Conspiracy theories, Part 2

This book arrived from Amazon after the newsletter had gone to press, but it's no less interesting than the others.

Regicide: The Official Assassination of John F. Kennedy, by Gregory Douglas. Huntsville, AL: Monte Sano Media, 2002.

Book review by Mike Acree

The JFK assassination is the mother of all modern conspiracy theory targets. So, after some 2500 previous works on the assassination, endlessly resifting the same pool of available evidence, here comes another, published by an unknown press (its first work). How high can your hopes get? Before we dismiss it on the basis of being essentially self-published, however, we need to recall what has sometimes happened to major publishers of politically explosive books (e.g., Viking's experience with Peter Mathiesson's In the Spirit of Crazy Horse). Hence small presses may be the only way some material could reach print.

What sets Douglas's book apart, in any case, is the author's possession of new evidence. Douglas was friends with the late Robert Crowley, former Assistant Deputy Director for Clandestine Affairs in the CIA. Before his death 3 years ago, Crowley gave Douglas some of his secret papers. These are reproduced in Douglas's book, with Crowley's handwritten notations. One of these was the Driscoll Report. The Soviets had done their own investigation of the assassination, somewhat more effectively than the Warren Commission; and the Driscoll Report was prepared as a response, in 1978, by Col. Vedder B. Driscoll, of the Defense Intelligence Agency, a branch of the Department of Defense concerned with foreign intelligence. The second document is a memorandum, dated December 22, 1963, on Operation Zipper, the CIA code name for the assassination plot. (Your assumption is correct about where the name came from.) It had a distribution list of only 5 people. Crowley actually seems quite proud of having participated in the planning of the assassination, which he saw as necessary for the country. The Zipper memorandum speaks clearly enough for itself:

     1. The removal of the President and the Attorney General from their positions because of high treason has been determined.

     2. By their contacts with top-level intelligence officials of the Soviet Union and the subsequent release by the President and the Attorney General of the highest level security material to a government that stands in direct opposition to the United States, these individuals cannot be permitted to occupy their official positions.

     3. By treating with the enemy on the Cuban issue and actively blocking legitimate military actions against a Soviet/Cuban armed enemy in close proximity to the United States, these individuals have endangered the people of the United States and permitted enemies of this country to actively place atomic weapons within the reach of many American cities.

     4. Removal by impeachment or other legal means is considered unfeasible and too protracted.

     5. Therefore, an alternative solution has been found to effect this removal.

     6. This removal is the result of a consensus between various concerned official agencies.

     7. This operation, codenamed ZIPPER, was under the direction of James Angleton of the Agency, assisted by Robert Crowley and William Harvey, also of the Agency.

     8. The government departments directly concerned consisted of:

      a. The Central Intelligence Agency.

      b. The Federal Bureau of Investigation.

      c. The Joint Chiefs of Staff.

     9. Other government agencies involved but not with specific knowledge were:

      a. The U.S. Department of the Treasury, Secret Service Division.

      b. The National Security Agency.

      c. The Naval Security Group.

      d. INTERARMCO [a "proprietary" branch of the CIA involved in weapons procurement].

      e. The U.S. Department of State, Passport Division.

    10. Following the removal of the President, the new President, who had been fully briefed prior to the act [this is consistent with William Pepper's finding], agreed "in the interest of national concerns" to appoint a special Commission chaired by the Chief Justice, for the purpose of "setting public concerns to rest." Mr. Angleton was in complete control of all evidence presented to this Committee and worked closely in conjunction with Mr. Sullivan of the FBI to ensure that nothing was brought before the Committee that it did not want to acknowledge.

    11. As both the Vice President and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation had been slated for replacement by the Kennedy faction, their support for this project was practically guaranteed from the outset. . . .

    16. Representative Ford, R, of Michigan, a member of the Commission, is working closely with Director Hoover and reports all incoming information directly to him.

    17. Full cooperation with friendly media sources has ensured that the public attention has been drawn to Oswald as the sole killer. The President feels strongly that any attempt to portray Oswald as a tool of the Soviets is liable to create "too high a level of international tension" which the President feels, might lead to direct confrontation with the Soviet Union.

    18. The President is not receptive to plans of the JCS, supported entirely by the Agency, to eradicate Castro and his Marxist government from Cuba. The President states that war almost occurred as a result of the last military attempt to dislodge the Cuban dictator and he does not wish to replay that aspect of the enforcement of the Monroe Doctrine.

    19. The President has indicated, however, that an escalation of U.S. military involvement in French Indo China is not unreasonable. Reports given to him by the Agency as well as the JCS on this subject have been well received. . . .

    22. He has been advised that a war-time President is always assured of reelection (i.e. [e.g.?], Wilson, Roosevelt) but only in the event that the war is prosecuted with vigor and has attendant military successes. . . .

    31. In the matter of the Soviet Union, it is evident that they were initially concerned that the removal of Kennedy might be laid at their doorstep. As this was certainly one of the objectives of the Agency as well as the JCS, it has been necessary to repeatedly reassure their leadership that there would be no such intimations in the future and, that in addition, there would be no further attempts to execute any military or overt clandestine operations against either Cuba or its leader, Castro.

    32. In the matter of the public perception of the Dallas action, extensive use has been made of Agency connections with major American media organs, i.e., the New York Times and the Washington Post. The Times is strongly supporting the [Warren] Commission and its findings and we are assured that they will continue to do so. The same attitude has been clearly and strongly expressed by the Post.

One of the interesting points to emerge from the book is the extent to which the Cold War was a CIA creation.

    33. Internal CIA documents how very clearly that as their very existence was dependent on a continuation of the Cold War, any diminution of East-West hostility could easily lead to their down sizing and, more important, to their loss of influence over the office of the President and also of U.S. foreign policy.

    34. It was proposed, according to top level CIA reports, to somehow use their U2 flights to create an increase in tension that could lead to a frustration of any d�tente that might result from a lessening of international tensions. . . .

    39. The subsequent interception and shooting down by the Soviets of a U2 piloted by CIA agent Gary Powers using the [deliberately] leaked CIA material was sufficient to wreck the projected Eisenhower/Khruschev meeting and harden the Soviet leader's attitude towards the West. (Driscoll Report)

The CIA became aware at one point that top secret documents were being leaked to the Soviets. The agency tagged the various copies of one document, and was surprised to trace the source of the leak to Kennedy himself. There are two possible explanations, not exclusive; it is not clear (from Douglas's account) which may have been more important. One is that Kennedy was convinced that the CIA and the Joint Chiefs were going to lead the country into nuclear war, and he was working behind their backs to try to defuse tensions. The other is that he liked three-way sex, and, on occasions when Jackie was away from the White House, hired a professional gallery to make photographs which he gave to his partners; and he was aware that the Russians had copies of these photographs. (The photos were part of the Zipper document, but Douglas says that they "have been omitted here for reasons of civility, but can be used to corroborate the authenticity of this document if it should prove necessary" (p. 167).

Neither Oswald nor his gun had anything to do with the assassination. He was a convenient patsy both because of his Russian connection (which the CIA initially hoped to exploit) and because he was working in a building on the motorcade route. The actual execution was carried out by four Corsican Mafia brought in from Marseilles for the purpose by Sam Giancana in Chicago.

    23. Photographic evidence indicates that the driver, SA Greer, slowed down the vehicle when shots were heard, in direct contravention of standing Secret Service regulations. . . .

    25. The projectile that killed the President was filled with mercury. When such a projectile enters a body, the sudden decrease in velocity causes the mercury to literally explode the shell. This type of projectile is designed to practically guarantee the death of the target and is a method in extensive use by European assassination teams.

    26. The disappearance of Kennedy's brain and related post mortem material from the U.S. National Archives was motivated by an official desire not to permit further testing which would certainly show the presence of mercury in the brain matter. . . .

    80. The hit team was flown away in an aircraft piloted by a CIA contract pilot named David Ferrie from New Orleans. They subsequently vanished without a trace. Rumors of the survival of one of the team are persistent but not proven.

    67. Following the assassination, a number of persons connected with the case died under what can only be termed as mysterious circumstances. Also, the FBI seized a number of films and pictures taken by witnesses. These were considered to be too sensitive to leave in private hands. . . .

    70. Witness [sic] and witness statements introduced before the Warren Comission were carefully vetted prior to introduction as evidence. The home movie of the assault was turned over to the FBI and a spliced version of it was released to the public. This doctored version showed Kennedy reacting in a way that was diametrically oposed [sic] to his actual reactions. (Driscoll Report)

A memo from Crowley to his boss, James Angleton, August 10, 1964, contains this charming paragraph: "The forthcoming [Warren] Commission report is a wonderful piece of creative writing and will be extensively promoted by our good friends at the NY Times" (p. 194).

It is a little curious that the CIA would have prepared the self-incriminating Zipper document. Douglas thinks "It was probably produced by the five persons mentioned in the distribution list in order to cover themselves, since this document clearly proves that the assassination of J. F. Kennedy was anything else but a private plot by a few CIA senior officers going rampant" (p. 168).

Douglas presents no details of the murder of Robert Kennedy, except that he was also named as a target by the Zipper memorandum. But it now appears, from independent investigations, that the three assassinations which traumatized the country in the 1960s-JFK, RFK, MLK-were all planned and paid for by the CIA and the FBI. The plank to abolish these agencies, which had been part of the Libertarian Party platform from the beginning, was deleted at the 2002 national convention.