Release Angst


Yes there was a JFK Records release, and it clearly was not what Congress had called for in the legislation passed back in 1992. Thanks to some very competent researchers we know that it was the release of only 52 previously withheld-in-full documents – some 2%, with more than 3,100 remaining on hold.  It was also the re-release of over 2,800 documents previously released with redactions – less than 10% of over 30,000 which were to be released with minimal redaction (as to that minimal redaction, well that certainly didn’t happen for much of what we have seen).

Of course we knew that the agencies involved would petition to withhold certain of those documents, and in truth we have no idea yet of how many they did petition and which ones those were. In a reasonable world the President would have had his staff conduct a review of those being protested and decisions would have been made on each. After all we are talking about documents which have been in this cycle for 25 years, seemingly that would have provided adequate time for such a review. Instead, President Trump simply placed a blanket hold at virtually the last minute. Based on his texts and statements we are led to believe that all documents not containing names of living individuals will be released within approximately six months.

At the risk of making myself unpopular I have to say that is not at all how national security is supposed to work. As the JFK act stated, documents could be withheld based on potential damage to foreign relations, law enforcement, or operational security (sources and methods). Does this imply that damaging information (as much as we want it) may well be released to us in six months simply because there are no names of living individuals in those documents?  Are all the national security challenges actually going to be waved simply on the basis of names in documents – and exactly who is going to examine those documents over the next six months (some 33,000 of them) to check names against the death registry.  I also have to point out that CIA documents and many FBI documents use pseudos’ and aliases for security purposes so there will be no true names in those documents anyway.

OK, so the forget about national security. If the release does follow the President’s apparent guidelines we might get a whole bunch of documents that will be really interesting – or will we?  President Trump’s statement said nothing about redactions and based on what we have seen in these new releases there are actually more redactions in some previously released documents than copies available prior to this latest release.  If what we get are 32,000 pages of highly redacted documents – well that’s probably not what Congress had in mind either.

So enough carping on my part.  Now for the good news, some of our best researchers are finding important information in what little has been released and that is coming out day by day; we will have the best synopsis available presented by our documents specialists at the upcoming JFK Lancer conference in Dallas.

As for myself, I’m following along and wanted to discuss one example at least briefly here.  It relates to a memo generated by Lansdale (head of Mongoose) early in the Cuban missile crisis.  The memo notes that a hold is ordered on Alpha 66 and the sabotage of Cuban shipping. Now if you have read any of my book you immediately go – “hey, Alpha 66 was going after Russian ships, they hated the CIA and were acting outside of CIA control and wanted nothing to do with the CIA – and their missions were already supposed to be blocked whenever possible”.  I’ve even written about documents from early 1963 containing recommendations from the Army that Alpha 66 be utilized in anti-Castro operations, a proposal totally rejected by the CIA.  But I’ve also written about the fact that Alpha 66 itself was helped to organize and promote itself by someone named Bishop, whom many suspect to have been CIA officer David Phillips. And that David Morales mentions in a memo that Alpha 66 would probably be surprised if they realized the CIA knew about all their operations and was letting them go ahead even when all non-agency missions were supposed to be blocked.

So here we have a document suggesting that either Lansdale was totally clueless about Alpha 66 or that the CIA did have some sort of highly cut-out operational control over them. Which tells us nothing about the JFK assassination per se but might tell us something very new about what would have been a deeply buried CIA operation, and possibly about a man named Bishop.  For those who have followed my work on that question, this might be interesting…for those who haven’t, not so much…but it’s fascinating to me.

One final word, there are a lot of media stories running on the document releases, written by people who have no idea of what is really new and what is not. Things that have been researched and addressed in details years ago are being touted as new and sensational. And some people appear to be entertaining themselves by circulating documents debunked repeatedly over the last two decades as new and exciting, part of the latest release.  About all I can say is – reader beware!

Update:  550 more records were released on Friday Nov. 3, all CIA. At first glance some are purely administrative in nature and deal with the process and guidelines pertaining to document security  – although these are never before seen records the redaction appears to be quite heavy with many pages totally blank.  Stay tuned for further assessment.


Congress releases JFK records

Just to clear matters up a bit, President Trump did not himself release the final collection of JFK related documents housed by the National Archives – Congress did, back in 1992.  In 1992, Congress passed a public law – “President John F. Kennedy Assassinations Records Collection Act of 1992” – directing the National Archives to establish a collection consisting of copies of all U.S. government records relating to the 1963 assassination of President Kennedy.  The record collection includes materials from Federal agencies as well as state and local law enforcement.

The Act also created the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), chartering it to collect relevant documents and to issue decisions on agency requests to withhold or postpone document release. At that point in time, 1992, 98% percent of all Warren Commission documents on the assassination had already been released. The ARRB released all the rest of the Warren Commissions documents to the general public – other than individual income tax returns. The ARRB also collected additional materials from federal agencies as well as from individuals, including testimony from individuals directly involved as eyewitnesses, participants in the investigation and the treatment and autopsy of the President following the shooting.

The 1992 law required that all documents be released to the public by October, 2017. The great majority (88%) had already been released by the late 1990s. As of 2017 only 35,000 documents remain to be released in full; some 3,600 have never been seen by the public. The final NARA releases actually began in July of 2017 and some 3,000 have already been released as of early October. For details on what that release involved and what is especially interesting in the first batch released readers should check the information on the Mary Ferrell site:

The 1992 act called for release of all documents, however it contained the provision that the President of the United States could act to postpone documents if they were continued to cause harm to military, intelligence, law enforcement or foreign relations activities of the United States and such harm is judged to be of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest. President Trump chose not to exercise that authority, simply allowing the general release to go forward.

It also needs to be pointed out that over the years dedicated researchers have located relevant documents which were not supplied to NARA as part of its JFK collection; some of those have been and continued to be pursued via FOIA and legal appeals related to agency refusals to release under FOIA.




False Flags and Provocations

The internet has become so rife with misinformation and conspiracy speculation that I thought it was time to at least get some terminology straight – if nothing else.  First off the term “false flag” did not originate in the intelligence community or during the Cold War.  It originated during the days of sailing ship warfare when navies identified themselves literally with flags.  War being war, and piracy being piracy, it was not long before the practice of individual ships flying false flags for deception began – primarily used by individual vessels.  Flying a “friendly flag” allowed the attacking vessel to approach as close as possible before hosting proper colors and carrying out the final attack honorably under the right flag. For pirates it added a shock factor, creating panic on final approach for attack.

As adopted by intelligence agencies, the use of “false flags” was primarily one of identification and intelligence collection. Individuals would represent themselves as part a group which matched the sympathies and interests of the threat being targeted and in more complex operations, actual false parties and groups would be built from scratch.  The idea was to flush out targeted individuals – communists, terrorists etc, The individuals would then be placed under surveillance to identify others or manipulated to see who else could be drown into the fake group.

All this was obviously low key and largely word of mouth – now it’s done on the internet. The basic premise is simply, wave a false flag and see who comes running to join. Basically not an “operational practice”, but rather an intelligence one. The U.S. did do false flag operations, but mostly on a modest scale. There is some reason to believe that in the early 1960’s the CIA may have helped create the Fair Play for Cuba as a false flag entity.  In contemporary times as far as I can tell its primary an FBI practice (a type of sting), on a pretty targeted level and intended to smoke out jihadi or other would be terrorists.

In contrast, the Russians have always been extremely false flag oriented, with much more complex, longer term and very subtle practices. Beginning before World War II they helped support the formation of a host of international peace, student, labor, academic, and media groups – all with lofty goals and all with international membership. However Russian political officers worked the groups very aggressively to identify sympathetic individuals (referred to within the very pragmatic Russian intelligence services as “useful idiots”).  Ultimately the tactic worked extremely well for generating academic and scientific contacts – which were turned into espionage assets who almost totally compromised the war time Manhattan atomic weapons project.

Recently Russian political operatives have used the internet in a great many creative ways for information warfare but some of their activities may also include efforts intended to flush out radicalized individuals that could be manipulated under the false flag concept.  A recent example relates to Facebook groups could have been used to collect some very specifically targeted contacts – the individuals responding would have thought they were joining in a movement that had goals ranging from anti-Sharia law to actual Texas succession:

Radical individuals of that sort could well be manipulated into some tragic acts of violence.

Obviously intelligence related false flag activities can be dangerous but it’s important to distinguish them from “provocations”. Provocations (carried out by your own forces with all the evidence pointing towards the targeted group) are normally part of a much larger operation.  Hitler used border provocations (violent acts by his own agents) to create a demand for German military intervention on his borders – and immediately responded with troops. Almost everyone reading this is probably familiar with the Northwoods contingency plans that were developed possible actions (with Cuba as the ostensible perpetrator) to provoke an American attack on Cuba. That planning never came to anything nor did an earlier request in December 1960 by President Eisenhower for the CIA to come up with an immediate provocation so that he could send in the Cuban Brigade and the Navy immediately.  In that instance they didn’t even manage to come up with any options for him.

The bottom line seems to be that if something is developed as a true operational provocation it needs to be designed with an immediate response in mind, and that response should be executed virtually automatically with no much time for people to ponder what’s going on. Otherwise it’s a waste of effort and highly dangerous in terms of possible blow back.  So if you see some sort of major, mindless violence followed by – nothing – either it was really poorly planned or perhaps it is only mindless violence. Interestingly virtually all terror attacks are in the mindless violence category since they have little other that psychological impact – which makes them psychological warfare, but that’s another story entirely.

Atomic Weapons in Korea

Atomic bombs were deployed, a weapons depot was configured and the Air Force conducted a series of probes and reconnaissance missions to collect the necessary targeting data for atomic strikes on North Korea.  One attack option included tactical strikes, intended to interdict the assets required for North Korean attacks; the other was far more strategic – targeting airfields, manufacturing, marshaling years, and transportation hubs.

On two separate occasions decisions were made at the highest levels not to carrying out atomic strikes, even with American forces in constant combat and under extreme pressure. And that should pretty well give away the point that the above is history, not contemporary news. Its a story I elaborated on in Surprise Attack.

However the reasons for the decisions not to use atomic weapons remain important today.  First in the face of fierce North Korean air defense – including the active participation of volunteer Russian pilots flying advanced MIG interceptors – the Strategic Air Command obliterated the all the strategic targets within North Korea in slightly more than three months.

Given the covert shipments of supplies from China and Russia, both happily willing to bleed America at minimal costs to themselves, the strategic air campaign simply did not stop the ongoing North Korean infantry campaigns, carried out by huge, fanatic formations of ground troops. In the end tactical air support for American ground forces and total control of the air space over the battle fields themselves proved to be far more telling.

However another major factor in the decision not to go Atomic was only revealed decades later. Joint Chief of Staff Studies contain considerable doubt that atomic weapons would be decisive in the Korean ground combat. And given that the American atomic advantage was being wielded as the only thing stopping Stalin from sending the Red Army across Western Europe, the possibility that atomic attacks might not be that effective against large infantry and tank formations was not something the Chiefs wanted to bet on.  Showing your hold card in advance is never recommended.

To some extent that same concern remains in play in the 21st Century – but with one major addition. Reportedly the President has ordered the interception of North Korean ballistic launches sent on various tracks and might be moving to add to that order, covering launches over Japan. There are a number of problems with such orders, including major asset deployment issues and the limitations of the various anti-missile systems in the US inventory. A number are outlined in the article at this link:

At the moment a limited number of tests have given some indication that those systems work – but the tests were in controlled environments and with assets deployed in the right place to match the types of missiles involved. To some extent anti-ballistic missile defense is as much a psychological deterrent as are atomic weapons, but if the U.S. actually attempted combat intercepts of both intermediate and long range North Koran ballistic missiles, and failed, that deterrent could be dramatically undermined. Hopefully the President’s military advisors have been able to communicate this as part of the decision mining calculus for upping the ante…hopefully.

Addendum:  In light of the President’s remarks about North Korea soon ceasing to exist, the US reconnaissance flights off the North Korean Coast north of the demilitarized zone and their response in regard to those flights – all occurring over this weekend – I thought I should  provide some historical context.  The following article describes an incident in 1969, and demonstrates that foolish or not, they do respond.




This is for those who visit here fairly routinely and are curious about the dearth of new research posts from me.  The answer is that there is a good deal of research – and writing – going on but it’s pretty focused at the moment.

Stu Wexler and I are in the final edit and review stages or the sequel to our book on the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.  That book will be out next spring and will have the new work done over the last three years on further connecting the dots as to exactly how the conspiracy evolved.

If you happen to have read The Awful Grace of God you are familiar with how complex this story is and we are making a real effort to straight line it and add in the new research that has been developed over the past three years. The sequel also gives us the chance to pursue the leads – and the FOIA requests – that were still in progress at the time The Awful Grace of God was published.

Beyond that I’m working on a new book, under contract for publication in 2018, which takes me back into the arena of covert and deniable action. While Shadow Warfare examined American covert and deniable warfare – much of carried out by surrogate forces or later by contractors – over some sixty years, this work will deal with deniable political warfare.

However it will go further, examining political warfare as carried out by both America and Russia through the Cold War into contemporary affairs in the 21st Century. In addition to examining and comparing the actual practices of each country, it will deal with what amounts to almost a total role reversal in how each nation approached political warfare following the collapse of the Soviet Union. It will also explore how the standard practices and tools have morphed in the age of the internet; opening a Pandora’s box containing little beyond chaos.

It’s a challenging subject and the new book is consuming most of my gray cells at the moment, possibly literally, but things are going well and there is certainly no dearth of material.

Beyond that I’m still doing some work promoting and responding to questions about Unidentified. Admittedly it is a pretty “deep” book covering a lot of history and requiring dealing with areas of the intelligence community not discussed in my other works. I’m beginning to hear from a few folks who have finished the book and I’m happy to take questions about it here or by email. So don’t hesitate to drop me a note either place – and of course if you like it, don’t hesitate to post a good review, either on Amazon or Goodreads – shameless author statement noted.

And then there is the work on the JFK Lancer November conference I need to do…so I best get back to it.

November in Dallas 2017


This November will see yet another JFK Lancer research conference in Dallas, Texas.  I’ll be there, as I have been since the 1990s and this year’s conference will feature what many people have been waiting for over a very long period of time – the final release of JFK documents being held by the National Archives.  Well at least the release of documents with redacted sections now made visible and the release of other documents formally restricted by government agencies up to this point, primarily pertaining to CIA related documents.

Of course agencies still have the right to challenge the elimination of certain redaction’s and to claim national security privilege over other documents but we certainly will see thousands of pages of new material which will be new to us all.

The November conference will pay considerable attention to the new documents with some of the best known names in document research – John Newman, Jeff Morley, Malcolm Blunt and Bill Simpich – attending to talk about what they are seeing and the assessments they are making as to what is really significant within the releases.

But beyond the document releases, the conference as a whole will be focusing on “disconnections” which have already surfaced between the official Warren Commission story line and what is subsequently become visible in released documents and the review of archival materials.  We will have a number of experienced researchers presenting on those disconnections and you can see the current list at this conference link:

In addition, I recently did a two hour interview with Chuck Ochelli and Carmine Savastano – both of whom will be presenting at the conference – dealing with document releases and an in depth exploration of the speakers and topics which will be part of the conference.  If you really want an extensive history of JFK Lancer and its work with these conferences, as well as an in depth view of what is going to go on (speaker by speaker) this year, check out the interview:

I hope you enjoy it, if you have questions just let me know here.

UFO Dialogs

I’ve already given some fairly detailed insights into the content and scope of Unidentified on this blog so rather than any further extended discussion I’ll just be referring you to the interviews that I’ve done and continue to do on the new book.

I’m a bit surprised that there have been so few reader posts about it here – I’m always happy to chat about it here or respond to questions. Given that it seems like such a departure for me (although in the context of my intelligence studies and writings it really isn’t) I would have expected to have a lot more “UFO” type questions tossed my way.

The interview show hosts have not been bashful about that though, so you can learn more by listening to the shows.  The newest is another interview with Brent Holland on his Night Fright show:

I have been on Brent’s shows a number of times and he likes to push the edge with me a bit, leading me down paths that move into some of the broader themes and issues related to the subject of UFO’s.  He knows I will go some distance with him but then back off since I’m pretty conservative by nature. Nothing like a few unexpected questions to keep a guest on their toes…grin. Well that and he makes me do video interviews which I try to avoid…and makes fun of my shirts.

There will be another Unidentified interview coming up this Friday, two hours on the Chuck Ochelli show.  I’m expecting Chuck to be pretty pointed about the subject and that’s good; it should be a very in depth interview.

Actually I will be talking with Chuck two nights in a row because Chuck, Carmine Savastano and I will be on his show this Thursday doing the sixth program in our series of JFK 101 discussions, an effort to deal with the evolution of the official investigations and inquiries which dealt with the assassination of President Kennedy.

Its part tutorial, part myth busting and part attitude in regard to what was and was not done to develop the official story that shows up in the history books. The fact that none of us are personally satisfied with either the official story or some of the alternative histories that are being propagated decades after the event leads to the aforementioned “attitude” now and then.

If you do have UFO and Unidentified book related questions be sure to bring them up here or in email, beginning in September I’ll be doing some more JFK related posts as a warm up to the JFK Lancer conference in November.


Its all about UFOs

Well at least it was on the recent radio interview I did with Beyond Reality  Radio.  And while the title might seem a bit “beyond”, the hosts were some of the best I’ve encountered and did a highly professional job of drawing out the contents and insights contained in Unidentified – we even waded into Surprise Attack a bit.  If you are at all interested in the subject of UFOs and my newest book I would encourage  you to take a listen:

UFOs have become deeply embedded within the broader discussion of the paranormal, of psychic phenomena and of even faith and religion. Even on Amazon, in order to get listings under certain subject categories  (such as UFOs) you have to tag your book under the broad category of religion – which we decided to pass on. It just did not seem right for an exploration of national security and military intelligence.

It is certainly challenging to gain visibility with the approach that I take in Unidentified – even though I offer an assessment that “unknowns” are very real, very unconventional and very much focused in certain of their security related intrusions.  I especially appreciated the air time on Beyond Reality Radio because to date less than a handful of talk shows have shown any interest – the good news is that lengthy new interviews with both Brent Holland and Chuck Ochelli will be showing up later this month.

I should also point out that my publisher and I are both suffering the pangs of eBook work with Amazon. It appears that relatively recently they made some changes in compatibility with certain eBook publishing tool sets and the advanced formatting used in the print version of Unidentified did not set well with it.

That means that the publisher literally has to strip all that formatting out of the book file and resubmit it to Amazon.  This caught us by surprise because I had used Amazon’s own cloud viewer to check out the original version available as Kindle and appeared to be fine…sadly that was not true for other readers.

In any event, that work is well  underway and we hope to resubmit it soon, how long it takes for Amazon to cycle back on it is always a question.  The publisher is also finalizing the topical index, which as we anticipated will be relatively huge for a book index, far much more so than the standard name indexes which are more common. It will be provided on my web site as a downloadable file as soon as its available.




Persons of Interest

Much attention has turned to this year’s final release of JFK related documents from the National Archives – and certainly that is warranted.  If nothing else the releases have the potential to clear up the status of certain individuals as to their relationship with the CIA, primarily those individuals who used as domestic and foreign security/intelligence sources (a very common practice) or as sometime assets for various activities, in particular operations against Castro’s Cuba. Indications are that the releases will also resolve a number of crypts for operations and pseudonyms for individuals and allow us to read CIA operational documents more meaningfully.

It’s equally important to note that decades of research have already revealed a large amount of information about individuals who show up in the JFK assassination dialog, material obtained not just from NARA (in the old days by hand), but by FOIA to agencies and sometimes by direct primary research outside government documents entirely. Surprisingly much of that research, originally published in print journals or surfaced in conference presentations, has slipped by the wayside.  I continue to see online discussions about persons of interest which are really quite superficial in terms of the context of information developed years ago.

I won’t blame it all on YouTube – since I’m on YouTube in interviews myself…grin – but even knowing the remarks I make there and answers I give, that’s just not enough. Background and context is vital to deal with anything you find there. So, in regard to that concern I’m posting some background and contextual references that I researched and prepared over the last couple of decades.

Perhaps the most important is a CD containing documents (some of which are available nowhere else, as a Board member of the Mary Ferrell Foundation I have to echo Rex Bradford’s caution that not all known documents are online at MFF or listed in the NARA archives index) relating to several individuals of interest. I provided those to JFK Lancer to put on CD years ago, long before I wrote Some Would Have Talked, they were part of the background research for that work and in some instances there was no room to discuss them in the book nor to put them online as reference documents for the book. More importantly, to the extent I could I provided an analysis of each collection and situational remarks where an individual’s documents extended over a long period of time – extremely important for individuals like John Martino, Richard Case Nagell, Frank Sturgis and Gerry Hemming.

In other instances, I was able to present documents which offered point-counterpoint, such as those relating to the 112th Military Intelligence Group and the work of the ARRB in investigating the widely discussed issue of a security stand down in Dallas.  In that regard, a through reading of their extensive interview with Fletcher Prouty (voluntary on his part) and related internal ARRB staff communications is vital to understand that subject.

That work is available on the CD offered by JFK Lancer titled Research of Larry Hancock; Keys to the Conspiracy.

Other individuals whom I have researched and discussed can be found in my various conference presentations (just looking at that list sort of tires me out).

In the coming months Lancer will also be making available the extensive document collection which I provided to them relating to Fred Crisman and Thomas Beckham, much of it totally original and found in no other archives on line or in paper. That collection covers the appearance of their names in the Garrison investigation.  Lancer has the collection, it’s just a matter of getting it all scanned and available. Those who follow this blog know that we also managed to get a key video interview with Gene Wheaton posted on the internet earlier this year.

About all I can say is that if you find any of these individuals’ persons of interest, I strongly recommend you dig more deeply into the resources listed above. In many instances you will find material and analysis which simply does not show up in the online discussions of them.

Behind the Scenes

We all know there are two levels of communications which occur in association with any national security event which requires a national response, whether by a government agency, a military service or a political administration. One is the public story, which generally calls for calm and offers reassurance – as it should, panic and the emergence of mob mentality seriously magnify the consequences of such incidents. At the time the public story also provides a certain amount of “maneuvering room” for appropriate legal, law enforcement or military actions.

It sometimes amazes me that not only the public but experienced political and media figures routinely talk as if the official announcements should divulge all the known details  of national security incidents when the “first responders” (whether civilian, military or law enforcement) are still in the process of trying to sort out matters and come up with a tactical response. Obviously sharing full details with the public also shares them with those behind the incidents and that is a very bad thing, allowing them to know how well their plans succeeded, whether their identity is now known and what they can best do to escape or avoid retaliation.

Of course the internal, inter-agency, inter-service communications are a wholly different matter.  To be effective those communications should not be constrained and should be as honest about matters as possible.  Unfortunately experience with CIA documents shows us that sort of information sharing certainly has not always occurred within that agency. In the interest of internal security information is compartmentalized, and misinformation is sometimes circulated to frustrate leaks and foreign penetrations. Worse yet the CYA factor can seriously confabulate internal realities – interestingly, with access to a considerable body of KGB documents we can see that Russian intelligence was plagued by both the same issues.

I’ve learned to expect such things when espionage, deniable covert paramilitary operations (such as regime change) and covert political action are in play, but in researching and writing Unidentified it was surprising to me to find the same phenomena within Air Force, Army, AEC and FBI internal communications on UFOs.

Researchers have turned up a host of internal documents which show that initially UFOs were taken quite seriously. However as time passed and as it became increasingly obvious that the official projects were failing to identify them – and that the Air Defense Command had no chance of dealing with them even on the instances were intercepts occurred – the Air Force moved into something of a state of internal denial.

I cover that evolution in detail in the book but even a few select documents can see the extent to which headquarters groups were were forced to fall back on internal explanations involving balloons, radar anomalies (temperature inversions) or even mystery helicopters – even in instances when field intelligence personnel clearly were describing something truly unknown.  For just a taste of that, I refer you to the following document links:

Top Secret Analysis of Flying Object Incidents in the United States – the intelligence “problem”

Hide and Seek  –  Air Space Violation at Oak Ridge Atomic materials production facility:

Failure to Intercept – Objects over Ellsworth Strategic Air Command base

Incoming – The Air Force discounts its own investigation (finding of “no false targets”) of 18 incoming UFOs targeting a major Strategic Air Command base:

Flyovers of SAC Bases in 1975 –  officially reported as “air defense”against unknown “helicopter assault”