Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Death of Yuri Nosenko

Yuri Nosenko, a former KGB official and defector to the United States has died. Nosenko claimed to have handled the file of Lee Harvey Oswald for the KGB and said the KGB never took an interest in Oswald. Nosenko's story was treated skeptically at CIA and they ordered him kept in confinement where he was subjected to hostile interrogation methods. Nosenko said he was tortured and given LSD at one point.
From the Associated Press:
Ex-KGB spy, CIA's `most valuable defector,' dies
By PAMELA HESS – 11 hours ago
WASHINGTON (AP) — A KGB spy who switched allegiances at the height of the Cold War and was considered by the CIA as its "most valuable and economical defector" has died.
Yuri Ivanovich Nosenko defected in Switzerland in 1964. Confined to a safe house in Clinton, Md., the former Soviet spy was interrogated for about four months in 1965 until transferred to a specially constructed jail because he was suspected of being a double agent, according to decades-old CIA documents released last year. He was held until October 1967, then resettled under an assumed identity.
"While I regret my three years of incarceration, I have no bitterness and now understand how it could happen," he said, according to the documents.
The 81-year-old Nosenko died Saturday, a month after the CIA delivered to his home a ceremonial flag and a letter of thanks from the agency's director, Michael Hayden, honoring his service to the United States, according to intelligence officials.
The CIA considered him the "most valuable and economical defector this agency has ever had," the long-held documents said, noting his information resulted in the arrest and prosecution of spies.
The CIA put Nosenko under a polygraph in 1964, 1966 and 1968 about Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald's possible ties to the KGB. Nosenko told his interrogators that Oswald was not a KGB operative, according to a 1979 report to Congress.
Nosenko's death after a long illness was first reported in Wednesday's Washington Post, which said he lived in a Southern state."


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

JFK Researchers Receive Prestigious Award

Researchers at Texas A&M University that did careful scientific work to debunk previous analysis of the bullets used in the murder of John F. Kennedy were granted the 2008 Statistics in Chemistry Award by the American Statisitical Association. Dr. Cliff Spiegelman and Dr. Simon J. Sheather, professors of statistics in the Texas A&M Department of Statistics, and Dr. William D. James, a research chemist with the Texas A&M Center for Chemical Characterization and Analysis published their work in 2007. Using new compositional analysis techniques that were not available in the 1960's they concluded that the bullet fragments used in the murder were not at all as rare as previously concluded. Their work cast serious doubt on the Neutron Activation Analysis (NAA) relied on by the House Assassinations Committee under its chief counsel, Robert Blakey. In light of the new study Blakey now refers to the NAA analysis as "junk science".
Also sharing in the award for their roles in the joint project: William A. Tobin, former Federal Bureau of Investigation ( FBI ) agent and forensic scientist; D. Max Roundhill, former head of the Department of Chemistry at Washington State University and a current consultant with Austin-based Chem Consulting; and Stuart Wexler, a humanities and advanced placement government instructor at Highstown High School in New Jersey.


For more background on the study see:


Monday, August 11, 2008

Chris Columbus to direct new film on RFK

Chris Columbus, director as well as producer of two "Harry Potter" films and many others, has acquired the rights to Thurston Clarke's "The Last Campaign: Robert F. Kennedy and 82 Days that Inspired America". Clarke's book is a New York Times bestseller and Columbus will adapt it for the screen and also serve as director for the project.

From Variety, Aug. 10, 2008:

In his first deal since forming a first-look alliance with India-based Reliance Big Entertainment, Columbus and his 1492 Prods. have acquired screen rights to the Thurston Clarke book "The Last Campaign: Robert F. Kennedy and 82 Days That Inspired America."
Columbus will produce with 1492 partners Michael Barnathan and Mark Radcliffe. Columbus will write the script solo or invite another scribe to work with him. That choice will depend on his availability, as Columbus is currently finalizing a directing project for early next year.
Kennedy's idealistic campaign, which focused squarely on poverty, racism and ending the unpopular Vietnam War, resonated with Columbus and his 1492 partners. While losing his iconic brother made him wary of crowds, Kennedy refused to insulate himself from the public during his run.
"Chris was inspired by the fearlessness Robert showed in those 82 days," Barnathan said.


Friday, August 8, 2008

FBI files released to Washington Post; Gerald Ford served as spy for Hoover on Warren Commission

It has long been known that Gerald Ford functioned as a spy for J. Edgar Hoover on the Warren Commission. But today's Washington Post has an "exclusive" story which includes new details on how Ford not only spied for Hoover, but also actively worked to manipulate other Warren Commission members into believing that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. In times past, Ford stoutly denied that he operated in such a way for Hoover and tried to suggest that previously released FBI documents were just a result of FBI official Cartha DeLoach trying to "puff" his own reputation. Today's documents give the lie to the late president's previous denials. Ford's reputation has already suffered considerably in recent years, such as in 2001 when documents were released which showed both he and Henry Kissinger aided and abetted Indonesia's 1975 attack on East Timor, which resulted in 25 years of slaughter in that country. (See: By arming Indonesia for this purpose Ford and Kissinger plainly violated U.S. law which does not allow arms to be sold to any country except for defensive purposes. The revelations in today's Post will further besmirch his reputation as it leaves no doubt his work on the Commission was tarnished by an all too cozy relationship with the FBI. This too casts a shadow over the independence of the Warren Commission itself. Ford sought from the beginning to paint Oswald as a lone assassin as Hoover wanted.
From the article:
"A December 1963 memo recounts that Ford, then a Republican congressman from Michigan, told FBI Assistant Director Cartha D. "Deke" DeLoach that two members of the seven-person commission remained unconvinced that Kennedy had been shot from the sixth-floor window of the Texas Book Depository. In addition, three commission members "failed to understand" the trajectory of the slugs, Ford said.
Ford told DeLoach that commission discussions would continue and reassured him that those minority points of view on the commission "of course would represent no problem," one internal FBI memo shows. The memo does not name the members involved and does not elaborate on what Ford meant by "no problem."
Ford also told DeLoach that Chief Justice Earl Warren, who headed the commission, had told its members that "they should strive to have their hearings completed and the findings made public prior to July, 1964, when the Presidential campaigns will begin to get hot. He stated it would be unfair to present the findings after July." They missed their deadline, concluding in a report issued Sept. 24, 1964, that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the assassination. "