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News Archive - Aug 2008

Yuri Nosenko Dead at 81

August 28, 2008: Soviet defector Yuri Nosenko, who arrived in the U.S. in February 1964 with the message that Lee Harvey Oswald was not a Soviet agent, died on August 23 at the age of 81, according to the Washington Post. Imprisoned by the CIA in solitary confinement for more than three years and subjected to harsh conditions, Nosenko was eventually freed and given a new identity.

Nosenko, code-named AEDONOR, became the focus of battles within the Agency over his "bona fides," and his status became wrapped up in CounterIntelligence head James Angleton's search for a Soviet mole in the CIA. Nosenko provided some valuable information to the U.S., including the location of hidden microphones in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. The CIA cleared Nosenko in 1969, but many in the Agency have bitterly disagreed with this assessment, pointing out inconsistencies in Nosenko's story. Detractors include Tennant Bagley, who supervised the Nosenko case and recently wrote Spy Wars, largely about the Nosenko affair.

The HSCA interviewed Nosenko on three occasions (5-30-78, 6-19-78, 6-20-78) and conducted its own review of the matter, published in Volume XII of its appendices. There is also some discussion of Nosenko in the recently-released CIA "family jewels". In the MFF's voluminous CIA files on Nosenko is also a report from 1968 entitled "Conclusions and Comments in the Case of Yuriy Ivanovich Nosenko". Author Bruce Solie's conclusions were strongly contested in HSCA testimony given by Tennant Bagley. Another report by Leonard McCoy accepted Nosenko's bona fides, and noted that "The case against him consists almost entirely of assumptions, subjective observations, unsupported suspicions, innuendo, insinuations..."

Authorities Dismiss Obama Threat

August 27, 2008: Authorities dismissed the threat posed to Presidential candidate Barack Obama by men arrested Sunday after one of them, Tharin Gartrell, was stopped carrying two scoped rifles, two wigs, camouflage clothing, a bulletproof vest and two walkie-talkies in his truck. Another man subsequently arrested, Nathan Johnson, told police that a third man, Robert Adolf, discussed shooting Obama during his August 28 nomination acceptance speech, which happens to be on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech.

Describing the group as "meth heads," officials dismissed the plot; one said "The capability and their opportunity and what they had for their weaponry — I don't see that they would have been able to carry it out." U.S. Attorney Troy Eid said the alleged plot was "more aspirational, perhaps, than operational."

Those versed in the details of the JFK or other assassinations may find little comfort in this statement included in the Chicago Tribune: "Homeland Security officials say the biggest domestic terrorism threat to the presidential conventions would be a 'lone wolf' — someone who sympathizes with white supremacists and is inspired by racist beliefs, according to an Aug. 22 intelligence assessment obtained by The Associated Press." The lack of seriousness afforded the alleged plot also contrasts sharply with the treatment of the so-called Sears Tower plot defendants, who were arrested after having purchased not scoped rifles, nor bulletproof vests, but rather, boots.

FBI Files on Gerald Ford Released

August 25, 2008: FBI files on Gerald Ford were released to the Washington Post earlier this month, and provide a few further details on Ford's informing on the Warren Commission, beyond those known since the 1970s. According to one memo, Ford said in December 1963 that two Commissioners remained unconvinced that Kennedy had been shot from the 6th floor TSBD window, and three members "failed to understand" the trajectory of the slugs.

A reaction piece by Dale Myers notes the early date of this memo, before serious investigation was underway which might answer such objections, and goes on to dismiss the issue of Ford's informing, stating that "Ford himself testified to the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) under penalty of perjury that he only met with DeLoach on two occasions, December 12 and 17, 1963" and that "The 500 pages.....only strengthens this fact." A separate piece by Max Holland, however, while also defending Ford, notes that the new files also describe a later event, of which Holland writes: "On April 16, 1964, Ford and his wife attended a Thursday-evening party at DeLoach’s home at which Hoover was present. There the two men informally discussed 'vital issues of interest to [Ford] as well as the FBI' at length, and the Warren Commission’s investigation was surely among them."

Regardless of whether this evening meeting is evidence of perjury, it is far from clear that Ford's meetings with the Bureau about the Warren Commission ended in December, despite the lack of further memoranda. The April party aside, a 1965 FBI memo noted "though we did experience some difficulty with all the members of the Warren Commission, Ford was of considerable help to the Bureau," suggesting that more contact may have occurred "off the record." In any case, Myers' dismissal of the three Commissioners' trajectory objections, based on the early date of the FBI memo, fails to note that three Commissioners raised objections to the single bullet theory on the very last meeting of the Commission on September 18. Due to apparent trickery, this session was never recorded. See Senator Russell Dissents, part 1 and part 2 for more on this. For more information on Ford's relationship with the FBI, see Don Fulsom's Gerald Ford's Role in the JFK Assassination Cover-up.

Robert Maheu Dead at 90

August 6, 2008: Robert Maheu, spokesman for Howard Hughes and the contact man between the CIA and the Mafia surrounding plots to murder Fidel Castro, died today at the age of 90. See his obituary in the Los Angeles Times. The Church Committee's Interim Report told the story of Maheu's approach to Johnny Roselli on behalf of the CIA in the Castro plots. A short biography of Maheu in CIA files notes the Castro plots as well as other CIA "sensitive assignments" given Maheu, including "procurement of feminine companionship." More details on Maheu's involvement in the Castro plots can be found in Maheu's own Church Committee testimony on 9 Jun 1975, 29 Jul 1975, 30 Jul 1975, 23 Sep 1975, and 28 Apr 1976. Though Maheu was spokesman and deal-maker for reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes for several years, he never actually met the man face-to-face.

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