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Saturday, December 07, 2013

JFK stuff. (Just a little!)

You're sick of seeing the initials "JFK," right? I understand. Honest, I really do. There was a lot of crap published about the JFK assassination on the 50th anniversary. But some genuinely good material has come out as well...

Shocking indeed.  Jim DiEugenio has offered a masterful dissection of Phil Shenon's A Cruel and Shocking Act. I could not read more than ten consecutive pages of Shenon's deceptive book without retching, and I am glad that Jim did this task.

One oddity of Shenon's work is his habit of pretending that something old and much-discussed is actually a new discovery. Why does he do that? At any rate, if you read Jim's in-depth review, you may be particularly intrigued to learn the details of Jack Ruby's highly dubious polygraph test, as well as the circumstances surrounding Marina's testimony.

Identification. It's official: "Maurice Bishop" was David Atlee Phillips. Why is this important? Because...

A) Phillips (who died in 1988) was a CIA guy working for James Angleton.

B)  "Maurice Bishop" was the nomme de guerre of the CIA contact who "ran" Cuban exile leader Antonio Veciana.

C) Veciana (who is still alive at this writing) saw Lee Harvey Oswald working with "Bishop."

D) Phillips rigged up all sorts of false evidence designed to convey he impression that Oswald killed JFK at the behest of the Russians and/or the Cubans. (Shenon's book derives, in large part, from Phillips' deceptions.)

E) After decades of denial, Phillips (when close to death) tearfully confessed to his brother that he was in Dallas on the day of the assassination. Phillips also admitted, late in life, that a faction within the American intelligence community planned the murder.

Is nailing down the Phillips/"Bishop" identification important? You bet your ass it is. Veciana has no motive to concoct a story about Oswald and Phillips working together.

Conversations. Alan Dale has produced a series of excellent interviews with researchers. The production quality may be a little questionable, but the chat is fascinating. I particularly recommend the dialogues with Sherry Feister and David Talbot (one of the founders of Salon).
a little off subject, but not much:
is it still possible to get a copy of Battling Wall St from CTKA? there's no e-mail contact listed on their site that i have found...otherwise, i'll have to send an inquiry snailwise through the post.
There's no question in my mind that that D. A. Phillips was the "Maurice Bishop" who met with Antonio Veciana on a regular basis. But the Company was so slick that different men sometimes used the same "war name"--and the same man might use multiple ones.

A lot of spooks from that era named themselves after chess pieces: "Bishop," Castle," "King," etc. (However, I bet nobody opted for "Pawn.")

I also believe that Veciana saw Phillips/Bishop with someone that looked like Oswald. The problem is that it was a fleeting crossover between the two meetings, and Veciana didn't have a good reason for studying the guy's face. (Oswald was not yet notorious.) So it's possible it might have been the Oswald lookalike that most researcher believe was crawling around Dallas in the fall of '63.

So although I believe Veciana's story, I have to file it under "unverified hearsay." Other subplots and characters in that category include the Three Tramps, the party at Clint Murchison's house and the visitors to Silvia Odio's apartment. (Yes, there were visitors, and one of them was called "Oswald." But was he the real LHO--or the lookalike?)

Yet whenever I want to throw up my hands and declare "It's a wilderness of mirrors," I remind myself that there is such a thing as objective truth. Either Oswald did or didn't meet with Phillips, visit Silvia Odio, order the rifle, pose for the backyard photos, etc. A researcher's job is to keep going.

Yet whenever I want to throw up my hands and declare "It's a wilderness of mirrors," I remind myself that there is such a thing as objective truth.
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