DEEP STATE: Did The CIA Subvert The 1968 U.S. Presidential Election? (Part 1) – By Robert E. Aldridge (Flashback)

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  • “…In his autobiography, Next to Hughes, Robert Maheu states that, when he began his investigative firm in 1954, “almost immediately, I began working for the CIA” and that the CIA wanted him “to perform ‘cut-out’ operations for the Agency—i.e., those jobs with which the Company could not be officially connected.”..Overwhelming Evidence that the CIA Tripped Up Eugene McCarthy, Murdered Robert F. Kennedy, and Hamstrung Hubert Humphrey—all to Give America Tricky Dick

Did the CIA Subvert the 1968 U.S. Presidential Election?

By Robert E. Aldridge

Richard Nixon celebrates his victory in the 1968 election. Was he helped by the CIA? [Source:]

Overwhelming Evidence that the CIA Tripped Up Eugene McCarthy, Murdered Robert F. Kennedy, and Hamstrung Hubert Humphrey—all to Give America Tricky Dick

1. Backdrop of Vietnam War

In late 1964, to prevent North Vietnam and National Liberation Front (NLF—South Vietnam-based guerrilla resistance forces known as Viet Cong) from taking over South Vietnam, President Johnson sent U.S. troops to South Vietnam. The quick victory that was expected did not happen. By the end of 1965 the U.S. military had almost 200,000 troops in South Vietnam, 2,000 U.S. troops had been killed there, and the Army was drafting 35,000 young men every month. There were anti-war demonstrations at many American colleges and universities. By 1967 the country was becoming divided over the war—a war that President Johnson was committed to continuing—and it became the major issue of the 1968 presidential election.

2. Eugene McCarthy Enters the Race

On November 30, 1967, Sen. Eugene McCarthy (D-MN) publicly announced his intention to run as a peace candidate against Johnson in the 1968 presidential race. At this time McCarthy was becoming a hero among college students becauae of his outspoken opposition to the Vietnam War. Curtis Gans and Allard K. Lowenstein, who had started the Dump Johnson movement in 1967, became major figures in McCarthy’s new campaign organization.[1]

Opinion | The Myth of Eugene McCarthy - The New York Times
Eugene McCarthy speaks with platform of The Business Executives Move for Vietnam Peace as a backdrop. [Source:]

3. Tom McCoy

In the mid-1960s Tom McCoy was in charge of CIA political and psychological operations in East Asia. William Colby had been CIA station chief in Saigon from 1960 to 1962. In 1967 Colby returned to Saigon to establish the Phoenix assassination program and he was surely in close contact with McCoy regarding operations, etc. But in November 1967 McCoy resigned from the CIA and tried to join McCarthy’s anti-Vietnam War campaign organization. He told McCarthy’s people many stories about the war’s blunders and absurdities. But McCarthy was suspicious of McCoy, and refused to give him a position in his campaign organization.[2]

4. The Tet Offensive

On January 30, 1968, the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops in South Vietnam began the Tet Offensive, an all-out surprise attack over much of South Vietnam against U.S. and South Vietnamese military installations. The Tet Offensive lasted until Feb 23, by which time U.S. and South Vietnamese military forces had defeated the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops. The Tet Offensive came as a shock to the U.S. government and the American people, who had not understood that Hanoi and the Viet Cong were capable of such an ambitious military operation. As a result, American public support for the war declined—and support for Senator McCarthy increased among mainstream Democrats.

Tet Offensive | Board Game | BoardGameGeek

5. The New Hampshire primary

The nation’s first primary was the New Hampshire primary on March 12. McCarthy’s organization arrived early and canvassed the state with an army of college student campaign volunteers (the “children’s crusade”). On primary day, McCarthy received 42% of the polling-station vote— to LBJ’s 49%. But due to the dilution of the LBJ vote among too many LBJ delegate-candidates, McCarthy won 20 of the state’s 24 Democratic delegation seats! Political analysts were stunned. The message was clear: LBJ was defeatable.

6. RFK announces his candidacy

Robert Kennedy, a Democratic senator from New York, was JFK’s younger brother. On March 16, four days after McCarthy’s New Hampshire success, he announced that he too would run for the presidency as a peace candidate, challenging both McCarthy and Johnson for the Democratic nomination. On March 31, Johnson gave a nationally televised speech which ended with the surprise statement that he would not run for re-election in November.

Two days later, April 2, McCarthy won the Wisconsin primary with 57% of the vote. (Kennedy was not on the ballot.) On April 23, McCarthy won the Pennsylvania primary with 77% of the vote. It was looking very much like McCarthy might win the presidency in November. But in Indiana on May 7, Kennedy won 42% of the primary vote, while McCarthy received only 27%. The Nebraska primary (May 14) was even worse for McCarthy. Kennedy won 52% of the vote and McCarthy only 31%. Kennedy was now a frontrunner.

Bobby Kennedy campaigning in 1968 Democratic Party primary. [Source:]

7. MLK’s opposition to the Vietnam War

On February 25, 1967, at the Los Angeles Beverly Hilton Hotel, Dr. King delivered his first speech devoted solely to the Vietnam conflict, which he declaimed as “one of history’s most cruel and senseless wars.” He thus became the first prominent American to stand up against the war, which until then had been generally viewed as the politics only of radical college students and left-wing professors. Less than a week later, on March 2, 1967, Bobby Kennedy delivered an anti-war speech in the Senate that was his first public anti-war statement. On April 4, 1967, King delivered an anti-war speech at Riverside Church in New York City that is often considered his most important anti-war statement. In it he accused the U.S. government of spending more and more on the military and less and less on programs for the poor.

Beyond Vietnam: MLK's Lessons on US Imperialism - Left Voice
Martin Luther King, Jr., speaks out against the Vietnam War. [Source:]

For the remaining year of his life, King struggled mightily to unite the civil rights and anti-war movements. At the National Conference on New Politics in Chicago in late August 1967 (the largest left-wing conference since 1948), King delivered a keynote address in which he declared that the 1968 election must be made “a referendum on the [Vietnam] war” and that “the American people must have the opportunity to vote [militarism] into oblivion.” At the conference there was some support for a King-Spock anti-war presidential run in 1968.

Dr. Benjamin Spock, Martin Luther King Jr., lead nearly 5,000 marchers  through the Chicago Loop to
Martin Luther King, Jr., right, and Benjamin Spock. [Source:]

8. The assassination of Martin Luther King

The story of Martin Luther King’s assassination is complex. In a nutshell, James Earl Ray was a developed patsy who was coerced into confessing. The official story is that James Earl Ray shot Dr. King from the second-floor bathroom window of the Brewer boarding house, which was 200 feet from the Lorraine Motel where King was staying. The real assassin shot from the bushes behind the Brewer boarding-house, while a James Earl Ray-lookalike allowed himself to be seen in the boarding-house’s second-floor bathroom-window, then ran and dropped evidence incriminating James Earl Ray.

Boarding-house resident Grace Stephens, who lived in the room closest to the bathroom, said the shot came not from the bathroom but from the bushes below the bathroom window.[3] And Solomon Jones, King’s chauffeur who was in the Lorraine parking-lot beneath where King was standing on the second-floor balcony when the shooting happened, said that immediately after the shooting he glimpsed a man in the bushes with his back to the Lorraine.[4]

But the 1976-78 House Select Committee on Assassinations that re-investigated the assassinations of JFK and Dr. King found reasons to discredit the testimony of Grace Stephens and Solomon Jones. Chief Counsel for the committee was G. Robert Blakey, who had helped the CIA hide and withhold evidence during the Warren Commission investigation of the JFK assassination.[5]

Before and after the assassination, Ray was given money and instructions on where to go by a mysterious “Raoul” and others. Ray’s movements were controlled and everything was set up to point to him. Proof that Raoul was real (not invented as the police and FBI claimed) lies in the fact that Ray based his 1971 appeal application (his only chance for freedom) on his attorney Percy Foreman’s failure to investigate his phone numbers for Raoul.[6]

Who Was James Earl Ray And Did He Actually Kill Martin Luther King Jr.?
James Earl Ray was falsely accused of King’s killing. [Source:]

Evidence pointing to the CIA includes the fact that Ray’s aliases almost certainly came from an intelligence agency;[7] that Jules Ricco Kimble testified that he flew Ray to Toronto to meet with a CIA identities specialist; that Ray received his activation call from Raoul on March 16, only a couple of hours after Bobby Kennedy announced his decision to run for president; and that Ray’s lawyer for his 1971 appeal application was Bernard Fensterwald, whose legal career was closely intertwined with CIA domestic operations.

In the 1960s and 1970s the CIA put trainers and advisers in the intelligence units of police departments in many American cities.[8] When in 1976 the House of Representatives voted to establish a committee to re-open the investigations into the assassinations of JFK and Dr. King, the Memphis ACLU filed a petition requiring the Memphis Police Department to preserve the files of its intelligence unit (180 boxes). The files would have revealed any collaboration with the CIA regarding Dr. King, particularly the names of the individuals involved. The court granted the petition, but the files were removed and destroyed one hour before the court order was delivered to Memphis police headquarters.[9]

Excursus A: CIA expertise in influencing elections

CIA expertise in manipulating elections was pioneered by one man—former OSS official Thomas W. Braden.[10] In 1946 Braden co-wrote Sub Rosa, the OSS’s unofficial history, and OSS chief Gen. William Donovan wanted Braden to succeed him as head of OSS.

Tom Braden - Wikipedia
Thomas W. Braden [Source:]

In 1947 and 1948 there were situations in France and Italy which might have allowed the Communists to come to power in those countries. The U.S. government tasked an Army covert operations unit called SSU (whose European operations were run by Tom Braden) with intervening in the strikes and elections in France and Italy.[11] Braden did this by creating “black propaganda,” funding radio and newspaper advertising, printing and distributing campaign literature, organizing political rallies, subsidizing friendly groups, bribing officials, hiring Mafia gangs to assault opposition workers—and likely other tactics that Braden has not admitted.

CIA psychological warfare instructor Paul Linebarger once warned his students, “I hate to think what would ever happen if any of you ever got out of this business and got involved in U.S. politics. These kinds of dirty tricks must never be used in internal U.S. politics. The whole system would come apart.”

In 1951 Braden joined the CIA as (then) Deputy Director Allen Dulles’s special assistant. He soon established the CIA’s International Organizations Division (IO) to oppose the growth of Soviet influence around the world. For the next 20 years, IO provided support for the non-Communist left (NCL) through covert financial aid to non-Communist trade unions, political parties, newspapers, and international organizations of journalists, educators, and students. IO also had much expertise in influencing elections and was heavily involved in supporting the Christian Democrats against the Communist Party in the Italian general elections of 1953, in supporting the growth of the Social Democrats in Germany, and in making the British Labor Party more moderate.[12] Western Europe was prevented from “going Communist” in the years after World War II largely through the election-influencing tactics of Tom Braden.[13]

9. The CIA and McCarthy’s campaign finance organization

a. Controlling a candidate by controlling his finances

Controlling or directing a candidate’s finances can be used to influence the candidate’s positions and activities, and to shape campaign advertising. Major donors may express their concerns to the candidate directly or through finance committee officials. Finance committee officials are also in a position to influence or suggest to the donors certain concerns and requests that are then passed on to the candidate as being from the donors.

b. CIA allies and McCarthy’s campaign finance organization

On April 21, “Citizens for McCarthy” was established in New York City as McCarthy’s new fundraising organization. “Citizens for McCarthy” was headed by Tom Finletter, a close associate of Cord Meyer. Meyer was a friend of Tom Braden and ran IO after Braden left in 1954. In 1968 he was in charge of much of the CIA’s anti-Soviet operations worldwide—not likely a supporter of McCarthy.

Thomas K. Finletter - Wikipedia
Tom Finletter [Source:]

Another member of “Citizens for McCarthy”’s board of directors was Benjamin Buttenwieser, who was closely associated, both socially and professionally, with John J. McCloy, who helped create IO’s secret funding structure. Buttenwieser’s wife Helen, head of the New York Legal Aid Society, was at the center of the U.S. government’s investigation into whether suspected Soviet spy Alger Hiss had any undetected associates at the State Department—and McCloy once said that journalists digging around her legal defense of Hiss threatened to expose some of the government’s most sensitive operations. Buttenwieser and McCloy were involved in secret government security, not liberalism, and Buttenwieser’s role as a director of “Citizens for McCarthy” was almost certainly intended to undermine McCarthy.

c. Bringing Tom McCoy into McCarthy’s campaign organization

For some time friends and donors had been urging McCarthy to re-organize his campaign. On May 15-16, he met with a five-man delegation, including Tom Finney, Tom McCoy (that Tom McCoy, who was also Finney’s brother-in-law and chief aide), and Washington lobbyist Larry Merthan. The delegation pushed McCarthy into making certain changes. On May 18, McCarthy removed Curtis Gans from supervision of the campaign and installed Tom Finney.

Clark Clifford - Wikipedia
Clark Clifford [Source:]

Finney was the law partner of Clark Clifford, the Secretary of Defense in 1968 who had written the CIA’s charter in 1947. Larry Merthan had been a CIA intelligence officer in West Germany in the 1950s and served on the staff of the Franz Lieber Foundation, a CIA front that was used to funnel money to anti-Communist groups.[14] Thus three of the five men in the delegation that met with McCarthy on May 15-16 to re-structure his campaign organization were former (or current) CIA operatives.

10. The assassination of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy

As with Dr. King, the story of Bobby Kennedy’s assassination is complex. Officially, RFK was shot by Sirhan Sirhan on June 5, 1968, as he was leaving Los Angeles’s Ambassador Hotel through the kitchen pantry. He died 26 hours later, never regaining consciousness. In a nutshell, Sirhan Sirhan was a developed patsy who does not even remember the shooting and was probably under hypnosis at the time.

The real assassin was the “second gunman” seen by several witnesses at the scene. Several witnesses also saw Sirhan’s gun emit “tongues of fire” characteristic of slugless cartridges—doubtless so that Sirhan would not shoot the second gunman.[15] Witness Sandra Serrano saw two men and a woman climb up the kitchen emergency exit before the shooting, and one man and a woman climb down the exit after the shooting. Testimony regarding the second gunman, slugless cartridges, and people going up and down emergency exits was omitted from the official report, which considered Sirhan the sole assassin.

Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy - Wikipedia

Evidence pointing to the CIA and to conspiracy and cover-up includes the following:

1) LAPD’s investigation into Bobby Kennedy’s assassination, called Special Unit Senator, was run by Lt. Manuel Pena. He and his assistant, Sgt. Enrique Hernandez, had recently come to LAPD from an ultra-secret CIA unit inside the Agency for International Development. One of the unit’s specialties was teaching assassination techniques to foreign intelligence and security officials.[16] The report they produced omitted all evidence of a second shooter.

William Joseph Bryan - Alchetron, The Free Social Encyclopedia
Dr. William Joseph Bryan [Source:]

2) Dr. William Joseph Bryan was perhaps the world’s foremost hypnosis expert, whose work included hypnotizing serial murderers to determine their motivation, such as “Boston Strangler” Albert DiSalvo. Bryan allegedly developed pre-programmed assassin techniques for the CIA, such as a “robot assassin” acting under post-hypnotic suggestion, as part of the CIA mind-control project MK/ULTRA. Bryan was reportedly the technical consultant on hypno-assassination for the film The Manchurian Candidate. Dr. Bryan told two of his female friends in Beverly Hills that he had worked with Sirhan. This would explain why Sirhan’s notebooks contained many references to Albert DiSalvo, who was Dr. Bryan’s most famous patient.[17] The 1976-78 House Select Committee on Assassinations subpoenaed Dr. Bryan to testify, but he died two days before he could be questioned by the House investigator.

He died from a drug overdose administered via syringe in a location that he would not likely have been able to do himself.

3) After his conviction Sirhan was sent to San Quentin prison, where psychiatrist Dr. Eduard Simson-Kallas determined that he had been programmed.[18]

4) A year after the investigation concluded, an inventory revealed that all of the physical evidence in the Bobby Kennedy assassination, including all the pantry tiles and panels, had been destroyed in the County incinerators and nothing remained. Likewise, all 2,400 original police crime-scene photos. And, likewise, with the 3,470 witness interviews done by Special Unit Senator. All the interviews were tape-recorded and there were no written transcriptions. The inventory revealed that all but 300 of the 3,470 witness interviews were missing—including all of the most important ones. Amateur photographer Scott Enyart had filmed the celebration at the Ambassador, including the shooting in the pantry. His three rolls of film were taken by the LAPD shortly after the shooting, and roll number three (taken in the pantry) was never returned.[19] It would have shown who did what.

5) The 1976-78 House Select Committee on Assassinations re-investigated the assassinations of JFK and Dr. King, but not Robert Kennedy. Was it because a re-investigation would likely have established the role of a second gunman in RFK’s assassination and revealed massive evidence of a cover-up in the original investigation?

Two additions: First, after RFK announced his candidacy, Tom Braden and his wife Joan joined the board of RFK’s California campaign organization. Joan Braden traveled with RFK while he was campaigning nationwide. On the day of the California primary, June 4, Joan Braden lent RFK her car for him to travel around Los Angeles. After RFK was shot on June 5, Joan Braden and Theodore White (The Making of the President series) baby-sat RFK’s children at the hotel so that RFK’s wife Ethel could be with him at the hospital.

Joan and Tom Braden [Source:]

Second, in addition to RFK’s anti-Vietnam War position, the CIA had another motive for eliminating him: If elected, Bobby Kennedy would have opened a new investigation into his brother JFK’s assassination—which would likely have resulted in greatly restructuring the CIA and sending many of its top officials to prison.

Excursus B: The CIA’s Charter and Domestic Operations

The National Security Act of 1947 re-organized the U.S. military and created the CIA, and Section 102 is often called “the CIA’s charter.”[20] Section 102 was drawn up by the law firm of President Truman’s closest adviser, Clark Clifford. The CIA’s duties are listed in Subsection d, Paragraphs 1-5: “(1) to advise the National Security Council in matters… (relating to) national security… (2) to make recommendations to the President through the National Security Council… (3) to correlate and evaluate intelligence relating to the national security, and provide for the dissemination of such intelligence within the Government using where appropriate existing agencies and facilities.”

In deference to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and civil libertarians, Paragraph 3 includes a statement that “the Agency shall have no police, subpoena, law-enforcement powers or internal-security functions.” This appears to restrict the CIA’s duties to analyzing and passing on intelligence collected by other intelligence agencies. This was apparently meant to outflank J. Edgar Hoover and to facilitate the act being approved by Congress. Paragraph 3 also appears to forbid the CIA from engaging in domestic operations and internal security activities (the realm of the FBI) and to permit only administrative, supply and training activities inside the United States. Paragraph 3 further appears to forbid the CIA from engaging in foreign intelligence-gathering and covert operations.

However, an elastic clause in Subsection d, Paragraph 5, permits the Agency to perform “such other functions and duties related to intelligence affecting the national security as the National Security Council may from time to time direct.” This opens the door for the CIA to perform covert operations, including domestic operations. In the 1975 Church Committee hearings Clark Clifford confirmed that this clause was intended to permit covert actions by the CIA.

Robert Maheu, 90, Surrogate for Howard Hughes, Is Dead - The New York Times
Robert Maheu [Source:]

From the beginning, the CIA carried out domestic activities under the direction of the National Security Council. These activities were made deniable by having them carried out through third parties (proxies), such as Maheu Associates, and other groups and individuals. In his autobiography, Next to Hughes, Robert Maheu states that, when he began his investigative firm in 1954, “almost immediately, I began working for the CIA” and that the CIA wanted him “to perform ‘cut-out’ operations for the Agency—i.e., those jobs with which the Company could not be officially connected.”

A picture containing text, person, stereo, control panel

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Bernard Spindel [Source:]

America’s leading wiretapper from the 1940s to the 1960s was Bernard Spindel. In his autobiography, The Ominous Ear, Spindel reproduces the 1951 letter from the CIA rejecting his application for employment. Beneath it Spindel put the caption “The cream of the jest!” because in fact he had done many domestic jobs for the CIA. The reason that the CIA didn’t hire him was probably so that, if he were caught, the CIA could deny that they were involved.

Domestic operations, even minor operations, were kept secret in order to prevent public pressure to restrict or abolish the Agency. Most of the American public believed that, like the U.S. military, the CIA was completely loyal to the President and to Congress. The CIA’s involvement in the 1968 election was exactly the sort of thing that, if it had become public at that time, would have caused a large part of the American public to support abolishing the Agency….

…Continued in Part 2

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