Issue #2 New Discoveries in the Recently Released
BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER:
THE NEW RELEASES AND HOW THEY HELP US CONVERGE
ON THE HEART OF THE CASE
Peter Dale Scott
Reprinted by permission from The Fourth Decade, Vol. 4, #1, November, 1996.
Research Convergence and the New Releases.
Three years ago, I predicted a new era of convergence in JFK assassination research. This has happened, in two dimensions:
1) Horizontal dimension: common denominators are emerging with respect to Oswald in Mexico, internal differences between Robert Kennedy and the CIA over Cuba policy, arms-and-drug running, military intelligence, the Cuban DRE, the Dallas right-wing, and the Chicago-Miami mob. Much of this is technical but I will later give two examples.
2) Vertical dimension: convergence between facts related to Oswald and major historical tensions and differences inside the Kennedy administration. Most of this we owe to new releases.
Because they come so far mostly from the CIA, they tell us little about Dealey Plaza, but quite a lot about CIA Cuban operations, and CIA pre-assassination reporting about 0swald. This will not identify the assassins, but does make more comprehensible the context in which the assassination and cover-up could be carried off.
New discoveries about the context of the case, studied more deeply, take us increasingly from a horizontal into a vertical dimension.
1) Beyond question, the CIA consciously put out falsified and conflicting reports about Oswald, the product of a small group of CIA counterintelligence personnel (above all, CI/OPS personnel). Both in CIA and Naval Intelligence (ONI), Counterintelligence operations personnel moved paper about Oswald, without at first opening a file on him.
2) Almost certainly, this was part of an extensive, sustained counterintelligence operation, relying on systematically altered Oswald records.
3) A reasonable hypothesis was that this was a so-called "barium meal," the planting of altered records to trace the source of a leak to a hostile power. (in the case of Richard Ames, that hostile power was the KGB. I have postulated the KGB in Oswald's case as well, but another possibility would be a competing agency in Washington, such as a Congressional committee.)
4) The embarrassing fact that Oswald had been used for counterintelligence purposes, and the further embarrassing fact that Oswald had been falsely linked for propaganda purposes to an alleged KGB assassination expert, virtually compelled large numbers of government non-conspirators into rejecting what I have called the "phase-one" appearance of a KGB or Cuban conspiracy, and accepting what I have called the "phase-two" theory of a lone assassin.
5) At least one of the key figures handling Oswald records, Otto Otepka in the State Department Office of Security, became in 1963, before the assassination, the focus of a major conflict between the Kennedy Administration and the more hawkish Senate Internal Security Subcommittee looking for subversives in the government. This conflict had arisen in 1959 over Cuba policy, but came to embrace Kennedy initiatives towards the Soviet Union and over Vietnam.
6) This conflict inside Washington reflected a larger conflict in the country: between doves with civilian priorities seeking to modify Cold War strategies by accommodations with Khrushchev, and hawks with military priorities seeking a more aggressive strategy (and larger defense budget) to fight Communism.
7) This larger conflict was particularly acute in the Kennedy years (as again under Nixon during Watergate). But it was only a phase in an enduring struggle between "America Firsters" and "New World Order" globalists, pitting, through nearly all of this century, the industry-oriented (e.g. the National Association of Manufacturers) against the financial oriented (e.g. the Council on Foreign Relations), two different sources of wealth.
Third Position Analysis of the Case.
In this way, studying the Kennedy assassination helps clarify present tensions inside the U.S. political process. I believe that awareness of all the micro-processes at work in 1963 leads to a more informed analysis of macro-political developments today. I have called this "deep political analysis." But deep politics has been with the world since the Roman Empire. Looking at America since World War I or II, it might help to define a "third position analysis," involving deep politics, to distinguish the deep political interpretation from the two inadequate analytical positions we have seen up to now.
First position analysis (of Dallas, or of "McCarthyism," or of the John Birch Society) attributes dysfunction in the U.S. system of politics to the marginal extremes. (Oswald as a "lone nut," or in Blakey's view a pawn of a dangerous but marginal mob).
Second position analysis, in reaction to the first, blames the system itself, or some part of it. (Garrison's theory: the CIA did it).
Third position analysis is not so much a rejection of the first two, as a selective fusion of both, studying the deep political connections between the center and margins, upperworld and underworld. By seeking causality both at the center and at the margins, Third position analysis rejects the "good guys/bad guys" moralism that locates the dysfunction in one part of the social process, rather than the whole.
Similarly, Third position rejects the structuralist distinction in the two preceding analyses, between the "insiders" and "outsiders" of the system. The so-called "system" itself dissolves in Third position analysis to a much more chaotic but in some ways still predictable process. The McCarthyite movement in the 1950s, the John Birch Society in the 1950s, the successful Reagan revolution of the 1970s, were built from the resentful (and sometimes conspiratorial) remnants of the America Firsters in 1940.
The Third positional analysis of the Kennedy assassination: Kennedy was a victim of this unresolved conflict in the U.S. political process, having by his appearance of accommodation mortally offended a coalition of minority hawks inside and outside the government, who felt betrayed by unfulfilled promises.
Convergence and Third Positional Analysis: Anecdotal Examples.
Let me at this point give two examples of convergent details to illustrate the conspiratorial interaction in 1963 between "insiders" and "outsiders." (These examples by themselves might seem to offer an explanation of the case, but studied in context they do not. My method at this stage is circumferential, not linear: to circumnavigate a zone of interest, rather than offer a plotline to its center.)
a) The three mob figures.
Richard Cain, John Roselli, and John Martino were all close, through both their mob connections and their work for the CIA. All three of them later professed knowledge about the assassination. In 1963 the CIA recruited Richard Cain to spy on a Cuban in Chicago, Paulino Sierra, whom the CIA rightly suspected was recruiting Cuban exiles they mistrusted for an operation sponsored by Robert Kennedy. Meanwhile John Martino (who before he died claimed knowledge of a plot involving Oswald) was involved with Miami CIA elements in an operation designed to frustrate Kennedy's Soviet policies, and possibly to set up the Rosselli "turn-around" story, blaming the Kennedy assassination on a team recruited to kill Castro. Two and possibly three of the future Watergate burglars were also collecting dirt (including false stories) on Paulino Sierra for the CIA. These false stories may explain why Bobby Kennedy, on November 22, told Paulino Sierra's boss (Harry Ruiz-Williams), "one of your boys did it." (We now know that Bobby Kennedy's staff reacted strongly to the first publication of the Rosselli turn-around story.)
b) The handling of Oswald records by Navy and Marine Intelligence (ONI and Marine G-2) was used to empower an investigation of State Department accomodators, by one of their staunchly anti-subversive critics, Otto Otepka of the State Department Office of Security. Otepka's criticism of the State Department's handling of Oswald was soon voiced outside the executive branch, both by the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee and by Revilo Oliver, chief spokesman of the John Birch Society. Oliver was a retired army intelligence officer who claimed sources in military intelligence. The Warren Commission quizzed Oliver extensively about his sources, perhaps because he (like John Martino) published accurate details about one of Robert Kennedy's secret initiatives with respect to Castro. Oliver in April 1963 spoke at a hawkish Congress of Freedom convention in New Orleans, attended by a number of military officers, and where (according to a police informant) assassination of public officials was discussed. Joseph Milteer, who in November 1963 accurately predicted how Kennedy would be killed, was also present at this convention.
How Understanding the Case Can Help Heal America.
To heal the present dysfunctions in our ailing political process, we must better understand them. To understand the Kennedy assassination is a first step, even if we do not "solve" it. By moving beyond partial analyses, which allocate all the guilt to one side or another of a falsely perceived dichotomy, this understanding may help overcome the divisions in realms of discourse which presently weaken America and frustrate all constructive politics.
A sign that we researchers are on to something significant, and of contemporary relevance, is the vigorous defense of the "lone nut" hypothesis, and the resistance we meet to our critiques of it, from dominant elements on the right (Buckley), the center (all of the mainstream media) and the left (Cockburn and Chomsky). The virulence of the attack on Stone's JFK, the mindless praise heaped on Posner's fallacious book, are symptoms of a general weakness. All the people in this mindless anti-conspiracy consensus rightly see a major challenge to their First and Second positional analysis, not just of the Kennedy assassination, but of American politics in general.
With inspired irony, the CIA, over its doorway, has the words, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." The truth also bestows power, a power that is significant even if less than prevailing. We have surprised ourselves with the power we now possess. Our political clout saved the Review Board in 1994 and 1995, when traditional experts expected it to die. If we keep up the pressure we may still force the FBI to do something it is passionately resisting: release all of their Oswald records. We have the right to insist on these things, and expect to win, because the truth is our ally.
And who knows, if we can break this case, what else we can do for America?