The primary thought that came to my head seeing Trump take the oath of office in front of the Capitol was “wow this is most absurd thing in the world”. The entire ceremony was one absurd thing after another.
I love Madonna for her music, but I love her even more for her election analysis as it relates to women. Women who voted for Donald Trump (including my mom) have a deep distrust/hatred of other women simply because they are women. They believe in women having a proper place in society which is the home. They looked at Hillary and saw a traitor to what being a woman meant. My mom would talk about how crooked Hillary was, and she talked about the emails as if Hillary was handing the soviets all of our secrets. In my opinion, it’s dumb to debate Hillary’s crookedness because it’s a moot point. What Trump demonstrated through the election was a lot of male rhetoric used to answer questions which allowed him to provide no details to his ideas for his policies which appeal to a society that loves discriminates.
I was amazed that my mom could still support Trump after the “grab her by the p*ssy” comments. My mom would rather her daughter meet Trump than Hillary. And that to me is terribly sad. It’s disheartening to see my sister trying to make sense of how my mom could ignore everything Trump said and hate Hillary with such vitriol. My mom would try to distance herself by saying that she really dislikes both of them, but in reality, Trump could do anything, and she’d vote for him over Hillary. What’s so sad to me is that I’m a minority! Most of the country is drinking the Trump kool aid. Will we ever wake up?
I want to ask you about ageism in the music world. In Hollywood, as you know, it’s rare for women to find great roles as they get older. I imagine it’s even tougher to be a woman of a certain age in pop music. When you go into the studio or mount a tour like Rebel Heart, are you concerned about staying relevant?
I don’t care. It’s the rest of society that cares. I don’t ever think about my age until someone says something about it. I feel that I have wisdom, experience, knowledge and a point of view that is important. Can a teenager relate to that? Probably not. But that’s OK. I understand that. “Relevance” is a catchphrase that people throw out because we live in a world full of discrimination. Age is only brought up with regard to women. It’s connected to sexism, chauvinism and misogyny. When Leonardo is 60 years old, no one is going to talk about his relevance. Am I relevant as a female in this society that hates women? Well, to people who are educated and are not chauvinists or misogynists, yes.
Speaking of: How did you feel about the outcome of the election?
It felt like someone died. It felt like a combination of the heartbreak and betrayal you feel when someone you love more than anything leaves you, and also a death. I feel that way every morning; I wake up and say, “Oh, wait, Donald Trump is still the president,” and it wasn’t a bad dream that I had. It feels like women betrayed us. The percentage of women who voted for Trump was insanely high.
Why do you think that is?
Women hate women. That’s what I think it is. Women’s nature is not to support other women. It’s really sad. Men protect each other, and women protect their men and children. Women turn inward and men are more external. A lot of it has do with jealousy and some sort of tribal inability to accept that one of their kind could lead a nation. Other people just didn’t bother to vote because they didn’t like either candidate, or they didn’t think Trump had a chance in the world. They took their hands off the wheel and then the car crashed.
Were you surprised?
Of course. I was devastated, surprised, in shock. I haven’t really had a good night’s sleep since he has been elected. We’re f—ed.
Do you know anyone who voted for Trump?
Yeah, and I’ve gotten into major arguments.
What did they say?
That they would rather have a successful businessman running the country than a woman who lies. Just absurd. But people don’t have faith in government as we know it. We live in a country that’s run by bankers. In a way, it makes sense that Donald Trump is the president. Because money rules. Not intelligence, not experience, not a moral compass, not the ability to make wise decisions, not the ability to think of the future of the human race.
Check out the full interview with Madonna here.
- David Ferrie
- James Files*
- Sam Giancana
- Carlos Marcello
- Charles Nicoletti
- John Roselli
- Jack Ruby
- Jimmy Hoffa
- Santo Trafficante Jr.
- Allen Dulles
- Clay Shaw
- Cord Meyer
- David Atlee Phillips**
- E. Howard Hunt
- George de Mohrenschildt*
- James Jesus Angleton
- Richard Helms
- William Harvey
- Robert Maheu
- David Sanchez Morales
- Richard Bissell, Jr.
- Lee Harvey Oswald*
- Ruth Paine
By Harry S. Truman Copyright, 1963,
by Harry S Truman INDEPENDENCE, MO., Dec. 21
I think it has become necessary to take another look at the purpose and operations of our Central Intelligence Agency—CIA. At least, I would like to submit here the original reason why I thought it necessary to organize this Agency during my Administration, what I expected it to do and how it was to operate as an arm of the President.
I think it is fairly obvious that by and large a President’s performance in office is as effective as the information he has and the information he gets. That is to say, that assuming the President himself possesses a knowledge of our history, a sensitive understanding of our institutions, and an insight into the needs and aspirations of the people, he needs to have available to him the most accurate and up-to-the-minute information on what is going on everywhere in the world, and particularly of the trends and developments in all the danger spots in the contest between East and West. This is an immense task and requires a special kind of an intelligence facility.
Of course, every President has available to him all the information gathered by the many intelligence agencies already in existence. The Departments of State, Defense, Commerce, Interior and others are constantly engaged in extensive information gathering and have done excellent work.
But their collective information reached the President all too frequently in conflicting conclusions. At times, the intelligence reports tended to be slanted to conform to established positions of a given department. This becomes confusing and what’s worse, such intelligence is of little use to a President in reaching the right decisions.
Therefore, I decided to set up a special organization charged with the collection of all intelligence reports from every available source, and to have those reports reach me as President without department “treatment” or interpretations.
I wanted and needed the information in its “natural raw” state and in as comprehensive a volume as it was practical for me to make full use of it. But the most important thing about this move was to guard against the chance of intelligence being used to influence or to lead the President into unwise decisions—and I thought it was necessary that the President do his own thinking and evaluating.
Since the responsibility for decision making was his—then he had to be sure that no information is kept from him for whatever reason at the discretion of any one department or agency, or that unpleasant facts be kept from him. There are always those who would want to shield a President from bad news or misjudgments to spare him from being “upset.”
For some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas.
I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations. Some of the complications and embarrassment I think we have experienced are in part attributable to the fact that this quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue—and a subject for cold war enemy propaganda.
With all the nonsense put out by Communist propaganda about “Yankee imperialism,” “exploitive capitalism,” “war-mongering,” “monopolists,” in their name-calling assault on the West, the last thing we needed was for the CIA to be seized upon as something akin to a subverting influence in the affairs of other people.
I well knew the first temporary director of the CIA, Adm. Souers, and the later permanent directors of the CIA, Gen. Hoyt Vandenberg and Allen Dulles. These were men of the highest character, patriotism and integrity—and I assume this is true of all those who continue in charge.
But there are now some searching questions that need to be answered. I, therefore, would like to see the CIA be restored to its original assignment as the intelligence arm of the President, and that whatever else it can properly perform in that special field—and that its operational duties be terminated or properly used elsewhere.
We have grown up as a nation, respected for our free institutions and for our ability to maintain a free and open society. There is something about the way the CIA has been functioning that is casting a shadow over our historic position and I feel that we need to correct it.
Lane, Mark. Last Word: My Indictment of the CIA in the Murder of JFK (pp. 239-241). Skyhorse Publishing. Kindle Edition.
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I used to drive to Hollywood, Florida, with Russell for meetings at Joe Sonken’s Gold Coast Lounge quite a bit. Once in a while we’d fly if there was some emergency, but most of the time I drove us down. Joe Sonken was with Russell’s family. Everybody went to the Gold Coast for meetings. All the different people from all over the country met at the Gold Coast. They had the best stone crabs in Florida. Russell would meet there with Santo Trafficante from Florida and Carlos Marcello from New Orleans many times over the course of a year.
I met Trafficante’s lawyer there, Frank Ragano. They loaned Frank Ragano to Jimmy to help him out with the trials he ended up having on account of Bobby and the Get Hoffa Squad. I met Carlos Marcello’s pilot there, too, a guy named Dave Ferrie. They later said he was gay, but if he was he didn’t make a pass at me. He still had his hair when I met him. They say he went a little nutty later on and carried a makeup kit around with him. You could tell he hated Castro with a passion, and he was very close to the anti-Castro Cubans in Florida. One morning a couple of weeks after the meeting at the Gold Coast where I met Dave Ferrie, I was back in Philly at the local and I got a call from Jimmy Hoffa, who told me to go check on that thing we talked about. That meant I should go to the pay phone I used to use and to wait for a phone call.
I got over to the pay phone and when it rang I heard Jimmy’s voice, say “Is that you?” I told him, “Yeah.” He said: “I talked to your friend and he told me to tell you. Get your hands on a safe rig tomorrow and go down to the Harry C. Campbell concrete plant on Eastern Avenue outside of Baltimore. You can’t miss it. Bring somebody to help you drive. You’re going over the road. And don’t forget to call your friend.” I hung up and called Russell from the pay phone and I said to Russell that I had heard from that guy, and Russell said that was good and we hung up.
I drove up to Philly to see Phil Milestone at Milestone Hauling. He owed some big money that he couldn’t pay, so he was doing favors instead, like he had me on the payroll but I didn’t have to work. He was an old time bootlegger. Good people. He was safe to get a truck from; he was no rat. Phil ended up doing time for trying to bribe an IRS agent. Phil gave me a truck and I got ahold of a young guy named Jack Flynn to drive with me. (Jack died young sitting in his car of a heart attack when I was back in school on a parole violation in 1995. I made a call and got his girlfriend a union death benefit.)
We drove the Milestone Hauling truck to Baltimore and pulled into the Campbell plant. I’ve been down there lately to find it and it’s got a new name, Bonsal. It’s more built up, with a few more buildings, but the old stone buildings are still there. In 1961 when we drove in it had a little landing strip. The landing strip had a small plane on it, and Carlos Marcello’s pilot who I had just met at the Gold Coast, Dave Ferrie, got out of the plane and came over to my rig and directed us to back up next to some army trucks. We backed up and all of a sudden this gang of soldiers came out of a building and began unloading military uniforms and weapons and ammunition from their army trucks and loading it all onto our truck. Dave Ferrie told me that the war materiel being loaded was from the Maryland National Guard. He gave me paperwork on the load in case we got stopped. He told me to take it to the dog track in Orange Grove, Florida, outside of Jacksonville. He said I’d be met there by a guy with big ears named Hunt.
We drove straight down old Route 13. I used to drive coffee down to Florida for Food Fair and haul back oranges. I used to like to stop for those Lums chili dogs. You didn’t get them in the North. It took us about twenty-one hours to get there, and we turned the load over to Hunt and some anti-Castro Cubans. Jack Flynn stayed down in Florida to drive the rig back and I flew back to Philly. Hunt later turned up on TV as the one in charge of the Watergate burglars, E. Howard Hunt, but at that time he was connected to the CIA somehow. Hunt also got some kind of operation on his ears, because the next time I saw him his ears were closer to his head. I drove up to Kingston to give Russell a report on the matter, and he told me that something was going to be happening in Cuba and that’s why Jimmy called me to drive the truck down to Florida. He told me that Jimmy Hoffa was keeping an open mind about the Kennedys.
Jimmy was cooperating in this out of respect for Sam Giancana and out of respect for Russell, and because it would be good for everybody’s sake to take back Cuba from the Communists. Even if it would turn out to be good for the Kennedys. Then the next thing I heard on television that April was that President Kennedy had loused up the Bay of Pigs invasion against Castro. At the last minute Kennedy decided not to send American air cover for the infantry in the amphibious landing. I would have thought John F. Kennedy would have known better than that from having been in the war. You cannot have a landing invasion force without air support. The anti-Castro Cubans who invaded didn’t even have ships offshore to shell the land above the beachhead. The invasion forces were sitting ducks on that beach. The ones that weren’t killed outright were captured by the Communists, and who knows what happened to a lot of those guys. These Kennedys could louse up a one-car funeral, I thought.
I flew down to the Gold Coast with Russell to meet with Santo Trafficante and some of the people. I never heard anything said by any of the people, including Russell, about any plot they had with the Kennedy government to assassinate Castro with poison or a bullet, but some of that came out about ten years later in the newspapers. They used to say the alleged mob only whacked their own. Maybe they figured Castro was a lot like them. In his way, he was a boss. Castro had a crew and he had a territory, and he violated his territory and he came into their territory and took over their valuable property and kicked them out. No boss is supposed to get away with that. I can tell you that some of the different people at Joe Sonken’s viewed old man Kennedy as one of their own. And in a way they no doubt viewed his sons Jack and Bobby as part of his crew.
Johnny Roselli was one of the IRS’s first targets. He lived the glamorous life in Hollywood and Las Vegas, yet he had no job nor any visible means of support. Under prior attorneys general it had never occurred to him that he was vulnerable to the government. Roselli told the brother of the former mayor of Los Angeles: “They are looking into me all the time — and threatening people and looking for enemies and looking for friends.” What made Roselli even angrier was that he suspected that Bobby Kennedy knew that Roselli was allied with the CIA in its operations against Castro. Roselli was later quoted as saying, “Here I am helping the government, helping the country, and that little son of a bitch is breaking my balls.” Around the same time, the IRS assessed Carlos Marcello $835,000 in back taxes and penalties. At that time Marcello was still fighting deportation and was under indictment for perjury and for falsifying his birth certificate. Russell Bufalino was also fighting deportation.
One morning, a few days to a week before November 22, 1963, I got a call from Jimmy to go to the pay phone. When I got there the only thing Jimmy said to me was, “Go see your friend.” I drove up to Russell’s and when he answered the door all he told me to do was, “Go see our friends in Brooklyn. They’ve got something for you to take to Baltimore.” That was not like Russell. He was setting the tone for whatever this was. I turned around and drove to Monte’s Restaurant in Brooklyn. It was a hangout for the Genovese people. It’s the oldest Italian restaurant in New York City. It’s in South Brooklyn, not far from the Gowanus Canal. Excellent food. To the left of the restaurant they have their own parking lot. I parked and went in and stood at the bar. Tony Pro got up from his table and went to the back and returned with a duffel bag. He handed it to me and told me, “Go down to Campbell’s Cement in Baltimore where you went that time with the truck. Our friend’s pilot will be there. He’s waiting for this.” You didn’t have to spend all that time in combat to know you had a duffel bag with three rifles in it. I knew it was rifles, but I had no idea what it was.
When I got there, Carlos’s pilot, Dave Ferrie, was there with another guy I knew from Monte’s who was with Genovese. He’s gone now, but he has a nice family. There’s no reason to bring his name into it. He said, “How’s your friend?” I said, “He’s doing good.” He said, “You got something for us?” With the tone Russell had set, I didn’t even get out of my car. I gave him the keys. He opened the trunk, took the bag, we said good-bye, and away I went home.
Two years after the Warren Commission released its 1964 report, Bobby Kennedy told his brother Jack’s former White House aide Richard Goodwin, “I never thought it was the Cubans. If anyone was involved it was organized crime. But there is nothing I can do about it. Not now.” At the time Bobby Kennedy made these statements to former White House officials who were his friends, he knew more about the inner game of organized crime than any “outsider” in the country. Bobby Kennedy certainly knew that, in the absence of a mob war, bosses did not ever eliminate another boss’s underboss. It would bring major retaliation. To effect a desired change in policy, mob bosses have traditionally eliminated — and still eliminate — bosses, not underbosses. On an international scale it is called regime change. To the Italian bosses it is merely a matter of following the old Sicilian maxim that to kill a dog you don’t cut off its tail, you cut off its head.
In school Jimmy talked a lot about Partin. Frank Ragano was supposed to be getting an affidavit from Partin that the government set Jimmy up. There was a D.A. in New Orleans who arrested Partin, and they were supposed to get that D.A. off Partin’s back in exchange for the affidavit. The same D.A. arrested Walter Sheridan for bribery, and that was supposed to help Jimmy by making Sheridan look bad in the papers. All that help came from Russell’s and Jimmy’s good friend, Carlos Marcello, the boss in New Orleans who had the D.A. That was the same D.A. that was arresting everybody for the JFK assassination. Sometimes a friendly D.A. acts like a bird dog to flush rats out of the weeds. When the rat surfaces to cooperate with the D.A., then the people know what to do. I don’t know about that D.A. I was never a party to any discussions about him. But he did arrest Partin and Sheridan during this time.
About a year after Jimmy went in, Bobby Kennedy announced that he was going to run for president. As far as I could tell that didn’t affect Jimmy at all because Jimmy was already supporting Nixon from jail, getting deliveries of cash down to Mitchell and the Nixon campaign. Jimmy was just glad that Bobby was no longer the attorney general. Everybody approved of Lyndon Johnson’s attorney general, Ramsey Clark. He was the opposite of Bobby Kennedy. He didn’t bother anybody. He was the one they used to call Pamsey Clark. He was against wiretaps. A couple of months later Bobby Kennedy got it from the terrorist. I know Jimmy lost no sleep over that, but Jimmy hardly mentioned it. I think all of Jimmy’s focus was on getting out. He kept up with events through all the papers that he always read, but he didn’t waste his breath on what was happening on the outside unless it had something to do with getting him out. I do believe Jimmy hated jail way more than he ever hated Bobby.
Sam Giancana was going to help John F. Kennedy against Nixon and so were Giancana’s buddy Frank Sinatra and practically all of Hollywood. Giancana said he was going to fix the election in Illinois so Kennedy would win that state. Jimmy couldn’t believe his ears. Jimmy tried to talk him out of it. Jimmy told him nobody could control Bobby because he was mental. Jimmy said people went to the old man during the McClellan Committee hearings and he couldn’t do anything about either one of his millionaire kids.
Giancana told Jimmy that Kennedy was going to help them get Castro out of Cuba so they could get their casinos back. Jimmy said that they were crazy to trust those Kennedy boys after what they did in the McClellan hearings.
Jimmy said Nixon was still going to beat Kennedy and Nixon would help them in Cuba.
Giancana said the whole thing happened in Cuba under Eisenhower and Nixon, so what good were the Republicans?
It was something to listen to this. It was only a couple of years after Apalachin let everybody know there was such a thing as this La Cosa Nostra. And here they were talking about whether the Chicago outfit should or should not fix a presidential election. Growing up wherever you grew up you knew the local elections were fixed. You knew the local Philly elections or whatever were fixed, but this was something, and this high-level talk was all going on right in front of me.
I knew how important Cuba was to my friends in the East and all their friends in the country. Russell had taken me with him to Cuba just when Castro was starting to kick everybody out and confiscate their casinos and racetracks and houses and bank accounts and everything else they owned in Cuba. I never saw Russell madder than on that trip to Cuba, and I wasn’t even on the last trip he made where he was even madder because his friend Santo Trafficante from Florida had been arrested by the Communists and was being held in jail. I heard a rumor that Sam Giancana had to send Jack Ruby to Cuba to spread some money around to get Santo out.
Later that same year John F. Kennedy was elected president by a thin margin. The first thing he did was appoint his brother attorney general of the United States. This put Bobby in charge of the Justice Department, all of the United States attorneys, and of the FBI and the FBI director, J. Edgar Hoover. And the first thing Bobby Kennedy did was turn against the very men who helped elect his brother. For the first time in American history an attorney general committed his office to the eradication of organized crime. Toward that end, Bobby Kennedy formed a squad of lawyers and investigators within the Justice Department, and he put in charge of that squad his old right-hand man during the McClellan Committee hearings, Walter Sheridan. Bobby Kennedy chose the members of the squad himself. He gave the squad a very limited job to do and gave the squad a very subtle name: “The Get Hoffa Squad.” Everything, and I mean everything, came as a result of that.
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By Monday 25 November, Oswald was dead and the tapes—along with the voice of the impersonator—had disappeared. The cables from Mexico about Oswald’s visits to the Cuban Consulate were gone too and, along with them, a CIA operation in Mexico involving the alleged assassin of the president. Johnson was now free to head off any congressional investigations with his WWIII trump card and impose a cover story on the American people saying that Oswald, alone, had pulled off the crime. Meanwhile, at the TOP SECRET level, memos were circulating about Oswald’s contact with KGB assassination operations, and respected leaders like Senator Richard Russell and Chief Justice Earl Warren fell in line to prevent the assassination of JFK, as the new president put it, “from kicking us into a war that can kill forty million Americans in an hour.”
So who had the means and the insight to design such a plot? Here I offer my own speculation on the answer to that question, knowing that I might be wrong, or a little wrong, or, perhaps right. I believe I have an obligation to offer my views on this and the obligation to admit that I might be wrong.
It is now apparent that the WWIII pretext for a national security cover-up was built into the fabric of the plot to assassinate President Kennedy. The plot required that Oswald be maneuvered into place in Mexico City and his activities there carefully monitored, controlled, and, if necessary, embellished and choreographed. The plot required that, prior to 22 November, Oswald’s profile at CIA HQS and the Mexico station be lowered; his 201 file had to be manipulated and restricted from incoming traffic on his Cuban activities. The plot required that, when the story from Mexico City arrived at HQS, its significance would not be understood by those responsible for reacting to it. Finally, the plot required that, on 22 November, Oswald’s CIA files would establish his connection to Castro and the Kremlin.
The person who designed this plot had to have access to all of the information on Oswald at CIA HQS. The person who designed this plot had to have the authority to alter how information on Oswald was kept at CIA HQS. The person who designed this plot had to have access to project TUMBLEWEED, the sensitive joint agency operation against the KGB assassin, Valery Kostikov. The person who designed this plot had the authority to instigate a counterintelligence operation in the Cuban affairs staff (SAS) at CIA HQS. In my view, there is only one person whose hands fit into these gloves: James Jesus Angleton, Chief of CIA’s Counterintelligence Staff.
Angleton and his molehunters had always held Oswald’s files very close to the vest—from the time of the young Marine’s defection in October 1959 and his offer to provide classified radar information to the Soviets. That offer had lit up the counterintelligence circuits in Washington, D.C., like a Christmas tree. Angleton was the only person who knew—except for perhaps one of his direct subordinates—both the Cuban and Soviet parts of Oswald’s story. He was the only one in the Counterintelligence Staff with enough authority to instigate a counterintelligence operation in the SAS against the FPCC.
In my view, whoever Oswald’s direct handler or handlers were, we must now seriously consider the possibility that Angleton was probably their general manager. No one else in the Agency had the access, the authority, and the diabolically ingenious mind to manage this sophisticated plot. No one else had the means necessary to plant the WWIII virus in Oswald’s files and keep it dormant for six weeks until the president’s assassination. Whoever those who were ultimately responsible for the decision to kill Kennedy were, their reach extended into the national intelligence apparatus to such a degree that they could call upon a person who knew its inner secrets and workings so well that he could design a failsafe mechanism into the fabric of the plot. The only person who could ensure that a national security cover-up of an apparent counterintelligence nightmare was the head of counterintelligence.
Winn Scott died in April 1971. Shortly afterward, James Angleton flew to Mexico City to go through Winn Scott’s records. Angleton removed three cartons and four suitcases of materials, including the contents of Win Scott’s safe.
Newman, John. Oswald and the CIA: The Documented Truth About the Unknown Relationship Between the U.S. Government and the Alleged Killer of JFK (Kindle Locations 12280-12312). Skyhorse Publishing. Kindle Edition.
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They had killed Jack because he and his ally-in-peace Nikita Khrushchev were steering the world away from the Cold War toward peace, thereby eliminating the military-industrial-intelligence complex’s most treasured weapons— the fear of war, the fear of “Communist takeover,” and the manipulative use of Fear itself. The Cold War was about to end, and with it the covert action arm of the Central Intelligence Agency. The Agency would have been all but neutered, its funding and resources cut, its menacing grip on public opinion exposed and eliminated. It also meant the eventual curtailment of many of the defense industries, including the proliferation of nuclear arms. There would have been no war in Southeast Asia or Vietnam; that, too, was about to end. A rapprochement with Fidel Castro and Cuba was on the horizon. Both Jack and Fidel wanted “a lasting peace.”
Little attention had been paid to the parting words of a previous president. President Eisenhower had warned the American public in early 1961 of the evil that had spawned since World War II: “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” Indeed, it had; so much so that in less than three years, anyone who tried to stop it— including the elected president of the United States— would be eliminated.
Simply put, peace— particularly world peace— wasn’t good for business, nor for American military and economic hegemony. Whatever enlightenment Mary and Jack may have finally engendered together, it had evolved into a part of Jack’s newfound trajectory of where he wanted to take not only his presidency in 1963, but the entire world. It was the pursuit of peace that was about to take center stage; and that voyage would no longer include any obsequious bow to the insanity of America’s war machine driven by the legacy of Allen Dulles and his ass-kissing cronies.
After Dallas, amid utter horror and shock, Mary had taken it upon herself to discover and make sense of the truth of the conspiracy that had taken place— only to realize the magnitude of the second conspiracy, a cover-up taking place right before her eyes. There, in her diary, she had reached an understanding. It was her own mosaic of people, events, circumstances, and exploration that informed her understanding— not only of the evil that had taken place in Dallas, but of the villainous darkness that was now enveloping all of America. She had furiously confronted her ex-husband, Cord Meyer, possibly Jim Angleton as well, with what she had discovered, not fully realizing the extent of their own diabolical ruthlessness. The Warren Report was ultimately nothing more than a house of cards; once ignited with the right matchstick, it would be engulfed in flames. If Mary courageously went public with who she was, and what she knew, making clear her position in the final years of Jack’s life, people with influence would take notice; the fire of suspicion around Dallas would erupt into a conflagration. She had to be eliminated.
Janney, Peter. Mary’s Mosaic: The CIA Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy, Mary Pinchot Meyer, and Their Vision for World Peace (pp. 390-391). Skyhorse Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Angleton’s activities ranged from purloining documents at foreign embassies to opening the mail of American citizens (he once jocularly referred to himself as “the postmaster”) to wiretapping the bedrooms of CIA officials. It was his job to be suspicious of everybody, and he was, keeping a treasure trove of sensitive files and photos in the locked vault in his office. Each morning at CIA headquarters, Angleton would report to Dulles on the results of his “fishing expeditions,” as they called his electronic eavesdropping missions, which picked up everything from gossip on the Georgetown party circuit to Washington pillow talk.
As Dulles was well aware, Angleton had even tucked away explosive secrets about the CIA director himself. That is why Dulles had rewarded him with the most sensitive job in the agency, Angleton confided to journalist Joseph Trento near the end of his life. “You know how I got to be in charge of counterintelligence? I agreed not to polygraph or require detailed background checks on Allen Dulles and 60 of his closest friends. They were afraid that their own business dealings with Hitler’s pals would come out.”
Talbot, David. The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government (pp. 333-334). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
Angleton told a friend in British intelligence, “I would kill Philby.” The betrayal was painfully intimate, and it bred a paranoia that bloomed darkly within Angleton. When he was named counterintelligence chief, he saw traitors and signs of Soviet treachery everywhere. His compulsive mole hunting ruined the careers of dozens of CIA agents, doing more to damage agency security than to fortify it. “I couldn’t find that we ever caught a spy under Jim,” said William Colby, the CIA director who finally terminated Angleton’s long tenure in 1975. But under Dulles, Angleton enjoyed free rein to pursue his demons. He dreamed up Cold War phantasms and bogeymen, and then invented all-too-real methods of destroying these horrible apparitions. He operated a kind of virtual CIA within the CIA, reporting only to Dulles himself— and even the top spymaster was not fully aware of his murky activities. “My father once said, ‘I’m not a genius, but in intelligence I am a genius,’” recalled Siri Hari Angleton, who changed her name from Lucy as a young woman, after following her mother and older sister into the Sikh religion.
Talbot, David. The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government (p. 335). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
Dulles entrusted Angleton with the agency’s most vital and sensitive missions. He was the principal CIA liaison with the key foreign intelligence services, including those in frontline Cold War nations like France, West Germany, Turkey, Taiwan, and Yugoslavia, as well as with Mossad, the Israeli spy agency. Angleton developed a special bond with the Israelis, forging a realpolitik relationship, with both parties conveniently overlooking Angleton’s role in the Nazi ratlines after the war. The Israelis maintained close ties to the American espionage oracle until the end of his life. Several members of Mossad came to Angleton’s home as he lay dying in the spring of 1987, to pay their last respects— and perhaps to make certain the vapory Gray Ghost was indeed finally leaving this mortal coil.
Talbot, David. The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government (pp. 336-337). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
Dulles and Angleton shared a disdain for Washington bureaucracy and for the governmental oversight that comes with a functioning democratic system. Later, in the post-Watergate ’70s, when the Church Committee opened its probe of CIA lawbreaking, Angleton was called to account for himself. As he completed his testimony, the Gray Ghost rose from his chair, and, thinking he was now off the record, muttered, “It is inconceivable that a secret intelligence arm of the government has to comply with all the overt orders of the government.” It was a concise articulation of the Angleton philosophy; in his mind, CIA overseers were a priestly caste that, because the fate of the nation had been placed in its hands, must be allowed to operate unfettered and above the law.
Talbot, David. The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government (p. 336). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
Dulles also put Angleton in charge of the CIA’s relationship with the FBI— a delicate task considering the rivalry between the two agencies. At the same time he was working with the federal bureau in charge of fighting organized crime, Angleton was also pursuing a CIA partnership with the Mafia. Angleton possessed one of those rare intellects— and characters— that allowed him to lead a life filled with contradiction. He easily passed back and forth between Washington’s overworld and the criminal underworld. He was the sort of man who could crossbreed a new orchid, cook a delicious pasta with slivered truffles imported from Ristorante Passetto in Rome, and then sit down with a criminal mastermind to discuss the fine points of murder. Though he dined and drank with Georgetown high society, Angleton’s work also brought him into close contact with the agency’s rougher characters, including Shef Edwards’s security cops, who helped install Angleton’s bugs, and Bill Harvey, the hard-drinking gun nut who figured prominently in a number of the agency’s assassination jobs.
It was all of a piece, in the intricately wired mind of Jim Angleton: countering dangerous ideas by publishing CIA-vetted literature, or by eliminating the intellectuals and leaders who expounded these ideas. One day, shortly after Fidel Castro took power in Havana, Angleton had a brainstorm. He summoned two Jewish CIA officers, including Sam Halpern, who had recently been assigned to the agency’s covert Cuba team. Angleton asked them to fly to Miami and meet with Meyer Lanksy, organized crime’s chief financial officer, who had been forced to flee Havana ahead of Castro’s revolutionaries, leaving behind the Mafia’s highly lucrative casino empire. Lansky was part of the Jewish mob but had close business ties to the Italian Mafia. Angleton told Halpern and the other Jewish CIA agent to see if they could convince Lansky to arrange for the assassination of Castro.
Angleton’s emissaries met with Lansky, but the crime mogul drove too hard a bargain for his services and the deal fell through. This was only the beginning of the CIA’s endless, Ahab-like quest to kill the Caribbean leviathan, however. Castro would never stop haunting the dreams of the CIA high command. The Cuban revolutionary was not only intellectually formidable and politically fearless; his dream of national liberation was backed up with guns. Castro and his equally charismatic comrade, Che Guevara, made it clear from the start that they would not share the fate of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala: they would fight fire with fire.
Che, a twenty-five-year-old doctor and adventurer in search of a grander meaning to his life, was living in Guatemala City when Arbenz was overthrown. He saw what happened when Arbenz’s moderate reforms came up against the imperial force of United Fruit and the CIA. “I am not Christ or a philanthropist, old lady,” Che wrote to his mother, Celia, in the bantering style he had developed with her, as he and Fidel prepared to board the leaky yacht Granma in Mexico with their band of guerrillas to make history in Cuba. “I fight for the things I believe in, with all the weapons at my disposal and try to leave the other man dead so that I don’t get nailed to a cross.” To avoid Arbenz’s fate, Castro and Guevara would do everything he had not: put the hard-core thugs of the old regime up against a wall, run the CIA’s agents out of the country, purge the armed forces, and mobilize the Cuban people. By militarizing their dream, Fidel and Che became an audacious threat to the American empire. They represented the most dangerous revolutionary idea of all— the one that refused to be crushed.
Talbot, David. The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government (pp. 337-338). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.