Chicago threats Part 3

 

In two previous posts I’ve reviewed one Chicago incident reported to the Secret Service (Vallee) by an individual who had a conversation with him in a public place (Bowling alley diner) and passed a warning to the Secret Service who in turned involved the Chicago Police Department in an investigation which resulted in the arrest of Vallee (for a traffic violation) and continued Secret Service routine PRS follow ups on him for a number of years. That case was well documented and also reseived HSCA attention.

A second incident (Bolden) was investigated by the HSCA but unfortunately remains almost entirely undocumented, relying on Abraham Bolden’s statemets on the affair. According to Bolden the FBI had advised the Chicago Secret Service office that individuals were traveling to Chicago who might represent a dancer to President Kennedy on his upcoming appearance in that city.  Bolden has stated that the indivudals were named and that surveillance was established on them; apparently the surveillance was bungled and two men were taken into custody while others fled. The office reports on the incident were ordered collected and transported to Washington, leaving no local record of the incident. Investigations by the HSCA failed to unearth anything in regard to the Bolden incident. However work and inquiries conducted by the ARRB did produce information confirming that various individuals who had worked in both the Chicago Secret Service and FBI offices were aware of issues related to the planned JFK visit and adamantly refused to provide details on its cancellation. Further speculation has been fueled by the discovery that a number of Secret Files pertaining to the President’s fall travels were destroyed by the Secret Service – as late as the 1990’s during the ARRB’s work – apparently far outside any normal records retention criteria and in direct violation of an ARRB stay order on such records.

There remains a third incident out of Chicago which has fueled the idea that there were known threats to the president in the fall of 1963. That incident was reported to the FBI by one of its sources (Thomas Mosley) and passed on to the Secret Service. It involved remarks made by a Cuban who Mosley had been in contact with in regard to the sale of weapons and explosives. Homero Sameul Valdavia Echeverria, an anti-Castro activist, had expressed interest in weapons purchases and in doing so his remarks suggested he might have knowledge of some plan which had targeted President Kennedy. Reportedly he had stated that “we have plenty of money, our new backers are Jews, as soon as they [or we] take care of Kennedy…  at that point the conversation had terminated.

It was certainly a suggestive remark and well worth investigation. I wrote at some length about Echeverria in Someone Would Have Talked, his possible associations and the idea (widely repeated in the JFK research community) that a through investigation of his remarks had somehow been blocked or dropped…creating more suspicion and more mystery.  Based on recently available documents it appears that I (and others) were quite wrong about that last point.  We can now see that a follow on investigation, involving multiple sources, ongoing contacts with Echeverria by Mosley and surveillance on Echeverria was conducted.  In fact the investigation extended to other indivudals contacted by Mosley (a very long time source for the FBI, on his own sales activities and more importantly those of Richard Lauchli, a major weapons and explosives dealer to anti-Castro Cubans and ultra right groups such as the Minutemen).

The reality turns out to be that neither the Secret Service nor the FBI dropped its investigation of the incident. They continued an effort to determine what exile group(s) Echeverria had been associated with, to develop the context of the remarks through additional meetings with (and reports from Mosley) and whether or not an actual threat was in play that might extend to President Johnson. A detailed (albeit convoluted) synopsis of their report may be found at the Mary Ferrell Foundation.

https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=954&search=homer_echeverria#relPageId=376&tab=page

In the end the determination was made that no ongoing threat existed and that no illegal acts had actually been committed in regards to weapons or explosives sales. At that point investigation ceased as there were no grounds to refer the information for charges. While that is certainly unsatisfactory it is consistent with a number of other investigations of exile weapons purchasing contacts (and even sales) in which the FBI appears to have determined that protecting ongoing sources and surveillance was more valuable than recommending charges – especially in incidents were sales might not have actually been illegal. The chronology of the inquiry is as follows:

September  – Thomas Mosley approached Echeveria in Sept offering machine guns (Sten guns) and received no response.

November 21 – Mosley reapproached Echeverria at which point the remarks about new backers, Jewish, with money and proceeding once JFK was out of the way were made. During that conversation Echeverria cautioned Mosley that his superiors would have to meet with and evaluate Mosley to ensure the approach  was not a sting.

November 26 – Mosley telephoned to reach Echeverria on Nov 26 but could not reach him.

https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=954&search=homer_echeverria#relPageId=377&tab=page

Secret Service and FBI investigation of Echeverria was underway and continued up to November 28th when it was deemed to risky due to it being detected. Echeverria eventually did respond to Mosley and a meeting was scheduled for Nov 28.

November 28 – Homer Echeverria was brought into a conversation about JFK and characterized him as an intellectual who had not committed himself to the anti-Castro effort in the way that Johnson, described as a common man, would It was felt Johnson would not would not stand in the way of direct Cuban exile military action against Cuba.

On November 28 Echeverria and Mosley, after a telephone call from Echeverria, left Homer’s home in Mosley’s car. After driving near Logan Square Homer told Moseley to stop and a man got into the car.

Mosley pitched his Sten guns to the man and in turn was given a shopping list for a much larger range of weapons and explosives…the Cuban began to vet Mosley – asking him how he felt about the death of JFK and then asking for references. Moseley brought up an association with Michael Ponce in earlier days and the man said he had known Ponce in Cuba.  Ponce was officer in Cuban Navy under Batista and had been associated with Mosley in gun smuggling in the 1950s. Mosely suggested his Chicago arrests and CPD file would verify his experience.  It should be noted that the “shopping list”related to Mosley was almost identical to the DRE shopping list which had been submitted by the DRE to John Thomas Masen in Dallas.

Mosley talked sales details, partial payment etc and the Cuban found it acceptable and if Mosley checked out further dealings would be through an attorney.  Future contact was outlined, through classified ad and telephone number.  It was a rather sophisticated contact and cut out communications process and Moseley was told he would be contacted by the Cubans if they wanted to pursue the deal after checking him out.

An FBI informant identified the unknown Cuban as a DRE member and Echeverria was also identified as a DRE member.  The description of the unknown Cuban appeared to match that of Juan Francisco Blanco-Fernandez who had been observed by an FBI source at the same grocery store as Homer Echeveria only days earlier.  Blanco had been in Chicago shopping for weapons and explosives on previous occasions. The FBI referred the Blanco inquiry to Miami and the local FBI office used one of their sources to personally contact Jaun Blanco Fernandez and establish that he was in Chicago during the period in which the Echevarria/Mosely  meeting had occurred.

https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=954&search=homer_echeverria#relPageId=385&tab=page

November 30 – Another meeting was being planned between Echeveria and Mosley.  Mosley was also reported in contact via Echeverria with another individual referred to as Mannie. Mannie asserted himself as representing all groups in the Chicago area.  Mannie has communicated the desire for a shopping list of items for an upcoming attack on Cuba event – they were needed in a short time frame as attacks were planned to begin within 90 days – by March 1964.

There are more details to the ongoing Echeverria inquiry – which continued through December and they can be found in the link cited. This post had already gotten too long so I’ll return to my thoughts on what the overall takeaway from these three Chicago incidents may tell is in Chicago Part 4.

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The Chicago Threat – Part 2

There were two reported threats to the President in conjunction with his planned trip to attend the Army-Navy football game. One, relating to Thomas Vallee, is well documented in both Chicago Police and Secret Service PRS files. It was reexamined by the HSCA, which in turn put to rest several of the rumors which had grown up about Vallee in the years following the assassination of JFK.

The second threat remains far more interesting, precisely because it did not become part of the Secret Service records, at least not ones that were made available to the HSCA or later the Assassinations Records Review Board. The awareness of that threat comes solely from a former Secret Service Agent, Abraham Bolden, a former member of the Secret Service White House Detail, stationed in Chicago office in November, 1963.

I explore Bolden’s entire story in considerable detail in SWHT/2010; the key elements are simple. Immediately prior to JFK’s trip, the Secret Service office in Chicago received a teletype from the FBI, with a warning that individuals known to be traveling to Chicago might present a potential threat to the President. While Bolden was not directly involved in investigating that warning, it became general knowledge in the office that suspects were identified, put under surveillance and in the process two individuals were taken into custody while one or more others escaped.

Apparently noting specifically incriminating was established in regard to the two, Bolden stated that after they were questioned by the Secret Service they were handed off to Chicago Police and apparently released at some point without being charged. However, unlike the Vallee arrest and follow on Secret Service (PRS) monitoring, nothing on this incident has been released or is in available PRS files. Bolden himself says that the entire incident file was pulled back headquarters and the office was advised not to discuss it.

The HSCA attempted to investigate the Bolden story as it had Vallee and was largely stonewalled – although it did unearth a good deal about Bolden himself and how he was treated for revealing this incident.

https://archive.politicalassassinations.net/2012/02/petition-for-abraham-boldens-presidential-pardon/

Fortunately the ARRB revisited the Bolden story and obtained a series of interview documents which illustrate that there was serious stonewalling on the part of individuals in both the Chicago Secret Service and FBI offices in regard to a potential threat to JFK’s Chicago visit. Based on their work we also know that there were major security concerns in regard to JFK’s subsequent travel to Florida and that extensive precautions were taken by the Secret Service (including an outreach to the CIA’s JMWAVE station) in respect to threats from the Cuban exile community in Florida.

https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=32551&relPageId=1&search=jfk_miami%20cia

Worse yet, the ARRB discovered that even after being officially advised that no more JFK related files were to be destroyed prior to review, the Secret Service proceeded to destroy a series of boxes containing documents related to JFK’s travel during the fall of 1963.

https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=3611#relPageId=170

This destruction certainly does nothing to resolve the suspicion that the Secret Service was aware of some sort of outstanding threat to the President.  There are other indications of this and I review them in SWHT/2010.

That’s the old news, the emerging story is to what extent we now have the ability to reverse engineer FBI investigations of 1962/63, and investigations which might indeed have led them to identify specific individuals traveling to Chicago that would represent a threat to JFK. Investigations that would also explain the decision to the Secret Services decision to essentially drop yet another incident reported to the Secret Service in November, an incident in which a Cuban exile engaged in weapons purchases told an FBI informant that everything was in place to move against Castro – once JFK was eliminated.

https://www.maryferrell.org/pages/Homer_Echevarria_-_Taking_Care_of_Kennedy.html

For future reference it should be noted that the ATF informant who provided the Echeveria information to the Secret Service had also reported on earlier weapons purchases financed by Paulino Sierra and his new JCGE movement. However Echevarria himself was a member of DRE, the student revolutionary group whose members had begun independently buying explosives and weapons in the Chicago area beginning in the late summer of 1963 – using money coming from former Havana casino operators in Miami.

In point of fact a related FBI inquiry into the Exhevaria information determined that DRE military leader Blanco-Fernandez reportedly traveled from Miami to Chicago in the November-December 1963 time frame – for the purposes of purchasing military equipment from the ATF’s informant, Thomas Mosley.

https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=800&relPageId=266&search=Blanco-Fernandez_chicago

If the FBI did indeed warn the Chicago Secret Service office in regard to individuals traveling to Chicago who might pose a significant threat to President Kennedy, such a warning would have to originate in their ongoing work to block weapon sales to exile groups and to block Cuban exile military initiatives against Cuba originating from the United States.  They and other agencies had been given that assignment following the resolution of the Cuban missile crisis. The story of which groups and which individuals they were focused on that fall might give us an important clue as to any known threat to the President, and help explain why the Secret Service would remain so sensitive on the entire subject.

The Chicago Threat – Part 1

In understanding the attack on President Kennedy in Dallas, it’s important to appreciate that he was  known to be at an unusual level of risk for several months before his assassination.  That’s a strong statement and I go into the detailed indications for it in Someone Would Have Talked, including the fact that in some respects his actual levels of protection had been increased and that both JFK and his brother were aware of some elements of the primary threat.  If nothing else RFK’s first reaction telephone calls on the afternoon of November 22 demonstrate that point.

The threat was known not only to the Secret Service but to the FBI as well; both agencies went to considerable effort to eliminate the record of that threat after the fact – their failure to adequately respond to it would have been disastrous to both of them.

One of the first indications we have of the most active threat comes out of the FBI and relates to President Kennedy’s planned appearance at an Army-Navy football game at Soldier Field in Chicago in October of 1963. Unfortunately the true nature of that threat has been buried in a good deal of JFK myth – myths having to do with Thomas Vallee.  Vallee was the subject of one of my very first investigations (I think I ended up with about 400 pages of Secret Service and Chicago police files on him, back in the early days when you had to get it all at the archives and pay page by page). The files were so voluminous because the Secret Service Protective Unit continued to monitor him through 1968, routinely evaluating him.

Based on that the HSCA had done its own investigation of Vallee, although little internet commentary appears to pay attention to their work and findings. At one point I also communicated at some length with his family, who (triggered by the attention given him) had done their own extensive investigation of his movements and activities during 1962/63.  I wrote about what I discovered in my first book, with Constance Kritzberg, November Patriots.

In order to get past Vallee, I’ll simply state that most of what appeared on the internet (and in articles) is sensationalized and far from the simple facts.  The facts are that he had been discharged from the Marines due to a head injury and psychological issues, that he was out of work and traveling about the country in 1963 following his separation (his family was concerned about him), that his only work skill (learned from his father) was as an itinerant printers assistant and that he ended up in a rooming house in Chicago.  It was largely the similarity to Oswald and the Protective Service interest that triggered the extended HSCA inquiry into rumors that Vallee might have had some connection to Lee Oswald.

Vallee did have a strong right wing, anti-communist political bent, and he also had a collection of rifles and ammunition which he carried with him.  He was also a “talker”, publicly outspoken in his politics (not uncommon in 1963 or nor now for that matter). In fact he was so outspoken that one day at breakfast (in a bowling alley meal counter no less) he was so vocal that another patron at the counter reported him to the Secret Service.

That report produced a “pretext” call to Vallee’s apartment where the agents interviewed Vallee who admitted that he did own a rifle and appears to have repeated some of his more radical political beliefs to the agents.   did find M1 rifles and ammunition. That visit appears to have made Vallee’s landlady nervous and she called the agents office; at her request they made a second visit and found M1 rifles and ammunition in Vallee’s apartment. The Secret Service began to monitor Vallee and also advised the Chicago PD intelligence unit who established surveillance on Vallee.

The morning of the president’s scheduled visit police officers followed Vallee on his way to work and sopped for a minor traffic violation – an improper turn (more likely the stop was to allow an inspection of his vehicle). Vallee and his car were searched and police recovered a hunting knife from the front seat and ammunition from his trunk. There is some confusion in the records which do indicate that he owned an M1 rifle but note that only ammunition was found in the vehicle.  He was taken into custody and charged for the traffic violation and for possession of a concealed weapon – the knife.   He was booked, held for a time and then released to deal with the charges in court.

Those basic facts are documented and available in his CPD and Secret Service file.  However over time, apparently based on the similarities that his profile did match that of Oswald, rumors of links to Oswald began to circulate – including the report that Vallee’s car tag was actually registered (in New York State) to Oswald, that Vallee was one of the three tramps taken into DPD custody on November 22 and that Vallee had been training Cuban exiles in New York state.  There also reports of a conspiracy ranging from speculation on a planned motorcade attack from the printing office where he worked to the fact that he had been involved in a conspiracy with the very same CPD police officers who arrested him.

Those stories were so prominent in JFK circles that I spent a great deal of time tracking them down, including finding interviews with the police officers who had arrested him…and their treatment by some JFK researchers.. The HSCA did its own investigation of the reports and rumors relating to Vallee as well as to other known threats to the President (Thomas Eschvarria in Chicago, Abraham Bolden in Chicago and Joseph Milteer in Miami).

https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=800&relPageId=261&search=thomas_vallee

https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=40391&search=thomas_vallee#relPageId=263&tab=page

https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=800&search=thomas_vallee#relPageId=264&tab=page

https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=957&relPageId=378&search=thomas_vallee

For balance, and to illustrate some of the better and non-sensational JFK community work available on Vallee, I would also point to Mark Bridger’s DPUK article which contains some solid background research:

https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=16249&search=thomas_vallee#relPageId=20&tab=page

As for myself, following information made available in the later work of the ARRB, my conclusion is that the HSCA had gotten matters right in regard to Vallee (including checking out the Oswald/license tag claim and finding it to be untrue) and in regard to Milteer, but that they had missed something immensely important in regard to the Eschvarria and Bolden’s leads.

Indeed, Bolden’s information might very well have directed them (if they Secret Service and FBI had been willing to cooperate, which they were not – either with the HSCA or ARRB) to the actual roots of the attack in Dallas.  If you have read SWHT/2010 you probably see where I’m going with this.  However as to how it dovetails with our most current research (and the Wheaton names) you will need to wait for Part 2 of this post.

Mystery Solved

The fundamental mystery in the Souetre / Dallas story lies in why, as of March, 1964, French security would have made the inquiry about the possibility of Souetre aka Michael Roux being in Dallas on November 22, 1963.   Their motive would be clear given the existing charge against Souetre, related to his reported involvement in planning an attack on President Charles de Gaulle’s and de Gaulle’s planned 1964 trip to Mexico.

The question would be how Michael Roux’s name would enter the picture and how French security could have connected that name to Dallas and to Souetre.   Based on a lead from my friend Steve Thomas, and a link to a summary document prepared by Bernard Fensterwald in 1982 we actually have that answer – in considerable detail and with affidavits.

As it on many occasions, the answer lies in a chronology of events:

In March, 1964 an article appeared in a somewhat “obscure” French newspaper, written by one Louis Assemat-Tessandier. The author wrote of meeting Michael Roux in Montreal, Canada in January, 1964.  He quoted Roux as having said he had been in Texas the previous year (Fort Worth and Dallas) and that he was in Canada as part of a plan to attack President de Gaulle on upcoming visit to Mexico. Assemat-Tessandier then stated that Roux had tried to recruit him into the plot to attack de Gaulle. Fensterwald goes on to say that the article had drawn the attention of French security and had received a thorough investigation.

The newspaper article did contain considerable detail, but all second (or third) hand, as it consisted of Assemat-Tessandier supposedly quoting Roux. It should also be noted that as early as November 26, 1963 the article’s author had published an assassination story in another small French newspaper, stating that Oswald had not alone and there was a conspiracy involved.  In his follow-on article he related that his information had come from being called (for no stated reason) to a girl’s apartment in Montreal. A young, rather drunk French officer was with the girl and in the following conversation openly stated that he had just come from Mexico City, having been in Dallas at the time of Kennedy’s murder and expelled by American police some 18 hours later. He told the author the American president was killed in right wing plot.  After hearing Kennedy speak in Forth Worth the young officer knew he was doomed, jumped in a plane for Dallas and there the president was killed in a cross fire “with several men shooting”.

In his inquiry Fenstewald was given an French security evaluation of Assemat-Tessandier which described him as “intelligent but shaky, a romantic, one who might elaborate but not make up a story out of whole cloth”. That assessment is followed by a number of other documents from the French security investigation of the story, which ended in locating Roux, clearing him of any involvement and confirming that he was indeed not Jean Souetre. Of particular interest is the security interview with Roux himself – which is fully consistent with the details of the FBI investigation that was actually conducted in response to the French inquiry:

“I have learned of the article of Mr. Louis Assemat-Tessandier, published Feb. 19, 1964. “I contest all of the facts reported there. I will tell you the conditions under which I undertook my trip to North America where I went to try to find work.

“I left Paris on November 19, 1963, destined for Houston. I was to present myself to the Gaschman Company in Ft. Worth for a job that I

never received. Then, two or three days later, I returned to Houston where I found no work. About a week later, I went to Mexico City, also to find work, notably at the Hamer Hotel. I left the U.S. because my passport was stamped “visitor” and not “immigrant.” I was unable to find work in Mexico.

As my financial resources were diminishing, I left that city on January 8, 1964, and I crossed the U.S. border by bus, at Laredo, on January 10, 1964. I crossed the Canadian border on January 13, 1964, at Windsor. From the 12th to the 30th. of January I resided at Montreal, 12-39 Dorchester-West. Toward the end of January, I became sick and took a flight to Paris.

“One day, date unknown, I went to the Texaco Building in Montreal, to look for some road maps. I made the acquaintance of two young ladies,

“Jean” and “Eva,” whose last names I do not know. As they were simpatico, I asked them to have a drink. It was then that they told me of a Frenchman named Louis who was in Montreal and whom I should meet. I told them I would be happy to meet him. They invited me to come have a drink in their apartment at an address which I do not remember, but I believe it was on Pill Street. There “Jean” called Louis on the telephone and said to him: ‘I have with me a Frenchman who has arrived from Paris. I am going to put him on the phone.’

I took the phone and told him that I had just arrived from Mexico after a stay in Fort Worth, where I was the day of President Kennedy’s murder.

Louis asked me what I thought of that affair. I responded that, in my view, Oswald could not have acted alone. I had read the local papers which had given contradictory details. We then spoke of the trip that General de Gaulle was to take to Mexico in March, and I said something to the effect: ‘They should reinforce security, because in Mexico people kill at the drop of a hat. They even pay Indians to kill people.’

“I wish to make clear that my only contact with Louis was limited to this one phone conversation. I never saw the man, and I never knew his name until you gave me his article to read. Therefore, I deny the interpretation that Louis gave to my statements. I request to be confronted by him. And I reserve the right to initiate against him any and all legal actions which I judge useful. “I have nothing to add. I remain at your disposal in case you have further need of me.

……………………….

This interview, along with the rest of the information mentioned above can be found in the Weisberg Collection at Hood College:

http://jfk.hood.edu/Collection/Weisberg Subject Index Files/S Disk/Souetre Jean with aka’s/Item 11.pdf

Given this material, in addition to the FBI investigative work discussed in my previous post, it certainly appears that we can close the loop into what triggered the French inquiry to the FBI – and put the Question of Souetre in Dallas to rest.  And again, my thanks to Steve for his research and for bringing this Fensterwald material to my attention.

Jean Souetre

In 1977, a document surfaced which was investigated by the House Select Committee on Assassinations; in addition it triggered decades of speculation in regard to a French connection in the assassination of President Kennedy.  The document itself was a March, 1964 request to the FBI from French security – a request that the FBI provide information as to the suspected expulsion of a suspected OAS terrorist, Jean Souetre, from Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963. The request noted that Souetre might have been expelled to either Mexico or Canada.

The French request, generated though the legal staff of the American embassy in Paris (a position staffed though the FBI), provided no specific source or explanation as to why French security believed that Jean Souetre had been in the United States, or specifically in Dallas. The apparent reason for their interest was the planned visit by French President Charles de Gaulle to Mexico and Souetre had been charged with planning at least one attack on the French president. The document also revealed that French security had associated multiple names with the inquiry, including Michael Roux and Michael Hertz (possibly a misspelling of Michael Mertz?).

For reference, it should be noted that Michael “Mertz” was known to the FBI and had been traveling into the United States from Canada. Mertz had earlier worked for French security, had conducted intelligence operations against the OAS (including against Souetre). However he had also become associated with a major drug smuggling effort bringing cocaine from France into the United States through Canada. For those interested in the Mertz connection, The Heroin Trail (Newsday) researched and describes the network created by Dominic and Jean Venturi and provides details on their associate, Michael Mertz. Mertz had been previously been involved in counter intelligence activities against the OAS and following his penetration of a bombing attempt against President de Gaulle in 1962, he and his family had been moved to Montreal for protection. From that location he helped grow and diversify cocaine networks running into the United States.

https://www.amazon.com/Heroin-Trail-Newsday/dp/B0032CX7FS

Based on the French security request of 1964 – an inquiry which led to an in depth FBI investigation at the time – assassination researchers began to pursue the possible involvement of Souetre and the OAS in the Kennedy assassination. As a consequence, the  Souetre story would become a staple in assassination research and writings.

However, with the release of actual documents related to the FBI’s own 1964 investigation, the matter is actually becomes much less mysterious. What we can now see is that the Dallas FBI SAC (special agent in charge) provided a lengthy response to the FBI Director in regard to an in depth inquiry on Jean Souetre, to related names that has come up in the inquiry and the details of a Frenchman using the true name provided in the French inquiry (Michael Roux). The FBI determined that Micahel Roux was in fact Texas during the period in question and had departed by ground transport to Mexico via Loredo – although not on November 22.  That FBI summary report is now available online at the Mary Ferrell Foundation:

https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=149217&relPageId=1&search=souetre

The FBI report relates that in March 1977, a foreign reporter (British Citizen) working for National Inquirer had contacted the FBI in regard to their investigation of Jean Souetre alias Michel Roux, alias Michael Hertz who had supposedly been in Dallas on the day of the JFK assassination. The reporter, David Duffy, stated that Souetre was a French army captain who was a member of the OAS and a terrorist was reportedly deported to Mexico or Canada shortly after the assassination.

As reference Duffy cited a document reportedly gained via FOIA (agency unknown) by the National Inquirer and given to him as a research and writing assignment. The document was dated 1, April, 1964 and stated that on March 5, [1964] the US Legal Attaché (FBI officer) at the Paris Embassy had relayed a query to FBI office in New York as to a report that Michael Roux aka Michel _ertz [first letter illegible] had been in Fort Worth and Dallas Texas on November 22 and had been expelled to either Mexico or Canada on that date.

The French query stated that in January, 1963 an individual named Micael Roux had received a written communication from an American dentist living in had Houston Texas – the French security concern was that Roux was a alias being used by Jean Souetre, a suspected OAS terrorist and that his presence in the United States (and possibly Mexico) was a concern in regard to a planned visit by Charles De Gaulle to Mexico. FBI Dallas had initially advised the National Inquirer reporter that it had no files on Jean Souetre or any expulsion from Dallas but that it would query IRS [apparently a typo for INS].

The full FBI summary report includes a Dallas inquiry summary of March, 11, 1964 stating that a background check had been done on Michel Roux and that he had indeed visited a family in Fort Worth, Texas on November 22-23, ultimately departing Texas to Mexico via the border crossing at Laredo, Texas. That had been communicated to the Embassy Legat in Paris who had advised French security of the details and the identification of Michael Roux.  With that information French security had actually located Roux in Paris and determined that he was indeed not Jean Souetre. The Dallas office and the FBI had closed their inquiry after being so advised by the Legat in Paris.

Another document in the FBI summary file – a memo from the Director to the Legat in Paris – provided details on the family in Fort Worth (Leon Gachman) who had revived Roux as a guest. The report noted that Gachman and his family had been in Paris in October, 1962 and met Roux, a hotel clerk. Roux had served in the French Army, been stationed in Algeria and was interested in emigrating to the U.S. and opening a restaurant. Gachman had invited Roux to visit and in November, 1963 Roux had traveled to the United States and visited both Houston and Forth Worth in Texas.

He had been with the Gachmans in Fort Worth on November 21-23.  Gachman had used his business connections to arrange a job for Roux in a Mexican Hotel. The plan was that he would have worked in Mexico while filing papers to obtain a U.S. visa – apparently some element of the plan did not work out as Roux had returned to Paris at a later date.  The FBI document relates that Roux had entered the U.S. via New York on November 19, 1963 and departed for Mexico via Laredo on December 6, 1963; the FBI had concluded Roux was indeed not Jean Souetre.

As part of the FBI inquiry into the Roux affair, the Bureau had also located an individual (Lawrence Alderson) in Houston who had indeed exchanged letters with Jean Soutre. Alderson had become friends with Soietre while stationed in France in 1953. When contacted by the FBI in 1964, Alderson related  that he had received no communications from Souetre (including no Christmas Cards) in over a year and that he had not been personally visited by Souerte. Apparently Alderson had been identified though the tracing of a letter/card which he had sent to Souetre from Alderson in Texas. The letter from Alderson  to Souetre may indeed have been the original trigger for the inquiry from French security (IS France) in regard to Souetre being in Texas.

http://documents.theblackvault.com/documents/jfk/NARA-Oct2017/2018/124-10224-10062.pdf

The FBI investigative file also includes a message of March 13, 1962 stating that French Security had based in the information provided by the FBI, that any further investigation should be discontinued. Beyond that the summary file contains information relayed to the FBI during the inquiry.  One CIA memo, of March 9, 1964 relates that the true Jean Souetre had been known to the Agency during the summer of 1963.  It notes that the CIA, on July 12, 1963 had advised the FBI (and apparently the State Department as well) of that contact in a letter headed “OAS Attempt to Enlist the Cooperation of the United States for its anti-deGaulle Activities”.  Along with that letter the CIA had furnished a photo of Souetre and a copy of a June 25, CIA report relating to alleged OAS approach relating to the ousting of DeGaulle.

https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=64996&search=jean_souetre#relPageId=2&tab=page

The CIA established a Souetre file based on a foreign contact by Souetre and a Captain Guerin in July, 1963. It appears that the approach was made via the American Embassy in Spain. A CIA file also noted that as of June that year Souetre had been representing himself in Portugal as the “external affairs”. The CIA document index shows reflects no other information for 1963.  The HSCA inquiry turned up no additional records which would have supported the idea that Souetre did travel to the United States in 1963.

https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=125409&relPageId=2&search=jean_souetre

It does need to be noted that JFK assassination researchers such as Bud  Fensterwald continued to pursue the possible French connection, locating French sources who fueled the mystery with anecdotal reports of a visit by Souetre to Cuban exile training camps near New Orleans in 1963 and even the idea that OAS members were serving as trainers in those same camps. Unfortunately Fensterwald provided no credentials nor background on his sources nor any explanation as to why they would have had such information on Souerte or the OAS.

https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=6762&search=jean_souetre#relPageId=71&tab=page

Ultimately the National Inquirer did field its article on the subject, several years later, in 1983. At the time Souetre was working as a casino public relations manager in France, near the Swiss border. Souetre admitted to having been accused of an attack against de Gaulle but denied ever having even traveled to the United States.

https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=8907&relPageId=41&search=jean_souetre

Given that the Souetre connection seems likely to live on forever, in 1999 Souetre was interviewed once again – still working in the same public relations job at the same casino. In an extended interview he reaffirmed that he had not been in Dallas, while taking the opportunity to point suspicions towards his personal nemesis Michael Mertz – one of the French security officers who had effectively penetrated the OAS. In that interview, over thirty years after the fact he endorsed the speculation that Mertz had been in Dallas, had been recruited into a conspiracy against President Kennedy and that Mertz had simply used Souetre’s name as an alias.

Triangle of Death, Bradley O’Leary, Chapter 21, “Souetre Speaks”

https://books.google.com/books?id=44l1B7dAZuEC&pg=PT77&lpg=PT77&dq=Divonne-+les-+Bains+Souetre&source=bl&ots=obfaNzJEkR&sig=Va1296ShHSjHE8bxP1tYJP4Q754&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwier8ia0obMAhVGbB4KHS1rAkMQ6AEIIDAA#v=onepage&q=Divonne-%20les-%20Bains%20Souetre&f=false

Clearly the story of Souetre in Dallas on November 22, 1963 is simply too good a story to ever fade away – in spite of the details available in for the rather dry and factual FBI inquiry of 1964 which had put the matter to rest for French security.

Addendum:  For clarification I should add that Souetre’s full name was Jean-Rene Souetre.. Also in regard to Mertz, the attack which he helped foil was carried out in July, 1961, at Point-sur-Seine:

https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=fr&u=http://www.francaislibres.net/liste/fiche.php%3Findex%3D85112&prev=search

 

Current Events

It looks like a number of new folks have begun to follow this blog based on David Boylan and my work with the Wheaton names.  That work is ongoing in several respects, tracing links to New Orleans, to Dallas, to Mexico City and even to Lee Oswald (important but not as much so as I would have once thought).  But its a work in progress with much slogging and speculation; when and if it firms up sufficiently we will certainly share the parts of it which appear to prove in – at least to us.

In the meantime, I continue to follow the current events that are evolving so rapidly in geopolitics, especially in regard to Russia’s actions under Putin. I have to admit to being more than a little disappointed in the amount of attention and discussion Creating Chaos has received. Its done reasonably well in library placements and poorly in general sales and readership. But even with some nice reviews – such as the following – its gotten little attention even within the JFK community.

https://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/free/lobster76/lob76-creating-chaos.pdf

That may be because its simply too balanced and not nearly sensational enough to be competitive in the book market. Certainly its not going to please everyone and it is definitely novel  in attempting to characterize and discreetly define levels of political warfare – definitively enough so that one could actually establish a form of defense condition levels similar to the “Defcon” system.   On the other hand I seriously doubt that anyone in the current administration wants to highlight exactly what state of geopolitical warfare really exists at present.

Most specifically, in regard to contemporary events, Creating Chaos develops the evolution of President Putin’s current strategy and even points out particular regions of stress which present him with major opportunities. Certainly the Ukraine and Crimea are one such area, and his actions there illustrate his longer term game plan and his rather amazing tactical expertise. I may detest Putin personally but clearly the US is doing little more than following along ineffectually behind his moves at the moment.

If you do have Creating Chaos I would urge you to reread Chapter 12 / “Beacheads”.  In addition to the Ukraine, there are a number of other areas where Putin can easily apply limited military force to great gain, areas virtually unknown to most Americans – including Moldavia and its Transnistria and Trans-Diester regions.  If we see signs of new Russia moves there, it will suggest Putin has been enabled enough by his Ukrainian and Crimean successes to start pushing back to gain political and actual access control over more than one former Soviet Republic.

 

 

The Wheaton Names continued

As mentioned in a previous blog post, my presentation at the November in Dallas Lancer conference dealt with new research by myself and David Boylan into the possible names that my have been in play during the “war stories” talk heard by Gene Wheaton.  Names associated with direct knowledge of the attack on President Kennedy in Dallas.

In an hour of conference time I was barely able to provide an introduction to the subject, including the vetting of Wheaton and his two sources – CIA paramilitary officer Carl Jenkins and long time CIA anti-Castro operative, Rafael Quintero.  Exactly how and when the dialogs heard by Wheaton occurred is covered in the 2010 edition of SWHT and is supported by the papers and correspondence Wheaton provided to the ARRB.  The failure of the ARRB to respond in any proactive or positive fashion is also discussed in that book.

It should be noted that Wheaton tried to take both men to a US Senator, with negotiated grants of immunity.  That offer was rejected and Wheaton was told if he pursued the matter his credibility would be undermined – a threat which indeed appears to have been carried out.

Much later, Quintero – a close personal friend of Wheaton, Quintero – confirmed that the dialogs and discussions had occurred as Wheaton described but that Wheaton had simply “misunderstood”.

What has become clear in the intervening years is that there is independent, if circumstantial, corroboration for the scenario and motives which Wheaton described hearing –  discussed in front of him simply as a trusted third party.

That corroboration, and the possibilities it opens are discussed in the following monograph.  For the sake of brevity sources are included directly in the monograph rather than footnoted; there are a few footnotes but virtually all the research is embedded in the text.

Debra Conway has been kind enough to archive the full paper which was presented at the conference and you can find it here:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/14WMnEEy9otCemUh7OHiNCY5iomx5l4O02eSr4vzLrGM/edit

I’d be happy to take questions on it here or by email at larryjoe@westok.net.

Certainly it is an ongoing project and while it can only take us so far, its implications are significant.  As are the possible connection between certain of the individuals mentioned and New Orleans, Dallas Texas and Lee Oswald.

Ongoing Research

Next week is “November in Dallas”, the last in what has been a decades long series of the JFK Lancer research conferences. Attendees will be treated to a great deal of new research, not only in regard to the JFK assassination but also relating to both the murders of RFK and MLK.  It will be intense but it’s always been immensely education for me.

As for myself, I’ll be participating in a number of sessions and panels, on both JFK and RFK but my major effort will be presenting the ongoing research that David Boylan and I have been conducting in regard to Gene Wheaton. That research involves the names he provided to the ARRB as to individuals who had been associated with and trained people who themselves had direct knowledge of a conspiracy against JFK and the attack in Dallas.  Given that Wheaton was simply directing attention towards individuals who could have provided details on the Dallas attack, it becomes extremely challenging to move beyond those individuals he did identify.

What we do know is that the remarks Wheaton heard came during reminiscences between former CIA paramilitary personnel and their Cuban exile associates. That gives us a definitive starting point – and the hundreds of new pre and post Bay of Pigs CIA personnel and operational documents that David has been researching have provided us a level of detail on those individuals that I could hardly have imagined a few years ago.

We can now literally trace the assignments, missions and the movements of several new individuals of interest (who previously were only peripherally known) from early in 1960 through 1966 and on from the U.S. to both Nicaragua and even the Congo.  We know what their specialties were (whether it be black belt karate, sharp shooting or piloting certain types of aircraft).  Better yet we know which CIA officer trained which group of exiles and who ran their individual missions into Cuba both before and after the Bay of Pigs.

Perhaps most importantly we know more details of a select group of exile paramilitary personnel who operated together, who trusted each other, and who were “off the grid” during the last half of 1963, largely due to their recruitment for a brand new anti-Castro project that would bring them all together off shore (primarily in Nicaragua) by early 1964.

And it was Nicaragua, the Contra military effort against the Sandinista government, and ultimately the secret war under Reagan/North/Secord that brought several of them back together again. Together again in the 1980s, all working in logistics and military support across Central America, including the creation of covert supply channels and air operations to provide weapons and military materials that Congress had banned.  And together in conversations heard by Gene Wheaton, conversations involving   their former trainer and mission commander in anti-Castro operations, Carl Jenkins.

It would be those particular anti-Castro alumni who would come together to have the late night conversations and tell the war stories that Gene Wheaton head.  To reminisce about missions, including ones intended to kill Fidel Castro in sniper attacks, and about the people who had been involved in those missions – people who had gone on to use their training against an American president who they reviled for betraying their cause.

To say that the story is deep and complex is putting it mildly, just sketching it out in an hour long presentation in Dallas will be a challenge.  We will be making a monograph available to further detail our work to this point but to some extent that simply highlights the complexity of the context in which the conspiracy itself evolved.  As Wheaton himself noted, it was clear from what he heard that the basic story of the attack was simple and the motives of those in the tactical team were straight forward, but that there was a something more in play for those “above” them.

The Roots of American Anti-semitism

My friend and co-author Stu Wexler has just had an OpEd published that everyone should read.  We have warned about the dangers of anti-semitism embedded in the ultra right movements in several of our books – unfortunately events are repeating themselves mush as we had feared.  Attacks on black churches, on Synagogues…its all part of a pattern that repeats itself and you can never assume its gone away.

It re-surges whenever hate is inflamed and enabled. If you want a true understanding for how deeply its embedded, take the time to read Stu’s article and share it freely:

https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/273831/the-roots-of-american-anti-semitism?fbclid=IwAR2HWaLpjA5h6GK7o1RysERV5A8OnayCTLAEZb-i2ajBDz3VIgbPnpYIed4

 

Fake News

If anyone had wondered if the Russian political warfare was continuing – it is, as the following articles reveal.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/20/politics/russian-interference-propaganda/index.html

https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/19/politics/elena-alekseevna-khusyaynova-russia-charged/index.html

The good news is that Deb is continuing her series, providing some excellent practical advice on how to deal with it:

Deb Galentine series / Part 3:

The conclusion of the last post queried, “How are we to know who to believe, who to trust, where to get the correct information, and how to avoid or stop the propaganda?”  I could write a door-stop worthy book on those questions alone, but I’ll attempt to condense some suggestions here. If readers have other suggestions, please share so we can all learn from each other.

The most useful tool for avoiding propaganda is to not access it from propaganda venues.  The largest purveyor of propaganda, the Internet, naturally contains the largest targeted groups— social media users. Social media outlets with the largest user bases, listed in order from the most to fewer users, are as follows: Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Instagram, QQ, QZone, Doujin/Tik Tok, Sina Weibo, Twitter, Reddit, Baidu Tienba, Skype, LinkedIn, Viber, Snapchat, LINE, Pinterest, and Telegram.  Currently approximately 2.5 billion people use some form (or forms) of social media, every platform being a propaganda target.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/272014/global-social-networks-ranked-by-number-of-users/

Pew Research claims that 62% of adults in the USA read news on social media, most often via Reddit, Facebook, and Twitter.

http://www.journalism.org/2016/05/26/news-use-across-social-media-platforms-2016/

Some social media sites carry more propaganda than others and up until Congress held oversight hearings, social media sites showed little concern for vetting the content they published. After buyers paid up (whether it be in US dollars or rubles masquerading as American money from Russian PayPal accounts), they could post most anything they wanted so long as they didn’t violate the TOS agreements of each platform. Lying is not a TOS violation on any social media platform.

Common sense might tell us that social media is not the best place for acquiring our news, but if we insist on doing so then we must learn to check the sources of that news. Credible news sites require professional journalistic integrity; the reporting must be accurate, fair, and thorough. It must show respect for the subjects and people included in reports. The journalist and the publishing unit must be as independent as possible, free from conflicts of interest.  Journalists must be transparent and accountable; they must be able to admit their mistakes and correct them.

https://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp

Every credible news source publishes site information about who they are including their physical addresses, contact numbers and email addresses, information about their journalists and editors, if there’s a parent company and who it is.  In other words, the more information a new site carries about itself, the better. Look for an “About” page.  If you read, “This site is for entertainment purposes,” you’re on the wrong site for credible news. News consumers need to know who is feeding their brains.

Check out your local newspapers. These are the journalists who watch and report on the news that is most likely to directly impact you, personally. If you find that their biases (either left or right) hold too much sway over their work, try a different hometown newspaper in a nearby city or even across the country. Many have noteworthy national reputations for quality reporting.

Look for award-winning newspapers. Every year since 1971, the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDN) has honored “outstanding achievements in broadcast and digital journalism with the Edward R. Murrow Awards.” Their Code of Ethics stands as their determining criteria for issuing awards of excellence. Browse their site to find the best of the best:

https://rtdna.org/content/edward_r_murrow_awards#prev

Most local newspapers and award-winning newspapers have digital websites where readers can access at least some of the news for free. If you like what you’re reading, subscribe. To attain a well-rounded base of news, subscribe to two or three different sources. It’s important to support quality news reporting.

Read NPR— National Public Radio. A small amount of your tax dollars (and hundreds of marathon pledge drives, corporate underwriters, educational institutions, etc.) pay for it and these people are some of the most dedicated and self-sacrificing journalists in the business.  If you find stories that you’d like to discuss with your social media friends, post them on Facebook or Twitter.  It’s often better to bring credible news to the platforms than it is trying to find credible news on the platforms. And if you enjoy NPR, send them a regular donation, please.

This article lists some of the best credible news sites on the Internet today:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/berlinschoolofcreativeleadership/2017/02/01/10-journalism-brands-where-you-will-find-real-facts-rather-than-alternative-facts/#40d58ebde9b5

It’s not necessary to completely abandon social media platforms in pursuit of excellence in news reporting.  Keep in mind that most of all these outlets have Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages as well.  If you want to fact check information you don’t trust, go to these sites:

https://www.factcheck.org

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/

https://www.politifact.com

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/factcheck

The more honest and truthful news people read, the less swayed they become by propaganda. Propaganda not only shreds the truth, it makes people lose trust and doubt themselves. As we learn more solid facts and see the world as it is, the more inclined we are to share that information.

However, when we see propaganda shared by others, we must all muster the courage to point it out.  Most of us have been guilty at one time or another of posting something to social media that isn’t quite right or is simply a raging piece of propaganda. At those times it’s desirable to have good friends (or family) around to point it out or to put it in context.  The best way to avoid the embarrassment of posting fake stuff is to fact-check it first.

Memes are often the most offending vector of false quotes.  Toss those quotes into a Google search and almost instantaneously, you’ll find out if it’s correct.  If it’s true and you like it— go ahead and post it.  But if you amplify a message that is untrue, you become an unwitting propagandist and you help make the Internet a more treacherous place for all of us to try to navigate.

Avoiding propaganda may take a bit of effort at first, but the more it’s done, the easier it becomes.  (If you stick with AP or Reuters you’ll rarely go wrong; these are the wire services that other reporters use.) Amplifying factual news articles helps drown out propaganda.

Keep in mind that propaganda can be a lot more fun, in some strange ways, than honest journalism, especially for those who embrace drama. Propaganda touches us emotionally.  It can make us furious, happy, depressed, sad, joyful, and angry.  That is by design— propaganda appeals to the emotions.  When you become emotional, you can’t think as clearly.  Emotional involvement allows propaganda to seep into our minds easier.

Honest, credible journalism appeals to the intellect, so we all must know how to think.  And that leads me to education. The most important gift of any democracy is educating its people.  Without education, democracy dies. Uneducated people with no understanding of how to think are the perfect subjects for propaganda and dictatorships.

When my children were young, I bought them a record featuring Steve Allen.  It was titled “How To Think,” and it turned out to be one of the best items I ever bought— for them as well as for myself.  Originally recorded in 1962, it’s now quite dated. It’s a little cheesy and sexist. But the information it imparts is just as timely now as it was then.

In 1962, our country faced the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Luckily, we had leaders who knew how to think so that we got through that tense standoff without blowing the world apart. Would we be so lucky now?  Do we have leaders who know how to think?  In response to those questions, I think we might not and we don’t.

One of the myriad good qualities of the Internet is the ability to save and categorize important items so that search tools can find them. Someone who knows how to think uploaded Steve Allen’s “How To Think” recording to YouTube and in so doing, a gift from the past can today remind us and teach our children important lessons that we can use to save our democracy.

(Unfortunately, time can take a toll on vinyl so there some skipping that occurs in these recordings from time to time. This album can be found on eBay sometimes, if you’d like your own copy.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWzTYRoIO0c&list=PL1Nm_eNkTsnPtOqqcXlcLhjYDFNUz4yBq&index=2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZmDCwhSZKA&list=PL1Nm_eNkTsnPtOqqcXlcLhjYDFNUz4yBq

Here are the 9 Rules of “How to Think.”  I added the 10th.

  1. Calm your emotions.
  2. Understand the difference between fact and opinion.
  3. Look for the evidence before making up your mind. (Scientific)
  4. Don’t kid yourself. Tell the truth to yourself, as well as to others.
  5. Understand the difference between the Concrete and the Abstract.
  6. Use words carefully. Be tolerant. Don’t jump to conclusions.
  7. Remember that no two things are ever the same. Within each group resides individuals.
  8. Don’t be afraid to change your mind. Be open to new information.
  9. Much truth is relative.
  10. Grow a sense of humor.

As the saying goes, “If you’re not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.”  We can fight social media propaganda, if we all work together.