Friday, April 13, 2007

E. Howard Hunt’s Deathbed Disinformation

A READER WRITES: I just wanted to drop you a quick line to ask whether or not you have read the recent Rolling Stone article about the supposed "deathbed confession" of sorts by E. Howard Hunt as dictated to his son. Many people are talking about it now. As the story goes, Hunt confirmed that it was indeed a hit by the CIA in collaboration with Mafia elements as well, all ordered and orchestrated by none other than LBJ himself. (This certainly gives more credibility to Barr McClellan's recent statements.) Many names are named, including the actual grassy knoll shooters. Oswald is in fact named as one of the gunmen, that is, Hunt stated that Oswald "wasn't the only gunman" there. Moreover, Hunt's son identifies one of the three "tramps" which were rounded up in Dealey Plaza that day. This particular man had been traditionally identified as Chauncey Holt, but Hunt says no, it absolutely is E. Howard Hunt, and he knew so the first time he saw the picture. He goes on to say that E. Howard Hunt always denied any role in the assassination, but later to his son, implied that he knew of the conspiracy and was invited to participate but backed out, etc. Hunt's son says that despite his father's downplaying of any personal role in the murder, he feels that his father was far more involved than he would ever admit, even on his deathbed. So anyway, I was wondering if you have read it yet. If not you really need to, as I know you are a serious scholar on the subject. How credible is this story? I would be VERY interested in your take on it.

Yes, I read the Rolling Stone article and also quotes from E. Howard’s Hunt posthumous book American Spy: My Secret in the CIA, Watergate, and Beyond. It’s all fascinating, of course, but I’m not sure about Hunt’s credibility. As a spy and a dirty trickster, his entire career was built on deception, therefore anything said by this professional liar, even on his deathbed, is automatically suspect.

In the account he gave his son, Hunt names the right names: Lyndon Johnson, Cord Meyer, David Atlee Phillips, Antonio Veciana, and others whom JFK researchers have long believed were key players in the assassination. But there’s someone missing from the list: Hunt himself. He claims he was asked to participate, but declined. Even his own son doubts this part of the story, as he has firsthand knowledge that Hunt lied about his whereabouts on November 22, 1963. There is also the matter of the "bum" photographed in Dealey Plaza whom many persons, including his son, believe was Hunt. These are just two of many indicators that Hunt was involved, all of which are impossible to ignore, thus presenting a credibility problem with his “deathbed confession.”

And there is another problem. Hunt describes the assassination plot as entirely Lyndon Johnson’s. There is no doubt that Johnson was involved, and that he had strong personal motives for wanting Kennedy dead, but it is an oversimplification to call this a Johnson plot. Johnson was a politician who was bought and paid for by the military-industrial complex—specifically, Brown & Root. As Brown & Root’s boy in Washington, he secured numerous federal contracts for the company that enabled it to make tremendous profits during the Depression and World War II. Even more profits awaited in Vietnam. Kennedy, however, became an obstacle to these profits when he announced his intention to withdraw the troops from Vietnam. At the same time, it became known that Bobby Kennedy was working to expose Johnson’s various criminal activities and that Johnson would be dropped from the 1964 ticket—bad news for Johnson, but also bad news for Brown & Root, as well as for all the other companies in the military-industrial complex that so badly wanted the Vietnam War. Kennedy was a problem for everyone, not just Johnson, and the solution was obvious. Kennedy had to be killed, and quick, before the growing Johnson scandal reached critical mass, giving Kennedy the pretext he needed to drop him. If they waited until Kennedy had another vice president, one who was not bought and paid for by the military-industrial complex, it would be too late. Nothing could then be accomplished by assassination.

The plot to kill Kennedy, then, originated with a cabal, not with one man. We know the members of this cabal, as they were the men who met in Dallas the night before the assassination: Clint Murchison Jr., H. L. Hunt, George Brown (of Brown & Root), and Lyndon Johnson, to name a few.

I suspect that Johnson has become a sort of fall-back patsy. Originally, it was the lone-nut Oswald. That didn’t work for long, so the Mafia became the scapegoat. That didn’t work either, so now it’s Johnson. The “Johnson plot” is a limited hangout that better explains certain things, such as the involvement of the CIA and Mafia, but doesn’t mention the more important involvement of the military-industrial complex--and no wonder. The same companies are still doing their dirty business today. Brown & Root, for instance, as a subsidiary of Haliburton with the new name Kellogg, Brown & Root, is profiting nicely in Iraq. Therefore, I suspect E. Howard Hunt’s confession is disinformation. Even on his deathbed, he couldn't be honest with his son or the American people. Which is not to say his story doesn’t have value. To be effective, disinformation must contain real information. You just have to know how to read it.