na­tion,’ Mr. Sahl wrote in ‘Heart­land,’ a score-set­tling, dys­pep­tic mem­oir pub­lished in 1976, ‘and I was said to have hurt my career by being in bad com­pa­ny. . . . I don’t think that Jack Kennedy is bad com­pa­ny. I don’t think that Gar­ri­son is bad com­pa­ny. I learned some­thing, though. The peo­ple that I went to Hol­ly­wood par­ties with are not my com­rades The men I was in the trench­es with in New Orleans are my com­rades.’ He con­clud­ed, ‘I think Jack Kennedy cries from the grave for jus­tice.’ . . . .”

A con­sum­mate­ly impor­tant study of Viet­nam War crimes was authored by Nick Turse. A review by the U.S. Naval Insti­tute can be tak­en as an advi­so­ry in this regard.

Mr. Turse per­forms the remark­able feat of unspar­ing­ly sear­ing pre­sen­ta­tion of the war crimes that were stan­dard oper­at­ing pro­ce­dure for much of the Amer­i­can (and allied) forces in Viet­nam by trac­ing the foun­da­tion of those crimes from the tech­no­crat­ic approach to mil­i­tary strat­e­gy pur­sued by the Pen­ta­gon and Robert McNa­ma­ra, through the re-social­iza­tion and re-pro­gram­ming of young, often teen-aged, recruits to turn them into reflex­ive killers, chron­i­cling the mas­sive fire­pow­er avail­able to U.S. forces, and doc­u­ment­ing the recal­ci­trant atti­tude of the offi­cer corps and Gen­er­al Staff, who were unwill­ing to coun­te­nance the pro­fes­sion­al and ide­o­log­i­cal dam­age that would result from pre­sen­ta­tion and adju­di­ca­tion of the truth.

In addi­tion, Mr. Turse–while avoid­ing self-right­eous posturing–highlights the doc­tri­naire racism of many U.S. com­bat­ants, who com­mit­ted war crimes behind the “MGR”–the “Mere Gook Rule.”

“ ‘An impor­tant addi­tion to Viet­nam war stud­ies . . . . Turse’s study is not anti-vet­er­an, anti-mil­i­tary, or anti-Amer­i­can. It does not allege that the major­i­ty of U.S. mil­i­tary per­son­nel in South Viet­nam com­mit­ted crimes. . . .” Pro­ceed­ings (U.S. Naval Insti­tute).

Nick Turse traces the strate­gic use of over­whelm­ing fire­pow­er and de fac­to coun­te­nanc­ing of civil­ian casu­al­ties owes much to the tac­ti­cal approach of Japan­ese forces dur­ing World War II in Chi­na: “ . . . . These efforts were com­mon­ly known as ‘paci­fi­ca­tion,’ but their true aim was to depop­u­late the con­test­ed coun­try­side. ‘The peo­ple are like water and the army is like fish.’ Mao Zedong, the leader of the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist rev­o­lu­tion, had famous­ly writ­ten. Amer­i­can plan­ners grasped his dic­tum, and also stud­ied the ‘kill-all, burn-all, loot-all’ scorched earth cam­paigns that the Japan­ese army launched in rur­al Chi­na dur­ing the 1930s and ear­ly 1940s for lessons on how to drain the ‘sea.’ Not sur­pris­ing­ly the idea of forc­ing peas­ants out of their vil­lages was embraced by civil­ian paci­fi­ca­tion offi­cials and mil­i­tary offi­cers alike. . . .”

Exem­pli­fy­ing the bru­tal real­i­ty of the crimes com­mit­ted by G.I.‘s in Viet­nam is the “dou­ble vet­er­an” man­i­fes­ta­tion. Before killing them and adding them to the body count of “ene­mies” killed, GI’s raped female “gueril­las.”

Comedian Mort Sahl in 1976: The CIA Staffs the Left

One of sev­er­al role mod­els who inspired Mr. Emory to do his life’s work is polit­i­cal come­di­an Mort Sahl. One of Jim Gar­rison’s inves­ti­ga­tors, Sahl paid the price for his engage­ment. From an enter­tain­ment and media super­star, he became rel­e­gat­ed to the mar­gins of expo­sure and earn­ing pow­er. In his 1976 auto­bi­og­ra­phy Heart­land, he chron­i­cled some sus­pi­cious vio­lent events in New Orleans that imme­di­ate­ly pre­ced­ed Gar­rison’s cam­paign for re-elec­tion. Sahl sur­mised that this was prob­a­bly part of a CIA cam­paign to destroy Gar­ri­son. In our long series on Jim DiEu­ge­nio’s Des­tiny Betrayed, we not­ed that for­mer CIA direc­tor Richard Helms com­mit­ted the Agency to destroy­ing Gar­rison’s efforts before, dur­ing and after the tri­al of Clay Shaw. That these events may have been part of the “after” is some­thing to be care­ful­ly con­sid­ered. In his text, Sahl also notes that part of the CIA’s task is ” . . . . to staff the left. They don’t staff the right–that’ll take care of itself; they staff the left. They give a fel­low a lib­er­al cre­den­tial, they’ll let you trust him, and they’ll always give you a cook­ie. A guy writes an arti­cle for Ram­parts and says, ‘The Gulf Oil com­pa­ny wants to start a war so they can drill off­shore in Viet­nam.’ The read­er says, ‘Wow, what rev­e­la­tions.’ that’s your cook­ie. . . .”

FTR #1047 Interview #16 with Jim DiEugenio about “Destiny Betrayed”

This is the six­teenth of 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.

The pro­gram opens with con­tin­u­a­tion of dis­cus­sion of an unfor­tu­nate piece from The Huff­in­g­ton Post about Clay Shaw. In addi­tion to par­rot­ing canards about Gar­rison’s case being base­less, Clay Shaw being a “Wilsonian/FDR lib­er­al” and Gar­rison’s nonex­is­tent stance that the JFK assas­si­na­tion was a “homo­sex­u­al thrill killing” by Clay Shaw & com­pa­ny, the HP piece men­tioned an appear­ance by Jim Gar­ri­son on John­ny Car­son­’s “Tonight Show.”

The actu­al sto­ry of Gar­rison’s appear­ance on Car­son is impor­tant and inter­est­ing. When the bril­liant come­di­an Mort Sahl was on Car­son­’s show, the sub­ject of the Gar­ri­son inves­ti­ga­tion came up. Sahl asked the audi­ence if they would like to have Gar­ri­son come on the show, and they respond­ed with over­whelm­ing enthu­si­asm.

Even­tu­al­ly, Gar­ri­son did appear on the show and Car­son engaged in an open­ly con­fronta­tion­al dis­cus­sion. Car­son was so out­raged that he told Mort Sahl that he would nev­er appear on the pro­gram again. Mort did not appear on the “Tonight” show until Jay Leno suc­ceed­ed Car­son as the host.

In this regard, it is worth not­ing that NBC–the net­work that aired Wal­ter Sheri­dan’s hit piece on Garrison–has pro­found con­nec­tions to the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty, as dis­cussed in FTR #1045.

Jim also relates that, when in Los Ange­les, Robert Kennedy was query­ing Chi­na Lee–Mort’s wife at the time–about what Gar­ri­son was doing in New Orleans. As we have seen in past programs–including FTR #‘s 809, 892, 1005–Robert Kennedy was wait­ing until he got elect­ed Pres­i­dent before open­ing an inves­ti­ga­tion into his broth­er’s mur­der. Of course, he, too was killed before he could become Pres­i­dent.

The pro­gram then turns to James Kirk­wood, anoth­er of the des­ig­nat­ed media hatch­et men who pil­lo­ried Gar­ri­son. Net­worked with James Phe­lan, he helped mint the canard that Gar­ri­son pros­e­cut­ed Shaw in the con­text of what the DA sup­pos­ed­ly saw as a “homo­sex­u­al thrill killing.” Unfor­tu­nate­ly, this non­sense has endured, as a Huff­in­g­ton Post arti­cle makes clear.

Anoth­er of the media hit men who defamed Gar­ri­son was David Chan­dler:

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

. . . . But 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. . . .

The sub­ject then turns to Clay Shaw’s defense team. It should nev­er be for­got­ten that Shaw’s attor­neys net­worked with: the infil­tra­tors into Gar­rison’s office, the CIA and the media hatch­et men who helped destroy Gar­rison’s pub­lic image.

We return briefly to Guy John­son, ini­tial­ly a mem­ber of Shaw’s defense team. In this con­text, it is worth remem­ber­ing what Ban­is­ter inves­ti­ga­tor Tom­my Baum­ler said:

Des­tiny Betrayed by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; Sky­horse Pub­lish­ing [SC]; Copy­right 1992, 2012 by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; ISBN 978–1‑62087–056‑3; p. 274.

. . . . In the spring of 1968, Harold Weis­berg inter­viewed Tom­my Baum­ler. Baum­ler had for­mer­ly worked for Guy Ban­is­ter as part of his corps of stu­dent infil­tra­tors in the New Orleans area. Because of that expe­ri­ence, Baum­ler knew a lot about Banister’s oper­a­tion. For instance, that Banister’s files were cod­ed, and that Ban­is­ter had black­mail mate­r­i­al on the sub­jects he kept files on. He also knew the intel­li­gence net­work in New Orleans was con­struct­ed through Ban­is­ter, Clay Shaw, and Guy John­son; how close Shaw and Ban­is­ter were; and that “Oswald worked for Ban­is­ter.” In Weisberg’s inter­view with Tom­my, he would occa­sion­al­ly ask to go off the record by telling him to turn the tape recorder off. Clear­ly, there were things going on in New Orleans that Baum­ler con­sid­ered too hot to be attrib­uted to him.

At this time, April of 1968, Weis­berg con­sid­ered Baum­ler to be an “unabashed fas­cist.” He explained this fur­ther by say­ing that Baum­ler was ‘aware of the mean­ing of his beliefs and con­sid­ers what he describes as his beliefs as prop­er.” He then explained to Weis­berg the fol­low­ing, “that what­ev­er hap­pens, the Shaw case will end with­out pun­ish­ment for him [Shaw], because fed­er­al pow­er will see to that.” He fur­ther said that this would also hap­pen to any­one else charged by Gar­ri­son. . . .

In addi­tion to John­son, Irv Dymond, anoth­er Shaw attor­ney, net­worked with the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty, Wal­ter Sheri­dan and the spook infil­tra­tors into Gar­rion’s office. In FTR #1045, we not­ed that Fred Lee­mans claimed he was coerced, in part, direct­ly by Irv Dymond in Dymond’s law office. Dymond worked direct­ly with Hunter Leake of the CIA’s New Orleans office.

Shaw attor­neys Edward and William Weg­mann also net­worked with the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty, employ­ing Wack­en­hut, for­mer­ly South­ern Research, an intel­li­gence-con­nect­ed pri­vate secu­ri­ty out­fit to mon­i­tor Gar­rison’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

Anoth­er Shaw attorney–Sal Panzeca–received a list of Gar­ri­son wit­ness­es from Gar­ri­son office infil­tra­tor Tom Bethell.

Des­tiny Betrayed by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; Sky­horse Pub­lish­ing [SC]; Copy­right 1992, 2012 by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; ISBN 978–1‑62087–056‑3; p. 290.

. . . . Tom Bethell had been one of the DA’s key inves­ti­ga­tors and researchers . . . . Since Gar­ri­son had des­ig­nat­ed him as his chief archivist, he had access to and con­trol of both Gar­rison’s files and his most recent wit­ness list. . . . Secret­ly, he met with Sal Panze­ca, one of Shaw’s attor­neys, and gave him a wit­ness list he had pre­pared, with sum­maries of each wit­ness’s expect­ed tes­ti­mo­ny for the pros­e­cu­tion. . . .

The pro­gram con­cludes with the obstruc­tive efforts of then Attor­ney Gen­er­al Ram­sey Clark.

Clark tried to dis­miss Clay Shaw’s involve­ment inthe assas­si­na­tion by claim­ing that the FBI had cleared him back in 1963.

Des­tiny Betrayed by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; Sky­horse Pub­lish­ing [SC]; Copy­right 1992, 2012 by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; ISBN 978–1‑62087–056‑3; p. 261.

. . . . One point man for the John­son Admin­is­tra­tion in dam­ag­ing Gar­rison’s case was Ram­sey Clark. In March of 1867, right after his con­fir­ma­tion as Attor­ney Gen­er­al by the Sen­ate Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee, Clark made an extra­or­di­nary inter­ven­tion into the case: he told a group of reporters Gar­rison’s case was base­less. The FBI, he said, had already inves­ti­gat­ed Shaw in 1963 and found no con­nec­tion between him and the events in Dal­las. . . .

Clark also assist­ed with the quash­ing of sub­poe­nas that Gar­ri­son served.

Des­tiny Betrayed by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; Sky­horse Pub­lish­ing [SC]; Copy­right 1992, 2012 by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; ISBN 978–1‑62087–056‑3; pp. 272–273.

. . . . At around this time, Gar­ri­son issued sub­poe­nas for both Richard Helms and any pho­tographs of Oswald in Mex­i­co City that the CIA held. . . . [CIA Gen­er­al Coun­sel Lawrence] Hous­ton then wrote a let­ter to New Orleans judge Bernard Bagert who had signed the sub­poe­na. He denied there were pho­tos of Oswald in Mex­i­co City. This reply was run by Attor­ney Gen­er­al Ram­sey Clark and White House advis­er Har­ry MacPher­son. . . .

Final­ly, Clark denied Gar­ri­son prop­er access to autop­sy pho­tos and infor­ma­tion about the assas­si­na­tion.

Des­tiny Betrayed by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; Sky­horse Pub­lish­ing [SC]; Copy­right 1992, 2012 by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; ISBN 978–1‑62087–056‑3; p. 287.

. . . . After the Attor­ney Gen­er­al had bun­gled his first attempt to dis­cred­it Gar­rison’s case, he secret­ly tried anoth­er method. Gar­ri­son had been try­ing to secure the orig­i­nal JFK autop­sy pho­tos and X‑rays to exhib­it at the tri­al. They would form an impor­tant part of his case, since, to prove a con­spir­a­cy, he had to present evi­dence against the War­ren Report, which main­tained there was no con­spir­a­cy and that Oswald had act­ed alone. In 1968, Clark con­vened a pan­el of experts–which did not include any of the doc­tors who had per­formed the orig­i­nal examinations–to review the autop­sy pho­tos and X‑rays. In ear­ly 1969, just a few days before he left office and on the eve of the tri­al, Clark announced that this pan­el had endorsed the find­ings of the War­ren Report. The pan­el released its find­ings, but none of the orig­i­nal evi­dence on which it was based. This was clear­ly meant to influ­ence pub­lic opin­ion before Shaw’s tri­al began. . . .