Monday, October 31, 2005

The Dark Side of Camelot

'The Dark Side of Camelot', by Seymour M. Hersh (Little, Brown and Company).

Hersh claims that

1. Kennedy stole the 1960 presidential election with the help of crime boss Sam Giancana.

2. Kennedy chose Johnson as his running mate as the result of a threat of blackmail concerning his sex life.

3. A "high-ranking military officer" report that the autopsy on Kennedy showed he had venereal disease.

4. "Kennedy may have paid the ultimate price . . . for his sexual excesses and compulsiveness... He severely tore a groin muscle while frolicking poolside with one of his sexual partners during a West Coast trip in the last week of September 1963. The pain was so intense that the White House medical staff prescribed a stiff canvas shoulder-to-groin brace that locked his body in a rigid upright position. It was far more constraining that his usual back brace, which he also continued to wear. The two braces were meant to keep him as comfortable as possible during the strenuous days of campaigning, including that day in Dallas.

"Those braces also made it impossible for the president to bend in reflex when he was struck in the neck by the bullet fired by Lee Harvey Oswald. Oswald's first successful shot was not necessarily fatal, but the president remained erect -- and an excellent target for the second, fatal blow to the head."

5. One night Kennedy's national security adviser McGeorge Bundy learned about the Cuban missile buildup. He didn't tell Kennedy until the next morning. Bundy wrote, "I decided that a quiet evening and a night of sleep were the best preparations you could have...As we have seen in this book, there were many times in the Kennedy White House, according to the Secret Service, when the president could not be disturbed, even for the most urgent of matters."

6. Kennedy's relationship with Judith Campbell Exner may have cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars because it "apparently became known" to the General Dynamics Corporation, which "may have used that knowledge" to win a government contract to build a new generation of fighter planes known as the TFX.


During the 1960 presidential election Judith Campbell Exner took messages from Giancana to Kennedy. Campbell later claimed these messages concerned the plans to murder Fidel Castro.

Frank Church and his Select Committee on Intelligence Activities discovered that Judith Campbell had been involved with both John F. Kennedy and Sam Giancana.


According to

Judith Exner

In 1974, she was summoned before the Church Committee, a Senate investigation of assassinations and under oath, testified about her relationship with Jack Kennedy. She did not, however, tell them everything she knew, which would damage her credibility somewhat. Having moved in the circles of the top echelons of government and organized crime, Judith believed she had a good reason for keeping secrets.

"She said (it was) because everybody around her had been murdered - Giancana, his lieutenant Johnny Rosselli, Marilyn Monroe, both the Kennedy brothers. Judith claimed to the end she feared for her life," Smith wrote.


According to Ronald Goldfarb:

According to Giancana's brother Chuck and his godson in the 1992 book, Double Cross, "Mooney," as they referred to their mobster kin, had markers from Joseph and Jack Kennedy.

What markers?

Their book states that Joseph Kennedy was saved twice from mob wrath-once in a scrape with the Purple Gang in Detroit and again in 1956 from a vendetta by Frank Costello in New York.

Kennedy, pleading for his intervention, according to Giancana's literary heirs, promised, "He'll be your son...will owe you...he won't refuse you, ever."

Giancana thought he had a very valuable deal and told his brother that he and the Kennedys had a lot in common: "The good thing is that nobody knows it."

The Giancana-to-Giancana conversations are impossible to confirm.

The thesis continues that Robert Kennedy as attorney general burned his candle at both ends, pursuing and exploiting the mob at the same time.

In 1974, a Senate investigation led by the Church Committee disclosed outrageous Cold War abuses by the CIA that seemed to compromise both brothers, particularly Robert Kennedy.

One of its carefully documented and confounding exposes was that "U.S. Government personnel plotted to kill Castro from 1960 to 1965. American underworld figures and Cubans hostile to Castro were used in these plots and were provided encouragement and material support by the U.S."

Recently declassified FBI and CIA documents provide further illumination of this sordid revelation.

The CIA's "hairbrained schemes, including using the Mafia to gun Castro down," began under Eisenhower, according to his biographer Stephen E. Ambrose.

An ex-FBI agent then in the private investigation business was approached by the CIA....He in turn recruited Johnny Rosselli, a California rackets figure with Las Vegas ties. Along with Cubans hostile to Castro, Rosselli recruited two friends, "Sam Gold," Giancana, and "Joe," a.k.a. Santo Trafficante, Jr., the Mafia's man in Cuba before Castro deported him.

The Church Committee discovered evidence "of at least eight plots" involving the CIA from 1960 to 1965 to assassinate Fidel Castro.

President-elect John Kennedy was briefed verbally "in oblique terms" by the CIA's deputy director, Richard Bissell, about the plot to kill Castro, according to a document recounting this briefing that Jack Anderson says he's seen.

What did Robert Kennedy know and when did he know it? His aides say he did not know until mid-May, 1962, but intra- agency records suggest it was early in 1961. On May 22, 1961, not half a year after RFK had become attorney general, Hoover sent him a memorandum alluding to the CIA's use of the underworld in clandestine Castro plots.

In the interview with Larry King, Exner said that she was a longtime lover of Kennedy before and while he was president and had a brief affair with Giancana after Kennedy was killed. She also said that the attorney general knew about the president's reckless relationship with her. Exner told King that President Kennedy knew about the CIA's use of Giancana in the Castro assassination plot. "I carried the intelligence material between Jack and Jack's request."


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