Justice Integrity Project
A former CIA assassination team leader told a conference audience Sept. 26 in a blockbuster revelation that he saw accused presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald with their mutual CIA handler six weeks before the killing and there would have been no anti-Castro movement in Cuba without the CIA funding.
Antonio Veciana, the acknowledged leader of the Alpha 66 assassination squad of Cuban exiles in the early 1960s, made the statements in a dignified but emotion-laden manner at this year's major conference analyzing the Warren Commission report on murder of President John F. Kennedy Nov. 22, 1963 in Dallas.
Separately, the general counsel of the last major government investigation into the killing issued a statement saying the CIA had deceived him and the rest of the public during the late 1970s inquiry into the validity of the Warren report. Former House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) General Counsel G. Robert Blakey issued the statement during the ongoing conference Sept. 26-28 organized at the Bethesda Hyatt Regency Hotel in Bethesda, MD by the Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC).
Veciana said he is convinced the CIA organized the president's murder and that he saw Oswald meeting with a CIA official in Dallas because Veciana arrived at his meeting fifteen minutes too early. Veciana says he believes Oswald was a CIA operative whom the agency decided to blame for a killing it organized in a complex plot.
Veciana said his CIA handler was the late David Atlee Phililips, shown in a file photo at right. Phillips was a high-ranking CIA official who used the cover named "Maurice Bishop" during his many meetings with Veciana. Veciana has never previously said "Bishop" was "Phillips."
The CIA placed Phillips in charge of the CIA's Cuba operations after the newly created agency recruited him from newspaper work in 1950s. According to biographers, Phillips, a former actor born in Texas, used hundreds of aliases in his CIA work. After retirement from the CIA Phillips organized thousands into the politically influential Association of Former Intelligence Officers.
Veciana, 85, spoke through a translator and with a son by his side. He said he was trained as a CPA and admired "Bishop" and the CIA deeply for many years.
Now, however, he said he wanted to set the record straight because he has come to admire also Kennedy, whom and he and Phillips once regarded as a "traitor" for allowing communist Cuban leader Fidel Castro to remain in power.
Blakey, shown in a file photo from his longtime work as a a professor of law at Notre Dame University, appears in person at 1:15 p.m. Sept. 27 at the conference to reiterate his statement and answer questions. His committee issued a report in 1979 scrutinizing the original 1964 Warren report.
The two admissions were part of an explosive agenda for the conference, which I helped open with an address on why the 50th anniversary of the Warren report is a unique, historic opportunity to solve the nation's most important murder, one whose aftereffects continue to the present with the unchecked power of the CIA as a secret government.
I amplify on that theme on Sept. 27 by participating in an afternoon panel "Why Won't the Media Cover the Story?" and separately speaking in greater depth on "The Long Shadow of the JFK Assassination."
The latter lecture draws on the research in my recent book Presidential Puppetry: Obama Romney and Their Masters, which documents how all recent presidents, including Barack Obama, were recruited in secret intelligence operations before they entered politics. I argue that these kinds of under-reported relationships foster the ascendancy of the nation's leaders -- including in business, Congress and the media in ways unknown to the public.
My talks describe also how the hidden history has fostered loyalties and fears largely unreported by a media heavily influenced by pro-CIA themes, with a JFK murder a decisive turning point.
C-SPAN covered the conference's opening. A team of actors provides a dramatic reading at 5:45 p.m. of a long-secret transcript of a Commission meeting in January 1964 in which it addressed the threat that two newspaper reporters posed as they prepared to report that the supposed "lone nut" Oswald was actually an FBI paid asset.
At the conference Friday, Oswald's friends Buell Wesley Frazier and Dr. Ernst Titovets said they never believed their friend could be guilty of murder, and regarded him as a "patsy" as Oswald claimed before he was murdered by Jack Ruby at a Dallas police station two days after the assassination.
Frazier made his first public appearance to describe his experiences on the day of the assassination. He said that he drove his fellow worker Oswald to work at the Texas Book Depository on the fateful day of the assassination. Frazier said a package Oswald carried was too small to contain a rifle, as the Warren Commission claimed. Titovets, a professor of medicine in his native Belarus, has published a new edition of his 2010 memoir: Oswald: Russian Episode.
In other conference news, professor author and former intelligence officer Dr. John Newman traced more than a dozen of the Phillips identities to show his work was so secret that even his internal memos at the CIA, now declassified in part, show that he was trying to fool fellow employees about his activities.
Also, AARC President James Lesar called for an end of obstruction by the National Archives in complying with the provisions of a 1992 law passed unanimously by Congress to make all available records public regarding the JFK murder. Lesar, an attorney fighting freedom of information battles, has argued that the CIA exercises too much influence over the Archives and other Washington officials on the issue.
For further links on the conference, see the links below, most notably in:
- Experts To Reveal Secrets of JFK Murder, Cover-up at Sept. 26-28 DC Forum, Sept. 5, 2014.
- Washington Post Still Selling Warren Report 50 Years Later, Sept. 22, 2014.
- JFK Experts To Explode Myths, Sign Books In DC Sept. 26-28, Sept. 24, 2014.
Seventeen authors and film makers who have researched the 1963 murder of the President Kennedy are scheduled for meet-the-author book signings as part of a major conference on the 50th anniversary of the Warren Commission report.
The lead off author is Dr. John M. Newman, at right, a professor, former National Security Agency official, and one of the opening featured speakers opening on Friday “The Warren Report and the JFK Assassination: A Half Century of Significant Disclosures."
The Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC) organized the event from Sept. 26 to 28 at the Bethesda Hyatt Regency Hotel, which is near the District of Columbia border at the Metro stop in Bethesda, MD. The public can attend the author signings in the Embassy Suite without paying the conference admission fee.
Newman, shown at right, has been an adjunct political science professor at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA since January 2013. The retired major in the U.S. Army holds a doctorate, worked in Army intelligence from 1974 to 1994, and served as Assistant to the Director at the NSA from 1988 to 1990. His books include “JFK and Vietnam: Deception, Intrigue, and the Struggle for Power” and “Oswald and the CIA.”
He plans to preview his next book, in which he alleges significant new information about official involvement in the president's murder and a cover-up.
Among the other authors signing books in a schedule listed below are best-selling investigative reporter Anthony Summers, shown at left.
Summers is a former senior BBC journalist based in Ireland and the author of nine major non-fiction books, including the just-republished Not In Your Lifetime that he will sign. His investigative work has ranged from the fate of the last Russian Tsar in 1918 to Britain’s Profumo sex/spy scandal, to the John F. Kennedy assassination, to the September 9/11 attacks.
Another long-distance traveler will be Dr. Ernst Titovets, at right, who journeys from his native Belarus. As a student, Titovets became the best friend in Minsk of accused JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, who defected to the Soviet Union from 1959 until his return to the United States 1962. As a U.S. Marine, Oswald had learned fluent Russian and held a higher-than-normal security clearance. Some researchers believe Oswald participated in a false defector program. They say this pose enabled Oswald to penetrate the Iron Curtain during the Cold War albeit with a keen eye from the Soviets on his behavior, and then continue intelligence/law enforcement work back in the United States as a supposed pro-Castro advocate.
Titovets is a medical school professor who holds both doctoral research and medical doctor degrees. He will launch the 2014 updated edition of his 2010 memoir Oswald: Russian Episode. Tiitovets, whose medical specialty is neurology, argues that the Lee Harvey Oswald he knew was a friendly and relatively normal young man and not the angry, prospective killer widely portrayed by the Warren Commission and the commission's supporters.
Among U.S. best-selling authors are Russ Baker, author of Family of Secrets about the Bush Dynasty, and Dr. Joan Mellen, a Temple University professor who has authored 22 books.
The authors and film makers will sign copies of their work in the hotel's Embassy Suite, which is open to the public without admission charge.
Overall, some 45 expert speakers will reveal or discuss recent findings differing from the Warren Commission’s 1964 report ascribing President Kennedy’s murder to Oswald as a sole assassin firing from the rear. Other authors include Jim DiEugenio (whose collaborator Lisa Pease will also speak), Marie Fonzi (widow of noted JFK investigator Gaeton Fonzi), Robert Groden, Eric Hamburg, Dr. David Kaiser, Jonathan Morley, Andy Thibault, Dr. Donald Thomas, and Prof. Lamar Waldron, plus film maker Patrick Speer.
In another no-cost dimension of the conference, Los Angeles-based actor Brian Connors and a group of fellow actors will dramatize the long-secret Jan. 22, 1964 Warren Commission Executive Session where Allen Dulles told his fellow commissioners that the CIA and FBI would lie to them to protect their perceived self-interests.
A long-suppressed transcript of the meeting shows how the commissioners led by then-Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren dealt with the 1964 threat at the beginning of the commission's work that two newspaper reporters would reveal that Oswald had been paid $200 a week by the FBI before the killing.
Revelation of Oswald's FBI relationship threatened to thwart conventional wisdom promulgated by authorities immediately after JFK's murder Oswald, a former Marine, was a misfit, murderer and "lone nut" -- instead of the "patsy" Oswald claimed to be before he was murdered in police custody two days after his arrest.
The dramatization shows how Dulles, whom Kennedy had forced out of the agency in 1961 as part of shake-up the president intended, advised his fellow commissioners to deny any relationships that might have existed between the FBI, CIA and Oswald.
This no-cost reading is scheduled at 5:45 p.m. on Sept. 27, shortly before a separate banquet featuring a filmed message from the convention audience from director Oliver Stone and then remarks by his collaborator, Dr. Peter Kuznick of American University following a display of the JFK segment of their 2012 Showtime documentary, "The Untold Story of the United States."
Kuznick will comment on their work in his keynote remarks, and then sign books and video, beginning approximately 9:15 p.m. Stone, producer and director of the iconic film JFK, has been working in Germany on his next movie, "The Snowden Files." It portrays whistleblower and former NSA and CIA employee Edward Snowden.
To mark the 50th anniversary of the Warren Commission report, the Washington Post published a slanted, confusing and needlessly complex retrospective in its Sept. 21 Sunday Outlook section.
The column Meet the respectable JFK conspiracy theorists by author Philip Shenon ignored many major revelations of the past half century regarding the 1963 murder of President John Kennedy. Instead, it focused on minor matters to conclude, once again, that the Warren Commission correctly found that alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone to shoot the president with three shots from the rear.
Yet there are many well-credentialed experts who can explain in simple terms the serious questions remaining about the Warren report -- if not flatly contradicting its conclusions.
The Assassination Archives and Research Center has organized an event from Sept. 26 to 28 at the Bethesda Hyatt Regency Hotel “The Warren Report and the JFK Assassination: A Half Century of Significant Disclosures." It features nearly 50 speakers including me, plus professional actors re-enacting key parts of a long-hidden meeting of the commission.
In 1967, the late New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, shown at left, shocked the nation with his blunt, eloquent argument that the Warren Commission and the major media had misled the public about the cause of the killing.
Garrison ascribed the murder to a conspiracy of well-connected zealots determined to change American foreign policy by killing the president.
"The conclusion of the Warren Report, that President Kennedy was killed by a lone assassin, is a fairy tale," Garrison said during an NBC News special in July 1967.
"This does not mean," he continued, "that the men on the Warren Commission were aware at the time that their conclusion was totally untrue, nor does it mean necessarily that these men had any sinister motives. It does mean that the conclusion that no conspiracy existed, and that Lee Oswald was the lone assassin is a fiction, and a myth, and that it should be brought to an end."
My column today shows the stark differences between the approaches of Garrison and the Post's Shenon.
Those concerned about public affairs these days may find it beneficial to explore mysterious current events more in the spirit of Garrison, the only prosecutor who indicted anyone in JFK's murder.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren, fifth from the left, presents President Lyndon Johnson the Warren Commission's report on the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Smiling at second to the left is General Counsel Lee Rankin. Third from the right is former CIA Director Allen Dulles, forced out by Kennedy in late November, 1961.
Forty-four prominent authors, medical doctors, academics, lawyers and other research experts will convene from Sept. 26 to 28 to reveal recent findings undercutting the Warren Commission’s 1964 report ascribing President Kennedy’s murder to a sole assassin.
On the unique, historic occasion of the Warren report’s 50th anniversary, experts and surviving witnesses will examine evidence showing the commission was wrong about its core finding, that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in killing the president with three shots from behind. Polls for decades have shown that most Americans – sometimes well over 70 percent – disbelieve the commission, which was chaired by the late Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren.
“Because of new revelations few serious scholars any longer believe the Warren Report’s core finding on Oswald as a lone killer acting alone,” said Assassinations Archives and Record Center (AARC) President James Lesar. His non-profit group has organized what he calls, “one of the most important JFK assassination conferences in history.”
The three-day conference, “The Warren Report and the JFK Assassination: A Half Century of Significant Disclosures," will be at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Bethesda, MD. It begins Sept. 26, with an evening reception Sept. 25. Find registration and hotel details at: www.aarclibrary.org.
Among those making unprecedented or rare speaking appearances will be: Alpha 66 founder Antonio Veciana, leader of the CIA-backed Cuban exile group that tried to kill Cuban leader Fidel Castro; and Prof. Ernst Titovets, who was Oswald’s best friend in the Soviet Union.
Justice Integrity Project readers know that the mysteries still surrounding the murder prompted us to begin publishing here last year a multi-part "Readers Guide" to JFK books, videos, archives and events. One segment alone has received more than 50,000 hits.
That work has continued. At the conference, I shall describe why the nation's unfinished JFK investigation casts a devastating but largely hidden blight over entire range of United States policy, most directly at the White House, law enforcement, other court oversight and the media.
Other speakers include:
Prof. Robert Blakey, Ed Lopez and Dan Hardway of the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA), which concluded in 1979 that JFK fell victim to a conspiracy by unspecified parties.
Among others are: Dr. Gary Aguilar, Russ Baker, Brenda Brody, Rex Bradford, Jim DiEugenio, Eric Hamburg, Dr. Peter Kornbluh, Robert Groden, Prof. Joan Mellen, Jefferson Morley, Prof. John Newman, Jerry Policoff, Dr. Randolph Robertson, Prof. Peter Dale Scott, Dr. Wayne Smith, Pat Speer, Anthony Summers, David Talbot, Dr. Donald Thomas, Dr. Cyril H. Wecht, Lamar Waldron, and Dr. David Wrone.
A Colorado-based legal reform group provides an effective model for other groups nationally.
A Just Cause began by advocating for six software engineers serving long prison terms for disputed convictions on corruption charges.
Friends and family of the defendants volunteered to form the group in 2005. Its relentless and by-now polished campaign includes a radio show, frequent visits to government leaders in Washington – and a decision last week by the U.S. Supreme Court to explore the possibility of considering the defendants’ petition.
I become impressed with the leaders and their cause by meeting them in the nation’s capital this summer, reading their materials and being hosted on their radio show Sept. 2.
The hosts were Sam Thurman (the group’s president), Cliff Stewart and his wife Lisa Stewart, assisted by commentator Lamont Banks. We exchanged ideas on the crisis in law enforcement and corrections. Part of that is to identify local instances of injustice and undertake effective reform.
I described why their “IPR6” prosecution seemed suspicious and why others with similar grievances could learn from their methods, even though the path to justice for aggrieved litigants can be ruinously expensive and oft-discouraging.
Let’s start with the group’s overall goals and review its Colorado origins:
A Just Cause says:
It is our vision to change the trend in the United States justice system of over-criminalizing conduct by citizens who committed certain acts with no criminal intent. A Just Cause seeks true balance and accountability in the judicial process, ensuring that innocent men and women are not convicted and sentenced to prison for trivial/obscure acts that are otherwise not seen as crimes
Alabama’s leading news organization has called for a scandal-plagued federal judge to resign after his arrest in Atlanta.
Al.com, a consortium of three newspapers that boasts of the largest readership in the state, published an editorial Aug. 22 saying U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller, 55, should resign his lifetime appointment following his arrest on a battery charge against his wife, Kelli Gregg Fuller. She told police she had accused her husband of an affair with a court staffer under his supervision at the courthouse in Alabama's state capital of Montgomery.
"It's all too tawdry," Al.com's editorial stated. "Fuller's actions show his ability to make good decisions is impaired."
The wealthy judge, released on a $5,000 bond for a Fulton County court appearance Sept. 5, has gone into rehabilitation treatment and has hired top lawyers – including Jeffrey Brickman, a former prosecutor in Atlanta. Treatment sometimes persuades judges to vacate charges. "This incident has been very embarrassing to me, my family, friends and the court," Fuller's statement said. "I deeply regret this incident and look forward to working to resolve these difficulties with my family, where they should be resolved." Fuller said in his statement he hoped to "address the concerns of the Court" and hopefully return to "full, active" status.
Update 1: On Aug. 26, the Montgomery Advertiser became the fourth newspaper in Alabama's four largest cities to call for Fuller's resignation: U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller should resign. Also, an attorney for Fuller counter-attacked Alabama attorney Donald Watkins for calling for the judge's resignation, saying the lawyer was biased. Details: Bimingham attorney Donald Watkins tells U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice that federal judge Mark Fuller should be removed from bench.
Update 2: On Sept. 5, Fuller agreed to a pretrial diversion program in which the charge would be expunged. "I reached this difficult decision after consulting with my family, and deciding that it was in everyone's best interests to put this incident behind us," Fuller said in a statement. "While I regret that my decision means that the full and complete facts regarding this incident will likely not come out, I have no doubt that it is what is best for all involved."
Update 3: On Sept. 14, the Dothan Eagle raised the ante by calling for Fuller's impeachment. In the days ahead, both CNN and Fox News broadcast negative commentaries on Fuller. However, he appeared reasonably well-positioned to avoid the criticism, partly because it focused heavily on what the judge called "the incident" of the battery charge and ignored for the most part other explosive aspects of his conduct.
Update 4: Washington Post, Judging a judge, Editorial Board, Sept. 22, 2014. Is domestic violence an impeachable offense? Absolutely.
Meanwhile, the federal appeals court overseeing judges in a three-state region has transferred all of Fuller's cases to other judges and launched a disciplinary investigation of the once powerful judge who from 2004 to 2011 presided as chief judge in Alabama's federal middle district.
A report Aug. 26 said all of Fuller's top colleagues were summoned to Atlanta for three days of discussions about his fate. The acting chief of the federal appeals court failed to respond to our request for verification or comment. Later reports based on sources claimed that the judges asked Fuller to resign but that he refused to do so.
Women’s rights and other civil rights advocates at one point hoped to generate a mass protest against Fuller. His first wife, Lisa Boyd Fuller, accused him in 2012 divorce papers of wife-beating and adultery with a clerk, plus drug and alcohol abuse.
Fuller, shown in his jail mug shot, completed his divorce protected by a special order from a Montgomery circuit judge, Anita Kelley. She sealed Fuller's records despite his wife's objections, a protest by our Justice Integrity Project along with two other news organizations -- and a state law requiring open court records, including in divorce cases. Our project and others were unsuccessful also in obtaining comment from Fuller or his attorneys.
Fuller faces unusually harsh new criticism from the prominent local attorney, banker and entrepreneur Donald V. Watkins in addition to the attacks on the judge by his former allies in the media and supervisors at the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
Watkins, shown at right in a Facebook portrait, is a longtime Birmingham lawyer and banker. He has repeatedly denounced Fuller on Facebook and called for "thousands" of protesters to march against defendant Sept. 5 at the Fulton County courthouse in Atlanta.
"Fuller has earned a reputation as a hardcore 'law and order' judge for the harsh sentences he imposes in criminal cases," Watkins said for a story published by the Montgomery Advertiser under the headline, Watkins Calls For Maximum Sentence For Fuller. "If Fuller is found guilty, we request that the Court sentence him to the maximum one-year jail time allowed under Georgia law for a misdemeanor. As I mentioned earlier, Judge Fuller believes in handing down maximum criminal sentences. I am sure he would want nothing less in his own case."
Watkins has blistered Fuller and his allies since the arrest on many grounds, including domestic violence and hypocrisy. "Defendant Fuller is used to receiving special treatment in Alabama," Watkins wrote in his open letter excerpted by the Advertiser. "He is part of the oligarchy of white men who run the State of Alabama. Fuller has absolutely no respect for women (or people of color)."
Watkins unveiled via Facebook on Aug. 24 an explosive new line of attack against Fuller. In a column entitled, Judicial Hypocrisy In Action: A Tale of Two Federal Judges, Watkins revealed the inside story of how Alabama's federal judges in 2002 used rumors of womanizing to force the resignation of a Democratic-appointed federal judge, H. Dean Buttram, Jr., after just four years into his lifetime appointment.
Watkins compared Buttram favorably with Fuller in this way:
"Buttram’s alleged womanizing never spilled over to the public arena," Watkins wrote. "He was never arrested for battering his wife or any other woman. Whatever conduct compelled the judges to ask for Buttram’s resignation never rose to the level of a public spectacle. Buttram came to the bench as a scholar and gentleman, and he left as one."
Watkins followed up Aug. 25 by writing a letter to U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts outlining the scandals in a five-page letter and urging intervention by Roberts.
Roberts is shown at left and is a Republican, like nearly all recent chief justices for more than a century. The sole exception of a Democratic U.S. Supreme Court chief justice has been a seven-year term for the Truman-nominated Fred Vinson, beginning in 1946.
Roberts leads not simply the Supreme Court but the the federal court system's administrative council that has historically ignored complaints about Fuller. These complaints include a lengthy filing in 2003 by an experienced Missouri litigator calling for Fuller's impeachment on corruption grounds. The filing was made to Fuller's court but, for mysterious reasons court officials have never described, never appeared in the electronic docket supposedly available to the public.
What may shape up as most important, however, is not so much new information added to years of long-simmering scandal regarding Fuller -- but a strong, outspoken local messenger in Watkins, along with a public that has witnessed continuing scandals in Washington and across the nation. At the same time, Fuller's protective shield of political allies in Alabama is showing big signs of erosion.
Fuller's conduct has prompted many critics. Until now, however, few aside from litigants have had the gumption, resources and all-important local ties to Alabama to attack the judge publicly over a sustained period. One of the reasons? Alabama lawyers face both formal and informal reprisals for criticizing a judge.
We at the Justice Integrity Project have reported Fuller's corruption for more than five years, including a front-page story on Huffington Post in 2009, Siegelman Deserves New Trial Because of Judge’s ‘Grudge’, Evidence Shows….$300 Million in Bush Military Contracts Awarded to Judge’s Private Company. The story documented many Fuller scandals, including in finances, and attempt to cheat the state's pension fund out of $330,000 to appease a reputed blackmailer -- and Fuller's oversight of one of the most controversial federal prosecutions in recent history.
Buttram and Fuller's two attorneys failed to respond to our requests this week for comment. We shall add any comment that is received to the following account, which is slightly updated and corrected from a version that appeared Aug. 24.