Throughout the JFK assassination research community, long-winded, pointless reopenings of long-settled issues are appearing with unprecedented frequency. Most notably, that of LHO's alleged ownership of the historic Mannlicher-Carcano is being extended by renowned cover-up facilitators who go on to create endless spin-off discussions.
Those honest researchers who find themselves captivated by such ludicrous engagements should think about Santayana and then get serious about reading the JFK canon.
To them I note simply this: The wheels you are re-inventing are on truth's hearse.
For years there has been available powerfully persuasive evidence to support the conclusion that Oswald never owned a Mannlicher-Carcano of any variety or vintage.
George Michael Evica made just that case in his seminal And We are All Mortal (1975; University of Hartford) and subsequent published essays.
And We Are Still All Mortal
"Thomas Dodd and Lee Harvey Oswald"
By George Michael Evica
Lee Harvey Oswald, a member of the pro-Castro Fair Play for Cuba Committee, made contact with a group of anti-Castro individuals and organizations, most of whom Carlos Bringuier (an FBI informant) was either working with or knew well. Oswald's actions and Bringuier's assessment of those actions suggest an attempt by Oswald, a self proclaimed Marxist and one-time defector to the Soviet Union, to penetrate the New Orleans anti-Castro movement on behalf of some yet to be identified U.S. government group.
Bringuier reportedly informed his conservative associates about Oswald, including Edward Butler, a political propagandist for the local anti-Castroites. Butler, with U.S. intelligence links, worked at radio station WDSU in New Orleans. While distributing leaflets for the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, Oswald was arrested, with media coverage in excess of the event's importance, after a "fight" which might have been staged with Butler's friend, Carlos Bringuier, the former media secretary of the CIA supported Cuban Revolutionary Council in New Orleans. (2)
Oswald's subsequent trial was covered (again, beyond even its local significance) by WDSU-TV; and his second leaflet distribution, five days later, was also covered by WDSU-TV. This series of media events set up still another: Bringuier and Oswald "debated" on WDSU with Butler as "host." Butler "exposed" Oswald as a defector to the Soviet Union recently returned to the United States, and the radio material was transformed into a so-called "truth tape" for the intelligence associated Information Council of the Americas: INCA (whose hierarchy included New Orleans individuals with powerful Organized Crime connections). Under pressure from this publicity and other negative news coverage and harassed by government agencies and Congressional committees, the national Fair Play for Cuba Committee dissolved itself. (3)
Was this result precisely the object of one of Oswald's covert jobs? (4)
Oswald as a government provocateur and agent in both New Orleans and Dallas can be most accurately defined by examining the richly-varied activities of Connecticut Senator Thomas Dodd.
Graduating from Yale Law School in 1933, Thomas Dodd was asked by Roosevelt's Attorney General to visit J. Edgar Hoover in Washington. Carrying heavy political recommendations, Dodd impressed the FBI boss, who hired him as an FBI special agent. Assigned to St. Paul, Minnesota, Dodd reportedly was an active member of the elite Bureau team that attacked Dillinger's Little Bohemia roadhouse in Wisconsin.(5)
After only a year in the FBI, however, Dodd resigned, going home to develop a powerful political base in Connecticut.(6)
Deeply involved in youth programs and social welfare activities, Dodd was evaluated for both state and national offices. But in 1938, the U.S. Attorney General appointed Dodd his special assistant, and when a new civil rights section was organized in the Justice Department, Dodd became one of its earliest agents, successfully fighting crooked cops and corrupt sheriffs in the South in support of persecuted Afro Americans.(7)
The threat of war brought significant changes to the Justice Department: Dodd entered counterespionage. Not much is known of this early Dodd entry into U.S. intelligence work, but Dodd's more public role as a key prosecutor of Nazi spies and war-effort profit mongers brought him deserved fame. His greatest triumph, however, was his work as a member of the American Nuremberg team, part of the four-power group trying Nazi war criminals. Dodd became the tribunal's executive trial counsel, its second-most powerful position. According to all historical accounts the most important member of the U.S. Nuremberg effort, Thomas Dodd became an international hero. 8
Years in both national and state political arenas developing a reputation as a fierce anti-Communist and stalker of labor racketeers (embodied in Jimmy Hoffa), Dodd was eventually elected a U.S. Senator, joining the Senate in January, 1959. He swiftly became a major D.C. power player. (9)
Dodd was acting chair of the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, where his outspoken anti-Communism brought him in close contact with :
1. conservative members of the U.S. intelligence community;
2. highly vocal members of both the China and Cuba Lobbies, and
3. Anti-Communist defectors, informers, and double agents, domestic and foreign. Dodd also chaired the Senate Juvenile Delinquency Subcommittee (called popularly the "Dodd Committee"); in that role, he battled the evil he and his staffers found on television and built a national reputation. (10)
But two other areas of political concern brought Thomas Dodd directly into the territory of the JFK assassination: "...as a crusading foe of narcotics traffickers...[and] as the leader of a national effort to control the indiscriminate interstate sale of firearms." (11)
Just four months before the JFK assassination, Senator Dodd had presided over a Senate Internal Security subcommittee investigation of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee (to which, of course, Oswald belonged), calling it "...the chief public relations instrument of the Castro network in the United States." (12)
Dodd had taken testimony from several important Castro defectors, including Frank Sturgis' friend, Pedro Diaz Lanz (Sturgis himself later admitted to having intelligence connections to the Internal Security subcommittee). According to an earlier FBI report on the FPCC, the proCastro group had been "...heavily infiltrated by [both] the Communist party and the Socialist Workers party." The House UnAmerican Activities Committee made identical findings. (13)
A curious combination: Stalinist Communists and anti-Stalinist Trotskyites burrowing into a pro-Castro organization. While Lee Harvey Oswald was in the custody of the Dallas police and still alive on November 23rd, 1963, news reports on the FPCC stated that it had been "...the subject of a series of investigations by Congressional committees [including those of Senator Thomas Dodd] and the Justice Department over the last three years [1961-1963]." (14)
The apparently contradictory political acts of Lee Harvey Oswald, therefore, make logical sense measured against these Dodd/Internal Security/FBI materials. Oswald had, in fact, contacted
1. the Fair Play for Cuba Committee;
2. the (anti- Communist) Socialist Workers Party, and
3. the (anti-Socialist Workers) Communist Party.
Oswald could not have set up a more consistent pattern had he been working (whether directly or indirectly) for Dodd's Senate Internal Security subcommittee.(15)
Why was Lee Harvey Oswald, dishonorably discharged from the U.S. Marines as a known defector to the Soviet Union, reading rifle magazines at Alba's Garage in New Orleans? And why was he collecting coupons for mail-order weapons?(16)
The Dodd connection was the answer.
Senator Thomas Dodd commanded the Senate's Juvenile Delinquency subcommittee and its interest in "gun control," specifically mail-order weapons control. Beginning in January, 1963, Dodd held committee hearings on the unrestricted delivery of weapons through the U.S. mails. One of the companies Dodd was interested in was Klein's of Chicago, and one of the weapons about whose unregulated traffic the Senate in 1963 was agitated was the Italian Mannlicher Carcano. "Hidell," of course, allegedly ordered a Mannlicher Carcano from Klein's of Chicago, reportedly found in the Texas School Book Depository on November 22nd, 1963, becoming a major part of the FBI/Warren Commission lone-assassin theory in the JFK killing. (17)
Seaport Traders of California was still another mail-order weapons' distributor the Dodd Committee was examining, the very company from which "Hidell" ordered the revolver reported to have been used in the Tippet murder on November 22nd, 1963.(18)
A "Communist," pro-Castro, Fair Play for Cuba Committee member with ties to both the Communist and Social Workers parties had been able to order at least two lethal weapons (both of great concern to the U.S. Congress) apparently under a fake name ("Hidell") through the United States mail. Was someone associated with the Dodd Committee trying to connect a mortal threat to the president with the committee's anti-weapons work?
A series of incidents involving the son of a Dodd friend who was hired as a Dodd staff investigator strongly suggests precisely that conclusion. Reportedly investigating juvenile delinquency on the U.S. Mexican border, the young sleuth created a major disturbance at the living quarters of a local stripper. Mexican police had to break into a locked bathroom to apprehend the Dodd investigator, found packing a hidden revolver. Dodd had been informed that the FBI reported this same Dodd staffer had been taken into custody wearing a weapon and impersonating a law officer. (19)
But the most serious incident featuring the young man occurred exactly at the time Dodd was writing his mail-order weapons legislation. The troublesome investigator had been apprehended attempting to transport three weapons and an enormous amount of ammunition to Hyannisport, Massachusetts, a deadly combination.(20)
What made the incident so ominous? President John F. Kennedy was at Hyannisport for the weekend.(21)
A young man associated with a committee inquiring into youthful criminal offenders and the transportation of weapons had been involved in a strange incident in Mexico, had impersonated a law officer, and had attempted to send lethal weapons to the same town where the president was visiting: weapons, the Dodd Committee, and a possible threat to President John F. Kennedy.
Did some of Thomas Dodd's allies, people in the State Department's Office of Security (Otto Otepka, for example), or in the Justice Department (Hoover's FBI, for example), or in the Treasury Department (in its Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Division or in its Bureau of Narcotics), direct Lee Harvey Oswald (with a "delinquency record") to contact two splinters of the American Left; "join" a pro-Castro committee allegedly infiltrated by both splinters; then order a rifle and a pistol through the mails under an assumed name, proving just how dangerous the Fair Play for Cuba Committee and its outlaw members were?
If Lee Harvey Oswald was indeed being used by someone associated with the Dodd Committee as a double agent to infiltrate various "subversive" groups and, at the same time, order weapons to illustrate Dodd's mail-order thesis, and if those manipulators of Oswald/"Hidell" were U.S. intelligence agents or assets, how did they have access to the Dodd Committee?
As a member of the Judiciary Committee, Dodd had a passkey to Justice Department materials and agents. Senator Dodd himself was a staunch defender of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, and "...the FBI...made itself so much at home in Dodd's [Senate] office that staff members joked about assigning the Bureau a desk." (22)
The Senator was so well known as an anti-narcotics crusader he was one of the few Congressional participants in Kennedy's national anti-narcotics conference. In his role as a scourge of drug traffickers, Dodd was in direct contact with the conservative Federal Bureau of Narcotics and its anti-Communist agents. As acting chairperson of the Internal Security Subcommittee, Dodd was able to call on his connections to such characters as Frank Sturgis, Pedro Diaz Lanz, J.G. Sourwine, and Paul Bethal, just a few of the many intelligence associated people linking Dodd to a small army of spies and counterspies. And, of course, his acting Internal Security chairmanship "...gave him access to the security and loyalty files maintained by both his own subcommittee and the House UnAmerican Activities Committee, as well as the raw [report] files...provided [to Dodd and his staff] by the FBI on request."(23)
But access, of course, was a two way street: members of U.S. intelligence were also able to utilize Dodd's Senate staff and his committee files, files containing material on both the Fair Play for Cuba Committee and mail order weapons.
Strong circumstantial evidence supports the conclusion that Senator Thomas Dodd (or someone close to Dodd with access to his Committee files) ordered weapons in the name of either Oswald or "Hidell."
On Monday, November 25, 1963, Senator Dodd made an interesting error, if, indeed, it was an error. The Connecticut senator stated that Oswald acquired the alleged assassination rifle for $12.78. (24) But $12.78 was the price of a 40-inch Carcano, minus the scope, in November, 1963. "Hidell" (Oswald using an alias, according to the Warren Commission) purchased a Carcano (40.2 inches, again, according to the Commission) for $19.95, with scope, months earlier. But, of course, the rifle that was actually ordered, at least according to the mail-order coupon allegedly used, was a 36-inch "carbine" with scope.
Given the cross-breeding between various U.S. intelligence agents and assets and the Senator Thomas Dodd's committee, the persuasive argument developed by the former CIA Chief of Problems Analysis, George O' Toole, discussing the possibility that Oswald sold a rifle to Buell Wesley Frazier the morning of the assassination as part of a police-intelligence plot--for $12.78. (25)
Beyond speculation, however, I have learned that according to two unimpeachable sources, Senator Thomas Dodd indeed caused at least one Mannlicher Carcano to be ordered in the name of Lee Harvey Oswald (or in the name of "Alek Hidell") sometime in 1963. (emphasis added by Drago)
Whether that rifle was ordered before November 22nd, 1963, as part of the scenario discussed above: a left-wing former Marine defector buying mail -order weapons to support concretely Senator Dodd's gun control position, or ordered immediately after the JFK assassination to make the same point ((but even more chillingly), the same post-assassination effect was apparently achieved.
Did the facilitators of the JFK murder plot, with convenient entry to Senator Thomas Dodd, use the Dodd connection--the Oswald/"Hidell"/FPCC/Communist/Weapons links--to frame Lee Harvey Oswald?
And through those links, and with the certain knowledge that at least one weapon had been ordered in either Oswald's or Hidell's name by either Dodd himself or someone with access to Dodd, were Senator Thomas Dodd and his anti-communist allies made mute on any Dodd committee access to Lee Harvey Oswald in the aftermath of the JFK assassination?
1. Sometime between 1964 and 1967, Sylvia Meagher, author of Accessories After the Fact (New York: Vintage Books, 1976 [reprint of the 1967 edition], hereafter cited as Meagher) was apparently in contact with several (unnamed) fellow researchers (Meagher - 194) who "pointed to two related factors" suggesting reasons for "Oswald's otherwise inexplicable mail-order purchases of firearms" (Meagher 194):
� Oswald was working for some "federal investigative agency" (Meagher 194);
� Oswald was involved with a "Senate committee" attempting "to introduce legislation curbing the mail-order sale of firearms" (Meagher 194). Developing this hypothesis in 1977, I made a note ("Oswald and gun-control") intending to credit Meagher--and promptly forgot it. I therefore did not give Sylvia Meagher credit for her "Senate committee" and "gun control" insights. The pages in my book, And We Are All Mortal, are 252-254. I now set the record straight: Sylvia Meagher was my original source.
� The Dodd connection, developed on those same pages and extended in this article, however, was my own.
Henry Hurt, Reasonable Doubt (New York: Henry Holt, 1985, hereafter cited as Hurt), in his version of this Oswald story (300-302)
� gives credit to Fred Newcomb and Perry Adams (most probably two of the several researchers Meagher does not name) in their unpublished manuscript, Murder From Within (Hurt 300), but does date the latter work;
� cites one page of Meagher in a buried credit;
� echoes And We Are All Mortal throughout his discussion of Oswald and mail-order weapons (Hurt 300-302) but does not cite the latter work specifically; and
� lists the book in his bibliography as And We Are Still All Mortal, a funny error. I have adopted Hurt's error as the title of this article.
Paul Hoch anticipated some of the analysis in the present study: "...Oswald [might have] thought he was placing the gun orders as part of [the Dodd]...effort, on the instructions of whoever he was working for." "Echoes of Conspiracy," 11/30/77, page 3. Hoch's speculation was not available to me when I was drafting And We Are All Mortal.
2. For Oswald and Bringuier, see Meagher 384.
3. For Oswald's activities as planned media events, and for Oswald and Bringuier, see Scott, Crime and Coverup (Berkeley, Cal: Westworks, 1977) 13-14, hereafter cited as Scott; see especially Scott's citations.
4. Anthony V. Bouza, Police Intelligence (New York: AMS Press, Inc., 1976), pointed out the Fair Play for Cuba Committee's "association" with Oswald's name resulted in the group expiring "as its members scattered" (149).
5. Drew Pearson and Jack Anderson, The Case Against Congress (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1968) 34-35; hereafter, cited as Pearson.
6. Pearson 35.
7. Pearson 35.
8. Pearson 35-36.
9. Pearson 36-37.
10. Pearson 38-53.
11. Pearson 54, 63, 66.
12. Pearson 54.
13. Dodd, in I.F. Stone, The Haunted Fifties (New York: Random House, 1963) 348. See also Scott 8, and I.F. Stone's Weekly, February 8th, 1960, June 27th, 1960, and April 24th, 1961.
14. Dodd, the Internal Security Subcommittee and the FPCC, in Hartford Times, November 23rd, 1963. FBI report and UnAmerican Activities Committee cited in Hartford Times, November 23rd, 1963.
15. FPCC subject of inquiries, in Hartford Times, November 23rd, 1963. See also 26 H (CE 3081-3085) 689-693.
16. See Martha Moyer, "The Rifle," The Assassination Chronicles, Volume II, Issue 1, March 1996; cited hereafter as Moyer.
17. See, for example, Washington Post January 27th, 1963; see also Washington Post, November 26th, 1963, in 24 H (CE 2180) 852. See also Congressional Record-Senate, August 2nd, 1963, p.13945, and November 27th, 1963, pp. 22868-22869. For Congressional interest in the Mannlicher Carcano, see Henry S. Bloomgarden, The Gun (New York: Bantam, 1976 [reprint of 1975 edition]) 66-67.
18. Seaport Traders, in R 174.
19. Hurt 301.
20. Hurt 301.
21. Hurt 301.
22. Pearson 94.
23. Pearson 63.
24. 24H (CE 2180) 852.
25. The Assassination Tapes (New York: Penthouse Press, 1975) 204. For still another police-associated "$12.78" rifle, see 24 H (CE 2145)761.