Early in my career, my practice and even my life was defined by Washington politics way beyond my comprehension or control. Due to Viet Nam, an administration who believed that any dissent must be “leftist” and inspired or funded by communists, in a complete denial of reality, a culture of fear and suspicion became instilled into our culture. This ignorance and prejudice result in the toppling of a Government over an illegal break-in by the president which exposed a whole corrupt and out of control administration, resulting in years of hearings by both the Senate and House into illegal activities of the intelligence communities. This denial of truth or just plain ignorance almost wrecked our government and left us with a legacy of distrust, revenge, and rejection of the notion of a society or a people, replaced with selfish individualism, devoid of character or compassion.
This came to light because of brave civil servants, courageous protesters, and the underestimation of the intelligence of the general public. During that time, in order to sell an unpopular war, Psywar was waged against the citizens with law and order propaganda tv programs to push a non-democratic agenda. Many brave people exposed the crimes of the officials and stopped the march to a totalitarian government.
The situation today is even worse. Fear permeates our society. Any criticism of the Government’s misconduct or crimes is met with prosecutions such as espionage. War criminals are protected instead of exposed. Scientists are ridiculed rather than believed. Truth is stopped with the politicization of officials sworn to protect us and our Constitution. Critics are not criminals. Scholars and intellectuals sre not enemies. So, I ask you to read and weep. Don’t let the selfish and greedy win Don’t let ignorance rule and lies and propaganda shape our future. Think and act. What happened to me a half century ago is repeating even more venous and dangerous. Act like a people, not a herd.
This is from the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on Government misconduct and criminal activities. It is discouraging that we still haven’t learned in a half a century. Please think about the following. Pay attention.
Moreover, in the spring of 1970 the FBI severed its formal liaison to the CIA in reaction to a CIA-FBI dispute over confidential sources in Colorado. 33 Though hostility between the two agencies had surfaced before with some frequency over matters such as disagreement regarding the bona fides of communist defectors, this particular dispute was “the one straw that broke the camel’s back.” 34 The incident in Colorado, now known as the Riha Case, involved a CIA officer who received information concerning the disappearance of a foreign national on the faculty of the University of Colorado, a Czechoslovak by the name of Thomas Riha.
The information apparently came from an unnamed FBI officer stationed in Denver. Hoover demanded to know the identity of the FBI agent; but, as a matter of personal integrity, the CIA officer refused to divulge the name of his source. Hoover was furious with Helms for not providing the FBI with this information and, “in a fit of pique,” 35 he broke formal Bureau ties with the Agency. 36 To many observers, including Huston and Sullivan, the severance of these ties contributed to the perceived inability of the Bureau’s intelligence division to perform their task adequately.
In this context, a special meeting was called on April 22, 1970, in Haldeman’s office. In attendance were Haldeman, Krogh, Huston Alexander Butterfield (who had responsibility for White House liaison’ with the Secret Service), and Ehrlichman. The purpose of this gathering was to improve coordination among the White House staff for contact with intelligence agencies in the government and, more importantly, as Huston remembers, to decide “whether — because of the escalating level of the violence — something within the government further needed to be done.” 37
WATCH: Student Left Hemorrhaging After Cops Allegedly Sodomize Him With Baton VIDEO OMITTED
Denver, CO — The Denver police department has opened an internal investigation into their officers after a man claimed he was forcibly sodomized by a cop during an arrest.
According to police, 23-year-old Michael Jacobs was being placed under arrest during a protest near Civic Center Park on July 29 for disarming a police officer. Police claim Jacobs attempted to take an officer’s pepper ball gun — which is not backed up by video evidence and disputed by Jacobs and his attorney.
Jacobs disputes the claim that officers had probable cause to arrest him at all. The college student says he was rattling a fence during the protest to get an officer’s attention when he was taken down from behind.
“I was grabbed from behind, it felt like it was from my neck, no warning, no ‘you’re under arrest,’” Jacobs said.
A portion of the video shows people shaking a fence near the park and then the takedown. Exactly what transpired before this video is unclear and is a matter of Jacobs’ word verses the police.
As the video shows, an officer runs at Jacobs as several other officers pile on top. In the brief video, you can see an officer use his baton against the student.
During his arrest, Jacobs said that an officer came up to him as he was face down on the ground and sodomized him with an object he thinks was a police baton.
“As I was on the ground, and as I was completely helpless, someone took what felt to be a nightstick and just shoved it up my butt. After that it was pretty much done,” Jacobs told KDVR.
“It was the traumatizing experience I’ve been through in all 23 years of my life.”
After the arrest, Jacobs went to the hospital where he conducted a rape kit and says doctors who evaluated him two weeks later found evidence of rectal and anal hemorrhage, KDVR reported.
“I’ve been having to go to GI doctors since and have them explain to me why I have hemorrhoids bleeding out of my [sic] rectum,” Jacobs said.
“I mean, the people that are there to protect you, to do something so wrong, it’s like I have panic attacks now, which I’ve never experienced before.”
Jacobs now faces charges which his lawyer has dismissed as bogus.
As the Denver Channel reports:
A probable cause statement released by the Denver Police Department claims Jacobs was part of a group trying to push down a gate at Lincoln Park and adds that they managed to bring it down and get inside.
But in the video, Jacobs is outside of the fence.
The police report states Jacobs violently resisted arrest and even grabbed an officer’s pepper ball gun. It’s a claim Jacobs and his attorney, Dr. Matt Greife, dispute.
“That could not be further from the truth,” Jacobs said.
“This was a cover charge,” Greife told KDVR. “They have to charge him with something to justify why they went to him in the first place.”
“To say that he attempted to disarm a police officer off their pepper gun or pepper ball gun, that’s nonsense, he was on the ground way too fast,” Dr. Greife said.
Griefe told the Denver Channel that cops have refused to release the body camera footage he says would exonerate his client.
“We should know what the police reports say. We should know what the body cams tell us,” Dr. Greife said.
Jacobs is now facing a felony charge of attempting to disarm a police officer and is due back in court at the end of the month. Greife is now moving to have the charge dropped against his client, noting that their failure to release the body camera footage means they have no evidence to convict him.
IN THE SIXTIES, THERE WAS police scandal that rocked Denver. Police would investigate a robbery and what the burglars didn’t take, they did. Soon, they started to stage their own robberies. Some actually did time when the scandal broke. One of the lawyers I worked with was acting governor when the scandal broke and appointed the special prosecutor. The investigation was going real high in Colo politics, when the Governor, upon returning to Colorado shut down the investigation An understanding of Denver police behavior would not be relevant without studying the political structure and the influence of Federal Intelligence Agencies upon policy.
When the hippies arrived, and, with the anti-war movement, the police were given a pretty much-unbridled privilege to attack what they perceived as deviance, lack of patriotism, evasion of barbers, and other objectionable qualities which offended local citizens. For instance, I had clients takeen to jail, stripped down, and hosed with cold water from fire hydrants. In a court in which I was a judge, from drugs came in, seized the hippie with the intent of cutting his hair with their sheep sheers. Many arrests in Denver and the surrounding areas were enforced with the sundown intent to encourage miscreants to leave before the Sunset.
In one of mine more notorious cases, a sheriff’s officer chased my clients on his motorcycle of Boulder Canyon firing at him. This crime, driving a motorcycle without a helmet. The jury acquitted him of the charge that the judge found them guilty. Nonetheless. In sentencing, the judge took judicial notice that the gun was a 22, which nobody used to hurt anybody. He called it an aggravation weapon. After arguing with the jury foreman and chasing me out of the courthouse, demanding that I come back and I can like a man, he sentenced my client to jail. The judge was a big act like that of supporting his local police. That has been entrenched in the law enforcement culture of Colorado for the past 50 years. 40 years later, the hippie’s body was discovered in a mine shaft in Nederland Colorado, the officer who chased by client admitted that he had shot the hippie because he didn’t like them. Since the old policeman was dying of cancer, nothing was done to him. I have been studying this issue for half a century. As long as district attorneys feel that they represent to the police establishment which they identified as their constituency, and the judges are appointed from district attorney’s offices, there will be very little change. The law enforcement culture today, has evolved into a them v. us dichotomy. Because of the socioeconomic bias and recruitment from upper classes, there is a piss on the peasant environment in law enforcement. With a broken windows policy,, and in many cities, the racist – the elitist view of the police is not seen for what it is. No mention is made of the fact that many people living in certain areas To afford to repair their windows, sometimes, and view the action as good law enforcement.
Of course, law enforcement is that conditioned to be the poor as potential criminals. In our society, a high percentage of the poor are black. To blacked out any conversation of economic elitism, or discrimination. The debate is deflected to one of race and is exclusive of institutional racism. This is but one factor to consider in a complex analysis. We have to examine are reward system, or the secondary reward system, are values, our tolerance, our patience, and other factors. All I can say to the attorney representing the sexually assaulted protester’s that he had to be thankful that the police are now murdering his clients.
In 1992, Colorado enacted a constitutional amendment to the state Constitution labeled the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, also known as the Bruce amendment. It was part of a movement by the tea party, to cut spending on government and encourage business-government partnerships and privatization of a government function. It was sold to the voters as an amendment or method to restrict government waste and promote efficiency. This was in conjunction with a campaign in the Southern states, labeled a contract for America, referred to by some as Contract on America.
In any event, the outcome was pretty much a disaster. The bill provided, among other things, that any monies not spent by an agency had to be returned to the taxpayer in any given year. It also provided that any taxes or increase in revenues were subject to a vote by the public. So slowly but surely state revenues declined as expenses increased. At the same time. This insidious group of neo-liberals started campaigning for the privatization of anything and everything they could possibly think of. So, for instance, if somebody wanted to look at a public record such as a court file, a clerk would charge a fee to retrieve the file. If the defense attorney wanted copies of documentation or evidence that a district attorney based prosecution or policy decision on, the defendant, typically a lower-class worker, was charged a fee for photocopying, although police records were publicly funded, investigators were publicly funded as were district attorneys and judges. Although they were funded, because of this amendment revenue was collected in the manner favorable to the wealthy and detrimental to the poor. Agencies became merchants selling items to the public that they had already paid for.
Likewise, the bond concept. A system was changed so that it took 10 times longer to make bond than previously, bonding was more expensive unless one waited a day in jail for a judge to set Bond. Jails became more crowded, holding unconvicted citizens awaiting trial, necessitating contracting to private enterprise to build more jails. The privateers sold the politicians on the fact that privatized managers were more efficient because they can open and shut as supply and demand required. However, being profiteers, they soon demanded that the State give them guaranteed contracts, allowing them to extort profit from the taxpayer’s in a monopolistic manner. It’s ironic, the taxpayers restrict raising funds through taxes to support their government and, in the same breath, attacked the poor by charging them for the cost of government and reward stockholders and executives of corporations.
One of the biggest crimes against the public or the people, and particularly against the poor is the privatization of the jail telephone system. In the system, every phone call made by any inmate or detainee of a jail facility has to pay a fee per call. At the time that payphone call for $0.10 a call, the privatized phone companies operating monopolistic franchises in the penal institutions were charging $2 a call. The rationale was that jails needed to be secure and phone calls should be monitored and even recorded, and by the exploitation of labor, the service could be done more cheaply. Ever since I first watched police programs on TV in 1954, I was inculcated with the notion that upon arrest a person was entitled to a phone call. I was also taught that everyone was entitled to a lawyer, whether or not he could afford one. Also, I was told that communications between lawyer and client were sacrosanct and could not be intercepted or other ways read or heard. Of course, I was told that since Magna Carta all accused were innocent until proven guilty, and that of bonds’ sole purpose was to ensure a defendant’s presence in court. Anything else, was contrary to common law, and only existed under the Roman code law, such as used in Nazi Germany and Communist Russia. It’s ironic, that the anti-Communist super-patriots were the ones pushing for preventive detention, and all these restrictions under the guise of safety. Apparently constitutional rights don’t apply to the poor and disadvantaged as long as the ruling Elite can subjugate them.
Meanwhile, judges. hand-picked from the ruling class, ignore the problems of constitutional violations, because they are minor, don’t apply to their class, and the public wanted safety over liberty. They are indoctrinated with the idea that government is bad, commerce is good, businesses good, and poor people must be controlled, especially ones that belong to an ethnic or racial minority. I suppose that makes sense, because if I were in their position might be nervous about members of the mass also. The ones that live in gated communities have less to worry about than those that live in Fancy neighborhoods. It’s not that judges don’t care; they just have never been arrested or jailed. They don’t know how humiliating it is for someone in custody to call a potential employer, while seeking a job and having the potential employer here “this is a collect call from a correctional institution.” The poor just have their pride, but the privilege to have more; or money; or clothes; or status; more toys; more education; and more opportunity. They can’t understand the problem. Hopefully, they don’t push the people to the point where they find out. The hard way.
Thus, it came as no surprise that the elitist city of Boulder, Colorado announced that it would lower their speed limits to 20 miles an hour. The city has been essentially closed because of the virus scare or plague and revenue were dropped. Most municipal revenue is dependent upon sales tax, and when you have distancing orders, stay-at-home health regulations, or orders, and other instruments of regulation that close establishments that generate income tax, the municipalities are going to hurt. In a democratic society, the taxpayers could raise taxes later in payback emergency funds if necessary and keep the Government’s operating at the same capacity. Or they can design other methods of raising revenue other than targeting the citizenry. Having had the experience as a municipal judge ruling on traffic cases and being discharged because I did not collect enough revenue for the city, I have had reason to study the functions of municipal courts over 5 decades. But that is for democracies, not plutocracies. From my perspective, this is nothing but a revenue generator. However, most of the residents of Boulder are Young, physically fit, wealthy, self-centered, and have tunnel vision. They have no empathy for working people that must get from point a to point b with time constraints and who are paid by the hour, rather than by the dividend clippings. Many of them ride bicycles because they are physically able. In Boulder, a mortgage payment, the loan without taxes and insurance for the typical house starts $3000 a month. However, the majority of the houses in Boulder cost twice that. So, what do these people know about having to pay $2 a phone call, not being able to leisurely stroll or ride a bicycle between 2 points are getting a disproportionate amount of traffic tickets. For them, is a minor annoyance for the non-Elite, it may mean missing a meal or to a house payment, insurance payment, dental expense, or some other semi-necessity.
But raising taxes is unacceptable and unnecessary as long as the poor can be whacked without recourse. It’s not callousness by these people, it is downright ignorance. Although commonly thought of as being self-centered or egotistical, these people are genuinely nice. They care about others but limit themselves to the thinking of people like them not “others”. In the meantime, the beautiful residents of “liberal” Boulder can go about their business and their beautiful perfect city devoid of old, crippled, workers, or minorities, believing this is the way. Other people live.
The Sixties were a time of turmoil, conflict and change. Nowhere was it more pronounced or exiting than in Boulder. There was an invasion of “hippies,” much to the consternation of the town’s founders and power structure. It is still going on today.
Before I left town for law school in Chicago, I did an analysis of the Boulder power structure, using a recent fluoridation referendum as the subject. Since there was a large Adventist hospital in Boulder, I assumed, that group was in the leadership position. Essentially, it was an attempted application of net theory. The reader should be aware that we were just coming out of the McCarthy era and the loyalty oaths were a subject of much debate among the faculty. The University was viewed as a fantasy land, inhabited by Communists and other threats to patriotism. I was at my first anti-discriminations rally at the Woolworth’s store at Broadway and Pearl streets.
To my surprise, I discovered a different group, led by small businessmen ultra conservatives, agitating against fluoridation, and more, such as impeaching Earl Warren, getting out of the UN, firing a left-wing professor who described J. Edgar Hoover as the biggest threat to democracy that existed in the world at that time. He was opposed by as naturalized “patriot” who traveled the state, addressing legionaries and others who feared politics of change. This paranoia increased with the start of the Viet Nam conflict and the draft and anti-war resistance movement.
So, after a three-year absence for law school, imagine my surprise to find how the city had changed. Turmoil prevailed. The old guard was still there, but circling the wagons. They were threatened. The Impeach Earl Warren billboards were still up going South out of town. Outsiders were barely tolerated, unless they were famous. The founding fathers viewed hippies as commies and traitors. The police now harassed those who looked different rather than thought different. The university loyalty oath became less important, at least to some. Hippies were now the clear and present danger. When arrested, they were given haircuts for “sanitary” reasons by the jailors. It took a lawsuit to stop that practice. However, the jailers substituted hosing down with garden hoses in the booking center as a substitute. It was more fun to watch. Sometimes, the arrestees had to strip and be hosed down in the showers, general in front of a full audience. It was explained that it was for the prisoner’s protection. From what, I never discovered. Fear and loathing was the general condition. The conservative founding fathers led the charge against hippies and change. The culture war was on. Sides were chosen. And some were drafted, just like in Viet Nam.
The main stage for this war was marijuana. It was the symbol of choice for those against the status quo, the establishment, the war machine. However, the forces for change lost with the convention of 1968, there were riots in Chicago at the democratic convention where a police force ran rampant over the constitution to stop the infestation of hirsute youth. There was a revolution by a younger generation. They lost. My belief was that the only logical political position was that of a counterrevolutionary. Otherwise, the pro-police state maniacs would win. The election of Richard Nixon confirmed my analysis.
There hordes of “hippies” arriving in Boulder, dressed in colorful costumes in unconventional styles. There were the Hare Krishna’s robed in Saffron and beating drums or chanting. There was the activist. There were the stoners. And, also, there were a group, led by a robed hippie calling himself John the Baptist, preaching from the flatirons about love, sex, drugs and resistance. He made Timothy Leary seem like a reactionary.
In any event, one of his followers wandered into my office, after being caught in possession of over a pound of weed, in a grocery bag, tucked under his arm like the ghost of the London Tower. He was arrested in that hotbed of communism and drugs known as the “hill,” adjacent to the University, over-run with University Students and other suspicious persons. A good percentage of law enforcement hung out there, municipal, state, and federal, where it was easy to bag their quotas of pot smokers and other non-patriots.
The client was of Hispanic origin from Harlem, New York. His New York accent was hard to miss. I had known his wife prior to his marriage. She was related to a prominent Southern Senator at the time and came from a long, established Southern family. She escaped to Boulder to explore life. Her relative, when he heard I was representing her husband, offered me a sum of money to take a dive. I declined. I wasn’t a big fan of Southern Democrats. I ended up defending him for free, but it was worth it.
The new DA was a former FBI agent who practiced law in the town. He was an Easterner and therefore felt compelled to wear cowboy boots to show he was one of us. He was going to rid the town of the scourge, and the most obvious way was to prosecute all marijuana possession cases. The judge was the just defeated DA. He was WW2 disabled Navy vet who ran as a democrat after the Chicago police riots. He was friendly
The new DA was full of himself, but had the support of the law enforcement community. His new policy was to try every case. Be tough on crime, especially that evil marijuana. Show hippies who we are. I was batting a thousand in losing drug cases thus far. However, since no other lawyers would go near them with a ten-foot pole, I was relatively safe. That was until it was discovered that many “hippies” had substantial trust funds and I was getting paid for some of my cases. In the meantime, those of us who objected to the oppressive and punitive conduct of the police and Courts, decided to clog the docket. This we did without effort. The only way that it was stopped was by the institution of a Public Defender’s office.
Marijuana was extremely divisive among the townspeople. When I was growing up, it was referred to as “loco weed,” favored by Mexican immigrants and seasonal workers. Nobody seemed to pay any attention, until it started being associated with draft and war resistance, Commie politics, and flat-top dodging young men who burned draft cards and protested the war. The weed became a problem because it became associated with everything feared by the young people’s parents. They survived a depression, World War, rationing and recovery. The wanted better for their children. They wanted obedience, conformity, loyalty. Ozzie and Harriet were their model. Beaver was what they expected in their children.
There was no dialogue, just demonstrations of power. It was “my way or the highway” as far as the Government was concerned. Dissent wasn’t to be tolerated. Patriotism was an imperative. The children had to be saved from themselves. The hippies must die. So, must dissent and disorder. One of the most hated was the “STP” family. They were colorful and predated the rainbow coalition. There was a case in our office involving one of their members who was arrested for having an upside United States flag sewn on the seat of his pants. That one was in the appellate stage. STP John preached from the flatirons every day, extoling the virtues of the Leary hallucinogen.
That was the climate when Carlos got caught with his kilo of marijuana. An Hispanic from Spanish Harlem, he had the New York attitude that cold piss off any cop. He had a ponytail and beard together with outrageous consuming, consisting of beads, bells and other bobbles. From the town’s elite, it was worse. He had a white wife. He was exactly what Boulder didn’t want. Image conscious Boulder was afraid of what the STP family would produce. Why would parents send their kids there, when there were draft dodgers, draft card burners, hippies, intellectual Marxists and other undesirables. I had a choice. I could plead Carlos guilty in exchange for a prison term not exceeding 5 years, or I could go to trial on what appeared to be an open and shut case.
At a suppression motion, the arresting officer testified that he observed Carlos in a high crime area. (It was “the hill,” a student area, infested with students, hippies and other young people. It was adjacent to the University and was were the students went to shop, eat and drink.) It was the happy hunting grounds for training new narcotics officers. It was impossible to be there for more than one half hour before an arrest could be made. Students and hippies were fair game for the police.
The arresting officer testified at a preliminary hearing that it was a high crime area because drugs were a crime and over half of the people in that area were in possession of the same. (He failed to testify that 90 percent were youths and college students.) He stated that the defendant had a Safeway bag under his arm and seemed nervous. When he approached Carlos, he noticed that the bag was leaking a brown leafy substance. His experience and training told him that the defendant had marijuana. The defendant stated he was picking up trash and on his way to a trashcan on the corner when he was accosted by the officer. The evidence was ruled admissible. (My client said that the hole wasn’t in the bag when the officer took it. I asked the officer if this were the case, and stated that the bag was exactly like it was when he took it and turned it into the evidence locker.) He said that my client was probably lying to me. A polygraph indicated differently. So, we went to trial.
However, at the trial, another version was told. The Courtroom was packed. It resembled a clown convention or a Halloween costume party. There were festive ornaments on the multi-colored garments. Bells rang and bracelets rattled. The hippies were in force to watch American justice in action. The defendant’s story was unlikely, but it was plausible, but just barely. I didn’t think I could sell a jury, so additional tactics were in order. I believed that if the jury thought I was a court appointed red-neck bigot, they might feel sorry for Carlos for having to be defended by such an ass hole. I scowled at him in front of the jury. So, when picking the jury, I had Carlos sit away from me and I looked at him with disdain, as though I were court appointed to represent him. The jury looked formidable. Not a hippie among them. They looked so serious. I felt they were making plans to build a scaffold while sitting there. When the DA questioned, they smiled and nodded like good little robots. They all had short hair.
The DA was a smiling glad-handing yuppie. He was young and dynamic. He was likeable. The judge was a WWII vet from the navy. He was wounded at Normandy and had a bad back. He had just been defeated for DA even though I worked for him on his election campaign. He was sort of fair, but not exactly a model of liberalism. He was better than the alternative. He allowed most questions and sat there looking judge-like.
My turn. When I got up to interview the jurors, I sighed and tried to do my job. The reception was more than hostile. These were solid, middle-class, white, patriots of the white middle class community. It was hard to discern what was hated more, the hippies, the students or Hispanics. I was pissing into the wind. There were no students on the jury. Few young people were in the pool. They were all in the audience. They couldn’t vote yet. So, I shook things up a bit. When questioning the jurors, I asked, “Do any of you have an opinion of Spicks?” Those jurors that were shocked, I left on. The ones that snickered or laughed, I threw off. However, there was one man from a small town who was on Social Security that I could not get off the jury. I was out of challenges. So, the trial began. All I could do is try or cry.
Some preliminary witnesses established the substance and the analysis. Finally, it was the policeman’s turn. His testimony was essentially the same as earlier, except for one minor point. He had previously testified that he saw a hole in the bag with green leafy substance seeping out, which, as a trained police officer, knew was marijuana, although it was dark with little light. At the trial, he testified that as he approached Carlos, Carlos shifted the bag on the other side, using his body to shield the bag from his light.
Now, the reader might ask, “why did the officer change stories?’ He obviously saw the hole in the story he gave at the preliminary hearing. It looked suspicious when the hole in the marijuana bag was the approximate size of a pencil. In the cultural war, no one in the policeman’s circle of friends would have assumed any hippie would carrying a bag would have anything else. “Yes, you may say, but why would he obviously tell such a lie?”
Now that is something more complicated. Testimony is tailored to specific results. At the suppression hearing, the officer was charged with justifying his stopping of the defending, the questioning and the subsequent search. It was important that he establish probable cause to look into the bag. The only possible reason was that there was marijuana coming out of the bag. That necessitated a hole from which some mysterious substance could leak. The reader must realize that, to the police, the biggest threat to society, other than stopping commies in Viet Nam rather than at the Golden Gate Bridge, was the scourge of marijuana use, causing all the political and social turmoil. Marijuana caused rebellious youths. Marijuana caused daughters to have sex out of wedlock. Marijuana caused antiwar protests. Marijuana killed patriotism. Marijuana was a communist conspiracy to undermine the youths of this country and sap their vital bodily fluids. Marijuana was evil. So were the users. So, since police always believe the ends justify the means, the officer felt justified in lying for the greater good and said what he wanted. At the trial, he had to justify some sort of guilty knowledge. Therefore, blocking the light with his flashlight so that the officer could not examine the bag was conceived. It showed that Carlos had guilty knowledge of the bag’s contents.
However, I left comment for later. After a denied motion to dismiss, I gave an opening statement and presented my defense– my client. He was dressed in what he described as “West Harlem Pimp” finery and was applauded by my audience, which I generally attracted in those days. The audience were mostly members of the STP family, with court regulars and colleagues hoping to see me get chewed out by a judge or other entertainment that might occur.
Defendant stated his name and his address as “the streets and mountain campgrounds.” I asked him to tell what he remembered of the night of his arrest.
“Wha chu mean, mon, about that night? How could I forget it, man? I was on the hill minding my own business when I noticed this bag in the gutter. I stooped over to pick it up and take it to a trash container when I am confronted by this racist pig. He asked what I was doing there and if I was a citizen. I said that Puerto Rico qualified me for citizenship last I heard and told him he was a racist pig.”
“Why did you say that?”
“Because he was. I know the way these guys think, whether its New York or Boulder. If you white, that’s alright, if your black, get back, get back, get back. All you have to do is read the papers to know that. I’ve experienced it my whole life. This town ain’t no different. They just hide it better.”
He then testified how the officer asked about the bag, and when the defendant told him he could not look in the bag, the cop poked the bag with a pencil. Then the cop told him it looked like marijuana coming out and he was under arrest. And, he said, “Here we are.”
He was then cross examined by the DA. After several questions, that got him nowhere, the district attorney asked, “Do you expect this jury to believe that you came across two pounds of marijuana just lying in the streets and you were going to throw it in the trash?”
“I grew up in Harlem, man. You country clubbers haven’t experienced it. There was trash everywhere. In the streets, in the gutters, on the sidewalks and just everywhere. I vowed that if I ever was able to escape, I would never again tolerate trash anywhere I lived. So, when I saw the bag, I picked it up to throw it away. On the way, the pig stopped me, questioned me, stabbed the bag and arrested me.
“Are you saying that the office is lying.”
“He don’t look like no George Washington to me.”
At that point, he sat down, and the court was adjourned until the next day where we would the jury instructions would be read, and our closing arguments given. That night, we both went out and got drunk together.
The next morning, I was raring to go, but the DA overslept and was hung over. That was one defense tactic he wasn’t taught, but I educated him in a hurry. When he arrived, he didn’t look too good, but told the Judge that he was ready to proceed.
We gave final arguments. My opponent argued that it was the jury’s duty to stop the marijuana scourge and clean up the town. We should not tolerate drugs or the people that it brought to the town, pointing to my client’s supporters assembled in the back of the courtroom, in a rainbow of colors and beads. He summoned moral outrage and told the jury that it was there duty to protect the community from such trash. Then it was my turn. I slowly arose, shaking my head, looking bewildered. I slowly addressed the jury, starting in a soft voice, making them strain to hear me.
I agreed with the district attorney. Cases like this were significant and would define our community. But it was up to the jury to determine what type of a community we wanted to live in. Since the district attorney brought up the subject, I thought I would comment on the subject.
“What type of community do we want,” I asked rhetorically? I then described the dream middle class existence, with all white people, no crime or delinquency and with all youths with close shaved haircuts.
“There is ample precedent for such communities or societies. My father risked his life in a war to with such a society that wanted to discriminate, euthanize, and exterminate all the ‘others,’ to purify people and thoughts. That was what the DA was describing. But, is that what we want?
Or, do we want a society based upon tolerance and truth. I agree that my client isn’t the type of person that I would like my sister to marry. However, I don’t make decisions for her. Will we tolerate prejudice and lies to protect our daughters and sisters? Do we want police that believe that they can get away with lying because of the nature of the offense or the offender? Or, will we believe any person who has a uniform or a badge? Does a certificate of truth come with the badge? I want you to go into the jury room and look at the evidence. Calculate the probability that a pencil hole just happens to be in a bag, or was it added later? Pick up the flashlight. Shine it around. Point it at you fellow jurors and see if the flashlight is an x-ray flashlight. Can it see through a person? If, not, there can be only one conclusion. My client was right. He, ain’t no George Washington. So, if that is what you want, go ahead a convict the defendant. Very few people would care, and many would rejoice, not because of what he had done, but because he looks different, talks different, and is offensive. I don’t care. A year from now, I will be at some University teaching. So, the future is up to you.” I then sat down.
The jury was back in three hours. Surprisingly, the verdict was not guilty. I waited around the courthouse to talk to the jurors. One of the jurors whom I tried to exclude from the jury and started to talk. He was a farmer from Louisville, a small neighboring town. He looked old enough to be retired, but said he was still farming. I asked him, “Why the hell did you find the defendant not guilty? He looked at the district attorney and replied, “shit, we just couldn’t convict someone of having anything that grows wild in the ditches around here. We all agreed on that.
The next day, the District Attorney’s office announced that it was impossible to obtain a marijuana conviction in Boulder County. That was his conclusion. His mind just wasn’t clear enough to see that maybe the problem was his constituency, not the community. No community likes a police force that bullies or allows perjury. Of course, one who worships law enforcement and owes his political existence to police would never think of that. Oh, well, at least I won.
HOW LONG DO WE LET THEM STEAL, CHEAT AND I INJURE US BEFORE WE SAY ENOUGH?
It is extremely interesting how the public has become brainwashed to believe that we do not deserve anything, while the Rich and privileged deserve everything. We are conditioned to believe that anything that trickle down from above his largess that we should appreciate. We are conditioned to believe that the people that allow anything to trickle down are magnificent and generous precluding us from any criticism.
It is time for us to wake up. When this country first started, to escape liability, corporations were formed and allowed to exist as long as they benefited the people. The purpose wasn’t for profit. It was hoped that profit would occur, but the main reason for incorporating it so that an investor would only lose what he put into the venture and not his whole estate. Initially, corporations were created to build turnpikes, canals, and other works that serve the people. Various ventures were incorporated such as mining interests, utilities, distributors, etc. a corporation was a good way in which to develop and expand our country and incentives were given for that purpose. For instance, the Constitution says that the government shall create and maintain post ways post offices post roads, etc. This was a constitutional mandate to connect the country and to connect the people. When railroads entered the picture, they are perceived as the best way to connect the country and to move people and goods around. So, in order to finance the great cost of building roads, Congress gave Landgraf’s to the railroads to pay for the cost of the railroads. However, after the railroads were est. and operating well and starting to get costly to maintain, railroads turned into real estate development companies, tour of the tracks and sold land profiting by the land grants contrary to the reason for them to have been granted.
, And the main advantages of railroads were to move mail and cargo from one point to another arose had mail cars and they were contracts with the railroad to transport mail. It was sorted on the cars and delivered at various locations. As in Europe, roads and railroads were created for the purpose of communication, mail be in one part of it. Later, Airlines came into being. They were developed and subsidized by contracts to carry the mail. It is necessary for a nation to exist as a nation to be able to communicate from region to region and person-to-person and group to group. However, there seems to be a conscious effort to sabotage that: to about to divide and conquer; to so dissension; to promote isolation is him, thus fragmenting our society. It seems to be working.
Propagandist have been trying for decades to blacken government mischaracterizing democratic functioning as inefficient inefficiency. We have been conditioned to believe that a government as the enemy interfering with all kinds are greedy bastards, who want to make a profit at our expense. We are taught to believe that is better for an entity, like Raytheon to reap billions and profits for Rich people who can invest rather than provide for a workforce which now is viewed as expendable. Even in the Middle Ages, the nobility had an obligation to the peasantry. Enterprise is destroyed that. Commerce is destroyed that, leaving as in a state of nature referred to as Neal liberalism, where money and economy counts, but people and civilization don’t. We are now not even afforded the status of surfs.
If you look at Europe, there are old buildings preserved through the ages and still in. My grandfather’s church in England, for instance, was built by Saxon’s in the year. 850. It still in use. There are many castles and large edifices in Europe that are decaying, but there are also many that are still functioning and used. The Europeans didn’t have the luxury of throwing a thing that he didn’t need because they were plentiful. They had to conserve and reuse things, not only raw material, but people. However, in this country, we could import immigrants and use them or consume them at will, readily replacing them with others. While I don’t feel I’m expendable. I don’t believe that people should soil so that others can sit on their assess in a comfortable fashion, supported by the blood, sweat, and tears, of the people. Our elected leaders are whoring themselves to the ruling Elite, allowing the citizenry to become ill and maybe even die corporations who can raise money by issuing stock selling assets or loans are getting subsidized while waiters, bartenders, tradespeople, construction workers and other laborers are allowed to suffer, starve, lose their housing, and contract plague I suppose I would feel differently if I perceived in the guilt or embarrassment by these people. But I see no evidence of such all my sense is a sense of entitlement that was there is theirs and what’s hours is theirs for the taking. I don’t think we the people of the United States should eat cake because there is no bread. I honestly believe that if they don’t want to share, they don’t deserve to be members of society and should live beyond the bounds of society in a state of nature. I believe they should be held up to ridicule and abuse, and forced to wear masks like sheets and greedy people that in the Middle Ages
I don’t think reparations should be only for blacks brought here as slaves, but anyone brought here in a state of certitude. This is not a racial matter, but a class matter an economic matter, the Rich would just as soon spread liability to a whole race or culture in which they can hire people to get them out of their obligation and impose the obligation on those who can least afford. They ignore those that may have benefited, they should pay, they got Rich taking our resources from the ground, leaving us with the tab for cleanup. They consolidate and make things efficient for the sake of profit only, neglecting what is good for the society in general. I read in the paper about this crook or that crook making millions of dollars from foreign governments for selling our country out or screwing the citizenry, or other heinous things which the privilege class get away with. Society does not exist for the benefit of the privileged, but for the people I say enough is enough.
Judge in Lyons
A NAIVE IDEALIST LAWYER’S INTRODUCTION TO LAW AND SOCIETY
AS A town activist molded in the civil rights era and the post Assassination era, I had a different view of the legal system and how it related to the people and society than most freshly minted lawyers. I now know I was naive and gullible, as my early memories remind me. Most lawyers went to law school to become rich and famous, for prestige or other similar reasons. I was motivated by Kennedy’s inaugural address and the vision of a crusader. Over 50 years of law practice hasn’t changed that but has made me a little less conspicuous. Many lessons learned by me are ones that most practitioners don’t see or analyze., which is unfortunate.
While other lawyers are rich or at least well of by pecuniary gain, I am rich in experience and in the friends I have made along the way. One such experience was mu appointment as a municipal judge in a small town transitioning from a Justice of the Peace system administered by politicos compensated by assessing court costs on the convicted, which was 100 percent of the accused, to one paid by a municipal salary.
When I was appointed judge, I was probably untrained and full of all kinds of delusional idealism. I was the first municipal judge with a law degree to be appointed to serve in a small municipality. Before that, small municipalities had a system called justices of the peace. These members of the Justice system were caricatured with the Chief of Mayberry and Gomer Pyle, comedic characters from early TV programming. They arraigned and heard traffic cases brought to them by the Police Department’s and made their money by charging “court costs.” These were ten dollars to the Justice of the Peace (JP), and the fine went to the town. If the police brought 80 cases, that meant the magistrate or justices of peace would make rake in $800 in 1960 dollars. (Remember, this was in the late 60’’s. When the statutes changed creating municipal judges instead of justices of peace, the towns, and especially police, resisted.
The change occurred because the State was developing a reputation as a speed trap. Lafayette Colorado was listed as a town to avoid by AAA. The legislature decided to change the image. When the law made judges salaried and their pay wasn’t dependent upon whether or not they found somebody guilty, the number of acquittals miraculously went up dramatically in the Municipal Court. Of course, this did not make the police exactly ecstatic, particularly in smaller towns. The police desired money in their coffers to do things and buy toys such as tanks, water canons and Uzi’s. And they looked at the courts as the revenue generator. The police truly believed that they were doing a good thing by sticking it to the motorists for the benefit of the town. It also paid their salaries and gave them some degree of legitimacy, if not examined too closely. It was the classic form of corruption, a la Sheriff of Nottingham. The real tragedy is that the town officials didn‘t view the situation like that. They believed that it would teach motorists a lesson, and the fines were the equivalent of tuition.
However, nobody in the system really expected fundamental change. It was just political expediency for an extremely touchy situation that was attracting nationwide attention. Older lawyers knew better than to tarnish their images as a whore for a small town. When the doors to the town hall were not exactly kicked down with applicants, I was called. Wow, I thought. A judge already and I have only been sworn in for a month. I was going to be able to use my training as both a criminologist and a lawyer. I had assumed that the appointment was because my father had owned a movie house in the town. Well, I was mistaken. It was not quite what I expected.
Unfortunately, I learned that too late. As young judge, I tried to do what was right and, if I thought somebody wasn’t guilty, I would say so the cops who would take offense of my opinion as a personal attack on their integrity and honesty. To complicate things further was that speed limits, that is speeding over a posted limit, which constituted most offenses, were only prima facie indication of guilt. Speeding was defined as going as speed that was neither reasonable nor proper. The speed limit was suggested, but not absolute. That is, the determination of whether the speed the defendant was traveling was unreasonable and improper could be rebutted by testimony or other physical evidence.
For instance, in my jurisdiction, the speed limit was 10 miles an hour and road was designed for cars to go 30 miles an hour. 30 miles an hour then would be a reasonable and proper speed, depending on other conditions. That ambiguous clause about other attendant circumstances was generally used to find guilt. Judges knew why they were costumed in robes to impress citizens of their abilities, when, it was for image to allow the judges to screw the citizens.
The towns then set up a 15 miles an hour speed limit through the town, not so much as a traffic rule or for the protection of the pedestrians are other citizens, but as a speed trap to generate revenue and to placate my opinion of a 10 mile per speed limit. . One of the first things I did which when I took office and which endeared me to the citizenry’s and got to the hearts everybody victimized by the random tag team of JP and police was to indicate that I thought 25 miles an hour was a reasonable and proper speed for going through town. Of course, the police were terribly upset about this because it cut out revenue substantial. No more toys for the officers to play with. They wouldn’t be getting their tank or water cannon.
At night after I held court, I would take the officers to coffee. I wanted feedback from the officers; criticisms and the opportunity to educate them. a little bit about criminal law. They understood all right, but they took a more pragmatic approach. The town needed the money and it really wasn’t hurting anybody to issue traffic tickets, especially if the transcripts which were sent to the motor vehicle department rarely affected driving rights. Besides, the town was small and there wasn’t much going on, so the only thing police had to do was to write traffic tickets. When I found cases or drivers not guilty, it took away from whatever little status I had and that branded me as “liberal.” That was about this time when antiwar press or protests started to escalate a little bit, the hippie movement was getting into full swing, and the stream of patriotism was running rampant within the police. In the spirit of patriotism and as their symbol of backing Nixon, they all showed up wearing American flags on their sleeves. Ironic because while the police started wearing flags on their sleeves as a sign of patriotism, hippies were being prosecuted for wearing flags on the seat of their pants for flag mutilation and disrespect, like one of my clients. He was arrested and prosecuted for desecration of the Flag. The arresting officer had a flag sewn on his sleeve. Flag desecration depends on who’s wearing the flag and where it is worn.
The main lesson that I learned was that officials viewed a Court as a profit center and not a place where fairness is demanded or even expected. I learned that there were outsiders who were generally regarded as fair game. The interesting thing I learned was that the agency who raises the money gets to keep the lion’s share. The town really needed other things rather than riot gear and cop toys. Many school children had no lunch, there was no public health official there, and the infrastructure was in need of repair.
However, fear and prejudice trumped reason. The townspeople were willing to sacrifice to make sure they had a police department and no
Hippies” would come to their town. There was also an extreme amount of bigotry within the police force, particularly against the hippies were moving in fact and flouting social convention such as haircuts, clean clothes and other conformist behavior. In fact, the whole town was somewhat prejudiced.
One night when I was holding court some local townspeople showed up to watch the proceedings. There were a few disturbing the peace tickets issued against hippies; not that they were disturbing the peace, but their hair disturbed some of the people and the towns-people want to see how tough I was on the hippies. Well, the real problem that evening was that the townspeople were a little bit inebriated. So, they showed up drunk and were making a lot of noise and being rowdy. The week before, they had captured a hippy and cut his hair off with sheep shares, not the electric ones either. The Boulder County Sheriff hosed them down with garden hoses when they were arrested and jailed. They believe that the arrest empowered them to assume and treat for lice and other insects. The treatment while stripped down, the sheriff could justify this based on a health precaution. They also gave a few haircuts to arrestees on the basis that long hair was unsanitary. There was a court case pending in District Court brought by the ACLU against the sheriff’s office for the practices. So the spectators were there to see how I would treat the hippies and what would happen to their buddy who was charged with misdemeanor assault for cutting a hippie’s hair and to the hippies up there for walking in public with long hair. As court was getting ready to start, the Cowboys started shuffling coins around and making a lot of noise. I asked them three times to put the coins away, quit making noise, and the be silent because I was trying to run a court. After 10 minutes of attempting to get them quiet, I ordered the Chief of the police to arrest them and haul them away until they promised to behave. This really did not make me extremely popular with townspeople. Particularly after I had to find the noisemakers in contempt of court. I gave them suspended jail sentence. Meanwhile, I found the hippies not guilty and the cowboy the who had cut the hair was fined $100. He was lucky I didn’t send him to jail, except I knew that the town had to pay the jail costs, which brings us to another point of corruption.
The city policeman would never write anybody up for driving under the influence because it mattered in whose court it was brought because the county took half of the funds. Therefore, they always wrote them up for reckless driving. In fact, that’s what the reckless driving offenses were. Real reckless driving charges were rare in town because it was really extremely hard to drive reckless within the city limits because the town was so small. It was well-known that anybody charged with reckless driving was probably drunk or at least well on his way to being so. When found guilty of reckless driving there was a pretty stiff fine penalty. However, the citizens were quite happy because they didn’t lose their driver’s license with a reckless driving charge as they would with driving under the influence.
Until the end of my tenure, there was a constant battle between the town the police because the revenues were down. Soon, however, the court wasn’t even making enough to pay for itself. The city, rather than kicking loose from the general fund started paying me and warrants which could be redeemed when the court bank account got to the point where it could pay them. This went on for approximately 8 months until I was elected out of office. The lesson I learned from this experience is that administrators view courts as a revenue source, not as a separate branch of government. People care less about justice than supporting good government. Most people are so prejudiced against taxes and supporting their government that they would rather impose injustice on others if it saves them money. Our priorities are way out of whack.
ADDENDUM TO RIHA’S GHOST
BOULDER COUNTY DA APPARANTLY RE-OPENS A 50-YEAR-OLD COLD CASE
FIFTY YEARS AGO, I WAS INVOLVED IN A PERPLEXING MYSSTERY THAT TOPPLED A GOVERNMENT, SPLIT FBI AND CIA, MADE NATIONAL NEWS FOR DECADES, AND WAS COVERED UP BY POLITICIANS AND OTHERS. I BELIEVE THAT MY CLIENT WAS MURDERED AND THERE HAS BEEN A COVERUP SINCE THEN.
Many of you know this story, but for those that don’t, I will briefly explain. Early in my career, I had two clients, Mrs. Tannenbaum and Professor Riha. They each had curious connections to separate Government clandestine agencies. The war was raging, and they were all sorts of agents investigating students at University of Colorado, a hippie and activist paradise, riddled with Government operators and other drug dealers. When one client was accused of offenses against another, I felt I had a conflict of interest. This also was made clear to me by some agents who visited me at my office to explain the consequences of not recognizing this. So, I referred one client to Mike Kokish, a Denver Journalist who had just opened a practice in Denver. Mrs., Tannenbaum liked the idea because she was in PR. Fred Gillis of the Denver paper, David Wise of Washington Post, Senate Select Committee (Watergate) investigated and reported on the incident. After a trial in Boulder that was unsatisfactory to a mysterious force, Mrs. Tannenbaum was prosecuted a second time in Denver. Two CIA domestic services agents and one FBI agent visited Denver DA Mike McDevitt regarding the case. Later, McDevitt became a congressman and managed to snag a large grant for Denver to manufacture and fight an organized crime structure. J. Edgar of FBI demanded Richard Helms of the CIA to disclose the identity of his agent and was told to piss up a rope. Hoover, in a snot broke off all liaison with the CIA and Fired Sullivan, his liaison agent. Well, this left Richard Nixon blind and scuttled his Huston plan. So, he set up the Watergate bunglers, causing his political demise. Meanwhile, in Denver Mrs. Tannenbaum was sent to the state hospital where she took 20 minutes to die of Cyanide poisoning. It was declared a suicide. Remember, this case touched on Nixon, Kissinger, Brzezinski, Phoenix project, project Rhyolite, Echelon, DEA, students recruited for the FBI and Military Intelligence, ONI, IRS, NRO, NSA and myriad other alphabetical combinations. I ran for District Attorney on the platform that I would, if elected, call a grand jury and find out what happened. About that time, some of my mail was accidentally diverted to the FBI for their approval.
After losing the election, a friendly police officer’s wife got word to me to lie low. The excrement hit the revolving blades ad I found myself under investigation for jewel robbery, kidnapping, arson, and sitting on the side walk. To insure I got the message, I was audited by the IRS for 87 consecutive weeks as an excuse for the Government to notify all my clients that I was investigated. Of course, that did not help my practice.
When I lost my election (by 221 votes), my opponent graciously allowed me to examine the file on the case. In it I found, letters addressed to me, an autopsy report, some notes, etc. The letters to me by Ms. Tannenbaum explained her double-cross and begged me to see her so that she “could blow the lid off the whole thing. Of course, when I received the letters, it was too late.
Lately, several writers, investigators, producers, and others have been hounding me for either interviews, statements, of live TV recording. I suspect some of it is related to current events in Washington, but it also is a curious unsolved case. The Boulder police has treated it occasionally as a cold case and have told to me. Mr. Kokish’s files rest in the archives of the State of Colorado, an mine await my demise. My hope is that someone doesn’t try to expedite that situation,
However recently, representatives from Netflix and some independents have requested video interviews about the case. After 4 decades, my memory is not what it had been, so I requested an opportunity to review the file, which has been afforded me by prior DA’s. However, when I requested recently when the requests started, one of which had a Connection to the Teller center, I requested another look at the file.
I was informed that this 50 year case was a current case and access was denied by DA Mike Daugherty on the basis that it was an ongoing investigation. This was after a front page story in the Boulder Camera about the case and that a TV documentary was being made Is there a separate coverup in the works, or is it a continuation. I would like to know. I hope many of you inquire of both the Camera and the DA.
Credit…The New York Times Archives
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DENVER, March 9—Mrs. Gloria Tannenbaum, the central figure in two unsolved Colorado mysteries, has ‘died in a state hospital for the insane, apparently a suicide.
Mrs. Tannenbaum, 39 years old, once regarded as a suspect in two poisoning death’s and in the disappearance of a. University of Colorado professor of Russian history, died Sunday at the Colorado State Hospital in Pueblo.
The hospital authorities confirmed today, after earlier denials, that a suicide note had been found in a pocket of Mrs. Tannenbaum’s dress.
Although an autopsy report Will not be available until Thursday, the cause of death was believed to have been cyanide, the poison that killed two of Mrs. Tannenbaum’s neighbors in Denver in 1969.
The woman, who once claimed to be a general doing intelligence work and bragged of her friendships in influential places, gave some of her possessions to fellow patients and wrote farewell letters to friends and family before she died.
In her suicide, note and a letter to her lawyer, John Kokish of Denver, Mrs. Tannenbaum again protested her innocence in the disappearance of Dr. Thomas Riha, 40, and the deaths of Gustav F. Ingwersen, 78, and Mrs. Barbara Egbert, 51.
The letter to Mr. Kokish said, “It doesn’t matter really, but will tell you this. I didn’t do Tom or Gus or Barb in. I went nuts with hurt, over losing them.”
Dr. Riha, who lived near the university campus in Boulder, disappeared March 14, 1969, and Mrs. Tannenbaum was subsequently charged in both Boulder and Denver in four separate felonies involving the disposal of his property.
As a result of one of those charges, that she had forged Dr: Riha’s name to a $300 check, Mrs. Tannenbaum was found by a Boulder District Court jury to be legally insane and was ordered confined.
In the following months, the police in the Denver‐Boulder area made a wide search for his body. They looked into abandoned mountain mine shafts and along isolated roads, and dug up the basement of an East Denver home once oc cupied by Mrs. Tannenbaum. But the missing professor has never been found,
In the poisoning deaths, no evidence was developed that could support charges against Mrs. Tannenbaum.
Mr. Kokish said here today that a grand jury should be asked to investigate how Mrs. Tannenbaum obtained the poison that killed her. He said that ‘the grand jury should also investigate complaints made to him in letters from Mrs. Tannenbaum that she had been mistreated and persecuted by the hospital staff.
Mr. Kokish said that his client was apparently looked upon at Pueblo “as a kind of the witch of the ward.”
He quoted her final letter to him as saying, “Everything that has made me feel good about myself has been taken away. Life is very cheap.”
This is an excerpt from my Memoirs of a Drug Warrior, which I have been writing for several years. Since no one is kicking down my doors to print the thing, I have decided to publish some experts. I don’t know how this will work, but I believe much of the information and history I have experienced in the War on Drugs needs to be exposed and brought to light. I hope to be around long enough to tie all this together into something cohesive. But, until then, suffer or ignore.
The following is from newspapers about the Kerry Committee Hearings:
WASHINGTON — A pilot told a Senate hearing Wednesday that his firm contracted with the State Department to fly clothing to Nicaragua’s Contras in 1986 at the same time he was operating as an undercover drug smuggler for two federal agencies.
Michael Palmer, appearing under heavy guard, said that before he started working for the government in his extraordinary dual role, he had illegitimately smuggled $40 million worth of marijuana into the United States from South America over an eight-year period.
Yesterday, convicted marijuana smuggler Michael Paul Vogel told the Senate panel that in 1979 or 1980 he and a Cuban associate met with then-Panamanian leader, Brig. Gen. Omar Torrijos, and Noriega, then head of Panama’s military intelligence, to discuss smuggling drugs from an island off Panama to the United States.
Vogel said that during 14 years of drug trafficking, he made numerous payoffs to government and law enforcement officials in Colombia, Mexico, the United States and elsewhere.
But Vogel said the two Panamanian leaders were “extremely greedy,” and wanted $100,000 per trip, so Vogel and the Cuban rejected the deal. (LA Times April 07, 1988)
For several years, after my audit, I had little income. I survived, but barely. I had to close down my office after all my equipment was seized. The only thing after 87 weeks of tax audit and interviewing my clients did was alienate my clientele, wreck my business, cause clinical depression and assess a penalty of $7000, 80% of which consisted of penalties and interest. I didn’t keep adequate enough records for the IRS regarding mileage. Even though the dumbest simpleton could look at my calendar and see what cities I drove to for court, since I didn’t’ write beginning and ending odometer readings, the mileage wasn’t allowed I could appeal, but I had to pay the assessment before doing so. Essentially, I was screwed. I was shunned and avoided by colleagues with every nut case trying to get something on me for the reward. I learned the hard way about the realities of law and lawyers, which was vastly different from the views I had until then. The idea of a profession, promoting the greater good had died, replaced by billable hours, business building and profit.
However, during this time strange things kept happening. I ran into strangers who told me interesting facts. Reports would turn up mysteriously in my mailbox and I started to be inundated with information, some good and some false, forcing me to analyze and investigate. I started to get referrals from strange sources, including law enforcement who were concerned with corruption and misdeeds. I soon found myself head of a group consisting of criminals, citizens, police and others concerned with the integrity of police and government. The main focus was on the Central Intelligence Agency and its various factions. I was about to enter the looking glass, and unlike contemporaries, without the aid of LSD.
One such client was a young aviator from Detroit whom I will refer to as the Zoo-Keeper. The reason for this moniker is that I met him at the zoo and he strip searched me in the restroom for a mike or recorder. After that, we walked around the zoo, talking about his problems, situation and some solutions.
About that time, I was subject to collection actions by the IRS. Anytime I would get out f the red, I would have funds seized by the Government. During this time, I was served a subpoena to appear before a grand jury in Detroit. It concerned the Zoo-Keeper. I took the position that it was invalid because it was a privileged communication between attorney and client. The Government disagreed. I took the position that I did not practice in Michigan. They said it didn’t matter. Their claim was that under Michigan law, they could enquire about the nature of the employment and whether I was his lawyer.
They finally served me with a subpoena. I didn’t show up. An irate US Attorney called and threatened me with contempt for not showing up. The following is a dramatization of the conversation with the US Attorney in Michigan.
“Mr. Blewitt. Why didn’t you appear in Court yesterday? Your ignoring the subpoena could have serious consequences for you.”
“I know that.”
“Why weren’t you here?”
“I had no way of getting there.”
“We reimburse you when you arrive in Detroit. Just put it on your credit card and give us the receipts and we will issue a check for your expenses and some per diem.”
“I don’t have a credit card.”
“Oh, we will send you the money.”
A week later, a check and subpoena arrived, delivered by a marshall. I didn’t appear on that date and had another conversation with the US Attorney.
“Mr. Blewitt. Why didn’t you appear this time?”
“I had no way to get to the airport.”
“Mr Blewitt, you are treading on thin ice here. We will advance expenses next week for travel, food and lodging. You had better show up.”
The check arrived the next week, along with another subpoena. I deposited the check in my account which was the subject of a seizure action. The Government, as I predicted, gobbled up the check and I missed another flight.
The prosecutor must have been pretty mad because, next thing I knew, a US Marshall arrived at my door to escort me to their office in Denver. When I got to the holding cell, I was told to call the prosecutor in Detroit.
“What’s your excuse this time? It better be good or you will have an escort from the Marshall’s office to Detroit, and it won’t be by commercial airline.”
I couldn’t go because you people seized the deposit of the check and I had no money. I wish you would make up your minds. First you give me a check and then you attack my account and take it away. I think you are trying to deliberately drive me crazy or to suicide.”
I said the magic words. I had just read a bulletin from the IRS for agents to closely watch for possible suicides, which woud be bad publicity. Knowing this, I thought I would give them something to think about.
In any event, the Marshall talked to the prosecutor who then talked to me. I then talked to the Marshall, etc., untill a resolution was provided. I was to be provided cash for the ride to the airport, from the airport to Detroit, then a cab from the airport to the hotel, the hotel, from the hotel to the courthouse and then the return to Boulder. Since I was arrested, I demanded that I have my attorney present with me in Detroit. I also wheedled some expense money from them. It was all in cash. The marshall’s office booked the flight, which was first class due to the last minute reservations. I got round trip for both my lawyer and myself. Two days later, we were on the way to Detroit, which was to change my assumptions from Riha and Tannenbaum being the causes of my problems, to concluding that it was because of knowledge of Government drug sales that I was receiving all this publicity and harassment
TO BE CONTINUED
POWER FROM THE PEOPLE
“What’s different now?” or, “How can you represent someone when you know their Guilty?” I’m asked these questions all the time. The thing that frosts me the most is how these ignorant questions are asked and why questions are asked when people obviously don’t want a reply, but, instead want verification of their bigotry by arguing or other confrontational conduct. They act soooo self-righteous and superior. They would never represent someone who is guilty. No, not them! They follow orders and try not to think about what they learned in high school civics.
So, I will try to answer the questions for myself. I can see how people can’t appreciate the change that has occurred over the last half century. People rarely can. With email, computer messaging, phones, etc., pressing the flesh in live interaction is rare. Thus, interpersonal relations cease being interpersonal. People don’t experience social context much. Eye movement and body language are missed. The quick sound byte seems to suffice and people can then go on with their lives and activities. We have become a literal society. Power to define now dictates the interpretation. That is by the writing without nuance. The reader, then, has not comparative basis for sarcasm, jest, threat, illusion, delusion or any other interpretation. Communication is now a message. No interpretation or debate is allowed by the sender when cloaked in power, isolated and without feedback except for that which confirms the action.
A recent example. Defendant, a lawful medical marijuana dispensary owner allegedly transferred ½ oz. of medical marijuana to an undercover police agent. There were no local police officers involved in the matter sworn in at the jurisdiction in which the defendant was operating. His business is in the suburbs and the instigators of the sting were from Denver. There weren’t local law enforcement personnel there. The only jurisdictional contact was the arresting officer. What has changed? The old statute provides that this is a felony. The Constitutional amendment provided an exception for medical marijuana, causing an interpretive rift between cops and citizens. Prosecutors claim that a Constitutional amendment only provides a defense against the statutory charge. In their view, legislation trumps citizen initiative. Convenient interpretation. The Amendment sponsors intended to vest a Constitutional right, not a defense. That is why it was drafted as an amendment to a Constitution presented to Congress with a petition for Statehood. However, the prosecutor, police, ex-prosecutor-judge cabal has the power to interpret. Where did this power come from? It comes from fear, propaganda, and ignorance. As a result, the citizens must lose.
The citizenry then created Amendment 64 to the Colorado Constitution. This amendment essentially legalizes small amounts of marijuana. Having ½ oz. is no longer illegal. Additionally, there is a specific law governing the conduct of marijuana dispensaries, which the Denver police and Jefferson County prosecutors have, in their arrogance and sense of superiority, have chosen to ignore.
In dealing with this abuse of power, I reflect on the changes that have occurred during my stint as a lawyer to understand what has happened. First, there used to be some form of dialogue between counsel. This was based upon mutual respect. No longer. It is guerilla war based upon cultural values. Justice is for textbooks, the Court system is for the group in power to send messages to the ruled or powerless. It recruits the like-minded who get off in their ability to intimidate the dissident. Both attorneys were presumed to be considering the benefit of parties and of society. The prosecutor theoretically represented “The People,” when actually, the deputy prosecutor represents the political constituency of the boss and the bosses’ political ambitions. Secondly, there is no compromise. The prosecutors take the attitude that it is their way or the highway. Defendants and their attorneys are not worthy of any respect, especially the attorney, or they wouldn’t be associating with the riff-raff. The real decision-maker then is generally the arresting officer.
These persons take it as an affront if their conduct is not always rewarded by approval and take umbrage if any criticism is leveled. That is why police can tase citizens at will, shoot them , shoot their pets, or go hunting for trophy elk in a city such as they did in Boulder, Co recently without any fear of punishment or corrective action. In other words, the police believe their own propaganda about the dangers of writing parking tickets, pushing people around, etc. The rules existed for centuries to limit the power of rulers, not to just punish and destroy. Defense attorneys were once deemed to be necessary to the democratic process. Now they are viewed as an impediment to the protection of the people. The deck is stacked against a defendant and the rules changed to force an accused to plead guilty to something making it unnecessary for prosecutors to consider any consequences of their policy. The guilty plea sends the message, whatever that might be. It also vindicates the behavior of state agents. In the process, its casts the totalitarian as a champion of the people, meeting out vengeance disguised as “justice.”
In the present case of the dispensary owner, it is particularly aggrieveous since its history and its continuation clearly demonstrates that police believe they can ignore their supervisors, the courts, and the public. Denver voters previously expressed their desire that the Denver police make marijuana enforcement the lowest law enforcement priority. The arrests almost doubled the next year. So much for the will of the people. The voters of Colorado amended their constitution to provide for the compassionate medical use of marijuana. This led to a tangle of rules, regulations and political fights causing the investment of several hundreds of thousands of dollars by dispensary owners to operate within the law. That cut out the crusaders and believers and left primarily entrepreneurs looking for profits rather than those seeking for social change.
Again, the police establishment was petulant. They self-righteously believed they knew best and, they also didn’t want to give up revenue needed for drones, Tasers, armored personnel carriers and informers to society’s need to fund collapsing bridges, schools, health programs, exploding sewer lines, and leaky gas mains. After all, protecting us from the boogie man is much more important than preventing harm from the neglect of classical governmental operations. Who cares if a bridge collapses, a student can’t afford college, the poor have no food or health care? They don’t matter. The police retaliated and funded a propaganda drive creating new fears and demanding the right to protect us from hippy drivers who might have smoked a joint. This danger didn’t exist over the last 40 years of hippies and other stoners driving cars. Now it becomes a problem To bolster fear and make it almost impossible to contest, and to legitimizing assaulting the citizenry with needles, the police state invented the green tongue. The self-righteous self- certify experts with voodoo procedures that can’t be duplicated take the position that since they are the good guys with badges, they cannot tell a lie, even if several millions are at stake The fabrications are for our own good and is therefore justified.. There doesn’t seem to be any appreciation of the fact that the medical exemption to the marijuana laws was to give the control freaks a way out to save face. It is not about compassionate medical use, it is because the public is sick and tired of the drug war, particularly marijuana when the world seems to be going to hell in a hand basket.
So, because of the excesses of the bullies, and the deliberate failure to understand or perceive, the citizens of Colorado again amended their constitution to make any possession of marijuana legal in a small amount. Didn’t matter. When the dispensary offense occurred, even though not a crime now, it was at that time, and therefore the defendant should have to pay. And pay. And pay.
Three appearances have occurred with the prosecutor demanding a guilty plea to a felony count from a youth who has spent his inheritance and borrowed to start his new age business. At the first court appearance, a parent was there in another case, accused of a felony because some teenagers got into her stash smoked some of it. No quarter was given in that case either. If you have children, then you are responsible, no matter what. I believe that is why some species eat their young. If they have friends that are around your deadly weed, then you are even more responsible for conduct of others. It may not seem like such a big deal and it will probably wreck a family, but that is the price we have to pay in order to send these messages to the public.
Like German judges 75 years ago, who signed deportation orders for “sub-humans,” the judge sits there following the script written by the District Attorney’s association and keeps cases moving, not with the end of achieving a fair result, but with a guilty plea as a goal. Since the Court system says that an arrest warrant issued by a judge establishes probable cause that an offense has occurred and the defendant committed the offense, a motion to dismiss can’t be heard. The determination is up to the jury who will be instructed that they cannot judge the law, but can only determine the facts, which revolve around whether the defendant sold a small amount of weed to an undercover cop and he committed a felonious act by not requesting the purchaser to show a marijuana registration card.
After three appearances, the prosecutor is intransigent and too busy to address the interpretation of the law or its application. After seven years of education, she is unable to make a policy decision in any context. She can only follow orders. She informed me that others have to make that determination, but she viewed the case as clear-cut and a waste of time to contest. She doesn’t care if she loses the case as long as the message is sent.
The only next move was to set the case for trial, which, according to the prosecution made rules means that there will be no offers of anything other than the defendant pleading guilty. The only date available for the defense counsel was four days until the expiration of the defendant’s right to a speedy trial and the prosecutor objected because that would not allow her enough time to get ready. I can remember when judges would chastise prosecutors for such conduct because their offices typically have a myriad of lawyers to prosecute and a particular prosecutor should not have a personal stake in the prosecution. Instead, the trial judges make each side eliminate the most convenient date and the judge then set the case for a time when he was informed that the defense counsel would be out of the country.
So, what is the point of this diatribe, you may ask. The main point is that a criminal defendant has no power to levy taxes, confiscate property to pay for cases or any other legitimate means of raising funds for a defense. The shift of power in the Court system makes a mockery of the term “fair trial” or “justice.” I mean that whoever has the largest budget wins. It means that there need not be any consideration of consequences of oppression because the State actors are “just following the law.” Plus, with the old idea of Devine Right of Kings applied to parliamentary or republican forms of government, the State, then, has God on its side. Therefore, the other side must be the devil, in which case the conscience of the totalitarian advocates can be clear. They know what is best. The system gives them that knowledge by bestowing the title of “prosecutor.” Since we, as defense attorneys, are the devil, we are evil and without conscience. How can we defend these criminals? How can we defend the Constitution?
This situation will continue until enough citizens get concerned to demand change. That can only happen with involvement, not bitching. Citizens should contact the press, demand accountability from the prosecutors, demand to have procedures analyzed and discussed when a prosecutor clears a policeman of murder because he followed proper procedures. We can demand our accusatorial system be reinstituted instead of the inquisitor form it has been replaced by. We can demand that our officials be aware that not all people belong to country clubs. We can demand that the officials follow the will of the people by the amendments to the Constitution. We can demand integrity from people in power, not greedy ambition. We can demand that we stop the drug war expenditures to repair our roads, bridges, schools, health, education, and welfare systems and represent the people, not the police. We should tell all elected and appointed officials to reset priorities and to get real.
I wrote this article over 50 years ago. As the songs says, “When will we Ever Learn?”
IMPEACH EARL WARREN
Memories during the Cuban Missile Crises
The first billboard out of Boulder on the way to the Atomic Bomb factory at Rocky Flats bomb factory targeted the current Supreme Court Justice. These were put up by the John Birch Society, which exists now under different monikers, but the message is the same. The next one said “Get the US out of the RED UN.” This was the end of the cold war. CU still required a loyalty oath and bomb shelters were found in many basements. Joe Coors was running for reagent of the university stating he was going to rid the institution of commies. The CIA had infiltrated the National Student Association, and Ozzie and Harriet was one of the most popular TV shows. Of course, with atomic bombs, euphemistically called “triggers,” manufactured just ten miles away, missiles manufactured 30 miles away and nerve gas manufactured 40 miles away, I seriously doubt there were many commies in the neighborhood. However the accusations and fear mongering made good headlines. In this state of paranoia, a holy war crusade emerged. Godless communism must be defeated. In school, we had duck and cover atomic bomb drills, nerve gas drills, and the universal fire drills. We lived in fear. Then something happened. We said to hell with it, why worry about something over which we have now control? If some goofy bastard launches missiles, so be it. In the meantime, let’s live.
The fear mongering produced beatniks and then hippies. Spirits were free, along with drugs, sex, and rock and roll. Of course, the uptight rulers got nervous and intensified their attack on the “Godless” communists. Instead of worrying about communist economics, totalitarian Napoleonic police state and important things, they were worried about lack of belief in a deity. Communism was the devil. It had no God, calling capitalism the God of the west. That was the late fifties and early sixties. McCarthyism was with us into the sixties and manifested itself in other crusades, such as fear of civil rights and the assertion the Rockefeller was a communist. Communist and atheist were used interchangeably. Christians were good, communists were bad. In the spirit of the Crusades, bumper stickers appeared with the mantra, “Kill a Commie for Christ.” There was no question of the morality of killing. Evil was being fought in a holy war. God was on our side only because the opposition was godless. Life was as simple as the minds until social upheaval started the young thinking. Fear of communism distracted from real problems such as poverty, housing, health care and employment.
Now, as I sit and watch the Occupy Wall Street news on television, I am reminded of the former days of protest. It has expanded to other cities and could go global. We no longer fear communists. We fear terrorists, called Al Qaeda, or Arab extremists, or other words to fit the current prejudice. However, after ten years of war on terror and war on drugs while the infra-structure, health care, education, and banking risk irreparable harm, the public is fed up. They see some people taking the lion’s share of the wealth, while fellow citizens lose their houses, jobs, cars and other things. They see bankers flying to Washington asking for handouts in private corporate jets. They are fed bullshit that giving money to the rich creates jobs, and God favors the rich. In short, the people are tired of being screwed and exploited. They see the Corporations and their Government view them as pigeons to be plucked. The whole world seems predatory, and Government is protecting the predators. Police generate revenue, courts generate revenue, jails generate revenue, plus the tax burden on the worker gets more onerous as buying power is cut. The culprit is the Corporation. It is godless, without morals or conscience. Because of the lack of ability to determine what is good for any other entity than itself, it should not have any power. It is not a person. It cannot think. I can not consciously do good. And, in about 1980, a Delaware Court ruled that a corporation’s and its directors only obligation is to the stockholders; not the public, not the government, not the general good. Social Darwinism was given Court approval by the Corporate dominated courts. In the celebration that followed, the people became prey for the vultures of the capitalistic corporations and the predatory state, promoting privatization.
However, the rich don’t get it. Finally, the people said “enough,” and took to the streets. The Corporate controlled media downplayed the news, portraying the social unrest as a bunch of young brats with nothing better to do. Their analysts conclude there is no threat because the people are not presenting an alternative plan. These delusional idiots, whose job it is to govern, protect and mete out fairness believe that the Public should do their jobs. If the people don’t have alternatives, then why worry.” The capitalist system and free market ideology ruled and was presented to the public by the powerful as coincidental with Christianity. The exploitation was institutionalized and faith based. If you believed in a deity, you had to believe in capitalism. All else was godless.
This is the same attitude of French royalty and clergy exhibited before they lost their heads. That revolution didn’t happen overnight. Their king had many chances to change things, but they were too oblivious to the plight of the people that they danced away in happy ignorance.
Now, our rulers do the same thing. Instead of concluding that there is a problem and that the people expect them to forge a solution, they feign ignorance and ask, “What do you want? What are we to do?” They don’t quite see that they should be asking those questions of themselves. Instead of allowing predatory practices, and in some cases joining in on them, the politicians and officials should start protecting their constituents. Corporations aren’t going to rebel, but citizens could. The right has ridden roughshod over the people of this country and have produced a nation as bankrupt as their philosophy of greed They see their millions as a deserving entitlement. The people see it as a mechanism to exploit them and bribe officials. They call the curtailment of power taxing the rich instead of creating a climate of social, economic and political justice. Soon even the bribed politicians will desert the rich in fear for their own safety. So far, they have the police acting against their class interest believing they will be rewarded by the greedy masters whom they chose to serve. However, in time even the dumbest cop will see that they are being used to promote oppression and suppress fairness. Law and order is not justice. Fascists want law and order, the people want justice. The bumper sticker that read “Kill a Commie for Christ” might suddenly change to “Kill a Capitalist for Christ.” Hopefully the teachings of Gandhi will prevail, and the religious crusades will fade.
A recent youtube video reminded me of one time I was searched. If you are squeamish or lack sugar coat or not use my usual vocabulary in this piece. It will not be politically correct, fit for innocent minds, have a modicum of sensitivity or any special consideration for the reader. A story like this can’t be censored or edited. The story is true. Only the vocabulary has been changed to amuse the reader. This is your last chance.
If offensive language bothers you then GO NO FURTHER
This memory was the result of watching a cavity search of a motorist in Texas after a citizen had been stopped. The officer stated he stopped the car because the driver tossed a cigarette but out the window. After the lecture, he inquired about drugs. When the two women in the car expressed ignorance about marijuana, he informed them that his old infallible trooper nose smelled marijuana and they would have to be searched. The video then showed a front and back cavity search of the two women in the car, resulting in nothing being found. I just had to relate my tale of my trip to Canada.
The trip to Vancouver Island started out inauspiciously. I had just acquired another car and was set for a road trip. However, although the car performed marvelously, I can’t say the same for myself. I was in need of massive doses of Kaopectate. Between Sinclair, Wyoming and Little America, I changed shorts 2 times. The afternoon of the second day, the situation abated and the shorts were tightly packaged in triple plastic shopping bags and packed in a trash bag in the trunk, to be dealt with at our destination where there was there were laundry facilities. Because I felt better and the underwear was well packaged, I forgot about it in the trunk.
We proceeded to Annacortes, Washington and spent the night after parking our car in the ferry line, ensuring our passage first thing the next morning to Victoria. It was a great trip, whales in sight, no clouds or wind. We stopped at Orca Island and two other small towns before approaching Victoria.
There was a customs inspection point and most cars were waived on through after showing identification. However, I had to toy with the customs agent.
“You’re an American?
“Yes, that’s what it says on the passport.”
“Have you ever been in Court on a Driving Under the Influence charge?”
“Yes, several times.”
“Were you convicted?”
“No but many of my clients were. I’m a defense attorney.”
For some reason the Mounty wasn’t amused. “Over there, smartass” he commanded.
He informed his comrades in red
“We have a smart-ass defense attorney here. Be thorough with him. You know how tricky they are.”
So, I was going to be subjected to summary punishment by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for being a smart-ass attorney. I watched while the 7 or so officers climbed all over my car, taking out suitcases and rummaging through them. They were thorough indeed. The Mounties were having fun joking with each other as they rummaged through the car.
“Open the trunk!”
I complied and watched as more suitcases were taken and opened. Nothing. Then he came to a plastic garbage bag. Inside were some white plastic bags from grocery stores. He lifted the bag out of the trunk. And the Mounties gathered around.
“What’s in there,” he demanded.
“That’s our laundry.”
He started taking clothes out and examining our dirty laundry. He then came to the white grocery plastic bag.
“What’s in this one,”
“You really don’t want to know, I wouldn’t open that if I were you,” I emphasized, shaking my head no. However, curiosity got the best of him. They gathered around the garbage bag as the Mounty reached down into the bag, bringing out my excrement saturated underwear.
“Shit!!!” shouted the Mounty, while his comrades laughed hysterically. His face matched the crimson of his uniform and his fury was hard to conceal. He wielded his authority in a retaliatory way and had paid the price. I suppose it was a shitty thing to do, but what the hell.
The delay was annoying and his retaliatory show of authority was over the top. But his surprise and humiliation in front of his crew was well worth it. I didn’t plan to return to Victoria in the near future.
I promised to do a video on a case i did in Oklahoma involving Pody Poe and Dale Hines. A book was written about Poe called “from Tinhorn to Kingpin.” I need to publish some articles in order for people to follow my narrative. Otherwise, I will never finish. In the video, I will refer to published items.
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Posted by Mike Sylwester
Jack Ruby, Smuggling With and Spying on Communists, 1938-1958
At the end of the 1936-39 Spanish Civil War, thousands of leftists who had fought on the defeated Republican side retreated across the border from Catalonia to southern France, especially to Marseille-Toulon, which is the main urban region there. During the decade 1938-1948, one of the biggest international leftist causes was to resettle these refugees to better locations. Church groups and charities were persuaded to offer their support.
While in Marseille, a group of these refugees became employed in the secret narcotics trafficking system known as the French Connection. The main smuggling trail for opium to the West was from Burma overland to Turkey, then by various routes to Marseille, where it was processed and then distributed everywhere.
During World War Two, this route was disupted, and other routes became more important. One of the major new routes was from China and Burma, smuggled on US military ships around South Africa, to Florida, which had the main supply ports for the China-Burma-India Theater. Much of this smuggling operation was under the control of Communists allied with Mao Tse Tung. I quote from Joseph Douglass’s book, Red Cocaine, pp 1-2:
[quote] In 1928, Mao Tse-Tung, the Chinese Communist leader, instructed one of his trusted subordinates, Tan Chen-lin, to begin cultivating opium on a grand scale. Mao had two objectives: obtaining exchange for needed supplies and “drugging the white region,” where “white” was an ideological, not racist, term that Mao used to refer to his non-communist opposition.
Mao’s strategy was simple; use drugs to soften a target area. Then, after a captured region was secured, outlaw the use of all narcotics and impose strict controls to ensure that the poppies remained exclusively an instrument of the state against its enemies…. [unquote]
Jack Rubenstein apparently became directly involved with this smuggling operation and with US military counter-intelligence through his military service during World War Two. He joined the Army Air Corps in May 1943 and served until February 1946. During the War, Jack’s brother, Sam Rubenstein, also served in the Army Air Corps and served as a counter-intelligence informer. Sam would “keep an eye on Communists and Nazis” in the US military and write letters to his brother Jack about his observations. However, Sam testified (WC, Vol 14, pg 503) that although he wrote the letters as if they were to his brother Jack, he actually addressed the evelope to a US military counter-intelligence officer. Supposedly, this reporting arrangement was ordered by the counter-intelligence officer for security purposes, but it really makes little sense. It makes a lot more sense that Sam did actually send such letters to his brother Jack, who passed them to Air Corps counter-intelligence. This relationship has never been explained by the US Government.
At the same time, Jack Rubenstein continued to organize Communist cells. A citizen named George Fehrenbach testified to the Warren Commission (WC, Vol 15, pp 289-321) that he saw Rubenstein doing this several times in a three-story building in Muncie, Indiana. The third story was a union hall where gambling often happened during evenings and weekends. (Investigators found several other people who also said that gambling did take place on the third story.) Fehrenbach testified that several of the people associated with the activities on the second and third stories of the building were Russian Jews and were Communists.
On three occasions, in about summer 1943, early 1944, and early-47 (all these absences were possible, according to his military leave record), Jack Rubenstein came from Chicago to Muncie to participate in some mysterious meetings in this building. On the second of these occasions, Fehrenbach happened to have a two-hour lunch talking with Rubenstein and became fairly well acquainted with him. Because of the overall circumstances, Fehrenbach deduced that Jack Rubenstein was there to meet with the Communist cell. Fehrenbach had the impression that “very seldom would there be over three or four at any one time” at these cell meetings (pg 300), but that when Jack Rubenstein came to Muncie, “there was a meeting that apparently had some significance to it, because there were so many people coming in” (pg 316).
He reported for active duty to Camp Grant, Illinois, on May 28, 1943. There, he was not assigned to any unit until June 4, when he was assigned to the 1633 SU (Student Unit?). He was there just five days, until June 9. Sometime just before or during this period of semi-activity, he could have gone to Muncie.
On June 10, 1943, he was moved to Company AAF (Army Air Field), Military Police, Recruit Training Center, Keesler Field, Mississipi. He was there almost four months, until September 3, 1943. Apparently, he trained to be be a military policeman, but then, as we shall see, he was for some reason transferred to become a mechanic for reconnaissance aircraft.
From September 5, 1943 — a little more than five months — through February 15, 1944, he was at the 793 Technical School Squadron, at Seymour Johnson Field, North Carolina. According to the reference book Air Force Bases, starting in September 1943, this base “accomodated an Aviation Cadet Pre-Technical School Training program (bomber mechanics). However, Rubenstein was pre-trained to become a reconnaissance aircraft mechanic. During these five months, he probably received general instruction on aircraft mechanics, to prepare him to then specialize.
To receive his specialized reconnaissance aircraft mechanics training, he then moved on February 15, 1944, to the 18th AAF Technical Training Detachment, Republic Aviation Crops, Farmingdale, on Long Island, New York. He was there about five weeks, until March 23, 1944. A book titled World War II Photo Intelligence, by Col Roy Stanley II, provides a description about Republic’s aircraft program at that time (pp 95-96):
[quote] Republic Aviation also proposed an aircraft to meet the 1943 call for a long-range, high-speed, high-altitude photorecon aircraft. Their version, the F-12. Two prototypes were in testing in early 1944 and initially looked promising, but by mid-1944, tests showed that F-12 performance did not surpass that of the stripped B-29s already being used for photo work in the Pacific.
In a 24 August 1944 memorandum, Brig. Gen. Marvin C. Gross, Chief of the Air Staff Requirements Division, informed the Materiel Division, that though he had previously recommended cancellation, he now agreed to continue the F-12 as “an insurance against failure of the F-11 [another reconnaissance aircraft being developed by Howard Hughs], either because of production difficulties or operational limitations.” He referred to the fact that the F-12 “does not meet the requirement for high maneuverability desired in combat photographic reconnaissance aircraft,” but had to conceed that the “F-11 and the F-12 are the only airplanes currently being built wich approximately meet the military characteristics prescribed by G-2 [Intelligence] of the War Department for a photographic mapping airplane.” [unquote]
In other words, Jack Rubenstein had been sent to Long Island, directly to the Republic factory, where US Army Air Corps Intelligence was developing the first two prototypes of a promising, technologically controversial photoreconnaissance aircraft being tested at that time, especially for use in the Pacific Theater.
After that, he went on leave for 19 days, from March 24, 1944, until April 11, 1944. This period provided the opportunity for the second trip to Muncie.
After that, he returned to Bluethenthal Field, North Carolina, near Seymour Johnson, where he had been previously. He was there from April 26, 1944, to June 7, 1944 — about six weeks. His unit there was called “D-2 Static Crew Section.” I think that this was the tests that were described in the above phrase “by mid-1944, tests showed that F-12 performance did not surpass that of the stripped B-29s already being used for photo work in the Pacific.” One of his fellow soldiers, Stephen Belancik, has added the detail that Rubenstein was assigned to the 321st Fighter Squadron (Exhibit 1294).
Then, from June 9, 1944, to November 27, 1945, Rubenstein was assigned to the 114th Air Force Base Unit (B), Chatham Field, near Savannah, Georgia. On July 17, 1944, Robins had been reassigned to AAF Materiel and Services Command. As mentioned above: “In a 24 August 1944 memorandum, Brig. Gen. Marvin C. Gross, Chief of the Air Staff Requirements Division, informed the Materiel Division, that though he had previously recommended cancellation, he now agreed to continue the F-12.” The book Air Force Bases says that during this period, Robins was “primarily a logistics depot….military personnel trained at Robins for overseas duty during World War II.” Irving Zakarin, one of Rubenstein’s fellow soldiers at Chatham Air Field, remembers that they served as airplane mechanics with about 15 other men, servicing P-47s, which were classified as “transit aircraft.” (Exhibit 1295)
I believe that during this half year at Chatham, a secret logistics base with trade to reconnaissance units in Asia, Ruby become involved in a long-distance Communist smuggling ring, receiving opium from Burma.
During the period 17 Aug 1944 through 23 October 1944, while Rubenstein was at Chetham, the First and Second Fighter Squadrons were organized at Tampa, specifically at Drew and Lakeland Fields, for a deployment to the CBI Theater. The P-51 bomber was reconfigured as a special reconnaissance version called the F-6, which deployed from Tampa to India.
On November 27, 1945, until February 17, 1946 — for about three months — Rubenstein was assigned to the Tampa area, first at Drew Field and then in Tampa, where he was closer to the shipping port. On February 17, 1946, he traveled back to Illinois, where he was discharged from the Service.
Ruby in Dallas, 1946-48
Jack Rubenstein’s living arrangements and activities during the first postwar years are only known at a few points in time. In about October 1946, he was in Dallas, Texas, where his sister Eva Grant had been living since about 1943. In Dallas, he built a log cabin, where he hosted a private night club that was open mostly only on weekends. The evidence is confusing about whether he considered Dallas to be his main residence. In August 1947, he was in a Chicago hotel, but in October 1947, he told government authorities that he was only “visiting” Dallas. As late as 1951, he was living in only a YMCA room in Dallas. (HSCA vol 9, pp 522, 1080)
Fehrenbach claimes he saw Jack Rubenstein for the third time in Muncie in about early 1947, for only for a few seconds, when Rubenstein walked into the second-story office. Some days after that visit, Fehrenbach found an unlabeled list of more than 100 names that was left by mistake on the third floor. That list included local people he suspected of Communist sympathies and also included the name of Jack Rubenstein. Fehrenbach stole that list and turned it over to his father-in-law, who was a local police officer. Several of the local people he thought were Communists accused him of stealing the list, but he denied it.
After that, during the second half of 1947, Fehrenbach was subjected to an intensive surveillance. Every day when he left work, for about six months, a car with two or three people in it would follow him out to his rural home and park across the street for several hours. His wife confirmed this surveillance. Fehrenbach deduced that the people watching him were doing this on the behest of Communists who were concerned about the missing list. The surveillance lasted until about Christmas 1947 and then stopped. .
As we will see, there are also statements that Jack Rubenstein was also spending a lot of time in hotels in Florida in the late 1940s, involved in various smuggling operations.
During these postwar years, the new Communist governments of East Europe led the reintroduction of opium into the West. Yugoslavia grew opium and smuggled it across the border to Trieste, Italy. That operations was disrupted when a lot of those smugglers were arrested in Italy in 1950. Subsequently, the major smuggling route went through Greece. This smuggling ring was run by a married couple of Greek Communists and a refugee from the Spanish Civil War. This ring was arrested in the early 1950s. There was also a major opium-smuggling ring operating out of the Romanian Embassy in Switzerland, primarily buying Western industrial equipment in exchange for opium. (Charles Siragusa, The Trail of the Poppy: Behind the Mask of the Mafia, chapters 5 and 7).
The Mafia was also trying to establish new smuggling networks. In 1946, the Mafia sent Paul Roland Jones, who had been operating a casino in Mexico City, to Dallas for this purpose. Jones began by attempting to bribe some police officers in November 1946 to allow him to set up a gambling casino in the back of a Dallas restaurant. Police investigators tape recorded all these conversations, and Jones was arrested for bribery on December 18, 1946. (HSCA, vol 9, pp 517-518).
The HSCA tried hard to prove that Rubenstein was involved in Jones attempt to establish this casino. There was some circumstantial evidence, and one officer involved in the bribery sting, Steve Guthrie, later remembered to the assassination investigators that Ruby was supposed to operate the casino restaurant.
However, there were also contrary evidence. Rubenstein was never mentioned in any of the extant tapes or notes from the bribery sting, and another officer involved in the sting, George Butler, told the FBI (ibid, pg 520):
[quote] Ruby was not involved in the bribery attempt. In fact, he [Butler] had never heard of Ruby until after the investigation and trial had been completed. He stated the way Ruby came into the picture was a number of individuals who were involved in the bribery attempt and in particular Paul Roland Jones began “hanging out” at Ruby’s club after the sentence. [unquote]
Jones and the Rubensteins also said they did not meet until after the bribery attempt. Eva Grant said that she first met Jones in early 1947, when Jones tried to buy a Dallas restaurant she owned. She refused to sell it, but she did talk about business ideas with Jones and suggest that Jones contact Hyman Rubenstein in Chicago to discuss other possible business ideas. Shortly after that, Jones traveled to Chicago and did meet with Hyman Rubenstein, but supposedly no business enterprises were established during that meeting. Shortly afterwards, Jones returned to Dallas.
In Dallas, Jones was trying to organize a drug smuggling operation and other businesses (he was also an egg broker and a liquor store owner). According to Eva and Jack, Eva introduced Jack to Jones in about June or July 1947 at her restaurant. At about the same time, Hyman recontacted Jones to suggest a business of shipping excess metal pipe from Chicago to Dallas. On August 2, Jones returned to Chicago to conduct various business and telephoned Hyman Rubenstein from his hotel room to discuss the proposed pipe business. During this period, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) had Jones under surveillance and noted that Jones had telephoned from his hotel to a local number that belonged to Hyman and Jack Rubenstein. Jones remembered that he met Jack Rubenstein in a hotel lobby there. Shortly afterwards, Jones returned to Dallas.
On August 27, 1947, one of Jones’ accomplices was arrested trying to smuggle 48 pounds of opium across the border. On October 29, 1947, Jones was also arrested, supposedly because he was implicated by the accomplice. On that same day, the FBN interviewed Jack Rubenstein in Dallas. Rubenstein told the FBN that he had met Jones in Dallas four or five months previously, but that they had never discussed any drug smuggling and had not been in contact when Jones was in Chicago. The FBN also questioned Hyman, who told the story about the proposed pipe business.
None of the Rubensteins were charged, but Jones was confined to jail for the bribery and smuggling convictions until March 1952. After he was released, he moved away from Dallas. (HSCA, vol 9, pp 517-523). In the meantime, Jack Rubenstein proceeded to establish the casino restaurant and smuggling operation that Jones had failed to establish. Whereas Jones and his Mafia partners had been surveilled, stung, and prosecuted very successfully by government investigators, Rubenstein and his partners were not. I think it’s worth considering the possibility that the Rubensteins even helped sabotage Jones’ efforts in order to set up their own operation.
Rubenstein Smuggling Operations, 1948-1952
In 1948, there was another develoment, in Guatemala, which at that time was ruled by a Communist-dominated regime. In 1948, a leading Guatemalan Communist serving in the embassy to France granted immigration visas to 300 veterans of the Spanish Civil War. As one expert on subsequent developments, Daniel James, later observed:
[quote] A veritable International Brigade, which could claim kinship with its Spanish original, functioned as part of the Little Cominform apparatus [in Guatemala]….Trained by the Soviet police in Spain, they …were employed to spy and inform on Communism’s enemies, to burglarize and break up anti-Red centers, and to beat up, of if need be, assassinate opponents. [unquote]
Almost immediately after these Spanish Civil War veterans arrived, the subversion in Latin America spread so dramatically that the United States embargoed all arms sales to Guatemala and convinced many other suppliers, including Great Britain, Denmark, Mexico, Cuba, Argentina, and Switzerland to break off sales agreements. Nevertheless, Guatemala managed to buy weapons for a while from smugglers, many of whom flew them to Guatemala on small airplanes.
An FBI informant designated AT T-1 recalled that Ruby had lived in Daytona, Florida, for a while in the late 1940s. Another FBI informant, designated as AT T-2 (real name, Blaney Mack Johnson), also told the FBI that Ruby was in Florida in the early 1950s and was smuggling weapons and counterfeit money to leftist rebels in Cuba (Exhibit 3063, pp 634-635, 638):
[quote] He stated that in the early 1950s, Jack Ruby held interest in the Colonial Inn, a nightclub and gambling house in Hollandale, Florida. He stated that Jack Ruby, known then as Rubenstein, was active in arranging illegal flights of weapons from Miami to the Castro organization in Cuba. According to T-2, Ruby was reportedly part owner of two planes used for these purposes.
T-2 further stated that Ruby subsequently left Miami and purchased a substantial share in a Havana gaming house in which one Collis Prio (phonetic) was principal owner. T-2 stated that Colis Prio was within favor of former Cuban leader Batista, but was instrumental in financing and managing accumulation of arms by pro-Castro forces.
T-2 stated that one Donald Edward Browder was associated with Ruby in the arms smuggling operation. Browder is reportedly incarcerated in the US Penitentiary, Atlanta, after conviction on a US Customs violation. T-2 also stated that Joe Marrs of Marrs Aircraft, 167th Street, Miami, Florida, allegedly contracted with Ruby to make flights to Havana. T-2 further stated that Leslie Lewis, formerly Chief of Police, Hialeah, Florida, and now possibly a pistol instructor in Dade County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office, possessed detailed knowledge of persons involved in flight of weaons to Cuba and had specific knowledge of Ruby’s participation. …. T-2 also named Clifton T. Bowes, Jr, formerly captain of National Airlines, Miami, Florida, as having been acquainted with Rubenstein and his activities. ….
He also indicated that the Colonial Club in which Jack Rubenstein had an interest was a place where counterfeit money was handled. [unquote]
However, when the FBI interviewed Marrs, Lewis, and Bowes, they all denied they knew Jack Ruby. Furthermore, financial records showed that the Colonial Club had been closed in 1948. Johnson also had trouble identifying photographs of Ruby. However, he still insisted he was correct. He said Browder was called Don, Eddie, and Don Eduardo. (ibid, pg 642)
On April 21, 1964, the FBI did find Browder in a prison. The FBI agents devoted a third of their report to the fact that they had carefully informed him that he did not have to answer their questions (ibid, pg 643):
[quote] Edward J. Browder, Jr, also known as John Smith, Earl Brewder, who has FBI Number 4840823, and presently serving a three year sentence at Federal Correctional Institution, Tallahasee, Florida, was interviewed on April 21, 1964. Browder was sentenced from Federal Court at Miami, Florida, on June 3, 1960, for receiving and concealing stolen Canadian securities.
At the outset of the interview, Browder was advised by Special Agent Robert W. Clark that he did not have to make any statement or talk to the interviewing agents and that any statment he did make could be used in court, even against him at a later date. No threats or promises were made, and Browder advised that he was aware of his right to consult an attorney before saying anything to the interviewing agents.
Browder advised that he was not acquainted with Jack Leon Ruby, whose picture he had seen in the newspapers many times and that he was never associated with Ruby in the smuggling of arms to Cuba in the early 1950s or any other time. Browder advised that he had never used the name Donald Edward Browder and he did not know any person by that name. Browder advised that he was not acquainted with a Blaney Mack Johnson, Leslie Lewis, or Clifton T. Bowes, Jr, but was aware that several years back, there was a Marrs, possibly Joe Marrs, who operated a repair shop for airplanes in Miami, but he, Browder, was not acquainted with the man. [unquote]
However, Browder was lying at least about his name. Joe Marrs told the FBI that he knew Browder and knew him as Donald Edward Browder (ibid, pg 639):
[quote] He [Marrs] had never heard of Jack Ruby. …. He said he knew Donald Edward Browser as an ex-Royal Canadian Air Force ferry comand pilot who came to Miami about 1945. …. Marrs said Browder spoke of plans to set up an air transport service to South American countries, but to Marrs’ knowledge, did not succeed in doing so. Marrs has read of Browder’s alleged escapades of smuggling, but has no knowledge of them. [unquote]
(It is also worth noting that CIA employees H. Howard Hunt and James McCord both used the alias Don Eduardo when dealing with Cubans. (Jim Hougan, Secret Agenda (New York: Random House, 1984), pg 18)).
Ruby was not seen in Dallas for several months in 1952. In an interview with the FBI (HSCA, Vol 5, pg 186) he explained this absence thus:
[quote] Ruby said he went broke in the night club business in 1952 and had a “mental breakdown.” He continued along this line by saying he was “mentally depressed” and that he “hibernated in the Cotton Bowl Hotel” for three or four months, declining to see his friends. He said he went back to Chicago briefly, and his brother Earl tried to help him out financially. He returned to Dallas, however, in 1952. [unquote]
In about 1953-54, Sam Ruby disappeared for about a year. Sam and Earl were partners in Earl Products, Co, in Chicago. That company manufactured salt and pepper shakers, key chains, bottle openers, screw drivers, and small hammers. The company employed about 40 people, and grossed about a quarter million dollars a year (WC, Vol 14, pgs 370-71). In fact, this company was also involved in smuggling, because Hyman Rubenstein was shipping bootleg liquor to Oklahoma in boxes labeled to show they contained salt and pepper shakers (David Scheim, Contract on America, pg 103).
In 1955, after Sam Ruby returned from his year’s absence, Earl gave him $30,000 to buy him out of the business, and Sam then moved to Dallas, where he went into various vague “advertising specialty businesses” and gave Jack Ruby about $5,500 (WC, Vol 14, pgs 371, 494-96).
Ruby’s Smuggling Operation, 1956-1958
In about January 1956, a pimp named James Breen met with Ruby to discuss collaboration in managing three prostitutes. However, Ruby was primarily interested in discussing narcotics smuggling with Breen. This was “a large narcotics setup operating between Mexico, Texas, and the East.” A few days after that first meeting, Ruby returned with another man, and they showed Breen a film of border guards, narcotics agents, and a Mexican contact. Breen was “enthused over what he considered an extremely efficient operation in connection with narcotics traffic.” One typical load of narcotics was valued at about $350,000, and Breen received $2,400.
In addition, Ruby tried to set up an arrangement to sell pornographic pictures through Breen’s prostitutes. Ruby said he had “a large quantity of material available to him.” However, the prostitutes refused, because if they were caught with this kind of pornography, the charges against them would be much more serious. Although the pornography is not described, it must have been something much more objectionable than just pictures of naked women.
Later, two of Breen’s prostitutes informed the FBI about all of this. (WC, Exhibits 1761-1762). That FBI report from one of these prostitutes, Eileen Curry, concludes with these words:
[quote] CURRY advised that one RALPH HEDRICK has been a close friend of BREEN’s, when both were incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution at Seagoville, Texas.
She stated that HEDRICK, in 1956, was in his 30’s and had already completed 15 years of various penal servitude. She said that HEDRICK was, at that time, employed in a print shop in Dallas, Texas, and was active in some type of lecture tour wherein he spoke about his criminal background before youth groups. CURRY advised that she had no knowledge as to whether BREEN would have confided in HEDRICK or whether HEDRICK would have known RUBY, but felt that HEDRICK was BREEN’s closest frient in the Dallas area.
CURRY advised that she had heard rumors in Dallas, Texas, the source not now recalled, to the effect that BREEN’s contact and protection in Muskogee, Oklahoma, was allegedly the Cief of Police of Muskogee. [unquote]
The FBI report from the other prostitute, Bunny Breen (she had been married to James Breen), added this supplementary information:
[quote] She believes James [Breen] made connections with the narcotics ring through a former associate from Seagoville Prison, where James served time. [unquote]
In other words, Hedrick, who spoke about his criminal background before youth groups, was not a peripheral character in all this, but might have been a central one. Breen tried to steal some of the narcotics from the ring and disappeared. But that doesn’t mean that Hedrick also betrayed the ring. He may have stayed loyal to this smuggling ring and continued to preach to youth groups in Dallas.
In 1958, this weapons-smuggling network developed. Ruby’s own role broadened when one of his Dallas gambling partners, Lewis J. McWillie, moved to Havana to become manager of the Mob-owned Tropicana Hotel. Ruby shipped weapons to Cuba through McWillie. Another Ruby associate from Dallas, Russell Douglas Matthews, a convicted narcotics smuggler, also opened a bar business in Havana in 1958. (HSCA, Vol IX, pgs 524-586.)
Three related witnesses have described Ruby’s very personal role in this gun smuggling in 1958. The first of these witnesses was Mary Thompson (Exhibit 3065):
[quote] On about May 30, 1958, she traveled to Islamerada, Florida, accompanied by her daughter and son-in-law, Dolores and Richard Rhoads. They visited her brother and sister-in-law, James and Mary Lou “Butch” Woodard, who resided in a cottage. …. While there they met Jack and Isabel (last name unknown), acquaintances of the Woodards. There was not sufficient room in the Woodard cottage, and Jack and Isabel suggested that Dolores and Richard spend the night at their home. ….
[Thompson then listed several facts that indicated that this Jack was Jack Ruby — grew up in Chicago, ran a bar in Dallas, also called Leon, same physical description, etc]
Mary Lou said that Jack had a trunk full of guns and inferred that Jack was going to supply them to the Cubans. Mrs Thomspons stated that she was told that there were supplies of guns hidden in the marshes that were being collected by the Indians in the area to be sold to the Cubans. This was at the time of the revolution in Cuba. [unquote]
In a separate FBI interview, the daughter Dolores confirmed the story. She added:
[quote] [Her husband at that time,] Richard Rhoads, and [her uncle] James Woodard got drunk one night, and Woodard said that he and Jack would run some guns to Cuba. …. He said that Jack had a lot more guns than he did. [unquote]
A separate FBI report based on an interview with James Woodard said only:
[quote] Woodard, in a somewhat rambling and incoherent manner, alleged he had participated in an invasion of Cuba prior to the Castro regime; that he had participated in the Bay of Pigs invasion, and has furnished ammunition and dynamite to both Castro and Cuban exile forces. [unquote]
The FBI agents who wrote this report neglected to ask him if he had worked with or known Jack Ruby. Most of the report was devoted to statements by relatives that Woodard was a liar. (ibid) However, Scott Malone noted in a memorandum, dated September 24, 1977 (Ruby file, Assassinations Archive) that Woodard has said he knew both Browder and Ruby.
David Scheim in his book Contract on America (New York: Kensington, 1988), adds another detail (pg 221):
[quote]In 1958, Ruby wrote a letter to the State Department’s Office of Munitions Controls “requesting permission to negotiate the purchase of firearms and ammunition from an Italian firm.” And the name “Jack Rubenstein” [Ruby’s birth name] was listed in a 1959 Army Intelligence report on U.S. arms dealers. Although located by clerks of these two federal agencies in 1963, both documents are today inexplicably missing. [unquote]
Another person who was apparently involved in this gun smuggling to Cuba was David Ferrie. Born in 1918, he worked in the late 1940s as a pilot for an oil drilling firm that had jobs in Latin America. In 1951, he became an Eastern Airlines pilot and moved to New Orleans. There, he also became a leader in the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), where is reported to have befriended a young Marxist named Lee Harvey Oswald. Ferrie started a secret group within the CAP, called the Omnipote nts, which “trained cadets in what to do in the event of a major attack on the United States.” The House Select Committee on Assassinations summarized his activities at the end of the 1950s thus:
[quote] Ferrie’s job and ownership of an airplane enabled him to travel frequently around the country with relative ease. He told officials he frequently travled to Texas and other parts of the South, including Miami. He also visited New York on occasion. The amount of time Ferrie spent in these other cities could not be determined. In August 1959, while in Miami, Ferrie was put under 24-hour surveillance by customs agents who believed he was involved in gun smuggling. Following a brief investigation, including a tapping of his telephone conversations, it was determinted that Ferrie ws not involved in any illegal activity, but merely planning an outing for his “scouts.” The investigation was dropped. [vol 10, pg 109] [unquote]
In the summer and fall of 1958, Donald Edward Browder, the ex-Canadian pilot who was reported to be involved with Ruby since the late 1940s, was arrested for smuggling guns to Castro. Browder was later sentenced to three years in prison for this (Scott Malone’s memorandum, dated September 19, 1977 in Ruby file, Assassination Archives, Washington DC):
[quote] Browder [was] in a US prison serving three years for a conviction of receiving, transporting, and possessing stolen Canadian securities. The securities were stolen from the Brockville Savings and Trust company and two other Canadian financial institutions. While the FBI supplied several reports to the Warren Commission concerning Browder, including his denial about knowing Ruby, they withheld hundreds of reports from Browder’s file which illuminated his extensive involvement in gun smuggling to Cuba and the stolen Canadian securities. Both the gun smuggling to Cuba and the stolen Canadian securities were activtities controlled by Norman Rothman. Rothman admits to knowing Browder.
On July 7, 1961, Browder gave a sworn deposition to the American Surety Company in which he stated that he had obtained the stolen securities he was arrested for ($136,000) from the 26th of July Movement, Fidel Castro’s revolutionary group, in exchange for arms during the summer and fall of 1958. Browder stated that he had obtained the weapons from the International Armament Corporation (InterArmco) in Alexandria, Virginia, starting in late May and early June of 1958. Browder was apparently the purchasing agent for the Rothman gun-running operation to Castro’s forces.
According to a memorandum of a House Un-American Activities Committee investigator, Cubans driving station wagons and small trucks were purchasing automatic weapons from InterArmco at this time with the approval of the CIA. [CIA agent] Frank Sturgis has admitted to being involved with this operation at this same time. Efren Pichardo, associate of Browder, has also admitted to being involved in this operation (he drove a station wagon) at the exact same time with Sturgis. Pichardo was working for Browder at the time. Pichardo also confirmed that many of the weapons were hidden in the marshes of Islmorada, Florida, where Ruby has been identified by independent witnesses as “babysitting” a large arms cache. ….
While Browder has ample underworld connections, he is not lacking in intelligence connections either. Browder claims to have known the chief of intelligence for the Mexican Air Force, as well as a Canadian Minister of Defense. His “rap sheet” reveals that although he had numerous arrests, he spent relatively little time behind bars. [unquote]
Sending Trucks to Castro, 1959
On January 1, 1959, Castro seized power in Cuba and arrested Santos Trafficante, the Mafia Chief in Cuba. Until that time, the Communists, not the Castroites, had before that time been smuggling narcotics. Two good books on this Communist-Castroite rivalry are Maurice Halperin’s The Taming of Fidel Castro and Mario Llerena’s The Unsuspected Revolution. Halperin describes how the Castroites discredited and even legally charged the Communists for the past narcotics trading.
The Mafia had been exporting weapons and importing narcotics from the Cuban Communists, not the Cuban Castroites. Trafficante told the HSCA that he simply had not expected Castro’s victory. Therefore, a new deal had to be negotiated.
In the following weeks, Ruby, as a major smuggler, tried to intercede through Robert McKeown, who had been smuggling weapons to the Castro forces. Ruby asked McKeown to write a personal letter of introduction to Castro or otherwise help free Trafficante. In return, Ruby has admitted, Ruby tried to send jeeps and “other similar equipment” to Castro (Hall (C. Ray) Exhibit No. 3):
[quote] Ruby volunteered that some years ago, “at a time when Castro was popular in the United States,” he read of an individual [McKeown] in the vicinity of Houston, Texas, having been engaged in “gun running to Castro.” He said he attempted by telephone to get in touch with this individual, as he had in mind “making a buck” by possibly acquiring some jeeps or other similar equipment which he might sell to persons interested in their importation to Cuba. He said nothing came of this. He said he had never attended any meetings concerned with “gun running,” smuggling of persons in or out of Cuba or otherwise in relation to Cuban affairs. [unquote]
On April 27, Castro himself visited McKeown in Houston and offered McKeown a post in the Cuban government. However, McKeown turned down the offer because he was on probation for gun-running and therefore could not leave the United States.
Apparently at this meeting, Castro agreed to some kind of ransom terms for Trafficante, but the Mafia suffered a major fiasco in trying to meet them. In early May,1959, the Mafia stole $8.5 million from a Canadian bank and also stole a large number of Arms from the Ohio National Guard. A police investigation showed that Rothman had spent $6,000 of the money to rent airplanes to smuggle the arms to Castro’s forces in Cuba. On July 3, Rothman was arrested for this series of crimes.
During this period, Ruby was heavily involved in these negotiations. Many people who have studies Ruby’s life have assumed he was working for the Mafia, but perhaps he was representing other clients instead or in addition. In retrospect, we should consider that this truck business would also be useful to the Teamsters labor union and to the CIA. The overthrow of Batista dictatorship seemed to open the possibility for the rapid development of labor unions like the Teamsters in Cuba. It is also worth noting that US labor unions (especially for example the AFL-CIO) cooperated closely with the CIA’s efforts to plant its own agents in foreign countries. The Teamsters might well have had a similar relationship with the CIA. Therefore, the role of the Mafia in Ruby’s activities then might have been only secondary or even tertiary.
Anyway, on April 27, when Castro had visited Houston, Ruby rented a mysterious safe deposit, which he accessed several times during that summer. He was also called in for questioning by the FBI several times, starting on April 28. In August, 1959, David Ferrie was put under 24-hour surveillance in Miami for gun running. In September 1959, Ruby traveled to Cuba twice, supposedly to visit Trafficante in prison on the pretense of visiting McWillie, who was now working at another Trafficante casino in the Capri Hotel in Havana.
In prison with Trafficante was a Soviet agent named John Wilson, who was at least observing and possibly had also participated in all this. I quote from a book called Who Was Jack Ruby (pp 132-134) by Seth Kantor:
[quote] The CIA file on him went back to 1951….Wilson, well educated at Oxford University, had been born in Liverpool, December 29, 1916, had reached Chile on January 28, 1939 [apparently a refugee of the Spanish Civil War], from Buenos Aires, and “was a contact of one Bert Sucharov, a suspected Soviet agent in Santiago, Chile.”
Wilson was outspoken as a pro-communist and foe of the United States. He posed occasionally as a British Royal Air Force captain in uniform and two attempts by the British embassy to have him expelled from Chile failed — after Wilson apparently convinced authorities inside the embassy that he had “worked on a special mission for the British government in Germany, Egypt, and Turkey at the close of World War II.”
The CIA source in Chile pegged John Wilson as “very probably an intelligence agent.” Wilson always seemed to have a lot of money without an apparent income. he held UN press pass no. 287, issued in Santiago, and another pass from the Chilean secret police which allowed him special access.
At the end of June, 1959, Wilson and three Americans were arrested in a suburb of Havana as they planned to carry out a sneak bomb raid on Nicaragua, using three airplanes and a small volunteer attack force. Fidel Castro had nothing to do with the attack plans and ordered Wilson and the other ringleaders arrested; thus John Wilson was in jail at the time of the Ruby visit.
In prison in Cuba, Wilson says he met an American gangster gambler named Santos [Trafficante] who could not return to the USA because there were several indictments outstanding against him. Instead, he preferred to live in relative luxury in a Cuban prison. While Santos was in prison, Wilson says, Santos was visited frequently by an American gangster type named Ruby. Inexplicably, one of Ruby’s notebooks had this entry, which Dallas police located on the day Oswald was shot: “October 29, 1963 — John Wilson — bond.” The FBI checked police and sheriff’s records in Dallas to see if a John Wilson had made bond. The FBI also consulted two different private attorneys in Dallas whose names were John Wilsn, but who had never had dealings with Ruby. The FBI said it found no reason for the notebook entry. [unquote]
I want to specially point out a couple of elements of this situation. First, Wilson’s story of how he himself was imprisoned is fishy. What sense was there in flying three small airplanes to Nicaragua to drop a few bombs? Perhaps this was some kind of smuggling flight that was prevented at the last minute.
Second, Trafficante’s imprisonment seems to be somewhat of a hoax. Trafficante himself testified to the Select Committe on Assassinations that he was released from prison and left Cuba in August 1959. He then returned to Cuba to defend himself in a trial during October-November 1959 and then voluntarily returned to his Cuban “prison.” (HSCA, Vol 5, pg 355). He also testified (pg 367) that his own lawyer’s brother later became the Minister of Sports in Communist Cuba.
I think that Trafficante was really negotiating an agreement for the Mafia to give up its gambling interests in Cuba in return for Cuban cooperation in continuing the Mafia’s narcotics-weapons smuggling network in Latin America. Trafficante returned to the United States again in early 1960.
As noted earlier, Ruby had apparently committed himself to send trucks to Cuba in order to free Trafficante from prison in August 1959, but then said that he never sent any trucks. Would Castro have suffered such a double-cross and still allowed Trafficante to leave Cuba? Did anybody ever supply the trucks? It seems that in accordance with Ruby’s negotiations, the trucks were supplied to Castro by Guy Banister.
Personalities at the New Orleans CRC Branch, 1961
Most people who understand that the Kennedy assassination was a conspiracy explain Banister and his Cuban associates generally in the following manner. Banister and his associated anti-Castro Cuban exiles were right-wingers who hated Kennedy. They agreed to participate in the conspiracy, which was controlled by the Mafia or the CIA/FBI. Their role was to manipulate and frame Oswald so that there would be lots of evidence that he was pro-Castro. Then, after the assassination, the American public would blame Castro and help the anti-Castro Cubans.
This theory is based on a stereotype that all anti-Castro Cuban exiles were right-wingers and hated Kennedy. In fact, many of them were left-wingers and looked to Kennedy’s support as their key opportunity to overthrow Castro, who they considered an egomaniac, and establish a more authentic socialism on Cuba. It is certainly possible that Banister shared those goals and was working for left-wing superiors in the U.S. Government or abroad. I suggest that the conspirators attempted to frame Banister and his Cubans along with Oswald.
The House Select Committee on Assassinations described the role in all this intrigue that was played by Guy Banister and Sergio Arcacha Smith.
[quote] In 1960 [-] early 1961 Banister … was helping to establish the Friends of Democratic Cuba organization as an adjuct to Sergio Arcacha Smith’s CRC. At the time, Banister’s investigative business and the CRC were both located in the Balter Buiding. In February 1961, Banister was conducting background investigations of the members of the CRC from a list provided by Arcacha Smith. [vol 10, pg 110 ]
The … first New Orleans delegate to the Cuban Revolutionary Council (CRC), Sergio Arcacha Smith, told the Committee that he arrived in Miami in August 1960 and at the request of Antonio de Varona, a director of the CRC, agreed to establish a chapter of this group in New Orleans. Arcacha Smith was initially afforded free office space in the Balter Building; he later rented space at 544 Camp Street. He occupied an office at 544 Camp Street for about six months during 1961-62 [October to February] . [HSCA, vol 10, pg 61]
The CRC in New Orleans was affiliated with the main branch of the CRC in Miami, which had been receiving funds from the US Government. Some of these funds may have been disseminated to the New Orleans branch to cover operating costs. [In this regard, the HSCA cited, but did not reproduce or even summarize a] CIA Office of Security memo from Raymond G. Rocca, May 31, 1961, Item F; also a memo from Donovan E. Pratt, Sep 28, 1967, items A, B, and C, regarding Arcacha Smith. The Sep 28, 1967, Pratt memo [was] also found in [the] Office of Security file for David W. Ferrie. One local office did believe the group had the “unofficial sanction of CIA,” according to Lieutenant Martello. [vol 10, pp 109, 119, note 106]
Early in 1961, Banister helped draw up a charter for the Friends of Democratic Cuba, an organization set up as the fundraising arm of Sergio Arcacha Smith’s branch of the Cuban Revoutionary Council. Coincidentally, Gerard F. Tujague, owner of Gerard F. Tujague, Inc. Forwarding Company, who had employed Oswald as a messenger from November 1955 to January 1956, was also a member and officer (vice-president) of Friends of Democratic Cuba.
Banister described his work for the Council:
“Our work was primarily to gather food and clothing for the refugees. However, because of my being known in connection with that, my background being know with Arcacha Smith and others, I have had high-ranking Cuban refugees in my office asking me how to go underground, and I gave them diagrams for that. I have talked to military and political leaders from the various provinces of Cuba that have slipped out and slipped back.”
The FBI files indicate Banister was performing another service for the Cuban exile group. He ran background investigations on those Cuban students on the campus of Louisiana State University who wished to be members of Arcacha Smith’s anti-Castro group, ferreting out any pro-Castro sympathizers who might be among them. Banister also talked Sam Newman into leasing 544 Camp Street to the Cuban Revolutionary Council. [HSCA, vol 10, pp 126-127; note 64]
During his tenure as head of the New Orleans delegation, Arcacha Smith endeavored to raise funds by selling CRC bonds and was instrumental in organizing several rallies to promote the cause of the Cuban exiles. [vol 10, pg 61] [unquote]
Anthony Summers reported in his book Conspiracy (pp 579-580) that Roselli and Maheu were also involved with Guy Banister in New Orleans:
[quote] Banister’s personal secretary, Delphine Roberts, offers one further clue to the way 544 Camp Street was caught up in the dirtier undercurrents…. She came up with the names “Roselli” and “Maheu” as having had dealings with the Banister office. Robert Maheu was the man used by the CIA, as early as 1960, to enlist Mafia help in assassination plots against Fidel Castro. John Roselli was the first underworld figure Maheu recruited.
Mrs Roberts’ claim that Banister was in touch with Maheu is not wholly implausible. Years previously, the two men had been agents together in the Chicago office of the FBI, and Maheu admits he knew Banister. He denies, however, contacting Banister in 1963. ….
New Orleans would have been a natural enough place to find John Roselli. Delphine Roberts says she believes he was there and actually visited 544 Camp Street. [unquote]
Cuban Exile Intrigues, January – April 1961
In January 1961, as de Varona began planning to poison Castro for CIA’s Office of Security, Guy Banister in New Orleans drew up the charter for a new organization, Friends of Democratic Cuba, to raise money for de Varona’s New Orleans protege, Sergo Arcacha Smith. (HSCA, vol 10, pg 126). One of the new organization’s first acts was to send a person with the name Oswald to buy several trucks from a local automobile dealer. Jim Garrison described this strange event in his book On the Trail of the Assassins (pp 57-58):
[quote] As we later learned from [automobile] salesmen Fred Sewall and Oscar Deslatte, two men claiming to represent an organization called Friends of Democratic Cuba arrived at the Bolton [Ford dealership on North Claiborne Avenue in New Orleans] on January 20, 1961. This was only three months before the abortive Bay of Pigs attempt to invade Cuba. …. One of the men was a powerfully built Latin with a thick neck and a distinct scar over his left eyebrow. The other was a thin, young Anglo-Saxon who obviously was in charge.
The two men indicated that they wanted to buy ten Ford pickup trucks. They wanted a bid from Bolton Ford on the price. The Latin identified himself as “Joseph Moore,”but said the bid had to be in the name of “Oswald.” The young Anglo-Saxon confirmed this, explaining that “Oswald” was his name and that he was the one with the money. Instead of asking the buyers to sign, Deslatte himself printed the name “Oswald” on the form.
Of course, as all the world now knows, the real Lee Oswald was in the Soviet Union that day and would be for more than another year. …. I [Garrison] pondered the implications of this staggering information. In the very month that John Kennedy was inaugurated, an intelligence project being run by Guy Banister was using the name “Oswald” in bidding for pickup trucks for apparent use in the Bay of Pigs invasion. [quote]
However, Garrison’s interpretation of this purchase is disputable. It’s not so certain that these trucks were being purchased for the Bay of Pigs invasion. President Kennedy had frozen the invasion plans on November 18, 1960, and the plans were still frozen solid on January 20, 1961. In addition, at first glance, the name “Friends of Democratic Cuba” seems supportive of Castro’s regime — similar to the later “Fair Play for Cuba,” which was also run out of Banister’s office. In other words, Moore and Oswald may have been purchasing the trucks for Castro. In the context of de Varona’s simultaneous planning to poison Castro, the trucks might have been a Trojan Horse to enter Cuba as part of the poison plot.
The fact that the purchaser’s name was Oswald is intriguing. There is some reason to speculate that this was an attempt to create the impression that Lee Harvey Oswald had already returned from the Soviet Union and purchased these trucks in January 1961. The Vice-President of Friends of Cuba was Gerard F. Tujague, who had employed Lee Harvey Oswald as a messenger in 1955-1956 and probably knew that Oswald was a Marxist who had defected (HSCA, Vol 10, pg 134, note 64). In this case, a possible explanation for this deceit was to use a false Lee Harvey Oswald, for which there was local evidence of a Marxist background, in order to reinforce the impression that Friends of Democratic Cuba was a pro-Castro organization. The target of this deceit would have been Castro’s government, which didn’t necessarily know that Oswald was still in the Soviet Union.
A similar possibility is that the Oswald who purchased the trucks might have been a relative of Lee Harvey Oswald. There were other Oswalds who were mysterious, besides Lee Harvey Oswald.
Anyway, this mysterious Oswald ordered the trucks for the Friends of Democratic Cuba almost three months before President Kennedy authorized the invasion of Cuba. Morrow described Kennedy’s position as follows:
[quote] In late February, [1961,] when Kennedy still failed to let the CIA proceed with the invasion, Dulles warned the chief executive that to delay any longer could be fatal. The young President, after talking it over with brother Bobby, the new Attorney General, instead ordered Dulles to stop all anti-Cuban operations. …. William Wieland and the leftist factions in the exile community — seeking to regain their power over the Brigade and to save their influence with the new administration — had proclaimed to the new President and Attorney General that the rightist-controlled Brigade was being funded in part by the Mafia. …. [unquote]
The House Select Committe on Assassinations described the next development:
[quote] The FRD [had] set up headquarters initially in Mexico, but recruited most of its proposed invasion force from Miami. The military arm of the FRD was known as Brigade 2506. The Brigade was eventually composed of 1,443 men who were trained by US Army specialists at two sites on the south coast of Guatemala. ….
In March 1961, the State Department pressured FRD leaders to accept the Movimento Revolutionario del Pueblo (MRP), headed by Manuel Ray Rivero, into the FRD. The inclusion of Ray’s group into the alliance of Cuban exiles was reportedly also “terribly important to the White House,” which wanted to broaden the political base of the FRD. In an effort to attract Ray and his group into the FRD, … Dr Jose Miro Cardona was elected its new president. Dr Miro Cardona was a former Havana jurist who broke with Castro after serving him as his first Prime Minister. [vol 10, pg 57] ….
[Manuel Ray Rivero had been appointed by Castro as] Minister of Public Works in February 1959. …. Ray’s tenure in Castro’s government was short lived. He was relieved of his official position in November 1959. No definite reason for this sudden move has been documented but, according to one source, Ray did not leave Castro because of ideological or policy discrepancies, but rather because of a personality clash with Castro’s Miniter of Labor, who almost shot Ray after a stomy cabinet meeting. …. For whatever reason, Ray did permit his name to be associated with the Castro regime until May 1960, when he formed the Revolutionary Movement of the People (MRP). ….
Having waited until May 1960 to organize his resistance group, Ray was criticized as being suspiciously tardy to the anti-Castro movement. Charges of “Fidelism without Fidel” were made against him and the MRP because of their leftist ideologies. …. A [US Government] officer who met with Ray in November 1960 noted that his political posture was “doubtful” as far as US Government acceptance was concerned, and a further assessment portrayed Ray as so far “left in his thinking that he would be as dangerous to US interests as Castro.”
Some prominent Cubans also expressed negative opinions about Ray, among them Dr Jose Miro Cardona, president of the FRD. Miro opposed Ray because he considered his program too Marxist and declared Ray was bitterly anti-American as well as probably totalitarian in his thinking. ….
Although aware of his controversial political philosophy, attempts were continued to recruit Ray to join the FRD, because the White House and State Department pushed for his inclusion. Ray received full operational approval as a “political asset” on February 7, 1961. [ibid, pp 137-138] [unquote]
After the formation of this new alliance, Kennedy now approved the invasion of Cuba.
Kennedy Intrigues in the CIA
Shortly before the invasion of Cuba (which began April 16, 1961) a group of men attempted to take $3 million that was supposed to help pay for the invasion. The CIA had given this money to the Cuban exiles through a false religious front and confiscated it back from the group. The men in the group were not arrested or punished for taking the money. President Kennedy was somehow involved in trying to divert this money and felt betrayed when the group was caught. Apparently, Kennedy had arranged for the group of men to divert the money to a Cuban exile faction that he favored. Kennedy’s annoyance at the CIA’s interception of this money helped provoke him to cancel US Air Force support of the invasion, which allowed Castro to defeat the invaders.
In about 1968, New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison received a letter from an anonymous informant who had heard more of this story from one of the participants. The complete letter follows (Old Catholic Church file, Assassinations Archives, Washington DC):
The following account may be fiction or it may be fact, I dare not commit myself by trying to substantiate it. The story was told to me in bits and pieces over a period of three months by a man, whom, I admit, has very little credibility to his character. The only reason I take the time to relate this to you, is because it is now past the realm of coincidence.
I fully realize the consequences of my actions, and so therefore I am prepared to co-operate with your office to the fullest extent, if you think the information I have warrants it.
Naturally, what I refer to is the Kennedy assassination.
It is hard to know where to begin, because the beginning was years before I had occasion to come upon this information. This is the story, the best I can relate to you:
It seems that back in 1960 and 1961 a group of men in this country began collecting money for a so-called invasion force into Cuba. This “army” was prepared to attack and capture Castro’s Cuba in an invasion sponsored by the CIA. This is common knowledge, but what is not so well known, is WHY THE INVASION FAILED! As the information was given to me, a few of the leaders of the anti-Castro force in this country decided to flee the country with a good deal of the funds collected from the sympathizers of the Cuban refugees. These men whom I will name later, were arrested in the Miami airport with the money in their possession. The arresting officers, members of the CIA, confiscated the money; amounting to almost three million dollars. Then, as the story goes, President Kennedy, feeling that he had been duped, and would be left holding the bag, and … realizing the international consequences of such an invasion, pulled the air support that had been orally committed. This, of course, led to the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion.
Since most of the 1400 or more invasion members were either killed or captured, the Cuban leaders in this country put most of the blame upon President Kennedy himself. I feel that I have evidence, though admittedly hearsay, that can prove this course of events.
I was told this story by a man who allegedly was a part of the Cuban revolutionary movement in this country. He claims to have been one of those arrested in Miami. Also, he claims to have been under FBI investigation at various times. I was in Omaha Nebraska at the time this was told to me, and at about the same time, so I’m sure you remember, your office was trying to get Perry Ruso’s girl friend; Mrs McBlaine or something to that effect, down to New Orleans for questioning. It seems rather strange to me that she would wind up in Omaha since she really had no people there. Also, WHY did the gentleman whom I quote decide to come to Omaha? He had no job there, no relatives, and no real desire to find either. He moved to Omaha in March from Lincoln, Nebraska, where he had spent about two months or less with no visable means of support. He had just previously been in the State of Washington with an associate of his. The following are a few facts that the Omaha man told me, either directly or indirectly.
He told me about the pilot named Ferrie long before your office announced your interest in him. He described the man in great detail and claimed to know him personally. He also predicted his demise.
I overheard numerous telephone conversations (mostly with the man in Washington) in which he asked with great concern whether it was the FBI, the CIA, or who, that had been asking questions about them, and whether it was that they had something on him or on “one of the others.”
He claimed to have either known or had met the Mr. Shaw you questioned.
He was originally from New Orleans, and claims to have worked on your staff at one time as an investigator.
He says he saw Oswald in New Orleans. Also a man who “looked like Ruby”.
At one time, the Omaha man and the Washington man met in a hotel there and discussed plans to go to New Orleans to see a man called Sergio Arcacha. They went, but could not find him or another man they said was there. Three days later, the local Newspapers Announced that you, too had been looking for Mr. Arcacha for questioning and that he had told you he would talk to you, but not alone.
He described the assassination scene in great detail and told me some facts about it that I had definitely not heard before.
He claims that Oswald was a patsy, a setup, to take the blame for the whole thing. Also that OSWALD WAS A HOMOSEXUAL like Shaw, Ferrie, Tippett (Dallas police officer) and a score of others.
He told me about the motorcycle police officer who claimed to have seen a man with a rifle run from the grassy knowl in front of Kennedy. (incidentally, the Omaha man claims that this is where the fatal shot came from) The police officer mysteriously had a very serious accident right after the incident, and now is a near idiot.
He claimed to have met the late President on a number of occasions, and he talked about him with very little respect.
He claims that he left Louisiana upon the advice of the Governor.
The Omaha man and the Washington man were always in telephone contact with each other, no matter where they were. Once, the Washington man was in Washington DC for some reason or another and they conferred by telephone twice in that one day.
The following is a list of the names for the story above. If you feel that any of them fit into a proper place, or into your current investigation, Please contact me so we can further discuss that.
- Sergio Arcacha
- Lucian Rebel
- Fred L. Crisman
- Thomas E. Beckham
- Martin Grassi
Mr Garrison, perhaps this is all hogwash. I really do not know. I can go into moe detail on all of this, and I have the addresses of those mentioned above. I would come to New Orleans myself, but I do not have the necessary finances. Also, I would have to be assured of protection, at least to the best of your ability.
I have arranged to be reached through the Democratic chairman here, Mr Thomas Reagan, 1C1 Woodbridge Way, Mesquite, Texas. His telephone number is: AT 5-4573
If the information I have related to you here is of any consequence, contact Mr. Reagan, and he will contact me.
Good luck in your investigation.
In the list of five people toward the end of this letter, the first two, Sergio Arcacha and Lucien Rebel (correct spelling: Luis Rabel) were the two top officers in the New Orleans Cuban Revolutionary Council The fourth person, Thomas Beckham, has written an essay about his experiences. That essay does not mention the $3 million, but does describe some of the related developments (Old Catholic Church file, Assassination Archives, Washington DC):
In 1961, I was 19 years old and living in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was a peaceful time, the best I can remember. I was full of ideas which I like to call undeveloped dreams. My father Arvel Monroe Beckham was away on the high seas trying to make us a living. I was the second oldest of all five boys. It was at this time of my life that I was looking for excitement and fulfillment. …
Jack [Martin], to me, seemed like “Mister Cool.” He knew everything and everyone. He had all types of I.D. and badges. For for this reason, when I met a few of his Cuban friends, I was very impressed. Within just a short while , I found it easy to be a part of the Cuban crowd. They were all very friendly. That’s when I met Mr X and Dr X. Dr X was formally a teacher and physician in Cuba, and Mr X was in the dry cleaning business in Cuba. They seemed to welcome my presence without question. I guess because they knew I did not speak Spanish, and I was a friend of Jack’s. In any case, they welcomed me as a friend.
As the weeks passed, one day Jack ask while I was at his apartment if I wanted to be a priest. He (Jack) showed me all types of certificates and even a black suit with all the vestments of his holy office. He said he would get me ordained in the Old Catholic Church. In a few days, I became a legal ordained priest. Then a couple of days later, two young Cubans met me at Walgreen’s Drug Store on Canal Street and told me that I could be of service to my country. They had some kind of police I.D. they showed me. I was informed they worked for the government. A few days later, I opened up a mission on Rampart Street using funds they had given me. The mission carried the lettering on its glass front of UCMF, which I was told stood for United Catholic Mission Fathers. Which I later learned stood for United Cuban Mission Forces. Strange as it may seem, I ask no questions. At last I myself had become someone important and was really needed. I felt like I was a little general and saint all rolled into one.
I was told that Castro was a criminal and that the CIA was going to kill him and free Cuba. My little two-story mission was only a front, an assembly place for Cubans. And Dr X and Mr X were very high in rank.
It was not long that I, “Rev Thomas Edward Beckham,” a priest in the Old Catholic Church, learned that I was just a front for a small group of powerful Cuban exiles which made New Orleans, Louisiana, and Miami, Florida, their home base for the 1,200 man Cuban Brigade, armed and trained in the United States by the CIA.
The things I began to hear shocked me. I guess I was not developed enough to stand the mental pressure. A great deal of money was raised for the movement by the use of bank type tin cans which had two flags crossed, an American and a Cuban. Under them were the wording: KEEP AMERICA FREE, Communists are only 90 miles from American shores.” Plus a special coin was used for a badge by officials of the movement for their I.D.
Then one day, I overheard talk about President John F. Kennedy. They said that the CIA was training men for them at Algiers Naval Station and that the President was to give them US Air Support for the Brigade. Then one said he did not trust Kennedy. Then a person said two assassinations are as easy as one. That’s when I wanted to take a walk and fast. I felt like a Jew in a Nazi camp. The next day, I went to see another friend of mine, Mr G.B., a former Special Agent of the FBI. I told him what was going on. I remember just what he said: “Kid, how and the hell did you get your ass in this mess?” ….
It was later I learned that Kennedy was killed with the knowledge of the CIA by the Cubans and this double-agent, Lee Harvey Oswald. It was to look like Castro had it done. Therefore serving the benefit of all.
I also learned that the Cubans did not trust Kennedy, believed him to be a supporter of Castro, because he withdrew air support for the Cuban Brigade. They said Kennedy would pay well in more ways than one. That’s when I learned that some of the Cubans met with Kennedy, stating that they could prove him to be a Communist. I don’t know how true it was. But they did get him to meet their demands in 1962 to the tune of millions of dollars with the aid of Kennedy’s personal friend and attorney to handle the Bay of Pigs survivors. He (Kennedy) assured them (Cubans) that the Brigade flag would fly again. But the machine works were in motion, months ahead of time.
I remember how sick I was when I learned of his death. I felt that in some way, I was a part of it. I also wanted no part of the so-called “justice” of this great country. But time seemed to heal my cuts.
Then one day, almost 7 1/2 later, I found myself as a witness before a New Orleans Grand Jury into the investigation of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. I knew someone had set me up again. Why I did not know. At this time, I was living in Omaha, Nebraska. But long before I appeared as a Grand Jury witness, I was advised on what not to say, if I knew what was best for me. And I did — I wanted to live. As to date, Mr G. B.. was found dead plus all the others I knew personally.
The Deportation of Carlos Marcello, April 1961
The country of Guatemala played a mysterious role in the development of the Kennedy assassination. In the preceeding years, it was the scene of intense intrigue and political struggle that had involved many of the same characters as the assassination. Much of Ruby’s narcotics and weapons smuggling was ultimately with Guatemala. In 1954, the CIA organized a coup to put a new government in Guatemala, and in 1960-61 the CIA organized and trained the Cuban exiles in Guatemala for their invasion of Cuba. In August 1961, allegedly at Robert Kennedy’s behest, Guy Banister and his associates removed weapons from the Schlumberger bunker in Houma, Louisiana, to help overthrow the Guatemala government.
Among the characters heavily involved in Guatemala was the Boss of the Louisiana Mafia, Carlos Marcello. However, it is not clear what role he played in regard to the CIA’s role. Was he basically working for or against the CIA in Guatemala? Was this a factor in turning Guy Banister and associates against the Kennedys? I suggest that these questions could be a productive area of research in solving the assassination.
Carlos Marcello was born in Sicily in 1910 and was brought by his parents to Louisiana when he was eight months old. There, his parents grew vegetables on a small farm outside New Orleans. As a boy, Carlos brought the family vegetables to the market at the city dock, which was controlled by the Mafia. He got involved with the criminals there and became a bank robber, for which he was imprisoned in 1930-34. (My main source for Marcello’s life is the excellent book, Mafia Kingfish: Carlos Marcello and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy, by John H. Davis, Penguin Books, 1989.)
After he was released, he opened a bar that was a front for marijuana trafficking, for which he imprisoned again in 1938. After he was released this time, he obtained the Mafia’s authorization to control the slot machines and juke boxes in the region, which lay the foundation for a wealthy conglomerate of criminal businesses. When the boss of the Louisiana Mafia was deported in 1947, Marcello became the new boss.
Marcello’s cover occupation was that he owned the Pelican Tomato Company, which gave him an income of about $18,000 a year. This company smuggled most of its tomatoes from Central America and sold them to the US Navy despite a law that required the Navy to buy only domestic produce. It also seems that this business was a cover for Marcellos’ continued smuggling of marijuana and other narcotics into the United States.
Although the Pelican Tomato Company is commonly dismissed as simply a front for criminal activities, it actually represents the larger economic base of the Sicilian immigrant community along the Gulf of Mexico. Sicilian immigrants typically began as poor farmers and agricultural retailers. The United Fruit Company, which dominated the import of Central American fruit, especially Guatemalan bananas, was headed by a New Orleans citizen, Samuel Zemurray. This company sent many Louisiana farmers to Guatemala to develop and manage the plantations there.
The Louisiana Mafia was not necessarily an ally of the United Fruit Company. The Mafia’s was much more associated with the low-class laborers who viewed United Fruit as an exploitive employer that they could justifiably expoit in return. The secret cultivation of marijuana on United Fruit plantations and the smuggling of marijuana on United Fruit ships were parasitic activities that did not earn any profits for United Fruit. The Mafia had an interest in limiting United Fruit’s power. In 1945, a leftist regime was elected to power in Guatemala. To a major extent, this election was a reaction against United Fruit’s control over the plantations and transportation systems in the country. At first, the new government was broadly popular, but was quickly infiltrated by Communists who caused increasing revulsion among the local and neighboring populations. As a reaction, in 1948 the United States embargoed all arms sales to Guatemala and convinced many other suppliers, including Great Britain, Denmark, Mexico, Cuba, Argentina, and Switzerland to break off sales agreements.
Nevertheless, Guatemala managed to buy weapons for a while from smugglers, many of whom flew them to Guatemala on small airplanes. Apparently, Marcello helped smuggle weapons to this leftist Guatemala government in exchange for narcotics, which he sold in the United States. He had long imported marijuana from Guatemala. However, after the leftist Guatemala government arranged for a large number of Spanish Civil War refugees to resettle from southern France to Guatemala in 1945-48, the heroin trade also grew dramatically.
In 1951, Marcello was called before the Senate Committee to Investigate Organized Crime. Since he refused to answer any questions, he was found in contempt of Congress, imprisoned for six months, and ordered deported back to Sicily as an undesirable alien. However, the deportation order was never carried out.
In order to legally confuse the deportation decision, he arranged a fictitous Guatemalan birth certificate in 1953. He hired Carl Noll, a New Orleans criminal with contacts in Guatemala, to arrange this. Noll flew to Guatemala and bribed a lawyer, Antonio Valladores, to help find a local 1910 birth registry with gap, into which they wrote Marcello’s birth name. On the basis of this fraudulent registry, the Guatemalan Government gave Marcello a passport. Marcello received this help when the leftists were in power in Guatemala.
In 1954, the Warsaw Pact secretly sent Guatemala a shipload of weapons, but the United States discovered this shipment and used it as a justification to support a coup that overthrew the leftist Guatemalan Government.
In 1957, Marcello was called before the Senate committee to investigate labor racketeering and organized crime. Senator John Kennedy was a member of this committee, and his younger brother, Robert Kennedy, was a staffer. Since he again refused to testify, they harrassed him and renewed the Government’s attempts to deport him.
After John Kennedy became President and Robert Kennedy became Attorney General in January 1961, they continued to harrass him and even deported him to Guatemala on April 4, 1961. The events that followed are murky. It seems that one group of officials harrassed and detained him, and another group, led by President Miguel Fuentes, treated him well and arranged his return to the United States. For some reason, US Secret Service agents seemed to be involved with the latter group. Just as Marcello was about to return according to Fuentes’ arrangements, he was kidnapped by the first group. John Davis describes the events in Mafia Kingfish (pp 106-108):
[quote] What happened next [after Marcello’s first night in Guatemala] is uncertain. Somehow, Marcello ended up in jail and had to promise to pay a $75,000 bribe to a high-ranking Guatemalan official to get out. …. Whatever the case, Marcello was soon out of jail ….
By the time Marcello had taken up residence in the Biltmore Hotel, Guatemala City’s most influential paper, El Imparcial, had demanded in an editorial an official explanation of Marcello’s presence in Guatemala. Among other things, the editorial implied that the entry of Marcello’s birth inthe civil registry at San Jose Pinula was bogus.
By April 12, six days [sic] after his deportation, things were not going so badly for Carlos Marcello in Guatemala City. Ensconsed with his wife and daughter in a suite at the Biltmore Hotel, with two brothers and his lawyer in neighboring rooms, Carlos was meeting with various Guatemalan businessmen… For a while, Carlos and his family were able to enjoy themselves in Guatemala City. The press noted their presence at the racetrack and in the city’s finest shops and restaurants.
But El Imparcial would not rest. Finally, its editorials about Marcello stirred up the opposition forces to Guatemalan President Miguel Fuentes so much that about a month after his arrival, the Guatemalan government told Marcello he could return home. In Marcello’s words:
“They said they going to give me a permit to go to the United States, so we’re all happy. We go to the airport. My wife gets the ticket, and we all … they got a ticket. When I went there, they say we got orders from the State Department, you can’t get a ticket, you can’t get a visa to go back. State Department of the United States.
“So my wife, she start to cry, and then I say, ‘Well, look, why don’t you all go ahead and leave me and Mike [Maroun, his attorney].’
So we went back to the hotel, and it’s about eight that night. We had the two Secret Service men staying with us. I find it was funny they was staying there. About an hour later, three more came in there, and they say, ‘All right, pack your bags. Let’s go.’ So they put us in a station wagon, and we go to San Salvador, me and Mike.’ [quote]
Davis never explained in his book what the Secret Service agents were doing with Marcello. Anyway, the Secret Service agents took Marcello to an army camp across the border.
David Ferrie Joins Guy Banister Associates
By early 1961, David Ferrie was involved with Arcacha Smith, and in about August 1961, he became involved with Guy Banister’s agency. Ferrie never realized that Arcacha Smith and Banister were involved with each other. He thought that Guy Banister Associates really was just a detective agency. The HSCA stated the facts correctly, but misinterpreted them:
[quote] Strangely, although Ferrie seemed to be straightforward during his interviews with FBI agents in discussing his opposition to Kennedy, his conflict with Jack Martin, his involvement with th Marcello case, etc, Ferrie denied outright that he had ever known “of the Cuban Revolutionary Front maintaining an office at 544 Camp Street, nor does he have any knowledge of Sergio Arcacha Smith maintaining an office at the address during the time he was head of the organization and later after he was replaced.” This is clearly in contradition to the accounts of the witnesses on this subject. [vol 10, pg 132] [unquote]
It is not a contradiction. Banister and Arcacha Smith had a several reasons to deceive Ferrie. David Ferrie was working for Carlos Marcello, and Guy Banister was working for Robert Kennedy. Ferrie had participated in the Bag of Pigs, while Arcacha Smith’s mentor, de Varona was locked up and readied for execution on the beach. Ferrie was going to become a patsy like Oswald.
Excerpts from the HSCA report follow (Vol 10, pp 109-122, 130; text rearranged into chronological order):
[quote] [Ferrie] expressed his views to anyone who would listen. During an interview with an IRS auditor in 1960, Ferrie was “outspoken” in his derogatory comments about the United States. He complained bitterly about his alleged tax persecution.
[Ferrie] reportedly built two miniature submarines….. The submarines were found [later] in a search of Ferrie’s house. Also found were a Morse code key, … a flare gun, and maps [Cuba]. Ferrie had been training Cuban pilots in the new Orleans area.
Ferrie also started a [Civil Air Patrol] group called the “Falcon Squadron,” composed of Ferrie’s closest CAP associates. A group within this group, the “Ominipotents,” was allegedly started to train cadets in what to do in the event of a major attack on the United States. While would-be members claimed approaches were made to them to join the group, Banister [emphasis added] testified there never was such a group by tha name. Several of Ferrie’s cadets claimed to have taken trips to Cuba in Ferrie’s airplane.
By early 1961, Ferrie and a young man whom Ferrie had first met in the Civil Air Patrol, Layton Martens, were working with Sergio Arcacha Smith, head of the Cuban Revolutionary Front delegation in New Orleans. Martens identified himself to police as Arcacha Smith’s second-in-command. Ferrie soon became Smith’s eager partner…. According to Carlos Quiroga, a Cuban who had been involved with the CRC, Ferrie often provided Arcacha Smith with funds, stating, “Ferrie lent him (Arcacha Smith) money when he needed it for his family …. He (Ferrie) had $100 bills around all the time.” [A New Orleans finance company also stated that] Ferrie assisted Arcacha Smith in obtaining a loan.
Ferrie’s vacation [from Eastern Airlines] in April [16-31] 1961 coincided with the Bay of Pigs invasion. The Bay of Pigs invasion began April 17, 1961. [On July 18, 1961,] Arcacha Smith wrote Eastern Airlines then-President Eddie Rickenbacker on Ferrie’s behalf requesting a 60- or 90-day leave with pay for full-time work for the CRC. The request was denied.
Ferrie later admitted that after the Bay of Pigs invasion, he severely criticized President John F. Kennedy, both in public and in private. Ferrie was asked to discontinue his remarks at a speaking engagement in July 1961 before the New Orleans chapter of the Military Order of World Wars. His topic was the Presidential administration and the Bay of Pigs fiasco. The organization put a stop to Ferrie’s remarks when he became too critical of President Kennedy [and proclaimed that “anyone could hide in the bushes and shoot a President.”]. He [later] denied ever making a statement that Kennedy should be killed with the intention that this be done.
Ferrie’s troubles intensified [in August, 1961,] when charges were brought against him by parents of boys [the Alexander Landry and Albert Cheramie cases] who had run away from home. …. The parents of another boy complained to authorities [letter from William Bell] that their son was staying with Ferrie. As a result, Ferrie was arrested on August 8, 1961, for contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile. Cuban exile leader Arcacha Smith intervened on Ferrie’s behalf by telling police that the boy would be returned to his parents if they did not press charges against Ferrie. But Ferrie was arrested again on August 11, 1961, for crime against nature on a 15-year-old boy and indecent behavior with three others.
An intensive New Orleans police investigation of the charges against Ferrie produced statements from several boys that Ferrie had commited indecent acts with them. The boys also told investigators Ferrie had told them he had had homosexual relations with a married man in Houston. On August 26, Eastern Airlines removed him from the payroll for an indefinite period, and the Federal Aviation Administration then opened its own investigation into the charges.
Ferrie managed to stay afloat financially despite his loss of income from Eastern Airlines in 1961. …. Ferrie made payments on his car and met living expenses. According to Carlos Quiroga, a Cuban who had been involved with the CRC, “Ferrie has $100 bills around all the time,” even after he lost his job with the airlines.
[Also in about August 1961, Ferrie was accused of extortion. Information about this case was deleted from the HSCA report. See pg 110-111, where footnote 130 should be. The footnote remains and indicates that the extortion might have involved Sam Newman, the owner of the building at 544 Camp Street.]
Jack Martin, a private investigator associated with Banister, may have contacted Ferrie for assistance on his case [apparently Ferrie’s extortion case]. Ferrie told the FBI he met Martin in the fall of 1961 … to assist Martin in a Department of Health, Education, and Welfare investigation into the sale of phony certificates of ordination and consecration. …. Later, Martin wrote letters to the Federal Aviation Administration and Eastern Airlines on Ferrie’s behalf.
With this assistance, Ferrie was able to resolve many of his difficulties. Ferrie … testified that he … entered into an … arrangement in February 1962 with Guy Banister. Banister stated he handled Ferrie’s case personally. At the end of February 1962, Ferrie was tried and acquitted of the charges of extortion. [unquote]
The Stolen Weapons, 1961
The House Select Committee on Assassinations noted only briefly one secret operation that Banister’s group carried out in August 1961:
[quote] Both Ferrie and Banister were implicated in a raid in late 1961 against a munitions depot in Houma, Louisiana, in which various weapons, grenades, and ammunition were stolen. Banister’s role may have been limited to storing the materiel which was reportedly seen stacked in Banister’s back room by several witnesses. Others who actually participated in the raid, include Andrew Blackmon, a Ferrie associate and former Civil Air Patrol cadet, Sergio Arcacha Smith, adventurer Gordon Novel, and Layton Martens [vol 10, pp 127, 109; Other participants were Novel’s fiancee, Marlene Mancuso, and Rancier Ehlinger; the month of August was specified in Garrison’s indictment of Novel] [unquote]
Guy Banister’s employees, Jack Martin and David Lewis, explained in their affidavit that this raid was arranged by Robert Kennedy. Kennedy’s motivations were to help France prevent a rebellion on two French colonial islands in the Caribbean, to give the leftist Cuban exiles more weapons, and to help overthrow the rightist government of Guatemala:
[quote] Gangland Boss Carlos Marcello (whom R.F.K. was so intent upon deporting while Attorney General) [was] linked with the immediate cooperation which Marcello had received from Guatemala’s President, General Miguel Ydigoras Fuentes. It is very easy to understand why the entire political administration of Guatemala just had to go! R.F.K. was so angry because he couldn’t win. He lost his case against Marcello and in so doing, lost face. …. General Ydigoras was very friendly to the United States and was a good president of that small, Latin American country, even though it meant no difference to R.F.K. or others — not one bit! Perhaps via Philby’s instructions, these were waiting for just the right moment to seek revenge. ….
About this time, a split in France’s political structure arose, and that existing build-up reached its peak. The ranks and staff of all French government were divided at that time. There were the Gaullest and the anti-Gaullest factions, all of whom were secretly back-stabbing each other, fighting over the political and territorial severances from the whole government of Metropolitan France proper.
The French political pot was brewing, especially in the Gulf-Caribbean area. For at that minute, it was in the planning stage to execute a military coup to take over the isles of Guadeloupe and Martinique. These insurgent units were anti-Gaullest militants desiring to institute separate insurgent governments on the two French islands. ….
Right about then, the Schlumberger companies (those in the U.S. and the world over), who were all said to be a part of the Dutch Antilles Schlumberger, Incorporated, located on the isle of St Martin (French Guadeloupe), became involved in this political tangle. This happened through an operation of the anti-Gaullest faction of the DGSS. (the Direction General Service Specialiux, a French counterpart of our CIA), with those anti-Gaullest insurgent activities. Moreover, it should be noted that the secret home offices of all these Schlumberger firms are supposed to be in Paris, France, of all places. This is to say nothing of the fact that those on the upper-echelon plane of command are reported to be venomously anti-Gaullest in their political allegiance.
It seems that all of these anti-Gaullest factions had by devious means slipped some arms and munitions into the U.S. and stored them in one of the Schlumberger bunkers located in Houma, Louisiana. Of course, these were to be used by certain anti-Gaullest insurgents whose forces planned to take over the Guadeloupe and Martinique possessions of Metropolitan France.
Philby and company jumped on this one. It was the proper time, the cue on which to move. After all, we couldn’t harbor any of De Gaulle’s enemies — there were various big treaty agreements at stake here! Moreover, we just could not upset De Gaule (France). Due to his erratic nature, he might blow the Alliance completely and no one, especially the President [Kennedy], would like this a bit. ….
Taking immediate action under the masterful direction of Philby, the anti-Castro Cubans of Dr Jose Miro Cardona’s FRD (Frente Revolutionario Democratico), commanded in New Orleans by Dr Sergio Arcacha Smith, were promised that they could have these munitions to use at once against Castro. In short, these arms wre theirs for the taking. Yes! This would solve matters and protect De Gaulle’s interests as well. …
We had known those of the FRD unit well. …. Most of their contacts were through William Guy Banister (former FBI Special Agent in Charge), who along with Grady Clifford Durham (former U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel), operated the Friends of Democratic Cuba and the Voice of Radio Free Cuba through the medium of one Billy B. Little Horse (alias William W. Dalzell, former Defense Department Intelligence Agent and a partner of ours). And these were all supported in liaison by Guy P. Johnson (former U.S. Naval Commander and Office of Naval Intelligence Agent), who functioned with Office of Naval Intelligence Civilian Agent Sunsat, joined by CIA Agent Lloyd Ray, to assist these semi-militants, et cetera, behind the scenes. …. [unquote]
Martin and Lewis noted in their affidavit that Robert Kennedy had established his own secret channel of communication to communicate with Banister, by-passing J. Edgar Hoover and the local FBI Special Agent in Charge .
[quote] This FRD group, through Banister, was additionally serviced by an FBI Special Agent, Regis Kennedy, who we often met during this period at Banister’s office. Sometimes, we would run into him several times a day. Banister once told [another of his investigators, Joseph] Newbrough and we that [Regis] Kennedy’s daily reports on these activities were forwarded straight to one Assistant FBI Director Mohr, subservient only to John Edgar Hoover in Washington, always by-passing [Regis] Kennedy’s own local Special Agent in Charge (resident agent) for numerous top-security reasons. From here [Washington], they were viewed by none other than Philby and RFK, the story goes.
Inasmuch as we were for many years associated with Banister, we had upon occasion engaged (independently) in some of these activities, cooperating with FRD and Dalzell operations. From time to time, our code names had been “El Gringo” and “Jauquin” during these periods.
Returning to the subject, RFK allegedly tendered several documents in the form of “Letters-Marques” giving “carte-blanche” status to any and all of those about to participate in this pending pseudo-legal hijacking. These were directed to all concerned to “seize munitions or arms, the property of a foreign government, that are illegally located within the US, which might otherwise be used against nations friendly to the US, using any and all means to do so.” They, of course, supposedly bore the signature of none other than RFK himself, because they were issued on Justice Department Attorney General’s letterhead stationery.
Needless to say, as we recall it, everyone was overjoyed by this prospective arms hijacking. Furthermore, someone had said that either the FBI or CIA were to supply the keys to pull this “job” (robbery), so no locks would be broken.
Later on that following afternoon, we heard Banister talking over the telephone to who we were told was a Mr M.E. Loy, the South-Eastern Manager of Schlumberger in New Orleans. (Loy at this writing is the President of all Schlumberger incorporations here in the US, whose home office is in Houston, Texas.) This conversation was in regard to the pending Schlumberger operation. Banister seemed to be setting the time and date, like H hour and D date. In short, they of the Schlumberger company knew that we were coming in the fake bakery truck. ….
That evening, FBI Agent Kennedy made his daily appearance at Banister’s office as usual. It was about this time that the Letters-Marque and the keys showed up. No one ever said that Agent Kennedy brought them, but they did come to light shortly after he had left.
Anyway, the story goes that it was in the dark of night that the very “chosen people” hijacked those munitions at the Houma Schlumberger bunker, transported, and stored them in their designated location, the storage area ajoining Banister’s office. The following day, everyone in the “know” came to look and gloat. Boy, ol’ Castro should sure catch hell now! ….
Well, at any rate, it appears that after the Houma bunker haul, Philby and company may have progressed in activity. We say this because later the next evening, apparently some other band of thieves filched those promised arms and munitions from the safety of their hiding place at Banister’s office. However, no robbery report was made, nor search launched for them. Banister was ordered to do nothing about this matter and to remain silent, as were the rest of us so instructed.
Some bastard about this time circulated the rumor (we understand that it was believed by all or most of the Cubans) that Dr Arcacha had either sold or had given away these arms and munitions to the pro-Castro Cubans or others. So he engineered another hijacking of his own. On this, they only found low-yield projectiles looking like small aerial bombs, but with not much explosive power. However, the Cubans thought they were for real and feated Arcacha to a blow-out in one of the local hotels (St Charles) to celebrate the occasion. Although a few days later, they (the Cubans) found out that these were oil-well equipment or exploration low-yield explosive units. With this, the Cubans really believed that they’d been crossed, and Arcacha left town immediately in fear of his life. ….
Now, what happened, and where did they [the stolen arms] go? It seems that there were some others, a bunch of discontented people, who just wanted to take over Guatemala using these weapons far more than we needed them to give the “works” to Castro. Thus, via Philby and company, General Ydigoras went out of office, and Guatemala had a completely new political administration. Somebody fulfilled the vendetta for the Carlos Marcello caper in spades! JFK had gotten his revenge one way or another. ….
This left Dr Cardona’s Frente under the total command of Arcacha’s former assistant, Carlos Quiroga. He claims to be an avid anti-Communist. We believe he protests far too much upon this subject. Hence, we did some checking. Quiroga says he left Cuba just at the time his father was arrested and imprisoned within the Isle of Pines near Havana. Our sources inform us that Quiroga’s father may have been assisted into confinement by none other than Quiroga himself, just as he is said to have assisted Arcacha to be removed. He is truly an assistant, however, according to our information. Moreover, it is highly speculative that this subject, Quiroga, may well be as Philby, a double agent. [text rearranged slightly into chronological order; punctuation fixed] [unquote]
Banister’s secretary Delphine Roberts also indicated to Police Sgt Fenner Sedgebeer that Banister was involved with Latin American Communists who were exporting items to Central America. Sedgebeer’s raw notes records Roberts’ encounters with this group (Banister file, Assassination Archives, Washington DC; dots are in original; this is a single, continuous excerpt; capitalization corrected; W.G.B. is obviously Banister):
[quote] Was introduced to six Cubans who were out to overthrow Castro … They met with W.G.B. behind closed door … Later, I saw the same men in an office in the Balter Bldg … Passsed this office going toward Camp Street … Was about to enter Richard’s office (don’t recall last name … he was from Honduras, not a naturalized citizen, I understand) … He was in export business with Honduras and Guatemala … They were surprised to see me, and Richard asked to see me another time.
Some time later, ran into Richard on street … He looked like a tramp … Wanted to speak to me … told me he had been beaten up by these people connected with the Communist movement … “Now, they were the same people connected with the people who put up the money for him to establish a business here — export-import. I think that was a business front.”
I saw Richard two more times … Same Richard once sold tickets for an airline at Moisant Airport … Each time, he was in a worse condition and in fear for his life. …
Banister connected with people associated with both a conservative element as well as the Communist element … He told me “You rub shoulders with all kinds of characters to get information from both sides.” …. He belonged to a world-wide intelligence network. [unquote]
This escapade with Ferrie apparently helped lead to the removal of Arcacha Smith from his position as chief of the CRC’s New Orleans branch. HSCA noted that:
[quote] In September 1961, the US border patrol received information that Ferrie was attempting to purchase a C-47 airplane for $30,000 and reportedly had a cache of arms in the New Orleans area.
Lack of funds caused Arcacha Smith to leave town in 1962, his reputation tarnished by his asociation with Ferrie. He was also accused by several Cuban exiles of misappropriation of funds. [HSCA, vol 10, pp 109-110].
When he was relieved of his official position with the CRC in early 1962, Arcacha left New Orleans. Arcacha Smith’s replacement, Luis Rabel, assumed the delegate duties in January 1962, but, he told the committee, found it necessary to resign by October of that year because his job entailed extensive traveling. During his short tenure, Rabel said he organized several rallies and brought in prominent Miami speakers to inspire the New Orleans Cuban exile community. Other than going to the Camp Street address to remove office materials left there by Archacha Smith, Rabel said he had no connection with the building and never saw Oswald in New Orleans. [HSCA, vol 10, pp 61-62] [unquote]
Summers notes in his book “Conspiracy” that:
[quote] On March 9, 1962, the owner of 544 Camp Street, Sam Newman, wrote to the CRC regarding rent arears left behind by Arcacha. The letter was addressed personally to Antonio de Varona, the CRC leader who reportedly — at the initiative of Santos Trafficante — played a part in the CIA-Mafia plots to murder Castro (copy of letter is infiles of William Scott Malone) [pg 576] [unquote]
Arcacha Smith and Rabel were two of the group from whom the CIA had confiscated the $3 million in the Miami airport before the Bay of Pigs invasion. I have no more information to offer about Rabel.
The Ultimate Double-Cross
The CIA’s Counter-intelligence Staff came to believe that Banister and his associates were secret Communists working for Robert Kennedy, also supposedly a secret Communist. Banister had stolen the secret FBI files listing the secret underground Communist leakers, so now Robert Kennedy would supposedly be able to prevent the arrests of these key Communists in a national emergency.
Therefore the CIA’s Counter-Intelligence Staff began already in 1961 to concentrate its resources on infiltrating and studying Banister’s organization, setting up agents, double-agents, and patsies there.
Dennis L. Blewitt, J.D. 2015
Continuation of What Happened?
I remember a time when there was trust, compassion, charity, and a sense of community in the third branch of Government called the Courts. That era has all but disappeared. Change came rapidly, and, in an instant, a branch of Government was transformed from an equal branch of Government that served the citizenry or people into a “system” which became the playground of the multi-nationals. This was not accidental, it was planned and premeditated by the greedy and ignorant, disdainful of the lower classes whom they believed inferior and needed to be punished. A major impediment to the era of corporate rule was the Constitution. The Constitution was attacked wholesale by politicians and the press. Laws, especially drug laws were made more draconian due the publicized death of a professional basketball player. Propaganda media programs, enshrining police and creating a villainous “other” was in full swing. People believed that Government was the enemy and only corporate efficiency could save them from the ravages of Government. Ironically, this same group idolized the police. While the elite got wealthier, predators siphoned off people’s money, blaming the decline in the standard of living on the poor, lazy, welfare recipients, deadbeat fathers and other manufactured causes, readily accepted by the uninformed and ignorant. People were conditioned to believe that private business persons were heroes and good rather than the venal, greedy unscrupulous enemy of the public that they were. Society’s unfortunates were blamed for the siphoning off of wealth.
Efficiency was the buzzword and the Government started marketing protection similar to the tactics of the Mafia in an earlier period. It thrived on fear. No one stopped to think what this efficiency meant, or how it would affect us. In 2003, minimum mandatory sentencing was introduced. This reflected a change in thinking regarding punishment or treatment of an individual to that of punishing an act or thing. Crime became symbolic and sentence was meted out to validate the people’s concerns and prejudices. Reason and causation that defense attorneys used to present to judges or certain social conditions were now forbidden. The Government had the equivalency of papal infallibility. Decisions on justice and crime were made by prosecutors, anxious to prostitute themselves to stay in power or keep their positions. The public wanted safety and they got it, or the illusion of it, at the expense of an 800-year traditional legal system and the nebulous concept of justice. Justice now meant retribution or vengeance, not understanding and compassion. At the same time, an ambivalent public favored corporations over Government to better address the problems of a complex society.
Bail reform, disguising the concept of preventive detention, negated the presumption of innocence and right to trial and counsel, obtained at Runnymede by sword point and great cost to the originators. Judges started to restrict the questioning of potential jurors to speed up the conviction process, curtailing the right to a jury. Justice in thought and practice was replaced by vengeance. Many groups agitated for less government and more business-like government. The third branch of Government was to become the servant of the Executive branch. Fear, ignorance, servitude, and expediency reigned over destruction of the Constitution, cheered by a fearful population. Laws promoted the rich.
Tax revision, distributing wealth and power upward, and control of the narrative convinced the public that there was danger everywhere and more police could protect a person. Very few challenged this assumption. People wanted security. People wanted certainty. People didn’t want to look at complex problems or solutions. They believed that the free market would solve all problems and save them from fear. Only privatized government could save us. The crime policy was to contain and warehouse the poor like we did cattle on ranches. Criminals weren’t people, they were essentially cattle that should be put away or even executed because they didn’t behave. Only individuals were responsible. Society efficiently run by corporations was blameless. The idea of a society was replaced by a Darwinist battle of individuals. Various interest groups started to flex their muscles, many of which were quasi-religious in ideology and belief. Although a tiny O-ring on a rocket scuttled a space launch, a comparably simple system, the public thought that a much more complicated “justice system” could be the immediate “fixed” simply by efficiency. The idea of evidence-based policy was discarded, replaced by such totalitarian ideas as zero-tolerance and broken windows law enforcement. Everyone was suspect and a potential threat. To deal with these and many other perceived dangers, Officials in the law enforcement community and ex judges recruited mainly from the ranks of prosecutors implemented the concept of preventive detention. Zero tolerance prohibited debate. Broken window policy of strict enforcement of chicken shit laws kept the peasantry docile, in fear, and in line. Unlike opinions of scientists 75 years ago which showed that criminals should be taught to differentiate between running a stop sign and murder, any violation of any law or regulation was reason to punish. And who had “broken windows?” The poor, of course.
To gain control, the Common law system had to go. The corporation managers could not countenance power from below. They wished dictatorial power. They were to become terrorists by acquiescence. Although centuries old, the presumption of innocence needed to be abolished and replaced with an Old Testament non-Christian view of the world with the view that everyone way a sinner or guilty of something. Like the characters of the Old Testament, the people wanted vengeance, protection and the feeling of comfort generally associated with cattle. Many intellectually deficient drones proclaimed themselves “Christians,” libertarians, and “Patriots,” causing the thinking public to cringe. However, these people were vocal and made their desires heard. The problem was that they could only think in terms of dichotomy. Continuums were beyond their ken. They believed in simple answers to complex problems. They denied science and the concept of a society. It was all up to the individual and those who did not excel were morally lacking.
An earlier attempt under the Nixon-Mitchell administration was made to privatize records when Law Enforcement Assistance Administration was created, but was defeated. This group spun off a private intelligence corporation which stored records. When the abuse was obvious, prosecutors feigned lack of control over the corporations, claiming that information was private and not available to the defense. Judges put a short stop to that. They weren’t quite indoctrinated to cow-tow to the corporation. That would soon change.
Privatization occurred with a vengeance under the Reagan administration. Private prisons cropped up, hyped as an answer to prison crowding. The crowding, however, was manufactured. First bail reform abolished the common law concept of bail being a guarantee for a court appearance. It was now used as a device to control, discriminate, and punish. For centuries, the right to bail was absolute. Now it is conditional with the accused treated as though he has already been convicted, subject to terms and conditions imposed by Courts and prosecutors without precedent in Anglo-American jurisprudence. The new breed of politician and lawyer respected expediency and profit, not justice and fairness.
When I first started law practice, I used to get a call from a client that he had been arrested. I could have him released within two hours of my arrival at jail. There was a bail schedule, a deputy clerk to grant the bail, a bondsman to post the bond, and that was it. Now, under bail reform, the reality is that the accused generally has to spend at least one night in jail. Bond is set in a greater amount than before and the accused is subject to various conditions pending the disposition of the case. The bond is not to ensure the accused’s appearance in court, it functions as a peace bond, subject to revocation for a myriad of reasons which may or may not pertain to the prosecution. In effect, the defendant is already found guilty of something. He just needed to wait for the police and their DA lackeys to decide how to treat them. To be released, they had to agree to being treated as though convicted. That has changed. I now take at least a day. Release on bond has become a form of punishment because the arrestee is presumed to be guilty of something. Mostly, the main offense was being poor. Conditions, identical to the pre-Reagan practices of probation after conviction replaced the right to bail. Conditional release had absolutely no relation to appearance to answer charges.
Bond was identical to the Roman-Napoleon concept of the peace bond. Release was conditional. If an arrest were made on a weekend, the accused generally had to spend it in confinement. The costs of bail raised because the amount demanded by the schedules were escalated. Not to insure appearance of an accused, but to increase profitability.
A recent example is the requirement of an accused to wear a sobriety ankle device, have an interlock device on his car to drive and attend alcohol classes sponsored by a political lobby group, whose purpose is to indoctrinate the public and change the law. This particular individual was accused of driving under the influence of marijuana. The dumbass court applied the alcohol statute to the defendant because there wasn’t one yet for driving while using marijuana. Common sense suffers, but the private groups providing these services thrive. The accused must pay $25 for a breath test that he is not drinking, when that was never in issue. He also has to pay for an interlock device on his car, sold by another vendor. Additionally he has to take an alcohol class, administered by a private company. All told, before any conviction he has paid the Court racket over a thousand dollars to comply with stupid, non-relevant conditions of bond. He must contact the private vendor regularly and pay for that. So much for the presumption of innocence. The system is mechanized and mindlessly rambles on. The only logical reason for this is to create the illusion that the police state can protect us.
Science is denied by those in power. Science is inconvenience. It is easier to keep power by manipulating opinion and maintaining an ignorant public. Social scientists have studied crime causation and all the research is ignored by most policymakers. Medical science has shown that the prime cause of addiction is a person’s social environment and addiction is correlated with mental health problems. However, the public won’t face this. They are convinced that the individual is to blame for all of society’s problems. If enough people can be locked up, we don’t have to worry about causation. So speaks the simple mind.
Before “reform, when the defendant was arrested and before the Courts allowed predatory practices by business, an accused was allowed access to the facility’s telephone, paid for by the taxpayers and not subject to any surtax. He had an unconditional right to a phone call. He was innocent and had rights, eight centuries old. Now, he must make a collect call to someone to arrange bail or counsel. A private company provides this at a cost of around $2.00-$300 per call, which must be paid by the call recipient. Naturally, several people refuse to accept the call when a recorder informs them that, “you have a correct call from a correctional institution.” Additionally, the calls are monitored, even if to an attorney in a blatant, deliberate violation of the right to counsel and to that of attorney-client privilege. This is also true of spousal calls. Considering that most arrestees are poor, this is a truly regressive form of punishment.
The end result of all of this privatization is a destruction of Constitutional rights. The irony is that we are being charged for this by allowing a failed policy to benefit the robber barons and privateers. The true crime is that those who should be standing up to the profiteers are generally in bed with them. They seem to be morally and ethically challenged, or else brainwashed into believing that the Government to whom they took a loyalty oath is corrupt and evil compared to the multinational corporations. This whole system is insane and calculated to enhance corporate profits and transfer wealth to them at the expense of the citizenry, especially the poor. It should be obvious to even the most obtuse that the corporation executives, not the People, benefit from such policy.