RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment

Hall writes: "Half-a-dozen 2017 releases of long-secret documents about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy have given plenty of new leads to those who don't believe alleged gunman Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone."

President John F. Kennedy waves from his car in a motorcade in Dallas, November 22, 1963. (photo: Jim Altgens/AP)
President John F. Kennedy waves from his car in a motorcade in Dallas, November 22, 1963. (photo: Jim Altgens/AP)

With More to Come, New JFK Documents Offer Fresh Leads 54 Years Later

By Kevin G. Hall, McClatchy DC

28 December 17


alf-a-dozen 2017 releases of long-secret documents about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy have given plenty of new leads to those who don’t believe alleged gunman Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.

President Donald Trump promised via Twitter this fall that all the JFK assassination documents will be public by the end of April 2018 “to put any and all conspiracies to rest.”

Instead, the 34,963 documents released so far in 2017 have fed the fire tended by researchers and others who believe there is much more to the story how a U.S. president was assassinated in Dallas 54 years ago.

“To this point, as expected, we haven’t had a document that lists the conspirators in the murder of President Kennedy,” said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics and author of The Kennedy Half Century. “What we have gotten is a lot of rich material, not just about the Kennedy assassination but the times.”

It was a 1991 movie, Oliver Stone’s “JFK,” that led Congress to require the secret documents to be released more than two decades later after they were reviewed for national security purposes and to protect past informants. The film, which challenged the official version of the assassination, brought conspiracy theorists into the mainstream and led other Americans to question the official version of events.

McClatchy’s Washington bureau, the Miami Herald and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram have pored over thousands of newly released JFK documents. Here are some of the new or bolstered leads revealed thus far by the new material.

Dallas mayor was CIA asset

One particular document from the August release has created much buzz. It that shows that Earle Cabell, mayor of Dallas at the time of the Nov. 22, 1963, shooting, became a CIA asset in late 1956.

The CIA had withheld the information on grounds that it was not considered relevant. No related documents have been released, but even alone it is important. Cabell’s brother Charles was deputy director of the CIA until he was fired by Kennedy in January 1962.

“That shows why Dallas was the place,” said Zack Shelton, a retired veteran FBI agent who fervently disbelieves that Lee Harvey Oswald was a lone gunman. “I think the investigation or focus is going to be turned more into Oswald not being the lone wolf.”

Shelton, now 67 and retired in Beaumont, Texas, was an FBI agent in Chicago combating organized crime in the 1980s. In the process of helping bust a contraband ring involving an alleged mafia hitman named James Files, Shelton was told that Files had curious things to say about the Kennedy killing roughly 20 years earlier.

That tip to Shelton launched a chain of events that led to Files confessing from prison in Illinois that he was one of several gunmen in Dallas on the fateful day, and that he fired from the famous grassy knoll.

Many historians dismiss Files’ claims, but Shelton maintains that Files was indeed an assassin and was part of the Cosa Nostra mob organization headed in Chicago by Salvatore “Sam the Cigar” Giancana. Files was released from prison in 2016 after a long stint for attempted murder.

The CIA and FBI documents released so far say nothing about Files or another assassin he allegedly worked with named Charles Nicoletti, but that’s no surprise to Wim Dankbaar. He’s a Dutch national with a website and videos devoted to debunking what he considers a myth — that Oswald killed Kennedy or that he acted alone — and promoting the view that Files assassinated Kennedy.

“Do you really think they haven’t deep-sixed the incriminating files?” Dankbaar asked in a testy telephone interview.

The November tranche of new documents does include some about Giancana’s courier, a former Chicago cop who went by the alias Richard Cain and met in Mexico City with CIA staff; he was also an informant for the FBI. A 1992 biography written by Giancana’s family said the mob boss had told his younger brother that Cain and Nicoloetti, not Oswald, were in the Texas Book Depository from where shots at Kennedy were fired.

In addition, several new documents discuss the CIA and its work with mobsters to prevent Fidel Castro’s rise to power in Cuba and later oust him.

There’s this bar in New Orleans

Another revelatory JFK document released in full on Dec. 15 was the transcript of a 1978 interview by the House Select Committee on Assassinations with Orest Pena. According to Pena, a bar owner in New Orleans, Lee Harvey Oswald was a U.S. government agent or informant.

How did he know? Because Pena himself was an informant, he said. He had given details to the Warren Commission in July 1964 but, as the new document shows, later revealed much more detail about Warren de Brueys, an FBI agent in New Orleans to whom Pena said he reported.

Oswald, he claimed, frequented a breakfast place regularly not only with de Brueys but with agents from U.S. Customs and Immigration in New Orleans. Pena believed Oswald had an office in the same government complex.

Pena also testified to the House panel that de Brueys had threatened him if he shared with investigators details of their meetings and training of anti-Castro instigators, and that his FBI handler had transferred to Dallas before the assassination. Pena’s testimony, however, was largely discounted by two government commissions.

“Their reasons for denying this were weak,” said Rex Bradford, president of the Mary Ferrell Foundation, which boasts the largest searchable electronic collection of JFK assassination documents; Bradford is another disbeliever in the official version of events.

The newly released transcript is likely to spark new interest in the New Orleans link to the assassination and searches of government records in multiple agencies, he said.

De Brueys died in 2013 at the age of 92. Son Jim de Brueys told the New Orleans Advocate at the time that his father was sent to Dallas after the assassination, not before, and that he was long frustrated by being named in conspiracy theories.

David Atlee Phillips, Texan in Mexico

One of the names experts are watching for in the documents yet to be released is David Atlee Phillips. The Texan was a native of Fort Worth, a decorated World War II veteran and actor who rose to CIA leadership roles across the Americas, including Cuba, Mexico and Chile.

Among the new documents released earlier this month was one showing that the CIA itself was trying to gauge what Phillips knew about Oswald and when he learned certain things about the alleged gunman’s mysterious September 1963 trip to Mexico.

Documents show that the CIA had tracked Oswald and picked up phone intercepts of his calls with and visits to the Soviet and Cuban embassies in the Mexican capital just months before the assassination in Dallas.

“He was there for six days and we know about six hours. What was he doing there? I don’t think he was on vacation,” said Sabato, who thinks there is still much to learn about the Mexico trip.

The new documents provide details about people with whom Oswald met in Mexico and agency efforts to reconstruct his time there when he visited the Soviet and Cuban embassies, purportedly seeking to travel to either country. Spying on the Cuban embassy was one of Phillips’ chief tasks, he wrote in his own autobiography, “The Night Watch.”

A main reason Phillips is of such interest is the claim by a now elderly anti-Castro leader in Miami that Oswald was a CIA informant handled by a man named Maurice (or Morris, as it sometimes appears) Bishop. And Bishop was actually an alias used by Phillips, insists Antonio Veciana.

Veciana, a Cuban émigré, helped lead the anti-Castro group Alpha 66 and claims he himself worked with Bishop/Phillips, and saw him with Oswald.

In a statement to McClatchy, Veciana, now 89 and in failing health, said that “I have no doubt that the man I knew as Maurice Bishop was David Atlee Phillips. He was the same man I saw with Oswald.”

The JFK Assassination: A cast of characters

As new documents about the killing of President John F. Kennedy are released, The New York Times's Peter Baker walks us through who’s who in this American tragedy.

New York Times

The newly released documents show that the CIA looked into Veciana’s claim. One document reveals a list of all employees past and present with the last name Bishop, ordered up by agency leaders.

“I don’t think I will live to see it, but as more documents come to light the country will eventually learn the truth about the Kennedy assassination and in what way Bishop/Phillips was involved,” Veciana told McClatchy.

Shawn Phillips, now 74 and an acclaimed folk musician, is the nephew of the former CIA leader. He has been often quoted telling the story of how his own father, James, became estranged from brother David late in life; an attempted reconciliation went south after David, dying from lung cancer, confessed to James that he had been in Dallas the day of JFK’s assassination.

The nephew did not return requests for comment, but in a 1988 poem eulogized his uncle as a man of mystery and complexity.

In “The Night Watch,” written years earlier, David Atlee Phillips said that he was working in the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City when he got a call from his wife saying she’d heard a report that Kennedy had been shot, contrary to what he supposedly confessed on his deathbed.

Of Oswald he wrote, “I know of no evidence to suggest that Oswald acted as an agent for the Cubans or the Russians, that he was a CIA agent or that any aspect of his Mexico City trip was any more ominous than reported by the Warren Commission.”

Still, documents released in 2017 suggest the CIA and FBI spent decades trying to better understand Oswald’s time in Mexico.

More intrigue

Other twists in the newly released documents include the finding that an ultra conservative former secret agent named George Gaudet had mysteriously had been issued a Mexican travel permit whose number was the next one after [[or before? DID NOT SPECIFY ]] Oswald’s permit number.


And in yet another revealing document that will set researchers hunting in a new direction, there’s the account of a call to the British paper, the Cambridge Evening News, just 25 minutes before the assassination, advising that the U.S. embassy would soon have big news. The released document was a memo from the CIA to the FBI, dated four days after the killing, and notes the information was shared with Britain’s MI5.

“It’s getting late in the game. We are 54 years on,” said Bradford, with the Mary Ferrell Foundation. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+31 # krazykwiltkatt 2017-12-28 19:17
Great sources for those inteested: Penn Jones' Vol I-IV 'Forgive My Grief'available on net and written from 1964 onward; Douglas' 'JFK & The Unspeakable'Jim Marrs 'Crossfire';Sam Giancana Jr. & Charles Giancana 'Doublecross'.. good details about Mafia involvement; Peter Dale Scott 'Assassination of JFK & the Deep State'; and the Mytroykin Archieve, smuggled out of Russia with KGB analysis on assassination. Finally Frances Connelly's movie 'From JFK to 9/11' which puts things in a very logical order. We are a nation of the blind in extreme denial and we are a devolving democracy. Without truthfully looking at our real history, we will continue our long descent into misery and darkness.
+1 # anarchteacher 2017-12-29 00:11

The Deep State and the November 22, 1963 Coup d’état

There is an ever-growing scholarly consensus among presidential historians, distinguished political analysts, and JFK assassination researchers that on November 22, 1963, an insidious coup d’état by Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson and the highest echelons of the National Security State was accomplished with the brutal murder of President John F. Kennedy.

A Researcher's Guide to Resources Concerning the JFK Assassination
+1 # E.V.Debs 2017-12-29 01:29
So Lee Harvey Oswald, with a long history of mental problems, tries to shoot crazy General Edwin Walker at his Dallas home on April 10, 1963, wounding him. He flees to New Orleans, but returns to Irving where his wife has moved on October 3rd. He gets told about a job opening at the School Book Depository by a friend and gets hired on October 14. Weeks later, the route of the presidential motorcade gets revealed. He retrieves his rifle from Irving, getting a lift from a co-worker friend, describing the contents of a package containing the rifle as "curtain rods." He's there at work the morning of November 22 and is seen twice at the 6th floor window from which three shots were fired at Kennedy. He hangs out at the Depository for a few minutes, leaves and takes a bus a few blocks away, then walks to the rooming house where he had been living and changes clothes. Because of his description, he's stopped on the street by Officer Tippet and shoots him four times, killing him. Then he skulks off, and is seen entering a theater without paying. When the cops are called and arrived, he tries to shoot the arresting officer who gets the web of his hand between the hammer of the gun and the chambered round as Oswald tried to kill him. Now why in the world would anyone remotely suspect him of killing the president?
-2 # Caliban 2017-12-29 12:38
Great summary of relevant incriminating Oswald facts.
+6 # krazykwiltkatt 2017-12-29 20:05
A glossy summary of 'fact' leaving out relevant pieces. For example: Oswald 'got' a job at the TSBD through recommendation of Mrs. Ruth Paine, who had connections to CIA through her sister and family relatives. Sheriff Roger Craig testified to seeing Oswald getting into green rambler station wagon outside TSBD, a station wagon that belonged to Mrs. Ruth Paine (Oswald himself said it was a station wagon belonging to Paine and 'don't try to bring her into this')Now the president has just been shot, a description of Oswald goes out although NO ONE can verify where this description came from and a huge amount of police descend on Texas theater because someone went in without paying for $.75 cent ticket???? Yeah, right.Then there is Oswald's history of working for both anti and pro-Castro groups in NOLA as well as association with Guy Bannister, former FBI connected with 'Operation Mongoose' a para-military plot to overthrow Castro. Oh, and were you aware of the many bullet holes in the presidential limousine, which LBJ ordered to be immediately repaired, including the hole right through the windscreen?Ther e are enough holes in Warren Commission to drive a whole herd of elephants through but go ahead and believe the Official State History. Also I can sell you a very nice bridge.
-5 # E.V.Debs 2017-12-30 12:38
Woo, woo!

Please insert that "bridge" where the sun don't shine.
+2 # LionMousePudding 2017-12-29 03:09
And the three excellent and groundbreaking books by William Pepper. I assume he finished the third, as he was doing so when I knew him.
+14 # treerapper 2017-12-29 03:13
One only has to look at the set-up - the cavalcade route was OFFICIALLY changed - that's by the government. It was never supposed to go passed the grassy knoll. Once you know that, the rest is quite clear - it was a government-driv en assassination. Who orchestrated will likely never be known but suffice it to say that there are members of our Government who would murder their own Mother so what's a President, or potential president or a civil rights leader? Cannon-fodder!! !
+23 # RLF 2017-12-29 06:43
There is only one reason to withhold documents on which all of the actors are dead or almost...that someone is implicated in an agency of government that could be hurt by it being shown that they were responsible for this killing AND covering it up for over 50 years. It was common practice for the CIA to assassinate leaders at the time. why would we think they would look any differently at a US president.
-20 # lobdillj 2017-12-29 08:05
This is all hearsay. So-and-so said such and such. Where’s the beef? Very disappointing.
+8 # wantrealdemocracy 2017-12-29 10:47
Lee Harvey Oswald told the truth when he said he was a "patsy". He was standing in the door way of building where Kennedy was shot That was the day that democracy died in our nation.
+4 # David Starr 2017-12-29 11:25
The CIA, anti-Castro Cuban exiles and the mafia had (unjustifiable) reasons to kill JFK. JFK and the CIA didn't get along regarding U.S. policies toward Cuba and the Soviet Union and JFK wanted to eventually dissolve the CIA; the exiles were pissed that JFK didn't provide air cover for their invasion; the mafia lost its casino profits after the Cuban Revolution; JFK promised not to invade Cuba, which pissed off all three.

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.