Tag Archives: JFK

The CIA and the Media: Historical Fact #92

The CIA played a leading role in orchestrating propaganda efforts in the lead up to the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion of April 17, 1960, particularly via its broadcasting front organization, Radio Swan.

“Project officers … consulted with Voice of America and the United States Information Agency on propaganda operations,” Agency internal documents reveal.

“There were many discussions with the Federal Communications Commission on the licensing of Radio Swan and with the Defense Department concerning its cover. The State Department was regularly consulted on political matters.”

 

As the actual Cuban invasion approached “Radio Swan and other outlets were broadcasting 18 hours a day on medium-wave and 16 hours on short-wave. Immediately after D Day, these totals were increased to 55 hours and 26 hours, respectively. Fourteen frequencies were used. By the time of the invasion a total of 12,000,000 pounds of leaflets had been dropped on Cuba.”

Peter Kornbluh (ed.), The Secret CIA Report on the Invasion of Cuba, New York: New Press, 1998, 27, 28, 38.

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The CIA and the Media: Historical Fact #91

Immediately following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy the CIA used its own disinformation conduits to link the event to Cuban President Fidel Castro. The Nov. 23, 1963, special edition of the magazine, Trinchera (in English: Trenches), was published by members of the Cuban Student Directorate (DRE), a CIA-funded organization operating out of Miami.

The CIA funneled leaders of the Directorate $51,000 per month in 1963 dollars ($389,000 per month in 2013 dollars), or about $4.8 million per year, according to Agency records. Trinchera’s publication was paid for by the CIA officer George Joannides, who was chief of psychological operations at the CIA’s station in Miami.

In August 1963, agents in Joannides’s organization provided the public backdrop for their November 23 Trinchera publication by counter-protesting Oswald’s one-man chapter of the pro-Castro “Fair Play for Cuba Committee.”  Trinchera’s November 23, 1963 special edition also highlighted comments Oswald made during an August 1963 debate on a New Orleans radio program with DRE Delegate Carlos Bringuier. Drawing on this, the DRE argued that Oswald and Castro were “the presumed assassins.”

Joseph Lazarro, “First JFK Assassination Conspiracy Theory Was Paid For By the CIA,” International Business Times, December 5, 2013.

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The CIA and the Media: Historical Fact #89

The famous film of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination captured by amateur filmographer Abraham Zapruder was likely altered from its original with advanced technology in a CIA-owned laboratory within hours of the event. These are the observations of veteran JFK assassination researcher David S. Lifton.

“In 1971, I was permitted to study, in the L.A. offices of Time-Life, a 35mm print made from what Time-Life called the ‘camera original’ of the Zapruder film,” Lifton begins.

To my surprise, I found that those frames showed the large head wound situated toward the right front, not the rear of the head as reported by Dallas observers. The rear of the head gave the appearance of having been “blacked out”–or of having been in a deep shadow.

I also discovered splices on the film which had never been mentioned by Time-Life. I then began exploring the possibility that the Zapruder film itself had been altered sometime before it became Warren Commission evidence in 1964, perhaps even before it went to Life on November 23, 1963. (Life purchased the film on November 25, 1963 for $150,000.) But alteration of the film required a film laboratory with the sophisticated apparatus normally used by Hollywood to create “special effects.” Was the original Zapruder film at some point taken to such a laboratory? Officially, the film went only from Zapruder and Kodak in Dallas; then to Jamison Film Co. in Dallas, where three prints were made (two for the Secret Service, and one for Zapruder); then back to Zapruder, and then to the vault at Life. I suspected it had taken a secret detour, but I could find no directr evidence to prove that.

Then, in 1976, among records released by the CIA under the Freedom of Information Act, Paul Hoch found CIA item 450, a group of documents indicating the Zapruder film was at the CIA’s National Photo Interpretation Center (NPIC), possibly on Friday night, November 22, 1963, and certainly within days of the assassination. NPIC is one of the most sophisticated photo labs in the world.

The CIA documents indicate that the film, when at NPIC, was not yet numbered as it was later by the FBI laboratory. CIA tables and frame numbers arranged in a multiple-column format bearing such headings as “frames on which shots occur” and “seconds between shots” explores various three-shot interpretations of the film. One document refers to the existence of either a negative or master positive–and calls for the striking of four prints from that item: one “test print,” and a second group of three prints. the total job, it indicated, would take seven hours. the making of four prints is significant–that number is exactly what existed in Dallas: an original, and three prints made from that original.

In 1976, I interviewed Herbert Orth, the photo chief at Life. Orth believed the film never left his custody in 1963. Yet the CIA documents establish that it, or a copy, was worked on at the CIA’s film lab in Washington. Indeed, the figures used in the CIA documents to describe the time intervals between shots–“74 frames later” and “48 frames after that”–are identical with those used in the first Life article about the film (Life, 11/29/63, “End to Nagging Rumors: The Six Critical Seconds”). Was the CIA supplying Life with data? Or did the agency have the film later, and was it reading Life for its information?

In my view, previously unreported CIA possession of the Zapruder film compromised the film’s value as evidence: (1) the forward motion of Kennedy’s head, for one frame preceding frame 313, might be the result of an altered film, and if that was so, it made the theory of a forward high-angle shot completely unnecessary; (2) an altered film might also explain why the occipital area, where the Dallas doctors saw a wound, appears suspiciously dark, whereaas a large wound appears on the forward right-hand side of the head, where the Dallas doctors saw no wound at all. Dr. Paul Peters, one of the Dallas doctors quoted in this book, when ashown color blowups made from the Zapruder film frames depicting these wounds, wrote, “The wound which you marked … I never saw and I don’t htink there was such a wound. I think that was simply an artifact of copying Zapruder’s movie … The only wound I saw on President Kennedy’s head was in the occipitoparietal area on the right side.”

David S. Lifton, Best Evidence: Disguise and Deception in the Asssassination of John F. Kennedy, New York: MacMillan, 1980, 555-557f.

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The CIA and the Media: Historical Fact #87

The CIA’s use of closely-affiliated executives overseeing top US journalistic outlets combined with its own media assets in newsrooms throughout the country strongly contributed to laying the groundwork for then propelling the Warren Commission’s conspiracy theory of Lee Harvey Oswald acting as the “lone gunman”.

“The press could learn a good deal about the assassination, and about its own failure to pursue the story independently, by reviewing its own initial reporting out of Dallas,” argues Jerry Policoff. “Those early reports stand in stark contrast to what is officially alleged to have transpired. The infamous ‘grass knoll,’ for example, was no concoction of the Warren Commission critics. ‘The shots apparently came from a grassy knoll in the area,’ reported the Associated Press in its initial dispatches.”

News coverage throughout that afternoon preceded official enforcement of the government-sanctioned narrative comprised in the President Lyndon Johnson-endorsed study headed by Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren.

Words of shots from the front dominated early reports from the site (witnesses interviewed by the press seemed to be nearly unanimous on this point), but these reports were forgotten by the press within several hours, as Dallas authorities began to make it clear that a local “communist” by the name of Lee Harvey Oswald had fired all of the shots from a sniper’s nest constructed on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository to the rear of the presidential limousine. Leaked biographical data depicting the “erratic” nature of the “political malcontent” Oswald began to flood the media almost immediately.

“By the time Oswald himself was assassinated,” Policoff continues,  “all pretense had disappeared. The press had found Oswald guilty without the benefit of trial. ‘President’s Assassin Shot…,” proclaimed the New York Times. Life profiled the ‘Assassin: The Man Held–And Killed–For Murder.” Time’s combination biography/obituary was titled simply ‘The Man Who Killed Kennedy.'” The press’ fawning acceptance of the government’s storyline set the stage for its almost thoroughly uncritical acceptance and in certain instances ardent defense of the Warren Report’s “lone gunman” conclusion.

The Kennedy assassination cover-up has survived so long only because the press, confronted with the choice of believing what it was told or examining the facts independently, chose the former. Unless and until the press repudiates that choice, it is unlikely that we shall ever know the truth.

Jerry Policoff, “The Media and the Murder of John Kennedy,” in The Assassination: Dallas and Beyond: A Guide to Cover-Ups and Assassinations, Peter Dale Scott, Paul L. Hoch and Russell Stetler, eds., New York: Vintage Books, 1976, 263, 271.

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The CIA and the Media: Historical Fact #75

Abetting the CIA’s efforts to subvert the only criminal investigation ever conducted on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy by New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, US news media gave defendant, OSS veteran and CIA asset Clay Shaw overwhelmingly positive coverage while pillorying Garrison at every turn. This included the marshaling of the country’s major television networks to produce programs targeting the Garrison inquiry.

As the district attorney explained in an address to the New Orleans Academy of Trial Lawyers several months after Shaw’s trial ended, “The news media have attacked me for what they consider improper methods and accused me of trying Shaw in the newspaper. They have done this in spite of the fact that since the day Shaw was charged I have consistently refused to mention his name publicly. On the other hand,” Garrison continued,

in their zeal to help the defendant, I have been personally attacked by every newspaper from the New York Times to the Nairobi Express. N.B.C. put an hour nationwide television show to criticize me and my investigation using prisoners that I convicted and sent to the Penitentiary. It’s really not hard to figure out why I am not the most popular man at the Angola State Penitentiary or the Parish Prison. Every charge that was raised on [NBC’s] program has been investigated and proven to be false.

William Davy, Let Justice Be Done: New Light on the Jim Garrison Investigation, Jordan Publishing, 1999.

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The CIA and the Media: Historical Fact #66

In the mid-to-late 1960s the CIA initiated concerted efforts to defame independent researchers of the Kennedy assassination that contested the Warren Commission’s findings, seeking to suppress their message at every turn. By 1966 the most prominent of these researchers was New York-based attorney Mark Lane. “As part of the campaign to smear Warren Report critics,” writes historian David Talbot, former CIA Director Allen Dulles “compiled dirt on Mark Lane, whom he considered a particularly ‘terrible nuisance’ because of his growing media visibility and his influence overseas, where he was often invited to speak.” One of Dulles’ moles claimed to have located photos of Lane engaging in “’obscene acts’” with minors. “’He is supposedly Jewish,’” the informant wrote, “’but there are those who claim he is half Negro or at least has Negro blood. He is very dark complexioned, wears horn-rimmed glasses and he’s always in a hurry. My own personal opinion is that he’s deranged.’”

As Lane’s popularity developed the CIA “pressured TV and Radio programs to cancel interviews with him. When he traveled to foreign countries to speak about the Kennedy assassination, the agency sent bulletins to the U.S. embassies there announcing that Lane’s local appearances had been cancelled.”

David Talbot, The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government, New York: Harper Perennial, 2015, 594, 595.

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The CIA and the Media: Historical Fact #58

Editor’s Note: In August 2015 MHB published, “The CIA and the Media: 50 Historical Facts The World Needs to Know.” The present series seeks to augment this initial article with several dozen additional facts and observations on the relationship between the US intelligence community, the mass media, and public opinion.

The conventional logic concerning the violent suicide of Washington Post publisher Philip Graham in August 1963 is that Graham’s manic depression and alcoholism figured centrally in his death. In fact, Graham’s tragic death is only hinted at in the 2017 film, The Post. Yet as author Deborah Davis suggests, Graham’s death was immediately preceded by his increasingly public criticism of the CIA’s involvement with news media. “’He had begun to talk, after his second breakdown, about the CIA’s manipulation of journalists,” Davis observes. “He said it disturbed him. He said it to the CIA.’” His fellow journalists practiced the unspoken code of “keep[ing] Phil’s insanity ‘out of the papers’ as he had kept stories ‘out of the papers’ for his friends; but now the word was that Phil Graham could not be trusted, and his friends began to see very little of him.”

In the early 1990s Davis claims, “she ‘got a call from a woman who claimed that she knew for a fact that [Phil’s death] was murder.’” Subsequent research by clinical psychologist and author Peter Janney suggests how there are several conflicting accounts of Phil’s supposed “suicide.” Already a loose cannon, Phil Graham died just three months prior to President Kennedy’s assassination. Mr. Graham would have likely been reluctant to cooperate with the CIA by turning a journalistic blind eye toward the President’s murder and, even worse, being compelled to publicly promote the Warren Commission’s cover-up of the assassination.

Peter Janney, Mary’s Mosaic: The CIA Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy, Mary Pinchot Meyer, and Their Vision for World Peace, New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2013, 265-270; Deborah Davis, Katherine the Great: Katherine Graham and the Washington Post, Bethesda MD: National Press, 1987 (1979), 161.

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When Oliver Stone Betrayed ‘JFK’

JFK is among the most important and historically accurate American feature films ever produced. Basing the screenplay on New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison’s book, On the Trail of the Assassins: One Man’s Quest to Solve the Murder of President Kennedy, and author Jim Marrs’ Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy, Oliver Stone’s masterpiece illustrates how deep state power mobilized to subvert Garrison’s investigation of Louisiana-based figures associated with the CIA and November 22, 1963 tragedy. This was a daring and heretofore unsurpassed effort in commercial filmmaking drawing broader historical and political attention to an event that remains obscure and misunderstood.

Yet in the lead up to the film’s release, criticism of Stone from the press and the director’s own Hollywood’s jet set intensified. Fearing continued attacks and potential excommunication from industry peers Stone eventually succumbed. He did so by claiming that JFK was not entirely factual but rather subjective and interpretive in nature–his personal “myth.”

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Through The Post Darkly: The Ghost of Phillip Graham

By James F. Tracy

“We live in a dirty and dangerous world. There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn’t. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows.” Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham, Langley Virginia, 1988.[1]

Steven Spielberg’s tribute to Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham and modern American journalism is a major Hollywood endeavor marshaling the industry’s premier talent. A s of this writing The Post has been nominated for dozens of awards throughout the film community.[2] The movie itself, however, comprises a sort of tortured historical confirmation on exactly how the news media would like to view themselves and their industry. It does so by mixing verifiable truths alongside careful omissions to reinforce a deeper set of myths concerning notions of American press freedom and the Vietnam War era.

On a more immediate level, The Post was produced in under six months, and was at least partly motivated by the political allegiances of its creators, who seek to analogize the Richard Nixon administration’s pursuit of a court injunction against the US press’ publication of the Pentagon Papers to President Donald Trump’s bellicose attitude toward a corporate news media that has arguably become an increasingly partisan political force following Trump’s defeat of his Democratic Party rival.

Spielberg renders Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep) as a somewhat awkward and isolated widow and among the first female publishers in the predominantly male-dominated business of newspaper publishing. Left unmentioned is the fact that Graham was the daughter of Eugene Meyer, one of the country’s most powerful bankers, who bought the Washington Post in 1933 while serving as head of the Federal Reserve.

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The Strange Fate of Those Who Saw JFK Shot

By William Penn Jones Jr. and True Publica
Via Global Research
(January 13, 2018)

William Penn Jones Jr. was an American journalist, the editor of the Midlothian Mirror and author. He was also one of the earliest John F. Kennedy assassination conspiracy theorists. Jones attended the University of Texas at Austin and was a classmate of Henry Wade and John Connally. Wade later become the District Attorney in Dallas while Connolly would later become the 39th Governor of Texas. Both men were figures in the assassination of JFK.

In 1946, Jones purchased the Midlothian Mirror for $4,000; he eventually sold the newspaper in 1974. In 1963, Penn received the Elijah Lovejoy Award for Courage in Journalism.

Jones was also known for being an early critic of the Warren Commission‘s report on the assassination of JFK. In 1967, he self-published Forgive My Grief, a four-volume work on the assassination of President Kennedy. In the 1980s, Jones co-edited The Continuing Inquiry newsletter with Gary Mack of the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.

On January 25, 1998, Jones died of Alzheimer’s disease in a Alvarado, Texas nursing home at the age of 83.

In January 1983 Rebel Magazine published an article written by Jones, which is republished in full, with no editing below (except images). The JFK assassination was one of the biggest events to have ever hit America and Jones assumes that the reader of the time would have known quite a bit about it. This article makes for fascinating reading whether you believe the official state narrative or alternative theories. Last October, Statista concluded from surveys that 61 percent of Americans believe JFK was not killed by Oswald alone and that others were involved.


Over 100 murders, suicides, mysterious deaths – the strange fate of those who saw Kennedy shot.

By Penn Jones Jr.

Rebel Magazine, 1983

Shortly after dark on Sunday night November 24, 1963, after Ruby had killed Lee Harvey Oswald, a meeting took place in Jack Ruby’s apartment in Oak Cliff, a suburb of Dallas, Texas. Five persons were present. George Senator and Attorney Tom Howard were present and having a drink in the apartment when two newsmen arrived. The newsmen were Bill Hunter of the Long Beach California Press Telegram, and Jim Koethe of the Dallas Times Herald. Attorney C.A. Droby of Dallas arranged the meeting for the two newsmen. Jim Martin, a close friend of George Senator’s, was also present at the apartment meeting.

This writer asked Martin if he thought it was unusual for Senator to forget the meeting while testifying in Washington on April 22, 1964, since Bill Hunter, who was a newsman present at the meeting, was shot to death that very night. Martin grinned and said: “Oh, you’re looking for a conspiracy.”
I nodded yes and he grinned and said, “You will never find it.”
I asked soberly, “Never find it, or not there?”
He added soberly, “Not there.”

Bill Hunter, a native of Dallas and an award winning newsman in Long Beach, was on duty and reading a book in the police station called “Public Safety Building.” Two policemen going off duty came into the press room, and one policeman shot Hunter through the heart at a range officially ruled to be “no more than three feet.” The policeman said he dropped his gun, and it fired as he picked it up, but the angle of the bullet caused him to change his story. He finally said he was playing a game of quick draw with his fellow officer. The other officer testified he had his back turned when the shooting took place.

Hunter, who covered the assassination for his paper, the Long Beach Press Telegram, had written:

“Within minutes of Ruby’s execution of Oswald, before the eyes of millions watching television, at least two Dallas attorneys appeared to talk with him.”

Hunter was quoting Tom Howard who died of a heart attack in Dallas a few months after Hunter’s own death. Lawyer Tom Howard was observed acting strangely to his friends two days before his death. Howard was taken to the hospital by a “friend” according to the newspapers. No autopsy was performed.

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