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Vincent Salandria Interview by David Starks
Previously unpublished. Copyright © 1994 David Starks and used with permission.

This 1994 interview (01:17:25) was conducted by David Starks in Vincent Salandria’s home in Philadelphia. A transcript of the interview is in process and will be included here in the near term.

David Starks [Missing beginning...] studying the JFK assassination.
Vincent Salandria On the weekend of the assassination, I discussed this with my then-brother-in-law, Harold Feldman who wrote on this matter, and since has died. And we talked about Oswald, the alleged assassin. And we said that one had to maintain an open mind on the issue of whether or not he was the assassin and whether or not there was a conspiracy. But that open mind would have to close if during the course of the weekend Oswald was killed.
When Oswald was killed both of us decided that this was a matter which could not be entrusted to the government. That the investigation of it would have to be undertaken by private individuals and that perhaps we would, on this matter, have to do work ourselves.
David Starks What do you consider your specialization or focus of the research or the work that you’ve done over the years? —These may seem like obvious questions but....
Vincent Salandria I initially investigated this matter in 1964 in cooperation with Mark Lane. Harold and I went to Dallas. We met with, and I remained with, for four days, Marguerite Oswald, the mother of Lee Harvey Oswald. We investigated the Tenth Street patent killing of Tippit. We came across Acquilla Clemons through the intervention of Marguerite Oswald. Acquilla Clemons was a woman who live across the street from the killing and saw two men on opposites sides of the street conversing with one another, calling to one another, and one of them going to the Tippit car and killing Officer Tippet.
We questioned Helen Markham and her husband. I must say that before we got to her that we saw a Dallas Police Car pulling away.
When we spoke to those people I’ve never seen that kind of terror. Their teeth were actually chattering. I only could get a little from them because of their terror.
When we began, I began as, really, an investigator. I collected newspaper articles which seemed to point in the direction of Oswald being a US intelligence operative. An agent provocateur. When we put these together Harold wrote an article for The Nation which was called “Oswald and the FBI.” That’s what we were doing initially.
Then The Warren Report came out and I read it. I remember calling Harold after I read it and said {where to put the close quote?}, “It seems clear to me, the report is totally convincing. It had to be, this assassination, [at] the very core of the American government, the highest level of power. Because the report reveals quite clearly an assassination by conspiracy. And then comes out with a conclusion that one man did it and did it alone. This contradiction, of the conclusion against the evidence is a manifestation of great arrogance and great power. Only the center of the American power structure could have effectuated this and expected that the American press would play along with it.”
And whereupon I went with my report, the Warren Commission report, to a meeting of the Philadelphia Bar Association, immediately after the report came out. The meeting was designed to pay an accolade to a Staffer of the Warren Commission who was of tremendous significance in solving the ammunition shortage which the Commission was confronted with having only three bullets with which to perform all the wounds and hits of Dealey Plaza. And that was, of course, Arlen Specter.
He made a presentation to the Bar Association members who were assembled there and then opened himself up to questioning. I directed some questions to him and he was unable to answer them.
When the meeting was over, my colleagues at the Bar—some of them—gathered around and said ‘Look, write an article on this.’ So I went home and that night, while dealing with other clients, I wrote the first analysis of the shots, trajectories, and wounds of the Warren Commission, sent it to the then-Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar, Theodore Voorhees, and said ‘The Bar Association has paid honor to Mr. Specter. I think that there are problems in the analysis of the assassination as set forth in the Warren Commission Report. Do you have the courage to put a dissenting view in a law journal?’ His answer was, he put it—that article, “The Warren Report - Analysis of Shots, Trajectories, and Wounds: A Lawyer’s Dissenting View”—in the oldest legal journal in the United States, The Legal Intelligencer, that analyzed the shots, trajectories, and wounds, and concluded with the idea that the Warren Commission Report was totally convincing and everybody should believe what it provided in evidence. And what it provided in its evidence was conclusive evidence that there was a major conspiracy in the killing of the President.
It was the first attack of the single bullet theory—the first analysis I know printed anywhere in the world—and I must say that I should get no credit for that, whatever. I did it while dealing with clients, in between clients, and answering phones. I did it that night. I don’t think it took three hours of work. It just rushed out at me from the Warren Commission Report.
It’s almost as if the government wanted us to know that this was an act of great power and that evidence be damned. It didn’t matter. That it was not the evidence that mattered, but the affairs of state that mattered. It was not the people that mattered, but it was the government, and its legitimacy—or illegitimacy—that mattered.
That’s what the Warren Commission Report cried out to me. And I’m a man of limited intelligence, limited ability—never fired a rifle in my life—and was able to see what they were telling us if we wanted to know. If we wanted to know. But once you know—that as you know Dave—then you become committed to the idea of doing something about this. And the job was, for the American media, to make this look so complex, so prolix, so difficult to comprehend, so subject to debate that public would weary of trying to know. When in fact, the public did believe, always did believe that there was a conspiracy. And the public was permitted to believe, but it was not permitted to know the obvious. That it had a gangster government, led by the military-industrial complex under the control of the intelligence system which would manipulate us internally and seek to provide hegemony over the whole world in terms of American military power. We would become more militarized. We would become more aggressive, more imperial. And at home we would become just a façade of a democratic structure. Manipulated by the covert, black bag aspects of our governmental structure. [A digression about dogs ensues.]
David Starks I’m not looking for five-second sound bites but I know that we could go on for an hour on each one of these questions. But we want to try to keep them a little shorter if we can. And I feel uncomfortable saying that.
Vincent Salandria No, no, please say it. Don’t hesitate to say whatever you have to say.
David Starks Okay. Now you answered second and third question in one shot and I assume that your initial challenge to the single bullet theory would probably be what you would consider your most significant accomplishment in the case.
Vincent Salandria No.
David Starks No?
Vincent Salandria Well, okay, I would say, No.
David Starks Then the next question is what do you consider your most significant accomplishment?
Vincent Salandria I think my most significant accomplishment, Dave, is understanding that what I did, in terms of being the first one to attack the single bullet theory, was not important in understanding that, the government really probably wanted us to involve ourselves in the minutiae of the evidence. To take an endless microanalytic look at the evidence and to delve into that and to fetishize it and not to get out of it and to look above it and to take a macro analytic look at the evidence and ascertain what it means. What it meant. What the motivation was. Why the assassination was in fact perpetuated, perpetrated, and how it was going to operate in the society—the people who did—how they were going to exercise their power and how they were going to change direction of the society.
So what I think the most significant thing I did was to pull myself out of this microanalysis and to try to explain why it happened. To give a model of explanation. That, I think, is the important thing that I did. I departed from the rest of the critics [and] took myself away from them and said, Look, lets try to make some sense out of this. Lets try to say what it was behind the assassination and how the assassins are operating, if they are, to affect our society. That is I think—I did that very early and I think that was an important move.
David Starks It’s interesting, a lot of the critics now, the ones that I feel are the most responsible critics make that point is that, Let’s not get lost in the maze of Dealey Plaza. Let’s get beyond Dealey Plaza and I agree with you, that’s very significant.
Why is this case still so important three decades later?
Vincent Salandria I think it’s most relevant to our society. I think that what happened in Dealey Plaza was that a duly elected President was fired. That the constitutional process was relegated to a paper thin façade. That what was left at that time, to American democracy, was relegated to theatrics; to the theatre of the absurd. And that what is happening now is a continuation of what was set forth then and that is, that we became more a militarized society.
Under the guise of Cold War we were told that the increase in governmental expenditures to the military sector of the economy was necessary. So we began to spend on the order of 300 billion dollars of national wealth per year on the military industrial complex which caused us to neglect the private sector, neglect education, neglect health service delivery to the poor, neglect increasing poverty, neglect the homeless. Neglect in short an effort to make the society fair, and to make the wealth of the country more equally and equitably distributed so that we’d have a state which we could be proud of, where the needs of our people would be met. Whether it be upward social mobility, which I enjoyed, and the future of the society could enjoy.
Instead we became militarized. Instead rather than being competitive economically and maintaining our competitive edge and being able to maintain the highest standard of living in the world, we have been slipping. And now we have slipped to eleventh or twelfth in our standard of living. The number of poor increases. The injustice of this unequal distribution of wealth escalates. Public education is neglected. The poor are neglected. And we see that although the Cold War has dissipated, the military expenditures remain pretty much flat, hanging close to 300 billion dollar a year point. We find the President, who I think is a basically decent man, nonetheless coming out for increased expenditures—in the absence of a cold war—for “intelligence.”
That’s why it’s so significant. The people who seized power, November 22, 1963 at Dealey Plaza, are still in power and are still distorting the quality of the American constitutional structure and are still destroying the quality of life in this society. Destroying our cities—treating our cities like third world cities. They don’t bomb them like they bombed Hanoi or Baghdad. But nonetheless, they look very much like they’ve been bombed. Look at Philadelphia, which was a city of neighborhoods, beautiful working class neighborhoods, with good housing stock. Go to north Philadelphia. I think that Hanoi at its worse would not compare this favorably to north Philadelphia today. That’s why it’s so important.
David Starks In North Philadelphia I went to school at Temple, main campus, and a couple of blocks off you're in the wastelands. I see exactly what you mean.
Is there is any hope of conclusively solving this case at this late date?
Vincent Salandria I think the case has been solved. It's the question of coming to the realization that it has been solved; that we know—we know. The government will have you believe anything. That's [??19:03] for democracy. You can believe anything. But if you purport to know something, like This government is illegitimate because it is really controlled by the military industrial intelligence complex and you act accordingly then the media will deal with you. Then you'll feel the weight of American governmental power.
So if you know this, and say you know it, you become an outlaw in terms of being able to communicate with people. But we have to get enough outlaws in that respect to say, We know what happened. We know this government is illegitimate. We know we don't have a democracy and we want our democracy back again. When enough of us say that, then we will get change.
But there's no mystery to this assassination. This matter is not debatable excepton arranged debates. In a fair debate there's no way, no way to support the proposition that there was no conspiracy in the killing of Kennedy and that conspiracy wasn't at the highest level of government, and that conspiracy didn't affect our government then, and isn't effecting our government, our economy, and our lives, in every material respect today.
David Starks This is a difficult question for some people and you can pass if you like. Who do you feel are the researchers or critics who may have contributed the most to our understanding of the case today. In other words who do you feel are some of the more responsible critics who have done good work over the years? I know you don't want to leave anyone out.
Vincent Salandria I would like to talk to that issue. I think that Gaeton Fonzi, who has just written The Last Investigation is perhaps the most responsible of the critics. Certainly the most responsible investigator. What he has done is historically significant. He has demostrated that the assassination was orchestrated by David Atlee Phillips and David Morales, both of whom were high-placed CIA officials. Not rightly nuts [??22:02], David Atlee Phillips was a gentleman in every respect. I'm sure respected by, loved by, loving of Allen Dulles. In the center of power of the CIA, Gaeton has demonstrated to anybody's complete satisfaction—anybody who reads that book thoroughly will say that he has done his homework, done it well, and proved that the assassination was orchestrated by the Centra Intelligence Agency. That's such historically important work—he did it himself. He did the work himself, therefore he knows it's correct and anybody who knows Gaeton and knows his passion for truth and his thoroughness and how careful he is, knows that he is right.
Now, why is that historically important? All other investigations which any way deviate from that design of the Central Intelligence Agency, having been at the center of the killing of Kennedy, any other investigation or investigative work either consciously or unconsciously is missing the mark. It can be used therefore, as a standard against which all other investigations can be compared. And if the other investigation does not comport with it it can be rejected. So Gaeton Fonzi was of enormous importance.
Sylvia Meagher was of enormous importance. Sylvia Meagher prepared an index on the Warren Report and also on the House Committee and that work was significant and aided researchers. She (of course) wrote, Accessories After The Fact which was perhaps the best book written in terms of the work and the modus operandi of the Warren Commission, destroying it as a responsible body. Sylvia did monumental work.
Garrison, for all his flaws which are so much emphasized by the American press, was a great man. His investigation, if you look at the trial notes, the transcripts, you'll find contributed importantly to the truth. The Clinton aspects of the Clay Shaw trial, where Clay Shaw was seen with Oswald in Clinton, Mississippi
David Starks —and also Ferrie in the same car
Vincent Salandria —and Ferrie. The Ferrie aspects of the investigation. The Finck testimony which demonstrates that there was no autopsy. Finck pointed out how Admirals and Generals came in and took over that autopsy—said they were in charge and forbad the autopsy specialists from tracking the hit in the back—which Sibert and O’Neill, the FBI agents who were observing it, said—did not exit. That testimony given under oath is of historical significance.
But think of what this man Garrison did. Garrison was a public official, enormously respected in New Orleans—I'm certain, was on his way, to becoming a governor. A much beloved man with great charisma. He was the only public official in the whole world who understood that the assassination was a very high level conspiracy of intelligence agents who had enormous power—and he took them on. What courage. What a hero. What a man. How deserving of our admiration. How deserving of the happy role he will play, and enjoy, in history.
There are the three people I most respect.
David Starks Would there be any purpose served, or do you think that—obviously this is idealism, but, if the situation presents itself, should we have another investigation? And, if so, how should it be? Would a special prosecutor be the best way or what do you feel about it?
Vincent Salandria If you're asking me whether the government, the murderers of John F. Kennedy, should conduct another investigation after having given such monumental lies in its first two investigations, heavens no. No more governmental investigation.
Should there be further investigation? Sure. We should zero in on the people who did it. Identify them. See them for what they are. Take them on no matter what their power. But that investigation should not be conducted by governmental circles. It should be conducted by private individuals, around the world. Because this affects not only this country, but around the world. Perhaps a million South Vietnamese died as a consequence of what happened in Dealey Plaza. The world, hanging always, between peace and war. And it's the interests of the people who killed Kennedy of maintaining war. To find enemies, to seek them desperately. To manufacture them. To have the American media play them up so that the weapons business can continue and that the greed can continue to be satisfied.
So that our job is to have international scholars from around the world join in the commission, very like, for example, the Dewey Commission which met with distinguished academicians, respected scholars, John Dewey, a very loved and respected philosopher and educator in the United States, heading up the commission, looking in to the issue of the purge trials in the Soviet Union that began after the assassination of Kirov, December 1, 1934. Which resulted in, eventually, the elimination of maybe a million old Bolsheviks. The Dewey commission determined, correctly, that all these confessions, in all these trials, were phoney. That the Soviet government was framing these people. And they were cooperating in many respects in the framing, out of their sense of duty to socialism, for the Soviet state. They went along to their deaths, sometimes admitting, confessing to their crimes which were no crimes at all.
So we found, literally, a million perhaps of old revolutionaries being killed with no evidence. But manufactured evidence. And the Dewey Commission was able to determine this and announce it to the world. Such a Commission, certainly having no connection with the United States Government—because the United States Government is the murderer. I would not turn over to the murders the job of determining who the murderers were. That, I think, lacks common sense. But I would turn it over to independent thinkers around the world who are willing to address power.
David Starks After the Stone film there was an outcry for the release of the files. During the election campaign for President, there was a question delivered to Clinton about whether he believed in the conspiracy. He deferred to his Vice Presidential partner, Gore, who stated that he did believe there was one. That leads to the question, should the President become involved? I know he has to appoint members to the review board to force the files out which are still being withheld. Do you think the President should become more actively involved in resolving the controversy for the American people? And can he do that?
Vincent Salandria I think, ideally, he should announce, that we had a coup on November 22, 1963. But practicably he cannot do that. I don't think we have had a president with any degree of power of any consequence since the killing of Kennedy. That the Dealey Plaza firing of Kennedy was, and continues, and will continue to be, a message to every president. You're just the president so much, and no more. We, the killers, own the presidency.
The Dealey Plaza killing of Kennedy did not only kill a president. It effectively killed the Presidency. Every president who has had to follow Kennedy, even one I can think of with very few brain cells, had to know what happened. Had to know therefore, what could happen, to him if he did not recognize where the power over the Presidency really lay.
So I suggest to you that yes, ideally, the President should openly advise the American public and the world that we had a coup but that, as a practicable matter, that is not going to happen. And therefore, it's up to the American people to use this politically. Not to divide up the society. And I suggest to you that the people who killed Kennedy had effectively managed to divide up the family, the country, in a very effective way: rich against poor, class against class, race against race, ethnic group against ethnic group; shattering old coalitions. That people must come together in the knowledge that a more open society will benefit all of us, will improve the quality of life for all of us, will improve the relations in the world for all the peoples of the world. And therefore all of us have a great stake in knowing the truth of that coup and reversing it. And organizing politically. One man, one president, won't be able to do it, Dave. Each of us who've come to know the truth must join together, organize politically, and struggle—maybe a long struggle—to defeat the power [of] those rulers who took over the Presidency in Dealey Plaza. No single president can do it for us. We have to do it....
The Bastard Bullet? And I'll give you; excuse me let give you something, his latest book is really an essay but (I hope I have a copy, yeah)—it's yours. [Salandria gives Stark a copy of Ray Marcus's The HSCA, The Zapruder Film, and the Single Bullet Theory (1992)] That destroys the single bullet theory, completely destroys it.
David Starks I noticed [inaudible] in the research journals, I managed to get all of The Third Decade and all of Paul Hoch's research journals ....
Vincent Salandria Let me say something about Ray Marcus, may I?
David Starks Sure.
Vincent Salandria May I just say something about one other critic who I think is very significant who is self-published and therefore not well known but of tremendous importance. And that is Raymond Marcus. Raymond Marcus wrote The Bastard Bullet which was a book that demonstrated, beyond the purview of a doubt, that CE, Commission Exhibit 399, the magic bullet, was a plant and could not have been anything else other than a government plant. He did it with such beautiful exercise of logic, such a vigorous application of common sense that you must consider him a scientist in this field. After all that's essentially what science is. The rigorous application of common sense and Ray Marcus has so much common sense. The logic which he employs in the magic bullet is so marvelously applied to this case that I he think he completely demolished the Warren Report.
He recently produced the House Select Committee on Assassinations, The Zapruder Film, and the Single Bullet Theory and this demonstrates beyond question that Kennedy and Connally were definitely hit by separate bullets and therefore the Warren Report had to be wrong and the House Select Committee Report which befriended the single bullet theory was a farce and so self-evident. Again, no mystery when you really apply careful thinking to the evidence, there's nothing left of this assassination which constitutes a mystery. It's so clear. And Marcus makes clear that the shot evidence of the Warren Commission and the House Select Committee Report are clearly wrong. He does it brilliantly. And he deserves enormous credit.
David Starks I assume it's obvious that there were multiple shooters and you believe that. Do you think that Oswald was an agent of U.S. intelligence and, if so, was he even one of the shooters?
Vincent Salandria Dave he had to be an object, a servant, an agent of U.S. intelligence. He was a perfect patsy. Carefully selected by U.S. intelligence. Think of him: he was a U.S. Marine who, going the course of his Marine training, studied Russian? Now look, the U.S. Marines, like any military force anywhere in the world, is not a democratic institution. If he were studying Russian—he was—if he was studying Russian, then it was with the sanction of the U.S. military. He became a defector. His mother always felt, told me, told the Commission, that she never felt he was a defector. She went to Washington she told me and was treated with kid gloves; had an appointment in the State Department immediately. She was reassured not to worry about his defection when he had defected. He was sent over by U.S. intelligence to the Soviet Union, and in their program of trying to get fake defectors in the Soviet Union.
He was returned to the United States having married Marina, who was a niece of a KGB Colonel and the Soviets let him out which leads me to think that maybe he was doubled by the Soviets as a double agent. He returned and wrote to the American Communist party. He was interested in the Communist Party. He got a three-page response from Arnold Johnson of the Communist Party which leads me to be suspicious of that. At any rate they treated him with a great deal of respect.
He performed the Fair Play for Cuba Committee in New Orleans and it was quite clearly the product of U.S. intelligence because he was the only member of that committee, a matter of some suspicion.
He was befriended by Michael Paine, who had secret clearance, working in Bell Helicopter although his father George Lyman Paine had been a Trotskyist and for that kind of clearance, when you're associated with the family with left wing connections of that sort some quid pro quo has to be given. So Michael Paine, very likely, was doing favors for U.S. intelligence in order to be able to have a secret clearance. He was associated with Oswald and he told me, Michael Paine told me, in an interview, that he would go with Oswald to right wing meetings in the Dallas area and that Oswald would take very careful notes afterwards and he was apparently reporting on the right wing in Dallas. Michael Paine told me he with him to the ACLU meeting and that Oswald joined the ACLU.
So what you see is Oswald being dipped into every aspect of the American political spectrum as my friend Jim Garrison was fond of saying, what he saw in New Orleans was the Cubanization process of Oswald. There he was being given pro-Castro airs.
Then of course, whether or not it was he, someone posing as Oswald made a scene in the Mexico City Russian Embassy and then the Cuban Embassy. Incidentally he was operating in New Orleans out of the same building which was being utilized by anti-Castro people. So he was identified with pro-Castro people, anti-Castro people, pro-Soviet people, U.S. Marine Corp, he was reportedly having shot at General Walker, attacking the right, and apparently also perhaps picketing against Stevenson with the right wing in Dallas.
He was all things to all political aspects of the American political spectrum. A typical pattern for an intelligence agency to follow, what they're doing is, making it impossible for any aspects of the American political scene to undertake investigation of attack on the official version for fear that they would be therefore vulnerable because Oswald had been associated with them. Associated with the liberals, associated with the right wing, associated with the Trotskyists, associated with the Soviet Union, associated with Castro—a perfect, a perfect patsy. Sure, he was associated with American intelligence.
Did he do any firing, Dave? No, he did no firing. With that rifle, which fired due to its sight, high and to the right; with that trigger mechanism which was defective, with his lack of skill as a marksman, he could have fired away all afternoon, right through the afternoon into the night and have done no damage. But was he doing any firing? No, the paraffin test indicated he hadn't fired a rifle. No, he did not do any firing, but will the American government try desperately to implicate him a firing, sure! Because, so long as they have that thread hanging on him and all his threads leading into every aspect of the American political, and even the Soviet and Castro scene, then they have an opportunity to threaten those people who would want to deliver the truth, you could counter by making this, Oh you're pro-Castro? You could counter, Dave, by making it a pro-Castro plot. Or, Oh you're a rightist? Or, Oh you're pro-Soviet? Or, Oh you're ACLU? You liberals want to come in on it? Well, you see, it's so convenient. He was dipped into so many paints of so many varieties of the American political scene that everybody is vulnerable. But no, he did no shooting.
David Starks So in a way, you have a mechanism set up ahead of time in a genius kind of manner to blackmail the Warren Commissioners so even if they stumble on the truth, they couldn't dare to reveal it because it would uncover all sorts of dirty tricks politics like, say, the Castro assassination plots. Obviously, it's very strange to see Oswald associating with George DeMohrenschildt and David Ferrie and all these people. The question in my mind—and I see you have Dick Russell's book [The Man Who Knew Too Much] which is very interesting—that there is such a wilderness of mirrors, the doubling and the tripling of agents, maybe Oswald didn't even know who he was working for. Maybe Oswald wasn't even sure what his loyalties were, he was playing a game.
Vincent Salandria I think that Oswald, for example, was working for the CIA and the FBI. When we get Waggoner Carr, the Attorney General of Texas coming out and suggesting that Oswald had a FBI number and telling us he was getting $200 a month, he could only get that from one source, and that’s Oswald, during the interrogation. I would guess that if he were working for CIA they instructed him: ‘If you’re picked up, if you have to reveal your identification with intelligence, you’re FBI.’
David Starks I do know an interesting story about that. That may have been one of the deceptions that was going on. But I do think it’s more likely he has CIA or military intelligence connections. But that FBI informer story, the actual origination of that was from Waggoner Carr who was informed [on that] by Alonzo Hudkins. Hudkins and another journalist and there was another person suspected ... they were being tapped by J Edgar Hoover. One day, in order to test this theory, they decided to say on the phone, there was a number there and they decided to talk with each other, and say, ‘Well Oswald was, we hear that he was an informant for the FBI and his number was so-and-so. And sure enough, a half hour later, an FBI agent turned up and started questioning him about it.
What I think is that is one of the—I don’t mean to demean your your presenting a story ... that’s one of the things with this case is that some of these stories ... but it just proves my point that there’s such a wilderness, a blizzard of information, misinformation and disinformation, that even very good critics sometimes will take what has been an honest mistake—
Vincent Salandria Sure. But there’s no honest mistake of his having had Hosty’s number in his phone book.
David Starks No. No doubt about that.
Vincent Salandria That shows a connection with the FBI. And there is no innocent mistake including that he had tried to advise the FBI, prior the assassination, and that his communication with the FBI was destroyed by the FBI. So I think that he had connections with American intelligence and I conclude that those connections were FBI and CIA.
David Starks I think it’s definite, and you can establish with government documents, that J Edgar Hoover had numerous threats on the President that he ignored and that he allowed him to be killed. And that when they wanted to investigate it the FBI, for nothing else, but to avoid its own embarrassment, engaged in tremendous cover-up activities. I think J Edgar Hoover was sitting in the catbird seat just waiting for the shots to happen. That’s my personal viewpoint of it.
Vincent Salandria But Dave, he was getting instructions too. The Katzenbach memorandum started flowing to Moyers and to float a lone assassin, leak it, they went to Bill Moyers on November 25th, right after Ruby dispatches Oswald. Higher than Hoover in the American government is instructing that ‘Oswald did it, Oswald did it alone.’ Give it out the press, dispel all other speculation.
On December 9th—think of this—on December 9th—Hoover wouldn’t have had this kind of guts—the respected Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Earl Warren, just getting ready to undertake the job of investigating who killed Kennedy, is treated like the lowliest of shysters—no lowly shyster would take that kind of treatment—is sent this memorandum, same kind of memorandum by the then Deputy Katzenbach, really operating as the Attorney General of the United State, telling him that he should leak to the press that Oswald did it, there was no conspiracy, and end speculation.
That’s treating the constitutional structure as if it didn’t exist. There’s supposed to be separation of powers. This man is supposed to be undertaking an investigation. And he’s told what he must believe. That does not pass as investigation and that doesn’t seem to indicate that Hoover was a center of power. It was much above Hoover.
Now Allen Dulles was one of the Warren Commissioners. One of the things that Earl Warren became very angry about was him witholding Castro plots which would have been an obvious area of investigation. Drew Pearson and Jack Anderson, I think, broke the story in ’67. LBJ sent the Inspector General to go investigate these allegations and they did and they threw away all their research material and had this report which I don’t think has ever been released. Do you think Allen Dulles was actively involved in the plot or maybe later found out and knew that he needed to do whatever he could to to cover it up? Obviously he was the most vocal backer of the single assassin. he would bring this literature to the commissioners and say, ‘Here look, American assassinations are almost always crazed lone assassins.’ You think he was actively covering up during the Warren Commission and knew who killed Kennedy, if not was part of the apparatus that was behind it?
Allen Dulles, I saw from reading the transcript an executive session of the Warren Commission, was involved in a clear crime and covering it up. When Harold Feldman wrote that article, “Oswald and the FBI,” that prompted a secret executive session of the Warren Commission. Knowing the course of this executive session, someone makes mention that Marina Oswald was going to testify before the Commission that Oswald was a double agent, served the Soviet Intelligence and US Intelligence. Allen Dulles said, ‘That’s not going to happen.’
Issac Don Levine, who was an old Czarist right winger, came to the United States, had solid US intelligence connections. [Dulles] said, ‘Isaac Don Levine, I had known him, has been assigned by LIFE magazine to write an article about Marina.’ Incidentally he never wrote such an article he was assigned—I’m sure by American Intelligence, not LIFE magazine—to Marina Oswald to keep her quiet. ‘I have known him. I will talk to him. She will not so testify.’
That’s suborning perjury. That’s a crime. So Allen Dulles was clearly a criminal. Now, he said very early, when the critics started to attack the Warren Commission, ‘If the critics do not believe the Warren Commission, do not believe that Oswald killed the president alone let them name names. A heavy burden.
I think, thanks to the work of Gaeton Fonzi, we can make names now. You can be sure that David Atlee Phillips, that fine gentleman, was very cozy with Allen Dulles. You can be absolutely sure that Dulles was not completely fired by JFK over the betrayal that the CIA, under Allen Dulles, did of Kennedy when they sucked him in to this enterprise contending to him that if it was not successful that the people who hit the beaches would be able to retreat to the mountains and operate as guerrillas when there was no possible way of doing that. When the real plan was to have the US ships loaded with Marines, the follow-up airstrikes by US and invade when the Bay of Pigs effort failed that was the real plan he recognized that. JFK recognized that and fired Dulles. He thought he fired him.
Dulles continued to have the contacts in the CIA and here we have a man who was fired by Kennedy, had headed up the CIA; around the world, the leading candidate for the killing of Kennedy always was the CIA. None other. And he became the center of the core of the Warren Commission. And we caught him committing a crime supporting the perjury. That man has to be a high suspect in covering it up. Not a suspect, proven in terms of having killed Kennedy I firmly believe he was a center of it.
David Starks Some recent evidence which is interesting and relates to the Mexico City incident and one of the other things I think is key is J. Lee Rankin apparently heard Mexico City tapes of the person who is supposed to be Oswald, whether it was a bug or a tap, and was later heard by the FBI and determined not to be Lee Harvey Oswald. The existence of this tape was apparently hidden from the House Select Committee. J. Lee Rankin lied about it. Later they found out that they did have the tape—that they listened to the during the Warren Commission and buried it.
This leads to the impersonation of Oswald, and false Oswald sightings, not only in Mexico City, but the Warren Commission supposedly determined Oswald was either in Mexico City or at work or at home during numerous times when there was an Oswald character out at shooting ranges, on private property shooting, driving a car when he didn’t know how to drive a car. Is this proof of US intelligence setting up Oswald as a patsy months in advance of the assassination?
Vincent Salandria The question is so beautifully formulated that it answers itself. Of course it is. The mafia couldn’t have done that. Castro couldn’t have done that. The Soviets couldn’t have done that. Which agency could have done that? American Intelligence. The only possible—one or more of the American Intelligence agencies did that. And it’s proof that since that was the patsy, and they had designated him at that time, that the design for the killing of Kennedy was in the possession of the American Intelligence agencies. That they had to have formulated a design. That they are the killers. Absolutely. It proves it.
David Starks The first investigation after the Warren Commission was the Rockefeller Commission which touched on the JFK assassination. They supposedly debunked Hunt and Sturgis trance (?) which I think was a red herring anyway and apparently wasted time. Another thing they did was look at the medical and ballistic evidence and the Zapruder film, led by Belin, basically continued the Warren Commission cover-up.
When the Rockefeller Commission was looked at by reasonable people they could see that many of those people including Ronald Reagan and others had connections with intelligence and it looks like a pattern of the Commission was like the Warren Commission was set up again.
What happened is people didn’t believe that that was a legitimate investigation either which led to the Church Committee and your friend Gaeton Fonzi was on the Church Committee. I think that the Church Committee was one of the more honest—if you can even say that of the investigations—in that it found extensive misbehavior, withholding by the intelligence agencies of information, negligence, and obviously lying about it.
Do you think that Senator Church who set up the subcommittee of Schweiker-Hart which was Book Five, their report that they put out, do you think that Church would have done this on his own if he hadn’t gotten so much pressure about the American people not believing it? It’s hard for me to tie this into a relevant question.
Vincent Salandria How do you explain the Church Committee?
David Starks Yes, what is your view on the Church Committee?
Vincent Salandria I thought Church was a good man but that no Senator is going to be permitted to designate the American government as a product of a coup and therefore illegitimate. That what happens when a man of this sort is put at the head of a committee is that the killer’s use such investigations and use them in this fashion. The truth is tussled with, wrestled with. Some wrong is admitted. The intelligence community lied to the American Congress. What’s new? How significant is that? But, here you have disclosures, albeit nothing like the center of the truth that the whole governmental structure is rotten and run by the intelligence community. But you have some representations of failings, wrongdoings by this apparatus. And this gives some comfort to the American people. That their government is operating and it’s democratic. That wrongdoing can be aired and therefore, ergo we have proven that we have a democracy.
So it’s limited release of lesser evils to cover up the giant evil of this being a gangster apparatus. That’s what happens. That’s how liberals are used. I think the Warren Commission was used somewhat like that. I’m sure they were told that, ‘Look, the big thing is very high. You can’t punish these people. They can take over the whole governmental structure. We can lose our democratic government. We can have an open military coup. You liberal guys can save the structure. You can save the Constitution. You can save democracy. Sometimes it doesn’t pay to let the people know the whole truth.’
David Starks Would Richard A. Sprague solve the case if he was left alone?
Vincent Salandria No one man can solve the case. This is a matter for little people, many little people to join together and become a powerful group that seeks the truth and demands truth and knows the truth and states the truth and will not tolerate that our cities be denied what they need, that our poor be denied what they need in favor of providing junk weapons which can’t be used against enemies which don’t exist and have to be manufactured.
Only when you get political movement of that kind can you get change. No single president can do it. No single investigator can do it. No special investigator can do it. Nothing from within the government can do it. History has demonstrated that pressure has to be put upon the government in order for progressive changes to occur.
Lincoln was not eager to free the slaves. But as the slaves began to pour out of the South into the Union Armies he had to free them. Kennedy was very reluctant to support civil rights. But as the people marched together, white and black, poor [and] middle class, to get civil rights for blacks, Kennedy was pushed along. That’s how history moves. Not by heroes within the governmental structures speaking out and cleaning things up. A pressure being brought from outside the government, on the government, that’s what has to happen. That we must consider the people more important than the government, the individual more important than the state. When we all feel that, we all come together, respecting one another, loving one another as individuals, we will get a better state. Not until then.
David Starks What is the heart of the matter of this case? Not necessarily in a nutshell but as concise as it can be tied together. What is the most important thing about this case?
Vincent Salandria I think the most important evidence which tells you everything you have to know about who did it and how high up it was is what is reported in the Theodore H. White book of 1964, The Making of the President 1964 which he says on the plane back, the presidential party, from Love [Field] to Andrews Air Force Base, there was a report from the Situation Room of the White House that Oswald was apprehended, Oswald killed the president, there was no conspiracy. That was before there was any evidence against Oswald. That was while everybody in the motorcade was aware of bullets whizzing in from different directions. That was while the Special Agents of the Secret Service protecting the president were preparing to prepare their affidavit or had prepared their affidavits to the effect that shots came from the grassy knoll, shots came from different directions. These were trained men who knew how to ascertain the sources of shots and had ascertained that they came from different directions and therefore there was an ambush. There was triangulation of fire. This was a systematic paramilitary killing of a president.
While all this evidence was known, while they saw him, they saw the president being thrown leftward and backward into the presidential limousine when he was supposed to have been shot from the rear and therefore required, according to Newton’s second law of motion to be driven forward rather than leftward and backward, and all of this could be wrong, where Senator Yarborough in the motorcade said he smelled gunpowder in Dealey Plaza. All this could have been wrong. But at that evidence, Dealey Plaza reeked at that moment, at the killing of the president, that Dealey Plaza reeked of conspiracy. All of which may have been wrong. People heard more than three shots. Most of the witnesses thought the shots came from the grassy knoll. Zapruder thought the shots were coming from over his shoulder. All wrong say. But that’s what we had at that time. We had conspiracy.
And the presidential party was being told that there was no conspiracy and Oswald did it when there was no evidence against Oswald. He’d been picked up for the killing of Tippet in Irving, Texas. Not for the killing of the president. He wasn’t charged with that till much, much later. The gun traced to him much, much later.
I wrote to White and White told me that this came from the Situation Room. The heart of American Intelligence first married the single assassin concept.
David Starks It would have come from McGeorge Bundy.
Vincent Salandria He was in charge. He was in charge. Too smart to be fooled, that man. Now I wrote to Salinger who was also reported this that the same communications were given to the cabinet plane over the Pacific flying to Japan. I asked him for the tape. I can show you all this correspondence. He agreed he would give it to me. He said he had given it to the Kennedy Library. It was in the National Archives. Then the head of the National Archives, Robert Bahmer would get it for me and then Bahmer said it’s gone. Gone.
Then I wrote to the Pentagon. A Colonel Cross said ‘You can’t get this. We only give it to people for governmental purposes.’ And Salinger and White had used it for non-governmental purposes. And it’s still coming out in the books. It never ends. “Let Us Begin Anew”: An Oral History of the Kennedy Presidency, by Gerald S. and Deborah H. Strober, where Robert Manning, Assistant Secretary of State on the cabinet plane: “The news then came in that someone named Oswald who had been in the Soviet Union had done this. The news caused great alarm.” Brand new book.
David Starks That is in effect a smoking gun because they could not have known the evidence. It had not been assembled yet.
Vincent Salandria All they could have known is that Dealey Plaza cried out, Conspiracy! That, I think, tells you how high it was.
David Starks They were prepared to neutralize that from before the assassination.
Vincent Salandria They were telling the people on the presidential plane, they were telling the people on the cabinet plane, ‘Look, people in the motorcade, you were there. You know what the evidence is. Forget evidence. We are committed to Oswald and only Oswald. Forget what you saw. Forget what you heard. Forget what you smelled, that gunpowder. Forget what your senses tell you. When you get off this plane you know only one thing: that Lee Harvey Oswald killed your president. No one else was involved. No one else was involved. It was no conspiracy. Understand that? You also understand what you saw and heard. But forget that. You are to hold both of those things as true: Oswald did it and your senses tell you that it was a conspiracy. And now you are gripped in a paralyzed doublethink process. George Orwell tells you what you are now. You’re nothing. You are our subjects. We are the power. We are the killers.’
David Starks We are what we tell you you are.
Vincent Salandria We are what we tell you you are, and your hands are tied, and we’ve got you where we could hurt you.
David Starks Another case in point is Kenny McDonnell and Dave Powers in the follow-up car. Initially, ‘We’re going to report there were shots from the grassy knoll.’ But they decided, ‘Well, we better go along with what they’re telling us.’ And they changed their story and later revealed the true story. So in effect, the people that knew the truth knew they couldn’t tell the truth and knew they had to go along with it because they realized the scope and the power that was arrayed against them and that preserving order, preserving the government—
Vincent Salandria Preserving democracy—
David Starks Preserving democracy by destroying democracy was more important.
Vincent Salandria Of course. Preserving My Lai by destroying My Lai and its people. This is the reasoning of the Military-Industrial Complex. This is the reasoning of these people of gigantic power, enormous power, enormous arrogance and murderous in their instincts.
David Starks More important to dominate the world than to feed the masses in their own country. It’s a perverse sort of a priority but that looks like the way things are.
Vincent Salandria That’s the way things are. And will be until the people use their knowledge. We all know, I submit, at some level what happened in Dealey Plaza. We all know what was behind it. We all know that they are still in power. When we are willing to act like people who know should act as responsible citizens rising up and not tolerating this abuse of power this manipulation of people, then the world will change for the better. Not until.
David Starks Democracy will be restored at that point.
Vincent Salandria Thank you David.
David Starks Okay, I know we’re out of time now. I appreciate this very much.
Vincent Salandria You’re very appreciated, thank you.
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