This is not a JFK assassination blog, and you should feel welcome here even if you disagree with my views on that controversy. To keep this site focused on current affairs, I dip my toes in that pond only on rare occasions. That said, I feel compelled to share a startling bit of assassination news, as presented in the latest issue (#63) of Lobster
, Robin Ramsay's quirky (but usually reliable) parapolitical journal.
In the "View From the Bridge" section, we learn that a fellow named Doug Thompson, the communications director for New Mexico Congressman Manuel Lujan, shared a plane trip with John Connally back in the 1980s. As you know, Connally was severely wounded when Kennedy was shot.
In the course of the conversation Thompson asked him if he thought Lee Harvey Oswald fired the gun that killed Kennedy?
‘Absolutely not,’ Connally said. ‘I do not, for one second, believe the conclusions of the Warren Commission.’
This is the base line for so many American politicians: we do not talk about what really happened on 22 November 1963; we do not tarnish the brand.
So why not say so?
‘Because I love this country and we needed closure at the time. I will never speak out publicly about what I believe.’
The last remark is Ramsay's. Personally, I suspect that Connally's motive may not have been love of country or fear of tarnishing the brand. I suspect that the bullet(s) which passed through the Governor's body -- not to mention the President's body -- might have had some bearing on Connally's decision to keep his mouth shut.
The story told by Thompson has popped up on various web sites over the past six years, yet most people have never heard this anecdote. No-one, so far as I know, has ever impugned Thompson's credibility.
We may thus add John Connally's name to the list of people who discounted the official conclusion. Other doubters include LBJ (for whom the commission was convened; the official title was "The President's Commission," not "The Warren Commission"), Richard Nixon, Robert Kennedy, and Commission member Richard Russell
My fellow "nuts" include some rather interesting people.
A long, long time ago, Lobster
offered another squib which deserves a place on the internet record. In issue #7, published in 1985, Lobster
co-founder Stephen Dorril profiled Gordon Winter, an operative formerly employed by BOSS, the adroitly-acronymed intelligence agency of South Africa. Winter is best known for his book Inside Boss
, now very rare. (I haven't the vaguest idea where you might find a copy
.) According to Dorril, Winter averred that BOSS had once conducted its own investigation of the JFK assassination, and concluded that the mastermind was "a General named Walters."
Obviously, this reference goes to General Vernon A Walters
, who died in 2002. He was the Deputy Director of the CIA for four years in the 1970s, and functioned as acting DCI for a very brief period. He was considered a brilliant man with a remarkable aptitude for languages.
As longtime readers may know, I am an "Angleton did it" partisan -- in other words, I stand with those who strongly suspect that the chief architect of the assassination was CIA counterintelligence chieftain James Jesus Angleton. I have not seen any evidence linking Walters to the Dallas event. It is quite possible that BOSS (or Winter) got it wrong.
That said: The very next issue of Lobster (#8) mentioned Walters again...
Perhaps the single most interesting thing I've seen recently was in the New Statesman(8 February 1985) profile of General Vernon Walters, the probable replacement for the dreadful Jeanne Kirkpatrick as US ambassador at the UN. It included this:
"In the early 1960s, as military attache in Rome, he (Walters) was closely involved with the Italian intelligence service and with blocking the Kennedy Administration's 'opening' towards the Italian left."
I could be wrong but my 'nose' tells me this will turn out to be a major lead.
Other sources confirm that JFK did indeed try to open a backchannel dialogue with the Italian left (dominated at the time by the Italian Communist Party). If nothing else, Kennedy's effort certainly speaks to motivation.
I find it odd that Walters does not receive greater mention in the literature of paranoia, since his associations should make him a lint trap for conspiracy theorists. Walters was a Bush family loyalist
and a member of the Knights of Malta.
He organized the contras (the anti-Sandinista opposition forces in Nicaragua), facilitated CIA backing of the Argentine fascists, and either aided or instigated
the assassination of Orlando Letelier
For our present purposes, the most important thing you have to know is this: Those in the know referred to Walters as "America's foremost coup-maker."
He earned that title by manipulating regime changes in Iran, Fiji, Brazil
, Chile and god-knows-where-else.
Perhaps in the U.S. as well...?
Let's bring the story up to date:
The Fiji coup took place in 1987. A New Zealand writer named Owen Wilkes has researched the role of the CIA
(and Vernon Walters) in that coup.
Wilkes argues that 'the US since 1982 has been increasingly intervening in Fijian political, economic and trade union affairs', and notes 'a visit by America's foremost coup-maker [General Vernon Walters] and a stepping up of CIA activity immediately prior to the coup' (1987:4). His evidence for the former is the involvement in Fiji's affairs of various American-backed organizations, such as Business International, the Pacific Islands Development Program, and the Asian-American Free Labor Institute, all allegedly linked to the CIA.
The most famous former employee of Business International is a fellow named Barack Obama, who worked for the company (and perhaps for The Company) throughout 1983. The Pacific Island Development Program is part of the East-West Center, whose most famous alumna is Ann Dunham
, mother of Barack Obama.
Obama, who had personal experience of Asia, might have been tasked to analyze some of those reports coming in from Fiji.