Friday, 13 December 2013 16:33

Jerome Corsi, Who Really Killed Kennedy?

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Despite its mistakes this is a decent enough book for the novice and general public who are not aware of the machinations of deep politics and JFK assassination case, writes Vasilios Vazakas.

I. Introduction

Jerome Corsi is the senior staff reporter for online conservative news giant World Net Daily (WND). He has now written a book called Who Really Killed Kennedy? It is his take on the most controversial subject in American history: the JFK assassination. Because of the scope of Corsi's reach, his effort should not go unnoticed.

Corsi, who holds a Harvard Ph.d in political science, is best known for his two New York Times best sellers, The Obama Nation and Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak out against John Kerry. I did not have the chance to read these two books so I will judge the author without prior bias. I will base my critique only on his work on the JFK assassination. According to the book's description, Corsi has read almost every book written on the case and thousands of documents – including all twenty six volumes of the Warren report – plus films and photographs. The book is the culmination of years of meticulous research.

It consists of seven chapters plus a conclusion at the end, followed by notes and index. Chapters one, two and three deal mostly with a micro-study of the case, like ballistics, trajectories, witnesses, the grassy knoll, medical evidence and, in general, the crime scenes of the Kennedy and Tippit murders.

Chapters four, five, six and seven deal with a macro-study of the case. Corsi now investigates Oswald's life, the Mafia, the CIA, politicians like LBJ and Nixon, all in his quest to find out who really killed Kennedy. The book is fully documented and well sourced. The author has included in his notes the works of some of the best assassination researchers like James Douglass, Jim DiEugenio, Gaeton Fonzi, David Talbot, Josiah Thompson, Mark Lane, and Sylvia Meagher. But he also uses the work of some less credible researchers, like Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann, plus a dubious former Soviet bloc intelligence official.

The publisher states "that the book will set a new standard for JFK assassination research, demanding that future researchers understand the deep, and unfortunately sinister, political forces, that led up to an unthinkable event that marked a profound change in America and the world." Has the book lived up to its promise? This is something that we will now try to find out.

II. Ballistics, trajectories and medical evidence

In Chapter 1, Corsi tries to deconstruct the single bullet theory. He does that in a very concise manner. He first discusses Paul Mandel's infamous article in the December 6, 1963 issue of Life Magazine. That article said that JFK was looking back toward the Texas School Book Depository at the time of the shooting. This is how he got an entrance wound in the front of his neck from the alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. Corsi does this to show that, from the very beginning, there was an attempt to feed journalists information that would refute the medical evidence observed by the doctors at Parkland Hospital. Although the article's purpose was to prove that Oswald was the lone assassin, somehow it had a different effect: to raise questions of conspiracy. Mandel described that, according to the doctors, a bullet had entered the President's throat from the front and to justify how this could have happened he lied to the American people. He claimed that the Zapruder film showed that the President had turned his body far around so his throat was directly exposed to the sniper's nest. Mandel was following the FBI's official theory that three bullets were fired, of which, two struck the President and one hit Connally.

Corsi begins with the missed shot that hit bystander James Tague's cheek. This goes to show that the FBI's theory was flawed, and how it helped make Arlen Specter invent the single bullet theory with the help of the pristine bullet that was allegedly found on the stretcher where John Connally was lying. Based on Josiah Thompson's work, he then goes on to prove that bullet CE399 was probably planted by Jack Ruby on that stretcher. Examining John Connally's wounds he shows that it would have been impossible for the pristine bullet to have caused the wounds to both Kennedy and Connally as described by the Warren Commission. Both the doctors who examined Connally and the ballistics experts who ran tests testified that the pristine bullet would have been severely deformed if it had caused the damage attributed to it. The position of the president's back and throat wounds prove that the single bullet theory was not valid, and Governor Connally, to the end of his life, maintained that he was hit by a separate shot.

In Chapter 2 he examines the Grassy Knoll area and the possibility that an assassin might have fired a shot from behind the stockade fence. He refers to Craig Roberts book Kill Zone to prove that Oswald could not have fired the shots attributed to him and to successfully hit his target. He explains that the medical evidence proves that there were multiple shooters in Dealey Plaza, and he quotes witnesses like Bowers and Newman to support the conclusion that there was a shooter on the Grassy Knoll. He also discusses the presence of Secret Service agents with false credentials on the Grassy Knoll, and one of them could be suspected of being part of the hit team.

He continues in this Commission critique effort to prove that Oswald was not in the sixth floor window. Key witness, Howard L. Brennan, is the only person who claimed that he saw Oswald firing from the infamous sniper's nest. The police gave the description of the suspect as white, slender, weighing about 165 pounds, about 5'10" tall, in his early thirties. Reputable researchers like Sylvia Meagher and Gerald McKnight have proved that it was impossible for Brennan to have a clear view to provide such a detailed description and he had also first failed to identify Oswald as the shooter in a police line up.

Corsi believes that the headshot that killed JFK was a double shot and he bases his conclusion on the work of Josiah Thompson and his book Six Seconds in Dallas. After analyzing the Zapruder film, Thompson concluded that "JFK's head moved forward violently beginning in frames 311-312, only to be driven violently back and to the left, beginning in frames 313-314." (p. 73). Thompson explained that JFK was struck by two shots, the first at Z312 hitting in the back of the head and immediately afterwards, at Z313, a second shot from the front struck him on a tangent that caused his head to move back an to the left.

If Corsi had waited for Thompson's presentation at the October 2013 Wecht Symposium before publishing his book,he would have known that Thompson no longer holds to that theory. He now believes that there was no shot from the back at Z312 and that JFK was hit from the front at Z313 but there was a second shot from the back much later, at frame Z329.

Corsi seems to agree with David Lifton's theory of a secret autopsy as described in his 1980 book Best Evidence. It would have been wiser if Corsi hadn't proscribed to Lifton's theory. It is very controversial at best, and for many, has lost credibility.

Corsi then proceeds to show that the rifle initially found on the sixth floor of the TSBD was a Mauser and not a Mannlicher-Carcano, and that Oswald was in the lunch room at the time of the shooting. He is up to date with the latest developments in this regard. He uses Barry Ernest's book The Girl on the Stairs where Victoria Adams, a TSBD employee who, after the shooting, came down the same stairs to the first floor as Oswald. She testified that she never heard or encountered Oswald. Unfortunately the Warren Commission enlisted other witnesses to negate her deposition and alter its meaning.

On the whole, Corsi does a decent job in presenting evidence that Oswald was innocent of the crime attributed to him, that he was never on the south east window, that he never fired any shot and that the single bullet theory was a fraud.

In chapter 4 he tries to show that Oswald did not shoot Officer J. D. Tippit. He draws on material from books written by notable researchers like Sylvia Meagher, Mark Lane, John Armstrong but also from the lone nut propagandist Dale Myers. I believe that he could have made his case without using Myers as a source.

III. Oswald a KGB Agent?

If Corsi wanted to find the best sources available to examine the Soviet defection of Oswald and if he was recruited by the KGB he would have chosen, for example, John Newman's Oswald and the CIA and/or John Armstrong's Harvey and Lee. Strangely enough, Corsi has chosen to listen to Ian Mihai Pacepa, a deputy chief of Romania's Intelligence Service (DIE). I consider this to be a big mistake. Most of the information here comes from Pacepa's book Programmed to Kill and email exchanges between Corsi and Pacepa.

Pacepa believed that the Soviets recruited Oswald when he was stationed in Atsugi, Japan. To substantiate his claim, he refers to Edward Jay Epstein's book Legend: The Secret War of Lee Harvey Oswald. At this point Corsi makes an error and refers to Epstein as "Lifton", who we all know is a different researcher. Somehow, the editor of the book didn't notice. According to Epstein the Soviets used an attractive hostess that worked at the Queen Bee bar to lure Oswald under the KGB influence. Why anyone would believe Epstein and Pacepa is anybody's guess. If Corsi had conducted his research correctly, he would have known that Epstein was fed information by none other than James Angleton, the master of deceit, the head of CIA's counterintelligence. If he had read Dick Russell's The Man Who Knew Too Much (p. 457), he would have known that Oswald was frequenting the bar with the possible mission to help a Soviet Colonel Nikolai Eroskin to defect, but this was aborted. Oswald was part of a U-2 operation called Detachment C, a secret unit that had the mission to collect vital data for intelligence that flew over Russia, China and Taiwan (see Newman, Oswald and the CIA p. 30-31). Pacepa argues that, humiliated by his defeat during the Cuban missile crisis, Khrushchev decided to have Kennedy killed as an act of revenge, and so KGB gave Oswald the mission to assassinate Kennedy. Any serious student of the assassination would know better than to fall for Pacepa's nonsense. His book provides zero evidence to support his thesis. It is well known that rivals in the Communist party, liker Leonid Brezhnev and Yuri Antropov were waiting on the wings to overthrow Khrushchev and replace him as premier. Why Khrushchev would risk an international incident and his position to replace Kennedy with someone like LBJ who was a hardliner is beyond belief. After all Pacepa had defected to USA so it was to his benefit to perpetuate a myth that would only serve those who killed Kennedy. It is like he was reading everything he claimed from a script written by James Angleton himself.

The whole story is ludicrous since all researchers like Newman, Phil Melanson, Jim Douglass, Lisa Pease, Jim DiEugenio, Russell, Armstrong, among others, have made a strong case that Oswald went to the USSR as a US intelligence operative, part of a false defectors' program orchestrated by the US intelligence agencies and the military.

According to Pacepa, Khrushchev had a change of heart and decided to call off the hit on Kennedy. So he ordered the KGB to deprogram Oswald so as not to assassinate Kennedy. Oswald was not happy with the turn of events so he went to Mexico City to meet with the KGB officers to convince them to let him carry on with the assassination as planned. Again, Corsi should have known that Oswald or an Oswald impostor more likely had gone to Mexico as part of a CIA-FBI operation to embarrass the FPCC abroad were it had support (see, for instance, John Newman, Oswald and the CIA). Pacepa continues that the KGB decided to stop him from assassinating Kennedy by silencing him forever. However he does not explain why this never materialized. If one reads the HSCA's Lopez Report, it is hard not to conclude that Oswald was impersonated by some unknown party to leave a trail in the official files that the Cubans and the Soviets were controlling Oswald. And also to show that Oswald met with Valeri Kostikov, the head of the KGB assassinations unit, the notorious Department 13. As we all know there were never any photographs of Oswald taken in Mexico and the voice on the tapes given to FBI did not correspond to his voice. As Newman showed, the purpose of the Mexico impersonation was to dim the lights so the intelligence community would not sound an alert that a former Soviet defector met with Kostikov, the head of the KGB assassinations unit, Department 13. This would have resulted in putting Oswald on the FBI's watch list and as a result he would have never been allowed to be in a building above the Presidential route. The real Oswald could not be captured on film or seen by witnesses in Mexico. His handlers could not risk Oswald's detection or his possible accidental murder since his survival was vital to the plot's success.

It was Ruth Paine who produced much of the suspect evidence that Oswald was in Mexico. Even after the police had searched her house and they had not come up with anything. Yet, Ruth Paine found some incriminating evidence that the Police could not find (DiEugenio, Reclaiming Parkland, p. 284). This is the same woman who arranged for Oswald's job at the Texas School Book Depository in October 1963. Ruth Paine had also claimed to have seen, on November 9, 1963, Oswald typing a letter referring to his meeting in Mexico with agent Kostin, apparently another name for Kostikov. This letter was sent to the Soviet Embassy in Washington (Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable, p. 233). Some think the letter is a forgery, planted in order to incriminate Oswald. The Warren Commission accepted the genuineness of this letter. Largely because of corroborating evidence in the form of a rough draft, said to be in Oswald's handwriting, which Ruth Paine also allegedly discovered. What is particularly suspect about the November 9th Kostin letter is its timing. After being intercepted by the FBI on its way to the Soviet Embassy in Washington, the letter was summarized and communicated to Dallas, where the news arrived on November 22nd (see Peter Scott, Deep Politics III).

To make things worse, Pacepa claims that George DeMohrenschildt was a KGB agent. To his credit, Corsi acknowledges that the evidence that DeMonhreschildt was a CIA agent " as strong and important counterweight to Pacepa's suggestion that DeMohrenschildt was a KGB agent assigned to be Oswald's handler in Dallas" (p. 163). Despite that he comes back to repeat Pacepa's claim about DeMohrenschildt being a Soviet agent since Pacepa had first hand experience in the upper ranks of the Soviet intelligence network.

Corsi states that DeMohrenschildt was an important link to several pieces of evidence that the Warren Commission used to conclude that Oswald killed Kennedy. Some of it had to do with the Gen. Edwin Walker shooting incident that occurred on March 10, 1963. At 9 pm that evening a bullet penetrated General Walker's window and slammed into the wall, only narrowly missing his head. De Mohrenschildt testified to the Commission that he had joked to Oswald if he was the guy who shot Walker. Although Oswald never said yes, the Baron saw guilt in his face. In 1967, four years after the assassination, and four years after the infamous backyard photos showing Oswald holding a rifle were found in Ruth Paine's garage, another backyard photo was found in DeMohrenschildt's storage unit. This backyard photo was signed "To my friend George from Lee" and dated "5/IV/1963, the Cyrillic version of April 5, 1963 (DiEugenio, Reclaiming Parkland, p. 82). This photo, because of its different boundary at the edge and finer resolution, is suspected of being a plant, in order to incriminate Oswald for the Walker shooting. Pacepa believes that this is a further proof that DeMohrenschildt knew more about the Walker incident than he ever admitted. Yet George was puzzled as to how is showed up in his belongings so many years after the fact.

Two pieces of physical evidence implicated Oswald in the Walker shooting. Photos of Walker's house, which were found in Ruth Paine's garage, and a handwritten note in Russian allegedly left from Lee to Marina. Pacepa found telltale clues in this note proving that Oswald was a KGB agent. He claimed that in that letter Oswald instructs Marina what to do in case he is arrested. In that note Pacepa recognized KGB codes like "friends" a code for support officer and "Red Cross" a code for financial help.

Pacepa is really stretching things. He then stretches further. He constructs a myth to demonstrate that Oswald shot at Walker. The truth is that both the picture and the note were surfaced by Ruth Paine after the assassination. Again, the police had searched her house for two days after the murder and had failed to recover the items. After they got it, the Secret Service had the note returned to Ruth because they thought it was from her. (DiEugenio, Reclaiming Parkland, pp. 77-78). It is fairly evident that DeMohrenschildt and Ruth Paine were CIA assets. And it was Ruth who was the person that produced the most incriminating evidence that convicted Oswald in the public mind as the president's killer. This included evidence that Oswald was in Mexico, the Kostin letter, and the Walker photographs and note. Yet Corsi sidesteps her great importance in the case and chooses to listen to Pacepa. None of the crucial information above regarding Ruth Paine is reported in his book. In fact, Corsi seems to accept the idea that Oswald actually shot General Walker. As Gerald McKnight wrote in his book Breach of Trust , the bullet fired into the Walker house was a steel-jacketed 30.06 bullet. But after the assassination the FBI changed the bullet to a 6.5 copper jacketed bullet. Even the bullet stored in the National Archives today is copper jacketed (DiEugenio, Reclaiming Parkland, p. 76).

The Pacepa story is not over yet. Corsi seems to believe Pacepa's claims that the KGB advised all the Eastern Bloc Intelligence services to spread the rumors that the CIA and LBJ had killed JFK so as to divert world attention away from the Soviet Union. To prove Pacepa right, Corsi brings up the case of Vasili Mitrokhin, a retired KGB officer who claimed that the KGB had financed Mark Lane, among others, to promote the JFK assassination conspiracies. There are many writers who think that the possibility exists that Mitrokhin, an dother former KGB officers, were used by western intelligence agencies after the fall of the USSR for their own agendas. Why Corsi would choose to waste so many pages on Pacepa's story is something I can't figure out. Especially since the Soviet Union and KGB do not figure in his list of conspirators at the end of his book. I believe he could have done himself a great favor if he had omitted this whole Pacepa section.

Corsi then tries to tie Oswald in with China by connecting the Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC) organization to the Maoist Progressive Labor Party (PLP). Oswald was corresponding with Vincent T. Lee, the national director of FPCC who was also a member of the PLP. Corsi wonders what would have happened if Oswald had been killed immediately after the assassination. The CIA would have claimed that he was a kGB agent who had become disillusioned with Russian Communism and had turned now to Maoist China. Corsi provides no evidence to support this except Allen Dulles who during the Warren Commission hearings said out of the blue "It would have been a blessing for us if (Lee Harvey Oswald) ... had taken his passport and gone to China as he may have contemplated" (p. 157). Unfortunately Dulles is not the most credible source, and the China angle is classic disinformation by Dulles to mud the waters and false sponsor China for the crime.

IV. The Mob, CIA and the French Connection

Corsi then informs the reader that we cannot lay all the blame on KGB alone. If we do then we make the KGB responsible for launching multiple look-alike plans to assassinate JFK. Plus we ignore recently discovered evidence of the involvement of the mob and the CIA in the assassination plots.

To make his point, Corsi goes on to evaluate the two plots to assassinate JFK that were thwarted before they could happen. The Chicago Plot on November 2, 1963 and the Tampa Plot on November 18, 1963. Both were eerily similar to the one in which succeeded in Dallas.

According to Corsi, in writing his book, he did extensive research that included reading almost every previous book. So what was his source upon which to base his information for these two plots? When I saw the name of the book and its authors I froze in disbelief. I looked at my calendar to see if it was the 1st of April. But the cold outside reminded that it was December and Corsi was not trying to fool me. Sadly enough, his source was Ultimate Sacrifice, the book by Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann. Recall, this pair had concluded that the Kennedy brothers were planning to invade Cuba on December 1, 1963, with the help of Castro's General Juan Almeida. Unfortunately for them the top conspirator Almeida was scheduled to travel to Africa at about that same time. Ultimately, this fact did not deter them. They followed up with a sequel titled Legacy of Secrecy.

In both books, they maintained that it was the Mafia with help of CIA rogue agents that killed Kennedy. They have been discredited since and their books are considered, at best, fiction and at worst, disinformation. Author James DiEugenio did a stellar job in pointing out the many serious problems with Waldron's and Hartmann's thesis. You could read both of his detailed reviews on CTKA.

Why am I so critical of Corsi's choice of source material? Because if he had done his homework, he would have known that everything we know about the Chicago plot is due to the great investigative journalism by Chicago reporter Edwin Black of the Chicago Independent. To be fair to Corsi, he also does refer to JFK and the Unspeakable to examine the Chicago Plot. If the readers want to find out more about the Chicago Plot, they should read Black's original article, "The Plot to Kill JFK in Chicago."

The plot to kill Kennedy in Chicago involved a patsy by the name of Thomas Vallee. Like Oswald, he was an ex-Marine. But unlike Oswald, he was afflicted with mental problems due to a combat injury. Again, like Oswald, he served at a U-2 base in Japan, was involved with Cuban exiles and worked in a place overlooking the Presidential route from a building next to a difficult left turn, like the one in Dallas, on Elm Street. Vallee had been diagnosed as schizophrenic, something that Oswald had not been. If one examines the Clinton-Jackson incident, one would think that Shaw and Ferrie were planning to have Oswald work in a mental hospital. The plan did not materialize. But if Oswald had secured a job there, it would have been easy after JFK's assassination to switch the files to show that Oswald was a patient at the Jackson hospital.

Besides their similarities, Oswald and Vallee had some important differences. Vallee had not visited the Cuban and Soviet embassies in Mexico City. Therefore, there was no indication he had met with Valeri Kostikov. If the Chicago plot had succeeded, it would have been much more difficult for the plotters to have been able to blame Cuba and/or the Soviet Union, and use that as leverage to force a cover up. Which is what LBJ used to force Earl Warren and Sen. Richard Russell to go along with the cover up.

When it comes to the plot in Tampa, Corsi again enlists the help of Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann to describe it. According to them, the patsy set to take the blame was a young Cuban American named Gilberto Policarpo Lopez. Who, like Oswald, was a member of the Miami FPCC, had been to Mexico and wanted to travel to Cuba. On November 25, 1963 Lopez entered Mexico via Nuevo Laredo and on November 27 he was photographed by the CIA at the Mexico City airport and flew to Cuba. Unfortunately we don't have much reliable information about the Tampa plot, and most people have a hard time relying on Waldron/Hartmann and questionable sources in this regard. After all, both men believed that it was the Mafia that planned both plots, Sam Giancana in Chicago and Santo Trafficante in Tampa.

Corsi then discusses another mysterious person, Miguel Casas Saez, who according to the CIA was a Castro agent. On November 22, 1963 Saez had arrived at the Mexico City airport with a private two engine airplane and boarded a Cubana Airlines flight to Havana, Cuba.

It is difficult to believe that Lopez or Saez were involved in an assassination plot to kill the American President. James Jesus Angleton the head of CIA's Counterintelligence "maintained that Castro sent three DGI agents to Dallas in the days before November 22. In Angleton's theory agents Policarpo and Casas, plus a third man whom Angleton would not name, separately worked their way to Dallas, where they met up and carried out the assassination" (Joe Trento, The Secret History of the CIA, p. 266). Now it is obvious that the man who invented the "Wilderness of Mirrors" strategy where everything is possible but nothing is certain, was trying to falsely implicate Castro in the assassination. The same man who John Newman believes was the man who designed the Mexico City plot and choreographed "Oswald's" moves during his visit to the embassies.

Corsi then tries to explain, with Waldron's help, how the Mafia got the idea of using a Communist patsy. According to him the CIA assassinated Guatemala's President Armas in 1957 and blamed the murder on Romeo Vasquez Sanchez an alleged Communist sympathizer. Waldron believes that mobsters Rosselli and Marcello would remember from the 1957 assassination the importance of having a patsy to quickly take the blame. Corsi continues to quote Waldron. And he even uses the alleged Carlos Marcello prison "confession", the one he made as he was becoming senile, to the effect that he had ordered the assassination of President Kennedy to an FBI undercover agent placed in the same cell with him. To make things worse, Corsi then refers to Chuck Giancana's book Double Cross to support the view that the Mafia had killed JFK. Chuck was the brother of Chicago Mafia boss, Sam Giancana. According to Chuck, he had confessed to him his part in the assassination. Giancana explained to his brother that they had overthrown governments in foreign countries, and he outlined the plot and the people he used. Among them were Jack Ruby, John Rosselli and Charles Nicolleti. Then Corsi goes even further in this vein. He chooses to believe Frank Ragano, Santo Trafficante's lawyer. Ragano wrote a book about the JFK assassination after the deaths of Jimmy Hoffa and Santo Trafficante where he claimed that both Hoffa and Trafficante had been involved in the assassination. As Jim DiEugenio discussed in his review of Legacy of Secrecy, it is almost certain that Ragano was lying.

Corsi refers to the famous Nixon warning to the CIA during the Watergate scandal that "E. H. Hunt was involved ... and will make him look bad and it is likely to blow the whole Bay of Pigs ..." (p. 233). H. R. Haldeman, Nixon's aide, said some years later that when Nixon was talking about the "Bay of Pigs" he really meant the JFK assassination. Nixon had worked with the CIA and suggested help from the Mafia to prepare an invasion of Cuba when he was Eisenhower's Vice President. It is peculiar that most of the Watergate burglars were also part of the Bay of Pigs operation, among them E. Howard Hunt and Frank Sturgis.

As he was dying, Hunt confessed to his son that he was a benchwarmer on a CIA plot to assassinate JFK, the "big event" as they called it. Hunt named LBJ, Cord Meyer, David Phillips, David Sanchez Morales, William Harvey and a French Gunman named Lucien Sarti as the plotters. Hunt, who didn't like Harvey and considered him to be an "Alcoholic Psycho", claimed that Harvey was the man who handled the Executive Action program ZR/RIFLE, and had recruited Corsican assassins from the "Marseilles drug traffickers also known as the "French Connection" to assassinate JFK. In an article I co-authored with Seamus Coogan and Phil Dragoo titled "Evaluating the Case against Lyndon Johnson," there is a section devoted to E. Howard Hunt and his deathbed confession where we discuss that his confession as a limited hangout to divert attention from the real conspirators like Jim Angleton, Allen Dulles and those above them.

To understand the role of the "French Connection" one should read Henrik Kruger's excellent book The Great Heroin Coup where he unravels Nixon's plan to develop a new drug superagency to control world heroin trade. Nixon's public declaration in June 1971 of his war on heroin promptly led to his assemblage of White House Plumbers, Cubans, and even "hit squads" with the avowed purpose of combating the international narcotics traffic. The "great heroin coup" – the "remarkable shift" from Marseilles (Corsican) to Southeast Asian and Mexican (Mafia) heroin in the United States – was a deliberate move to reconstruct and redirect the heroin trade, rather than to eliminate it. And that Cuban exiles, Santo Trafficante, the CIA, and the Nixon White House were all involved. The major points from Kruger's book are:

  1. Edward Lansdale and Lucien Conein began the war against the Corsican mafia in southeast Asia and paved the way for the CIA and Trafficante in that area.
  2. Lansky and Trafficante made all the necessary arrangements in southeast Asia to assume control of the opium production with the help of CIA.
  3. In 1971 the great heroin coup was underway. Cuban exiles were involved in the White House drug operation with E.H.Hunt and Lucien Conein. The US drug enforcement agencies waged an all out war against the Corsican/Marseilles/Turkey/USA drug network, i.e. against the French Connection. The French connection network was run by CIA's arch-enemies, the French intelligence SDECE who were loyal to DeGaulle, and were competing with CIA over the control of the world heroin trade. The CIA achieved two things with the heroin coup. To take over the heroin trade from the French and second with the help of their ally, Pompidou the new French President, to crush the old Gaullist intelligence network.
  4. The CIA faction associated with the heroin coup was the China/SE Asia/Cuba lobby, and E. H. Hunt was the main representative of that lobby.
  5. When the French network was defeated, heroin began flowing into the USA from SE Asia and Mexico. And the man Hunt named as a shooter behind the picket fence, Lucien Sarti was one of the victims of this war when he was killed in Mexico on April 1972.

From the above, one could conclude that the CIA, in their effort to crush this Corsican and SDECE network, blamed them for the assassination of JFK, labeling them as false sponsors of the plot. This is evident in Steve Rivele's original false theory, the one that ran on the first installment of The Men Who Killed Kennedy. It may be echoed in E. H. Hunt's deathbed confession that Lucien Sarti was the shooter behind the picket fence. Lamar Waldron names Michel Victor Mertz as one of the assassins, a man who was a member of SDECE and an enemy of OAS, the organization that tried to murder Charles DeGaulle, the same man that saved DeGaulle's life. Which makes Corsi's reliance on Waldron and this idea that the Diem heroin dynasty, the American and Marseille mafia were responsible for the assassination look kind of silly.

Corsi discusses the French Connection and a CIA released document confirming that a French assassin was apprehended in Dallas on November 1963. The memo names this assassin as Jean Souetre, a.k.a. Michel Roux, a.k.a Michel Mertz. Now Corsi makes the mistake of repeatedly calling him a Corsican hit man. In reality neither of these men were Corsican, but Frenchmen from the mainland. The OAS hated JFK for supporting Algerian independence. Eugene Dinkin a US army code breaker referred to in Dick Russell's, The Man who Knew too Much, discovered a message that JFK was to be assassinated in November. Dinkin was stationed in Metz, France and one of his duties was to decipher cable traffic originating with the OAS.

Souetre gave an interview later which confused things even more. He claimed that he was in Spain that day, not Dallas, and that he could prove it. He said that a man named Michel Victor Mertz, a narcotics smuggler and SDECE agent, was actually impersonating him in order to leave a trail that could lead, not back to Mertz, but to his enemy Souetre. Of course it could have been the other way round: it was Souetre who was impersonating Mertz. Michel Victor Mertz was an agent of SDECE, the agency that was competing with the CIA for the control of drug supplies. James Jesus Angleton was in contact with SDECE and especially a man named Phillipe de Vosjoli, who many believe was spying against his country for Angleton.

A third alternative is that neither Mertz nor Souetre were involved in the assassination. And this dual confusion of two men using each other's name was deliberately designed to confuse researchers and again create a cognitive dissonance were everything is possible but nothing is certain. We recognize again the so familiar wilderness of mirrors strategy of "CIA's Magicians" at work.

V. Cui Bono?

When it comes to the crucial question of who was responsible for the assassination Corsi names LBJ, Nixon, the CIA, the Military Industrial Complex and Organized Crime. They were those who stood to gain from Kennedy's removal by replacing him with Johnson in order to alter his policies. JFK planned to withdraw from Vietnam and LBJ reversed that policy. Thereby escalating the war, which meant huge profits from military contracts and the heroin trade. Corsi argues that LBJ, Nixon and the Military Industrial Complex lacked the operational capabilities to plan the assassination so they asked the help of those who could, namely the CIA and the Mafia. Needless to say LBJ was not the "Mastermind" of the assassination and he did not conceive, instigate and plan the assassination. He was just a puppet who covered up the crime after the fact and later as President continued the Cold War, as John Newman and James DiEugenio showed in their books, JFK and Vietnam and Destiny Betrayed. The article I mentioned earlier, "Evaluating the Case against Lyndon Johnson," tried to disprove the theory that LBJ was the man that instigated the crime. Books like Philip Nelson's LBJ: the Mastermind of the Assassination have been discredited and scorned by many researchers. Corsi considers the Bobby Baker scandal as important. Baker had been a close associate and aide to LBJ in the senate and if he was convicted and imprisoned he may have tried to take LBJ with him. It was Life magazine that exposed the Baker scandal and Corsi believes that it was Robert Kennedy himself who fed information to their reporters.

I am convinced this was not the case. For the simple reason that Henry Luce, the owner and founder of the magazine, was quite anti-Kennedy and anti-Communist. And he felt that Kennedy was not doing enough to liberate Cuba. Luce and his wife Clare Booth Luce were financing the Cuban exiles in their war against Castro and were very critical of Kennedy's failure to do more in that regard. At one point they walked out of a White House dinner after disagreeing with JFK when he tried to convince them to cool it down over Cuba. After the assassination it was C.D. Jackson, publisher of Time, and Luce's personal friend and emissary to the CIA , who purchased the Zapruder film and Life kept it locked up for many years. That way Life was able to control vital information in the film that would have proved conspiracy. To believe that Luce would help the Kennedys destroy LBJ seems a bit unlikely. It would make more sense that conspirators of the assassination used Life to corner and weaken LBJ in order to use him as an accessory to cover up the crime committed in his Texas backyard.

Nixon has been named as one of the conspirators by some researchers. Corsi uses the fact that Nixon was in Dallas the day of the assassination for a Pepsi conference to join them. Unfortunately this is not enough to make him a conspirator and there is no credible evidence to prove that he was. Same goes for George H.W. Bush who was in Texas the same day in the small city of Tyler. Researchers like Jim Fetzer who claim he was involved in the plot refer to a photo of a man standing outside the Texas School Book Depository after the assassination that allegedly bears a striking resemblance to Bush. Unfortunately for them an enlargement of the photograph reveals the features of a man that does not look like Bush. Others claim that one of the boats that were part of the Bay of Pigs operation was named Zapata after Bush's company Zapata Oil. While the truth is that Zapata was the name of the peninsula where the Bay of Pigs was located. I take a different approach and I don't believe that Nixon or Bush were part of the conspiracy but may been in Dallas, or the area, to set them up as false sponsors. This made it easier to manipulate them later as presidents.

We now come to Allen Dulles. Corsi has used the latest information found in Jim DiEugenio's book Destiny Betrayed, where the author makes a good case to prove that Dulles was one of the high level conspirators. Corsi continues that good work by using other material from Destiny Betrayed, especially the part were he examines JFK's split with the Eastern Establishment over his foreign policy. For more information on this you can read DiEugenio's article, "JFK's Embrace of Third World Nationalism."

Ultimately, Corsi blames the "New World Order" as the sponsor of the assassination. This group wanted to use military force to preserve private business interests around the world, instead of the genuine interests of the United States. In a sense he is right but I disagree with his term "New World Order." Those interests were as old as recorded history. And they have a strategy to conceal their identities by manipulating the pubic's sense of wonder and the thirst for the mysterious, the occult and the mystical. They try to convince people of the inevitability of their actions guided by something divine and mystical. I have a different name for the "New World Order". It is "The Money Trust", and it functions like the board of a huge global corporation. It has many different factions and views to gain the same end, and some interests have one or more seats and votes on the board. Although at times the board has conflicting interests they have the same end goal: power, and the control of the many by the few.

VI. Conclusions

It is true that Corsi relied too much on the likes of Lamar Waldron, Thom Hartmann and the allegations of Pacepa. If had done the meticulous search that he promised he would have thought twice before using them for references. He should have been aware that the research community has disproved the Waldron/Harmtann theories. In the case of Pacepa I am convinced that Corsi does not really believe him because he does not include Pacepa's allegations in his conclusions. I believe that he wanted to make a difference by using information given to him by Pacepa in private emails, in order to make a sensation. I also feel that his chapters were not very well connected to each other but spread out irregularly. It seems that Corsi gathered too much information from so many sources that it became difficult to put it all together in the best way possible.

Despites its mistakes this is a decent enough book for the novice and general public who are not aware of the machinations of deep politics and JFK assassination case. Corsi is a NY Times best selling author and he can help attract a wider audience that is not familiar with case. Afterwards the readers can take some of the good sources of his book like Douglass, DiEugenio, Fonzi, Newman among others to broaden their knowledge and realize how deep the rabbit hole actually is.

Last modified on Wednesday, 02 November 2016 22:50
Vasilios Vazakas

Vasilios Vazakas was born in Athens, Greece, and studied in Edinburgh, Scotland; he holds a BEng in energy engineering and an MSc in building services engineering. He has had a long-running interest in the JFK assassination, its relation to US foreign policy, and its relevance today.  Vasilios has contributed a number of book reviews to this site.

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