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Sunday, March 06, 2016

The JFK assassination theorist who gave us Donald Trump

Note: While writing this piece, I learned of Nancy Reagan's death. I do know a couple of Nancy stories that my readers might appreciate, but this is not the day to repeat such tales. Let us simply wish her spirit well as she proceeds on her journey. I'm sure that, somewhere in the Great Beyond, Ronnie and Nancy and Frankie and Ava have worked out an amicable arrangement and are getting along splendidly.

Libertarian/Republican adviser Roger Stone parted ways with Donald Trump some months ago; the two blamed each other for the rupture. Yet Stone still considers himself a Trump loyalist, and probably will have some role to play in the next administration, should Trump prevail in November. Roger and Donnie have a history of bickering and reconciling.

According to the New York Times, Roger Stone was the one who convinced Trump that he could run for the presidency in 2016 without first attaining a lower office.

Stone used to be (and for all I know, may still be) a conservative ratfucker of the Rovian sort. When Stone was a young man, he sent Democratic presidential aspirant Pete McCloskey a contribution which supposedly came from a socialist organization, in order to "expose" the alleged link and thereby discredit the candidate.

Stone's mentor was none other than Roy Cohn -- America's most lovable lawyer -- who used to represent Fred Trump, father to The Donald.

Roger Stone is also a well-known fashion expert. If I were a little more vain and a lot wealthier, I'd be tempted to spend more time at this site -- although this description of Huma Abedin would drive away anyone with a sense of decency:
Hillary’s right hand woman, Abedin, is always perfectly put together whether she’s going to a cocktail party at the UN or a Muslim Brotherhood Cell Meeting. She reminds me of a young Jackie Kennedy in her impeccable fashion choices. Her choice of sunglasses is up there with Jackie O. The Most chic woman working for Jihad. Hillary’s Muslim Brotherhood handler. Can you say “Arab Spring?”
What was it that Donald Trump said...? "We're going to open up libel laws, and we're going to have people sue you like you've never got sued before." Y'know, that idea suddenly seems attractive. Even under today's laws, Huma might be able sue Roger's bespoke pants off: If that "Muslim Brotherhood Cell Meeting" remark does not constitute libel, then what does?

The JFK connection. Since I travel in low circles, I know Stone best from his work in the field of JFK assassination research. Most who write about The Donald's right-hand man never mention Stone's long-held fascination with the Case of Cases.

But before we discuss Stone's theory, we must take a side trip...

Cannon's theory of the JFK assassination

As long-time readers know, I hold that the mastermind of Kennedy's murder was the ultra-paranoid CIA counterintelligence head James Jesus Angleton, who ran his own "Agency within the Agency" on the second floor of their headquarters in Langley, Virginia. For a while, I even flirted with the idea of creating a documentary on the topic.

My conclusions draw from three main sources:

1. The research of former Army intelligence analyst John Newman, who fingered Angleton in the 2008 edition of Oswald and the CIA.

2. The work of the marvelous Lisa Pease, who wrote a study of JJA for Probe magazine. (Unfortunately, only part of her work is online.)

3. Tom Mangold's Angleton bio Cold Warrior. If you're going to read only one book on the CIA, read Mangold.

My views also owe much to Gaeton Fonzi's The Last Investigation, David C. Martin's Wilderness of Mirrors, and the works of Peter Dale Scott. There is a fairly vast literature on Angleton, Golitsyn, De Vosjoli and a whole slew of related individuals whose names probably mean nothing to you, even though you damned well ought to know about them.

Perhaps I should mention just a few of the facts which point to Angleton as the chief plotter:

1. It has now been established (at least to my satisfaction) that CIA agent David Atlee Phillips was "handling" Lee Harvey Oswald in New Orleans, at least for a brief period. Phillips worked for Angleton. Very shortly before his death, Phillips spoke to his brother on the phone and tearfully admitted his involvement in the assassination.

2. Two congressional investigators working for the HSCA, Dan Hardway and Edwin Lopez, found that they "could tie just about every single disinformation effort directly back to David Phillips..." Hardway and Lopez were charged with investigating Oswald's strange trip to Mexico City, where he visited the Soviet and Cuban embassies.

3. The most important disinformation efforts referenced by Lopez and Hardway concerned the use of an Oswald imposter to tie LHO to one Valery Kostikov, allegedly a star Soviet assassin. I have seen no evidence that he was any such thing. However, Angleton -- loon that he was -- had become convinced that Kostikov was a kind of commie super-villain, and the Agency's files reflected that view.

How do we know that an imposter was involved? A nearby CIA station surreptitiously recorded a call to the Soviet embassy in which "Oswald" passed a message to Kostikov. After the assassination, the FBI studied this recording (which was never made public), and decided that the caller was not Oswald. A CIA translator who also heard this call testified that "Oswald" sounded like a native speaker of Spanish.

That imposture is the single most important proof of a conspiracy -- and the documentation is impeccable.

4. Most serious assassination researchers believe that Oswald's "defection" to the USSR was a CIA ruse. If so, he almost certainly had to have been working for Angleton, who held a 201 file on Oswald at the time, indicating operational interest. Angleton's brief was counterintelligence -- mole-hunting -- and he would have had a file on Oswald only if LHO was somehow connected to an effort to uncover Soviet spies within the American government. (I doubt that Oswald did any actual spying while in the USSR. In my view, his sole purpose was to be odd and suspicious enough to trigger a Soviet investigation.)

5. JFK was but one of a number of world leaders whom Angleton, in his madness, believed to be secret communist sympathizers. Other supposed "pinkos" included Harold Wilson of the UK, Olaf Palme of Sweden, and Gough Whitlam of Australia. I invite the reader to read up on the careers these men -- with a particular emphasis on how those careers ended.

6. Angleton had his own team of hit men, which targeted those he considered disloyal. This "wet work" squad was run by a specialist named Boris Pash.

Those six points constitute only a portion of my argument against the paranoid Mr. Angleton.

(Here endeth the side note.)

Unfortunately, Roger Stone -- the ostensible subject of this post -- sees fit to acknowledge none of the facts listed above. He prefers to point the finger at Lyndon B. Johnson, the man who succeeded JFK.

The LBJ-diddit theory has a superficial attraction. Not only did Johnson become the most powerful man in the world, his ascent to the White House may have saved him from a visit to the Big House. At the time of the assassination, there were serious investigations into his corruption -- investigations which immediately vaporized after November 22, 1963.

But there are problems with the LBJ theory.

My first objection may strike you as petty, but I have to say it nonetheless. Roger Stone is a conservative operative with a history of ratfucking and a close link to Roy Cohn. You are not going to get the truth about the death of JFK from a Republican who also tells you that Huma Abedin attends Muslim Brotherhood Cell meetings.

The simplest and most damning argument against the LBJ theory is this: Stone wants you to believe it. If a guy like Stone tells you that the sky is blue, presume that the sky has turned some other color.

Stone's book became a bestseller. None of the real books about the assassination get any kind of "push" from the publishing world or the mainstream media. JFK and the Unspeakable, Destiny Betrayed, A Secret Order, Breach of Trust and other first-rate works don't get the attention that invariably surrounds the crappy stuff.

It is also worth noting that Stone received a laudatory blurb from James O'Keefe, another conservative dirty trickster. I think that these guys operate in a kind of succession, passing the Ratfucker's Torch: Cohn to Stone to O'Keefe, with a parallel line linking Lee Atwater and Karl Rove.

(Does anyone know the name of Rove's protege? He must have one...)

You may say that I have not yet offered a substantive argument against Stone's "LBJ diddit" theory. My first response would be that LBJ did not hire David Phillips: Angleton did. LBJ did not have a bug up his ass about Kostikov: Angleton did. None of the Mexico City disinformation efforts trace back to Johnson; they all trace to Angleton (through Phillips).

If LBJ were the mastermind, he would not have called the conclusions of the Warren Commission into question. Yet he did just that, in his retirement.

The LBJ theory does nothing to explain the Nosenko affair, while my JJA theory certainly does. The LBJ theory does nothing to explain why a hard-right faction of the intelligence community pushed a series of disinformation works designed to cast blame on the Soviets. Edward J. Epstein's Legend is the most "distinguished" example of this genre: Epstein scribbled at the instigation of Jim Angleton, not Lyndon Johnson.

Johnson simply did not command the clandestine infrastructure necessary to move Oswald into position. LBJ had no way to assemble an assassination squad, or to manipulate the evidence, or to influence the national media. Nothing connects Johnson to Oswald. Nothing connects Johnson to the Chicago plot. Nothing connects Johnson to the CIA's infiltration of Jim Garrison's investigation. (One of those infiltrators was Gordon Novel, who later admitted that he worked for Angleton.)

Johnson was already dead when the HSCA instituted a partial cover-up. How could Johnson, operating from the grave, orchestrate the removal of Richard Sprague, the honest man who originally headed the HSCA probe?

Bottom line: If Johnson were the mastermind of the JFK assassination, why not just admit it? He's dead. Even within the Democratic party, few revere his memory. If LBJ were guilty, there would be no need for a continuing cover-up by both Republican and Democratic administrations.

Conversely, one can understand why the CIA would do anything to avoid another round of congressional scrutiny. There would be a massive overview of the entire intelligence community if it became known (even at this late date) that high-ranking Agency personnel masterminded the death of a president.

One can easily understand why a Republican partisan (or a CIA asset) would seek to place the blame on a Democrat.

Seamus Coogan, one of my favorite writers on the case, attacks the LBJ thesis here and here. (The books under discussion were not by Stone, but the basic argument remains the same.) Coogan and his co-writers counter many of the most commonly-heard arguments offered by the "blame Johnson" writers, and demolishes the dubious testimony of Madeleine Brown. The so-called Mac Wallace fingerprint -- which some of you may know about -- has been revealed to be a misinterpretation of the evidence.

A final note about Roger Stone: As noted above, he has strong opinions about fashion, and more than one article has described him as "flamboyant." His devotion to the cause of Richard Nixon is thus rather interesting.

Like many other men of his generation, Nixon did not feel entirely comfortable around anyone he considered "light in the loafers." Quoth Nixon on the Bohemian Grove: "It is the most faggy goddamned thing you could ever imagine, with that San Francisco crowd."

I wonder what Nixon would have made of Stone's annual "best dressed" list?

(I'm going to catch hell for this last bit...)
What ever I for one never believed LBJ had anything to do with this. I can only imagine if LBJ had shut down the war and put The Great Society first how different it might be know. Then again the ones pulling the levelers would have done to LBJ what they did to JFK and RFK.

Thanks for the link J
LBJ tried to end the war, but Nixon, using third parties, sabotaged the Paris Peace Talks. This is a fact borne out by the LBJ tapes.
Absolutely true, susan, although that part of the story does not pertain to the assassination per se.
I know you think there was a conspiracy (I'm grateful you don't think the Mossad was a participant), but what part do you think Oswald played? I am persuaded that there was no conspiracy, but not beyond a reasonable doubt. What has always troubled me is that Oswald seemed to have planned well until after the assassination. The big questions are, first, who did he call from the phone booth after the taxi driver dropped him off a block from his rooming house and second, where was he going after he left the rooming house?
By the way, the taxi driver was William Whaley, if my memory serves me correctly.
LBJ to Hoover at FBI: Were they shooting at me too?

I think LBJ knew what happened and it drove him crazy in the end.
By the way, I'm reading Talbot's "The Devil's Chessboard". Great book on Dulles, the Nazis etc.

Roger Stone? He dishes out some pretty juicy stuff on the Clinton's and the Bush's, but we could sure source it from more reliable reporters.
It's a shame you never went ahead with that documentary ;) As for Stone, he strikes me as more of an honest kook than a nefarious schemer- he sees conspiracies everywhere, whether they exist or not (hence his obsession with highly questionable Clinton rumors.) It honestly wouldn't surprise me if he's a 9/11 truther who's smart enough to hold his tongue on the subject in public.
Question in my own mind: Who was behind the MLK and RFK assassinations? The official "lone nut" stories are extremely unlikely. Presumably, based on personal animosity alone, Hoover was behind MLK. But RFK? That one's just plain weird, with MK-Ultra influence on Sirhan Sirhan, a questionable security guard, and the traditional LAPD cover-up (one of the few things the LAPD is good at). But who ordered it?

The net effect of all three, though, was unquestionably to nearly destroy the left in the USA, and prepare the way for Movement Conservatism, which duly arrived in 1980.

By the way, thanks for the great reading list. "JFK and the Unspeakable" is one of my go-to books on the subject, along with the CTKA site.

I remember when they were king and queen of Calif. the beginning of the end for the state. Austerity was the answer to every question.

All I've read about lbj's role in the assassination is on the net so I can't argue fine points. However, what sticks out above all is, if lbj "knew" there was to be an attempt on jfk's life, why would he allow his good friend connelly to ride in the same car? To me, this alone demolishes the lbj-did-it theory (unless someone can demonstrate that lbj secretly wanted to be rid of the governor.). I would not put it past mr. johnson to murder jfk but in this case, I just don't believe he did.

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