Stoner and the MLK Assassination

If you have read Stu and my works on the conspiracy which murdered Dr. King, you are well aware that one of the points of convergence for much of the most violent racist (and anti-Semitic) attacks in the south was J.B. Stoner. Stoner was behind the bombings of synagogues across the south, including attacks in Florida, Atlanta, Alabama and Tennessee. He routinely used surrogates to do the actual attacks, and in some instances actually marketed those services, including in one documented instance offering the murder of a number of Civil Rights leaders, with MLK high on the list.

We discuss Stoner’s networks at length in The Awful Grace of God, and his use of the National States Rights Party as a cover for much more covert violence. In Killing King we elaborate on his connections to the White Knights of Mississippi, the sponsors of the ultimate MLK bounty, as well to the fund raising in Atlanta which finally assembled the large amount of cash needed to support that offer.

The connections between Stoner, James Earl Ray and Ray’s brother have long been of interest, especially because of Stoner’s involvement as a defense attorney for Ray and his brother’s employment as a personal security guard for Stoner himself.  Both came after the assassination but there has been considerable suspicion that it didn’t happen by sheer circumstance.

Other investigators have been interested in that possibility, and recently Betsy Phillips, a Nashville based reporter, has written about what appears to have been a secret Tennessee investigation into the King assassination. It was an investigation which the state governor appears to have tried to stop – possibly with some concerns that it might turn up some embarrassing leads pointing beyond James Earl Ray and to a larger conspiracy.

The Phillips article can be found at the following link and in addition to highlighting the Tennessee investigation, it raises a point about Stoner’s connection to the Ray family that might explain a great many things – including James Earl Ray’s strange summer interlude in the deep south in 1967, which placed him within blocks of Stoner’s NSRP headquarters.

https://www.nashvillescene.com/news/pith-in-the-wind/article/21002347/james-earl-ray-killed-martin-luther-king-jr

 

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Sources, Informants, Surveillance

 

Sources, Informants, Surveillance

There seems to be a good deal of confusion in regard to all these subjects at present, especially within the White House.  Having following all three areas for a considerable time, I thought I should walk through a very brief overview of not only what the intelligence community is authorized to do, but legally mandated to do in these areas – in terms of both crime and national security.

Both the FBI and CIA operate public offices in most American cities. Citizens are encouraged to contact the FBI if they suspect they may have information or leads relating to federal crimes or activities which would represent suspect activities by individuals acting for foreign powers. CIA domestic contact officers maintain voluntary contacts with American’s who do business overseas or who encounter information relating to foreigners visiting or living within the United States.  If those contacts reveal activities which suggest foreign intelligence collections or attempts to establish domestic agents of influence for foreign powers, the CIA is supposed to turn that information over to the FBI.

Of course the same goes for actual security threats, including espionage, sabotage and terror activities. One of the fundamental breakdowns in regard to the attacks of 9/11 was the failure of the CIA to hand off information on suspects visiting the United States to the FBI; another was the failure of the FBI to aggressively pursue concrete leads from its field offices. As a side note, at the time the FBI had become somewhat cautious about its subversive activities role and that definitely appears to have constrained its headquarters actions – the Bureau faces a real balancing act in such matters. One contemporary concern is that with the very literal White House challenges to the activities of both Justice and FBI, the FBI may once again be moved into a state of extreme caution, blunting its effectiveness in counter intelligence and subversive investigations.

In terms of FBI interventions, the Bureau routinely accepts contacts from volunteer sources, routinely vets whether the sources actually have access to the issues they relate and if so opens source files on them.  At that point they are certainly not “informants”, but simply sources of information on potential criminal or subversive matters.  The FBI may also contact individuals known to be associated with individuals who are the subject of existing criminal investigations or who may have information on future subversive activities.  As an example, upon his return from Russia the FBI visited Lee Oswald and requested that he contact the Bureau if he himself was approached by anyone appearing to represent a foreign power – he agreed to do so.  Later, in New Orleans, after being in contact with Cuban exiles and involving himself with the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, he also voluntarily reached out to a subversive desk officer within the FBI and submitted to a lengthy interview.

The next stage in either subversive or criminal matters occurs when the FBI determines that an individual actually has direct contacts and information which might be of value in an actual investigation – at that point the individual becomes a “potential criminal informant”  (that’s a dated term, such designations change over the decades).  As an example, the FBI designated Jack Ruby as a potential criminal informant for a period of time, however when their related investigations failed to lead to actual charges, he was dropped.  Only when an investigation proceeds to the point of potential prosecution does a source actually become an “informant” and at that point care is taken to conceal information about them given that they be required to give evidence in either open or closed (classified) legal actions.

For those readers with interest in the JFK assassination, you may or may not be surprised that many of the names you are familiar with including Jack Ruby, Lee Oswald, Gerry Hemming, Frank Sturgis, Roy Hargraves, Bernardo de Torres and a good number of others appear as both FBI and CIA sources.  Some like Ruby and Sturgis moved up the scale with either the FBI or the CIA, others simply kept going back to both the CIA and FBI with information – possibly to establish some sort of legitimacy and at times to dump dirt on individuals or groups they felt to be competitors. It is not uncommon to find that people who themselves walk a line in regards to criminal and subversive activities initiating contacts with either the Bureau or the Agency.

As far as the surveillance aspect of all this, that is a story in itself, but at its most basic, the NSA is mandated to perform surveillance not only on foreign entities’ military and diplomatic communications but also communications related to foreign contacts with individuals who may be providing information to or potentially acting as witting or unwitting tools of foreign powers. It receives “collections” lists of foreign individuals, government entities and commercial entities which may serve as covers for intelligence collection, espionage, criminal activities such as drug and weapons sales – and of course terrorism.

The surveillance lists can obviously be quite extensive and has grown in recent years as more and more individuals have begun doing business with Russia and China and as the terror threat expanded globally.  Matters escalate if material is collected that suggests that either illegal activities (including individuals acting as agents for foreign powers who have not filed the correct legal paperwork declaring such activities) are in progress – at that point the FBI may decide to pursue the issue with independent intelligence collection and surveillance of the American citizens involved. Such action requires submission and approval by a FISA court.

Obviously this is a far more complex subject than be covered in a blog post, some aspects of it are detailed in my book Surprise Attack.  Other areas are explored in considerable depth in Creating Chaos, which should be out as an eBook next month.  As always, if you have questions, feel free to post here or to email me direct at larryjoe@westok.net

 

Signatures and Profiles

 

Signatures and Profiles – these terms have serious and familiar meanings in criminal investigations, however they are both important in the context of national security – where they have considerably different applications.

In my recent posts I mentioned that the DIA has responsibilities in regard to the national signatures program. In that context signatures are highly technical – as illustrated in the linked description for a missile warnings systems facility which works towards the protection of U.S. Navy aircraft against hostile missile systems.

https://catalog.data.gov/dataset/missile-warning-system-facility-7ce05

The same sort of signature work has to be done to address weapons threats to aircraft, ships, space assets and ground forces. As you can imagine the total inventory of weapons/threat signatures is vast and constantly changing.  And in an age of drones, hyper-sonic missiles, and air and sea deployable smart weapons, life is becoming even more complex.  Not only is the maneuverability of unmanned and swarm type drone systems hard to fathom, their ability to violate the previous norms of manned craft in terms of acceleration and deceleration is nothing short of amazing. If you watched the opening of the Winter Olympics and saw the mini-drones form shifting and moving complexes of actual figures, imagine that in terms of hostile action rather than three dimensional real time imaging. But that is only half of the issue.

The other half of the security equation is threat profiling. Even if you can track something, even if you can detect and classify elements of its signature, when do you act against it as a threat? To illustrate that point I’ll give three examples.  First, when the Japanese carrier launched air armada was closing in on Pearl Harbor it was detected by radar, and reported.  The radar was mapping a large swarm of aircraft, moving towards Pearl Harbor…signatures were clear.  But the signature also matched, so some extent, flights of incoming bombers from the American west coast and was not acted on.  And the radar sighting was not “fused” with actual Navy attacks on unidentified submarines that same morning (these days we have warnings “fusion centers” which are supposed to allow us to avoid such mistakes). The military in Hawaii had spent a good bit of time profiling carrier attacks against the island but until all the pieces were put together at the same time the threat was not noted – and then it was far too late.

Another example comes from the Atlanta Olympics, during that event there was extensive security discussion about attacks by hijacked aircraft. The issue of signature and identification was brought up and the issue of aircraft tracking was immediately raised – since the American air defense network had been discontinued, it would all depend on aircraft based transponders and if a transponder was turned off the signature disappeared. The Air Force had profiled and practiced attacks by commercial airliners, but only airliners with operational transponders. Because no threat profile for silenced aircraft was developed, no tactics were developed in response to such a threat – a failure which became dramatically apparent in 2001.

All of which brings me back to the fact that if nothing else, recent revelations have brought us three very interesting real life incidents in which Navy pilots – and in two instances, entire Navy carrier strike groups – have encountered unidentified aerial objects which provide an illustration of what happens when signatures and profiles don’t match anticipated threats. Details of the incidents are still emerging and the extent to which other instances have happened may never become public. What we do know is that in one instance a carrier strike group performing pre-deployment exercises off southern California experienced overflights of unknowns at extremely high altitudes over a period of several days.  The flights involved from three to nine objects, tracked by radar at 80,000 feet and at speeds of ten to one hundred miles an hour. That radar signature doesn’t really match any foreign weapons systems so the tracks were simply treated as anomalies.

But after a few days the objects began to be tracked in descents from eighty thousand feet to twenty thousand feet at speeds, and with G forces, beyond that of any known device (tens of thousands of mph and with G loads of close to 50).  The objects were then radar tracked descending to sea level and moving up and down including simply holding position, motionless.  Again, this profile matches no known threat.

Ultimately, when more objects were detected descending into an area where carrier group air exercises were being conducted extended, the issue was classified as a potential safety hazard and interceptors were dispatched to identify the devices.  What happened at that point is another story indeed, the objects were imaged and recorded in both visual and infrared as well as radar tracked by the interceptors. And absolutely none of the technical signatures or observed performance made any sense. These incidents were indeed transmitted to DIA and pertinent records such as radar scope videos were secured.  Which leaves us with one more, hopefully minor, national security mystery. However given the fact that we don’t appear to possess any weapons systems that could deal with such devices, it would probably be best if they don’t turn out to be a threat. It’s just not good when you have a signature and a profile of what appears to be, at a minimum, ferreting operations by an unknown source – but you literally can’t do anything about it.

UFOs and the Defense Intelligence Agency

 

One of the national security subjects I have tackled in a number of books is that of threat, indications and warnings.  It was big part of Surprise Attack and, perhaps not surprisingly, of Unidentified.

Recently the subject of warnings intelligence surfaced in news that the Defense Intelligence Agency had established a project dealing with UFOs, beginning in 2007 and extending over a number of years. That news is especially interesting because it reveals a good deal about matters ranging from Congressional budgeting, to the internal operations of agencies such as DIA and on to the issues of warnings and anomalous flying objects. I will be covering the story in a new edition of Unidentified but the following is a very brief synopsis of how the DIA came to be involved in a UFO project – a subject to which, as an organization, it ultimately showed no long term commitment.

For context, it also needs to be stated that both foreign military and terror intelligence collections and threat and warnings advisories are a core task of the DIA. The Agency operates regional centers and a 24/7 threat office in support of American combat commands worldwide. DIA’s mission includes not only real time intelligence and warnings support for American combat commands but its Directorate of Science and Technology has the responsibility for technical collection and analysis intended to identify new missile and space threats – and profile both vulnerabilities and defensive measures associated with foreign technology.

The DIA’s Directorate of Science and Technology oversees the work of the Defense Collections Group, the Collections Operations Center, the Science and Technology Analysis Group, the National Signatures Program and the Overhead Non-Imaging Infrared Group. Identifying new aerospace devices, especially potential weapons – and profiling their technical “signatures” and performance capabilities is a core task.

Given DIA’s mission, coming across the existence of a program titled “Advanced Aerospace Weapons Systems Program (AAWSA)” existing within the Directorate of Science and Technology and serving as an adjunct to the Warnings Office is no great surprise. Certainly DIA personnel routinely conduct work focused on just such emerging weapons systems, but as an intelligence agency DIA is notoriously hesitant to identify its organizational structure beyond a relatively high level.

Although the details of the story are still a subject of great debate – and argument – within the UFO research community, the basics appear to be as follows. According to several of the individuals involved, including Harry Reid himself, the DIA effort may have come into existence relatively recently, as of 2007, created under a special earmarked budget appropriation initiated by Reid and his associates. We do know that the project involved two major areas of work, one was the commissioning of some 38 technical studies related to theoretical propulsion systems, guidance and stealth – areas in which breakthroughs might be incorporated into advanced air and space vehicles. The justification for the studies was the possibility that such technologies might actually involve in certain military observations, incidents which could reveal highly advanced technology being deployed by potential adversaries, including the Russians and Chinese.

The majority of these studies appear to have been unclassified, we even have samples of some of them:

https://media.lasvegasnow.com/nxsglobal/lasvegasnow/document_dev/2018/05/04/Advanced_Space_Propulsion_1525479713208_41686961_ver1.0.pdf

https://media.lasvegasnow.com/nxsglobal/lasvegasnow/document_dev/2018/05/04/Warp_Drive_Dark_Energy_1525479960070_41686974_ver1.0.pdf

However, there was another aspect of the program, one much more oriented to extremely anomalous and “exotic” incidents.  That aspect was driven by the interest of Reid, certain of his Congressional associates and influential private figures – all of whom felt there was something very real in the overall UFO phenomenon. In addressing that aspect of the problem, a contract of some ten million dollars was let to Bigelow aerospace, which in turn set up its own facilities and hired a staff of investigators and analysts.  The exact nature of their work, their studies and the distribution of their work products within DIA is unknown as of this time but it did occur for several years, up to 2012 when the special funding faded away.

Based on press reports and statements from Luis Elizondo (its former head) it appears that beginning in 2012 and into 2017, work transitioned into a project known as the “Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Project” (AATIP) – focused largely on the examination of actual military encounters with highly anomalous aerial objects. Elizondo himself describes being frustrated by the lack of access to classified incidents and information, relying instead on a network of interested individuals and groups in various agencies and services.

Ultimately, with limited ongoing interest inside DIA and a failure to receive access to classified materials, Elizondo himself left the project. Comments by Elizondo also suggest that there was a generally negative response from the various elements of the overall intelligence community – consistent with the fact that the community itself did not originate the project nor establish a priority for the subject within its own threat categories. The extent to which either the Bigelow investigations and reports or Elizondo’s AATIP efforts made it into the DIA system, or within the DIA Science and Technology Directorate, particularly to its Analysis staff, not a matter of public record at this time.

Killing King interview

I’ll get back to regular posting in a bit but for those who may show up here without having become updated on our newest work (Killing King, by Stu Wexler and myself) on the  MLK assassination conspiracy, the link below will take you to a highly focused and very good interview which covers all the basic elements – along with a brief discussion of where I currently stand on the JFK conspiracy at the end.

https://www.spreaker.com/episode/14630879

 

 

 

HSCA Dialog

As I’ve mentioned before, Chuck Ochelli, Carmine Savastano and I have been involved for some months in a deep JFK discussion, largely dealing with the various inquiries and investigations into the Kennedy assassination. This past week we focused in on the HSCA in a part 1 chat about the committee itself.  Next time we move on to the evidence they examined and their determination of conspiracy – a determination based on a good bit more than the police dictabelt tests, which are sometimes cited as the only reason for that conclusion.

Generally speaking we try to get into details about the investigations themselves, to a level that isn’t generally discussed on forums which focus totally on suspects, theories and scenarios.  Not that those things don’t come up but we are looking for a deeper view as to the internal operations of the inquiries.

Admittedly we do ramble at times and each of us has our opinions as to why there has been so much stumbling in the investigations when so many issues with the original FBI investigation and the Warren Commission report are quite obvious.

In any event, for anyone who has not studied the investigations in depth, and especially the origins, formation and evolution of the HSCA, you might want to give a listen.

 

Security Concerns

It is standard practice for new military recruits to receive training on classification of information, the handling of classified information and general security practices.  In respect to their assignments the subject of unit/operational communications security (comsec) also addressed within each of the services.

Unfortunately recent experiences in which Russian forces captured private information from the personal cell phone transmissions of military personnel – and then harassed them by sending back versions of that same information – suggest that there is a grave lack of wireless security in respect to personal equipment (including tablet, laptop, cell phone and even gaming device) use. Wireless communications of any sort can disclose an amazing amount of operational military information.

That’s bad enough – but recent news shows that a lack of understanding of communications security can be dangerous at the highest levels of government. As I noted in a recent post, many people in DC still have not grasped the means by which information warfare is conducted on the internet and in social media. Equally concerning is that they may well have no comprehension of exactly how exposed their personnel cell and wireless network usage has become.

To that extent I was sad to see CSI Cyper go off television a season or two ago, the series did a great job of illustrating a host of exposures I’m virtually sure that many folks in Washington don’t appreciate. There is absolutely no doubt that cell phone and wireless networks are increasingly under constant attack by intelligence services of all stripes.

Most recently that threat has become so overriding that the government has even gone public, warning that cellphone-site simulators and other sophisticated wireless surveillance equipment is most definitely being used in Washington D.C.

https://www.usnews.com/news/technology/articles/2018-04-03/apnewsbreak-dhs-finds-suspected-phone-spying-in-washington

I have no clue as to whether or not Congresspersons, staff or even Cabinet level officers have been briefed or trained on communications security related to their cell phones and wireless devices. What I do know is that the issue has been a very real one for past Presidents and that their advisors and staff have had serious challenges in getting them to use secure equipment and adhere to security protocols.

The extent to which that issue could become more dangerous is also reflected in a recent news article.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/23/politics/donald-trump-cell-phone/index.html

During a period of numerous international negotiations and constantly increasing information warfare, communications security in Washington D.C. becomes as important as it is with military forces engaged in operations in hostile territory. The concern is how many people in senior leadership truly internalize that in an era of “untethered” wireless communications.

 

Hoover and MLK

During our recent Coast to Coast show one of the subjects that came up, as it routinely does, was Hoover’s obsession with MLK – due to MLK’s taking the FBI to task for not inserting itself into the racial violence in the south. That is a subject we deal with at some length in Killing King and it is clear that Hoover directed a literal personal vendetta against King.

Other than his ire with anyone making negative remarks about the Bureau, the only real piece of information that fed Hoover’s vendetta – and gave it any legs at all – was the fact that one of MLK’s early associates, a legal advisor and fund raiser had admittedly been politically a communist in earlier years.  That fact was made known to King but he considered it ancient history and refused to totally disassociate himself from a long time friend and someone who was clearly a civil rights supporter.

Hoover used that piece of information extensively against MLK, over a number of years. Its certainly true that he developed what can only be thought of as a hatred for King and that he directed a number of extremely dirty tricks at MLK.  On the other hand, its important to know that many of those same dirty tricks were directed at a number of other individuals and by 1968 had become standard FBI practices in targeting a wide range of individuals and groups, from racial agitators to anti-war protesters.  To fully appreciate how broad such campaigns became, I would encourage the reading of a great work on those excess, Spying on America.

If you were not involved in protests in the late 1960s it may shock you, if  you were you may not be at all surprised.

What often does not get discussed however is the extent to which Hoover’s obsession was becoming self defeating by 1968.  Stu and I have reviewed a series of anti-King FBI documents related to the upcoming Poor People’s March on Washington as well as reports and memorandum Hoover was circulating to various agencies and senior administration officials. It becomes clear that the warnings were so repetitive and the smears so obvious that Hoover was literally beginning to be ignored – his prejudices were just to obvious and his tirades to blatant.

The FBI tactics that were being prepared to oppose the Washington march even sound trivial – including renting all the buses in certain areas so no transportation would be available to the march organizers. As an illustration of how Hoover was beginning to be ignored, even his request to tap the phones at MLKs march headquarters was rejected by the Attorney General.

All in all, the take away from all the documents and correspondence is that Hoover himself remained obsessed with King, but at other senior levels of FBI leadership, the concerns being expressed were much more about the violence being advocated by other black leaders and activists groups, not about King and his peaceful protest initiatives.

Announcements

Two pieces of news to share, one short term and the other a bit further out.

First, my friend Stu Wexler and I will be on the Coast to Coast radio show late Monday night/early Tuesday morning. The good news is that we go on first – so if you can make it up to midnight Central time you can listen live. Its more of a stretch for the east cost and easy for the folks out west.  If  you can’t make it up that late, it will be archived.

Stu and I will be interviewed on the MLK assassination and our new book Killing King.  I’m anticipating it will be lively.  The link for the show schedule is here:

https://www.coasttocoastam.com/show/2018/04/16

The second piece of news is that Creating Chaos is now in the last  stages of publication. The final proof is ready and I have about a week to go through it again and perhaps add a minor about of verbiage to update certain areas of contemporary events. We want to make it as absolutely current as possible at the time of publication – certainly a challenge in today’s news world.

Most importantly, the book is also available for pre-order now, with some significant discounts.  It will initially come out as an ebook in June and then it will be released in paper this September. That’s a bit of a reverse but it gets it out in circulation as early as possible, which is important to me and to the publisher, especially given many of its implications in regard to current events. .

You can find it at the publisher’s site for pre-order and it is up on Amazon as well. The publishers link is below.

http://www.orbooks.com/catalog/creating-chaos-by-larry-hancock/

 

Congressional Miss?

I’ve only been able to hear a sampling of the committee interviews with Zuckerburg but it seems to me that most of the dialog is totally missing a very large point by focusing only on personal data being collected and abused.

If you step back a bit you have to admit that the value add for most social network sites of any stripe – the free ones that is – lies in the extent to which they can provide you with content that is especially meaningful to  you.  That means people you want to connect with, topics you want to follow, products you would be interested in or even products you might like to buy.

To be able to do that the service has to collect information on  you beyond just the basics. And it has to make that information or at least some level of targeted access available to people who will pay for it. Ideally there would be a virtual wall between your personal information and the folks who want to reach  you, facilitated by the social media site. Of course such virtually walls are readily breached and hey, lots of folks already have your personal information including  your credit history and all your shopping information by direct hacking of  your credit bureau, bank, insurance company or retailer – that’s just reality.

Yet Zuckerburg’s Congressional interviews to date have almost totally focused on data theft, including his own.

They have not focused on Facebook – or others – as true media companies, companies which need to have a plan to either shield you from bad actors trying to get information to you (not from  you) or at a minimum give you some insight into the type of information  you are encountering (is it advertising, who is it coming from, was it vetted to any level, is it coming from somehow with a history of bad practices).

In the olden days there was a quaint idea that your media might differentiate fact from opinion, news from editorial and everything else from advertisements (we marketing types tried our best to sneak around that with advertorials and other more devious tactics of course).  But generally the media accepted some responsibility (subliminal messages were removed from movies, a sad day for sales of candy and sodas).

So…has Congress completely missed the issue of information going out via Facebook and others…and the possible need to regulate that…or did I miss it in the few hours of testimony I heard.  If it didn’t get better than that I begin to wonder what sort of staffers they have developing questions for them.