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The Mammoth Book of Conspiracies

Jon Lewis

The Mammoth Book of Conspiracies uncovers 100 cover-ups “they” really don't want you to know about. This collection delves into some of the biggest lies in history. Jon E. Lewis is a historian and writer, whose books on history and military history are sold worldwide. He is also the editor of many The Mammoth Book of anthologies, including the best-selling Cover-Ups.

Jon E. Lewis

The Mammoth Book of



These are, of course, theories. If they were proven beyond all doubt they would be conspiracy facts.

This book, a companion to The Mammoth Book of Cover-Ups, is a guide to the weirdest, wackiest and the most dangerous conspiracy theories around. I have, hopefully, steered a path between the Scylla of outright scepticism and the Charybdis of wide-open gullibility, the latter constantly boosted by the Internet, a self-referring universe where one blogger’s claim becomes one researcher’s proof. As a measuring stick of a theory’s veracity, I have included an “ALERT” guide, with a 1 to 10 rating, with 1 being “No way, Jose” and 10 being “It’s a cert”. A small number of cases have appeared in Cover-Ups, but reappear here in the light of more and new information.

There are conspiracy theories that cross the edge of madness—David Icke’s “reptilian-humanoid takeover” and Vril-powered UFOs driven by Nazis come hurtling to mind—but there are plenty out there that raise real issues about the abuse of power by secretive groups of politicos, CEOs, medicos and military honchos. Everyone should sleep a little less easy and be a little more vigilant after reading about the US Army’s “Operation Northwoods” (which proposed false-flag terrorist outrages on the American people and the sticking of the blame on Cuba) and you may want to give the bio-research facility at Plum Island a wide, wide detour.

As they say: just because you are paranoid, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t out to get you…

Jon E. Lewis


Ever wonder how two tech geeks like Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak made their billions?

Conspiracists know the answer. Jobs and Wozniak built the first Macintosh computer in a California garage and when it failed to raise interest they did a deal with the devil, selling their souls in exchange for success on earth. The proof was on the price tag of the first Mac: $666.66. The mark of the Beast. Rounding off the evidence is the Apple logo. There’s a bite taken out of the apple, the forbidden fruit.

Alternatively, Apple did a deal with Big Brother. Take a look at an iPhone. It plays, unknown to its owner, iSpy on you. A secret file stores latitude and longitude, complete with a dater. The file is unencrypted and is transferred to any device the iPhone syncs with. Thus anyone with access to the owner’s computer can track his or her movements. Invasion of privacy anyone? Apple’s snooping habit doesn’t end with the locator file. The “Hackintosh hacker” alleged that Apple has stuck a code into the iPhone that tracks keyboard use, so every time the user taps in information this is relayed to Apple HQ. The claim has never been verified but Apple’s appetite for gathering personal information is infamous; in 2010 the company applied for a patent (“Systems and Methods for Identifying Unauthorized Users of an Electronic Device”) that could record the heartbeat of iPhone users, as well as covertly photograph them and their surroundings. If Apple collects information, as sure as God made little green apples, law enforcement agencies will one day come calling to use it. All of which has made dark rooms full of pale conspiracy theorists wonder if Apple is not doing the CIA/FBI’s job for them.

Apple justified the patent application as a security measure to prevent thieves using stolen phones, but as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EEF) watchdog pointed out the technology also enabled Apple to cut off customers who pimped (quite lawfully) their devices. Improper use would also be reported to the Orwellian sounding “proper authorities”. The EEF christened the patent “traitorware”. Apple’s inclination to control is almost as great as its inclination to spy. On prudishly deciding that cartoonist Mark Fiore’s NewsToons app was too satirical for its taste Apple rejected it. When Fiore won a Pulitzer though they installed the app. Never one to miss a commercial opportunity, Apple.

Of course, Apple likes to keep its own secrets very close to its chips: the company is heavily controlling of image and market share. When Consumer Reports had the brazen gall to say it couldn’t recommend the iPhone 4 until the antenna was improved, threads discussing the issue on Mac.com forums mysteriously disappeared overnight. And only an absolute cynic would claim that Apple’s 2010 litigious spat with internet mag Gizmodo about its review of an iPhone 4 prototype left in a bar and passed on to the website was a staged publicity stunt, what with the new phone getting oodles of free publicity, and security at Apple HQ being Fort Knox tight.

Byte into an Apple. Indeed.

Further Reading



“Warning. Restricted Area. Photography of This Area is Prohibited”.

So read the signs staked around Area 51, a high-security military base in the Nevada desert, 90 miles (145 km) north of Las Vegas. Also known as Groom Lake, the facility, which comprises thousands of acres, is surrounded by security fencing and intruder detection systems, and is regularly patrolled. A no-fly zone operates above it. The US Government, you get the feeling, wants to keep peeping eyes away from what happens in Area 51.

Why? There is a long-standing belief by conspiracists that Area 51 houses the UFO disc found at Roswell, as well as other crashed alien spaceships. At Area 51, the theory goes, the recovered UFOs are back-engineered so that their technology can be utilized by the US military. The latter are helped—either willingly or unwillingly—by captured alien pilots.

Few of the human government employees who work at Groom have ever talked about their work, but two who did were Leo Williams and Bob Lazar. Williams claimed to have worked in alien technology evaluation, the results of which informed the design of the B-2 stealth bomber. In 1989 Lazar announced on local TV that he too had been involved in “back-engineering” at Groom’s S-4 hangars complex, including assessment of the Roswell craft’s propulsion system. He had even uncovered “Gravity B”, a force arising from the manipulation of a new nuclear element, “ununpentium”.

Neither Williams nor Lazar proved very convincing witnesses. Lazar had invented his purported MIT physics qualification and before working in back-engineering had been engaged in the rather less than cutting edge employment of managing a photo shop. A steady stream of sightings of strange lights and craft at Groom, however, kept alive the notion of Area 51 as a top-secret UFO lab, perhaps the manufacturing plant of Black Helicopters.

Certainly, Area 51 has been the testing ground for weird and wonderful aircraft. The U-2 spy plane was flown there; so was the SR-71 Blackbird, the B-2 stealth bomber, the F-117 stealth fighter, and the unmanned aerial vehicle known as the “Beast of Kandahar” (and officially as RQ-170 Sentinel) that spied on the Abbottabad compound of Osama bin Laden. And these are only the craft the public has been informed about. It’s reasonable to suppose that other prototype and avant-garde aircraft have taken to the air at Groom, less reasonable to suppose that they have been developed from alien technology.

There was, though, one conspiracy taking place at Area 51. Bill Sweetman, editor-in-chief of defence technology for Aviation Week, maintains that the government absolutely encouraged “deliberate disinformation campaigns to generate a lot of noise about UFOs back in the 1950s and 1960s to cover secret flights of planes like the U-2, and then again in the late 1970s and early 1980s to link area 51 to UFOs through ‘fake’ documents and eye-witness accounts of alien technology and even alien bodies”.

The object of the disinformation was to mask the real reasons for the building of the base, namely the R&D of air-machines to best the Ruskies.

The Government, in other words, conspired to create a conspiracy theory.

Further Reading

David Darlington, Area 51: The Dreamland Chronicles, 1998

Eric Elfman, Almanac of Alien Encounters, 2001

Annie Jacobsen, Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base, 2011

Phil Patton, Dreamland: Travels Inside the Secret World of Roswell and Area 51, 1998


During 2010, the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks released troves of classified US cables. They made fascinating reading, and Joe and Josephine Public learned a thing or a hundred it never knew its government and allies were up to, from the US CIA’s 3,000-strong secret army in Afghanistan to Saudi Arabia’s plea for a missile strike on Iran. WikiLeaks justified the release of the information as being in the “public interest”, while embarrassed establishments in the West complained about the endangering of national security. Julian Assange, the Australian founder of WikiLeaks, became, depending on your point of view, a hero or an Osama bin-Laden-style bogeyman. In the latter camp, Sarah Palin called for the “anti-American” Assange to be pursued “with the same urgency we pursue al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders”. But Palin had a particular hard spot for WikiLeaks; the site had published her emails from her unsuccessful run for VeePee of the USA, one of its highest profile coups since its foundation in 2007.

Not long after Palin blew her hunting horn, the US Government announced its intention to try Assange under the Espionage Act of 1917. Then there were cyberspace sabotage attacks on WikiLeaks, the US Air Force started blocked access on its computers to any website which posted the cables (including the New York Times), and PayPal, Mastercard, Visa, Amazon and Bank of America all refused to handle donations to WikiLeaks.

To put the cherry on the conspiracy cake, Julian Assange was then arrested in Britain, at the request of Swedish prosecutors, on a completely unrelated matter. The Swedes maintained that Assange was guilty of rape, unlawful coercion and molestation in their bailiwick. Assange directly accused the US of smearing him on trumped-up charges; meanwhile, the two Stockholm women allegedly assaulted by Assange—who were left-wing fans of his—explicitly denied being “set up by the Pentagon or anyone else”. In a prime case of wheels within wheels, WikiLeaks staff apparently blocked Assange from using the site to claim he was a victim of a conspiracy in the Swedish case. Citing Assange’s autocratic style and courting of publicity, other staff left, others called for his replacement. Some defectors allied with a new site that published leaks about—WikiLeaks.

All, clearly, was not well down in WikiWorld. As WikiObservers sagely noted, the US might not need to conspire to destroy Assange and his operation. He might do that himself.

For his part Assange uploaded an “Insurance File” onto the internet, which is reputed to be bursting with more top secret government information. Only Assange knows the password, and this is to be released posthumously—should he suffer an “accident”.

Further Reading

Daniel Domscheit-Berg, Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World’s Most Dangerous Website, 2011

David Leigh and Luke Harding, WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy, 2011


Nipponese yoga teacher Shoko Asahara founded the Aum Shinrikyo (“Supreme Truth”) sect in 1984 on a religious programme that combined Buddhism with Nostradamus and End-is-Nigh Christianity. A standard issue cult leader, Asahara boasted a beard, plus messianic powers (the ability to make the sick rise from their beds) and supernatural abilities. He couldn’t quite walk on water, but he could walk through walls, a feat made difficult for his followers because he made them scald their feet. Despite—or maybe because of—Asahara’s certifiable lunacy, Aum Shinrikyo attracted over 50,000 members. In the material world of Japan, it did at least offer something more than the pursuit of the yen. That said, like many a cult leader, Asahara was an accomplished businessman, raising sect funds through software enterprises and outright extortion at gunpoint.

Asahara promised the faithful that one day Aum Shinrikyo would rule Japan. When an electoral bid for power failed miserably in 1989, Asahara determined on a terrorist takeover instead. Representatives of Aum travelled to the HQ of the International Tesla Society in New York looking for documents detailing Tesla’s weapons of doom (see Free Electricity and HAARP) but the FBI had long before seized the brainbox’s research notes. Frustrated in their search for advanced sci-fi weaponry, Aum settled on buying arms from Russia (including a military helicopter), making an Ebola bomb and the building of chemical weapons. After murdering and assassinating individuals not to its taste, in 1994 Aum launched a mass sarin gas attack in the city of Matsumoto. Eight died. On 20 March 1995, Aum committed the deed by which it became internationally infamous: the attack on Tokyo Subway System with sarin nerve gas in which twelve people died and thousands were injured. Asahara was apprehended by the Japanese police and, after a lengthy trial, was sentenced to death. To date the sentence has not been carried out.

To no great surprise, the reviled Aum rebranded itself in 2000, becoming “Aleph”.

Further Reading

D. W. Bracket, Holy Terror: Armageddon in Tokyo, 1996


It is the conspiracy whose name hardly dare be spoken. Through front organizations such as the Freemasons and the Bilderberg Group, the Bavarian Illuminati are poised to usher in the New World Order.

Such is the fear of serried ranks of conspiracy theorists. The Illuminati, then, have come a long way since their foundation in the smallsville Bavarian town of Ingolstadt on 1 May 1776 by Professor Adam Weishaupt, a lecturer at the local university. Like other intellectual groups which flourished in the Enlightenment, the Ancient Illuminated Seers of Bavaria (a.k.a. the Illuminati, a.k.a. the Order of Perfectabilists) flirted with progressive and subversive ideas, not least atheism and republicanism. Initiates were required to undergo a rigorous study of philosophy, beginning with the Ancient Greeks and ending with contemporaries such as Helvetius; graduates, enlightened and eager, would then—went Weishaupt’s plan—enter leading positions in Bavarian government and society, and so transform Catholic Bavaria into a utopia of liberalism and rationality. Like other such groups, the Illuminati adopted esoteric rituals and signs, partly for reasons of security, partly for the excitement of clubability. Each member had a code name: Weishaupt was Spartacus, and his right-hand man Zwack was Cato.

The Illuminati soon attracted the unwelcome attention of the state’s autocratic ruler, the Elector Prince Karl-Theodor, who in 1784 banned all secret societies in an attempt to halt the tide of Jacobinism (republicanism). In the following year the 650-strong Illuminati were proscribed by name and Weishaupt quit Bavaria in a hurry. His hopes of rebuilding the Illuminati were dashed when a police raid on Zwack’s house seized hundreds of Illuminati documents and membership lists. Besides, the Illuminati’s main recruiting ground, the Freemasons, had wised up to Illuminati methods and had begun blocking infiltration. Weishaupt himself settled down to a quiet life as a university lecturer in Saxony.

Ironically, just at the moment the Illuminati project failed, the paranoid myth that it was an omniscient, omnipotent secret society was born. In 1797, Augustin de Barruel published the first of his two volume Memoires pour server a l’histoire de Jacobinisme (“Memoirs serving as a history of Jacobinism”). An ex-Jesuit, de Barruel blamed the recent French Revolution on an inner sanctum of Masons—the Illuminati. A year later, Professor John Robison fingered the Illuminati in his Proofs of a Conspiracy Against All the Religions and Governments of Europe, Carried on in the Secret Meetings of Free-Masons, Illuminati and Reading Societies. In the febrile atmosphere of late eighteenth-century Europe, de Barruel and Robison’s claims caused a furore, and the Illuminati became the favourite bogeymen of conservatives on the continent.

That there was no hard evidence for the continued existence of the Illuminati troubled not one of these writers, just as it failed to trouble the British author Nesta Webster a century later. Webster’s colourful Secret Societies and Subversive Movements, published in 1924, detected the fingers of the Illuminati in the French Revolution (see Document, p.12) and the Russian Revolution just gone by. Webster’s book enjoyed only modest influence in her home country, but in America it became the conspiracy gospel of the Far Right. Today, the Illuminati are Public Enemy Number One for the John Birch Society, survivalists, the patriotic militias and Christian fundamentalists, who all claim to have detected the Illuminati’s real goal: a single, authoritarian, satanic global government—a New World Order. As an alert on the Christian Science University website in 2000 had it: “A diabolical and Satanic… scheme has been designed and is being prepared for global implementation by anti-Christ agents of an organization called ‘The Illuminati’.”

There is a secret sign of America’s special role in the Illuminati’s plans: the Latin motto Novus Ordo Seclorum (translated as “New World Order”) on the US dollar bill. Unfortunately for conspiracists, the actual translation of the Latin tag is “New Order of the Ages”, or, colloquially, “a fresh start”. The desperate mistranslation of Novus Ordo Seclorum is typical of the “evidence” Illuminati-watchers hold up as evidence of conspiracy. Free of the constraints of actual evidence, contemporary conspiracists speculate wildly. David Icke considers the Illuminati to be a front for shape-shifting Reptilian Humanoids from planet Draco, while one major Illuminati conspiracy theory claims that the order was founded in Mesopotamia around 300,000 BC. That is, before the Neanderthals staggered around the Earth, dragging their knuckles on the ground. In the archetypal Illuminati conspiracy theory, however, the pyramid of power is, from the top down: Lucifer, or the All-Seeing Eye; the Rothschild Tribunal, being the inner circle of the Rothschild banking family; the Great Druid Council; below them, the Council of Thirty-Five, consisting of leading Freemasons; the Committee of 300, which is led by the black nobility, notably the British Royal Family.

That whirring sound you can hear? That is Adam Weishaupt, who believed that Illumination was about moral and intellectual perfection, spinning in his grave.

Further Reading

William Cooper, Behold a Pale Horse, 1991

John Robison, Proofs of a Conspiracy Against All the Religions and Governments of Europe, 1798


Illuminism in reality is less an Order than a principle, and a principle which can work better under cover of something else. Weishaupt himself had laid down the precept that the work of Illuminism could best be conducted “under other names and other occupations”, and henceforth we shall always find it carried on by this skilful system of camouflage.

The first cover adopted was the lodge of the “Amis Réunis” in Paris, with which, as we have already seen, the Illuminati had established relations. But now in 1787 a definite alliance was effected by the aforementioned Illuminati, Bode and Busche, who in response to an invitation from the secret committee of the lodge arrived in Paris in February of this year. Here they found the old Illuminatus Mirabeau—who with Talleyrand had been largely instrumental in summoning these German Brothers—and, according to Gustave Bord, two important members of the Stricte Observance, the Marquis de Chefdebien d’Armisson (“Eques a Capite Galeato”) and an Austrian, the Comte Leopold de Kollowrath-Krakowski (“Eques ab Aquila Fulgente”) who also belonged to Weishaupt’s Order of Illuminati in which he bore the pseudonym of Numenius.

It is important here to recognize the peculiar part played by the Lodge of the “Amis Réunis”. Whilst the “Loge des Neuf Soeurs” was largely composed of middle-class revolutionaries such as Brissot, Danton, Camille Desmoulins, and Champfort, and the “Loge de la Candeur” of aristocratic revolutionaries—Lafayette as well as the Orléanistes, the Marquis de Sillery, the Duc d’Aiguillon, the Marquis de Custine, and the Lameths—“the Loge du Contrat Social” was mainly composed of honest visionaries who entertained no revolutionary projects but, according to Barruel, were strongly Royalist. The rôle of the “Amis Réunis” was to collect together the subversives from all other lodges—Philalèthes, Rose-Croix, members of the “Loge des Neuf Soeurs” and of the “Loge de la Candeur” and of the most secret committees of the Grand Orient, as well as deputies from the “Illuminés” in the provinces. Here, then, at the lodge in the Rue de la Sordière, under the direction of Savalette de Langes, were to be found the disciples of Weishaupt, of Swedenborg, and of Saint-Martin, as well as the practical makers of revolution—the agitators and demagogues of 1789.

The influence of German Illuminism on all these heterogeneous elements was enormous. From this moment, says a further Bavarian report of the matter, a complete change took place in the Order of the “Amis Réunis”. Hitherto only vaguely subversive, the Chevaliers Bienfaisants became the Chevaliers Malfaisants, the Amis Réunis became the Ennemis Réunis. The arrival of the two Germans, Bode and Busche, gave the finishing touch to the conspiracy. “The avowed object of their journey was to obtain information about magnetism, which was just then making a great stir”, but in reality, “taken up with the gigantic plan of their Order”, their real aim was to make proselytes. It will be seen that the following passage exactly confirms the account given by Barruel:

As the Lodge of the “Amis Réunis” collected together everything that could be found out from all other masonic systems in the world, so the way was soon paved there for Illuminism. It was also not long before this lodge together with all those that depended on it was impregnated with Illuminism. The former system of all these was as if wiped out, so that from this time onwards the framework of the Philalèthes quite disappeared and in the place of the former Cabalistic-magical extravagance [‘Schwärmerei’] came in the philosophical-political.

It was therefore not Martinism, Cabalism, or Freemasonry that in themselves provided the real revolutionary force. Many non-illuminized Freemasons, as Barruel himself declares, remained loyal to the throne and altar, and as soon as the monarchy was seen to be in danger the Royalist Brothers of the “Contrat Social” boldly summoned the lodges to coalesce in defence of King and Constitution; even some of the upper Masons, who in the degree of Knight Kadosch had sworn hatred to the Pope and Bourbon monarchy, rallied likewise to the royal cause. “The French spirit triumphed over the masonic spirit in the greater number of the Brothers. Opinions as well as hearts were still for the King.” It needed the devastating doctrines of Weishaupt to undermine this spirit and to turn the “degrees of vengeance” from vain ceremonial into terrible fact.

If, then, it is said that the Revolution was prepared in the lodges of Freemasons—and many French Masons have boasted of the fact—let it always be added that it was “Illuminized Freemasonry” that made the Revolution, and that the Masons who acclaim it are illuminized Masons, inheritors of the same tradition introduced into the lodges of France in 1787 by the disciples of Weishaupt, “patriarch of the Jacobins”.

Many of the Freemasons of France in 1787 were thus not conscious allies of the Illuminati. According to Cadet de Gassicourt, there were in all the lodges only twenty-seven real initiates; the rest were largely dupes who knew little or nothing of the source whence the fresh influence among them derived. The amazing feature of the whole situation is that the most enthusiastic supporters of the movement were men belonging to the upper classes and even to the royal families of Europe. A contemporary relates that no less than thirty princes -reigning and non-reigning—had taken under their protection a confederation from which they stood to lose everything and had become so imbued by its principles that they were inaccessible to reason. Intoxicated by the flattery lavished on them by the priests of Illuminism, they adopted a religion of which they understood nothing. Weishaupt, of course, had taken care that none of these royal dupes should be initiated into the real aims of the Order, and at first adhered to the original plan of excluding them altogether; but the value of their cooperation soon became apparent and by a supreme irony it was with a Grand Duke that he himself took refuge.

But if the great majority of princes and nobles were stricken with blindness at this crisis, a few far-seeing spirits recognized the danger and warned the world of the impending disaster. In 1787 Cardinal Caprara, Apostolic Nuncio at Vienna, addressed a confidential memoir to the Pope, in which he pointed out that the activities carried on in Germany by the different sects of Illuminés, of Perfectibilists, of Freemasons, etc., were increasing:

The danger is approaching, for from all these senseless dreams of Illuminism, of Swedenborgianism, or of Freemasonry a frightful reality will emerge. Visionaries have their time; the revolution they forebode will have its time also.

A more amazing prophecy, however, was the “Essai sur la Secte des Illuminés”, by the Marquis de Luchet, a Liberal noble who played some part in the revolutionary movement, yet who nevertheless realized the dangers of Illuminism. Thus, as early as 1789, before the Revolution had really developed, de Luchet uttered these words of warning:

Deluded people… learn that there exists a conspiracy in favour of despotism against liberty, of incapacity against talent, of vice against virtue, of ignorance against enlightenment… This society aims at governing the world… Its object is universal domination. This plan may seem extraordinary, incredible—yes, but not chimerical… no such calamity has ever yet afflicted the world.

De Luchet then goes on to foretell precisely the events that were to take place three and four years later; he describes the position of a king who has to recognize masters above himself and to authorize their “abominable régime”, to become the plaything of an ambitious and fanatical horde which has taken possession of his will.

See him condemned to serve the passions of all that surround him… to raise degraded men to power, to prostitute his judgement by choices that dishonour his prudence…

All this was exactly fulfilled during the reign of the Girondin ministry of 1792. The campaign of destruction carried out in the summer of 1793 is thus foretold:

We do not mean to say that the country where the Illuminés reign will cease to exist, but it will fall into such a degree of humiliation that it will no longer count in politics, that the population will diminish, that the inhabitants who resist the inclination to pass into a foreign land will no longer enjoy the happiness of consideration, nor the charms of society, nor the gifts of commerce.

And de Luchet ends with this despairing appeal to the powers of Europe:

Masters of the world, cast your eyes on a desolated multitude, listen to their cries, their tears, their hopes. A mother asks you to restore her son, a wife her husband, your cities for the fine arts that have fled from them, the country for citizens, the fields for cultivators, religion for forms of worship, and Nature for beings of which she is worthy.

Five years after these words were written the countryside of France was desolate, art and commerce were destroyed, and women following the tumbril that carried Fouquier-Tinville to the guillotine cried out: “Give me back my brother, my son, my husband!” So was this amazing prophecy fulfilled. Yet not one word has history to say on the subject! The warning of de Luchet has fallen on deaf ears amongst posterity as amongst the men of his own day.

De Luchet himself recognizes the obstacle to his obtaining a hearing: there are too many “passions interested in supporting the system of the Illuminés”, too many deluded rulers imagining themselves enlightened ready to precipitate their people into the abyss, whilst “the heads of the Order will never relinquish the authority they have acquired nor the treasure at their disposal.” In vain de Luchet appeals to the Freemasons to save their Order from the invading sect. “Would it not be possible,” he asks, “to direct the Freemasons themselves against the Illuminés by showing them that whilst they are working to maintain harmony in society, those others are everywhere sowing seeds of discord” and preparing the ultimate destruction of their Order? So far it is not too late; if only men will believe in the danger it may be averted: “from the moment they are convinced, the necessary blow is dealt to the sect.” Otherwise de Luchet prophesies “a series of calamities of which the end is lost in the darkness of time,… a subterranean fire smouldering eternally and breaking forth periodically in violent and devastating explosions.” What words could better describe the history of the last 150 years?

The “Essai sur la Secte des Illuminés” is one of the most extraordinary documents of history and at the same time one of the most mysterious. Why it should have been written by the Marquis de Luchet, who is said to have collaborated with Mirabeau in the “Galerie de Portraits” published in the following year, why it should have been appended to Mirabeau’s “Histoire Secrète de la Cour de Berlin”, and accordingly attributed to Mirabeau himself, why Barruel should have denounced it as dust thrown in the eyes of the public, although it entirely corroborated his own point of view, are questions to which I can find no reply. That it was written seriously and in all good faith it is impossible to doubt; whilst the fact that it appeared before, instead of after, the events described, renders it even more valuable evidence of the reality of the conspiracy than Barruel’s own admirable work. What Barruel saw, de Luchet foresaw with equal clearness. As to the rôle of Mirabeau at this crisis, we can only hazard an explanation on the score of his habitual inconsistency. At one moment he was seeking interviews with the King’s ministers in order to warn them of the coming danger, at the next he was energetically stirring up insurrection. It is therefore not impossible that he may have encouraged de Luchet’s exposure of the conspiracy, although meanwhile he himself had entered into the scheme of destruction. Indeed, according to a pamphlet published in 1791 entitled “Mystères de la Conspiration”, the whole plan of revolution was found amongst his papers. The editor of this “brochure” explains that the document here made public, called “Croquis ou Projet de Révolution de Monsieur de Mirabeau”, was seized at the house of Madame Lejai, the wife of Mirabeau’s publisher, on October 6, 1789. Beginning with a diatribe against the French monarchy, the document goes on to say that “in order to triumph over this hydra-headed monster these are my ideas”:

We must overthrow all order, suppress all laws, annul all power, and leave the people in anarchy. The laws we establish will not perhaps be in force at once, but at any rate, having given back the power to the people, they will resist for the sake of their liberty which they will believe they are preserving. We must caress their vanity, flatter their hopes, promise them happiness after our work has been in operation; we must elude their caprices and their systems at will, for the people as legislators are very dangerous, they only establish laws which coincide with their passions, their want of knowledge would besides only give birth to abuses. But as the people are a lever which legislators can move at their will, we must necessarily use them as a support, and render hateful to them everything we wish to destroy and sow illusions in their path; we must also buy all the mercenary pens which propagate our methods and which will instruct the people concerning their enemies whom we attack. The clergy, being the most powerful through public opinion, can only be destroyed by ridiculing religion, rendering its ministers odious, and only representing them as hypocritical monsters, for Mahomet in order to establish his religion first defamed the paganism which the Arabs, the Sarmathes, and the Scythians professed. Libels must at every moment show fresh traces of hatred against the clergy. To exaggerate their riches, to make the sins of an individual appear to be common to all, to attribute to them all vices; calumny, murder, irreligion, sacrilege, all is permitted in times of revolution.

We must degrade the “noblesse” and attribute it to an odious origin, establish a germ of equality which can never exist but which will flatter the people; [we must] immolate the most obstinate, burn and destroy their property in order to intimidate the rest, so that if we cannot entirely destroy this prejudice we can weaken it and the people will avenge their vanity and their jealousy by all the excesses which will bring them to submission.

After describing how the soldiers are to be seduced from their allegiance, and the magistrates represented to the people as despots,“since the people, brutal and ignorant, only see the evil and never the good of things”, the writer explains they must be given only limited power in the municipalities:

Let us beware above all of giving them too much force; their despotism is too dangerous, we must flatter the people by gratuitous justice, promise them a great diminution in taxes and a more equal division, more extension in fortunes, and less humiliation. These phantasies [“vertiges”] will fanaticise the people, who will flatten out all resistance. What matter the victims and their numbers? spoliations, destructions, burnings, and all the necessary effects of a revolution? nothing must be sacred and we can say with Machiavelli: “What matter the means as long as one arrives at the end?”

Were all these the ideas of Mirabeau, or were they, like the other document of the Illuminati found amongst his papers, the programme of a conspiracy? I incline to the latter theory. The plan of campaign was, at any rate, the one followed out by the conspirators, as Chamfort, the friend and confidant of Mirabeau, admitted in his conversation with Marmontel:

The nation is a great herd that only thinks of browsing, and with good sheepdogs the shepherds can lead it as they please… Money and the hope of plunder are all-powerful with the people…

Mirabeau cheerfully asserts that with 100 louis one can make quite a good riot.

Another contemporary thus describes the methods of the leaders:

Mirabeau, in the exuberance of an orgy, cried one day: “That ‘canaille’ well deserves to have us for legislators!” These professions of faith, as we see, are not at all democratic; the sect uses the populace as revolution fodder [“chair à révolution”], as prime material for brigandage, after which it seizes the gold and abandons generations to torture. It is veritably the code of hell.

It is this “code of hell” set forth in the “Projet de Révolution” that we shall find repeated in succeeding documents throughout the last hundred years—in the correspondence of the “Alta Vendita”, in the “Dialogues aux Enfers entre Machiavel et Montesquieu” by Maurice Joly, in the Revolutionary Catechism of Bakunin, in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and in the writings of the Russian Bolsheviks today.

Whatever doubts may be cast on the authenticity of any of these documents, the indisputable fact thus remains that as early as 1789 this Machiavellian plan of engineering revolution and using the people as a lever for raising a tyrannical minority to power, had been formulated; further, that the methods described in this earliest “Protocol” have been carried out according to plan from that day to this. And in every outbreak of the social revolution the authors of the movement have been known to be connected with secret societies.

It was Adrien Duport, author of the “‘Great Fear”’ that spread over France on July 22, 1789, Duport, the inner initiate of the secret societies, “holding in his hands all the threads of the masonic conspiracy”, who on May 21, 1790, set forth before the Committee of Propaganda the vast scheme of destruction:

M. de Mirabeau has well established the fact that the fortunate revolution which has taken place in France must and will be for all the peoples of Europe the awakening of liberty and for Kings the sleep of death.

But Duport goes on to explain that whilst Mirabeau thinks it advisable at present not to concern themselves with anything outside France, he himself believes that the triumph of the French Revolution must lead inevitably to “the ruin of all thrones… Therefore we must hasten among our neighbours the same revolution that is going on in France.”

The plan of illuminized Freemasonry was thus nothing less than world-revolution.

At the beginning of the Revolution, Orléanism and Freemasonry thus formed a united body. According to Lombard de Langres:

France in 1789 counted more than 2,000 lodges affiliated to the Grand Orient; the number of adepts was more than 100,000. The first events of 1789 were only Masonry in action. All the revolutionaries of the Constituent Assembly were initiated into the third degree. We place in this class the Duc d’Orléans, Valence, Syllery, Laclos, Sièyes, Pétion, Menou, Biron, Montesquieu, Fauchet, Condorcet, Lafayette, Mirabeau, Garat, Rabaud, Dubois-Crancé, Thiébaud, Larochefoucauld, and others.

Amongst these others were not only the Brissotins, who formed the nucleus of the Girondin party, but the men of the Terror—Marat, Robespierre, Danton, and Desmoulins.

It was these fiercer elements, true disciples of the Illuminati, who were to sweep away the visionary Masons dreaming of equality and brotherhood. Following the precedent set by Weishaupt, classical pseudonyms were adopted by these leaders of the Jacobins, thus Chaumette was known as Anaxagoras, Clootz as Anacharsis, Danton as Horace, Lacroix as Publicola, and Ronsin as Scaevola ; again, after the manner of the Illuminati, the names of towns were changed and a revolutionary calendar was adopted. The red cap and loose hair affected by the Jacobins appear also to have been foreshadowed in the lodges of the Illuminati.

Yet faithfully as the Terrorists carried out the plan of the Illuminati, it would seem that they themselves were not initiated into the innermost secrets of the conspiracy. Behind the Convention, behind the clubs, behind the Revolutionary Tribunal, there existed, says Lombard de Langres, that “most secret convention [‘convention sécrétissime’] which directed everything after May 31, an occult and terrible power of which the other Convention became the slave and which was composed of the prime initiates of Illuminism. This power was above Robespierre and the committees of the government,… it was this occult power which appropriated to itself the treasures of the nation and distributed them to the brothers and friends who had helped on the great work.”

What was the aim of this occult power? Was it merely the plan of destruction that had originated in the brain of a Bavarian professor twenty years earlier, or was it something far older, a live and terrible force that had lain dormant through the centuries, that Weishaupt and his allies had not created but only loosed upon the world? The Reign of Terror, like the outbreak of Satanism in the Middle Ages, can be explained by no material causes—the orgy of hatred, lust, and cruelty directed not only against the rich but still more against the poor and defenceless, the destruction of science, art, and beauty, the desecration of the churches, the organized campaign against all that was noble, all that was sacred, all that humanity holds dear, what was this but Satanism?

In desecrating the churches and stamping on the crucifixes the Jacobins had in fact followed the precise formula of black magic: “For the purpose of infernal evocation… it is requisite… to profane the ceremonies of the religion to which one belongs and to trample its holiest symbols under foot.” It was this that formed the prelude to the “Great Terror”, when, to those who lived through it, it seemed that France lay under the sway of the powers of darkness.

So in the “great shipwreck of civilization”, as a contemporary has described it, the projects of the Cabalists, the Gnostics, and the secret societies which for nearly eighteen centuries had sapped the foundations of Christianity found their fulfilment. Do we not detect an echo of the Toledot Yeshu in the blasphemies of the Marquis de Sade concerning “the Jewish slave” and “the adulterous woman, the courtesan of Galilee”? And in the imprecations of Marat’s worshippers, “Christ was a false prophet!” a repetition of the secret doctrine attributed to the Templars: “Jesus is not the true God; He is a false prophet; He was not crucified for the salvation of humanity, but for His own misdeeds”? Are these resemblances accidental, or are they the outcome of a continuous plot against the Christian faith?

We shall now see that not only the Illuminati but Weishaupt himself still continued to intrigue long after the French Revolution had ended.

Directly the Reign of Terror was over, the masonic lodges, which during the Revolution had been replaced by the clubs, began to reopen, and by the beginning of the nineteenth century were in a more flourishing condition than ever before. “It was the most brilliant epoch of Masonry,” wrote the Freemason Bazot in his History of Freemasonry. Nearly 1,200 lodges existed in France under the Empire; generals, magistrates, artists, savants, and notabilities in every line were initiated into the Order. The most eminent of these was Prince Cambacérès, pro Grand Master of the Grand Orient.

It is in the midst of this period that we find Weishaupt once more at work behind the scenes of Freemasonry. Thus in the remarkable Masonic correspondence published by M. Benjamin Fabre in his “Eques a Capite Galeato”—of which, as has already been pointed out, the authenticity is admitted by eminent British Freemasons—a letter is reproduced from Pyron, representative in Paris of the Grand Orient of Italy, to the Marquis de Chefdebien, dated September 9, 1808, in which it is stated that “a member of the sect of Bav.” has asked for information on a certain point of ritual.

On December 29, 1808, Pyron writes again: “By the words ‘sect of B… .’ I meant W… .”; and on December 3, 1809, puts the matter quite plainly: “The other word remaining at the end of my pen refers enigmatically to Weis-pt.” So, as M. Fabre points out:

There is no longer any doubt that it is a question here of Weishaupt, and yet one observes that his name is not yet written in all its letters. It must be admitted here that Pyron took great precautions when it was a matter of Weishaupt! And one is led to ask what could be the extraordinary importance of the rôle played at this moment in the Freemasonry of the First Empire by this Weishaupt, who was supposed to have been outside the Masonic movement since Illuminism was brought to trial in 1786!

But the Marquis de Chefdebien entertained no illusions about Weishaupt, whose intrigues he had always opposed, and in a letter dated May 12, 1806, to the Freemason Roettiers, who had referred to the danger of isolated masonic lodges, he asks:

In good faith, very reverend brother, is it in isolated lodges that the atrocious conspiracy of Philippe [the Duc d’Orléans] and Robespierre was formed? Is it from isolated lodges that those prominent men came forth, who, assembled at the Hôtel de Ville, stirred up revolt, devastation, assassination? And is it not in the lodges bound together, co- and sub-ordinated, that the monster Weishaupt established his tests and had his horrible principles prepared?

If, then, as M. Gustave Bord asserts, the Marquis de Chefdebien had himself belonged to the Illuminati before the Revolution, here is indeed Illuminist evidence in support of Barruel! Yet disillusioned as the “Eques a Capite Galeato” appears to have been with regard to Illuminism, he still retained his allegiance to Freemasonry. This would tend to prove that, however subversive the doctrines of the Grand Orient may have been—and indeed undoubtedly were—it was not Freemasonry itself but Illuminism which organized the movement of which the French Revolution was the first manifestation. As Monsignor Dillon has expressed it:

Had Weishaupt not lived, Masonry might have ceased to be a power after the reaction consequent on the French Revolution. He gave it a form and character which caused it to outlive that reaction, to energize to the present day, and which will cause it to advance until its final conflict with Christianity must determine whether Christ or Satan shall reign on this earth to the end.

If to the word Masonry we add Grand Orient—that is to say, the Masonry not of Great Britain, but of the Continent—we shall be still nearer to the truth.

In the early part of the nineteenth century Illuminism was thus as much alive as ever. Joseph de Maistre, writing at this period, constantly refers to the danger it presents to Europe. Is it not also to Illuminism that a mysterious passage in a recent work of M. Lenôtre refers? In the course of conversation with the friends of the false Dauphin Hervagault, Monsignor de Savine is said to have “made allusions in prudent and almost terrified terms to some international sect… a power superior to all others… which has arms and eyes everywhere and which governs Europe today.”

When in “World Revolution” I asserted that during the period that Napoleon held the reins of power the devastating fire of Illuminism was temporarily extinguished, I wrote without knowledge of some important documents which prove that Illuminism continued without break from the date of its foundation all through the period of the Empire. So far, then, from overstating the case by saying that Illuminism did not cease in 1786, I understated it by suggesting that it ceased even for this brief interval. The documents in which this evidence is to be found are referred to by Lombard de Langres, who, writing in 1820, observes that the Jacobins were invisible from the 18th Brumaire until 1813, and goes on to say:

Here the sect disappears; we find to guide us during this period only uncertain notions, scattered fragments; the plots of Illuminism lie buried in the boxes of the Imperial police.

But the contents of these boxes no longer lie buried; transported to the Archives Nationales, the documents in which the intrigues of Illuminism are laid bare have at last been given to the public. Here there can be no question of imaginative abbés, Scotch professors, or American divines conjuring up a bogey to alarm the world; these dry official reports prepared for the vigilant eye of the Emperor, never intended and never used for publication, relate calmly and dispassionately what the writers have themselves heard and observed concerning the danger that Illuminism presents to all forms of settled government.

The author of the most detailed report is one François Charles de Berckheim, special commissioner of police at Mayence towards the end of the Empire, who as a Freemason is naturally not disposed to prejudice against secret societies. In October 1810 he writes, however, that his attention has been drawn to the Illuminati by a pamphlet which has just fallen into his hands, namely the “Essai sur la Secte des Illuminés”, which, like many contemporaries, he attributes originally to Mirabeau. He then goes on to ask whether the sect still exists, and if so whether it is indeed “an association of frightful scoundrels who aim, as Mirabeau assures us, at the overthrow of all law and all morality, at replacing virtue by crime in every act of human life.” Further, he asks whether both sects of “Illuminés” have now combined in one and what are their present projects. Conversations with other Freemasons further increase Berckheim’s anxiety on the subject; one of the best informed observes to him: “I know a great deal, enough at any rate to be convinced that the ‘Illuminés’ have vowed the overthrow of monarchic governments and of all authority on the same basis.”

Berckheim thereupon sets out to make enquiries, with the result that he is able to state that the “Illuminés” have initiates all over Europe, that they have spared no efforts to introduce their principles into the lodges, and “to spread a doctrine subversive of all settled government… under the pretext of the regeneration of social morality and the amelioration of the lot and condition of men by means of laws founded on principles and sentiments unknown hitherto and contained only in the heads of the leaders.” “Illuminism,” he declares, “is becoming a great and formidable power, and I fear, in my conscience, that kings and peoples will have much to suffer from it unless foresight and prudence break its frightful mechanism [‘ses affreux restorts’].”

Two years later, on January 16, 1813, Berckheim writes again to the Minister of Police:

Monseigneur, they write to me from Heidelberg… that a great number of initiates into the mysteries of Illuminism are to be found there.

These gentlemen wear as a sign of recognition a gold ring on the third finger of the left hand; on the back of this ring there is a little rose, in the middle of this rose is an almost imperceptible dint; by pressing this with the point of a pin one touches a spring, by this means the two gold circles are detached. On the inside of the first of these circles is the device: “Be German as you ought to be”; on the inside of the second of these circles are engraved the words “Pro Patria”.

Subversive as the ideas of the Illuminati might be, they were therefore not subversive of German patriotism. We shall find this apparent paradox running all through the Illuminist movement to the present day.

In 1814 Berckheim drew up his great report on the secret societies of Germany, which is of so much importance in throwing a light on the workings of the modern revolutionary movement, that extracts must be given here at length. His testimony gains greater weight from the vagueness he displays on the origins of Illuminism and the role it had played before the French Revolution; it is evident, therefore, that he had not taken his ideas from Robison or Barruel—to whom he never once refers—but from information gleaned on the spot in Germany. The opening paragraphs finally refute the fallacy concerning the extinction of the sect in 1786.

The oldest and most dangerous association is that which is generally known under the denomination of the “Illuminés” and of which the foundation goes back towards the middle of the last century.

Bavaria was its cradle; it is said that it had for founders several chiefs of the Order of the Jesuits; but this opinion, advanced perhaps at random, is founded only on uncertain premises; in any case, in a short time it made rapid progress, and the Bavarian Government recognized the necessity of employing methods of repression against it and even of driving away several of the principal sectaries.

But it could not eradicate the germ of the evil. The “Illuminés” who remained in Bavaria, obliged to wrap themselves in darkness so as to escape the eye of authority, became only the more formidable: the rigorous measures of which they were the object, adorned by the title of persecution, gained them new proselytes, whilst the banished members went to carry the principles of the Association into other States.

Thus in a few years Illuminism multiplied its hotbeds all through the south of Germany, and as a consequence in Saxony, in Prussia, in Sweden, and even in Russia.

The reveries of the Pietists have long been confounded with those of the Illuminés. This error may arise from the denomination of the sect, which at first suggests the idea of a purely religious fanaticism and of mystic forms which it was obliged to take at its birth in order to conceal its principles and projects; but the Association always had a political tendency. If it still retains some mystic traits, it is in order to support itself at need by the power of religious fanaticism, and we shall see in what follows how well it knows to turn this to account.

The doctrine of Illuminism is subversive of every kind of monarchy; unlimited liberty, absolute levelling down, such is the fundamental dogma of the sect; to break the ties that bind the Sovereign to the citizen of a state, that is the object of all its efforts.

No doubt some of the principal chiefs, amongst whom are numbered men distinguished for their fortune, their birth, and the dignities with which they are invested, are not the dupes of these demagogic dreams: they hope to find in the popular emotions they stir up the means of seizing the reigns of power, or at any rate of increasing their wealth and their credit; but the crowd of adepts believe in it religiously, and, in order to reach the goal shown to them, they maintain incessantly a hostile attitude towards sovereigns.

Thus the “Illuminés” hailed with enthusiasm the ideas that prevailed in France from 1789 to 1804. Perhaps they were not foreign to the intrigues which prepared the explosions of 1789 and the following years; but if they did not take an active part in these manoeuvres, it is at least beyond doubt that they openly applauded the systems which resulted from them; that the Republican armies when they penetrated into Germany found in these sectarians auxiliaries the more dangerous for the sovereigns of the invaded states in that they inspired no distrust, and we can say with assurance that more than one general of the Republic owed a part of its success to his understanding with the “Illuminés”.

It would be a mistake if one confounded Illuminism with Freemasonry. These two associations, in spite of the points of resemblance they may possess in the mystery with which they surround themselves, in the tests that precede initiation, and in other matters of form, are absolutely distinct and have no kind of connexion with each other. The lodges of the Scottish Rite number, it is true, a few “Illuminé” amongst the Masons of the higher degrees, but these adepts are very careful not to be known as such to their brothers in Masonry or to manifest ideas that would betray their secret.

Berckheim then goes on to describe the subtle methods by which the Illuminati now maintain their existence; learning wisdom from the events of 1786, their organization is carried on invisibly, so as to defy the eye of authority:

It was thought for a long while that the association had a Grand Mastership, that is to say, a centre point from which radiated all the impulsions given to this great body, and this primary motive power was sought for successively in all the capitals of the North, in Paris and even in Rome. This error gave birth to another opinion no less fallacious: it was supposed that there existed in the principal towns lodges where initiations were made and which received directly the instructions emanating from the headquarters of the Society.

If such had been the organization of Illuminism, it would not so long have escaped the investigations of which it was the object: these meetings, necessarily thronged and frequent, requiring besides, like masonic lodges, appropriate premises, would have aroused the attention of magistrates: it would not have been difficult to introduce false brothers, who, directed and protected by authority, would soon have penetrated the secrets of the sect.

This is what I have gathered most definitely on the Association of the “Illuminés”:

First I would point out that by the word hotbeds [foyers] I did not mean to designate points of meeting for the adepts, places where they hold assemblies, but only localities where the Association counts a great number of partisans, who, whilst living isolated in appearance, exchange ideas, have an understanding with each other, and advance together towards the same goal.

The Association had, it is true, assemblies at its birth where receptions [i.e. initiations] took place, but the dangers which resulted from these made them feel the necessity of abandoning them. It was settled that each initiated adept should have the right without the help of anyone else to initiate all those who,after the usual tests, seemed to him worthy.

The catechism of the sect is composed of a very small number of articles which might even be reduced to this single principle:

“To arm the opinion of the peoples against sovereigns and to work by every method for the fall of monarchic governments in order to found in their place systems of absolute independence.” Everything that can tend towards this object is in the spirit of the Association…

Initiations are not accompanied, as in Masonry, by phantasmagoric trials,… but they are preceded by long moral tests which guarantee in the safest way the fidelity of the catechumen; oaths, a mixture of all that is most sacred in religion, threats and imprecations against traitors, nothing that can stagger the imagination is spared; but the only engagement into which the recipient enters is to propagate the principles with which he has been imbued, to maintain inviolable secrecy on all that pertains to the association, and to work with all his might to increase the number of proselytes.

It will no doubt seem astonishing that there can be the least accord in the association, and that men bound together by no physical tie and who live at great distances from each other can communicate their ideas to each other, make plans of conduct, and give grounds of fear to Governments; but there exists an invisible chain which binds together all the scattered members of the association. Here are a few links:

All the adepts living in the same town usually know each other, unless the population of the town or the number of the adepts is too considerable. In this last case they are divided into several groups, who are all in touch with each other by means of members of the association whom personal relations bind to two or several groups at a time.

These groups are again subdivided into so many private coteries which the difference of rank, of fortune, of character, tastes, etc., may necessitate: they are always small, sometimes composed of five or six individuals, who meet frequently under various pretexts, sometimes at the house of one member, sometimes at that of another; literature, art, amusements of all kinds are the apparent object of these meetings, and it is nevertheless in these confabulations [“conciliabules”] that the adepts communicate their private views to each other, agree on methods, receive the directions that the intermediaries bring them, and communicate their own ideas to these same intermediaries, who then go on to propagate them in other coteries. It will be understood that there may be uniformity in the march of all these separated groups, and that one day may suffice to communicate the same impulse to all the quarters of a large town…

These are the methods by which the ‘Illuminés’, without any apparent organization, without settled leaders, agree together from the banks of the Rhine to those of the Neva, from the Baltic to the Dardanelles, and advance continually towards the same goal, without leaving any trace that might compromise the interests of the association or even bring suspicion on any of its members; the most active police would fail before such a combination…

As the principal force of the “Illuminés” lies in the power of opinions, they have set themselves out from the beginning to make proselytes amongst the men who through their profession exercise a direct influence on minds, such as “littérateurs”, savants, and above all professors. The latter in their chairs, the former in their writings, propagate the principles of the sect by disguising the poison that they circulate under a thousand different forms.

These germs, often imperceptible to the eyes of the vulgar, are afterwards developed by the adepts of the Societies they frequent, and the most obscure wording is thus brought to the understanding of the least discerning. It is above all in the Universities that Illuminism has always found and always will find numerous recruits. Those professors who belong to the Association set out from the first to study the character of their pupils. If a student gives evidence of a vigorous mind, an ardent imagination, the sectaries at once get hold of him, they sound in his ears the words Despotism -Tyranny—Rights of the People, etc., etc. Before he can even attach any meaning to these words, as he advances in age, reading chosen for him, conversations skilfully arranged, develop the germs deposited in his youthful brain; soon his imagination ferments, history, traditions of fabulous times, all are made use of to carry his exaltation to the highest point, and before even he has been told of a secret Association, to contribute to the fall of a sovereign appears to his eyes the noblest and most meritorious act…

At last, when he has been completely captivated, when several years of testing guarantee to the society inviolable secrecy and absolute devotion, it is made known to him that millions of individuals distributed in all the States of Europe share his sentiments and his hopes, that a secret link binds firmly all the scattered members of this immense family, and that the reforms he desires so ardently must sooner or later come about.

This propaganda is rendered the easier by the existing associations of students who meet together for the study of literature, for fencing, gaming, or even mere debauchery. The Illuminés insinuate themselves into all these circles and turn them into hot-beds for the propagation of their principles.

Such, then, is the Association’s continual mode of progression from its origins until the present moment; it is by conveying from childhood the germ of poison into the highest classes of society, in feeding the minds of students on ideas diametrically opposed to that order of things under which they have to live, in breaking the ties that bind them to sovereigns, that Illuminism has recruited the largest number of adepts, called by the state to which they were born to be the mainstays of the Throne and of a system which would ensure them honours and privileges.

Amongst the proselytes of this last class there are some no doubt whom political events, the favour of the prince or other circumstances, detach from the Association; but the number of these deserters is necessarily very limited: and even then they dare not speak openly against their old associates, whether because they are in dread of private vengeances or whether because, knowing the real power of the sect, they want to keep paths of reconciliation open to themselves; often indeed they are so fettered by the pledges they have personally given that they find it necessary not only to consider the interests of the sect, but to serve it indirectly, although their new circumstances demand the contrary…

Berckheim then proceeds to show that those writers on Illuminism were mistaken who declared that political assassinations were definitely commanded by the Order:

There is more than exaggeration in this accusation; those who put it forward, more zealous in striking an effect than in seeking the truth, may have concluded, not without probability, that men who surrounded themselves with profound mystery, who propagated a doctrine absolutely subversive of any kind of monarchy, dreamt only of the assassination of sovereigns; but experience has shown (and all the documents derived from the least suspect sources confirm this) that the “Illuminés” count a great deal more on the power of opinion than on assassination; the regicide committed on Gustavus III is perhaps the only crime of this kind that Illuminism has dared to attempt, if indeed it is really proved that this crime was its work; moreover, if assassination had been, as it is said, the fundamental point in its doctrine, might we not suppose that other regicides would have been attempted in Germany during the course of the French Revolution, especially when the Republican armies occupied the country?

The sect would be much less formidable if this were its doctrine, on the one hand because it would inspire in most of the “Illuminés” a feeling of horror which would triumph even over the fear of vengeance, on the other hand because plots and conspiracies always leave some traces which guide the authorities to the footsteps of the prime instigators; and besides, it is the nature of things that out of twenty plots directed against sovereigns, nineteen come to light before they have reached the point of maturity necessary to their execution.

The “Illuminés” line of march is more prudent, more skilful, and consequently more dangerous; instead of revolting the imagination by ideas of regicide, they affect the most generous sentiments: declamations on the unhappy state of the people, on the selfishness of courtiers, on measures of administration, on all acts of authority that may offer a pretext to declamations as a contrast to the seductive pictures of the felicity that awaits the nations under the systems they wish to establish, such is their manner of procedure, particularly in private. More circumspect in their writings, they usually disguise the poison they dare not proffer openly under obscure metaphysics or more or less ingenious allegories. Often indeed texts from Holy Writ serve as an envelope and vehicle for these baneful insinuations…

By this continuous and insidious form of propaganda the imagination of the adepts is so worked on that if a crisis arises, they are ready to carry out the most daring projects.

Another Association closely resembling the “Illuminés”, Berckheim reports, is known as the “Idealists”, whose system is founded on the doctrine of perfectibility; these kindred sects “agree in seeing in the words of Holy Scripture the pledge of universal regeneration, of an absolute levelling down, and it is in this spirit that the sectarians interpret the sacred books.”

Berckheim further confirms the assertion I made in “World Revolution”—contested, as usual, by a reviewer without a shred of evidence to the contrary—that the Tugendbund derived from the Illuminati. “The League of Virtue,” he writes, “was directed by the secondary chiefs of the ‘Illuminés’… In 1810 the Friends of Virtue were so identified with the ‘Illuminés’ in the North of Germany that no line of demarcation was seen between them.”

But it is time to turn to the testimony of another witness on the activities of the secret societies which is likewise to be found at the Archives Nationales. This consists of a document transmitted by the Court of Vienna to the Government of France after the Restoration, and contains the interrogatory of a certain Witt Doehring, a nephew of the Baron d’Eckstein, who, after taking part in secret society intrigues, was summoned before the judge Abel at Bayreuth in February, 1824. Amongst secret associations recently existing in Germany, the witness asserted, were the “Independents” and the “Absolutes”; the latter “adored in Robespierre their most perfect ideal, so that the crimes committed during the French Revolution by this monster and the Montagnards of the Convention were in their eyes, in accordance with their moral system, heroic actions ennobled and sanctified by their aim.” The same document goes on to explain why so many combustible elements had failed to produce an explosion in Germany:

The thing that seemed the great obstacle to the plans of the Independents… was what they called the servile character and the dog-like fidelity [“Hundestreue”] of the German people, that is to say, that attachment—innate and firmly impressed on their minds without even the aid of reason—which that excellent people everywhere bears towards its princes.

A traveller in Germany during the year 1795 admirably summed up the matter in these words:

The Germans are in this respect [of democracy] the most curious people in the world … the cold and sober temperament of the Germans and their tranquil imagination enable them to combine the most daring opinions with the most servile conduct. That will explain to you… why so much combustible material accumulating for so many years beneath the political edifice of Germany has not yet damaged it. Most of the princes, accustomed to see their men of letters so constantly free in their writings and so constantly slavish in their hearts, have not thought it necessary to use severity against this sheeplike herd of modern Gracchi and Brutuses. Some of them [the princes] have even without difficulty adopted part of their opinions, and Illuminism having doubtless been presented to them as perfection, the complement of philosophy, they were easily persuaded to be initiated into it. But great care was taken not to let them know more than the interests of the sect demanded.

It was thus that Illuminism, unable to provoke a blaze in the home of its birth, spread, as before the French Revolution, to a more inflammable Latin race—this time the Italians. Six years after his interrogatory at Beyreuth, Witt Doehring published his book on the secret societies of France and Italy, in which he now realized he had played the part of dupe, and incidentally confirms the statement I have previously quoted, that the Alta Vendita was a further development of the Illuminati.


In 1997 Michael Drosnin published The Bible Code, in which he claimed that the holy book predicted events thousands of years before they occurred. Drosnin had decoded the Good Book to send a letter to Itzhak Rabin, the Israeli PM, warning him that he was going to be assassinated. Which he duly was.

Drosnin himself was not the discoverer of the code, only its popularizer. Bible decoding could be said to start with Jewish Kabbalists in the fourteenth century, who believed that hidden truths in the Torah could be determined by manipulation of its letters, including geometric computation (known as “Gematra”). In the 1940s, Czech rabbi H. M. D. Weissmandel applied a “skip code” to the Bible, taking the letter from the start of Genesis, “skipping” fifty letters to take the next letter, then fifty more, and fifty more until the world spelled “Torah”. The word was also found in each of the other five books of Moses. Using the same system, the Jerusalem-based mathematician Eliyahu Rips, together with Yoav Rosenberg and Doron Witzum, unearthed the names of famous rabbis in the Book of Genesis in close proximity to the dates of their births and deaths, in a way that could not be explained by chance (allegedly), as outlined in their paper “Equidistant Letter Sequences in the Book of Genesis” in Statistical Science. Rips later used “Equidistant Letter Sequencing” (ELS) to turn up the date 18 January 1991—the start of the Gulf War.

Rips, however, was circumspect about the use of the Bible code to foretell the future. Drosnin showed no such caution. In Drosnin’s hands the ELS method gave the date of the atomic Armageddon which would end the world.

2000. Or then again, 2006.

Drosnin was clearly not on a fortune-telling roll. In The Bible Code II, his sequel to his 1997 bestseller, Drosnin asserted that Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat would be shot to death by Hamas gunmen. (He wasn’t.)

Faced with as much ridicule as respect, Drosnin defied anyone to find a message about the assassination of a national leader in Moby Dick. An Australian expert in probability theory, Brendan McKay, soon found “Kennedy” and “he shall be killed”.

Further Reading

Michael Drosnin, The Bible Code, 1997


George Orwell in his novel, 1984, described a society in which civil liberties had gone out of the window and the government—with the help of snitches and electronic surveillance—monitored every aspect of its citizens’ lives. The said citizens were constantly reminded “Big Brother is Watching You”. In 1948, when the story was written, it was pure science fiction.

It may have taken a little longer than he envisaged, but Orwell’s Big Brother dystopia has arrived. According to the latest studies, Britain has 4.2 million CCTV cameras—one for every fourteen people in the country. The average British citizen is caught on camera an average of 300 times daily.

Surveillance cameras, however, are obvious and overt. Much of what government and big corporations is using to watch you is not.

In the summer of 2002, US President George W. Bush posited the setting up of a corps of civilian informants as a means of helping the War on Terror. Under “Operation TIPS” (Terrorism Information and Prevention Systems), Americans would be recruited to spy on Americans at work and in the neighbourhood. Dubya planned to have a million civilian snitches. Even TIPS backers, such as Attorney General John Ashcroft, could see the flaw in the system—there was no way for the public to know if they were being observed, or if any information gathered was accurate. Such a snoopers’ charter also opened the door to people laying false charges to settle personal grudges. Although straight from the pages of the training manual of the Stasi, the former East German secret police, the Bush government ploughed ahead with TIPS until Sydney Morning Herald journalist Ritt Goldstein reported on the operation, which then shrivelled and died in the light of public disquiet.

The demise of TIPS, however, did not leave the US Government unable to eavesdrop on its citizens, because it already had the InfraGard and ECHELON projects.

A private non-profit group, InfraGard was founded in 1996 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) office in Cleveland, Ohio, in an attempt to co-opt industry and academia as crime-busters in cyberspace. The scheme really took off after 9/11, when InfraGard’s brief was broadened to protect America from physical as well as cyber-attack. InfraGard does this by, in the programme’s own words, promoting “ongoing dialogue and timely communication between members and the FBI. InfraGard members gain access to information that enables them to protect their assets and in turn give information to government that facilitates its responsibilities to prevent and address terrorism and other crimes.”

InfraGard is organized into individual, geographically based chapters, which meet with the local G-man. Members have access to an Eyes-Only InfraGard website that provides members with the hottest information on what domestic enemies are doing, the latest research on protective measures, and the ability to communicate securely with other members.

And who are the citizens who make up the secret, non-accountable InfraGard chapter? There’s the rub. Of the 32,000 InfraGard members the identities of few are known, although the best guess is that the majority are suits from Fortune 500 companies. In return for participation in InfraGard, its members receive extraordinary benefits. According to one InfraGard whistle-blower, members

get privileges, special phone numbers to call in times of emergency. They can get their family out maybe in times of an emergency or their friends, so they know about these threats. They’re getting secret intelligence on almost a daily basis that the American public isn’t getting, so they’re in the know in a way that we aren’t in the know.

Paranoid? You will be. InfraGard, however, is but the little brother of ECHELON.

ECHELON is the name given to the system of signal-collection and analysis networks run by the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. ECHELON was created in 1947 during the Cold War to monitor the military and diplomatic communications of the Soviet Union and its satellite countries. Initially, the project eavesdropped on wireless and telephone communications, but with the advent of the World Wide Web it covered email and chat rooms too; with the ending of the Cold War, the focus of ECHELON turned to terrorism and crime. The centrepiece of ECHELON is a “virtual dictionary”, a vast resource of keywords, names and telephone numbers. The billions of daily communications around the world are automatically scanned by ECHELON, and matches are referred to a human analyst. Estimates suggest that ECHELON can sift through a billion emails an hour. Although the US and UK are barred from spying on their respective citizens without court warrants, ECHELON cleverly avoids national law by enabling each country to monitor each other’s citizens. Then swap the information.

Countries excluded from ECHELON have alleged that the system is used in commercial and industrial espionage. The French press have claimed that Boeing was provided with information by ECHELON to deprive Airbus, Boeing’s European competitor, of contracts. A 1998 report prepared by the European Parliament cited “wide ranging” evidence that ECHELON information was used to provide certain companies with “commercial advantages”. The French press named names, claiming that Boeing was prioritized in contracts over Airbus, its European rival. Similarly, the US Raytheon company was able to muscle in on a radar deal between a French company and Brazil courtesy of ECHELON intercepts. Meanwhile, journalist Patrick Poole speculated that AT & T took a cut of a $200 million deal between Indonesia and Nipponese satellite-manufacturer NEC due to ECHELON-obtained intelligence.

Manifestly, InfraGard and ECHELON have a role to play in fighting crime and terror; ECHELON is said to have played a “key role” in nabbing 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed. But the state’s invasion of privacy, the use of citizens as spies, the misuse of information for financial ends are perils to citizens. Big Brother is watching you. You need to watch big brother.

Further Reading

Nicky Hagar, Secret Power, 1996


“Got Him!” trumpeted the New York Post. “Rot in Hell!” urged the Daily News.

Relief, revenge and jubilation came to New York in equal measures on Monday, 2 May 2011, following the announcement that a US Navy SEAL team had just killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda. However, the circumstances surrounding bin Laden’s death raised the big question: Had the US really got its man? Although US officials said DNA testing proved the al-Qaeda leader was killed in the villa in Pakistan, as did a facial recognition test, they refused to release photographs of his corpse. This contrasted absolutely with US policy when Uday and Qusay Hussein—the sons of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein—were killed in a firefight with US troops, after which the US relied on photographs of their bodies to convince people they were dead. And when Saddam himself was executed, video footage of his death and subsequent photographs were offered up as final proof of the tyrant’s demise.

The lack of documentation offered by the White House was pure fodder for a conspiracy that bin Laden wasn’t offed on the morning of 2 May 2011. The conspiracy was only pumped by the US Government’s choice of burial site for bin Laden: the middle of the trackless ocean.

Two main conspiracies centre on bin Laden’s death:

1) bin Laden died years before in the Tora Bora mountains (either from a US bomb or kidney disease), but the US and Allies hushed this up to justify the continuance of the War on Terror. Barack Obama announced bin Laden’s death for the bragging rights, and as a poll boost. Against this, most al-Qaeda websites have since claimed that their leader is now fish food. Also, the files seized by the SEALS during the mission suggest that the man in the compound was top of the organizational pyramid, and the information gleaned has allowed the “neutralization” of subordinates.

2) The SEAL raid was a fake op, bin Laden wasn’t there, and is alive and well and living in the Af-Pak borderland with his VCR and hookah pipe. The Bush administration never had any real intention of huntin’ the al-Qaeda leader down, because the Bush and bin Laden clans were friends, and commercial allies.

The special relationship between the Bushes and the bin Ladens is a matter of record; George H. W. Bush was actually meeting with bin Laden’s brother on the morning of 9/11.

In this murky conspiracy scenario, George Bush Jnr and Osama bin Laden are engaged in a pleasant series of quid pro quos: Bush leaves bin Laden untroubled in his cave, and the hirsute terrorist releases an inflammatory video statement days before the October 2004 US presidential election, which proves to be crucial in helping George secure a second term in office. Helping the conspiracy along is a Facebook campaign, “Osama bin Laden Is NOT DEAD”.

A minor riff in the bin Laden death conspiracy is that he tried to surrender but was killed anyway. The meat of this theory is that the US Government wanted to avoid a lengthy show trial so always intended the raid to be an assassination mission. One anonymous White House official did unhelpfully (from the PR point of view) let slip it was a “kill operation”. If so, it would explain the White House’s reluctance to release snaps of the al-Qaeda’s cadaver, since these presumably show the classic assassination technique of a bullet through the brains.

Further Reading

Brandon Franklin Hurst, Osama Bin Laden: The Final Days, 2011

Howard Wasdin, Seal Team Six, 2011


The Black Death was an outbreak of plague caused (possibly) by the bacterium Yersinia pestis which swept through Europe between 1348 and 1351, perhaps reducing the population of the continent by a third, from 54 million to 37 million. The chronicler Henry Knighton described the onset and aftermath of the disease in England:

The dreadful pestilence penetrated the sea coast by Southampton and came to Bristol, and there almost the whole population of the town perished, as if it had been seized by sudden death; for few kept their beds more than two or three days, or even half a day. Then this cruel death spread everywhere around, following the course of the sun… After the aforesaid pestilence, many buildings, great and small, fell into ruins in every city, borough, and village for lack of inhabitants, likewise many villages and hamlets became desolate, not a house being left in them, all having died who dwelt there, and it was probable that many such villages would never be inhabited.

As Knighton noted, ports were the point of the entry for the disease, because the responsible bacterium was carried by fleas of the black rat, of which medieval ships carried scores. While some contemporaries saw the Black Death as an act of God, a punishment for sins, others saw the pandemic as the handiwork of humans—in other words, the Black Death was an early exercise in germ warfare. The Indian princedoms were much suspected, because they had become discontented with the trade rules imposed by the European countries. Consequently the Indian princelings—or at least their hirelings—placed germ-laden rats on Europe-bound ships. When the Black Death had KOd the population of the white-skinned enemy, the Indian Army would march in and take over.

Biowarfare was not unknown in the fourteenth century; there are accounts of the Mongols catapulting disease-ridden corpses into the Genoese-held city of Kaffa, and it is true that the Black Death spread from the East. Furthermore, the pestilence may not have been bubonic plague. Medieval accounts of Black Death symptoms do not match precisely with the symptoms of Yersinia pestis-caused plague: the Black Death spread with extreme rapidity, whereas identified modern outbreaks of bubonic plague have been slow to expand; incidence of the Black Death peaked in summer, whereas a rat-borne disease should most likely peak in winter when people are indoors. All this said, there is no historical or forensic evidence to implicate the maharajahs. Besides, it was hardly smart business to practise genocide on your customers.

History’s scapegoats, the Jews, were also alleged by contemporaries to possibly be the agents behind the Black Death. A Jew, Agimet of Geneva, did confess to having poisoned wells across southern Europe on the instructions of Rabbi Peyret of Chambery (see Document, p.50), who was himself under the control of elders in the enclave of Toledo.

Agimet’s “confession”, extracted under torture, was enough to start a spate of pogroms; in Strasbourg alone 2,000 Jews were pre-emptively slaughtered to stop them poisoning the city’s wells. Records of similar “confessions” were sent from town to town in Switzerland and Germany, with the result that thousands of Jews in at least two hundred settlements were killed and burned in a precursor of Hitler’s holocaust.

There was no international Jewish conspiracy to wipe out Christendom behind the Black Death: It is hardly credible that the Jews of Strasbourg would poison the well they themselves used. Still, the rumour of Jewish involvement made a handy excuse for not paying loans to them. As the chronicler Frederick Closener observed about the burning of the Jews in Strasbourg:

everything that was owed to the Jews was cancelled, and the Jews had to surrender all pledges and notes that they had taken for debts. The council, however, took the cash that the Jews possessed and divided it among the working-men proportionately. The money was indeed the thing that killed the Jews. If they had been poor and if the feudal lords had not been in debt to them, they would not have been burnt.

Strasbourg, incidentally, did not escape the clutches of the plague, which killed sixteen thousand inhabitants.

An Ebola-like haemorrhagic virus is considered by some modern disease experts to be the most plausible cause of the Black Death. If so, it would have been even more uncontrollable as a germ warfare “weapon” in the fourteenth century than Yersinia pestis.

Further Reading

John Kelly, The Great Mortality, 2005

Philip Ziegler, The Black Death, 1969


The year of our Lord 1348.

On Friday, the 10th of the month of October, at Châtel, in the castle thereof, there occurred the judicial inquiry which was made by order of the court of the illustrious Prince, our lord, Amadeus, Count of Savoy, and his subjects against the Jews of both sexes who were there imprisoned, each one separately. This was done after public rumour had become current and a strong clamour had arisen because of the poison put by them into the wells, springs, and other things which the Christians use—demanding that they die, that they are able to be found guilty and, therefore, that they should be punished. Hence this their confession made in the presence of a great many trustworthy persons.

Agimet the Jew, who lived at Geneva and was arrested at Châtel, was there put to the torture a little and then he was released from it. And after a long time, having been subjected again to torture a little, he confessed in the presence of a great many trustworthy persons, who are later mentioned. To begin with it is clear that at the Lent just passed Pultus Clesis de Ranz had sent this very Jew to Venice to buy silks and other things for him. When this came to the notice of Rabbi Peyret, a Jew of Chambery who was a teacher of their law, he sent for this Agimet, for whom he had searched, and when he had come before him he said: “We have been informed that you are going to Venice to buy silk and other wares. Here I am giving you a little package of half a span in size which contains some prepared poison and venom in a thin, sewed leather-bag. Distribute it among the wells, cisterns, and springs about Venice and the other places to which you go, in order to poison the people who use the water of the aforesaid wells that will have been poisoned by you, namely, the wells in which the poison will have been placed.”

Agimet took this package full of poison and carried it with him to Venice, and when he came there he threw and scattered a portion of it into the well or cistern of fresh water which was there near the German House, in order to poison the people who use the water of that cistern. And he says that this is the only cistern of sweet water in the city. He also says that the mentioned Rabbi Peyret promised to give him whatever he wanted for his troubles in this business. Of his own accord Agimet confessed further that after this had been done he left at once in order that he should not be captured by the citizens or others, and that he went personally to Calabria and Apulia and threw the above mentioned poison into many wells. He confesses also that he put some of this same poison in the well of the streets of the city of Ballet.

He confesses further that he put some of this poison into the public fountain of the city of Toulouse and in the wells that are near the [Mediterranean] sea. Asked if at the time that he scattered the venom and poisoned the wells, above mentioned, any people had died, he said that he did not know inasmuch as he had left everyone of the above mentioned places in a hurry. Asked if any of the Jews of those places were guilty in the above mentioned matter, he answered that he did not know. And now by all that which is contained in the five books of Moses and the scroll of the Jews, he declared that this was true, and that he was in no wise lying, no matter what might happen to him.


“La Cagoule” was the press nickname for Organisation Secrete de l’Action Revolutionnaire Nationale (Secret Organization of National Revolutionary Action), a French fascist organization active in the thirties. Under its leader Eugene Deloncle, La Cagoule sought to overthrow the Third Republic with a campaign of assassination and terror. Some Cagoulards borrowed the Ku Klux Klan habit of wearing a “cagoule” or hood to conceal their identity, though the leadership were well known in French society, and included Eugène Schueller, founder of the French cosmetics company L’Oréal, whose HQ proved handy for Cagoule meetings. (The firm’s connection with French fascism did not end with Schueller; Cagoulards Jacques Correze and Jean Filliol, among others, enjoyed prestigious posts as L’Oréal executives post-war.) From its foundation in 1935, Cagoule recruited heavily from other French far-right groups, and its membership, which topped 150,000, was organized into a military structure of armed cells, with guns and explosives being shipped in from the fascist regimes of Spain and Italy, or stolen by Cagoulards in the French military. Politically, La Cagoule shared common ground with the Synarchy movement. In September 1937, La Cagoule blew up industrial employers’ buildings in Paris with the intention of pinning the blame on the Communists, and two months later prepared for the overthrow of the Third Republic, intending to place Marshal Petain as chief of state. When Petain refused to participate in the plot, they chose instead Louis Franchet d’Esperay. By now, however, La Cagoule had been heavily infiltrated by the police, and the Interior Ministry ordered the arrest of seventy leading Cagoulards, among them Deloncle. A search of La Cagoule’s arms dumps revealed 2 tons of explosives, 500 machine guns and several anti-tank guns. Stripped of leadership and arms, La Cagoule fell apart, though numerous Cagoulards later collaborated with the Nazi regime in Occupied France and its puppet state in Vichy. A minority of Cagoulards took the opposite path and joined the Resistance or De Gaulle’s Free French Army.

Further Reading

Michael Bar-Zohar, Bitter Scent: The Case of L’Oréal, The Nazis, and the Arab Boycott, 1996


For years Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz complained about CIA plots to kill him. For years the CIA denied doing anything so improper. As it turned out, the Bearded One was right. The CIA had Castro in its crosshairs for a decade or more.

Born in 1926, Castro led the 1959 Cuban Revolution, which established a socialist state ninety miles off the coast of Florida. As Wayne Smith, former head of US Interests Section in Havana, once memorably put it, socialist Cuba’s effect on the capitalist US was that of “a full moon on a werewolf ”. Neither was Castro’s socialist makeover of Cuba exactly popular with the Mafia (which had interests in Havana’s casinos), or the supporters of the overthrown Fulgencio Batista. And so the CIA, the Mafia, the Batistas all started hatching schemes to rid Cuba of the hirsute leader. Initially the CIA’s plots centred on merely humiliating Castro; in the psy-op, “Good Times” postcards were to be dropped over Cuba showing a corpulent Castro living the high life (“should put even a Commie dictator in the proper perspective with the underprivileged masses” stated the authorizing memo); another plan called for an LSD-like drug to be sprayed in the air at the radio station Castro used for his speeches so he would start ranting nonsense. No less whacky, was an idea to dust the Cuban leader’s shoes with a depilatory powder so the hair on his beard would fall out.

When humiliating Castro failed, the CIA tried invading Cuba (the Bay of Pigs debacle) before settling on assassinating him. Most of CIA’s assassination plans were apparently drawn from a bad Bond novel, and included:

• Contaminating Castro’s cigars with botulin.

• Contaminating Castro’s drink with botulin.

• Popping poison pills into Castro’s food at his favourite restaurant, with a little help from the Mafia (including Santos Trafficante, Johnny Roselli and Sam Giancana—all incidentally contenders for killing John F. Kennedy).

• Contaminating Castro’s scuba-diving gear with tubercle bacilli, and his wetsuit with a skin-disfiguring fungus.

• Placing an eye-catching conch on the seabed off Cuba—Castro was a keen diver—that contained an explosive device, which would detonate on being lifted.

No less than eight separate plans were drawn up by the CIA between 1960 and 1965 for the final solution of the Castro problem, only one of which was rooted in reality. Rolando Cubela Seconde, a major in the Cuban army and head of Cuba’s International Federation of Students, handily contacted the CIA offering to do their job for them. (Cubela had form as an assassin; as a young student he’d murdered Antonio Blanci Rico, head of Batista’s secret police.) The CIA gave Cubela the code name AMLASH and a syringe disguised as a Paper Mate pen and told him to inject Black Leaf 40 (an insecticide) into Castro. Eventually, the CIA gave Cubela what he asked for: a Belgian FAL rifle so he could pot Castro from afar. Before Cubela could pull the trigger, however, he was arrested by Castro’s security service. With quite remarkable generosity, Castro asked the court for clemency on Cubela’s behalf, and the putative assassin was sentenced to jail instead of a firing squad. Cubela was released in 1979 and went to live in Spain.

By then the truth of the CIA’s “Get Castro!” campaign had been dragged into the open, following an investigation by US Senator Frank Church. The Church Committee’s “Interim Report” of 1975 detailed the CIA’s hapless history of trying to undermine, then kill, Castro, and for good measure delineated CIA involvement in the assassination of Patrice Lumumba of Congo, Rene Schneider of Chile, Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic and Ngo Dinh Diem of Vietnam. The most spectacular proof of the CIA’s anti-Castro antics, however, came in 1993, with the declassification of the “Inspector General’s Report on Plots to Assassinate Fidel Castro” (see Document, p.57), which had been commissioned by President Johnson in 1967. So controversial, incriminating—and maybe embarrassing—was the report that the CIA refused its declassification for thirty-six years. Even presidents were refused access to the full document.

On the recommendation of the Church Committee, President Gerald Ford issued Executive Order 11905, which ruled that “no employee of the US government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, political assassination”. Jimmy Carter strengthened this proscription with Executive Order 12036, as did Reagan, through Executive Order 12333. Because no subsequent executive order or piece of legislation has repealed the prohibition, it remains in effect.

Only a smooth White House lawyer, however, was able to reconcile EO 12333 with the Reagan administration dropping bombs on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s home in 1986, or President Bush’s instruction to the CIA and US military to engage in “lethal covert operations” against Osama bin Laden, or indeed Obama’s green light for the eventual offing of the al-Qaeda leader. According to the White House, the ban on political assassination does not apply to wartime or counter-terrorist operations.

Meanwhile, back in Cuba jokes about Castro’s apparent indestructibility ran rife. One told of him being given a present of a Galapagos turtle. He declined after learning that it was only likely to live for a hundred years, saying, “That’s the problem with pets. You get attached to them and then they die on you.”

Further Reading

Fabian Escalante, Executive Action: 638 Ways to Kill Fidel Castro, 2007


The report was drawn up in 1967 at the insistence of President Johnson—who was not allowed by the Agency to see the full version. Neither was President Nixon. Indeed, the CIA regarded their own report as so incriminating that all but one copy was destroyed. The report was only approved for release in 1993.


SUBJECT: Report on Plots to Assassinate Fidel Castro

This report was prepared at the request of the Director of Central Intelligence. He assigned the task to the Inspector General on 23 March 1967. The report was delivered to the Director, personally, in installments, beginning on 24 April 1967. The Director returned this copy to the Inspector General on 22 May 1967 with instructions that the Inspector General:

Retain it in personal, EYES ONLY safekeeping


This ribbon copy is the only text of the report now in existence, either in whole or in part. Its text has been read only by:

Richard Helms, Director of Central Intelligence

J. S. Earman, Inspector General

K. E. Greer, Inspector (one of the authors)

S. E. Beckinridge (one of the authors)

All typing of drafts and of final text was done by the authors.


It became clear very early in our investigation that the vigor with which schemes were pursued within the Agency to eliminate Castro personally varied with the intensity of the U.S. Government’s efforts to overthrow the Castro regime. We can identify five separate phases in Agency assassination planning, although the transitions from one to another are not always sharply defined. Each phase is a reflection of the then prevailing Government attitude toward the Cuban regime.

a. Prior to August 1960: All of the identifiable schemes prior to about August 1960, with one possible exception, were aimed only at discrediting Castro personally by influencing his behavior or by altering his appearance.

b. August 1960 to April 1961: The plots that were hatched in late 1960 and early 1961 were aggressively pursued and were viewed by at least some of the participants as being merely one aspect of the over-all active effort to overthrow the regime that culminated in the Bay of Pigs.

c. April 1961 to late 1961: A major scheme that was begun in August 1960 was called off after the Bay of Pigs and remained dormant for several months, as did most other Agency operational activity related to Cuba.

d. Late 1961 to late 1962: That particular scheme was reactivated in early 1962 and was again pushed vigorously in the era of Project MONGOOSE and in the climate of intense administration pressure on CIA to do something about Castro and his Cuba.

e. Late 1962 until well into 1963: After the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962 and the collapse of Project MONGOOSE, the aggressive scheme that was begun in August 1960 and revived in April 1962 was finally terminated in early 1963. Two other plots were originated in 1963, but both were impracticable and nothing ever came of them.

We cannot overemphasize the extent to which responsible Agency officers felt themselves subject to the Kennedy administration’s severe pressures to do something about Castro and his regime. The fruitless and, in retrospect, often unrealistic plotting should be viewed in that light.

Many of those we interviewed stressed two points that are so obvious that recording them here may be superfluous. We believe, though, that they are pertinent to the story. Elimination of the dominant figure in a government, even when loyalties are held to him personally rather than to the government as a body, will not necessarily cause the downfall of the government. This point was stressed with respect to Castro and Cuba in an internal CIA draft paper of October 1961, which was initiated in response to General Maxwell Taylor’s desire for a contingency plan. The paper took the position that the demise of Fidel Castro, from whatever cause, would offer little opportunity for the liberation of Cuba from Communist and Soviet Bloc control. The second point, which is more specifically relevant to our investigation, is that bringing about the downfall of a government necessarily requires the removal of its leaders from positions of power, and there is always the risk that the participants will resort to assassination. Such removals from power as the house arrest of a [?] or the flight of a [?] could not cause one to overlook the killings of a Diem or of a Trujillo by forces encouraged but not controlled by the U.S. government.

There is a third point, which was not directly made by any of those we interviewed, but which emerges clearly from the interviews and from review of files. The point is that of frequent resort to synecdoche—the mention of a part when the whole is to be understood, or vice versa. Thus, we encounter repeated references to phrases such as “disposing of Castro,” which may be read in the narrow, literal sense of assassinating him, when it is intended that it be read in the broader, figurative sense of dislodging the Castro regime. Reversing this coin, we find people speaking vaguely of “doing something about Castro” when it is clear that what they have specifically in mind is killing him. In a situation wherein those speaking may not have actually meant what they seemed to say or may not have said what they actually meant, they should not be surprised if their oral shorthand is interpreted differently than was intended.

The suggestion was made that operations aimed at the assassination of Castro may have been generated in an atmosphere of stress in intelligence publications on the possibility of Castro’s demise and on the reordering of the political structure that would follow. We reviewed intelligence publications from 1960 through 1966, including National Intelligence Estimates, Special National Intelligence Estimates, Intelligence Memorandums, and Memorandums for the Director. The NTE’s on “The Situation and Prospects in Cuba” for 1960, 1963, and 1964 have brief paragraphs on likely successor governments if Castro were to depart the scene. We also find similar short references in a SNIE of March 1960 and in an Intelligence Memorandum of May 1965. In each case the treatment is no more nor less than one would expect to find in comprehensive round-ups such as these. We conclude that there is no reason to believe that the operators were unduly influenced by the content of intelligence publications.

Drew Pearson’s column of 7 March 1967 refers to a reported CIA plan in 1963 to assassinate Cuba’s Fidel Castro. Pearson also has information, as yet unpublished, to the effect that there was a meeting at the State Department at which assassination of Castro was discussed and that a team actually landed in Cuba with pills to be used in an assassination attempt. There is basis in fact for each of those three reports.

a. A CIA officer passed an assassination weapon to an Agency Cuban asset at a meeting in Paris on 22 November 1963. The weapon was a ballpoint pen rigged as a hypodermic syringe. The CIA officer suggested that the Cuban asset load the syringe with Black Leaf 40. The evidence indicates that the meeting was under way at the very moment President Kennedy was shot.

b. There was a meeting of the Special Group (Augmented) in Secretary Rusk’s conference room on 10 August 1962 at which Secretary McNamara broached the subject of liquidation of Cuban leaders. The discussion resulted in a Project MONGOOSE action memorandum prepared by Edward Lansdale. At another Special Group meeting on 31 July 1964 there was discussion of a recently disseminated Clandestine Services information report on a Cuban exile plot to assassinate Castro. CIA had refused the exile’s request for funds and had no involvement in that plot.

c. CIA twice (first in early 1961 and again in early 1962) supplied lethal pills to U.S. gambling syndicate members working in behalf of CIA on a plot to assassinate Fidel Castro. The 1961 plot aborted and the pills were recovered. Those furnished in April 1962 were passed by the gambling syndicate representative to a Cuban exile leader in Florida, who in turn had them sent to Cuba about May 1962. In June 1962 the exile leader reported that a team of three men had been dispatched to Cuba to recruit for the operation. If the opportunity presented itself, the team would make an attempt on Castro’s life—perhaps using the pills.

This report describes these and other episodes in detail; puts them into perspective; and reveals, that while the events described by Drew Pearson did occur and are subject to being patched together as though one complete story, the implication of a direct, causative relationship among them is unfounded.

Miscellaneous Schemes Prior to August 1960 […]

We find evidence of at least three, and perhaps four, schemes that were under consideration well before the Bay of Pigs, but we can fix the time frame only speculatively. Those who have some knowledge of the episodes guessed at dates ranging from 1959 through 1961. The March-to-August span we have fixed may be too narrow, but it best fits the limited evidence we have.

a. None of those we interviewed who was first assigned to the Cuba task force after the Bay of Pigs knows of any of these schemes.

b. J. D. (Jake) Esterline, who was head of the Cuba task force in pre-Bay of Pigs days, is probably the most reliable witness on general timing. He may not have been privy to the precise details of any of the plans, but he seems at least to have known of all of them. He is no longer able to keep the details of one plan separate from those of another, but each of the facts he recalls fits somewhere into one of the schemes. Hence, we conclude that all of these schemes were under consideration while Esterline had direct responsibility for Cuba operations.

c. Esterline himself furnishes the best clue as to the possible time span. He thinks it unlikely that any planning of this sort would have progressed to the point of consideration of means until after U.S. policy concerning Cuba was decided upon about March 1960. By about the end of the third quarter of 1960, the total energies of the task force were concentrated on the main-thrust effort, and there would have been no interest in nor time for pursuing such wills-o’-the-wisp as these.

We are unable to establish even a tentative sequence among the schemes; they may, in fact, have been under consideration simultaneously. We find no evidence that any of these schemes was approved at any level higher than division, if that. We think it most likely that no higher-level approvals were sought, because none of the schemes progressed to the point where approval to launch would have been needed.

Aerosol Attack on Radio Station:

[deletion] of TSD, remembers discussion of a scheme to contaminate the air of the radio station where Castro broadcasts his speeches with an aerosol spray of a chemical that produces reactions similar to those of lysergic acid (LSD). Nothing came of the idea. [deletion] said he had discouraged the scheme, because the chemical could not be relied upon to be effective. [deletion], also of TSD, recalls experimentation with psychic energizers but cannot relate it to Castro as a target. We found no one else who remembered anything of this plot, with the possible exception of Jake Esterline who may have it confused with other schemes.

Contaminated Cigars:

Jake Esterline claims to have had in his possession in pre-Bay of Pigs days a box of cigars that had been treated with some sort of chemical. In our first interview with him, his recollection was that the chemical was intended to produce temporary personality disorientation. The thought was to somehow contrive to have Castro smoke one before making a speech and then to make a public spectacle of himself. Esterline distinctly recalls having had the cigars in his personal safe until he left WH/4 and that they definitely were intended for Castro. He does not remember how they came into his possession, but he thinks they must have been prepared by [deletion]. In a second interview with Esterline, we mentioned that we had learned since first speaking with him of a scheme to cause Castro’s beard to fall out. He then said that his cigars might have been associated with that plan. Esterline finally said that, although it was evident that he no longer remembered the intended effect of the cigars, he was positive they were not lethal. The cigars were never used, according to Esterline, because WH/4 could not figure out how to deliver them without danger of blowback on the Agency. He says he destroyed them before leaving WH/4 in June 1961.

Sidney Gottlieb, of TSD, claims to remember distinctly a plot involving cigars. To emphasize the clarity of his memory, he named the officer, then assigned to WH/CA, who approached him with the scheme. Although there may well have been such a plot, the officer Gottlieb named was then assigned to India and has never worked in WH Division nor had anything to do with Cuba operations. Gottlieb remembers the scheme as being one that was talked about frequently but not widely and as being concerned with killing, not merely influencing behavior. As far as Gottlieb knows, this idea never got beyond the talking stage. TSD may have gone ahead and prepared the cigars just in case, but Gottlieb is certain that he did not get the DD/P’s (Richard Bissell) personal approval to release them, as would have been done if the operation had gone that far. We are unable to discover whether Esterline and Gottlieb are speaking of a single cigar episode or of two unrelated schemes. We found no one else with firm recollections of lethal cigars being considered prior to August 1960.


[deletion] recalls a scheme involving thallium salts, a chemical used by women as a depilatory—the thought being to destroy Castro’s image as “The Beard” by causing the beard to fall out. The chemical may be administered either orally or by absorption through the skin. The right dosage causes depilation; too much produces paralysis. [deletion] believes that the idea originated in connection with a trip Castro was to have made outside of Cuba. The idea was to dust thallium powder into Castro’s shoes when they were put out at night to be shined. The scheme progressed as far as procuring the chemical and testing it on animals. [deletion] recollection is that Castro did not make the intended trip, and the scheme fell through. [deletion] remembers consideration being given to use the thallium salts (perhaps against Castro) and something having to do with boots or shoes. [deletion] does not remember with whom he dealt on this plot. We found no one else with firm knowledge of it.

Gambling Syndicate:

The first seriously pursued CIA plan to assassinate Castro had its inception in August 1960. It involved the use of members of the criminal underworld with contacts inside Cuba. The operation had two phases: the first ran from August 1960 until late April or early May 1961, when it was called off following the Bay of Pigs; the second ran from April 1962 until February 1963 and was merely a revival of the first phase which had been inactive since about May 1961.

Gambling Syndicate—Phase I

August 1960

Richard Bissell, Deputy Director for Plans, asked Sheffield Edwards, Director of Security, if Edwards could establish contact with the U.S. gambling syndicate that was active in Cuba. The objective clearly was the assassination of Castro although Edwards claims that there was a studied avoidance of the term in his conversation with Bissell. Bissell recalls that the idea originated with J. C. King, then Chief of WH Division, although King now recalls having had only limited knowledge of such a plan and at a much later date—about mid-1962.

Edwards consulted Robert A. Maheu, a private investigator who had done sensitive work for the Agency, to see if Maheu had any underworld contacts. Maheu was once a special agent of the FBI. He opened a private office in Washington in 1956. The late Robert Cunningham, of the Office of Security (and also a former Special Agent with the FBI), knew Maheu and knew that his business was having a shaky start financially. Cunningham arranged to subsidize Maheu to the extent of $500 per month. Within six months Maheu was doing so well financially that he suggested that the retainer be discontinued. Over the years he has been intimately involved in providing support for some of the Agency’s more sensitive operations. He has since moved his personal headquarters to Los Angeles but retains a Washington office. A more detailed account of Maheu’s background appears in a separate section of this report […]

Maheu acknowledged that he had a contact who might furnish access to the criminal underworld, but Maheu was most reluctant to allow himself to be involved in such an assignment. He agreed to participate only after being pressed by Edwards to do so. Maheu identified his contact as one Johnny Roselli, who lived in Los Angeles and had the concession for the ice-making machines on “the strip” in Las Vegas and whom Maheu understood to be a member of the syndicate. Maheu was known to Roselli as a man who had a number of large business organizations as clients. Edwards and Maheu agreed that Maheu would approach Roselli as the representative of businessmen with interests in Cuba who saw the elimination of Castro as the essential first step to the recovery of their investments. Maheu was authorized to tell Roselli that his “clients” were willing to pay $150,000 for Castro’s removal.

September 1960

Shef Edwards named as his case officer for the operation James P. O’Connell (a former Special Agent of the FBI), then Chief, Operational Support Division, Office of Security. O’Connell and Maheu met Roselli in New York City on 14 September 1960 where Maheu made the pitch. Roselli initially was also reluctant to become involved, but finally agreed to introduce Maheu to “Sam Gold” who either had or could arrange contacts with syndicate elements in Cuba who might handle the job. Roselli said he had no interest in being paid for his participation and believed that “Gold” would feel the same way. A memorandum for the record prepared by Sheffield Edwards on 14 May 1962 states: “No monies were ever paid to Roselli and Giancana. Maheu was paid part of his expense money during the periods that he was in Miami.” (Giancana is “Gold.”)

O’Connell was introduced (in true name) to Roselli as an employee of Maheu, the explanation being that O’Connell would handle the case for Maheu, because Maheu was too busy to work on it full time himself. No one else in the Office of Security was made witting of the operation at this time. Edwards himself did not meet Roselli until the summer of 1962.

At this point, about the second half of September, Shef Edwards told Bissell that he had a friend, a private investigator, who had a contact who in turn had other contacts through whom syndicate elements in Cuba could be reached. These syndicate elements in Cuba would be willing to take on such an operation. As of the latter part of September 1960, Edwards, O’Connell, and Bissell were the only ones in the Agency who knew of a plan against Castro involving U.S. gangster elements. Edwards states that Richard Helms was not informed of the plan, because Cuba was being handled by Bissell at that time.

With Bissell present, Edwards briefed the Director (Allen Dulles) and the DDCI (General Cabell) on the existence of a plan involving members of the syndicate. The discussion was circumspect; Edwards deliberately avoided the use of any “bad words.” The descriptive term used was “intelligence operation.” Edwards is quite sure that the DCI and the DDCI clearly understood the nature of the operation he was discussing. He recalls describing the channel as being “from A to B to C.” As he then envisioned it, “A” was Maheu, “B” was Roselli, and “C” was the principal in Cuba. Edwards recalls that Mr. Dulles merely nodded, presumably in understanding and approval. Certainly, there was no opposition. Edwards states that, while there was no formal approval as such, he felt that he clearly had tacit approval to use his own judgment. Bissell committed $150,000 for the support of the operation […] in the Fontainbleau Hotel. “Gold” said he had a man, whom he identified only as “Joe,” who would serve as courier to Cuba and make arrangements there. Maheu pointed out “Gold” to O’Connell from a distance, but O’Connell never met with either “Gold” or “Joe.” He did, however, learn their true identities. As Office of Security memorandum to the DDCI of 24 June 1966 places the time as “several weeks later.” O’Connell is now uncertain as to whether it was on this first visit to Miami or on a subsequent one that he and Maheu learned the true identities of the two men. Maheu and O’Connell were staying at separate hotels. Maheu phoned O’Connell one Sunday morning and called his attention to the Parade supplement in one of that morning’s Miami newspapers. It carried an article on the Cosa Nostra, with pictures of prominent members. The man Maheu and O’Connell knew as “Sam Gold” appeared as Mom Salvatore (Sam) Giancana, a Chicago-based gangster. “Joe, the courier” (who was never identified to either Maheu or O’Connell in any other way) turned out to be Santos Trafficante, the Cosa Nostra chieftain in Cuba.

At that time the gambling casinos were still operating in Cuba, and Trafficante was making regular trips between Miami and Havana on syndicate business. (The casinos were closed and gambling was banned effective 7 January 1959. On 13 January 1959, Castro announced that the casinos would be permitted to reopen for tourists and foreigners but that Cubans would be barred. The cabinet on 17 February 1959 authorized reopening the casinos for the tourist trade. Time magazine for 2 March 1959 announced that the casinos had been reopened the previous week. The New York Times issue of 30 September 1961 announced that the last of the casinos still running had been closed.) Trafficante was to make the arrangements with one of his contacts inside Cuba on one of his trips to Havana.

Fall and Early Winter 1960

Very early in the operation, well before the first contact with Roselli, the machinery for readying the means of assassination was set in motion. The sequence of events is not clear, but is apparent that a number of methods were considered. Preparation of some materials went ahead without express approval […]

Dr. Edward Gunn, Chief, Operations Division, Office of Medical Services, has a notation that on 16 August 1960 he received a box of Cuban cigars to be treated with lethal ma terial. He understood them to be Fidel’s favorite brand, and he thinks they were given to him by Shef Edwards. Edwards does not recall the incident. Gunn has a notation that he contacted [deletion] of TSD, on 6 September 1960. [deletion] remembers experimenting with some cigars and then treating a full box. He cannot now recall whether he was initially given two boxes, experimenting with one and then treating the other; or whether he bought a box for experimentation, after which he treated the box supplied him by Gunn. He does not, in fact, remember Gunn as the supplier of any cigars. He is positive, though, that he did contaminate a full box of fifty cigars with botulinus toxin, a virulent poison that produces a fatal illness some hours after it is ingested. [deletion] distinctly remembers the flaps-and-seals job he had to do on the box and on each of the wrapped cigars, both to get the cigars and to erase evidence of tampering. He kept one of the experimental cigars and still has it. He retested it during our inquiry and found that the toxin still retained 94% of its original effectiveness. The cigars were so heavily contaminated that merely putting one in the mouth would do the job; the intended victim would not actually have to smoke it.

Gunn’s notes show that he reported the cigars as being ready for delivery on 7 October 1960. [deletion]’s notes do not show actual delivery until 13 February 1961. They do not indicate to whom delivery was made. Gunn states that he took the cigars, at some unspecified time, and kept them in his personal safe. He remembers destroying them within a month of Shef Edwards retirement in June 1963 […]

Edwards recalls approaching Roosevelt after Bissell had already spoken to Roosevelt on the subject; Roosevelt recalls speaking to Edwards after Bissell discussed it with Edwards. Bissell does not recall specific conversations with either of them on the technical aspects of the problem, but he believes that he must have “closed the loop” by talks with both Edwards and Roosevelt. Roosevelt recalls his first meeting with Edwards as being in Edwards’ office. Edwards remembers asking to be introduced to a chemist. He is sure that he did not name the target to Roosevelt, but Roosevelt says he knew it was Castro. Roosevelt believes that he would have put Edwards in touch with [deletion], then chief of TSD’s Chemical Division, but [deletion] has no recollection of such work at that time. [deletion] recalls other operations at other times, but not this one. Roosevelt did say that, if he turned it over to [deletion], [deletion] could have assigned it to [deletion].

Roosevelt remembers that four possible approaches were considered: (1) something highly toxic, such as shellfish poison to be administered with a pin (which Roosevelt said was what was supplied to Gary Powers); (2) bacterial material in liquid form; (3) bacterial treatment of a cigarette or cigar; and (4) a handkerchief treated with bacteria. The decision, to the best of his recollection, was that bacteria in liquid form was the best means. Bissell recalls the same decision, tying it to a recollection that Castro frequently drank tea, coffee, or bouillon, for which a liquid poison would be particularly well suited.

January–February 1961

Despite the decision that a poison in liquid form would be most desirable, what was actually prepared and delivered was a solid in the form of small pills about the size of saccharine tablets. [deletion] remembers meeting with Edwards and O’Connell in Edwards’ office to discuss the requirement. The specifications were that the poison be stable, soluble, safe to handle, undetectable, not immediately acting, and with a firmly predictable end result. Botulin comes nearest to meeting all those requirements, and it may be put up in either liquid or solid form. [deletion] states that the pill form was chosen because of ease and safety of handling[…]

(Comment: The gangsters may have had some influence on the choice of a means of assassination. O’Connell says that in his very early discussions with the gangsters (or, more precisely, Maheu’s discussions with them) consideration was given to possible ways of accomplishing the mission. Apparently the Agency had first thought in terms of a typical, gangland-style killing in which Castro would be gunned down. Giancana was flatly opposed to the use of firearms. He said that no one could be recruited to do the job, because the chance of survival and escape would be negligible. Giancana stated a preference for a lethal pill that could be put into Castro’s food or drink. Trafficante (“Joe, the courier”) was in touch with a disaffected Cuban official with access to Castro and presumably of a sort that would enable him to surreptitiously poison Castro. The gangsters named their man inside as Juan Orta who was then Office Chief and Director General of the Office of the Prime Minister (Castro). The gangsters said that Orta had once been in a position to receive kickbacks from the gambling interests, has since lost that source of income, and needed the money.)

When Edwards received the pills he dropped one into a glass of water to test it for solubility and found that it did not even disintegrate, let alone dissolve. [deletion] took them back and made up a new batch that met the requirement for solubility. Edwards at that point wanted assurance that the pills were truly lethal. He called on Dr. Gunn to make an independent test of them. Edwards gave Gunn money to buy guinea pigs as test animals. Gunn has a record of a conversation with [deletion] on 6 February 1961. It may have related to the tests, but we cannot be sure. What appears to have happened is that Gunn tested the pills on the guinea pigs and found them ineffective.

[deletion] states that tests of bouillon on guinea pigs are not valid, because guinea pigs have a high resistance to this particular toxin. [deletion] himself tested the pills on monkeys and found they did the job expected of them.

We cannot reconstruct with certainty the sequence of events between readying the pills and putting them into the hands of Roselli. Edwards has the impression that he had a favorable report from Dr. Gunn on the guinea pig test. Gunn probably reported only that the pills were effective, and Edwards assumed the report was based on the results of tests on guinea pigs. Dr. Gunn has a clear recollection, without a date, of being present at a meeting in which Roosevelt demonstrated a pencil designed as a concealment device for delivering the pills. Roosevelt also recalls such a meeting, also without a date. Gunn’s notes record that his last action on the operation came on 10 February 1961 when he put Gottlieb in touch with Edwards. Gottlieb has no recollection of being involved, an impression that is supported by Bissell who states that Gottlieb’s assignments were of a different nature. O’Connell, who eventually received the pills, recalls that he dealt with [deletion]. [deletion] has no record of delivering the pills at this time, but he does not ordinarily keep detailed records of such things.

In any event, O’Connell did receive the pills, and he believes there were six of them. He recalls giving three to Roselli. Presumably the other three were used in testing for solubility and effectiveness. The dates on which O’Connell received the pills and subsequently passed them to Roselli cannot be established. It would have been sometime after Gunn’s notation of 10 February 1961.

Gunn also has a record of being approached about the undertaking by William K. Harvey (former special agent of the FBI) in February in connection with a sensitive project Harvey was working on for Bissell. According to Gunn’s notes, he briefed Harvey on the operation, and Harvey instructed him to discuss techniques, but not targets, with Gottlieb. Gunn’s notation on this point is not in accord with the recollections of any of the others involved. We are unable to clarify it; the note may have been in another context. O’Connell states that J. C. King was also briefed at this time, although King denies learning of the operation until much later.

Late February–March 1961

Roselli passed the pills to Trafficante. Roselli reported to O’Connell that the pills had been delivered to Orta in Cuba. Orta is understood to have kept the pills for a couple of weeks before returning them. According to the gangsters, Orta got cold feet […]

The previously mentioned 24 June 1966 summary of the operation prepared by the Office of Security states that when Orta asked out of the assignment he suggested another candidate who made several attempts without success. Neither Edwards nor O’Connell know the identity of Orta’s replacement nor any additional details of the reported further attempts.

March–April 1961

Following the collapse of the Orta channel, Roselli told O’Connell that Trafficante knew of a man high up in the Cuban exile movement who might do the job. He identified him as Tony Varona (Dr. Manuel Antonio de VARONA y Loredo). Varona was the head of the Democratic Revolutionary Front, [1/2 line deletion] part of the larger Cuban operation. O’Connell understood that Varona was dissatisfied […] had hired Edward K. Moss, a Washington public relations counselor, as a fund raiser and public relations advisor. The Bureau report alleged that Moss’ mistress was one Julia Cellini, whose brothers represented two of the largest gambling casinos in Cuba. The Cellini brothers were believed to be in touch with Varona through Moss and were reported to have offered Varona large sums of money for his operations against Castro, with the understanding that they would receive privileged treatment “in the Cuba of the future.” Attempts to verify these reports were unsuccessful […]

Trafficante approached Varona and told him that he had clients who wanted to do away with Castro and that they would pay big money for the job. Varona is reported to have been very receptive, since it would mean that he would be able to buy his own ships, arms, and communications equipment […] dated 24 June 1965, sets the amount as $10,000 in cash and $1,000 worth of communications equipment. Jake Esterline, who signed the vouchers for the funds, recalls the amounts as being those stated in the Office of Security memorandum.

(Comment: As a sidelight, Esterline says that, when he learned of the intended use of Varona, steps were taken to cancel the plan. Varona was one of the five key figures in the Revolutionary Front and was heavily involved in support of the approaching Bay of Pigs operation. If steps were in fact taken to end Varona’s participation in the syndicate plan, they were ineffective. It is clear that he continued as an integral part of the syndicate scheme.)

When the money was ready, O’Connell took the pills from his safe and delivered them and the money to Roselli. Roselli gave the pills and the money to Varona, whom Roselli dealt with under pseudonym. Little is known of the delivery channels beyond Varona. Varona was believed to have an asset inside Cuba in a position to slip a pill to Castro. Edwards recalls something about a contact who worked in a restaurant frequented by Castro and who was to receive the pills and put them into Castro’s food or drink. Edwards believes that the scheme failed because Castro ceased to visit that particular restaurant.

April–May 1961

Soon after the Bay of Pigs, Edwards sent word to Roselli through O’Connell that the operation was off—even if something happened there would be no payoff. Edwards is sure there was a complete standdown after that; the operation was dead and remained so until April 1962. He clearly relates the origins of the operation to the upcoming Bay of Pigs invasion, and its termination to the Bay of Pigs failure. O’Connell agrees that the operation was called off after the Bay of Pigs but that the termination was not firm and final. He believes that there was something going on between April 1961 and April 1962, but he cannot now recall what. He agrees with Bill Harvey that when the operation was revived in April 1962, Harvey took over a “going operation.”

(Comment: As distinguished from Edwards and O’Connell, both Bissell and Esterline place the termination date of the assassination operation as being about six months before the Bay of Pigs. Esterline gives as his reason for so believing the fact that the decision had been made to go ahead with a massive, major operation instead of an individually-targeted one such as this. Whatever the intention in this respect, if the decision to terminate was actually made, the decision was not communicated effectively. It is clear that this plan to assassinate Castro continued in train until sometime after the Bay of Pigs.)

O’Connell believes that he must have recovered the pills, but he has no specific recollection of having done so. He thinks that instead of returning them to TSD he probably would have destroyed them, most likely by flushing them down a toilet. [deletion] has no record of the pills having been returned to him, but he says he is quite sure that they were.


Schemes in Early 1963

Skin Diving Suit

At about the time of the Donovan-Castro negotiations for the release of the Bay of Pigs prisoners a plan was devised to have Donovan present a contaminated skin diving suit to Castro as a gift. Castro was known to be a skin diving enthusiast. We cannot put a precise date on this scheme. Desmond FitzGerald told us of it as if it had originated after he took over the Cuba task force in January 1963. Samuel Halpern said that it began under William Harvey and that he, Halpern, briefed FitzGerald on it. Harvey states positively that he never heard of it.

According to Sidney Gottlieb, this scheme progressed to the point of actually buying a diving suit and readying it for delivery. The technique involved dusting the inside of the suit with a fungus that would produce a disabling and chronic skin disease (Madura foot) and contaminating the breathing apparatus with tubercle bacilli. Gottlieb does not remember what came of the scheme or what happened to the scuba suit. Sam Halpern, who was in on the scheme, at first said the plan was dropped because it was obviously impracticable. He later recalled that the plan was abandoned because it was overtaken by events: Donovan had already given Castro a skin diving suit on his own initiative. The scheme may have been mentioned to Mike Miskovsky, who worked with Donovan, but FitzGerald has no recollection that it was.


Booby-trapped Sea Shell

Some time in 1963, date uncertain but probably early in the year, Desmond FitzGerald, then Chief, SAS, originated a scheme for doing away with Castro by means of an explosives-rigged sea shell. The idea was to take an unusually spectacular sea shell that would be certain to catch Castro’s eye, load it with an explosive triggered to blow when the shell was lifted, and submerge it in an area where Castro often went skin diving.

Des bought two books on Caribbean Mollusca. The scheme was soon found to be impracticable. None of the shells that might conceivably be found in the Caribbean area was both spectacular enough to be sure of attracting attention and large enough to hold the needed volume of explosive. The midget submarine that would have had to be used in emplacement of the shell has too short an operating range for such an operation.

FitzGerald states that he, Sam Halpern, and [deletion] had several sessions at which they explored this possibility, but that no one else was ever brought in on the talks. Halpern believes that he had conversations with TSD on feasibility and using a hypothetical case. He does not remember with whom he may have spoken. We are unable to identify any others who knew of the scheme at the time it was being considered.


On the evening of 7 September 1967 Colorado rancher Agnes King noted that one of her Appaloosa horses, Snippy, had not returned home for her customary drink of water. Two days later King’s son Harry found Snippy dead. Her head had been de-skinned, the cadaver sucked dry of blood and there was a strong medicinal smell. When a lump of Snippy’s body was touched next day by Harry’s aunt, Mrs Burl Lewis, it oozed a green fluid that burned her skin. Even more bizarrely, on the ground nearby were fifteen circular burns. A subsequent radiation survey by United States Forest Service Duane Martin found high levels of radioactivity. Martin stated: “The death of this saddle pony is one of the most mysterious sights I’ve ever witnessed… I’ve seen stock killed by lightning, but it was never like this.”

Snippy was not the first farm animal to be mutilated in strange circumstances—there are cases of livestock mutilations in England in the nineteenth century—but she was the first well-publicized specimen in the modern outbreak of the phenomenon in the US. Associated Press took up Snippy’s story—and neatly linked it to the UFO craze sweeping the States. Many residents of the area have reported sighting unidentified flying objects. One man said his car was followed by a top-shaped object and a student at nearby Adams State College said both his rear tyres blew out as he approached an object as it sat in a field.

A very down to earth autopsy by Dr Robert O. Adams, head of Colorado State University’s Veterinary and Biomedical Science School, concluded there were “No unearthly causes, at least not to my mind” for Snippy’s demise and dismemberment. He noted a severe infection in Snippy’s hindquarters, and speculated that someone had come across the dying horse and slit its throat in order to end its misery. The local carnivorous fauna had done the rest of the damage to the saddle pony.

Adams’ professional opinion did nothing to quell speculation about livestock mutilations, cases of which grew exponentially in the USA over the next decade, being reported from New Mexico in the south to Montana in the north. In “classic cases”, evisceration was apparently done with surgical precision, the animal drained of blood, no tyre tracks or footprints were to be found in the immediate vicinity of the corpse, and the sexual organs removed. In the face of mounting public concerns, Federal authorities launched an investigation of the cattle mutilation phenomenon in May 1979, which was headed by FBI agent Kenneth Rommel. His report concluded that mutilations were predominantly the result of natural predation (see Document, p.79), but that some contained anomalies that could not be accounted for by conventional wisdom. Rommel’s report left the door open for a triumvirate of prime conspiracy theories regarding cattle mutilations (mootilations?), namely that “unexplained” mutilations are the work of satanic cults, government or alien experiments.

The cult hypothesis has the merit of explaining away some of the oddities of cattle mutilations (Satanists “harvesting” bovine organs for ritual use would explain the latter’s absence at the scene of the crime) and, in Idaho, forestry service employees were reported to have seen robed figures near a site of bovine excision on at least one occasion. An investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in 1975, however, found insufficient evidence of cult involvement for action to be taken.

Cattle mutilation researcher Charles T. Oliphant, meanwhile, has asserted that the phenomenon is the result of secret US Government research into “zoonotic” cattle diseases (that is, diseases transmissible to humans), chiefly Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) and Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE). Oliphant notes the high levels of man-made chemicals found in some of the bovine corpses, as well as the sightings of unmarked black helicopters near mutilation sites. The use of helicopters in the mutilations would help explain why some of the dead bovines appear to have been carried and dropped—but would US officials really do such a thing as dress down, ride around in unmarked vehicles and kill animals? Er, yes, actually, according to Oliphant, who cites the case of plain clothes government officers entering a research facility in Reston, Virginia, to destroy animals suspected of carrying the Ebola virus.

Equally, those black helicopters might be doing aliens’ work, because in Conspiracy World the dark choppers are often held to be “reverse engineered” with ET-technology. Why would aliens—or their Earthling stooges—want to cut up Daisy with their precision tools? Aside from fancying a burger or a T-bone steak? Who knows? The consolation must be that any alien species that needs to cut up cows by the thousand to get it right—whatever right may be—isn’t that bright.

Further Reading



Chapter Six: Conclusions and Recommendations

During the past five years, hundreds of livestock mutilations have been reported throughout the United States. Of the states affected by this phenomenon, New Mexico has certainly had its share of unusual incidents.

Since 1975, over 100 mutilations have been reported throughout the state. Ninety mutilations were reported prior to Operation Animal Mutilation. Another 27 incidents were investigated under this year-long project, which began May 28, 1979. Twenty-five of these cases were reported as mutilations. In each of these 25 incidents, as I have shown in Chapter Four, the rough jagged nature of the incisions together with the evidence at the scene clearly indicates that the carcass was damaged by predators and/or scavengers. In most cases, the animal had died first of natural causes.

Shortly after the results of my investigation were released to the press, several individuals have stated that no classic mutilations had occurred during the course of my project as though this would explain my sincere, but obviously misguided verdict of scavenger-induced damage. I agree that no classic mutilations have occurred during Operation Animal Mutilation. However, I would like to know their basis for their statement. More specifically, I wish to address the following questions to them:

1) How many of the mutilations that I investigated in this project did they also investigate?

2) Specifically, which ones did they investigate?

3) How do these mutilations differ from the “classic” cases with which they are comparing them?

Can these questions be answered, or is their observation just another one of those unsupported statements that I have encountered so frequently during the course of my project? I cannot answer this, but I can point out the results of my own analysis of the 90 mutilations reported prior to the commencement of Operation Animal Mutilation.

As I have noted in Chapter Three, a verdict of predator/scavenger-induced damage is clearly indicated in the vast majority of cases in which sufficient evidence is presented in the report. Even in those few cases in which the damage was determined to be human-induced, the resulting mutilation bore little resemblance to the “classic” case. In short, during my investigation of the 117 mutilations that have been reported in New Mexico since 1975, I have not found one single case which, after careful scrutiny of available evidence, could be confirmed as a “classic mutilation.”

Are the conclusions that I have reached unique? To the contrary, the data obtained from qualified investigators and experienced veterinarians in other states only confirms what I have discovered in New Mexico. In fact, I have found no credible source who differs from this finding, nor has one piece of hard evidence been presented or uncovered that would cause me to alter this conclusion. But perhaps it is better to let the experts speak for themselves. The following statements are excerpts from letters received from veterinarians affiliated with various state veterinary diagnostic laboratories. The complete contents of these communications can be found in the appendix section of this report.

Dr. Harry D. Anthony, Kansas State University:

“It is my opinion that most of these carcass problems occur after the natural death of the animal and predators or scavengers feed on the remaining loose tissues of the carcass, such as lips, eyelids, and the external genital organs.”

Dr. S. M. Dennis, Kansas State University:

“Many animal mutilation reports are a result of false or incomplete information being furnished by the rancher to law enforcement officers investigating the dead animals, and many times by inexperienced and untrained law enforcement officers putting down what they see in a manner which tends to be very dogmatic… it appears to be a quirk of human nature for ranchers not to want to admit that an animal of theirs died either by poisoning or due to predation.”

Dr. L. G. Morehouse, University of Missouri:

“It is the opinion of our pathologists that a fair percentage of animals that come to post-mortem have been eaten on by birds and carnivorous (animals). This has been observed for many years. It is also the opinion of our pathologists that the percentage of dead animals that have lost parts to carnivorous (animals) has not increased in recent years, although the number of clients that believe their animals have been mutilated by humans or some other unexplained phenomenon have increased.”

Dr. William J. Quinn, State of Montana:

“In summary, I believe that the cattle mutilations are due to flesh-eating birds and small mammals and not by an unknown person or group of persons.”

L. D. Kintner, University of Missouri:

“Surprisingly as it may seem to the uninitiated, many of the scavengers make a clean cut as might be done by a surgeon with a very sharp knife. In fact, many of the animals that are presented to our post-mortem laboratory have loss of eyes, tongue, anus, and rectum within only hours after death.”

Dr. Roger Panciera, Oklahoma State University:

(Commenting in a special task force report to the governor of Oklahoma in regards to cattle mutilations):

“All Investigations that have been completed have indicated death due to natural causes and death due to disease. In no case has the observation and opinion of task force indicated man has been a primary factor in death or mutilation.”

Dr. M. W. Vorhies, South Dakota State University:

“Obviously, we should not dismiss the possibilities of human involvement, but it has been our experience that in all instances, we could identify evidence of predatory animals being involved in missing parts of animals dying of some natural causes.

Dr. William Sippel, Texas A & M University:

“In short, we have found no evidence of mutilation by humans of the specimens presented to our laboratory.”

Dr. Robert L. Poulson, Utah Department of Agriculture:

“Livestock mutilations in Utah have been minimal, with the exception of a few cases that were reported which apparently resulted from natural or disease conditions and later mutilated by pranksters or predatory animals.”

In short, as you can see from the foregoing excerpts, the conclusions of professionals from other states overwhelmingly corroborate my own findings. They all agree that the carcasses they have examined have been damaged—by animals and birds rather than highly skilled surgeons. As I have noted previously, in order to eliminate a verdict of predator/scavenger damage, it must be shown that the incisions in the carcass have been made by a knife or other sharp instrument. As I have illustrated in Chapter Four, incisions made by scavengers can resemble knife cuts, especially when viewed at a distance. In those cases in which the cut appears to be smooth, microscopic analysis is necessary to determine whether or not that cut was made by a sharp instrument. In order for such a verdict to be reached, microscopic analysis must reveal that the hair follicles have been cut perpendicular to the plain. If this cannot be shown, then the damage cannot be attributed to humans.

Although “surgical precision” is the major criterion used to distinguish scavenger-induced damage from the “classic mutilations” the latter is also attributed with other characteristics that reportedly set it apart from carcasses damaged by birds and animals. The other attributes of the classic mutilation, as I will illustrate below, can also be explained logically.

For example, one major characteristic is the removal of certain types of organs—namely the sexual organs, tongue, eye, and ear. However, as I have pointed out previously, these are the same organs normally removed by scavengers. This point is well illustrated by an experiment conducted in Arkansas on September 4, 1979. Officials of the Washington County Sheriffs Department, which sponsored this experiment, monitored a calf, which had just died, for more than 30 hours.

“By the time they completed their vigil, the animal’s tongue was gone, its eye removed to the bony orbit, anus ‘cored’, internal organs (intestines, bladder, etc.) expelled, and little blood was evident at the scene. Who were the mutilators? Blowflies, skunks, and buzzards, who were still feeding on the carcass when the last photographs were taken September 6 at 11.00 a.m.”

This experiment also illustrates another point that I have made repeatedly in this report—that the types of organs removed and the amount of damage done to the carcass depends on when the investigator arrives at the scene and which scavengers are present in the area.

Another claim made for the classic mutilation is that the animal is devoid of blood. Such a claim is rarely substantiated by a necropsy report. Rather, it seems to be based primarily on the apparent lack of blood at the scene. Such a lack, however, is easily explainable, particularly in view of the fact that most mutilations appear to be done after the animal has died. As noted previously, the blood settles to the lower port of the cavity and coagulates, thus giving the appearance that the animal is devoid of blood. Any blood on the carcass or on the ground is quickly consumed by scavengers—such as the blowflies observed in the Arkansas experiment. To quote Dr. L. D. Kintner of the University of Missouri: “It is the rule rather than the exception for these animals to do a neat job and not leave either blood or mess at the site of the carcass.”

Also, it seems likely that in a number of alleged mutilations, dried blood found on the carcass has been mistakenly identified as burn marks, which are occasionally reported in classic mutilation cases. Dr. M. W. Vorhies of South Dakota University makes the following observations regarding this problem: “Often where the animal has died and the predatory animals have removed parts, there is dried blood on the hair; and this may appear to some as if the skin or hair has been burned because it will turn a very dark black color when exposed to the air.”

Dr. Clair M. Hibbs of New Mexico State University, when asked to comment about the “mysterious lack of blood at the scene,” sums up the situation by saying that “these statements are made by unprofessionals who do not have any real knowledge of what happens after an animal dies.”

A third characteristic attributed to the classic mutilations is the deliberate avoidance of the carcass by other animals. Although many of the mutilations investigated before Operation Animal Mutilation began are considered “classic”—at least by some of the more vocal investigators—scavenger activity is cited in a large percentage of the official reports from this period.

It should also be pointed out that the deliberate avoidance of the carcass by other animals need not indicate anything mysterious or bizarre about that carcass, for scavengers will tend to avoid livestock which have died from certain types of diseases such as water belly (Urolithiasis). Water belly, according to Tommy Thompson of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, occurs in a cow when the urinary tract gets blocked. The urine subsequently backs up into other portions of the body, eventually killing the animal. According to Thompson, an animal which has died from this condition has such a strong odor that even scavengers won’t go near the carcass.

Another characteristic closely related to this one is the discovery of dead flies on some of the “mutilation” victims. In fact, shortly after it was announced that I would direct this project, Bob Erickson, a rancher from Lindrith, informed me that one of his horses had been mutilated. What struck him as so unusual about this incident was that his horse was covered with dead flies—a fact which he considered very mysterious and, in his mind, tended to authenticate the mutilation phenomenon. I later learned of a similar case which had been reported June 8, 1978 in Elsberry, Missouri. Briefly, an animal was found mutilated. Its right ear, right eye, tongue, udder, and reproductive organs were missing, according to the police report. The report also claimed that the animal’s blood had been removed and that UFOs had been seen in the area. But what interested me about this particular case was the discovery made by the investigating officer of dead flies, which were fused to some branches located near the carcass.

The flies, together with the branches on which they were fused, were submitted by personnel from a local television station to the Ralston Purina Laboratory in St. Louis, Missouri, for examination.

According to the police report (1978), “[they] found [it] to be a fungus which has never before been discovered or known to exist in the wild. It has only, up to this point, been produced in a laboratory.”

To investigate this incident, I obtained some letters written by Dr. J. M. Tufts (deceased) of the Veterinary Service Department of the Ralston Purina Company, who had performed the analysis. These letters, which had been sent to the Center for UFO Studies and a local television station, subsequently dispelled much of the mystery surrounding this incident. The information contained in these letters is summarized in the following paragraphs.

The flies were identified as the common “black blowfly.” It was determined that they were afflicted by a fungus belonging to the genus Entomophthora, which is described in Steinhaus’s Insect Microbiology. This volume includes a picture of clumps of flies attached to a leaf in a manner similar to that observed in the Elsberry incident.

The flies affected with the fungus attach themselves to branches and leaves in a lifelike manner and often in considerable numbers. Such flies would normally be attracted in great numbers to a decaying carcass. The disease progresses very rapidly, within 48 to 72 hours, and may completely replace the flies’ internal structures. The fungus is also characterized by an adhesive material, which will cause the fly to stick to whatever it lands on. In short, the fungus could spread very rapidly and kill many flies very quickly, especially when large numbers are attracted to an area limited to the size of a carcass. Dr. Tufts concluded that the death and peculiar fixation of the flies was due to a fungal disease to which they are normally subject not to a mysterious unknown organism.

A few other characteristics of the “classic mutilation” also deserve brief mention. One common claim, as noted previously, is that the night a mutilation occurs, the family dog is unusually quiet. I have no quarrel with this observation, for as I pointed out in a recent press conference, it’s hard to bark when your mouth is full of fresh meat.

Another frequently made claim is that the carcass of a mutilated animal decays either very slowly or, in some cases, extremely rapidly. There is nothing unusual about such an observation, for the rate of decay of a carcass is dependent upon a number of factors, such as the disease from which the animal died, the temperature, the weather conditions, and the types of scavengers present in the area. Depending on which factors are present, the carcass may appear to decay more rapidly or more slowly than normal.

Although not cited as a typically occurring trait, the discovery of drugs in the carcasses of some of the victims has frequently been cited as proof that these livestock are being killed and mutilated by a highly sophisticated organization. During the course of my investigation, I have found reports of only five incidents in which drugs were discovered in the carcasses of mutilated, animals—three in Arkansas and two in New Mexico.

In three of these incidents, as I have noted previously, the substances found in the animals were drugs with known veterinary use. These include the chlorpromazine found in the mutilated steer in New Mexico; the succinylcholine in the horse in Arkansas, and the santonin in the yearling steer, also in Arkansas. As I have already explained, there is reason to believe that two of these drugs had been administered to the animals, possibly by their owners. At this time I know of no reason why the chlorpromazine was found in the steer, but I have determined, as noted in Chapter Three, that the animal was on medicated feed.

The other two drugs—mescaline, which was found in a bull calf in Arkansas, and atropine, which was reportedly found in a New Mexico animal—are substances that occur naturally in plants found in the area. Since cattle are known to ingest practically anything, the discovery of such substances in the carcasses of dead livestock is certainly not remarkable.

I would like to remind you that the New Mexico case in which atropine was reportedly found has not been identified and that the only source to mention it is the same officer that made the statement that chlorpromazine was the first drug discovered in a New Mexican animal.

To account for the widespread occurrence of these so-called classic mutilations, many theories have been advocated. During the course of my 12-month investigation, I have encountered most of them. However, it didn’t take me long to realize that in terms of publicity, the most popular theory in New Mexico was that these mutilations were being performed by a well-organized, highly sophisticated group who were dissecting livestock as part of a program of biological and environmental testing. The identification of this group has received less publicity, although government involvement has certainly been hinted at by a number of investigators, both amateur and professional.

Despite its popularity, I have not found one shred of hard evidence to substantiate this theory. As I have pointed out in Chapter Three, one would expect that if an organized group such as the government were somehow involved in such a conspiracy, there would be at least some information leaks—or perhaps at least one defector who would try to claim the reward money. For thousands of dollars have been offered by various state agencies for information leading to the arrest and conviction of persons responsible for mutilating livestock. To date, I know of not one single case where this money has been claimed. But then again, what use would eagles, crows, and coyotes have for money, when their food is laying in the pasture—free for the taking.

It also didn’t take me long to learn that of all the theories that have been advocated to account for livestock mutilations, the predator/scavenger theory was the least popular. Although it was not within the scope of my project to determine the reason for this, the following observations made in a recent article published in the Portales News-Tribune (1979) aptly express my own thinking on the subject:

Well, in our opinion, the reason that the simple explanation of these cattle first died of natural causes and almost immediately attracted coyotes, vultures or ravens, lacks credibility to the public is that they haven’t been given the evidence which livestock inspectors, veterinarians and experienced cattlemen are ready and willing to provide.

These knowledgeable people have become shy of answering questions from newsmen because of the Popular beliefs that have been reinforced by speculation of eerie or devilish theories by powerful public news media.

It’s probably simply a case of the newsmen not letting the facts get in the way of a good story.

Explanations for the Phenomenon

If there is no concrete evidence to support the claims that thousands of livestock have fallen victims to “classic mutilations,” then how does one explain the livestock mutilation phenomenon. Again, although the answer to this question falls outside the framework of this project, I would like to briefly review some of the explanations offered by others interested in this phenomenon.

A possible explanation for at least some of the interest in livestock mutilations is offered by Tom Adams (1979–80) in the January issue of Stigmata, a newsletter devoted to the continuing investigation of livestock mutilations.

Among items that are rumored to be in the works, however tentatively: an anthology of commentary on the mutilation phenomenon; a bibliography of published materials; a fund for research and investigation; an in-depth documentary by a Colorado TV station, a program which may or may not be circulated to other TV stations around the country.

We wish we had a dollar (no, make that an ounce of gold) for every writer we’ve heard of within the past few years who promised (or threatened) to turn out a serious book on mutilations.

Although the profit motive cannot be entirely discounted, the livestock mutilation phenomenon is much too complex to be explained solely on this basis. Another possible explanation is offered by Burton Wolfe (1976) in an article entitled “Demystifying all the Satanic Conspiracy Stories on the Cattle Mutilations”, which appeared in the May 14, 1976 issue of the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

Wolfe attributes the cattle mutilation phenomenon to a hoax originally perpetrated by an astrologer named Dan Fry, host of a radio program in Minnesota called the Cosmic Age.

According to Wolfe, about two years ago Fry announced on his program that cattle were being mutilated “either by some weird satanic cult or supernatural creatures arriving on the range in UFOs.”

Fry, apparently intending his comments as a joke, was alarmed at the impact they subsequently had on ranches and farmers.

Suddenly, farmers in Minnesota accustomed to finding dead cows with parts severed by predators began attributing the scavenging to satanists and UFO creatures. Through the mass communication media, including the Associated Press and such esteemed newspapers as the Houston Post, the story was disseminated to millions of people in hundreds of Midwestern cities. Reporters began to vie with each other for the most sensationalized version of how mysterious creatures from UFOs or stealthy night figures from satanic cults were mutilating cattle.

Alarmed by the results, the astrologer appeared on a number of radio and television shows “in an effort to abort his prank before the press created still more mass hysteria with it.”

“‘Man, there weren’t any cattle mutilations,’ Fry explained in a typical appearance on a Texas television talk show in March 1975. ‘I just started these rumors as a joke.’”

Whether or not you accept Wolfe’s explanation for the origin of the mutilation phenomenon, his observations about the role played by the media are quite revealing. Similarly, my own investigation has clearly shown that the media has played a very important role in promoting both the livestock phenomenon and the lore surrounding it.

The Truchas incident, as discussed in Chapter Four, is a classic example of how a newspaper not only can distort the facts, but also can deliberately choose to ignore them in the face of a more sensational story. This incident, as I have noted previously, would undoubtedly have gone down in history as another “classic mutilation,” if I had not investigated the case myself. My own investigation, as I have shown, clearly indicated the animal had died of natural causes and had subsequently been eaten by dogs and other scavengers. Although the reporter was later made aware of the many inaccuracies contained in her articles, she never printed a retraction.

A similar incident also occurred in Roswell. However, in this case the reporter did print a retraction. On October 29, 1979, the Roswell Daily Record (1979a) printed an article entitled “Mutilated Cow Found”. This story, which describes a cow reportedly found dead and mutilated in Carrizozo, contains the following quotes, both of which were erroneously attributed to me: “‘It is definitely classified as a mutilation, but it does not hold true to form as a mutilation as are on our records,’ said Kenneth Rommel, director of the New Mexico animal mutilation project. ‘The difference is that the eyes and tongue were left intact on the animal,’ he explained.”

I have no idea where this quote came from, for I certainly did not make it. On November 9, 1979, I sent a letter to the Roswell Daily Record informing them of this inaccuracy.

This quotation is in error. I have not made any statements since the beginning of this project that would authenticate in any way any reported cattle mutilations. My policy in regards to this investigation has been to not give out any incorrect, or misleading information. I would appreciate it if you would make a correction in your newspaper.

The Roswell Daily Record (1979b) did publish a correction on November 11 issue in an article entitled, “It Wasn’t a Mutilation”.

The role played by the media in both sensationalizing and promoting the livestock mutilation phenomenon has also been noted by Dr. Nancy H. Owen (1980) in her study of mutilations in Benton County, Arkansas. Similarly, Dr. J. M. Tufts, whose role in unraveling the Elsberry, Missouri fly mystery which was just discussed, makes the following observation: “After all was said and done, it was obvious that Channel 2 News was more interested in creating an exciting story than in shedding any light on the occurrence of a few dead cows.”

One of the most extensive studies done on the relationship between the media and livestock mutilations was conducted recently by Dr. James R. Stewart, associate professor of sociology at the University of South Dakota. In an article entitled “Collective Delusion: A Comparison of Believers and Skeptics”, Dr. Stewart (1980) traces the history of livestock mutilation reports in two adjacent states—Nebraska and South Dakota. He goes on to show that there is a positive correlation between the number of reported incidents in a prescribed area and the number of news inches devoted to livestock mutilations by the media.

Another interesting point made by Stewart is the role played by law enforcement personnel in promoting the phenomenon.

Local law enforcement personnel have little, if any, experience in determining causes of cattle deaths. Consequently, they were inclined to adopt the farmer’s explanations in the absence of any solid refuting evidence of their own. The same was true of some local veterinarians. Rarely do they examine dead cattle; instead they are usually asked to treat living animals.

Stewart also presents convincing evidence to support his conclusion—that the episodes just discussed represent a classic case of mild hysteria. However, as Stewart points out, not everyone in these two states believed in livestock mutilations, even in the height of the “hysteria.” Curious as to the types of individuals likely to be “believers,” Stewart and his students interviewed approximately 800 adults. His findings are summarized in the following quote:

Females, persons with lower educational levels and lower socioeconomic groups seem to be more prone to subscribe to a bizarre explanation,—while males, higher educational level groups and high socioeconomic groups seem to be more reluctant to adopt the unusual explanation and are more likely to attribute cause to a natural explanation.


One major objective of this project was to make recommendations to the law enforcement community. Since my investigation revealed that the vast majority of reported mutilations are not a law enforcement problem, my first recommendation is that no additional money be spent to fund law enforcement investigations of this phenomenon. It should be noted, however, that this conclusion does not apply to other types of investigations, for I believe that useful and revealing studies can be done by anthropologists, psychologists, sociologists, and other behavioral scientists.

Although I believe that most reported mutilations are caused by predators and scavengers, this does not mean that you, as a law enforcement officer, might not be summoned to investigate a suspected mutilation. In the event that this occurs, you should conduct an investigation that is sufficient to determine if the facts, as alleged, are in violation of a particular state statute, such as unlawful killing, unlawful butchering, or stealing of animals.

If so, you should conduct a logical investigation to collect evidence and testimony to support a successful prosecution of the individuals involved.

If not, you should investigate the incident no further. For example, you would not conduct a homicide investigation after it had been established that the individual had died a natural death or had committed suicide. The same reasoning should be used in investigating livestock mutilations.

Don’t use terms such as “surgical precision,” which are conclusions. Stay with the facts, let the laboratory experts make conclusions. Also, don’t be misled by statements made by non-authoritative sources, for as Adolf Hitler once said: “Tell a lie enough times and it will be believed” (KAFE, April 23, 1980).

While I would hesitate to classify these colorful reports as deliberate lies, nevertheless the principle remains the same. Constant repetition of even some of the most sensational conjectures may eventually be accepted as truth. Perhaps Dr. Samuel Johnson expressed it best when he said: “It is more from carelessness about truth than from intentional lying, that there is so much falsehood in the world.”

It is my sincere hope that the conclusions reached in this report will help those engaged in the cattle industry and others to put behind them the rumors, theories and fears that some highly organized criminal activity or extraterrestrial conspiracy is responsible for these mutilations. If this yearlong investigation has achieved this one result, then all of the time, effort, and research will have proved most worthwhile.

However, I tend to agree with the following observation made by Dr. Stewart in a letter which he sent to me dated May 13, 1980: “The efforts of knowledgeable experts hopefully will provide a rational explanation for this bizarre episode. Unfortunately, the histories of similar events show that reasonable, scientific explanations may deflect or deter, but never completely eliminate the fantastic explanations that gullible, naive persons adopt.”


“The Circle” is an offshoot of the infamous Bilderberg group, but whereas Bilderberg jaws “The Circle” wars. Ultra-secretive and ultra-conservative, The Circle was founded in the 1950s by the French former prime minister Antoine Pinay (hence the organization’s original name of “The Pinay Circle”) together with the French lawyer and Nazi collaborator Jean Violet. The Circle directed its early efforts towards the creation of a unified Europe, drawing together leading politicians from the recently warring states, including German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and French PM Robert Schuman. However, The Circle more and more came to see its role—especially after the événements in France of 1968—as fighting communism and promoting a right-wing political order within the various states of Europe. This vision entirely overlapped with that of the CIA, who became major funders of The Circle. Ties between the CIA and the Circle are tight. According to Professor van der Pijl’s study Transnational Classes and International Relations, a two-day conference of The Circle in Washington DC was attended by a former CIA official who had played a leading role in Operation Gladio, the “stay behind” network of anti-Communists prepared to rise against a left-wing government in Italy. The Circle’s appetite for getting its hands dirty should not be underestimated. Circle chairman Brian Crozier used his private National Association of Freedom to smear British PM Harold Wilson as a KGB puppet, while across La Manche, Circle members in the state’s Service for External Documentation and Espionage spread disinformation about socialist presidential candidate François Mitterrand in the 1980s. (When in the Elysée Mitterrand took his revenge by closing the SEDE down.) Van der Pijl asserts that The Circle “envisaged use of provocative terrorism in Germany” to bring controversial Bavarian rightist Franz-Josef Straus to power. More controversially yet, critics of The Circle have alleged that its members in the Swedish intelligence service SAPO, assassinated Sweden’s socialist prime minister Olof Palme.


No, don’t press that button…

Nothing seems to go right at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland, with its poor old pointy-headed scientists having to cope with gremlins, explosions, arrests for membership of al-Qaeda (yes, really), which may be just as well, because according to the far fringe of conspiracy theory the particle beam accelerator is actually a doomsday weapon to bring about the end of the world. How do they know? Because the 27-kilometre-long tunnel down which the protons rage towards a collision intended to recreate the beginning of the universe has 666, the Mark of the Beast, stamped on it, while outside CERN’s HQ, is a statue of the Indian goddess Shiva, the destroyer. We’ll all disappear into a black hole made by the LHC in 2012 (this being the year the Mayan Calendar, the doomsayers’ bible, ends.) Or, as Dan Brown, that well-known atomic physicist, has written in the textbook Angels and Demons, anti-matter will be created in the LHV for a bomb to blow the Vatican and the pontiff to kingdom come.

But the award for the most intriguing CERN conspiracy goes to two real scientists, Holger Bech Nielsen of the Niels Bohr Institute and Masao Ninomiya of the Yukawa Institute for Theoretical Physics. One of the main aims of the £3 billion LHC is to discover the Higgs boson, the missing link between mass and energy, otherwise known as the “God particle”. Nielsen and Ninomiya’s thesis is that all the glitches and accidents at the LHC are not accidental, but intentional, because the LHC is sabotaging itself—from the future—so it does not fulfil its function of discovering the Higgs. Such a discovery would be “abhorrent to nature”. According to Nielsen: “Our theory suggests that any machine trying to make the Higgs shall have bad luck. It is based on mathematics, but you could explain it by saying that God rather hates Higgs particles and attempts to avoid them.”

The repeated failures of the US Superconducting Supercollider, also designed to find Higgs, are similarly explained by God’s dislike of Higgs and human attempts to impersonate his work.

This is the Hallowed Father of All Conspiracies.

Further Reading

Holger Bech Nielsen and Masao Ninomiya, “Test of Effect from Future in Large Hadron Collider: A proposal”, arXiv.org


Think ALF from the Sci-Fi TV show of that name. But not nice. Not nice at all.

A chupacabra is, in popular lore, a vicious creature that inhabits the Americas, where it attacks livestock, prior to draining out all their blood in a Dracula-style drink. (Chupacabra is the Spanish for the carefully pronounced “goat sucker”.) The first sightings of the Chupacabra came from Puerto Rico in 1995, but in recent years the critters have spotted in Michigan, Russia, the Philippines. Although eye-witnesses differ on the what exactly a chupacabra does look like, the creature is commonly described as being the size of a large dog, having red bulging eyes, a row of spines down its back, a scaly skin, and trailing a gut-churning stench in its wake. The chupacabra commits the exsanguinations by piercing ¼ inch holes into its prey.

Chilean chupacabra-watchers have asserted that the beast is a result of a NASA lab experiment going wrong, whereas Jorge Martin in “The Chupacabras Phenomenon” notes a different bunch of microscope-wielding gringos may be to blame:

Puerto Rico has been the site for much experimentation by the United States on the island’s population and territory for decades. Examples of this can be found in the experimentation of Talidomida and anti-conceptive drugs on our women, which caused the birth of many malformed children in the 1950s. The lethal “orange agent” and other dioxine-based chemical agents were tested in several places on the island, as well as gamma radiation tests in our forests. Because of this we can’t exclude the “possibility” that someone may well be experimenting with new and advanced genetic products in our country. The ABEs [Anomalous Biological Entities] could be the result—and has gone awry… who knows?

The US government possibly? According to Martin, specimens of chupacabra were captured alive in Puerto Rico in November 1995 and dispatched stateside. The only reason the matter was not reported in the media was because chupacabra sightings tend to coincide with UFO sightings, and Uncle Sam does not want Joe and Josephine Public to know UFOs are real and/or that Uncle Sam is in cahoots with the ETs.

While the presence of an “ALF” or “alien life form” on Earth cannot be completely ruled out, until we get to shake long spindly fingers there are better explanations for the phenomenon of “El Chupacabra”. A Plum Island genetic monster is a distant possibility, yet numerous studies of dead “chupacabras” have found them to be no more exotic than coyotes with mange. Almost as prosaically, researcher Benjamin Radford has shown that the first sightings of chupacabra coincided almost exactly with the release of the sci-fi movie Species. Which featured an alien/human varmint quite remarkably like the chupacabra.

Further Reading

Benjamin Radford, Tracking the Chupacabra: The Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction and Film, 2011


Kate Bush had a hit single in 1985 called “Cloudbusting”, which came with an eye-catching video of a machine that sucked clouds into a trumpet-like horn and blew them out elsewhere.

Both song and video were based on the “cloudbuster” machine invented by Wilhelm Reich. Born in Austria in 1897, Reich was trained as a psychoanalyst by Freud, but he eventually turned his back on the sage of Vienna to concentrate on a science centred on the study of “bions”, microscopically small particles of cosmic energy. Thrown out of Austria by the Gestapo, he moved to America, where he perfected, among other inventions, the aforementioned cloudbuster. This consisted of six metal pipes strapped together, and grounded by a metal cable to a water source. Mounted on a stand, so it could be pointed at any cloud in the sky, it supposedly worked by raising or lowering “Orgone Energy”, a cosmic life force like Chinese chi, in the atmosphere.

In the great Maine drought of 1953, with the blueberry harvest in danger of shrivelling, Dr Reich was asked by farmers to bring his cloudbuster along and do his stuff. According to the Bangor Daily News, within hours of Reich pointing his contraption at the sky at 10.00 a.m. on 6 July, a quarter of an inch of rain fell—despite no forecast of precipitation.

Skeptics suggested the precipitation was coincidence.

Whatever, Reich’s incipient career as a rainmaker was cut short by an unholy alliance of the FBI and the Food and Drug Administration. When Reich claimed that his “Orgone Energy Accumulator” (a large wood and metal box) could cure cancer, he was sentenced to prison, where he died. The court also ruled that his inventions, their parts and his papers be destroyed.

Reich’s science may have been unorthodox, but it hardly required an American court to ape the Nazis by burning scholarly books and imprisoning alternative thinkers.

Further Reading

Wilhelm Reich, The Cancer Biopathy, 1948

Wilhelm Reich, The Orgone Energy Accumulator, Its Scientific and Medical Uses, 1948


You will not read about the Club of the Isles in any textbook or popular magazine. It is unincorporated and it has no membership lists. Yet, as an informal association of predominantly European-based royal households and princely families, the Club of the Isles commands an estimated $10 trillion in assets. It lords over such corporate giants as Royal Dutch Shell, Imperial Chemical Industries, Lloyds of London, Unilever, Lonrho, Rio Tinto Zinc, and Anglo American DeBeers. It dominates the world supply of petroleum, gold, diamonds, and many other vital raw materials; and deploys these assets not merely in the pursuit of wealth, but as resources at the disposal of its geopolitical agenda.

Such is the belief of The New Federalist, house newspaper of American politician and conspiracy theorist Lyndon LaRouche. It gets worse according to Mr LaRouche, because the goal of the Club of the Isles –which supposedly takes its name from the Prince of Wales’s title “Prince of the Isles”—is “to reduce the human population from its current level of over 5 billion people to below 1 billion people within the next two to three generations; to literally ‘cull the human herd’ in the interest of retaining their own global power and the feudal system upon which that power is based”.

How will humanity be so culled? By wars and revolutions fomented by the World Wildlife Fund (!) which, like the Club itself, is headed by the nonagenarian Duke of Edinburgh. The genocide in Rwanda is just one example of what the WWF, cunningly disguised as panda-huggers, can do. Meanwhile, that section of humanity destined to escape the chop will be made hapless and helpless by ingesting large quantities of pop music and drugs, the latter supplied by the biggest crack cartel of all—the British Royal Family. In his book Why Your Child Became a Drug Addict, LaRouche asserts that Queen Elizabeth II had the British Secret Service deliberately manufacture the Beatles, so as to pervert the minds of American youth with their rock ’n’ roll ways.

Welcome to La-la-la-Rouche land. Mr LaRouche and his collaborators do not like the Windsors who, in the tortured minds of the LaRouchites, run, aside from drug-trafficking, the Commonwealth, the UN and pretty much the whole global shebang from their secret inner circle, the Club of the Isles. Well, not quite the entire world deal, because LaRouche also seems to think that Synarchy is another contender as Master Cabal of the Universe, and the good old US of A is holding out against re-becoming a British colony.

A hundred years ago, a good case could have been made for the thesis that “Britannia Rules” (with Cecil Rhodes’s Society of the Elect as chief cheerleader), but today Britain barely scrapes membership of the G7. As with all “unified field” conspiracies LaRouche resorts to an entirely instrumentalist view of politics, by which one person pulls a lever and the world alters course: Lizzie Windsor requests MI5 to create four lovable mop heads from Liverpool, drug culture ruins the teenagers of the US.

The LaRouchites might be more convincing if they got the details correct. The title held by the Prince of Wales that gives the club its name is Lord of the Isles not Prince of. And if the Club of the Isles actually exists anywhere outside La-la-la-Roucheland it is doubtless yet another talking shop for the great and the good.

Further Reading

Joan Veon, Prince Charles: The Sustainable Prince, 1997

“The True Story Behind the Fall of the House of Windsor”, EIR Special Report, September 1997


When Nirvana’s lead singer Kurt Cobain exited the world on 5 April 1994 his mother exclaimed, “Now he’s gone and joined that stupid club, I told him not to join that stupid club.” Mrs Wendy O’Connor meant that her son had joined Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix on rock ’n’ roll’s list of twenty-seven-year-old suicides.

But did Cobain commit suicide? Within a week of Cobain’s death at his Lake Washington house, Seattle journalist Richard Lee hosted a show unambiguously entitled “Kurt Cobain Was Murdered”, claiming that there were discrepancies and facts difficult to reconcile with a verdict of suicide.

Kurt Donald Cobain was, admittedly, given to depression and his family had a history of suicide. Cobain himself apparently deliberately overdosed on Rohypnol and champagne earlier in 1994 while in Rome. Bandmate Krist Novoselic considered Cobain “quiet” and “estranged” in the period before his death. Cobain was also under intense financial and professional pressure, having walked out on a $9.5 million contract to headline the Lollapalooza festival.

Against this, psychologists at the rehab centre Cobain visited a week before his demise, thought he seemed far from suicidal. Neither was the “suicide note” found near his body full of the usual darknesses of such missives, and contained the statement: “I have it good, very good and I’m grateful.” The last four lines of the note appear to have been written by another hand, while Cobain’s body contained so much heroin—three times the lethal 225 mgs dose—he would have been comatose and unable to hold a gun. His body also contained significant and incapacitating amounts of diazepam (Valium). On studying the autopsy report, Canadian toxicologist and chemist Roger Lewis concluded in an article entitled “Dead Men Don’t Pull Triggers”: “Thus, in contrast with the ‘official’ verdict of suicide by shotgun, the scientific facts point to a series of events which probably included a massive, lethal ‘hot shot’ dose of heroin and a benzodiazepine administered to Cobain, which would have either immediately rendered him incapacitated in a comatose state or killed him instantly.”

There’s more. No legible fingerprints were on the pen used to write the note or on the Remington shotgun used, suggesting that both had been wiped clean. Cobain’s hands, according to Seattle police reports, were free of gunpowder residue. And who fills a Remington 20 gauge shotgun with three cartridges for a suicide shot to the head, when only one is needed? And who uses their Seafirst credit card twice after their death, as timed by the medical examiner. If Cobain was murdered, whodunnit? An LA private dick by the name of Tom Grant was hired by Cobain’s wife, Courtney Love, to track Cobain’s credit card. Love’s strange behaviour, however, soon convinced Grant that she orchestrated Cobain’s homicide. Her motive was financial. Cobain was about to divorce Love; since ex-Mrs Cobain would get nothing in Cobain’s will, she had her husband “suicided”. Supporting evidence for Grant’s accusation came from British documentary maker Nick Broomfield, who interviewed Eldon Hoke (a.k.a. “El Duce”) a member of LA punk band the Mentors, who alleged that Love had offered him $50,000 to kill Kurt Cobain. El Duce expanded on his claim to a newspaper, saying that Love had pulled up outside the Rock Shop at 1644 Wilcox Avenue, Hollywood, and the following conversation ensued:

Love: “El, I need a favour of you. My old man’s been a real asshole lately, I need you to blow his fucking head off.”

El Duce: “Are you serious?”

Love: “Yeah, I’ll give you $50,000 to blow his fucking head off.”

El Duce: “I’m serious if you are.”

Love: “Where can I reach you?”

El Duce: “You can reach me here.”

The manager of the shop, Karush Sepedjian, overheard the conversation, and agreed with El Duce’s version of it. When asked, “Did Love offer you money to kill Cobain?” with a lie detector strapped to his arm El Duce passed with a 99.7 per cent certainty. El Duce rejected Love’s offer. Further attempts to interview El Duce proved impossible; he was run over by a train in 1997, so adding fuel to the conspiracy fire. Nonetheless PI Grant fingered, to his own satisfaction, the man who did take up Courtney Love’s murderous proposal. Grant named the killer as Michael Dewitt. The claim is still up on Grant’s website www. cobaincase.com: “After several months of intensive investigation, including dozens of taped interviews with Cobain’s closest friends and family members, I reached the conclusion that Courtney Love and Michael Dewitt (the male nanny who lived at the Cobain residence) were involved in a conspiracy that resulted in the murder of Kurt Cobain.”

Grant’s investigation also led him to believe that the Lake Washington shooting was Love–Dewitt’s second homicide attempt, and that Cobain’s drug and alcohol OD in Rome was a masked murder attempt by the same duo. (According to Grant, Cobain was not a user of Rohypnol, the “date rape” drug.) Gumshoe Grant believes that the proof of Love and Dewitt’s guilt is their unwillingness to sue him for defamation: “As I predicted when I first began speaking out [about Cobain’s homicide], no legal action has been taken against myself or anyone in the media who have covered this story.”

Unhappily for Courtney Love, her first husband, James Moreland, weighed into the controversy, telling a British newspaper: “It wasn’t long before I became a battered husband… She would go mad for no reason, and hit me time and time again… Once she threatened to pay someone £150 to beat me up because I didn’t agree with her about something.”

Pointed questions also began to be asked of the coroner in the case, Dr Hartshorne, because of a conflict of interest. He knew Cobain and Love, and was known to party with the latter.

Despite the welter of evidence and allegations, the Seattle PD has so far refused to re-open the case on Cobain’s death. Perhaps they should.

Further Reading

Nick Broomfield, Kurt and Courtney, 1998 (film)

Ian Halperin and Max Wallace, Who Killed Kurt Cobain? The Mysterious Death of an Icon, 1999




Latin for “Food Code” the Codex Alimentarius is a quango formed by the World Health Authority and the US Food and Agriculture Organization in 1963, with the aim of “protecting health of the consumers and ensuring fair trade practices in the food trade, and promoting coordination of all food standards work undertaken by international governmental and nongovernmental organizations”. Put another way, the work of the CA is to ensure that your turkey twizzler is not full of additives, has been prepared properly and is accurately labelled.

Sounds like a good idea? Not according to libertarians and alternative practitioners, who allege that Codex Alimentarius, far from being independent and “voluntary” as described, is in the hands of Big Pharma, food multinationals, agribusiness, government officials and seeks to do down local producers, organic farmers and, especially, manufacturers and sellers of vitamins—and then some. A press release from Alliance for Natural Health states:

The WTO (World Trade Organization) is a global commercial police that ensures countries are required to purchase from transnational corporations in favour of their own locally produced goods, in the name of “lowering trade barriers”.

This WHO/WTO joint effort called CODEX is in the process of wiping out local supplement companies and natural health care practices, to bring in more drug based medicines, in what is euphemistically known as “creating a level playing field”, while primarily giving the public a misleading impression that someone in the World Health Organisation (WHO) is looking after its health and safety.

The frontline for anti-Codex campaigners is the humble vitamin supplement, since the Codex supposedly seeks the banning of dietary supplements for prophylactic or therapeutic use, and the classification of common foods such as peppermint and garlic as drugs, and the requirement of prescriptions for anything but the lowest potencies of vitamins. All new dietary supplements would be banned until Codex-tested. And that is where big business enters the picture: since testing is expensive, few small-scale manufacturers (runs the argument) could afford to have their products tested, so leaving the field open to the corporate colossi in the food and drink game.

Inevitably, any global regulatory body will attract charges that it is the pawn of the New World Order and sure enough Jon King on www.consciousape.com states “Big Brother and the New World Order (not to mention the Carlyle Group) [is] taking away your health as of April 2011.” “Taking away your health” in the Codex conspiracy can equate to depopulation of the Third World, since the NWO wishes to rid the globe of useless “hungry mouths”. At the very least, think NWO-observers, the Codex is not truly voluntary and supersedes domestic laws, meaning weakening of sovereignty.

It’s a funny old world, the conspiracy world. Because, guess what? There is a conspiracy theory that the “Codex conspiracy” is a conspiracy. Some say that the Codex scale is all fanned up by organic foodies, homeopaths and herbalists for financial reasons. Since their products are starting to become regulated and studied by science, they are making up conspiracy theories about the nice people at Codex who simply want to make sure any and every food is safe for your body.

The verdict: Big Nanny is alive and well and living in Codex HQ in Rome. Whether the CA is the puppet of interest groups or no, it is a bureaucracy in need of democracy.

Further Reading



Who is the daddy of the secret societies? Conspiracist John Coleman has the answer: the Committee of 300 is the one group that covertly runs the world.

The existence of the Committee of 300 was first mooted in a 1909 newspaper article by German civil servant Walther Rathenau; according to Rathenau the whole of the European economy was run by a group of 300 industrial magnates. He repeated the claim in his book Zur Kritik der Zeit (“A Critique of the Times”); in turn Erich von Ludendorff, former general and arch right-winger, maintained that the Committee was nothing less than the head honchos of the global Jewish conspiracy described in the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”. The anti-Semitic press in Weimar Germany found all necessary proof for von Ludendorff ’s thesis in Rathenau’s person; not only was he a civil servant, he was an industrialist—the director of the German branch of General Electric—and a Jew. Thus he knew of what he spoke because he was… one of the Committee of 300 himself.

Despite all the Nazi huff and puff, they were unable to provide actual evidence of the Committee of 300’s existence. (Of course, assassinating Rathenau in a fit of anti-Semitic pique, thus destroying their one “proof ”, hardly helped verification.) Nevertheless, the Committee of 300 continued to be a bogeyman of the Western world, and by 1992 Dr John Coleman, a self-proclaimed former MI6 officer, had decided that the Committee was actually “The Olympians”, a British satanic, aristocratic sect founded in 1727. More, the Olympians/Committee of 300 were the sponsors of all the other secret elites hell-bent on creating a New World Order, including the Bavarian Illuminati, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Club of Rome, the Trilateral Commission—to name just a few.

In all probability, Rathenau never intended the phrase “the Committee of 300” to indicate a literal cabal, or a black magic cult, but a loose alliance of industrialists. In his words, “Three hundred men, all of whom know one another, direct the economic destiny of Europe and choose their successors from among themselves.”

Curiously, John Coleman is alone in finding modern evidence of the Committee of 300. He has a book to sell about the 300, titled Conspirator’s Hierarchy: The Story of the Committee of 300, which is available from his website www.coleman300.com. So, no vested interest there, then.

Further Reading

John Coleman, Conspirator’s Hierarchy: The Story of the Committee of 300, 1992


The Cult Awareness Network (CAN) was founded by Patricia Ryan, daughter of Congressman Leo Ryan, who was assassinated in Guyana by members of Jim Jones’s People’s Temple cult. CAN was a counsel and support for families whose sons or daughters had been brainwashed by outfits like Jones’s. The Network also provided information on over two hundred religious cults it considered worrisome. One such was the Church of Scientology. According to Time, CAN received more calls from concerned moms and dads about the Scientology church than any other group. In 1991, Cynthia Kisser, the executive director of CAN, openly criticized Scientology in a 1991 article in Time, saying, “Scientology is quite likely the most ruthless, the most classically terroristic, the most litigious and the most lucrative cult the country has ever seen. No cult extracts more money from its members.”

Mr L. Ron Hubbard’s church was very, very unhappy at such negative attention, and fought back with an expensive advertising campaign, taking out full-colour ads in USA Today for weeks on end. The Scientologists also sicced their house lawyer, Kendrick Moxon, on to CAN, who filed fifty civil lawsuits against the counselling group.

CAN’s annual budget was $300,000 a year. Fighting the Scientologists’ legal eagle in court emptied its coffers and then some. Eventually CAN was driven into bankruptcy, after CAN was found guilty of violating the religious liberties of Jason Scott, a Pentecostalist, who had been kidnapped and subjected to “deprogramming”. CAN was not party to the kidnap, but was implicated because Scott’s mother had called CAN’s helpline, who in turn had referred her to a deprogrammer. And the deprogammer had participated in the kidnap. Usually, the Church of Scientology snubs rival religious groups, but on this occasion old man Hubbard’s outfit kindly allowed its famous lawyer, Kendrick Moxon, to file a civil suit against CAN on Jason Scott’s behalf. The court awarded $1 million in punitive damages against CAN.

So CAN was driven into bankruptcy. And guess who bought it? The Church of Scientology. They altered not a jot about its name or purpose. All they did was replace the staff. So when a concerned mom or dad phones the CAN helpline, they are answered by a Scientologist. That is, a member of the same sect that Cynthia Kisser thought a contender for being the “most ruthless cult” the country had ever seen.

Further Reading

Richard Behar, “The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power”, Time, 6 May 1991


Welcome to Denver International Airport (slogan: “Together we soar”), from where you can take flights to London, Frankfurt, Mexico City, LA and Toronto. Or, if you are a VIP, you can take a quick trip down below the runway to the subterranean HQ of the New World Order. Supposedly.

Denver International Airport (DIA) has been the object of conspiracy movement suspicions since it replaced the old Denver airport at Stapleton in 1995. The new airport—the biggest in the USA—was budgeted at $1.7 billion, but when the last contractor screwed in the last light bulb the cost had jumped to $5 billion. The discrepancy between the two figures, plus the vast amount of soil shifting done, gave credibility to the belief that a secret multilevel building had been constructed underground. Conspiracy researchers Alex Christopher and Philip Schneider claimed to have visited the subterranean complex, and interviewed workers there. Christopher informed radio interviewer Dave Alan:

AC:… this other man told me in private that there is a lot of human slave labor in these deep underground bases being used by these aliens, and that a lot of this slave labor is children. He said that when the children reach the point that they are unable to work any more, they are slaughtered on the spot and consumed.

DA: Consumed by who?

AC: Aliens. Again, this is not from me, but from a man that gave his life to get this information out. He worked down there for close to 20 years, and he knew everything that was going on.

DA: Hmmm. Who do these aliens eat?

AC: They specifically like young human children that haven’t been contaminated like adults. Well, there is a gentleman out giving a lot of information from a source he gets it from, and he says that there is an incredible number of children snatched in this country.

DA: Over 200,000 each year.

AC: And that these children are the main entree for dinner.

DA: How many Draconians are down there?

AC: I have heard the figure of 150,000 just in the New York area.

DA: Underneath New York?

AC: Yes. In some kind of underground base there.

DA: Interesting. Now, you’ve seen pictures of these things?

AC: I have seen them face to face.

DA: You have?

AC: Yes. From some information that has been put out by a group or team that also works in these underground bases that is trying to get information out to people that love this country, there is a war that is going on under our feet, and above our heads, that the public doesn’t know anything about, and its between these alien forces and the humans that are trying to fight them.

DA: What other types have you seen?

AC: The ones that I have seen are the big-eyed Greys and the Reptilians.

Phew. So dangerous was this knowledge that Schneider was (reportedly) murdered by the NWO. Dead men tell no tales.

Those too nervous to sneak down for a peek at the aliens can find all the proof they need about DIA’s dual role as NWO HQ just by visiting the airport’s main (above ground) complex, where the decor gives the game away:

• A dedication marker in the Great Hall (a Masonic term!) is unambiguously inscribed with a Masonic square and compasses. Also carved in the stone is the legend “New World Airport Commission”. Spooky or what?

• A mural by the artist Leo Tanguma contains a sword-wielding figure and a rainbow. According to Tanguma, these images are part of his themes of war and the triumph of peace, and living in harmony with Nature. Ex-Florida dentist Len Horowitz , though, maintains in his book Death in the Air that the rainbow is an image code for a revived Nazi plan to spray lethal toxins into the air to bring about the genocide of undesirable populations.

• The Nazi theme is continued in the design of the airport’s runways. From above, they are shaped like a swastika.

• The floors in the terminal are inscribed with satanic/Masonic/NWO/Illuminati codes, such as Dzit Dit Gaii and Cochetopa.

Enough already. DIA is not the site of the NWO’s HQ, and there are no below runway constructions filled with aliens eating babies and opponents of the NWO. There are miles of underground passages, but these have innocuous purposes. One of Christopher’s photos of the NWO secret tunnels turned out to be a track for a baggage train. Tanguma’s murals are a tad weird, probably not the sort of stuff you want to view before catching a flight, but the man’s an artist for heaven’s sake. (A liberal, Christian artist to boot, so hardly the sort of painter the NWO is going to hire to empathetically communicate its vision.) The codes on the floor are actually Navajo place names. Certainly, the Masons got in on the DIA project, but the Masons like to advertise with plaques and capstones (aged, they need the members because they are literally dying out), thus have been laying capstones of buildings all over America for hundreds of years. “The New World Airport Commission”, declares the airport authority, was a group of businessmen who arranged the opening shindig, and came up with the name because the airport would be “new” and “world-spanning”.

Further Reading

Alex Christopher, Pandora’s Box, 2007



Although “L’affaire Dreyfus” occurred over a hundred years ago France still lives in its shadow.

Alfred Dreyfus—who was Jewish—was an artillery captain in the French Army. In 1894 he was charged with passing military secrets to the German Embassy in Paris, the evidence against him being documents found in the attaché’s rubbish bin of the German written, according to graphologists, in Dreyfus’s hand. Dreyfus was barred from seeing the evidence and sentenced to life imprisonment on the infamous Devil’s Island off the coast of South America.

Four years later, Lieutenant-Colonel Georges Picquart discovered overwhelming evidence that the real culprit was one Major Ferdinand Walsin Esterhazy, but before Picquart could obtain a new hearing he was mysteriously transferred to Tunisia. Meanwhile, another officer who supplied clear-cut evidence that the top brass of the Army had forged documents in the Dreyfus case was interrogated. He then committed suicide. The Army, meanwhile, found Esterhazy innocent. Fearful of the public exposure of the injustice done to Dreyfus—and, let us admit it, egged on by their own anti-Semitism—high-ranking officers on the Army’s General Staff and intelligence corps—had begun a cover-up of colossal dimension.

Save for the French novelist Émile Zola the conspiracy may well have succeeded. On 13 January 1898 Zola published an article, “J’Accuse” in the French newspaper The Dawn in which he publicly revealed Esterhazy as the real culprit and named the officers involved in the conspiracy. The Army leadership wrote Zola was engaged in “one of the greatest iniquities of the century”.

The military sued Zola for libel. The trial provoked anti-Dreyfus/Zola rioting in the streets of Paris. Although evidence introduced at the trial by the defence made it obvious that Esterhazy, not Dreyfus, was the traitor, and that the military was covering up the truth, Zola was convicted. To avoid prison, he fled to England. If anything, the military conspiracy escalated: the wholly innocent Picquart was arrested on suspicion of having forged the Esterhazy documents and dismissed from the Army.

By June 1899, however, public opinion had swung in Dreyfus’s favour, and the libel charge against Zola was dismissed. Dreyfus himself was pardoned and, in 1906, his conviction was reversed by the highest court in France. None of the military conspirators, however, was ever brought to trial.

The Dreyfus Affair officially concluded on 21 July 1906 when Dreyfus, reinstated in the Army, was honoured by a dress parade military ceremony. Zola was absent. He had died in 1902 in his Paris home, asphyxiated by fumes from a chimney. Many believe he was murdered by right-wing extremists.

L’Affaire Dreyfus had a violent footnote. During a memorial service for Zola, Dreyfus was shot and wounded by a right-wing journalist.

The journalist was acquitted of attempted murder.

Further Reading

Leslie Derfler, The Dreyfus Affair, 2002

Ruth Harris, The Man on Devil’s Island: Alfred Dreyfus and the Affair that Divided France, 2010


An Open Letter to Mr Félix Faure, President of the Republic

Mr President,

Would you allow me, in my gratitude for the benevolent reception that you gave me one day, to draw the attention of your rightful glory and to tell you that your star, so happy until now, is threatened by the most shameful and most ineffaceable of blemishes?

You have passed healthy and safe through base calumnies; you have conquered hearts. You appear radiant in the apotheosis of this patriotic festival that the Russian alliance was for France, and you prepare to preside over the solemn triumph of our World Fair, which will crown our great century of work, truth and freedom. But what a spot of mud on your name—I was going to say on your reign—is this abominable Dreyfus affair! A council of war, under order, has just dared to acquit Esterhazy, a great blow to all truth, all justice. And it is finished, France has this stain on her cheek, History will write that it was under your presidency that such a social crime could be committed.

Since they dared, I too will dare. The truth I will say, because I promised to say it, if justice, regularly seized, did not do it, full and whole. My duty is to speak, I do not want to be an accomplice. My nights would be haunted by the spectre of innocence that suffer there, through the most dreadful of tortures, for a crime it did not commit.

And it is to you, Mr President, that I will proclaim it, this truth, with all the force of the revulsion of an honest man. For your honour, I am convinced that you are unaware of it. And with whom will I thus denounce the criminal foundation of these guilty truths, if not with you, the first magistrate of the country?

First, the truth about the lawsuit and the judgment of Dreyfus. A nefarious man carried it all out, did everything: Lieutenant-Colonel Du Paty de Clam, at that time only a commandant. He is the entirety of the Dreyfus business; it will be known only when one honest investigation clearly establishes his acts and responsibilities. He seems a most complicated and hazy spirit, haunting romantic intrigues, caught up in serialized stories, stolen papers, anonymous letters, appointments in deserted places, mysterious women who sell condemning evidences at night. It is he who imagined dictating the Dreyfus memo; it is he who dreamed to study it in an entirely hidden way, under ice; it is him whom Commander Forzinetti describes to us as armed with a dark lantern, wanting to approach the sleeping defendant, to flood his face abruptly with light and to thus surprise his crime, in the agitation of being roused. And I need hardly say that that what one seeks, one will find. I declare simply that Commander Du Paty de Clam, charged to investigate the Dreyfus business as a legal officer, is, in date and in responsibility, the first culprit in the appalling miscarriage of justice committed.

The memo was for some time already in the hands of Colonel Sandherr, director of the office of information, who has since died of general paresis. “Escapes” took place, papers disappeared, as they still do today; the author of the memo was sought, when ahead of time one was made aware, little by little, that this author could be only an officer of the High Command and an artillery officer: a doubly glaring error, showing with which superficial spirit this affair had been studied, because a reasoned examination shows that it could only be a question of an officer of troops. Thus searching the house, examining writings, it was like a family matter, a traitor to be surprised in the same offices, in order to expel him. And, while I don’t want to retell a partly known history here, Commander Paty de Clam enters the scene, as soon as first suspicion falls upon Dreyfus. From this moment, it is he who invented Dreyfus, the affair becomes that affair, made actively to confuse the traitor, to bring him to a full confession. There is the Minister of War, General Mercier, whose intelligence seems poor; there are the head of the High Command, General De Boisdeffre, who appears to have yielded to his clerical passion, and the assistant manager of the High Command, General Gonse, whose conscience could put up with many things. But, at the bottom, there is initially only Commander Du Paty de Clam, who carries them all out, who hypnotizes them, because he deals also with spiritism, with occultism, conversing with spirits. One could not conceive of the experiments to which he subjected unhappy Dreyfus, the traps into which he wanted to make him fall, the insane investigations, monstrous imaginations, a whole torturing insanity.

Ah! this first affair is a nightmare for those who know its true details! Commander Du Paty de Clam arrests Dreyfus, in secret. He turns to Mrs Dreyfus, terrorizes her, says to her that, if she speaks, her husband is lost. During this time, the unhappy one tore his flesh, howled his innocence. And the instructions were made thus, as in a fifteenth century tale, shrouded in mystery, with a savage complication of circumstances, all based on only one childish charge, this idiotic affair, which was not only a vulgar treason, but was also the most impudent of hoaxes, because the famously delivered secrets were almost all without value. If I insist, it is that the kernel is here, from whence the true crime will later emerge, the terrible denial of justice from which France is sick. I would like to touch with a finger on how this miscarriage of justice could be possible, how it was born from the machinations of Commander Du Paty de Clam, how General Mercier, General De Boisdeffre and General Gonse could let it happen, to engage little by little their responsibility in this error, that they believed a need, later, to impose like the holy truth, a truth which is not even discussed. At the beginning, there is not this, on their part, this incuriosity and obtuseness. At most, one feels them to yield to an ambiance of religious passions and the prejudices of the physical spirit. They allowed themselves a mistake.

But here Dreyfus is before the council of war. Closed doors are absolutely required. A traitor would have opened the border with the enemy to lead the German emperor to Notre-Dame, without taking measures to maintain narrow silence and mystery. The nation is struck into a stupor, whispering of terrible facts, monstrous treasons which make History indignant; naturally the nation is so inclined. There is no punishment too severe, it will applaud public degradation, it will want the culprit to remain on his rock of infamy, devoured by remorse. Is this then true, the inexpressible things, the dangerous things, capable of plunging Europe into flames, which one must carefully bury behind these closed doors? No! There was behind this, only the romantic and lunatic imaginations of Commander Du Paty de Clam. All that was done only to hide the most absurd of novella plots. And it suffices, to ensure oneself of this, to study with attention the bill of indictment, read in front of the council of war.

Ah! the nothingness of this bill of indictment! That a man could be condemned for this act, is a wonder of iniquity. I defy decent people to read it, without their hearts leaping in indignation and shouting their revolt, while thinking of the unwarranted suffering, over there, on Devil’s Island. Dreyfus knows several languages, crime; one found at his place no compromising papers, crime; he returns sometimes to his country of origin, crime; he is industrious, he wants to know everything, crime; he is unperturbed, crime; he is perturbed, crime. And the naiveté of drafting formal assertions in a vacuum! One spoke to us of fourteen charges: we find only one in the final analysis, that of the memo; and we even learn that the experts did not agree, than one of them, Mr Gobert, was coerced militarily, because he did not allow himself to reach a conclusion in the desired direction. One also spoke of twenty-three officers who had come to overpower Dreyfus with their testimonies. We remain unaware of their interrogations, but it is certain that they did not all charge him; and it is to be noticed, moreover, that all belonged to the war offices. It is a family lawsuit, one is there against oneself, and it is necessary to remember this: the High Command wanted the lawsuit, it was judged, and it has just judged it a second time.

Therefore, there remained only the memo, on which the experts had not concurred. It is reported that, in the room of the council, the judges were naturally going to acquit. And consequently, as one includes/understands the despaired obstinacy with which, to justify the judgment, today the existence of a secret part is affirmed, overpowering, the part which cannot be shown, which legitimates all, in front of which we must incline ourselves, the good invisible and unknowable God! I deny it, this part, I deny it with all my strength! A ridiculous part, yes, perhaps the part wherein it is a question of young women, and where a certain D… is spoken of which becomes too demanding: some husband undoubtedly finding that his wife did not pay him dearly enough. But a part interesting the national defence, which one could not produce without war being declared tomorrow, no, no! It is a lie! And it is all the more odious and cynical that they lie with impunity without one being able to convince others of it. They assemble France, they hide behind its legitimate emotion, they close mouths by disturbing hearts, by perverting spirits. I do not know a greater civic crime.

Here then, Mr President, are the facts which explain how a miscarriage of justice could be made; and the moral evidence, the financial circumstances of Dreyfus, the absence of reason, his continual cry of innocence, completes its demonstration as a victim of the extraordinary imaginations of Commander Du Paty de Clam, of the clerical medium in which it was found, of the hunting for the “dirty Jews”, which dishonours our time.

And we arrive at the Esterhazy affair. Three years passed, many consciences remain deeply disturbed, worry, seek, end up being convinced of Dreyfus’s innocence.

I will not give the history of the doubts and of the conviction of Mr Scheurer-Kestner. But, while this was excavated on the side, it ignored serious events among the High Command. Colonel Sandherr was dead, and Major Picquart succeeded him as head of the office of the information. And it was for this reason, in the performance of his duties, that the latter one day found in his hands a letter-telegram, addressed to Commander Esterhazy, from an agent of a foreign power. His strict duty was to open an investigation. It is certain that he never acted apart from the will of his superiors. He thus submitted his suspicions to his seniors in rank, General Gonse, then General De Boisdeffre, then General Billot, who had succeeded General Mercier as the Minister of War. The infamous Picquart file, about which so much was said, was never more than a Billot file, a file made by a subordinate for his minister, a file which must still exist within the Ministry of War. Investigations ran from May to September 1896, and what should be well affirmed is that General Gonse was convinced of Esterhazy’s guilt, and that Generals De Boisdeffre and Billot did not question that the memo was written by Esterhazy. Major Picquart’s investigation had led to this unquestionable observation. But the agitation was large, because the condemnation of Esterhazy inevitably involved the revision of Dreyfus’s trial; and this, the High Command did not want at any cost.

There must have been a minute full of psychological anguish. Notice that General Billot was in no way compromised, he arrived completely fresh, he could decide the truth. He did not dare, undoubtedly in fear of public opinion, certainly also in fear of betraying all the High Command, General De Boisdeffre, General Gonse, not mentioning those of lower rank. Therefore there was only one minute of conflict between his conscience and what he believed to be the military’s interest. Once this minute had passed, it was already too late. He had engaged, he was compromised. And, since then, his responsibility only grew, he took responsibility for the crimes of others, he became as guilty as the others, he was guiltier than them, because he was the Master of Justice, and he did nothing. Understand that! Here for a year General Billot, General De Boisdeffre and General Gonse have known that Dreyfus is innocent, and they kept this appalling thing to themselves! And these people sleep at night, and they have women and children whom they love!

Major Picquart had fulfilled his duty as an honest man. He insisted to his superiors, in the name of justice. He even begged them, he said to them how much their times were ill-advised, in front of the terrible storm which was to pour down, which was to burst, when the truth would be known. It was, later, the language that Mr Scheurer-Kestner also used with General Billot, entreating him with patriotism to take the affair in hand, not to let it worsen, on the verge of becoming a public disaster. No! The crime had been committed, the High Command could no longer acknowledge its crime. And Major Picquart was sent on a mission, one that took him farther and farther away, as far as Tunisia, where there was not even a day to honour his bravery, charged with a mission which would have surely ended in massacre, in the frontiers where Marquis de Morès met his death. He was not in disgrace, General Gonse maintained a friendly correspondence with him. It is only about secrets he was not good to have discovered.

To Paris, the truth inexorably marched, and it is known how the awaited storm burst. Mr Mathieu Dreyfus denounced Commander Esterhazy as the true author of the memo just as Mr Scheurer-Kestner demanded a revision of the case to the Minister of Justice. And it is here that Commander Esterhazy appears. Testimony shows him initially thrown into a panic, ready for suicide or escape. Then, at a blow, he acted with audacity, astonishing Paris by the violence of his attitude. It is then that help had come to him, he had received an anonymous letter informing him of the work of his enemies, a mysterious lady had come under cover of night to return a stolen evidence against him to the High Command, which would save him. And I cannot help but find Major Du Paty de Clam here, considering his fertile imagination. His work, Dreyfus’s culpability, was in danger, and he surely wanted to defend his work. The retrial was the collapse of such an extravagant novella, so tragic, whose abominable outcome takes place in Devil’s Island! This is what he could not allow. Consequently, a duel would take place between Major Picquart and Major Du Paty de Clam, one with face uncovered, the other masked. They will soon both be found before civil justice. In the end, it was always the High Command that defended itself, that did not want to acknowledge its crime; the abomination grew hour by hour.

One wondered with astonishment who were protecting Commander Esterhazy. It was initially, in the shadows, Major Du Paty de Clam who conspired all and conducted all. His hand was betrayed by its absurd means. Then, it was General De Boisdeffre, it was General Gonse, it was General Billot himself, who were obliged to discharge the commander, since they cannot allow recognition of Dreyfus’s innocence without the department of war collapsing under public contempt. And the beautiful result of this extraordinary situation is that the honest man there, Major Picquart, who only did his duty, became the victim of ridicule and punishment. O justice, what dreadful despair grips the heart! One might just as well say that he was the forger, that he manufactured the letter-telegram to convict Esterhazy. But, good God! why? with what aim? Give a motive. Is he also paid by the Jews? The joke of the story is that he was in fact an anti-Semite. Yes! we attend this infamous spectacle, of the lost men of debts and crimes upon whom one proclaims innocence, while one attacks honour, a man with a spotless life! When a society does this, it falls into decay.

Here is thus, Mr President, the Esterhazy affair: a culprit whose name it was a question of clearing. For almost two months, we have been able to follow hour by hour the beautiful work. I abbreviate, because it is not here that a summary of the history’s extensive pages will one day be written out in full. We thus saw General De Pellieux, then the commander of Ravary, lead an investigation in which the rascals are transfigured and decent people are dirtied. Then, the council of war was convened.

How could one hope that a council of war would demolish what a council of war had done? I do not even mention the always possible choice of judges. Isn’t the higher idea of discipline, which is in the blood of these soldiers, enough to cancel their capacity for equity? Who says discipline breeds obedience? When the Minister of War, the overall chief, established publicly, with the acclamations of the national representation, the authority of the final decision; you want a council of war to give him a formal denial? Hierarchically, that is impossible. General Billot influenced the judges by his declaration, and they judged as they must under fire, without reasoning. The preconceived opinion that they brought to their seats is obviously this one: “Dreyfus was condemned for crime of treason by a council of war, he is thus guilty; and we, a council of war, cannot declare him innocent, for we know that to recognize Esterhazy’s guilt would be to proclaim the innocence of Dreyfus.” Nothing could make them leave that position.

They delivered an iniquitous sentence that will forever weigh on our councils of war, sullying all their arrests from now with suspicion. The first council of war could have been foolish; the second was inevitably criminal. Its excuse, I repeat it, was that the supreme chief had spoken, declaring the thing considered to be unassailable, holy and higher than men, so that inferiors could not say the opposite. One speaks to us about the honour of the army, that we should like it, respect it. Ah! admittedly, yes, the army which would rise to the first threat, which would defend the French ground, it is all the people, and we have for it only tenderness and respect. But it is not a question of that, for which we precisely want dignity, in our need for justice. It is about the sword, the Master that one will give us tomorrow perhaps. And do not kiss devotedly the handle of the sword, by god!

I have shown in addition: the Dreyfus affair was the affair of the department of war, a High Command officer, denounced by his comrades of the High Command, condemned under the pressure of the heads of the High Command. Once again, it cannot restore his innocence without all the High Command being guilty. Also the offices, by all conceivable means, by press campaigns, by communications, by influences, protected Esterhazy only to convict Dreyfus a second time. What sweeping changes should the republican government give to this [Jesuitery], as General Billot himself calls it! Where is the truly strong ministry of wise patriotism that will dare to reforge and to renew all? What of people I know who, faced with the possibility of war, tremble of anguish knowing in what hands lies national defence! And what a nest of base intrigues, gossips and dilapidations has this crowned asylum become, where the fate of fatherland is decided! One trembles in face of the terrible day that there has just thrown the Dreyfus affair, this human sacrifice of an unfortunate, a “dirty Jew”! Ah! all that was agitated insanity there and stupidity, imaginations insane, practices of low police force, manners of inquisition and tyranny, good pleasure of some non-commissioned officers putting their boots on the nation, returning in its throat its cry of truth and justice, under the lying pretext and sacrilege of the reason of State.

And it is a yet another crime to have [pressed on?] the filthy press, to have let itself defend by all the rabble of Paris, so that the rabble triumphs insolently in defeat of law and simple probity. It is a crime to have accused those who wished for a noble France, at the head of free and just nations, of troubling her, when one warps oneself the impudent plot to impose the error, in front of the whole world. It is a crime to mislay the opinion, to use for a spiteful work this opinion, perverted to the point of becoming delirious. It is a crime to poison the small and the humble, to exasperate passions of reaction and intolerance, while taking shelter behind the odious anti-Semitism, from which, if not cured, the great liberal France of humans rights will die. It is a crime to exploit patriotism for works of hatred, and it is a crime, finally, to turn into to sabre the modern god, when all the social science is with work for the nearest work of truth and justice.

This truth, this justice, that we so passionately wanted, what a distress to see them thus souffletées, more ignored and more darkened! I suspect the collapse which must take place in the heart of Mr Scheurer-Kestner, and I believe well that he will end up feeling remorse for not having acted revolutionarily, the day of questioning at the Senate, by releasing all the package, [for all to throw to bottom]. He was the great honest man, the man of his honest life, he believed that the truth sufficed for itself, especially when it seemed as bright as the full day. What good is to turn all upside down when the sun was soon to shine? And it is for this trustful neutrality for which he is so cruelly punished. The same for Major Picquart, who, for a feeling of high dignity, did not want to publish the letters of General Gonse. These scruples honour it more especially as, while there remained respectful discipline, its superiors covered it with mud, informed themselves its lawsuit, in the most unexpected and outrageous manner. There are two victims, two good people, two simple hearts, who waited for God while the devil acted. And one even saw, for Major Picquart, this wretched thing: a French court, after having let the rapporteur charge a witness publicly, to show it of all the faults, made the closed door, when this witness was introduced to be explained and defend himself. I say that this is another crime and that this crime will stir up universal conscience. Decidedly, the military tribunals have a singular idea of justice.

Such is thus the simple truth, Mr President, and it is appalling, it will remain a stain for your presidency. I very much doubt that you have no capacity in this affair, that you are the prisoner of the Constitution and your entourage. You do not have of them less one to have of man, about which you will think, and which you will fulfil. It is not, moreover, which I despair less of the world of the triumph. I repeat it with a more vehement certainty: the truth marches on and nothing will stop it. Today, the affair merely starts, since today only the positions are clear: on the one hand, the culprits who do not want the light to come; the other, the carriers of justice who will give their life to see it come. I said it elsewhere, and I repeat it here: when one locks up the truth under ground, it piles up there, it takes there a force such of explosion, that, the day when it bursts, it makes everything leap out with it. We will see, if we do not prepare for later, the most resounding of disasters.

But this letter is long, Mr President, and it is time to conclude.

I accuse Major Du Paty de Clam as the diabolic workman of the miscarriage of justice, without knowing, I have wanted to believe it, and of then defending his harmful work, for three years, by the guiltiest and most absurd of machinations.

I accuse General Mercier of being an accomplice, if by weakness of spirit, in one of greatest iniquities of the century.

I accuse General Billot of having held in his hands the unquestionable evidence of Dreyfus’s innocence and of suppressing it, guilty of this crime that injures humanity and justice, with a political aim and to save the compromised Chief of High Command.

I accuse General De Boisdeffre and General Gonse as accomplices of the same crime, one undoubtedly by clerical passion, the other perhaps by this spirit of body which makes offices of the war an infallible archsaint.

I accuse General De Pellieux and Commander Ravary of performing a rogue investigation, by which I mean an investigation of the most monstrous partiality, of which we have, in the report of the second, an imperishable monument of naive audacity.

I accuse the three handwriting experts, sirs Belhomme, Varinard and Couard, of submitting untrue and fraudulent reports, unless a medical examination declares them to be affected by a disease of sight and judgment.

I accuse the offices of the war of carrying out an abominable press campaign, particularly in the Flash and the Echo of Paris, to mislead the public and cover their fault.

Finally, I accuse the first council of war of violating the law by condemning a defendant with unrevealed evidence, and I accuse the second council of war of covering up this illegality, by order, by committing in his turn the legal crime of knowingly discharging the culprit.

While proclaiming these charges, I am not unaware of subjecting myself to articles 30 and 31 of the press law of July 29, 1881, which punishes the offence of slander. And it is voluntarily that I expose myself.

As for the people I accuse, I do not know them, I never saw them, I have against them neither resentment nor hatred. They are for me only entities, spirits of social evil. And the act I accomplished here is only a revolutionary means for hastening the explosion of truth and justice. I have only one passion, that of the light, in the name of humanity which has suffered so and is entitled to happiness. My ignited protest is nothing more than the cry of my heart. That one thus dares to translate for me into court bases and that the investigation takes place at the great day! I am waiting.

Please accept, Mr President, the assurance of my deep respect.


Dulce is a sleepy town in northern New Mexico (pop. 900) high up on the Jicarilla Apache Reservation. It’s the sort of place where hound dogs lie sprawled on the porch, and the diner is entertainment HQ. Nothing much happens in Dulce.

Unless, that is, you believe the long running rumours that Dulce is the place to see UFOs and cattle mutilations. You probably won’t glimpse the secret alien-human base there, because it is apparently deep under the Archuleta mesa. According to conspiracy researchers, the base, which extends two miles down, has no less than seven levels, is staffed by as many as 18,000 Greys (aliens), who dwell on the lower levels. The human employees occupy the top floors, unless they are being experimented on or eaten, when they disappear below. Understandably, given the alien/reptoid liking for human flesh, relations between the humans and their scaly colleagues are not always cordiale; indeed the base was the scene for a near war some years ago between the humans and the lizard-looking types. The experiments carried out on-site include the creation of hybrid alien-terrestrial life and weapons advancement. Tunnels for high-speed shuttle trains connect Dulce to Area 51, Los Alamos and similar military/research sites across the US.

Dr Paul Bennewitz, a businessman and electronics expert, was the first to claim (in 1979) that Dulce hosted a secret base, after he tracked alien communications to the area. Bennewitz compiled a bulging dossier of evidence regarding Dulce, from two years’ worth of electronic surveillance, 6,000 feet of cine film and the case history of an encounter victim in New Mexico, Myrna Hansen, who revealed under hypnosis that she had been abducted and taken inside Dulce. Bennewitz passed on his information to the USAF—which conceded that Bennewitz had caught something unusual on film. An Air Force memorandum later released under Freedom of Information legislation noted:

On 26 Oct 80, SA [Special Agent] Doty, with the assistance of JERRY MILLER, GS-15, Chief, Scientific Advisor for Air Force Test and Evaluation Center, KAFB, interviewed Dr. Bennewitz at his home in the Four Hills section of Albuquerque, which is adjacent to the northern boundary of Manzano Base… Dr. Bennewitz has been conducting independent research into Aerial Phenomena for the last 15 months. Dr. Bennewitz also produced several electronic recording tapes, allegedly showing high periods of electrical magnetism being emitted from Manzano/Coyote Canyon area. Dr. Bennewitz also produced several photographs of flying objects taken over the general Albuquerque area. He has several pieces of electronic surveillance equipment pointed at Manzano and is attempting to record high frequency electrical beam pulses. Dr. Bennewitz claims these Aerial Objects produce these pulses… After analyzing the data collected by Dr. Bennewitz, Mr MILLER related the evidence clearly shows that some type of unidentified aerial objects were caught on film; however, no conclusions could be made whether these objects pose a threat to Manzano/Coyote Canyon areas.

It seems that the Air Force Office of Special Investigations was sufficiently jittered by Bennewitz’s film to feed him disinformation; at the 1989 Mutual UFO Network convention in Las Vegas prominent Ufologist William Moore declared that he had been part of a long-running campaign to discredit Paul Bennewitz: “My role in the affair… was primarily that of a freelancer providing information on Paul’s [Bennewitz] current thinking and activities.” Bennewitz, who was already having mental health problems, sank into depression and paranoia.

Some of Bennewitz’s allegations about Dulce were taken up by Danny Casolaro in his pursuit of The Octopus, while a number of “whistle-blowers” who claimed to have worked at the base came forward. One of these was Tom Castello, a self-professed Dulce Base security officer, who proffered a stack of black and white photographs, videotape and technical papers, all “proving” the base’s existence. To back up the evidence of the so-called “Dulce Papers”, Castello also gave a lengthy interview about his work at the base (see Document), full of colourful accounts of the grey lizards that rule the place.

If—and it is a gigantic if—the Dulce Base exists it is so secret that at least two investigative TV crews, one Japanese and one American, have failed to find it. Quite possibly, Bennewitz snapped some strange objects out on the mesa, but these are likely to be human in origin. New Mexico has frequently been used as the testing ground for top-secret military craft, and the training terrain for special forces. Both might require the sort of diversionary disinformation that the USAF seem to have fed the hapless Dr Bennewitz.

Further Reading

Gregory Bishop, Project Beta, 2005

Branton, Dulce Wars, 1999


QUESTION—When exactly was the [upper human-occupied level of the] Archuleta installation constructed?

ANSWER—I heard Dulce was started in 1937–38 by the Army engineers, enlarged over the years, most recent work was completed 1965–66 to connect tunnels to the Page [Arizona] Base, site of one of the older underground facilities. The four corners base is called PERICA. Most of the Native Americans [the Indians] living in that area are aware of that base, and could tell us about the underground life forms that frequently are spotted near those communities, Bigfoot, etc.

Q—By what means was the [upper] installations constructed? Are you familiar with the alleged developments made by the Rand Corporation of a highly efficient bore or mole machine capable of melting rock using nuclear powered wolfram-graphite tipped “drill-cones”?

A—According to several senior maintenance workers, part of it was blasted by nuclear devices in the sixties. There are sections, like the shuttle tunnels, that were formed by an advanced tunnelling machine that leaves the tunnel walls smooth. The finished walls in those tubes resemble polished black glass.

Q—By WHOM was the Dulce installation originally constructed?

A—Nature started the caverns. The Draco used the caverns and tunnels for centuries. Later, through RAND Corporation plans, it was enlarged repeatedly. The original caverns included ice caves and sulfur springs that the “aliens” found perfect for their needs. The Dulce caverns rival Carlsbad caverns in size.

Q—What exactly are the cattle [and human] organs such as blood, anal tissue, eyes, reproductive organs, tongues, etc. used for—i.e. the organs obtained via cattle and human mutilations?

A—Read the so-called Dulce Papers.

Q—Are the various electromagnetically controlled air or space craft—[that have been seen] leaving from and arriving at Mt. Archuleta—manned by humans, the “alien entities”, or both?

A—Archuleta Mesa is a minor area… the craft leave [and are stored] in five areas. One is SE of DULCE, one near Durango Co., one at Taos, N. M., and the main fleet is stored at LOS ALAMOS.

Q—Others have suggested that some of the entities below Dulce are not of “extraterrestrial” ORIGIN, and that they are actually descended from saurian or reptiloid beings such as the Velociraptors or Stenonychosaurus Equallus—a “serpentine” race or races similar to that hinted at in the third chapter of the book of Genesis?

A—Yes, some “reptoids” are native to this planet. The ruling caste of “aliens” ARE reptilian. The beige or white beings are called the Draco. Other reptilian beings are green, and some are brown. They were an ancient race on Earth, living underground. It may have been one of the Draconian beings that “tempted” Eve in the Garden of Eden. Reptoids rightly consider themselves “native Terrans”. Perhaps they are the ones we call the Fallen Angels. Maybe not, either way, we are [considered] the “squatters” on Earth.

Q—Some have suggested that the so-called underground “E.T.” bases and tunnels may, for a large part, be literally thousands of years old… constructions of an antediluvian race which attained to a considerable level of scientific complexity, and who were destroyed by a Divinely initiated cataclysm which took place after they attempted to merge their science with occult/supernatural forces.

For instance some have suggested that the Bermuda Triangle phenomena may be the result of an out-of-control Atlantean experiment that led to a space-time disaster which produced “electromagnetic fallout” in the Triangle area and elsewhere after they had accidentally loosed powerful forces and energies into the world that they knew very little about. Do your observations tend to confirm or refute such a possibility?

A—I’m not sure about the Divine part, but these “aliens” consider themselves “NATIVE TERRANS”.

Q—They work for, and are controlled by, the Draco. There are other gray-skinned beings that are not in league with the Draco.

A—Where do the little gray Aliens fit in?

Q—Did you ever talk to any of the “Aliens” at the base?

A—Since I was the Senior Security Technician at that base, I had to communicate with them on a daily basis. If there were any problems that involved security or video cameras, I was the one they called. It was the reptilian “working caste” that usually did the physical labor in the lower levels at Dulce.

Decisions involving that caste were usually made by the white Draco. When human workers caused problems for the working caste, the reptoids went to the white Draconian “boss”, and the Draco called me. At times, it felt like it was a never-ending problem. Several human workers resented the “no nonsense” or “get back to work” attitude the working caste lives by.

When needed, intervention became a vital tool. The biggest problem was human workers who foolishly wandered around near the “OFF LIMITS” areas of the “Alien Section”. I guess it’s human nature to be curious and to wonder what is past the barriers. Too often someone found a way to bypass the barriers and nosed around. The cameras near the entrance usually stopped them before they got themselves in serious trouble. A few times I had to formerly request the return of a human worker.

Q—Are there other sites tied in to the “shuttle network” other than those which you mentioned, and if so, where are the entrances?

A—WHERE!?! EVERYWHERE! THEY CRISS-CROSS THE WORLD AS AN ENDLESS SUBTERRANEAN HIGHWAY. LIKE A FREEWAY, EXCEPT THIS ONE IS UNDERGROUND… The subterranean highway in America is like a freeway except it’s underground. That highway depends on electric motors [for trucks, cars and buses] for the paved roads, and it is for limited travel.

There is another style of transit for freight and for passengers that is for rapid travel. That worldwide network is called the “Sub-Global System”. It has “checkpoints” at each country entry. There ARE shuttle tubes that “shoot” the trains at incredible speeds using a mag-lev and vacuum method. They travel at a speed that excels the speed of sound. Part of your question involves the location of entrances to that base. The easiest way to answer is to say every state in the U.S.A. has them.

Frequently, the entrances are camouflaged as sand quarries, or mining operations. Other complex portals are found on military bases. New Mexico and Arizona have the largest amounts of entrances followed by California, Montana, Idaho, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Arkansas and Missouri. Of all the states, Florida and North Dakota have the least amount of entrances. Wyoming has a road that opens directly into the subterranean freeway. That road is no longer in use, but could be reactivated if they decide to do so, with minimal cost. It’s located near Brooks Lake.

Q—Are there any “bases” in the state of Utah? Have you heard anything about an alleged underground installation within the Wasatch Mountains…?

A—Salt Lake, Lake Powell Area, Dark Canyon, Dougway Grounds, Modena, Vernal. All have exits there. Others too.

Q—Does the Mt. Archuleta “shuttle system” connect with a shuttle system which allegedly radiates from Mt. Shasta in northern California?

A—Yes. Mt. Shasta is a major site of Alien—Elder Race—Reptilian Race—Human meetings. Beginning with Grover Cleveland every president in U.S. history have visited Telos City. Truman was supposed to have visited the Lower Realms as a High Archon on Earth. He was supposed to have met the King of the World there, and gave him the “Keys to the U.S.A.”

Truman received assurance to new high-tech knowledge, and victory over all enemies on Earth. He then was introduced to Samaza and Khoach, aliens from Bootes and Tiphon [Draco], both reptilian “kings” or ambassadors. Truman updated the “100 Treaty” [that began IN 1933, Roosevelt] and requested magnetic advance, space knowledge and experiments. Khoach agreed, Samaza partially agreed. He exchanged hostages for genetic experiments and magnetic advance, but vetoed space and beam weaponry.

Q—Did you notice any involvement of high-level Freemasons, Rosicrucians or Jesuits within the underground installation and/or with the aliens?

A—Yes I did, but that is a loaded question, and I won’t comment further. I’m not a Mason, or member of any other secret fraternal group. There is one organization I am a member of [in the U.S.A.]. That group is commonly called the “Central Unit.” It is a pleasure to tell you that I AM a member of the “Sub-Galactic League” of Costa Rica.

Q—Is there any truth to the allegations that the CIA/“Aliens” have established “bases” on the moon, and also Mars?

A—I’ve HEARD that too, but I haven’t seen proof with my own eyes. The “aliens” do allegedly have bases on several moons of Jupiter and Saturn. The CIA operates in other COUNTRIES, but I’ve never heard they operate on other PLANETS.

Q—Have you heard any hints or rumors suggesting that there may be lower levels beneath the ULTRA-7 level of the Dulce base, and also, where these might lead to and what they might consist of ?

A—YES. Your guess is as good as mine… Sure, there was lots of TALK but that doesn’t mean it’s there. However, I will tell you I saw elevators that were “off limits” unless you had an UMBRA or higher security clearance. At that base, information is supplied to me at a “need to know” basis ONLY! [My clearance was ULTRA-7.]

Q—Some insist that the U.S./Secret government has developed its own disk-craft based largely upon top-secret antigravity experiments carried out by the Nazi-German scientists during World War II. Have you heard anything referring to this?

A—When I was working in Photo-security, heard a lot of talk, never saw the proof, but once in the Air Force I developed a roll of film that showed a craft LIKE ADAMSKI’S, WITH A SWASTIKA ON THE SIDE.

Q—Tom, did you have access to the alien craft? Were you ever inside any of them?

A—Yes, I frequently saw them in the garages, there are quite a few of them. The main fleet is stored at Los Alamos. Yes, I entered several crafts. There were two things that stick in my mind, the odd spongy feeling of the floors, and the unusual pinkish-purple color of the lighting.

The crew stated the floor becomes ridged in flight, and the purple tint of the lighting changes to bright blue white. The entire inside of the aircraft are scaled down in size, when compared to the average human. The halls were curved and narrow, but some how, when inside it appears bigger than it looks. Certain areas, the outermost sections, almost felt and looked alive. I was never taken up in one.

Q—Can you give me more information on the reptilian race, what do they do on the sixth level?

A—The worker caste does the daily chores, mopping the latex floors, cleaning the cages, bringing food to the hungry people and other species. It is their job to formulate the proper mixture for the type one and type two beings that the Draco Race has created. The working caste works at the labs as well as at the computer banks. Basically speaking, the reptilian races are active at all levels of the Dulce Base. There are several different “races” of aliens that work on the east section of level six (No doubt some collaborating “Nordic” factions included.—Branton).

That section is commonly called “the alien section.” The Draco are the undisputed masters of the 5–6-7 levels. The humans are second in command of those levels. I had to ARGUE with one large Draconian “boss” frequently. His name is difficult to verbalize, Khaarshfashst [pronounced throaty kkhhah-sshh-fahsh-sst]. I usually called him “Karsh,” and he hated it. The Draconian leaders are very formal when talking to the human race. These ancient beings consider us a lower race. Karsh called me “Leader Castello,” but it was used in a sarcastical way. However the worker caste is friendly enough, as long as you allow them to speak first.

They will answer if you address them. They are very cautious beings, and consider most humans to be hostile. They always seem surprised when they found many of the humans were open and trustworthy. There is no fraternizing with the aliens off hours. It is forbidden to speak to any alien race [in the halls or an elevator] without a clear business-oriented reason. Humans can talk to humans, and aliens can speak to aliens, but that is as far as it goes. At the work site, however, it’s different. There is “free speech” in the labs.

The camaraderie found in the labs also reaches the computer banks section. In those areas, everybody talks to anybody. However, everything changes the minute you cross the threshold of the hall. Instantly, all conversations become strictly formal. Hard as it was, several times I had to arrest someone, simply because they spoke to an alien. It’s a strange place.

Q—Exactly what first made you aware that something was wrong at Dulce? Seems to me that a place as obviously horrible as this one wouldn’t need an Einstein to know that this is a CRIME site! What took you so long? Are you the guy who blew the whistle?

A—There are several things you should know about. I took an oath, under the penalty of death, that no matter what I saw or heard I would never divulge the information. Also, I signed a waiver that states I would willingly give up my life if I was found guilty of “treason”.

At the Dulce Base treason is “ANYTHING that mentions the details of daily operations at this facility, when outside the confinement of the base.” When I first arrived, a “need to know” policy was in effect. The story the “honchos” told us was that “this is a Tri-Biotransfer Facility with Advanced Technology, doing advanced adventurous methodology for medical and mental gains.”

Which is a fancy way of saying they do really risky things with human life just to see what would happen. If a medical cure happens, it will be heralded on the surface of the earth as a marvelous new cure, saying it was found after years of research at some well-known medical lab. The real story of the cure is never explained.

After all, the Dulce Base IS A SECRET FACILITY! These people are very good at what they do. They do not tell the truth about the unfortunate people that end up in “Nightmare Hall.” I worked with aliens. With that in mind, you should get the idea of the secrecy and the security at that place.

Yes, I know this was not the usual hospital-type job site, but in the beginning I “bought” the whole package. I was reminded daily by intercom, in the elevators, that “this site does high risk advanced medical and drug testing to cure insanity, please, never speak to the inmates, it can destroy years of work.” I’m sensible, when doctors say don’t speak to them, who was I to destroy the delicate situation?

But one man some how caught my eye. He repeatedly stated that he was George S— and that he had been kidnapped and he was sure someone was searching for him. I don’t know why he sticks in my mind, I found I was remembering his face, thinking he sure didn’t look or sound insane, but many inmates said that. The next weekend I convinced a friend of mine, a cop, to run a check on the guy, saying I had a run in with him and was curious.

I didn’t mention the base at all. It was a sickening feeling when the computer confirmed that George S. was missing. What’s worse, the cops thought he was just another guy that got tired of the daily grind and split. That was the beginning. Am I the one that blew the whistle? No. The next Monday, I searched for George, but he was gone.

There were no records that explained what happened to him. It was another security officer that came to me saying he and some lab workers wanted an off-duty meeting at one of the tunnels, [off the record]. Curiosity took over and I said OK. That night, about nine men showed up. They said they knew they were risking me turning them in but they wanted to show me some things they thought I should see. One by one they showed records that proved many inmates were missing people.

There were newspaper clippings, and even photos that they had some how smuggled into the base. They hoped to smuggle them back out, without me turning them in to the honchos. I could see the fear in their faces as they spoke. One man stated he would rather lose his life by trying, than to lose his soul by not doing anything at all. It was that remark that turned the tide. I told them about George and the things I found out about him. After a few hours we pledged to attempt to expose the Dulce Base.

Q—The name Nightmare Hall is descriptive, but surely there was a “regular” name, what was it called in the manuals?

A—In the manuals it was called “The Vivarium”. It describes Dulce Base as a “secured facility for tending bio-forms of all types.” In their report it is retold as “a private subterranean bio-terminal park, with accommodations for animals, fish, fowl, reptile, and mankind.” After SEEING this “park” the name Nightmare Hall is far more accurate than the manual. The “accommodations” for the inmates at Nightmare Hall fall short of the pretty picture the manual describes.

Q—You mentioned one reptilian leader, Khaarshfashst, do you know anything about him, like where is he from? Is he from Earth or some other planet?

A—His name means “keeper of the laws”. They receive their name after they reach the “age of awareness”. They do not recognize time as an important factor in “being aware” the way humans do. Upon their “age of awareness” they are cognitive of the station or position they are destined to fulfill. At that time they choose or allow someone to choose their name.

Their name will include the position they hold and several personally chosen letters. Each letter has a personal meaning, known only to the alien and the one that chose their name. Since Karsh’s name means keeper of the laws his name includes “kaash” [memory or keep, base word for “Akashic” record] and “fashst” [law, base word fast or bind]. Reptilians choose to be not only private, but secretive of the location of their natal place. To them birth, or emergence of life, is considered as one of the sacred rites of life.

They consider Earth or Terra their “home planet”, but several reptoids discuss several star maps. Most of those stars were within the Milky Way. Within those star maps lies the stars and planets of the Planets of the Allegiance.

Earth being one of the planets in their trade routes. If any human asked clear questions about the Allegiance, the Aliens referred the questions to the Draco. The Draco in turn, referred the questions to their supervisor [me]. I did not have that information about the stars, because information was supplied on a “need to know” basis. I didn’t “need” that information.

Q—Did any of the working caste join in the revolt? Could you give me some names?

A—A few of the reptilian janitorial crew let us know that THEY knew WE were attempting to sabotage the work going on in the sixth and seventh levels. One of them, with the name Sshhaal, secretly formed a small group of reptoids with the same mindset as my group.

Sshhaal took upon himself the danger of informing me. He was as open as is possible in a unique situation. On the day I found out about it, I was inspecting a camera near an exit tunnel. He approached, stooped down (the tall reptiloids average about 7–8 ft. in height according to most witnesses—Branton), seemingly scraping some non-existent dirt, and he quietly said, “A few of us agreed that you are singular in your interest in missing-human reports. If true, walk away. I’ll reach you. If it’s untrue, destroy my life now!”

My heart almost leaped out of my chest, but I silently walked toward one of the wide halls.

For the rest of my life I’ll remember those words! It was the first time I KNEW reptilians could have individual thoughts and opinions! Basically, they formed a uniform front with a small variety of interests. Or at least, that was what we had thought. It was a couple days before I heard from him again. As he walked beside me in the sixth level’s infamous hall, I heard him say “Enter the exit tunnel on the sixth level, north, after your shift.”

The next few hours were long and filled with thoughts of betrayal, or worse, but I shouldn’t have worried. I contacted one of the original nine [resistance] men, and let him know, just in case. Gordon wanted to go with me, but I convinced him to wait a few feet from the exit and pretend he was having trouble with his cart [electric, like a golf cart]. When I got there, there were three of them.

SSHHAAL formally introduced FAHSSHHAA and HUAMSSHHAA [name base word is SSHHAA or assist]. With that, I quickly grabbed Gordon from the hall and the five of us talked and walked in the dark tunnels for about three hours. After that day, the joined resistance group got bigger and bolder. Ultimately, it ended when a military assault was initiated via the exit tunnels and they executed anybody on their list, human or reptilian.

We fought back, but none of the working caste had weapons, nor did the human lab workers. Only the security force and a few computer workers had flash guns. It was a massacre. Every one was screaming and running for cover. The halls and tunnels were filled as full as possible.

We believe it was the Delta Force [because of the uniforms and the method they used] that chose to hit at shift change, an effort that killed as many as named on their list.

We, to this day, do not know who BETRAYED us. Gordon Ennery ran beside me as we ran into the third level exit tunnels, and he died when several bullets slammed into his back. I vaporized that assassin and kept running. And I’m still running. Gordon will be remembered.

Q—Tell me more about the flash gun. Is it difficult to operate, or is it like the weapon on Star Trek, that can stun or kill on different modes?

A—It is an advanced beam weapon that can operate on three different phases. Phase one, like Star Trek, can stun and maybe kill, if the person has a weak heart. On phase two, it can levitate ANYTHING no matter what it weighs. Phase three is the SERIOUS BUSINESS mode. It can be used to paralyze anything that lives, animal, human, alien and plant.

On the higher position on the same mode, it can create a TEMPORARY DEATH. I assure you, any doctor would certify that person is dead, but their life essence lingers in some strange limbo, some kind of terrible state of non-death. In one to five hours the person will revive, slowly; first the bodily functions will begin and, in a few minutes, consciousness followed with full awareness. In that mode the alien scientists re-program the human brain and plant false information.

When the person awakes, he “recalls” the false information as information he gained through life experience. There is no way for a person to learn the truth. The human mind “remembers” and believes completely the false data. If you attempted to inform them, they would laugh or get angry. They NEVER believe the truth. Their mind always forgets the experience of re-programming.

You asked if the flash gun is difficult to operate. A two-year-old child could use it with one hand. It resembles a flashlight, with black glass conical inverted lens. On the side are three recessed knobs in three curved grooves. Each knob is sized differently. The closer the knob to the hand the less the strength. It’s that simple. Each knob has three strengths also, with automatic stops at each position.

The strongest position will vaporize anything that lives. That mode is so powerful it will leave NO TRACE of what it vaporized.

Q—Is the weapon called a Flash Gun or is there a different name in the manuals?

A—Everybody calls them Flash Guns, or more commonly “The Flash” or “my Flash” when talking about it. In the manual it is first introduced as the ARMORLUX Weapon. After that, it is explained as the Flash Gun.

Q—What type of security is found at the Dulce Base? What else is used against espionage or unauthorized entry?

A—I’ll mention a few, but it would be nearly impossible to cover it all. The weapon, besides the Flash Gun, mostly used is a form of sonic. Built in with each light fixture [and most camcorders] is a device that could render a man unconscious in seconds with nothing more than a silent tone. At Dulce there also are still and VCR cameras, eye print, hand print stations, weight monitors, lasers, ELF and EM equipment, heat sensors and motion detectors and quite a few other methods.

There is no way you could get very far into the base. If you made it to the second level, you would be spotted within fifteen feet. More than likely, you would become an inmate and never see the light of the surface world again. If you were “lucky”, you would be reprogrammed and become one of the countless spies for the Ruling Caste.

Q—According to certain reports, the Dulce Base is host to [other] aliens that live in level five. Is that true? Can the humans freely roam or meet one-to-one in the halls or is some type of protocol in effect?

A—There is protocol from the first time you enter the base and it MUST be followed every time you SEE an alien there. From the working caste, to the visiting aliens, to the Ruling Caste, there is a never-ending check list of rules, law, and strict protocol. There is never a chance to roam on the fifth level. The alien housing area is off limits to any human. The Hub is surrounded by security, arsenal, military and CIA\FBI sections.

The area past the security is one of the most secured areas because it houses so many classified files. The entire east side of the fifth level is off limits except for security personnel holding ULTRA-7 [security clearance] or higher. The garage on the west side of the fifth level requires ULTRA-4 clearance.

Q—Is there proof available that could confirm the allegations of the underground base, or are we just supposed to believe you?

A—Many people have asked that one. No, I don’t expect people to believe with blind faith, there is tangible proof that has been seen, felt or inspected by quite a few folks. I’m in no position to go on a lecture circuit to explain to every person on a one-to-one basis. I am trying to stay alive.

All I can do is state again, that Dulce is a SECRET FACILITY. They work HARD to make sure nobody can find the place. If everyone could easily find it, it wouldn’t be a SECRET facility. I’ve explained the extreme security methods they use. There is other proof available.


Ebola haemorrhagic fever is caused by the Ebola virus, from the Filoviridae family, and is named after the Ebola River in Zaire, Africa, near where the first outbreak was noted by Dr Ngoy Mushola in 1976. There are five sub-species of the virus: Ebola-Ivory Coast, Ebola-Sudan, Ebola-Zaire, Ebola-Bundibugyo and Ebola-Reston. Only the last does not cause disease in humans. People infected with Ebola virus suffer sudden fever, muscle pain, headache and sore throat, followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, inhibited kidney and liver functions, and internal and external bleeding. Since 1976, outbreaks of Ebola have been isolated sporadic, which is just as well as the death rate of those infected is up to 90 per cent. The disease is “zoonotic”, meaning it is borne by animals but transmissible to humans. However, science is still looking for the carrier animal, and also the origin of the disease is unknown.

It is these mysteries concerning Ebola’s host and source that open the door to conspiracy theorists who insist that Ebola is a man-made virus. The most prominent Ebola conspiracist is Dr Leonard Horowitz, author of Emerging Viruses: AIDS and Ebola: Nature, Accident or Intentional? Horowitz contends that the US National Cancer Institute, Litton Bionetics, and the US Medical Research Institute created Ebola in a lab with the intention of using it in a bioterrorism campaign against gays, blacks, Jews and Hispanics in an effort to depopulate the world. Some of those wearing the white lab coats, Horowitz alleges, were Nazi scientists brought to the US under Project Paperclip. Dr Horowitz traces America’s eugenics scheme to a 1974 memo by Henry Kissinger (see Kissinger Associates), who was himself in the intellectual debt of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, “perhaps the most powerful reactionary segment of European aristocracy, that for almost a thousand years, starting with the crusades in the twelfth century, funded military operations against countries and ideas considered a threat to its existence”.

Lennie Horowitz is off track in pinning the original sin of Ebola on the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, which, these days, is a Catholic Masonic charity (which admittedly does a bit of intelligence brokering on the side). And Lennie, a former Florida dentist, goes off track quite often; his explanation for the outbreak of World War II is that the Illuminati/Rockefellers established the frequency of 440 cycles per second as the tuning frequency for the A above middle C on the chromatic scale, so causing disharmony. Nevertheless, Ebola does have the capability, as Horowitz has highlighted, of becoming an agent for biological warfare. In 1992, members of Japan’s Aum Shinrikyo sect travelled to Zaire in a seeming attempt to acquire a virus sample with a view to weaponizing it.

As to the origin of Ebola, the answer is: nobody knows for certain, although most scientists believe the disease to be a natural occurrence.

Further Reading

Dr Leonard Horowitz, Emerging Viruses: AIDS and Ebola: Nature, Accident or Intentional?, 1996


“Are you familiar with what the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s real power is?” Kurtzweil asks. “FEMA allows the White House to suspend Constitutional government on declaration of a national emergency. Think about that!”

Dr Alvin Kurtzweil to Agent Mulder in The X Files: Fight the Future, 1998

Beside a highway outside Atlanta, Georgia, are stacked approximately 500,000 plastic coffins. The coffins, which are in full view of anyone passing by, are owned by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA is best known for handing out hot soup and blankets after national disasters. So why does it need half a million coffins? Or six hundred prison camps?

Provision of post-disaster aid is only part of FEMA’s brief. It is also entrusted with the “Continuity of Government” in the event of a national emergency. At its simplest, “Continuity” entails hustling the President, the Cabinet and Executive to an underground base beneath Mount Weather in Virginia, and dispersing alternative constitutional leaders to safe havens around the US. But successive Executive Orders have also given FEMA police state-like powers to round up US citizens and detain them without trial if they are considered a threat to national security.

What some conspiracy theorists speculate is that FEMA (founded in 1979) is actually an arm of the New World Order, and when the NWO’s head honchos give the order for martial law and the imposition of the North American Union, dissenters will be rounded up and incarcerated in those six hundred concentration camps. The coffins are for those who die fighting the imposition of the New World Order. Your fate, according to FEMA researcher B. A. Brooks, will be determined by which colour list your name is on:

We are all on a Red or Blue list somewhere, those on the red list will be woken at 4.00 a.m. and taken to the camps and probably killed.

Red List—These people are the enemies of the NWO. They are the leaders of patriot groups, outspoken ministers, outspoken talk show hosts, community leaders, and even probably NET leaders. These people will be dragged out of their homes at 4:00 a.m. and will be taken to FEMA detention centers and killed. This will take place approximately two weeks before martial law is enforced.

Blue List—These are also enemies of the NWO, but are followers of the Red List folks. These people will be rounded up after martial law is in place, and will be taken to the detention centers and “re-educated”. Various mind-control techniques will be used on them. Most will not survive this…

Yellow List—These are citizens who know nothing about the NWO and don’t want to know. They are considered to be no threat at all and will be instructed as to how to behave and will most likely do whatever they are told. Unfortunately there are too many of these to be effectively controlled, so many will be killed or starved.

Black List—I have recently heard that the red and blue lists have been combined into one, and is called the Black List. All black listed citizens will be marked for execution.

Trying to prove or disprove the existence of FEMA camps and coffins is one of the internet’s busiest industries. But:

Fact: The plastic “coffins” in Madison, Georgia, are actually burial liners, used to protect caskets when placed underground. The much snapped depot in Georgia is actually the storage facility of the manufacturer, Vantage Products. And there are more in the region of 50,000 rather than half a mill of the liners.

Fact: Most of the so-called concentration camps are nothing of the sort. One camp much featured on conspiracy sites, Beech Grove, is actually an Amtrak repair depot.

Fact: FEMA has in the past (and might well in the present) enjoyed powers prejudicial to civil liberties. When President Reagan was considering invading Nicaragua, he issued a series of executive orders that provided, in the event of mass internal dissent, for the suspension of the constitution, the imposition of martial law, the construction of mass prison camps, and the turning over of government to the president—and FEMA. Other scenarios in which FEMA has been touted as playing a leading repressive role are combating a national uprising by black Americans and incarcerating Arab Americans sympathetic to al-Qaeda. It should be pointed out that sections of the American establishment vigorously opposed the granting of Draconian powers to the Agency. At the time of the Reagan initiative the then attorney-general, William French Smith, wrote to the national security adviser, Robert McFarlane: “I believe that the role assigned to the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the revised Executive Order exceeds its proper function as a co-ordinating agency for emergency preparedness… this department and others have repeatedly raised serious policy and legal objections to an ‘emergency czar’ role for FEMA.”

Since 2003, FEMA has been part of the Department of Homeland Security. New notepaper did not mean new efficiency: the agency was much criticized for its slowness and incompetence following Hurricane Katrina. Which must be a crumb of comfort to those who fear FEMA’s intentions. If FEMA can’t set up tents after high winds and high water could it actually round anybody up in a national emergency?

Further Reading

B.A. Brooks, Things You Never Knew About FEMA, 2009

Linda A. Burns, FEMA: An Organization in the Crosshairs, 2007

“The Evidence: Debunking FEMA Camp Myths”, 10 April 2009, www.popularmechanics.com


Is it a bird? A plane? No, it’s a Foo Fighter.

In late 1944 Reuters press agency reported that strange spheres, resembling the glass balls that adorn Christmas trees, “have been seen hanging in the air over German territory, sometimes singly, sometimes in clusters. They are coloured silver and are apparently transparent.”

Numerous sightings of these weird balls were recorded by Allied aircrews throughout German airspace, and later in the war over the skies of Nippon. Dubbed “Foo Fighters” (from the French feu, meaning fire) the balls of light made no attempt to attack, although they could out-fly conventional aircraft. Allied boffins assumed that the Nazis’ sky balls were a secret air defence weapon, along the lines of exploding high altitude balloons, or anti-aircraft missiles. Sifting through Nazi records after the war, investigators found all manner of interesting secret devices being plotted, from the Feuerball (a missile that emitted signals to disrupt Allied aircrafts’ radio and radar) to the Wasserfall (a radio-controlled anti-aircraft missile), but none had been deployed. The consensus was that “Foo Fighters” were actually natural phenomena, such as ball lightning or St Elmo’s fire. Or, later in the war, Luftwaffe jet fighters, principally the Me262.

And there the matter lay, until conspiracist Renato Vesco decided that the Foo Fighter was actually the forerunner of the Kugelblitz, the Ball Lightning Fighter. And then “alternative historian” Jim Keith determined that the Kugelblitz was actually a… flying saucer, launched from sites in Prague and Breslau in early 1945. A “confidential Italian document” given to Keith by an unnamed, untraceable source described a dogfight between a flying saucer and Allied planes: “A strange flying machine, hemispherical, or at any rate circular, in shape, attacked them at a fantastic speed, destroying them in a few seconds without using any guns.”

Without using any guns? Surely only ray-wielding aliens didn’t need guns to destroy… and so, by a false syllogism, other conspiracy theorists came to believe that the Foo Fighters were actually helmed by aliens.

Of course, someone had to theorize that the aliens were helping the Nazis. According to Vladimir Tersiski the occult pan-German Thule Society and Vril Society made contact with extraterrestrials, who accordingly helped the Nazis mount a moon mission and, in 1945, enabled Hitler and the other Nazi bigwigs to escape by saucer to Antarctica.

Clever chaps those aliens. But not, seemingly, clever enough to win the war on behalf of their earthling Nazi collaborators.

Further Reading

Henry Stevens, Hitler’s Flying Saucers, 2003


Named after the horse, the Pinto was Ford’s rival to the Toyota Corolla, the Chevy Vega and VW Beetle in the US in the seventies. With gas prices on the up, manufacturers were desperate for a slice of the “runabout” end of the car market. Yet were Ford so desperate that they knowingly hid deadly design faults on the Pinto?

One evening in 1972, Lily Gray, pulled on to a Minneapolis highway in her new Ford Pinto. Alongside her in the car was a young boy, Richard Grimshaw. As Gray entered the merge lane, her car stalled. Another car bumped into her Pinto at twenty-eight miles per hour. The Pinto’s gas tank ruptured, then the car went up in a ball of flames. Gray died hours later; Grimshaw suffered burns over much of his body.

The Pinto lacked a heavyweight bumper, or proper reinforcement between the rear panel and the petroleum tank. So when a Pinto was rear-ended in even a minor fashion, as with Gray, the fuel tank ruptured. The Pinto had another flaw: due to its cracker-box construction the doors jammed easily when heated.

The Pinto was a firetrap on Goodyears.

When Gray’s Pinto exploded into flames in Minneapolis, Ford already knew about the Pinto’s fuel tank defect. Indeed, the company had been alerted to the weakness during pre-production, but, because retooling the Pinto lines to fit a safer tank would cost money, did nothing about it. As many as five hundred people may have died in Pinto explosions, but all the while Ford kept schtum about the fuel tank problem. The truth only came to light because of a 1977 report by Mark Dowie in the muckraking magazine Mother Jones, which quoted an internal Ford memorandum entitled “Fatalities Associated with Crash-Induced Fuel Leakage and Fire”. According to a “cost-benefit” analysis in the memo, the Pinto problem would likely lead to 180 burn deaths, 180 seriously burned victims and 2,100 burned-out vehicles—all of which would cost Ford $49.53 million in out of court settlements.

Against this, modifying the tank of 11 million Pintos at $11 a go would cost $121 million.

The bottom line ruled: Ford decided it would rather pay out for death, damage and injury than save its customers lives. When Richard Grimshaw took Ford to court, the California Court of Appeal upheld punitive damages of $3.5 million against the company, partly because Ford had been aware of the design defects but had determined against altering the design (see Document, p.159).

The Mother Jones article and Grimshaw v. Ford Motor Co. led to the end of the road for the Pinto. There were lawsuits, recalls and a tarnished reputation that could never be made better, no matter how hard the ad men at Dearborn slaved.

A number of other cars by other manufacturers on the US market were no safer than the Pinto, and also had unprotected fuel tanks behind the axle. Ford was merely unlucky enough to be exposed.

Further Reading

Mark Dowie, “Pinto Madness”, Mother Jones, September/October 1977


Court of Appeals of California, Fourth Appellate District, Division Two [May, 29, 1981]

CARMEN GRAY, a Minor, etc., et al., Plaintiffs and Appellants, v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, Defendant and Appellant.

RICHARD GRIMSHAW, a Minor, etc., Plaintiff and Appellant, v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, Defendant and Appellant.

Opinion by Tamura, Acting P. J., with McDaniel, J., concurring. Separate concurring opinion by Kaufman, J.



Design of the Pinto Fuel System:

In 1968, Ford began designing a new subcompact automobile which ultimately became the Pinto. Mr. Iacocca, then a Ford vice president, conceived the project and was its moving force. Ford’s objective was to build a car at or below 2,000 pounds to sell for no more than $2,000.

Ordinarily marketing surveys and preliminary engineering studies precede the styling of a new automobile line. Pinto, however, was a rush project, so that styling preceded engineering and dictated engineering design to a greater degree than usual. Among the engineering decisions dictated by styling was the placement of the fuel tank. It was then the preferred practice in Europe and Japan to locate the gas tank over the rear axle in subcompacts because a small vehicle has less “crush space” between the rear axle and the bumper than larger cars. The Pinto’s styling, however, required the tank to be placed behind the rear axle leaving only 9 or 10 inches of “crush space”—far less than in any other American automobile or Ford overseas subcompact. In addition, the Pinto was designed so that its bumper was little more than a chrome strip, less substantial than the bumper of any other American car produced then or later. The Pinto’s rear structure also lacked reinforcing members known as “hat sections” (two longitudinal side members) and horizontal cross-members running between them such as were found in cars of larger unitized construction and in all automobiles produced by Ford’s overseas operations. The absence of the reinforcing members rendered the Pinto less crush resistant than other vehicles. Finally, the differential housing selected for the Pinto had an exposed flange and a line of exposed bolt heads. These protrusions were sufficient to puncture a gas tank driven forward against the differential upon rear impact.

Crash Tests:

During the development of the Pinto, prototypes were built and tested. Some were “mechanical prototypes” which duplicated mechanical features of the design but not its appearance while others, referred to as “engineering prototypes,” were true duplicates of the design car. These prototypes as well as two production Pintos were crash tested by Ford to determine, among other things, the integrity of the fuel system in rear-end accidents. Ford also conducted the tests to see if the Pinto as designed would meet a proposed federal regulation requiring all automobiles manufactured in 1972 to be able to withstand a 20-mile-per-hour fixed barrier impact without significant fuel spillage and all automobiles manufactured after January 1, 1973, to withstand a 30-mile-per-hour fixed barrier impact without significant fuel spillage.

The crash tests revealed that the Pinto’s fuel system as designed could not meet the 20-mile-per-hour proposed standard. Mechanical prototypes struck from the rear with a moving barrier at 21 miles per hour caused the fuel tank to be driven forward and to be punctured, causing fuel leakage in excess of the standard prescribed by the proposed regulation. A production Pinto crash tested at 21 miles per hour into a fixed barrier caused the fuel neck to be torn from the gas tank and the tank to be punctured by a bolt head on the differential housing. In at least one test, spilled fuel entered the driver’s compartment through gaps resulting from the separation of the seams joining the rear wheel wells to the floor pan. The seam separation was occasioned by the lack of reinforcement in the rear structure and insufficient welds of the wheel wells to the floor pan.

Tests conducted by Ford on other vehicles, including modified or reinforced mechanical Pinto prototypes, proved safe at speeds at which the Pinto failed. Where rubber bladders had been installed in the tank, crash tests into fixed barriers at 21 miles per hour withstood leakage from punctures in the gas tank. Vehicles with fuel tanks installed above rather than behind the rear axle passed the fuel system integrity test at 31-miles-per-hour fixed barrier. A Pinto with two longitudinal hat sections added to firm up the rear structure passed a 20-mile-per-hour rear impact fixed barrier test with no fuel leakage.

The Cost to Remedy Design Deficiencies:

When a prototype failed the fuel system integrity test, the standard of care for engineers in the industry was to redesign and retest it. The vulnerability of the production Pinto’s fuel tank at speeds of 20 and 30-miles-per-hour fixed barrier tests could have been remedied by inexpensive “fixes,” but Ford produced and sold the Pinto to the public without doing anything to remedy the defects. Design changes that would have enhanced the integrity of the fuel tank system at relatively little cost per car included the following: Longitudinal side members and cross members at $2.40 and $1.80, respectively; a single shock absorbent “flak suit” to protect the tank at $4; a tank within a tank and placement of the tank over the axle at $5.08 to $5.79; a nylon bladder within the tank at $5.25 to $8; placement of the tank over the axle surrounded with a protective barrier at a cost of $9.95 per car; substitution of a rear axle with a smooth differential housing at a cost of $2.10; imposition of a protective shield between the differential housing and the tank at $2.35; improvement and reinforcement of the bumper at $2.60; addition of eight inches of crush space a cost of $6.40. Equipping the car with a reinforced rear structure, smooth axle, improved bumper and additional crush space at a total cost of $15.30 would have made the fuel tank safe in a 34 to 38-mile-per-hour rear-end collision by a vehicle the size of the Ford Galaxie. If, in addition to the foregoing, a bladder or tank within a tank were used or if the tank were protected with a shield, it would have been safe in a 40 to 45-mile-per-hour rear impact. If the tank had been located over the rear axle, it would have been safe in a rear impact at 50 miles per hour or more.

Management’s Decision to Go Forward With Knowledge of Defects:

The idea for the Pinto, as has been noted, was conceived by Mr. Iacocca, then executive vice president of Ford. The feasibility study was conducted under the supervision of Mr. Robert Alexander, vice president of car engineering. Ford’s Product Planning Committee, whose members included Mr. Iacocca, Mr. Robert Alexander, and Mr. Harold MacDonald, Ford’s group vice president of car engineering, approved the Pinto’s concept and made the decision to go forward with the project. During the course of the project, regular product review meetings were held which were chaired by Mr. MacDonald and attended by Mr. Alexander. As the project approached actual production, the engineers responsible for the components of the project “signed off ” to their immediate supervisors who in turn “signed off ” to their superiors and so on up the chain of command until the entire project was approved for public release by Vice Presidents Alexander and MacDonald and ultimately by Mr. Iacocca. The Pinto crash tests results had been forwarded up the chain of command to the ultimate decision-makers and were known to the Ford officials who decided to go forward with production.

Harley Copp, a former Ford engineer and executive in charge of the crash testing program, testified that the highest level of Ford’s management made the decision to go forward with the production of the Pinto, knowing that the gas tank was vulnerable to puncture and rupture at low rear impact speeds creating a significant risk of death or injury from fire and knowing that “fixes” were feasible at nominal cost. He testified that management’s decision was based on the cost savings which would inure from omitting or delaying the “fixes.”

Mr. Copp’s testimony concerning management’s awareness of the crash tests results and the vulnerability of the Pinto fuel system was corroborated by other evidence. At an April 1971 product review meeting chaired by Mr. MacDonald, those present received and discussed a report (exhibit 125) prepared by Ford engineers pertaining to the financial impact of a proposed federal standard on fuel system integrity and the cost savings which would accrue from deferring even minimal “fixes.” The report refers to crash tests of the integrity of the fuel system of Ford vehicles and design changes needed to meet anticipated federal standards. Also in evidence was a September 23, 1970, report (exhibit 124) by Ford’s “Chassis Design Office” concerning a program “to establish a corporate [Ford] position and reply to the government” on the proposed federal fuel system integrity standard which included zero fuel spillage at 20 miles per hour fixed barrier crash by January 1, 1972, and 30 miles per hour by January 1, 1973. The report states in part: “The 20 and 30 mph rear fixed barrier crashes will probably require repackaging the fuel tanks in a protected area such as above the rear axle. This is based on moving barrier crash tests of a Chevelle and a Ford at 30 mph and other Ford products at 20 mph. Currently there are no plans for forward models to repackage the fuel tanks. Tests must be conducted to prove that repackaged tanks will live without significantly strengthening rear structure for added protection.” The report also notes that the Pinto was the “[smallest] car line with most difficulty in achieving compliance.” It is reasonable to infer that the report was prepared for and known to Ford officials in policy-making positions.

The fact that two of the crash tests were run at the request of the Ford chassis and vehicle engineering department for the specific purpose of demonstrating the advisability of moving the fuel tank over the axle as a possible “f x” further corroborated Mr. Copp’s testimony that management knew the results of the crash tests. Mr. Kennedy, who succeeded Mr. Copp as the engineer in charge of Ford’s crash testing program, admitted that the test results had been forwarded up the chain of command to his superiors.

Finally, Mr. Copp testified to conversations in late 1968 or early 1969 with the chief assistant research engineer in charge of cost-weight evaluation of the Pinto, and to a later conversation with the chief chassis engineer who was then in charge of crash testing the early prototype. In these conversations, both men expressed concern about the integrity of the Pinto’s fuel system and complained about management’s unwillingness to deviate from the design if the change would cost money.


Born in Croatia in 1856, Nikola Tesla was a scientific genius, some of whose inventions have entered everyday life (he developed AC electrical current), some of which were madcap.

Or were they? One of Tesla’s most infamous ideas concerned electricity that could be transmitted through the air without the need for wires. To this end, he developed the Tesla Coil, a device to create bursts of high-voltage electricity which could be beamed to receivers without the need for wires. His biggest coil, the Magnifying Transmitter, was built at his lab in Colorado Springs, and when tested sent electricity arcing 50 metres into the air. The surge created a static discharge that lit up the earth. But the Magnifying Transmitter worked: it illuminated light bulbs twenty five miles away, without wires.

Tesla believed that the earth is a natural conductor, and that a strategically placed grid of Magnifying Transmitters could send free electricity over the world (see Document, p.167). To receive a supply, all people would need to do was stick a metal rod into their backyard, then relay the current to antennae on their electrical devices.

According to conspiracy lore, Tesla’s wireless electricity scheme did not catch on because it was suppressed by big electricity manufacturers, notably J. P. Morgan, who had hitherto been financing Tesla’s projects. “Where do I put the meter?” he famously asked Tesla about the latter’s “free power” scheme. The scientific jury is out on whether Tesla’s coils are a possible global power source, but Morgan certainly pulled the plug on free power in Tesla’s lifetime. And suppression of customer-friendly electrical goods was hardly unknown in the USA. Time magazine reported in 1945 that Philips, Osram and GE had engaged in a conspiracy to suppress light bulb technology that would have produced cheaper and longer lasting bulbs.

Inadvertently though, Morgan may have done the world a favour by stopping the flow of dollars to the inventive Tesla. On Long Island, Tesla began construction of the monstrous Wardenclyffe Tower to run a “World System”, combining wireless transmission of free energy and a global broadcasting system. There was intense press speculation—not helped by Tesla’s boast that the tower’s beam was so powerful it could destroy a ship in seconds—that Tesla’s invention was behind the mysterious sinking of the Iena in 1907. More recently, it has been suggested that the 1908 explosion that wiped out half a million acres of Siberian forest was not, as officially claimed, caused by a piece of Enke’s comet hitting Earth, but a misfiring from Tesla’s Wardenclyffe Tower in which a colossal, trillion-watt beam of power went to the wrong place. The tower was pulled down in 1917 because German U-boats were using it as a navigational beacon

Lack of money also put paid to Tesla’s 1934 plan for a particle beam weapon, which could knock aircraft out of the sky 250 miles away. Tesla christened his new invention the “Peace Ray”, because he considered it so terrible a deterrent that all wars would stop. The ray gun was never built in Tesla’s lifetime (he died in poverty in 1943) but the concept was revived in the 1980s by Texan physicist Dr Bernard Eastlund—and, say conspiracists, by the mysterious Project HAARP of the US government in remotest Alaska.

Further Reading

Nikola Tesla and David Hatcher Childress, The Tesla Papers: Nikola Tesla on Free Energy and Wireless Transmission of Power, 2000


One day, as I was roaming in the mountains, I sought shelter from an approaching storm. The sky became overhung with heavy clouds but somehow the rain was delayed until, all of a sudden, there was a lightning flash and a few moments after a deluge. This observation set me thinking.

It was manifest that the two phenomena were closely related, as cause and effect, and a little reflection led me to the conclusion that the electrical energy involved in the precipitation of the water was inconsiderable, the function of lightning being much like that of a sensitive trigger.

Here was a stupendous possibility of achievement. If we could produce electric effects of the required quality, this whole planet and the conditions of existence on it could be transformed.

The sun raises the water of the oceans and winds drive it to distant regions where it remains in a state of most delicate balance. If it were in our power to upset it when and wherever desired, this mighty life-sustaining stream could be at will controlled. We could irrigate arid deserts, create lakes and rivers and provide motive power in unlimited amounts. This would be the most efficient way of harnessing the sun to the uses of man. The consummation depended on our ability to develop electric forces of the order of those in nature. It seemed a hopeless undertaking, but I made up my mind to try it and immediately on my return to the United States, in the summer of 1892, work was begun which was to me all the more attractive, because a means of the same kind was necessary for the successful transmission of energy without wires.

The first gratifying result was obtained in the spring of the succeeding year when I reached tensions of about 1,000,000 volts with my conical coil. That was not much in the light of the present art, but it was then considered a feat. Steady progress was made until the destruction of my laboratory by fire in 1895, as may be judged from an article by T. C. Martin which appeared in the April number of the Century Magazine. This calamity set me back in many ways and most of that year had to be devoted to planning and reconstruction. However, as soon as circumstances permitted, I returned to the task.

Although I knew that higher electro-motive forces were attainable with apparatus of larger dimensions, I had an instinctive perception that the object could be accomplished by the proper design of a comparatively small and compact transformer. In carrying on tests with a secondary in the form of a flat spiral, as illustrated in my patents, the absence of streamers surprised me, and it was not long before I discovered that this was due to the position of the turns and their mutual action. Profiting from this observation I resorted to the use of a high tension conductor with turns of considerable diameter sufficiently separated to keep down the distributed capacity, while at the same time preventing undue accumulation of the charge at any point. The application of this principle enabled me to produce pressures of 4,000,000 volts, which was about the limit obtainable in my new laboratory at Houston Street, as the discharges extended through a distance of 16 feet. A photograph of this transmitter was published in the Electrical Review of November 1898.

In order to advance further along this line I had to go into the open, and in the spring of 1899, having completed preparations for the erection of a wireless plant, I went to Colorado where I remained for more than one year. Here I introduced other improvements and refinements which made it possible to generate currents of any tension that may be desired. Those who are interested will find some information in regard to the experiments I conducted there in my article, “The Problem of Increasing Human Energy” in the Century Magazine of June 1900, to which I have referred on a previous occasion.

I have been asked by the ELECTRICAL EXPERIMENTER to be quite explicit on this subject so that my young friends among the readers of the magazine will clearly understand the construction and operation of my “Magnifying Transmitter” and the purposes for which it is intended. Well, then, in the first place, it is a resonant transformer with a secondary in which the parts, charged to a high potential, are of considerable area and arranged in space along ideal enveloping surfaces of very large radii of curvature, and at proper distances from one another thereby insuring a small electric surface density everywhere so that no leak can occur even if the conductor is bare. It is suitable for any frequency, from a few to many thousands of cycles per second, and can be used in the production of currents of tremendous volume and moderate pressure, or of smaller amperage and immense electromotive force. The maximum electric tension is merely dependent on the curvature of the surfaces on which the charged elements are situated and the area of the latter.

Judging from my past experience, as much as 100,000,000 volts are perfectly practicable. On the other hand currents of many thousands of amperes may be obtained in the antenna. A plant of but very moderate dimensions is required for such performances. Theoretically, a terminal of less than 90 feet in diameter is sufficient to develop an electromotive force of that magnitude while for antenna currents of from 2,000–4,000 amperes at the usual frequencies it need not be larger than 30 feet in diameter.

In a more restricted meaning this wireless transmitter is one in which the Hertz-wave radiation is an entirely negligible quantity as compared with the whole energy, under which condition the damping factor is extremely small and an enormous charge is stored in the elevated capacity.

Such a circuit may then be excited with impulses of any kind, even of low frequency and it will yield sinusoidal and continuous oscillations like those of an alternator.

Taken in the narrowest significance of the term, however, it is a resonant transformer which, besides possessing these qualities, is accurately proportioned to fit the globe and its electrical constants and properties, by virtue of which design it becomes highly efficient and effective in the wireless transmission of energy. Distance is then absolutely eliminated, there being no diminution in the intensity of the transmitted impulses. It is even possible to make the actions increase with the distance from the plant according to an exact mathematical law.

This invention was one of a number comprised in my “World-System” of wireless transmission which I undertook to commercialize on my return to New York in 1900. As to the immediate purposes of my enterprise, they were clearly outlined in a technical statement of that period from which I quote:

The “World-System” has resulted from a combination of several original discoveries made by the inventor in the course of long continued research and experimentation. It makes possible not only the instantaneous and precise wireless transmission of any kind of signals, messages or characters, to all parts of the world, but also the interconnection of the existing telegraph, telephone, and other signal stations without any change in their present equipment. By its means, for instance, a telephone subscriber here may call up and talk to any other subscriber on the Globe. An inexpensive receiver, not bigger than a watch, will enable him to listen anywhere, on land or sea, to a speech delivered or music played in some other place, however distant.

These examples are cited merely to give an idea of the possibilities of this great scientific advance, which annihilates distance and makes that perfect natural conductor, the Earth, available for all the innumerable purposes which human ingenuity has found for a line-wire. One far-reaching result of this is that any device capable of being operated thru one or more wires (at a distance obviously restricted) can likewise be actuated, without artificial conductors and with the same facility and accuracy, at distances to which there are no limits other than those imposed by the physical dimensions of the Globe. Thus, not only will entirely new fields for commercial exploitation be opened up by this ideal method of transmission but the old ones vastly extended.

The “World-System” is based on the application of the following important inventions and discoveries:

1) The “Tesla Transformer.” This apparatus is in the production of electrical vibrations as revolutionary as gunpowder was in warfare. Currents many times stronger than any ever generated in the usual ways, and sparks over one hundred feet long, have been produced by the inventor with an instrument of this kind.

2) The “Magnifying Transmitter.” This is Tesla’s best invention, a peculiar transformer specially adapted to excite the Earth, which is in the transmission of electrical energy what the telescope is in astronomical observation. By the use of this marvelous device he has already set up electrical movements of greater intensity than those of lightning and passed a current, sufficient to light more than two hundred incandescent lamps, around the Globe.

3) The “Tesla Wireless System.” This system comprises a number of improvements and is the only means known for transmitting economically electrical energy to a distance without wires. Careful tests and measurements in connection with an experimental station of great activity, erected by the inventor in Colorado, have demonstrated that power in any desired amount can be conveyed, clear across the Globe if necessary, with a loss not exceeding a few per cent.

4) The “Art of Individualization.” This invention of Tesla’s is to primitive ‘tuning’ what refined language is to unarticulated expression. It makes possible the transmission of signals or messages absolutely secret and exclusive both in the active and passive aspect, that is, non-interfering as well as non-interferable. Each signal is like an individual of unmistakable identity and there is virtually no limit to the number of stations or instruments which can be simultaneously operated without the slightest mutual disturbance.

5) “The Terrestrial Stationary Waves.” This wonderful discovery, popularly explained, means that the Earth is responsive to electrical vibrations of definite pitch just as a tuning fork to certain waves of sound. These particular electrical vibrations, capable of powerfully exciting the Globe, lend themselves to innumerable uses of great importance commercially and in many other respects.

The first “World-System” power plant can be put in operation in nine months. With this power plant it will be practicable to attain electrical activities up to ten million horsepower and it is designed to serve for as many technical achievements as are possible without due expense.

Among these the following may be mentioned:

1) The inter-connection of the existing telegraph exchanges or offices all over the world;

2) The establishment of a secret and non-interferable government telegraph service;

3) The inter-connection of all the present telephone exchanges or offices on the Globe;

4) The universal distribution of general news, by telegraph or telephone, in connection with the Press;

5) The establishment of such a “World-System” of intelligence transmission for exclusive private use;

6) The inter-connection and operation of all stock tickers of the world;

7) The establishment of a “World-System” of musical distribution, etc.;

8) The universal registration of time by cheap clocks indicating the hour with astronomical precision and requiring no attention whatever;

9) The world transmission of typed or handwritten characters, letters, checks, etc.;

10) The establishment of a universal marine service enabling the navigators of all ships to steer perfectly without compass, to determine the exact location, hour and speed, to prevent collisions and disasters, etc.;

11) The inauguration of a system of world-printing on land and sea;

12) The world reproduction of photographic pictures and all kinds of drawings or records.

I also proposed to make demonstrations in the wireless transmission of power on a small scale but sufficient to carry conviction. Besides these I referred to other and incomparably more important applications of my discoveries which will be disclosed at some future date.

A plant was built on Long Island with a tower 187 feet high, having a spherical terminal about 68 feet in diameter. These dimensions were adequate for the transmission of virtually any amount of energy. Originally only from 200 to 300 K.W. were provided but I intended to employ later several thousand horsepower. The transmitter was to emit a wave complex of special characteristics and I had devised a unique method of telephonic control of any amount of energy.


Why do the cities of America have no streetcars, let alone streetcars named Desire, running along them?

In 1974 one Bradford Snell, a staff attorney for the US Senate antitrust subcommittee, advanced the startling claim that General Motors had, in alliance with Standard Oil, Firestone, and Phillips Petroleum gone into cahoots to destroy the energy-efficient streetcar in forty-five cities, so as to pave the way for the triumph of the internal combustion engine. Which they all had a big stake in. According to Snell, GM and the other firms set up a holding company, National City Lines, that bought up electric trolley systems, dismantled them and replaced them with buses. In his report to the US Government, “American Ground Transport—A Proposal for Restructuring the Automobile, Truck, Bus and Rail Industries” (see Document, p.176), he stated that General Motors was “a sovereign economic state whose common control of auto, truck, bus and locomotive production was a major factor in the displacement of rail and bus transportation with cars and trucks”.

Snell’s claim received a turbo-boost in 1988, when it formed the sub-plot of the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Here the evil character Doom reveals that he bought the Red Car system so that he could junk it and force people to drive on his new freeway.

So, were the citizens of US cities taken for a ride by GM and its corporate pals?

There is a kernel of truth in Snell’s allegation: National City Line did buy the Los Angeles Railway in 1944, and did replace streetcar lines with buses. Furthermore, General Motors and its subsidiary, National City Lines, along with seven other corporations were indicted on two counts under the Sherman Antitrust Act. They were charged with:

• Conspiring to monopolize sales of buses and supplies to companies owned by National City Lines.

• Conspiring to acquire control of transit companies with a view to forming a transportation monopoly.

The defendants were aquitted on the second count of trying to form a monopoly (although no one disputed that GM and its allies were engaged in all out war to create a transport environment favourable to its gas-powered products). GM, though, was convicted on the first. That is to say, they were guilty of conspiring to have GM companies buy only GM buses and spares.

It is not pretty, it is not ethical, but it not quite the same as maintaining that GM killed the streetcar. The streetcar was dying in its tracks before GM came along, because the rival bus was cheaper and more versatile (especially in a rapidly growing city like LA). Even transit systems which the NLC did not buy up, such as Pacific Electric, were dismantled in favour of the rubber-wheeled alternative.

Further Reading

Scott Bottles, Los Angeles and the Automobile, 1987


N.B. Snell is erroneous in claiming that GM were convicted “of having criminally conspired with Standard Oil of California, Firestone Tire and others to replace electric transportation with gas- or diesel-powered buses”, as explained above.

After its successful experience with intercity buses, General Motors diversified into city bus and rail operations. At first, its procedure consisted of directly acquiring and scrapping local electric transit systems in favor of GM buses. In this fashion, it created a market for its city buses. As GM General Counsel Henry Hogan would observe later, the corporation “decided that the only way this new market for (city) buses could be created was for it to finance the conversion from streetcars to buses in some small cities.” On June 29, 1932, the GM-bus executive committee formally resolved that “to develop motorized transportation, our company should initiate a program of this nature and authorize the incorporation of a holding company with a capital of $300,000.” Thus was formed United Cities Motor Transit (UCMT) as a subsidiary of GM’s bus division. Its sole function was to acquire electric streetcar companies, convert them to GM motorbus operation, and then resell the properties to local concerns which agreed to purchase GM bus replacements. The electric streetcar lines of Kalamazoo and Saginaw, Mich., and Springfield, Ohio, were UCMT’s first targets. “In such case,” Hogan stated, GM “successfully motorized the city, turned the management over to other interests and liquidated its investment.” The program ceased, however, in 1935 when GM was censured by the American Transit Association (ATA) for its self-serving role, as a bus manufacturer, in apparently attempting to motorize Portland’s electric streetcar system.

As a result of the ATA censure, GM dissolved UCMT and embarked upon a nationwide plan to accomplish the same result indirectly. In 1936 it combined with the Omnibus Corp. in engineering the tremendous conversion of New York City’s electric streetcar system to GM buses. At that time, as a result of stock and management interlocks, GM was able to exert substantial influence over Omnibus. John A. Ritchie, for example, served simultaneously as chairman of GM’s bus division and president of Omnibus from 1926 until well after the motorization was completed. The massive conversion within a period of only 18 months of the New York system, then the world’s largest streetcar network, has been recognized subsequently as the turning point in the electric railway industry.

Meanwhile, General Motors had organized another holding company to convert the remainder of the Nation’s electric transportation systems to GM’s buses. In 1936, it caused its officers and employees, I. B. Babcock, E. J. Stone, E. P. Crenshaw, and several Greyhound executives to form National City Lines, Inc. (NCL). During the following 14 years General Motors, together with Standard Oil of California, Firestone Tire, and two other suppliers of bus-related products, contributed more than $9 million to this holding company for the purpose of converting electric transit systems in 16 States to GM bus operations. The method of operation was basically the same as that which GM employed successfully in its United Cities Motor Transit program: acquisition, motorization, resale. By having NCL resell the properties after conversion was completed, GM and its allied companies were assured that their capital was continually reinvested in the motorization of additional systems. There was, moreover, little possibility of reconversion. To preclude the return of electric vehicles to the dozens of cities it motorized, GM extracted from the local transit companies contracts which prohibited their purchase of “any new equipment using any fuel or means of propulsion other than gas.”

The National City Lines campaign had a devastating impact on the quality of urban transportation and urban living in America. Nowhere was the ruin more apparent than in the Greater Los Angeles metropolitan area. Thirty-five years ago it was a beautiful region of lush palm trees, fragrant orange groves, and clean, ocean-enriched air. It was served then by the world’s largest interurban electric railway system. The Pacific Electric system branched out from Los Angeles for a radius of more than 75 miles reaching north to San Fernando, east to San Bernardino, and south to Santa Ana. Its 3,000 quiet, pollution-free, electric trains annually transported 80 million people throughout the sprawling region’s 56 separately incorporated cities. Contrary to popular belief, the Pacific Electric, not the automobile, was responsible for the area’s geographical development. First constructed in 1911, it established traditions of suburban living long before the automobile had arrived.

In 1938, General Motors and Standard Oil of California organized Pacific City Lines (PCL) as an affiliate of NCL to motorize west coast electric railways. The following year PCL acquired, scrapped, and substituted bus lines for three northern California electric rail systems in Fresno, San Jose, and Stockton. In 1940 GM, Standard Oil, and Firestone “assumed the active management of Pacific (City Lines)” in order to supervise its California operations more directly. That year, PCL began to acquire and scrap portions of the $100 million Pacific Electric system, including rail lines from Los Angeles to Glendale, Burbank, Pasadena, and San Bernardino. Subsequently, in December 1944, another NCL affiliate (American City Lines) was financed by GM and Standard Oil to motorize downtown Los Angeles. At the time, the Pacific Electric shared downtown Los Angeles trackage with a local electric streetcar company, the Los Angeles Railway. American City Lines purchased the local system, scrapped its electric transit cars, tore down its power transmission lines, ripped up the tracks, and placed GM diesel buses fueled by Standard Oil on Los Angeles’ crowded streets. In sum, GM and its auto-industrial allies severed Los Angeles’ regional rail links and then motorized its downtown heart.

Motorization drastically altered the quality of life in southern California. Today, Los Angeles is an ecological wasteland: The palm trees are dying from petrochemical smog; the orange groves have been paved over by 300 miles of freeways; the air is a septic tank into which 4 million cars, half of them built by General Motors, pump 13,000 tons of pollutants daily. With the destruction of the efficient Pacific Electric rail system, Los Angeles may have lost its best hope for rapid rail transit and a smog-free metropolitan area. “The Pacific Electric,” wrote UCLA Professor Hilton, “could have comprised the nucleus of a highly efficient rapid transit system, which would have contributed greatly to lessening the tremendous traffic and smog problems that developed from population growth.” The substitution of GM diesel buses, which were forced to compete with automobiles for space on congested freeways, apparently benefited GM, Standard Oil, and Firestone, considerably more than the riding public. Hilton added: “The (Pacific Electric) system, with its extensive private right of way, was far superior to a system consisting solely of buses on the crowded streets.” As early as 1963, the city already was seeking ways of raising $500 million to rebuild a rail system “to supercede its present inadequate network of bus lines.” A decade later, the estimated cost of constructing a 116-mile rail system, less than one-sixth the size of the earlier Pacific Electric, had escalated to more than $6.6 billion.

By 1949, General Motors had been involved in the replacement of more than 100 electric transit systems with GM buses in 45 cities including New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, St. Louis, Oakland, Salt Lake City, and Los Angeles. In April of that year, a Chicago Federal jury convicted GM of having criminally conspired with Standard Oil of California, Firestone Tire and others to replace electric transportation with gas- or diesel-powered buses and to monopolize the sale of buses and related products to local transportation companies throughout the country. The court imposed a sanction of $5,000 on GM. In addition, the jury convicted H. C. Grossman, who was then treasurer of General Motors. Grossman had played a key role in the motorization campaigns and had served as a director of PCL when that company undertook the dismantlement of the $100 million Pacific Electric system. The court fined Grossman the magnanimous sum of $1.

Despite its criminal conviction, General Motors continued to acquire and dieselize electric transit properties through September of 1955. By then, approximately 88 percent of the nation’s electric streetcar network had been eliminated. In 1936, when GM organized National City Lines, 40,000 streetcars were operating in the United States; at the end of 1955, only 5,000 remained. In December of that year, GM bus chief Roger M. Kyes correctly observed: “The motor coach has supplanted the interurban systems and has for all practical purposes eliminated the trolley (streetcar).”

The effect of General Motors’ diversification into city transportation systems was substantially to curtail yet another alternative to motor vehicle transportation. Electric street railways and electric trolley buses were eliminated without regard to their relative merit as a mode of transport. Their displacement by oil-powered buses maximized the earnings of GM stockholders; but it deprived the riding public of a competing method of travel. Moreover, there is some evidence that in terms of air pollution and energy consumption these electric systems were superior to diesel buses. In any event, GM and its oil and tire co-conspirators used National City Lines as a device to force the sale of their products regardless of the public interest. As Professor Smerk, an authority on urban transportation, has written, “Street railways and trolley bus operations, even if better suited to traffic needs and the public interest, were doomed in favor of the vehicles and material produced by the conspirators.”

General Motors’ substitution of buses for city streetcar lines may also have contributed in an indirect manner to the abandonment of electric railway freight service. During the 1930’s merchants relied extensively on interurban electric railways to deliver local goods and to interchange distant freight shipments with mainline railroads. The Pacific Electric, for example, was once the third largest freight railroad in California; it interchanged freight with the Southern Pacific, the Union Pacific and the Santa Fe. In urban areas, these railways often ran on local streetcar trackage. The conversion of city streetcars to buses, therefore, deprived them of city trackage and hastened their replacement by motor trucks, many of which, incidentally, were produced by GM.

General Motors also stood to profit from its interests in highway freight transport. Until the early 1950s, it maintained sizable stock interests in two of the Nation’s largest trucking firms, Associated Transport and Consolidated Freightways, which enjoyed the freight traffic diverted from the electric railways. By 1951, these two companies had established more than 100 freight terminals in 29 States coast-to-coast and, more than likely, had invested in a substantial number of GM diesel-powered trucks.

GM’s diversification into bus and rail operations would appear not only to have had the effect of foreclosing transport alternatives regardless of their comparative advantages, but also to have contributed at least in part to urban air pollution problems. There were in fact some early warnings that GM’s replacement of electric-driven vehicles with diesel-powered buses and trucks was increasing air pollution. On January 26, 1954, for instance, E. P. Crenshaw, GM bus general sales manager, sent the following memorandum to F. J. Limback, another GM executive:

There has developed in a number of cities “smog” conditions which has resulted in Anti-Air Pollution committees, who immediately take issue with bus and truck operations, and especially Diesel engine exhaust. In many cases, efforts are being made to stop further substitution of Diesel buses for electric-driven vehicles…

Three months later, in April 1954, the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists adopted a limit of 5 parts per million for human exposure to nitrogen oxides. Diesel buses, according to another report by two GM engineers, emitted “oxides of nitrogen concentrations over 200 times the recommended” exposure limit. Nevertheless, the dieselization program continued.


Is a hoax, according to an array of climate change doubters who maintain that there is no scientific evidence that the Earth is getting substantially hotter. And even if the world is warming up the cause is not the emission of greenhouse gases from fossil fuels—the belief of the global warming orthodox—but a natural fluctuation in temperature caused by solar activity.

An inconvenient truth for global warmers is that the world temperature apparently levelled off in 1998, and if anything has dropped since 2009. Accusations that scientific supporters of man-made global warming—“anthropogenic global warming” or “AGW” in the trade—have persistently hidden information contrary to the above or hyped the dangers of warming are rife. And sometimes well-founded: an independent inquiry into “Climategate” at the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, Great Britain, cleared academics there of actually using tricks to hide data but did find a graph produced in 1999 “misleading”. Stephen Schneider, Stanford University Professor and lead author for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) blithely told Discover magazine that scientific believers needed to “‘offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have” in the greater good of convincing the public that warming was happening.

Scientists lying? Scientists are meant to stare down microscopes and tell the truth. With scientists prepared to fudge and fictionalize for political ends, it is small wonder that AGW-deniers smell blood.

In the movie The Wild One Marlon Brando’s character is asked, “What are you rebelling against, Johnny?” to which he answers, “Whaddya got?” In similar vein, denialists cite a multitude of reasons why the global warming scam (alleged) is being foisted on the public by politicians, scientists and businessmen. In ascending order of satanic magnitude the hoax exists because:

• Green charities, environmentalists, alternative energy companies, carbon-trading NGOs, pro-climate academic researchers all need to whip up fear about global warming to justify their jobs, grants, scams and budgets. Their co-conspirators are governments from left to right, who use global warming to acclimatize the population to higher taxes and more controls on lifestyle.

• The UN and its IPCC is seeking the redistribution of wealth from First World to Third World by curtailing industrial output in the West. In particular theorists charge that the Kyoto Agreement is a direct attack on the economic capability of the USA, since ratification by Washington DC of treaty obligations to restrict emissions would lead to a giant restructuring bill. De-industrialization of the West, say some theorists, together with a one-world UN-led government equals Socialism—so making “global warming” a new twist on the old Commie takeover plot.

• The New World Order, like the UN, is seeking the destabilisation of the USA. Retooling the economy to satisfy global warmers and Kyoto would drag billions from defence, so making the USA vulnerable to a takeover by NWO forces.

Subtract the lunacy of the “NWO” and for once the paranoid spear carriers of conspiracy theory may have a point: the global warming brigade are blowing smoke into the eyes of the public.

The public, meanwhile, along with Joe Friday, want “Just the facts, ma’am”.

Further Reading

Michael Crichton, State of Fear, 2004

James Delingpole, Watermelons: The Green Movement’s True Colors, 2011

Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, Merchants of Doubt, 2010


On returning home from the first Gulf War of 1990–91, some Coalition veterans began to complain of a disturbing illness, the symptoms of which were migraine, dizziness, loss of balance, memory and motor control. Dubbed “Gulf War Syndrome”, scientists and combatants alike searched for its cause, of which there were several dire possibilities. Firstly, there was the possibility of exposure to oil fumes from well fires. Secondly, Saddam Hussein may have covertly used biological or chemical weapons. Thirdly, Coalition forces were subjected to anti-nerve gas drugs and chemical weapons by their own side, which was then covered up, as with the case of GIs being exposed to Agent Orange herbicide in Vietnam.

Not everyone, however, was convinced that Gulf War Syndrome actually existed. An issue of the New England Journal of Medicine in 1996 declared that most cases of the illness could be put down to leishmaniasis, a parasitic disease spread by sandflies. Other cases, as with other wars, seemed to be symptoms of shell shock. A 1998 article in Emerging Infectious Diseases found that veterans of the Gulf War actually had better overall health than soldiers who stayed behind. The British Ministry of Defence found no correlation between illness and Gulf War service, while the Pentagon found that only 1 per cent of Gulf veterans claimed to suffer from the mysterious illness. There were dark mutterings that veterans with Gulf War Syndrome were cleverly seeking financial compensation along the lines of that awarded to Agent Orange victims.

Undeterred, Gulf War Syndrome sufferers carried on campaigning, and began to win the battle for the public mind. In the US, a panel chaired by Anthony Principi, the Secretary of the Veteran Affairs department, decided that: “Research studies conducted since the war have consistently indicated that psychiatric illness, combat experience or other deployment-related stressors do not explain Gulf War veterans’ illnesses in the large majority of ill veterans”

Across the pond, in June 2003, the High Court upheld a claim by a Brit vet that the eczema, fatigue, depression and breathing problems that he experienced were the consequence of his military service. The court’s ruling was supported by a British scientific study, which found that Gulf War veterans had a lower fertility count than their non-serving peers.

Over time, the focus of Gulf War Syndrome medical research became the vaccinations troops received before deployment. By an “Interim Rule” adopted by the US Food and Drug Administration, the military were allowed to use experimental drugs on staff without their consent in a time of “military exigency”. Accordingly, GIs were injected cocktails of drugs of dubious provenance, efficacy and safety. A congressionally appointed Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses determined in 2008 that two neurotoxic exposures were “causally associated” with Gulf War illness. These were pyridostigmine bromide (PB) pills, given to protect troops from effects of nerve agents, and pesticides sprayed on clothing, bedding and tents.

Further Reading



Findings in Brief

Gulf War illness, the multisymptom condition resulting from service in the 1990–1991 Gulf War, is the most prominent health issue affecting Gulf War veterans, but not the only one. The Congressionally mandated Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses has reviewed the extensive evidence now available, including important findings from scientific research and government investigations not considered by earlier panels, to determine what is known about the health consequences of military service in the Gulf War. This evidence identifies the foremost causes of Gulf War illness, describes biological characteristics of this condition, and provides direction for future research urgently needed to improve the health of Gulf War veterans.

Gulf War illness is a serious condition that affects at least one fourth of the 697,000 U.S. veterans who served in the 1990–1991 Gulf War. This complex of multiple concurrent symptoms typically includes persistent memory and concentration problems, chronic headaches, widespread pain, gastrointestinal problems, and other chronic abnormalities not explained by well-established diagnoses. No effective treatments have been identified for Gulf War illness and studies indicate that few veterans have recovered over time.

Gulf War illness fundamentally differs from trauma and stress-related syndromes described after other wars. Studies consistently indicate that Gulf War illness is not the result of combat or other stressors and that Gulf War veterans have lower rates of post-traumatic stress disorder than veterans of other wars. No similar widespread, unexplained symptomatic illness has been identified in veterans who have served in war zones since the Gulf War, including current Middle East deployments.

Evidence strongly and consistently indicates that two Gulf War neurotoxic exposures are causally associated with Gulf War illness: 1) use of pyridostigmine bromide (PB) pills, given to protect troops from effects of nerve agents, and 2) pesticide use during deployment. Evidence includes the consistent association of Gulf War illness with PB and pesticides across studies of Gulf War veterans, identified dose-response effects, and research findings in other populations and in animal models.

For several Gulf War exposures, an association with Gulf War illness cannot be ruled out. These include low-level exposure to nerve agents, close proximity to oil well fires, receipt of multiple vaccines, and effects of combinations of Gulf War exposures. There is some evidence supporting a possible association between these exposures and Gulf War illness, but that evidence is inconsistent or limited in important ways.

Other wartime exposures are not likely to have caused Gulf War illness for the majority of ill veterans. For remaining exposures, there is little evidence supporting an association with Gulf War illness or a major role is unlikely based on what is known about exposure patterns during the Gulf War and more recent deployments. These include depleted uranium, anthrax vaccine, fuels, solvents, sand and particulates, infectious diseases, and chemical agent resistant coating (CARC).

Gulf War illness is associated with diverse biological alterations that most prominently affect the brain and nervous system. Research findings in veterans with Gulf War illness include significant differences in brain structure and function, autonomic nervous system function, neuroendocrine and immune measures, and measures associated with vulnerability to neurotoxic chemicals. There is little evidence of peripheral neuropathies in Gulf War veterans.

Gulf War illness has both similarities and differences with multi-symptom conditions in the general population. Symptom-defined conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and multiple chemical sensitivity occur at elevated rates in Gulf War veterans, but account for only a small proportion of veterans with Gulf War illness.

Studies indicate that Gulf War veterans have significantly higher rates of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) than other veterans, and that Gulf War veterans potentially exposed to nerve agents have died from brain cancer at elevated rates. Although these conditions have affected relatively few veterans, they are cause for concern and require continued monitoring.

Important questions remain about other Gulf War health issues. These include questions about rates of other neurological diseases, cancers, and diagnosed conditions in Gulf War veterans, current information on overall and disease-specific mortality rates in Gulf War veterans, and unanswered questions concerning the health of veterans’ children.

Federal Gulf War research programs have not been effective, historically, in addressing priority issues related to Gulf War illness and the health of Gulf War veterans. Substantial federal Gulf War research funding has been used for studies that have little or no relevance to the health of Gulf War veterans, and for research on stress and psychiatric illness. Recent Congressional actions have brought about promising new program developments at the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, but overall federal funding for Gulf War research has declined dramatically since 2001.

A renewed federal research commitment is needed to identify effective treatments for Gulf War illness and address other priority Gulf War health issues. Adequate funding is required to achieve the critical objectives of improving the health of Gulf War veterans and preventing similar problems in future deployments. This is a national obligation, made especially urgent by the many years that Gulf War veterans have waited for answers and assistance.


HAARP is the trip-off-the-tongue abbreviation for the mouthful that is America’s High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program housed near Gakona, Alaska. Here, on a 33-acre site, scientists transmit a 3.6million megawatt signal into the ionosphere so that other colleagues in white lab coats can “understand… and control ionospheric processors that might alter the performance of communication and surveillance systems”.

HAARP is about improving communications? Oh no, it is not, say a legion of conspiracists, starting with Nick Begich and Jeane Manning, authors of Angels Don’t Play This HAARP (1995) and Jerry E. Smith, the penner of HAARP (1998). Smith’s subtitle gives the conspiracists’ game away: HAARP is “The Ultimate Weapon of Conspiracy”. Since the HAARP transmitter works by heating the ionosphere, Begich, Manning, Smith et al claim it is capable of altering the world’s weather systems to the advantage of the US. The cases in point being the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami (which allowed Uncle Sam to gain control over the oil rich Aceh province), and the 2008 Sichuan earthquake and the 2011 Japanese Tsunami (both of which devastated the economies of America’s chief Asian competitors).

More common is the notion that HAARP’s Ionospheric Research Instrument (IRI) transmitter can be used as a “death beam” capable of destroying enemy satellites. A misfire in 1993 is claimed to have caused an electricity blackout in Canada and the north-east of the USA. Technologically, HAARP does have—although officialdom tends to deny it—a striking similarity to the patented defence system designed by Dr Bernard Eastlund, which fires pulses of electromagnetic radiation at incoming missiles. As Eastlund readily acknowledged, his patent owed much to principles laid down by Nikola Tesla, pioneer of Free Electricity, although the exact system powering Tesla’s own “weapon of doom” is unknown. On Tesla’s death, many of his papers went missing, while others were seized by the FBI who still have them under wraps.

Suspicions that HAARP has an ulterior military function are roused further by following the cash trail: the programme is funded by the Office of Naval Research, and managed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Even so, all nefarious applications of HAARP are denied by US officialdom, who point out that the HAARP site holds open days every summer.

Which is great if you are an Eskimo or a polar bear. Otherwise, Gakona, 200 miles east of Anchorage, is the end of the earth.

But not literally. Fingers crossed.

Further Reading

Nick Begich and Jeane Manning, Angels Don’t Play This HAARP, 1995


On the night of 17 September 1961 a Douglas DC-6 crashed in North Rhodesia (now Zambia), killing all sixteen passengers aboard. One of the dead was Dag Hammarskjold, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who had been on his way to negotiate a ceasefire between UN forces and Katangese troops of Moise Tshombe.

The official inquiry, undertaken by the Rhodesians (read British, because Rhodesia was a colony) blamed the plane’s pilot for the crash, concluding that he had misjudged the approach to Ndola airport. A subsequent UN inquiry largely confirmed the British findings. However, rumours of foul play began to surface, and have continued to float around. Among the early sceptics was Harry Truman, ex-president of the US, who is reputed to have said, “Dag Hammarskjold was on the point of getting something done when they killed him. Notice that I said, ‘when they killed him’.”

Who did Truman mean by “they”? Answer: European mining companies, with Britain and America’s spies wiping away the traces. In 1961, the unhappy Congo was the scene of a rebellion by the mineral-rich Katanga region. Backing the rebellion were western mining companies, white settlers—and secretly, suspected Hammarskjold, Great Britain. The Secretary-General, on the other hand, was using all his clout to support the Congolese Government, and had recently authorized a UN military mission (Operation Morthor) against the Katanga rebels. The British were not the only enemies of Hammarskjold; the fiercely independent Swedish diplomat had enraged almost all the major powers on the Security Council with his support for decolonization. On the other hand, he was much loved by developing countries, and his re-election as secretary-general was virtually guaranteed in the general assembly vote due in 1962.

There is a deal of evidence to suggest that Hammarskjold’s plane was shot down. One of the DC-6’s passengers, US Sergeant Harold Julian, was able to tell investigators before he died that he had seen sparks in the sky before the crash. His account tallies with those of charcoal burners and other eyewitnesses in the Ndola area interviewed by Swedish aid worker Göran Björkdahl, who say that they saw a plane shooting at the DC-6. Two of Hammarskjold’s aides, Conor Cruise O’Brien and George Ivan Smith, both became convinced after their own investigations that the Secretary-General had been shot down by mercenaries working for European industrialists in Katanga, with the British covering up the shooting and possibly sponsoring it. (O’Brien knew of what he spoke: he had been the target of assassination by pro-Katanga mercenaries.) Norwegian Major-General Egge, the first UN officer to see Hammarskjold’s body, declared that the Secretary-General had a hole in his forehead, which was subsequently airbrushed from photos. Even the official reports agree that six of the DC-6 passengers’ bodies showed evidence of bullet wounds, but attribute these to exploding ammunition in the fire after the plane’s crash. This contention was refuted by Major C. F. Westell, a ballistics expert, who said: “I can certainly describe as sheer nonsense the statement that cartridges of machine guns or pistols detonated in a fire can penetrate a human body.” He based his opinion on a large-scale experiment that had been done to determine if military fire brigades would be in danger working near munitions depots.

Is there any tangible evidence of British—or even American—involvement in Hammarskjold’s death? In 1997, documents uncovered by the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission indicated a conspiracy between the CIA and MI5 to remove Hammarskjold in “Operation Celeste”. It is perhaps timely to recall here that the CIA, by its own later admission, assassinated Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba in January 1961. According to press reports, one document turned up by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission refers to a meeting between the CIA, South African and British intelligence in which CIA chief Allen Dulles agreed that “Dag is becoming troublesome… and should be removed.” Dulles, according to the documents, promised “full cooperation from his people”.

The British Foreign Office have declared the documents to be Soviet disinformation.

Further Reading

Arthur Gavshon, The Mysterious Death of Dag Hammarskjold, 1962

Lisa Pease, “Midnight in the Congo: The Assassination of Lumumba and the Mysterious Death of Dag Hammarskjold”, Probe, March–April 1999


In conspiracy land, bad Nazis never die. Either they are taken by Vril-powered UFOs to Antarctica (like Hitler) or remodelled by plastic surgery to live in the USSR (like Martin Bormann). Then there is the strange case of Heinrich Himmler.

In April 1945, as the end of the Third Reich loomed, Hitler’s number one—and the architect of the Holocaust—found a sudden and urgent desire to make peace with the Allies. When he was rebuffed, and his treason made public, Hitler ordered his arrest. Luckily for Himmler, Hitler promptly committed suicide in his Berlin bunker and news of the excommunication seems never to have reached Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz, the Reich’s new chief, whose Flensburg Government Himmler joined. To curry favour with the oncoming Allies, Dönitz dismissed Himmler on 6 May 1945.

Himmler then tried his luck with the Americans, offering Dwight Eisenhower the surrender of all Germany if he was spared from prosecution. He even suggested to Ike that he, Himmler, be the Minister of Police in the new Germany. Ike said, “‘Nein!” and Himmler was declared a war criminal. Now actively hunted by the Allies, Himmler wandered around Flensburg near the Danish border disguised as a member of the gendarmerie. However, the stamps on his papers raised the suspicions of a British soldier, Arthur Britton, who arrested “Heinrich Hitzinger” on 22 May 1945 on suspicion of being a member of the SS. In captivity he was soon recognized. According to the official account, before Himmler could be interrogated he committed suicide in Lüneburg by swallowing a potassium cyanide capsule. Attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.The date was 23 May 1945.

The Himmler conspiracy is two-fold: was the man who committed suicide in Lüneburg Himmler or a double? And, if it was Himmler, was he “suicided”.

Among the first to proclaim that a “fake” Himmler died in Lüneburg were members of the Nazi “ratline” ODESSA, who maintained that the real Himmler escaped to the village of Strones in the Waldviertel, a hilly forested area in Lower Austria, where he was involved in reviving the Nazi movement. Conspiracies make odd bedfellows; the ODESSA “double” case is somewhat supported by the British forensic historian Hugh Thomas who in SS-1 questions whether the body examined by British military authorities was really that of the ex-chicken farmer and SS leader. Certain physical details of the dead man photographed lying on a bed at Lüneburg do, indeed, seem different from Himmler’s. One nostril is larger than the other; Himmler’s were symmetrical. The corpse seems to be free of a duelling scar, meaning he wasn’t the boy born to Anna and Dr Gebhard Himmler on 7 October 1900. Of course he might have been wearing make-up, which Nazi leaders were rather fond of. What bangs a nail into the “Himmler double” theory, grainy photography aside, is Himmler’s daughter. Gudrun Himmler (born 1929) was devoted to her father (and his politics, being a member of Stille Hilfe, the SS veterans’ support group), and he to her. If he had survived 1945, it is near inconceivable that they would have not been in touch. And there is not the slightest whiff of their corresponding or meeting.

Revisionist author Joseph Bellinger and British writer Martin Allen are amongst the most prominent promoters of the alternative version of Himmler’s death. Both suggest that Himmler was assassinated by the British, with Allen claiming that Himmler had secretly negotiated with Britain as early as 1943. Churchill had him murdered to cover up the fact. Much of Allen’s “evidence” from the National Archives turned out to be twenty-nine forged papers. Allen’s protestations of innocence or deliberate planting by MI5/the Establishment/jealous historians to discredit his thesis were undone by his professional record: his two previous books also seem to have relied on documents of dubious provenance and authenticity.

The mystery surrounding Himmler’s death is unlikely to be settled anytime soon. Army personnel at Lüneburg were ordered to sign the Official Secrets Act, and unusually the relevant papers—those, that is, that haven’t conveniently disappeared—are not due for release until 2045. The mystery is compounded by the fact that British soldiers took Himmler’s body and buried it in an unmarked grave on Lüneburg Heath. It has never been found.

Further Reading

Martin Allen, Himmler’s Secret War, 2005

Joseph Bellinger, Himmler’s Tod: Freitod oder Mord?, 2005

Hugh Thomas, SS-1: The Unlikely Death of Heinrich Himmler, 2002


Situated 15 km south-west of Alamogordo, New Mexico, Holloman Air Force Base is reputedly one of the first places where ETs and humans had a close encounter of the third kind. Conspiracists believe that a UFO landing at Holloman may have occurred as early as the mid-1950s, and was attended by no less than President Eisenhower. This saved the aliens saying, “Take us to your leader,” because he was already there. The more storied UFO touchdown occurred on 25 April 1964 (twelve hours after the Soccoro, New Mexico UFO occurrence), when a trio of UFOs hovered into view, one of which landed. Three aliens got out of the craft and talked with base officials. A retired counter-intelligence officer with the Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations (OSI), Richard Doty, later confirmed the event.

A busy place Holloman. In 1973, documentary film-makers Robert Emenegger and Alan Sandler were informed by Air Force officials that footage existed of a 1971 UFO visit to the base. The 16 mm film was confirmed as genuine by Paul Shartle, an officer at nearby Norton AFB. According to Shartle the film showed aliens who were “human-size. They had an odd, gray complexion and a pronounced nose. They wore tight fitting jump suits, [and] thin headdresses that appeared to be communication devices, and in their hands they held a ‘translator’.”

Emenegger claimed he was later given a personal tour of Holloman AFB, and shown the site where base officials chatted with the ETs; in the conversation, the AF apparently informed the ETs that they [the AF] had been monitoring signals from an alien group with which they were unfamiliar, and did their ET guests know anything about them? The ETs said, “No.” When Emenegger double-checked the authenticity of the Holloman event with USAF Colonel George Weinbrenner, the latter confirmed its truth. Off the record.

Emenegger and Sandler’s documentary was released in 1974 as UFOs: Past, Present and Future, narrated by Rod Serling.

Sceptics declare the Holloman landing(s) a hoax. Or an urban legend. Some sources suggest that new officers at Holloman were shown a training film, What If They Land?, which depicted a close encounter very much like the one described by Shartle.

Further Reading

Robert Emenegger and Alan Sandler, UFOs, Past, Present and Future, 1974


Hurricane Katrina roared across Florida into Louisiana on 29 August 2005 to cause over 1,830 deaths. New Orleans bore the brunt of the fatalities; wind speeds topped 200 kph, and the levee (dyke) system failed, leaving much of the city deep under water. With $81 billion of damage done, Katrina was the biggest natural disaster in US history.

Hold the word “natural”; according to an army of internet alternative theorists, Katrina was anything but. One of the most popular “man-made” theories for the devastation caused by Katrina posits that the Bush Government (in alliance with the New World Order, naturally) bombed the levees in New Orleans to intentionally flood the city. The main evidence for this is that residents claimed to have heard explosions before the levees breached; other sources, suggest that Bush used something rather more sophisticated than a bag of gelignite, namely a HAARP-like device. Whatever, by flooding New Orleans, Bush achieved a triple whammy:

1) He killed blacks. In the words of conspiracist “Liberal Lil” (some mistake in nomenclature surely?), Bush “wants to destroy the blacks so he can bolster his voter base”. Genocide against blacks could also “save big dollars on the Welfare money the Feds pay out”.

2) Katrina allowed Bush to increase his “autocracy”. In this scenario, Bush let chaos rule in New Orleans following the hurricane, because he then had an excuse to roll out FEMA and impose draconian policies on rioters. To quote SwearBear, a member of the Above Top Secret forums, Katrina/New Orleans was a “beta test for the police state”.

3) Yet another benefit to Bush from blowing up the levees was the resultant disruption to Louisiana’s oil business, which in turn raised the price of crude. The Bush clan, of course, have close links to oil business.

It’s a mad, mad world, my masters. Because there are just as many Katrina conspiracies that cite Bush’s main enemy, Islamic terrorists of the Osama bin Laden stripe, as Bush himself as the responsible party. Why would al-Qaeda types blow up the New Orleans dykes? Payback for the USA’s War on Terror against Afghanistan and Iraq.

Idaho TV weatherman Scott Stevens cites much older enemies of Uncle Sam as being the brains and brawn behind Katrina. Stevens maintains that Japan’s Yakuza crime mob employed a Russian-made electromagnetic generator to cause Hurricane Katrina to avenge the Hiroshima atom bomb attack.

Other sources, however, propose that Katrina was not a human conspiracy, but an act of God. Every Islamic fanatic under the sun sees the hand of Allah pushing Katrina into the Big Easy, yet fundamentalist US evangelicals have been no less quick to suggest that Katrina was divine retribution on New Orleans, Louisiana’s very own Sodom and Gomorrah. Well, it ain’t called the Big Easy for nothing. Reverend Bill Shanks of the New Covenant Fellowship of New Orleans declared that post-Katrina: “New Orleans is abortion free… Mardi Gras free… free of the witchcraft and false religion. God purged all of that and now we start over again.” Hallelujah.

Then again, there is a peculiarly Jewish take on Katrina. Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Lewin, executive director of the Rabbinic Congress for Peace, told WND, that Katrina was thrust upon the US for its support of the evacuation of Jews from the Gaza Strip: “The US should have discouraged Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon from implementing the Gaza evacuation rather than pushing for it and pressuring Israel into concessions.”

There is no credible evidence that any human agency caused Katrina or intentionally exploded the levees around N.O. The will of God is harder to divine. As for the tardiness of the US authorities in dealing with the post-Katrina mayhem in New Orleans, the stupidity and slowness of bureaucracy should never be underestimated.

Further Reading



On Boxing Day 2004, a tsunami struck the Indian Ocean coastline of South-east Asia, killing almost 230,000 people. Like Global Warming and Hurricane Katrina, the disaster was widely attributed by conspiracists to a human agency.

A popular theory in the Muslim world is that the tsunami was unleashed by an Indian nuclear experiment. The test, conducted with Israeli/American help, took place in the earthquake-susceptible “Five Belt” area in the hope and expectation that the resultant giant wave—and it was giant, at 100 feet high—would impact on the heavily populated Muslim regions of south-east Asia, where the bulk of casualties did indeed take place. Journalist Mahmoud Bakri wrote in an Egyptian nationalist weekly that the Indian tsunami “appeared to be genuine American and Israeli preparations to act together with India to test a way to liquidate humanity. In the[ir] most recent test, they began destroying entire cities over extensive areas. Although the nuclear explosions were carried out in desert lands, tens of thousands of kilometers away from populated areas, they had a direct effect on these areas.”

But “the Great Satan” never knowingly passes up an opportunity to getting his grasping Caucasian hands on oil, thus the nuclear experiment simultaneously allowed the USA to take control of the oil reserves in Aceh province, Indonesia. The first rescue reports from Aceh purportedly detailed the arrival of 2,000 marines and the contamination of local water supplies by radiation. The papers went inconveniently missing. Of course, no contemporary conspiracy featuring the USA is any good if it is HAARP-less, and sure enough it is frequently mooted in internet chat rooms that the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program is to blame for the Boxing Day tsunami. Fuelling the belief that the tsunami was a US plot was the strange case of Diego Garcia. How did this US base manage to avoid casualties while other islands in the Indian Ocean suffered huge losses?

The US Navy’s answer: the island wasn’t damaged by the tsunami because it is surrounded by deep water and the grade of its shores prevents tsunamis building. Thus, the surge hitting the island was estimated at six-feet deep.

Conspiracy theories fingering the US/India/Israel as detonators of a nuclear bomb in the Indian Ocean tsunami flounder on this: there are hundreds of independent seismographers with state-of-the art kit the globe over, and none of them detected the signature of an atomic explosion. As for HAARP, it may be malicious in intent, it might even be effective—but powerful enough to trigger a tsunami? Unlikely. One scientist compared its power to putting the coil from a domestic immersion heater into the Yukon.

The Indian Ocean tsunami raised serious questions—chiefly about the efficacy of the area’s warning systems—but whether the US and its acolytes dunnit isn’t one of them.


Donald Duck a conspirator? Unlikely as it seems, Disney’s famous cartoon character is alleged to be a player in the most successful financial conspiracy of all time.

It happened like this, according to Freedom Club USA. Two years into World War II, the US Federal Government realized that it was running out of moolah to best the Nazis and the Nipponese. To raise more lucre, Congress enacted into law the Victory Tax Act of 1942, a tax on income legitimized by reference to Article 1, Section 5, Clause 2 of the Constitution: “To support Armies but no apportionment for money to that use shall be a longer term than two years.” But how to get Americans to pay up for these taxes?

Enter screen left Donald Duck. The Treasury approached Walt Disney, who was given six weeks to make a short film “selling income tax” for distribution in the cinemas. Disney came up with a short film in which Donald Duck listened to a radio broadcast about how paying taxes would help win the war. So enamoured with the idea of paying taxes did Donald become that he filled in his tax return pronto and raced from LA to Washington DC in person to submit it. “Taxes to beat the Axis!” quacked Donald.

Morgenthau, Secretary of the Treasury, disappointed that the short featured a cartoon character, only reluctantly approved it for release. He need not have worried; an estimated 60 million Americans saw the The New Spirit short, and a snap Gallup Poll discovered that voluntary payments of income tax increased by 37 per cent. A year later a Treasury official reported to Congress: “Up until 1941 we never received as many as 8,000,000 individual income-tax returns in a year. In 1941 that number increased to 15,000,000; in 1942 it increased to 16,000,000. This year we expect 35,000,000 taxable individual income-tax returns.”

Another Disney short featuring Donald Duck, The Spirit of ’43, kept the money coming in. The Victory Tax Act was renewed in 1944 and was set to expire when the war was over. However, it remains in effect today, codified under the Internal Revenue Code at code section 3402 in subtitle C—Wage and Employment Tax. When WWII was over, Washington was simply unable to relinquish its new-found riches—the payroll tax the public had become accustomed to.

Tax, it may be said, is not a popular issue in the USA. On the morning of 18 February 2010, Andrew Joseph Stack III flew his single-engine Piper Dakota airplane at full speed into the IRS collections office in Austin, killing himself and one worker. Stack was on the libertarian right of American politics, but the Tax Protest movement spans the political spectrum: what binds it is the belief that income tax and the IRS are illegal. The words of the Tea Party Patriots will stand for the movement as a whole: “The Tea Party argues that even if the 16th Amendment to the US Constitution was properly ratified, which is debatable, the IRS still has no legal right to tax the income of American citizens.”

This is why Disney’s duck is a conspirator. He was part of a plot to persuade Americans to do something mandatory that should be something voluntary.

Actually, the two main claims of the tax protestors are dubious. Article 1 of the Constitution states unambiguously: “Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises.”

It was Article I that allowed Lincoln to raise the money to fight the South. Furthermore, the16th Amendment, signed into law in 1913, declares: “Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”

Amendments to the US Constitution require the approval of 75 per cent of the States before they can become law. Officially, 79 per cent ratified the Amendment. Tax protestors, however, claim the ratification was invalid because the unhappily named Secretary, Philander Knox, ignored errors in the relevant documents, meaning the returns from these states were invalidated.

The documents do have errors; however, in the 1986 ruling on US v. Thomas, the Court ruled that the “deviations” were trivial and so “the [Solicitor of the Dept of State] authorized [Knox] to declare the amendment adopted”.

Where the tax protestors have firmer ground under their feet is on the matter of subsequent revisions to the tax process. As one former IRS commissioner, Shirley Peterson, noted, “Eight decades of amendments… to (the) code have produced a virtually impenetrable maze… The rules are… mysterious to many government employees who are charged with administering and enforcing the law.”

Even the IRS cannot understand the IRS. Legitimate questions can also be raised about the IRS’s behaviour and competence. In Unbridled Power, Shelley L. Davis, the IRS’s first and last historian, laid bare a secretive organization which compiled lists of “enemies” and routinely destroyed records—a federal offence—which might prove incriminating or embarrassing. Before a Senate Finance Committee hearing, she testified that crucial IRS records, pertaining to government, states and individuals, “have been destroyed. Gone. Shredded. Tossed. They no longer exist… No other agency of our government could get away with this… Our fear of suffering a personal attack from the IRS generally keeps most of us in check… This ensures that it can never be held accountable for its actions. How can you prove any wrongdoing when the evidence is already destroyed?”

How indeed? Fortunately, a few whistle-blowers, such as Davis herself, have done the right thing and spoken out. Some of the IRS’s wrongdoing is staggering. At Nixon’s request, it launched investigations of his opponents for his purely political purposes and no other reason at all. One such “enemy” was the Fund for Investigative Journalism, which funded Seymour Hersh’s reporting on the My Lai massacre. In the words of Nixon’s aide John Dean, the idea was to “use the available federal machinery to screw our political enemies”.

Further Reading

John A. Andrew III, The Power to Destroy, 2002

Shelley L. Davis, Unbridled Power, 1998



In spring 1997, the Palestinian Authority reported on an Israeli plot fiendish in its machinations and consequences: to infiltrate into the West Bank and Gaza bubblegum laced with sex hormones to be sold at a discounted rate outside schools. The bubblegum aroused the sexual appetite of girls, but simultaneously sterilized them, suppressing Arab population growth. Worst of all, according to Palestinian Supply Minister Abdel Aziz Shaheen, it was capable of “completely destroying the genetic system of young boys”.

According to Palestinian tests, the strawberry-flavoured gum was spiked with progesterone, one of the two hormones of femaleness. That Israel, an essentially Western society, should try to undermine Islamic morals with sex pills played on deep Palestinian fears.

The Washington Post commissioned tests on allegedly contaminated bubblegum. These tests were done by Dan Gibson, professor of pharmaceutical chemistry at Hebrew University and a member of the left-wing lobby group Peace Now (thus no Zionist). Using a mass spectrometer capable of detecting as little as a microgram of progesterone, he found no trace of the hormone in the gum.

In fairness, a story of adulterated food was not entirely implausible. Shady Israeli merchants, working in collaboration with Palestinian profiteers, had shipped canned baby food to Gaza which turned out to be soy formula past its sell by date. But weighing against the Palestinian bubblegum claim—aside from the Washington Post’s spectrometer test—was its timing: Israel and Palestine were in the middle of a propaganda war, with both sides making things up.

So, pop went the great Israeli bubblegum conspiracy. It blew up again in 2009 when Hamas charged Israeli intelligence operatives with distributing libido-increasing gum in the Gaza enclave. A Hamas police spokesman in the Gaza Strip, Islam Shahwan, announced: “The Israelis seek to destroy the Palestinians’ social infrastructure with these products and to hurt the young generation by distributing drugs and sex stimulants.”

Numerous teenage boys reportedly asked, “Where can I buy some of that gum?”

Further Reading

Barton Gellman, “Pop! Went the Tale of the Bubblegum Spiked with Sex Hormones”, Washington Post, 28 July 1997


Between August and November 1888, the Whitechapel district in the East End of London was the scene of five—possibly six—slayings by a serial killer, dubbed by the press “Jack the Ripper”. The murdered were all female prostitutes, and all—except for Elizabeth Stride—were mutilated.

The first slaying, that of Polly Nicholls, took place on 31 August. Annie Chapman was murdered on 8 September. Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes were both killed on 30 September and Mary Jane Kelly on 9 November. These are the “canonical five” Ripper victims, although some “Ripperologists” consider that Martha Tabram, fatally stabbed on 6 August 1888, should also be included on the butcher’s slate.

The identity of the perpetrator was, and is, a mystery. It is widely assumed that he (maybe she) had some medical training, based on the scalpel-like weapon used and the mutilations of the corpses, which showed a knowledge of anatomy. More than one hundred individuals have at some stage been proposed as the Ripper, but the most sensational suspect remains Prince Eddy, Duke of Clarence—the son of the Prince of Wales, third in line to the throne. Dr Thomas Stowell nominated Eddy as the Ripper in an article in The Criminologist in 1970, suggesting that Eddy’s syphilis drove him insane, thus homicidal. Clearly a homicidal duke with a habit of mutilation was not good PR for the Royal Family, so they quickly bundled Eddy off to a private mental hospital, from which he briefly escaped to murder Mary Kelly, before being re-incarcerated. According to Stowell, Eddy died in the asylum of syphilitic “softening of the brain”, and not of flu as the Palace claimed. The Duke of Clarence supposedly learned disembowelling techniques on hunting expeditions. The Prince Eddy accusation was substantially repeated by Frank Spiering in Prince Jack. Like Stowell, Spiering claims to have found the necessary proofs in the private papers of Sir William Withey Gull, the royal physician. Ripperologists, however, point out that royal court records show that Eddy was not in London on the dates of the murders.

As cause, rather than perpetrator, Prince Eddy figures in Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution by Stephen Knight, which posits a mass homicidal conspiracy instigated by the Royal Family to cover up Eddy’s secret marriage to a commoner named Alice Mary Crook. And not just any old commoner, but a Catholic one, thus violating the 1701 Act of Settlement. In brief, Knight has Prince Eddy slumming it down the East End accompanied by artist Walter Sickert, where he meets, beds and marries Alice Crook. When Grandmama—who happens to be Queen Victoria—hears about the marriage and its issue, a baby girl, she is not only scandalized but fearful that the news that a Catholic is in line to the throne will cause riots in the streets of Britain. To keep the kingdom safe, Victoria orders Lord Salisbury to deal with the matter; in turn he enlists help of Sir William Gull (yes, him again) and Salisbury/Gull have Eddy and Alice kidnapped from their love nest on Cleveland Street, with Eddy hospitalized under Gull’s care and Alice put in an asylum. Eddy dies from syphilis in 1892, and Alice dies insane in 1920. What about the Ripper murders? According to Knight, Eddy and Alice’s daughter was being nannied by one Mary Kelly when the love nest was raided. She then committed the child to the care of nuns, before returning to the East End and falling into drink and prostitution. At the behest of her friends, Mary Kelly began blackmailing the Royal Family—their royal money for her silence over the Eddy and Alice tryst. To make absolutely certain Mary and her chums—Polly Nichols, Annie Chapman and Liz Stride—kept their mouths shut, Gull and his coachman, John Netley, murdered them all, plus Catherine Eddowes, whom they mistook for Kelly.

As a physician, Gull certainly had the knowledge to perform the spectacular dissection of Mary Kelly, who was skinned, her abdomen emptied, her womb placed at her feet. One of her hands was placed in the evacuated abdominal cavity. Her intestines were placed over her left shoulder. Her heart was missing, as was the foetus she was known to be carrying.

Gull, who died fifteen months after Kelly, escaped detection, Knight believes, because the Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Robert Anderson, was a member of the conspiracy. What bound the principal conspirators, aside from their desire to carry out the royal will, was that they—Gull, Salisbury, Anderson—were all Freemasons. Knight discloses that the murders were actually re-enactments of the murder of Mason Hirem Abiff in Solomon’s Temple by Jubela, Jubelo and Jubelum. The real evidence of the Masonic connection comes in the placing of the victims in specific locations, most dramatically that of Mitre Square, a “Mitre” and “Square” both being Masonic tools.

Does Knight’s book live up to its subtitle, The Final Solution? Alas not. Knight’s principal source of information was Joseph Sickert, the artist’s grandson. Joseph Sickert later recanted some of his most sensational claims. William Gull was also six foot tall, much taller than the eyewitness accounts of the Ripper. He was also seventy years old at the time of the murders.

Additionally, there is nothing to suggest that Gull (or Anderson) were Masons. It is also difficult to believe that the Crown would have resorted to serial killing to protect itself when invocation of the Royal Marriages Act would have set aside a marriage between Eddy and Annie because it was illegal, Eddy being underage and not having obtained the Queen’s consent. Lastly, almost all experts agree that the Ripper was insane. And Dr Gull does not fit the profile.

Further Reading

Stephen Knight, Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution, 1976

Donald Rumbelow, The Complete Jack the Ripper, 2004



Was Wacko Jacko whacked? The singer had not finished moon-walking off the mortal coil on 25 June 2009, before the w.w.w. went w-w-wild with rumours that he had been murdered. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took pole position in the suspect stakes, the reasoning being that the King of Pop’s demise handily diverted media attention from his crackdown in Tehran to Bel Air. Ahmadinejad’s rivals in responsibility for the deed were a criminal syndicate based in Russia, China, or was it Langley (HQ of the CIA), who controlled Jackson through his addiction to anaesthetics and raked in the moolah? Worried that Jackson was seeking to escape their nefarious clutches and go public, the gang/CIA had him bumped.

Theories that Jackson was murdered are rivalled only by the theories that Jackson is alive and well. Jacko is hanging out with Elvis south of the border, down Mexico way. The kings live! Why did Jackson fake his own death? Pressure of fame. Money. Or more precisely its lack. The hit-meister may have sold 61 million albums in the USA, but he was still in the red to the tune of $400 million. Aside from his habit of spending, spending, spending (the Neverland Ranch cost $14.6 million alone), his bank account had been sucked dry by lawsuits over his alleged child abuse. As conspiracists have it, by counterfeiting his death, Jacko could settle all his debts and still make money. Indeed, by demising, he would rekindle interest in his music, making it a very smart career move indeed. Death also had the advantage of being an inviolable excuse for cancelling his fifty-date comeback tour in the UK, which was shaping up to be Bad rather than a Thriller due his ill health. To take Jackson’s place on the mortuary slab, he and his accomplices (his family, chiefly) found a terminally ill double. To make sure nobody noticed the switch, the family therefore cancelled the announced lying in state at Neverland.

However, some think M. J. Jackson died of natural causes years before, and his body was rushed into a makeshift grave at Neverland. The police—who were afterwards paid handsomely to keep their lips sealed—had no difficulty in identifying the corpse because it was wearing a single glove. An impersonator then took over the singing duties. When he outlived his usefulness he was offed, and it is his body that was found on 25 June 2009.

Rewind to reality: Jackson died while in his bed at his rented mansion at 100 North Carolwood Drive in the Holmby Hills district of Los Angeles. The Los Angeles coroner’s office—which is considered expert on these things—carried out a post-mortem and expressed no doubts that the body was a) Michael Jackson and b) dead. At time of writing, Jackson’s physician, Conrad Murray, is on trial for involuntary manslaughter on the grounds that he had improperly supplied Jackson with the surgical anaesthetic propofol as a sedative. Jackson was reputedly addicted to the drug, which he called his “mother’s milk”. Jackson died of an acute overdose of propofol. Murray’s crime was not malicious, neither was it part of a conspiracy. He breached medical standards by supplying the drug as a sleep aid and failing to monitor his patient.

This is it: Jackson’s death was an accident.

Further Reading



Those implicated in the 2003 demise of Dr David Kelly include the Iraqi secret service, the French secret service, and not least, Kelly himself. Whatever the truth about his death, he was as much a victim of the war in Iraq as any soldier or civilian killed on the battlefield.

The confusion, briefings and counter-briefings that surrounded the days running up to the invasion of Iraq in 2002 and early 2003 created a nervousness and state of tension which caused all parties involved to act in unpredictable ways. During this time the UK Government released two dossiers which set out evidence for its belief that Saddam Hussein’s regime posed a real threat to world security: the September 2002 document which stated that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and that, crucially, these weapons could be deployed within forty-five minutes; and a second, in February 2003, which detailed secret arms networks. A month later the UK had deployed troops in Iraq to secure Hussein’s downfall in spite of vocal protests from the Government’s own MPs and many other groups.

On 20 May 2003, BBC Radio’s flagship current affairs programme Today featured a report from its defence correspondent, Andrew Gilligan, in which he revealed that a senior source at the Ministry of Defence accused a member of the Downing Street press office (later identified as Alastair Campbell) of having “sexed up” the September dossier by inserting the information about the 45-minute deployment. The BBC’s Newsnight correspondent Susan Watts also reported that a “senior official” believed the intelligence services came under heavy political pressure to include the 45-minute claim in its dossier.

The Government, enraged by the leak, demanded that Gilligan reveal his source, and weeks of accusation and counter-accusation began, with the BBC defending Gilligan and the anonymity of his source and the Government’s press machine attempting to discredit the story. Richard Sambrook, the BBC’s director of news, described the attacks as “an unprecedented level of pressure from Downing Street”. Both Gilligan and Campbell were asked to appear before the Foreign Affairs Select Committee (FAC) to explain their actions.

The media frenzy must have worried Dr Kelly, who wrote to his line manager at the ministry admitting he had met Gilligan on 22 May and could have been one of the sources for his story. After another ten days of increasing pressure to reveal the identity of the source, the MoD then identified Kelly indirectly by pointedly refusing to deny he was involved when a list of possible sources was read out at a press conference, although Kelly himself was not informed his name was being released to the press.

On 15 and 16 July Dr Kelly sat in front of the FAC facing allegations that it was he who had been the source of the Gilligan story. He appeared deeply uncomfortable at being the centre of so much public attention, and spoke so softly that air-conditioning fans had to be turned off so the committee members could hear what he was saying. Despite much probing, Kelly maintained that, although he had spoken to Gilligan, he had not been his primary source. Kelly said the controversial point about the 45-minute deployment claim being added by Alastair Campbell could not have come from him as he had no part in the actual compilation of the dossier, but had merely presented information for possible inclusion, and thus had not been party to the decisions by the Joint Intelligence Committee, who had produced the document.

At the end of the two days the FAC had concluded that Kelly was “most unlikely” to be the source of the “sexed-up” claim. Kelly, too, had relaxed, and was laughing and joking with the committee members.

The following day, 17 July, he left his home at 3.00 p.m., telling his wife he was going for his usual afternoon walk. He did not return. At 11.45 p.m. his family contacted the police and reported him missing. He was found at 9.20 the next morning by two search volunteers in woods on Harrowdown Hill, about a mile and a half (2.5 km) from his home. The police did not confirm the body as his until 19 July, and then stated that they believed he had committed suicide by taking the powerful painkiller co-proxamol and then cutting his left wrist. A day later, after talking to his family, the BBC issued a statement naming Dr Kelly as the source of both Gilligan’s and Watts’s reports.

In the light of the previous train of events and unusual vigour with which the Government had pursued Andrew Gilligan and his source, it seems understandable that an independent inquiry into the whole affair was announced as the best way of uncovering the truth surrounding Kelly’s death and the lingering accusation that Downing Street had tampered with intelligence reports. Lord Hutton was appointed to head the inquiry, and his inquiry heard several months’ worth of evidence from experts, Kelly’s friends and family, and members of the Cabinet, including Tony Blair. Five months later, after much hype and speculation, Hutton concluded that the Government had behaved properly, that the BBC should be heavily criticized for its actions, and that Kelly’s death had been by his own hand.

There, it was presumably hoped, is where the whole unfortunate episode would end, but there were some who pointed to inconsistencies in the official version of events. Many people who had been close to Kelly, professionally and personally, did not believe the suicide story, and others believed his death bore all the hallmarks of a planned assassination.

The first to speak publicly of their misgivings were the two paramedics who had attended the scene of Dr Kelly’s death, Paul Bartlett and Vanessa Hunt. Interviewed by Anthony Barnett in the Observer in December 2004, they said they found little or no evidence of the major bleeding that would have taken place if the severed wrist artery had been the cause of death, as stated by the pathologist. “When somebody cuts an artery, whether accidentally or intentionally, the blood pumps everywhere. I just think it is incredibly unlikely that he died from the wrist wound we saw,” said Hunt.

The paramedics’ views were soon supported by a group of doctors who wrote to the Guardian newspaper, saying they too were deeply unhappy with the official cause of death. The severed ulnar artery, they argued, was too thin to have allowed a major haemorrhage, especially as, out in the open, the blood vessel would have been closed off by surrounding muscle long before Kelly bled to death. David Halpin, a trauma surgeon and one of the authors of the letter, maintains that even the deepest cut in the region of the ulnar artery would not have caused death: “…a completed transacted artery retracts immediately and thus stops bleeding, even at a relatively high blood pressure”. The artery itself lies deep in the wrist on the little finger side of the hand, under other nerves and tendons, and cannot be accidentally slashed like the more superficial radial artery. Following the suicide theory would mean believing Kelly had managed to cut down deep into his own wrist to locate and cut the ulnar artery… with a blunt pruning knife.

The physicians also questioned the toxicology results, pointing out that the concentration of the drug co-proxamol in Kelly’s blood was not high enough to have killed him, being only a third of a fatal dose. Kelly’s stomach was virtually empty on examination, containing the equivalent of a fifth of one tablet, suggesting that, if he did swallow the cited twenty-nine tablets, he had regurgitated most of them before the drug could be absorbed.

As suicides go, this was a pretty amateurish affair, considering Kelly must have had an intimate knowledge of human biology in his work as a microbiologist and authority on biological weapons. He was the only person to die using these methods in the whole of 2003. Co-proxamol is often used in suicide attempts but most commonly in conjunction with alcohol. Severing the ulnar artery does not automatically lead to a fatal loss of blood. Kelly is known to have had an aversion to swallowing tablets. If his suicide was premeditated, why bring a small blunt concave-edged knife to do a tricky slicing job, along with the tablets? And if it was a spontaneous act, why did he bring thirty painkilling tablets with him on his daily constitutional?

As if there were not enough mystery surrounding the suicide, it became apparent during the Hutton Inquiry that there were other major discrepancies. The volunteers who found Dr Kelly’s body said he was sitting or slumped against a tree when they discovered him, but in his evidence DC Coe of the Thames Valley Police stated Kelly was flat on his back and away from the tree. The volunteers swore that the knife, an opened bottle of Evian and a watch were not present when they were there, but these items had appeared next to the body by the time DC Coe left the scene.

As any viewer of TV crime will know, most solved cases are so because of the work of the forensics people, but in this case there was surprisingly little forensic evidence forthcoming. For instance, whose fingerprints were on the knife? Was any foreign DNA detected in the blood samples? Was the watch found beside Dr Kelly broken or intact, and, if broken, what time did it show? What were the last calls made to him on his mobile phone? None of these questions was asked during the inquiry, and no answers were volunteered.

In March 2005, Lib Dem MP Norman Baker resigned his front bench job expressly to investigate the circumstances surrounding Kelly’s death. A year later he published his findings on his own website and contributed to a BBC TV programme, Conspiracy Files, which focused on Kelly. Baker voiced his serious doubts over the conclusion of the inquiry, not only on the basis of the medical evidence and the suicide verdict but also concerning the “irregularities in the actions of the coroner”, the choice of the pathologist, the actions of the police at the beginning of the investigation, and why Lord Hutton, in particular, was picked to head the inquiry.

Baker questions why the Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, decided the inquiry should not be held under the usual rules, so that witnesses could not be subpoenaed, nor did they have to give evidence under oath, making the whole procedure less rigorous than a standard coroner inquest. Even more bizarrely, the Oxfordshire coroner, Nicholas Gardiner, pre-empted the findings of the inquiry by issuing a full death certificate on 18 August, while Hutton’s investigation was still in its early stages, in spite of rules stating that at most only an interim certificate should be issued while an inquest is in adjournment. Baker doesn’t think much of the appointed pathologist either, describing the medical evidence presented by him to the inquiry as “incomplete, inconsistent and inadequate”.

As for the conduct of the police force, the most puzzling fact that has come to light has been that Operation Mason, as it was named, began at 2.30 p.m. on 17 July, about nine hours before Dr Kelly’s family reported him missing and half an hour before he left his home to go for his walk. Quite how the police knew what was going to happen, they are not willing to divulge. Nor are they willing to say why they found it necessary to erect a 45-foot-high (15.7 m) antenna in the Kellys’ garden, or turn Mrs Kelly out of her home in the middle of the night for some considerable time while a search dog was put through the house. According to Baker, one of the most senior police officers in the country, on being consulted, was at a loss as to why either action would have been required.

Norman Baker reserves particular scepticism for the choice of Lord Hutton to head the inquiry and the part Tony Blair played in the decision. In spite of being on a jet somewhere between Washington and Tokyo when formally advised of Dr Kelly’s death, Blair decided on an inquiry and appointed Lord Brian Hutton as its head even before the journey was over. Parliament, perhaps rather conveniently, had adjourned for the summer, and the appointment was made on the advice of Lord Falconer and, Baker suspects, Peter Mandelson. The man they chose had no experience of chairing any other public inquiry but, during his distinguished career, plenty of history of upholding the views of the government of the day.

It was highly unlikely, therefore, that the Hutton Inquiry (see Document, p.226) was going to answer such sticky questions as why a highly respected scientist chose to take his life in quite such an unconventional way, days after being embroiled in a political scandal that was potentially deeply damaging to the Government. Kelly had been deeply upset by being thrust into the media spotlight and, no doubt, bewildered by the MoD’s decision to leak his name to the press. However, he was also cheerful and joky with members of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee the day before his death, and had made plans to fly to Iraq the following week; one of his daughters was looking forward to her impending wedding day. Most importantly, perhaps, he was a practising member of the Baha’i faith, which forbids the act of suicide.

An email to a New York journalist, Judith Miller, on the morning of 17 July suggests that Dr Kelly realized that there was something worrying going on behind the soundbites and political posturing:

David, I heard from another member of your fan club that things went well for you today. Hope it’s true.

(Original message sent by Judith Miller, 16 July 00.30)

I will wait until the end of the week before judging—many dark actors playing games.

Thanks for your support. I appreciate your friendship at this time.

(Dr Kelly’s reply, sent 17 July 11.18)

Conspiracy theorists believe Kelly had been labelled a loose cannon and as such a threat to the stability of the Government. If Britain lost Blair, Europe lost an important ally in its struggle for greater political and economic union. Michael Shrimpton, a barrister and intelligence services expert who also acted for the Kelly Investigation Group, claimed he was told Kelly had been assassinated. Speaking in an interview with Canadian broadcaster Alex Jones in 2004 he said: “Within forty-eight hours of the murder I was contacted by a British Intelligence officer who told me [Kelly had] been murdered… now that source told me he’d done some digging and discovered that, he didn’t name names, but he discovered that it had been known in Whitehall prior to 17 July that David Kelly was going to be taken down.”

Shrimpton went on to explain that clever governments get the secret services of their allies to do their dirty work for them, and that Kelly’s death bore all the hallmarks of a job by the DGSE (Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure), the French equivalent of MI6.The tablets found in Kelly’s pocket would have been a cover; he would actually have been killed by a lethal injection of dextropropoxythene, the active ingredient of co-proxamol, and the muscle relaxant succinylcholine, “a favourite method” of murder by intelligence services, with his wrist clumsily cut to disguise the needle’s puncture mark. Shrimpton said the assassination team would most likely have been recruited from Iraqis living in Damascus, to disguise French involvement, and then its members killed after the event to ensure absolute secrecy.

There are others, such as UN weapons inspector Richard Spertzel, who claim it was the Iraqis themselves who killed Dr Kelly in revenge for all the trouble he’d brought upon Saddam Hussein’s regime through his work. This seems far-fetched. Although Kelly had said he supported the invasion of Iraq, he had not been the author of the 45-minute claim that had precipitated military action. And he had only recently inspected trailers, claimed to be bio-weapons laboratories, and declared them to be no such thing. More hard-line conspiracy theorists maintain Dr Kelly’s death was yet another in a suspicious pattern of untimely deaths among the world’s leading microbiologists, who are being systematically bumped off for reasons that remain unclear.

However weird the theories, Kelly’s death was not properly investigated. The glaring omissions and conflicts of evidence; the choice of an inquiry headed by a judge rather than a coroner, with terms drawn up at the outset by the Government; the continuing unease of expert doctors and political figures, willing to risk their own reputations to publicize their misgivings—all this suggests there is far more to this event than the Government is willing to be open about.

In 2009 a group of British doctors—including Michael Powers, who was also a former coroner—challenged Hutton’s verdict in the press, stating instead that in their view the slash on the wrist was untenable as the cause of death, because the artery is small, difficult to access and would not have allowed sufficient loss. Another group of medics rallied to Hutton’s defence in the Guardian, asserting that Kelly’s heart disease meant only a small amount of blood loss would bring death.

Like the WMD case for war itself, theories and counter-theories about Kelly’s death will run and run.



The search for Dr Kelly and the finding of his body

128. Dr Kelly did not return from his walk and Mrs Kelly, who was joined by two of her daughters during the course of the evening (her third daughter being in Scotland), became increasingly worried about him. Mrs Kelly’s two daughters went out separately in their cars to look for their father on the roads and lanes along which he might have been walking, but when they had found no trace of him they rang the police about 12.20 a.m. on Friday 18 July.

129. The Thames Valley Police began an immediate search for Dr Kelly and the search operation was carried out with great efficiency. A police dog was used to assist in the search and a police helicopter with heat seeking equipment was called in. Assistant Chief Constable Michael Page was informed that Dr Kelly was missing at 3.09 a.m. and he arranged a meeting of key personnel at Abingdon Police Station at 5.15 a.m. By 7.30 a.m. 40 police officers were engaged in the search and Assistant Chief Constable Page was advised by two police specialists in the location of missing persons that Harrowdown Hill, which was an area where Dr Kelly had often walked, was an area to which particular attention should be given in the search. Assistant Chief Constable Page then directed that the area of Harrowdown Hill should be searched and members of the South East Berks Emergency Volunteers and the Lowland Search Dogs Association, who had joined the search, were deployed to Harrowdown Hill.

130. Two of the volunteers taking part in the search were Ms Louise Holmes, with her trained search dog, and Mr Paul Chapman. They worked together as a team and began their search about 8.00 a.m. and after a time they went into the wood on Harrowdown Hill from the east side. The dog picked up a scent and Ms Holmes followed him. Ms Holmes saw the dog go to the bottom of a tree and he then ran back to her barking to indicate that he had found something. She then went in the direction from which the dog had come and she saw a body slumped against the bottom of a tree. She shouted to Mr Chapman, who was behind her, to ring control to tell them that something had been found and she went closer to see if there was any first aid which she could administer. She saw the body of a man at the base of the tree with his head and shoulders slumped back against it. His legs were straight in front of him, his right arm was at his side and his left arm had a lot of blood on it and was bent back in a strange position. It was apparent to her that the man was dead and there was nothing she could do to help him. The person matched the description of Dr Kelly which she had previously been given by the police. Ms Holmes then went back to Mr Chapman, retracing the route by which she had come into the wood although there was no definite path or track by which she had approached the tree.

131. Mr Chapman had been unable to contact control so he made a 999 call to speak to Abingdon Police Station and arranged to walk back to where he and Ms Holmes had parked their car in order to meet the police officers who were coming to meet them. On the way back to their car they met three other police officers who themselves had been engaged in searching the area and Mr Chapman told them that they had found the body. Mr Chapman then took one of the police officers, Detective Constable Coe, to show him where the body was. Mr Chapman showed Detective Constable Coe the body lying on its back and Detective Constable Coe said that the body was approximately 75 yards in from the edge of the wood. Detective Constable Coe saw that there was blood around the left wrist and he saw a knife, like a pruning knife, and a watch on the left side of the body. He also saw a small water bottle. He remained about seven or eight feet away from the body and stayed in that position for about 25 or 30 minutes until two other police officers arrived who made a taped off common approach path to be used by everyone who came to the place where the body was lying. Two members of an ambulance crew, Ms Vanessa Hunt and Mr David Bartlett arrived at the scene about 9.55 a.m. They checked the body for signs of life and found none. They then placed four electrodes on the chest to verify that life was extinct and the monitor showed that there was no cardiac output and that life was extinct. They then disconnected the four electrodes from the heart monitor and left them on the chest and they themselves left the scene.

The investigations into the death of Dr Kelly

132. Assistant Chief Constable Page was informed at 9.20 a.m. that the body had been found. In his evidence he described the actions which he took and which were taken by others on his instructions as follows:

Q. What happened after that information had come to your attention?

A. Well, from my perspective I appointed a senior investigating officer, a man who would, if you like, carry out the technical issues around the investigation. I met fairly quickly with my Chief Constable and we decided what levels of resourcing and what levels of investigation we should apply to these circumstances.

Q. The fact that a body had been discovered, what sort of inquiry did you launch at the start?

A. We determined from the outset because of the attendant circumstances that we would apply the highest standards of investigation to this particular set of circumstances as was possible. I would not say I launched a murder investigation but the investigation was of that standard.

Q. We have heard how a common access path was established yesterday.

A. Yes.

Q. And the fingertip searching was carried out. Did forensic pathologists become involved?

A. Yes. We were very anxious, from the outset, to ensure the most thorough possible examination of the scene. I spoke to the Oxfordshire coroner, Mr Gardiner, and we agreed between us that we would use a Home Office pathologist, which is a very highly trained pathologist. It was also agreed with the senior investigating officer that we would use forensic biologists who are able to look at the scene and, in particular, blood splashes and make certain determinations from those in relation to what may have happened. As you say, a common approach path had been established; and it was determined that for that common approach path and for a distance of 10 metres either side and for a radius of 10 metres around Dr Kelly’s body that we would carry out a fingertip search. It was also agreed that Dr Kelly’s body would be left in situ so that the pathologist and the biologists could visit the scene with the body in situ to make their own assessment of the scene, which is not always the case but in this case we decided it would be wise to do so.

Q. Why was that, just to ensure—

A. Just to ensure that they could look at the environment and the surroundings and take in the full picture.

133. The detailed examinations which were carried out on the body at the place where it was found and of the area surrounding the body in the wood were as follows. Police search teams led by Police Constable Franklin and Police Constable Sawyer conducted a thorough fingertip search of the common approach path of the area surrounding the body and of the area on either side of the approach path. After the body had been moved they also conducted a fingertip search of the ground on which the body had been lying. This search lasted from 12.50 p.m. to 4.45 p.m. and the search of the ground on which the body had lain lasted from 7.24 p.m. to 7.45 p.m. Nothing of significance was found in the searches and Constable Sawyer said:

When I first saw Dr Kelly I was very aware of the serious nature of the search and I was looking for signs of perhaps a struggle; but all the vegetation that was surrounding Dr Kelly’s body was standing upright and there were no signs of any form of struggle at all.

134. Dr Nicholas Hunt, a Home Office accredited forensic pathologist arrived at the place where the body was lying at 12.10 p.m. and at 12.35 p.m. he confirmed that the body was dead. He then waited whilst the police carried out a fingertip search of the common approach path and he then began a thorough investigation of the body at 2.10 p.m. After this examination of the body at the scene and after a post-mortem examination, Dr Hunt furnished a detailed post-mortem report dated 25 July 2003 to the Oxfordshire coroner and at the Inquiry he gave evidence in accordance with his findings set out in that report.

135. Dr Kelly was right handed. In a statement furnished to the Inquiry Police Constable Roberts stated:

On Saturday 19th July 2003, I was on duty performing the role of Family Liaison Officer for Thames Valley Police.

On this date I spoke to Sian KELLY, the daughter of Dr David KELLY who confirmed that her father was right handed.

136. In the course of his evidence Dr Hunt gave (inter alia) the following evidence:

A. He was wearing a green Barbour type wax jacket and the zip and the buttons at the front had been undone. Within the bellows pocket on the lower part of the jacket there was a mobile telephone and a pair of bi-focal spectacles. There was a key fob and, perhaps more significantly, a total of three blister packs of a drug called Coproxamol. Each of those packs would originally have contained 10 tablets, a total of 30 potentially available.

Q. And how many tablets were left in those packs?

A. There was one left.

LORD HUTTON: Did you actually take those blister packs out? Did you discover them in the pocket yourself?

A. Yes, as part of the search, my Lord.

Q. Did you notice anything about the face?

A. His face appeared, firstly, rather pale but there was also what looked like vomit running from the right corner of the mouth and also from the left corner of the mouth and streaking the face.

Q. What would that appear to indicate?

A. It suggested that he had tried to vomit whilst he was lying on his back and it had trickled down.

Q. Did you investigate the scene next to the body?

A. Yes.

Q. And what did that show?

A. There was a Barbour flat-type cap with some blood on the lining and the peak near his left shoulder and upper arm. In the region of his left hand lying on the grass there was a black resin strapped wristwatch, a digital watch, which was also bloodstained.

Q. Was the watch face up or face down?

A. It was face down.

Q. What about next to the watch?

A. Lying next to that was a pruning knife or gardener’s knife.

Q. Can you describe what type of pruning knife it was?

A. The make was a Sandvig knife. It was one with a little hook or lip towards the tip of the blade. It is a fairly standard gardener’s type knife.

Q. Were there any bloodstains on that knife?

A. Yes, over both the handle and the blade.

Q. Was there any blood beneath the knife?

A. Yes, there was. There was blood around the area of the knife.

Q. How close to the knife was the blood?

A. It was around the knife and underneath it.

Q. Did you notice a bottle of water?

A. Yes, there was a bottle of Evian water, half a litre.

Q. Was there any water in that bottle?

A. Yes, there was some remaining water. I do not recall what volume exactly.

Q. Can you remember precisely where the bottle was in relation to the bottle? [sic]

A. Yes, it was lying propped against some broken branches to the left and about a foot away from his left elbow.

Q. And did you notice anything in particular about the bottle?

A. Yes, there was some smeared blood over both the bottle itself and the bottle top.

Q. Did that indicate anything to you?

A. It indicated that he had been bleeding whilst at least placing the bottle in its final position. He may already have been bleeding whilst he was drinking from it, but that is less certain.

Q. Was there any other bloodstaining that you noticed in the area?

A. There was. There was an area of bloodstaining to his left side running across the undergrowth and the soil and I estimated it was over an area of 2 to 3 feet in maximum length.

Q. Did you notice any signs of visible injury to the body while you were there?

A. Yes. At the scene I could see that there were at least five what I would call incised wounds or cuts to his left wrist over what is anatomically the front of the wrist, but that is the creased area of the wrist.

Q. Were there any other visible signs of injury to the body?

A. No, there was nothing at the scene.

137. At 7.19 p.m. Dr Hunt ended his examination of the body at the scene where it was found and the body was moved to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford where Dr Hunt commenced a post-mortem examination at 9.20 p.m. The examination concluded at 12.15 a.m. on 19 July. In describing what he found on his post-mortem examination Dr Hunt gave (inter alia) the following evidence:

Q. On this further examination, did you find any signs of injury to the body that you have not already mentioned?

A. I did. I was able to note in detail the injuries over his left wrist in particular.

Q. You have made a report, a post-mortem examination report?

A. Yes.

Q. Would you just like to read from the significant parts of that in relation to the injuries you found?

A. Certainly. There was a series of incised wounds, cuts, of varying depth over the front of the left wrist and they extended in total over about 8 by 5 centimetres on the front of the wrist. The largest of the wounds and the deepest lay towards the top end or the elbow end of that complex of injuries and it showed a series of notches and some crushing of its edges. That wound had actually severed an artery on the little finger aspect of the front of the wrist, called the ulnar artery.

The other main artery on the wrist on the thumb aspect was intact. There were a number of other incisions of varying depth and many smaller scratch-like injuries over the wrist. The appearance that they gave was of what are called tentative or hesitation marks, which are commonly seen prior to a deep cut being made into somebody’s skin if they are making the incision themselves.

Q. Did you see any signs of what are called defensive injuries?

A. No, there were no signs of defensive injuries; and by that I mean injuries that occur as a result of somebody trying to parry blows from a weapon or trying to grasp a weapon.

Q. What injuries would you normally expect to see of that type?

A. If somebody is being attacked with a bladed weapon, like a knife, then cuts on the palm of the hand or over the fingers where they are trying to grasp the knife, or cuts or even stabs on the outer part of the arm as they try to parry a blow.

138. In his evidence Dr Hunt stated that he had sent a sample of the stomach contents to a forensic toxicologist, Dr Alexander Allan, and he received a toxicology report back from Dr Allan. He described what this report showed as follows:

Q. In summary what did it show?

A. It showed the presence of two compounds in particular. One of them is a drug called dextropropoxyphene. That is an opiate-type drug, it is a mild painkiller, and that was present at a concentration of one microgram per millilitre in the blood.

Q. Did it show anything, this report, in summary?

A. Yes, it did. It showed the presence of paracetamol.

Q. The concentration of that?

A. 97 milligrams per millilitre.

Q. Where was that present in the body?

A. It was also present in the stomach contents, as well as the blood.

139. With reference to the estimated time of death Dr Hunt’s evidence was as follows:

Q. Were you able to estimate the time of death?

A. Yes, within certain limits, using a particular technique based upon the rectal temperature.

Q. What time of death did you estimate as a result of that?

A. The estimate is that death is likely to have occurred some 18 to 27 hours prior to taking the rectal temperature, and that that time range was somewhere between quarter past 4 on 17th July and quarter past 1 on the morning of the 18th July.

Q. You took the rectal temperature at what time?

A. That was taken at quarter past 7 in the evening of the 18th.

140. In his evidence Dr Hunt summarised his conclusions as a result of his examinations as follows:

I found that Dr Kelly was an apparently adequately nourished man in whom there was no evidence of natural disease that could of itself have caused death directly at the macroscopic or naked eye level. He had evidence of a significant incised wound to his left wrist, in the depths of which his left ulnar artery had been completely severed. That wound was in the context of multiple incised wounds over the front of his left wrist of varying length and depth. The arterial injury had resulted in the loss of a significant volume of blood as noted at the scene. The complex of incised wounds over the left wrist is entirely consistent with having been inflicted by a bladed weapon, most likely candidate for which would have been a knife. Furthermore, the knife present at the scene would be a suitable candidate for causing such injuries. The orientation and arrangement of the wounds over the left wrist are typical of self-inflicted injury. Also typical of this was the presence of small so-called tentative or hesitation marks. The fact that his watch appeared to have been removed deliberately in order to facilitate access to the wrist. The removal of the watch in that way and indeed the removal of the spectacles are features pointing towards this being an act of self harm.

Other features at the scene which would tend to support this impression include the relatively passive distribution of the blood, the neat way in which the water bottle and its top were placed, the lack of obvious signs of trampling of the undergrowth or damage to the clothing. To my mind, the location of the death is also of interest in this respect because it was clearly a very pleasant and relatively private spot of the type that is sometimes chosen by people intent upon self harm.

Q. Is that something you have found from your past experience?

A. Yes, and knowledge of the literature. Many of the injuries over the left wrist show evidence of a well developed vital reaction which suggests that they had been inflicted over a reasonable period of time, minutes, though, rather than seconds or many hours before death.

LORD HUTTON: What do you mean by a “vital reaction”?

A. A vital reaction, my Lord, is the body’s response to an area of damage. It manifests itself chiefly in the form of reddening and swelling around the area.

LORD HUTTON: I interrupted you. You were at 9 and you are coming on to 10, I think.

A. Thank you, my Lord. There is a total lack of classical defence wounds against sharp weapon attack. Such wounds are typically seen in the palm aspects of the hands or over the outer aspects of the forearms. It was noted that he has a significant degree of coronary artery disease and this may have played some small part in the rapidity of death but not the major part in the cause of death.

Given the finding of blister packs of Coproxamol tablets within the coat pocket and the vomitus around the ground, it is an entirely reasonable supposition that he may have consumed a quantity of these tablets either on the way to or at the scene itself.

Q. What did the toxicology report suggest?

A. That he had consumed a significant quantity of the tablets.

Q. I am not going to trouble you with the details of the toxicology report. Was there anything else in addition to the toxicology samples that you noticed?

A. (Pause). Really the only other thing in addition to that was the coronary artery disease that could have had a part in the rapidity of death in these circumstances.

Q. You have mentioned the minor injury to the inner aspect of the lip.

A. Yes.

Q. Moving on from that, you mentioned the abrasions to the head. Would you like to resume your summary at that point?

A. Yes. The minor injuries or abrasions over the head are entirely consistent with scraping against rough undergrowth such as small twigs, branches and stones which were present at the scene.

LORD HUTTON: Did you give any consideration or do anything in relation to the possibility of Dr Kelly having been overpowered by any substance?

A. Yes, indeed, my Lord. The substances which one thinks of, as a pathologist, in these terms are volatile chemicals. Perhaps chloroform is a classic example. So in order to investigate that—

LORD HUTTON: You need not go into the detail but if you state it in a general way.

A. I retained a lung and also blood samples until the toxicology was complete.

LORD HUTTON: And the purpose of that toxicology being?

A. To examine for any signs of a volatile chemical in the blood or, failing that, in the lungs.

LORD HUTTON: Yes, I see. Thank you.

Yes, Mr Knox.

MR KNOX: If you move on to conclusion 18.

A. Certainly. The minor reddened lesions on the lower limbs are typical of areas of minor hair follicle irritation or skin irritation, so they were not injuries in particular. They were not puncture wounds.

Q. Conclusion 19?

A. I had undertaken subcutaneous dissection of the arms and the legs and there is no positive evidence of restraint-type injury.

Q. Conclusion 20?

A. There is no positive pathological evidence that this man had been subjected to a sustained violent assault prior to his death.

LORD HUTTON: Just going back to your previous observation, a restraint-type injury of someone who has been held by the arms and the legs.

A. Yes, my Lord. Yes, particularly around the areas of the ankles and the wrists.

LORD HUTTON: Yes. Yes. Thank you.

MR KNOX: Conclusion 21?

A. There was no positive pathological evidence to indicate that he has been subjected to compression of the neck, such as by manual strangulation, ligature strangulation or the use of an arm hold.

Q. And next?

A. There is no evidence from the post-mortem examination or my observations at the scene to indicate that the deceased had been dragged or otherwise transported to the location where his body was found.

141. Dr Hunt summarised his opinion as to the major factor involved in Dr Kelly’s death as follows:

Q. And in summary, what is your opinion as to the major factor involved in Dr Kelly’s death?

A. It is the haemorrhage as a result of the incised wounds to his left wrist.

Q. If that had not occurred, would Dr Kelly have died?

A. He may not have done at this time, with that level of dextropropoxyphene.

Q. What role, if any, did the coronary disease play?

A. As with the drug dextropropoxyphene, it would have hastened death rather than caused it, as such.

Q. So how would you summarise, in brief, your conclusions as to the cause of death?

A. In the formulation, the cause of death is given as 1(a) haemorrhage due to 1(b) incised wounds of the left wrist. Under part 2 of the formulation of the medical cause of death, Coproxamol ingestion and coronary artery atherosclerosis.

Q. You have already dealt with this, I think, but could you confirm whether, as far as you could tell on the examination, there was any sign of third party involvement in Dr Kelly’s death?

A. No, there was no pathological evidence to indicate the involvement of a third party in Dr Kelly’s death. Rather, the features are quite typical, I would say, of self-inflicted injury if one ignores all the other features of the case.

142. A forensic biologist, Mr Roy Green, arrived at the scene where the body was lying at 2.00 p.m. on 18 July. He examined the scene with particular reference to the bloodstaining in the area. The relevant parts of his evidence are as follows:

Q. Did you examine the vegetation around the body?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you form any conclusions from that examination?

A. Well, the bloodstaining that was highest from the ground was approximately 50 centimetres above the ground. This was above the position where Dr Kelly’s left wrist was, but most of the stainings were 33 centimetres, which is approximately a foot above the ground. It was all fairly low level stuff.

Q. What does that mean?

A. It meant that because the injury—most of the injuries would have taken place while Dr Kelly was sitting down or lying down.

Q. Right. When you first saw the body, what position was it in?

A. He was on his back with the left wrist curled back in this sort of manner (Indicates).

Q. Did you make any other relevant discoveries while you were looking around the area?

A. There was an obvious large contact bloodstain on the knee of the jeans.

Q. What do you mean by a “contact bloodstain”?

A. A contact stain is what you will observe if an item has come into contact with a bloodstained surface, as opposed to blood spots and splashes when blood splashes on to an item.

Q. Which means at some stage his left wrist must have been in contact with his trousers?

A. No, what I am saying, at some stage he has knelt—I believe he has knelt in a pool of blood at some stage and this obviously is after he has been injured.

Q. Any other findings?

A. There were smears of blood on the Evian bottle and on the cap.

Q. And what did that indicate to you?

A. Well, that would indicate to me that Dr Kelly was already injured when he used the Evian bottle. As an explanation, my Lord—


A. —when people are injured and losing blood they will become thirsty.

MR DINGEMANS: They become?

A. Thirsty, as they are losing all that fluid.

Q. You thought he is likely to have had a drink then?

A. Yes.

Q. What else did you find?

A. There was a bloodstain on the right sleeve of the Barbour jacket. At the time that was a bit—slightly unusual, in that if someone is cutting their wrist you wonder how, if you are moving across like this, how you get blood sort of here (Indicates). But if the knife was held and it went like that, with the injury passing across the sleeve, that is a possible explanation. Another possible explanation is in leaning across to get the Evian bottle that the two areas may have crossed.

Q. Had crossed?

A. Yes.

Q. We know, in fact, the wrist which was cut was the left wrist, is that right?

A. That is correct.

Q. And we know that Dr Kelly was right handed.

A. I was not aware of that, but yes.

Q. Were those all your relevant findings?

A. The jeans, as I have talked about, with this large contact stain, did not appear to have any larger downward drops on them. There were a few stains and so forth but it did not have any staining that would suggest to me that his injuries, or his major injuries if you like, were caused while he was standing up, and there was not any—there did not appear to be any blood underneath where he was found, and the body was later moved which all suggested those injuries were caused while he was sat or lying down.

143. Dr Alexander Allan, a forensic toxicologist, was sent blood and urine samples and stomach contents taken from the body of Dr Kelly in the course of Dr Hunt’s post-mortem examination which he then analysed. Dr Allan found paracetamol and dextropropoxyphene in the samples and stomach contents. He described paracetamol and dextropropoxyphene as follows:

The two components, paracetamol and dextropropoxyphene, are the active components of a substance called Coproxamol which is a prescription only medicine containing 325 milligrams of paracetamol and 32.5 milligrams of dextropropoxyphene.

Q. What sort of ailments would that be prescribed for?

A. Mild to moderate pain, typically a bad back or period pain, something like that. And the concentrations of both drugs represent quite a large overdose of Coproxamol.

Q. What does the dextropropoxyphene cause if it is taken in overdose?

A. Dextropropoxyphene is an opioid analgesic drug which causes effects typical of opiate drugs in overdose, effects such as drowsiness, sedation and ultimately coma, respiratory depression and heart failure and dextropropoxyphene is known particularly in certain circumstances to cause disruption of the rhythm of the heart and it can cause death by that process in some cases of overdose.

Q. And what about paracetamol, what does that do?

A. Paracetamol does not cause drowsiness or sedation in overdose, but if enough is taken it can cause damage to the liver.

Q. If enough? I think you mean if too much is taken.

A. If too much is taken. I beg your pardon.

Q. What about the concentrations you have mentioned that you found in the blood? What did that indicate?

A. They are much higher than therapeutic use. Typically therapeutic use would represent one tenth of these concentrations. They clearly represent an overdose. But they are somewhat lower than what I would normally expect to encounter in cases of death due to an overdose of Coproxamol.

Q. What would you expect to see in the usual case where dextropropoxyphene has resulted in death? What types of proportions or concentrations would you normally expect to see?

A. There are two surveys reported I am aware of. One reports a concentration of 2.8 micrograms per millilitre of blood of dextropropoxyphene in a series of fatal overdose cases. Another one reports an average concentration of 4.7 microgrammes per millilitre of blood. You can say that they are several-fold larger than the level I found of 1 [microgram].

Q. What about the paracetamol concentration you found?

A. Again, it is higher than would be expected for therapeutic use, approximately 5 or 10 times higher. But it is much lower or lower than would be expected for paracetamol fatalities normally unless there was other factors of drugs involved.

Q. What sort of level would you normal [sic] expect for paracetamol fatalities?

A. I think if you can get the blood reasonably shortly after the incident and the person does not die slowly in hospital due to liver failure, perhaps typically 3 to 400 micrograms per millilitre of blood.

Q. About four times as much in other words?

A. Yes.

Q. Putting it in short terms, you would expect there to be about four times as much paracetamol and two and a half to four times as much dextropropoxyphene?

A. Two, three, four times as much paracetamol and two, three, four times as much dextropropoxyphene in the average overdose case, which results in fatalities.

Q. You have mentioned that it seemed that a number of Coproxamol drugs were taken. Was it possible, from your examination, to estimate how many tablets must have been taken?

A. It is not possible to do that, because of the complex nature of the behaviour of the drugs in the body. I understand that Dr Kelly may have vomited so he would have lost some stomach contents then. There was still some left in the stomach and presumably still some left in the gastrointestinal tracts. What I can say is that it is consistent with say 29/30 tablets but it could be consistent with other scenarios as well.

144. Dr Allan also said in his evidence that the only way in which paracetamol and dextropropoxyphene could be found in Dr Kelly’s blood was by him taking tablets containing them which he would have to ingest.

145. In relation to an examination of Dr Kelly’s body Assistant Chief Constable Page said in evidence:

Q. We heard about investigations that have been carried out in the post-mortem and toxicology reports.

A. Yes.

Q. And the pathologist said that Dr Kelly’s lung had been removed for tests. Have you discussed that matter with the toxicologist?

A. I have discussed that matter with the toxicologist. The lung was not subjected to tests, and the rationale given to my team by the toxicologist is that the blood was tested for an entire range of substances including volatile substances and stupefying substances. No trace whatsoever was found and therefore they considered that examining the lung would not be relevant because if it was not in the blood, it would not be in the lung.

146. Very understandably the police did not show the knife found beside Dr Kelly’s body to his widow and daughters but the police showed them a photograph of that knife. It is clear that the knife found beside the body was a knife which Dr Kelly had owned since boyhood and which he kept in a desk in his study, but which was found to be missing from his desk after his death. In her evidence Mrs Kelly said:

Q. We have heard about the circumstances of Dr Kelly’s death and the fact that a knife was used. Were you shown the knife at all?

A. We were not shown the knife; we were shown a photocopy of I presume the knife which we recognised as a knife he had had for many years and kept in his drawer.

Q. It was a knife he had had what, from childhood?

A. From childhood I believe. I think probably from the Boy Scouts.

And in a statement furnished to the Inquiry Police Constable Roberts stated: The knife found in possession of Dr David Kelly is a knife the twins, Rachel and Ellen recognise (from pictures shown by Family Liaison Officers). It would not be unusual to be in his possession as a walker. They have seen it on their walks with him. He would have kept it in his study drawer with a collection of small pocket knives (he did like gadgets) and the space in the study drawer where a knife was clearly missing from the neat row of knives is where they believe it would [have] lived and been removed from.

147. It also appears probable that the Coproxamol tablets which Dr Kelly took just before his death came from a store of those tablets which Mrs Kelly, who suffered from arthritis, kept in their home. In a statement furnished to the Inquiry Detective Constable Eldridge stated:

At 1000hrs on Thursday 7th AUGUST 2003 I was on duty at Long Hanborough Incident Room when I removed from secure storage the following items for examination: –


2. Exhibit NCH/17/2 CO-PROXAMOL BLISTER PACKETS FRONT BOTTOM BELLOWS POCKET these had been removed from Dr KELLY’S coat pocket by the Pathologist.

On examining both items I saw that they were identical. They were marked M & A Pharmacy Ltd and had the wording CO-PROXAMOL PL/4077/0174 written on the foil side of each of the blister type packs.

I can say that enquiries have been made with M & A PHARMACHEM who are the manufacturers of CO-PROXAMOL. The batch number shown on the tablets in our possession was checked with a view to tracing the chemist that these tablets had been purchased from. I can say that this batch number relates to approximately 1.6 million packets of tablets that will have been distributed to various chemists throughout the country.

148. In relation to the question whether Dr Kelly took his own life the opinion of Dr Hunt was as follows:

[16 September, page 23, line 14]

The orientation and arrangement of the wounds over the left wrist are typical of self-inflicted injury. Also typical of this was the presence of small so-called tentative or hesitation marks. The fact that his watch appeared to have been removed whilst blood was already flowing suggest that it had been removed deliberately in order to facilitate access to the wrist. The removal of the watch in that way and indeed the removal of the spectacles are features pointing towards this being an act of self harm.

Other features at the scene which would tend to support this impression include the relatively passive distribution of the blood, the neat way in which the water bottle and its top were placed, the lack of obvious signs of trampling of the undergrowth or damage to the clothing. To my mind, the location of the death is also of interest in this respect because it was clearly a very pleasant and relatively private spot of the type that is sometimes chosen by people intent upon self harm.

Q. Is that something you have found from your past experience?

A. Yes, and knowledge of the literature.

149. Professor Keith Hawton was requested by the Inquiry to give evidence in relation to the death of Dr Kelly. Professor Hawton is an eminent expert on the subject of suicide and is the Professor of Psychiatry at Oxford University and is the Director of the Centre for Suicide Research in the University Department of Psychiatry in Oxford. He stated in his evidence that the majority of those who commit suicide do not leave a suicide note or message. He further stated:

Q. Did you form any assessment of whether Dr Kelly’s death was consistent with suicide?

A. I think all the information we have about his death and the circumstances of his death strongly point to his death having been by suicide.

Q. And what would you say drives you to that conclusion?

A. Well, the first thing is the site in which the death occurred. We have heard that it occurred in an isolated spot on Harrowdown Hill. In fact it was, as I think you have been told, in woodland about 40 or 50 yards off the track taken by ramblers. The site is well protected from the view of other people.

Q. Have you been to the site?

A. I have visited the site, yes.

Q. And what did you notice there then?

A. Well, I noticed, first of all—what struck me was it is a very peaceful spot, a rather beautiful spot and we know that it was a favourite—it was in the area of a favourite walk of Dr Kelly with his family.

Q. What other factors have you considered relevant?

A. The nature of his injuries is very consistent with an act of self cutting. The doctor—I have read Dr Hunt’s report , who is the Home Office forensic pathologist. I have also seen the photographs of the injuries to Dr Kelly’s body; and the nature of the injuries to his wrist are very consistent with suicide.

Q. Why do you say that? We have heard from some of the ambulance personnel who did not themselves see very much blood. We have heard from others who did see more blood. What is relevant here?

A. Well I am referring here particularly to the nature of the cutting which perhaps I would prefer not to describe in detail.

Q. Right.

A. But it—

Q. Perhaps you can just explain why you do not want to describe these matters in detail.

A. Well, one of the concerns I have is that there is now good evidence that reporting and portrayal of detailed methods of suicide in the media can actually sometimes facilitate suicide in other people.

Q. So it is perfectly obvious there are lots of members of the press here. If you had to say anything to them about the reporting of your evidence today, what would it be?

A. I think with regard to the specific method of suicide, I would prefer that that was kept as general as possible.

Q. For those reasons?

A. Yes.

Q. You have talked about the cutting. What else do you consider to have been consistent with suicide?

A. Well, the situation or the circumstances in which Dr Kelly’s body was found are consistent, in that he had apparently removed—his glasses were found by his body in a way—in a manner suggesting that they had been taken off by him, as was his cap; his watch had been taken off, was removed from the body.

Q. What does that indicate?

A. It suggests that he removed the watch to give him better access to be able to carry out the cutting.

Q. And was there anything else that you saw from the pathologist’s report that assisted you in your conclusion?

A. Well, the instrument that was used, which I have seen a photograph of, and the family, as you know, I think, have been shown a copy of a similar instrument, a large penknife—I will call it a penknife, but it is a rather primitive style of penknife—is very similar to one that he had in his drawer in his study, and it was one I think you heard yesterday he had had since his childhood.

Q. Yes.

A. When considering something like this, one obviously has to think about whether there could have been some other person or persons involved in the act, and the circumstances suggest that this was not the case.

Q. What, whether some third parties were involved in Dr Kelly’s death?

A. Yes.

Q. And what circumstances do you consider show that there were not?

A. Well, there were no signs of violence on his body other than the obvious injury to his wrist that would be in keeping with his having been involved in some sort of struggle or a violent act. There was no sign I understand of trampling down of vegetation and undergrowth in the area around his body. So that makes it highly unlikely that others could have been or were involved.

Q. We are going to hear from a toxicologist. Have you had a chance to read that report?

A. I have.

Q. Does that assist you in your determinations?

A. Well, we know that evidence was found in Dr Kelly’s body and also on his person of him having consumed some particular medication.

Q. Right. And what medication was that?

A. That is Coproxamol.

Q. And why does that assist in your determination?

A. Well, it in itself is quite a dangerous medication taken in overdose because it can have particular effects on both breathing and also on the heart rhythm.

LORDHUTTON: Just going back to the knife, Professor Hawton, you said it was very similar to one in his drawer. Now, we have been told, for very understandable reasons, that Mrs Kelly was not shown the knife. But when you say “very similar”, are you drawing the inference that in fact it was probably a knife that had been in his drawer, is that why you say “very similar”?

A. Yes, I am my Lord.

LORD HUTTON: Yes, quite. Thank you very much. Yes.

MR DINGEMANS: We were dealing with the toxicologist’s report. What do you understand the position to be in relation to that Coproxamol?

A. Well, I understand that the evidence found from blood levels and from the contents of Dr Kelly’s—in Dr Kelly’s stomach suggests that he had absorbed—he had taken approximately 30 tablets—I am sorry, the number of tablets is based on the number that were missing from the sheets he had with him.

Q. Right.

A. But that he had consumed well in excess of a therapeutic dose of Coproxamol and given the blood levels and the relatively small amounts in his stomach, although he had vomited, I believe you have heard evidence he has vomited, but this would suggest he had consumed Coproxamol some time before death.

Q. Does that assist you in determining whether or not any third party was involved?

A. Well, for a third party to have been involved in the taking of the Coproxamol would, I imagine, have involved a struggle. I mean if somebody was forced to take a substantial number of tablets, it is difficult to believe there would not have been signs of a struggle.

Q. That is a factor you have borne in mind?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you come, then, to any overall conclusion about whether or not Dr Kelly had committed suicide?

A. I think that taking all the evidence together, it is well nigh certain that he committed suicide.

150. In his evidence Assistant Chief Constable Page stated:

Q. Can you just briefly outline to his Lordship the lines of inquiry that you set out when confronted with the discovery of Dr Kelly’s body?

A. Yes, certainly. Very early on in the inquiry one sets up a series of hypotheses which one tries then to knock down. For the sake of completeness the first of these would be: was the death natural or accidental? In this case it is fairly obvious that was not the case. The next question is: was it murder? I think as I pointed out in my last evidence, the examination of the scene and the supporting forensic evidence made me confident that actually there was no third party involved at the scene of the crime and therefore, to all intents and purposes, murder can be ruled out. One is then left with the option that Dr Kelly killed himself.

LORD HUTTON: Sorry, may I just ask you, Mr Page, you say no third party was involved at the scene of the crime. Did you consider the possibility that Dr Kelly might have been overpowered and killed elsewhere and his body then taken to the wooded area where it was found?

A. Yes, my Lord; and I think, again, upon examination of the pathologist’s evidence and of the biologist’s evidence, it is pretty clear to me that Dr Kelly died at the scene.

LORD HUTTON: Yes. Thank you.

MR DINGEMANS: You were going on to say having ruled out natural causes, having ruled out murder.

A. One is left with the fact that Dr Kelly killed himself. My duty in that respect is to establish to the best of my satisfaction that there was no criminal dimension to Dr Kelly’s death.

Q. Have you found any evidence suggesting that there was a criminal element?

A. Based on the extensive inquiries that we have undertaken thus far, I can find no evidence to suggest any criminal dimension to Dr Kelly’s death.

Q. Can you give his Lordship, and everyone else, some idea of how many people you have interviewed in the course of your inquiries?

A. Yes, certainly. We have made contact with somewhere in the region of 500 individuals during the course of our inquiry.

Q. How many statements have you taken?

A. We have taken 300 statements and we have seized in excess of 700 documents in addition to the computer files I referred to when I gave evidence last time.

LORD HUTTON: Mr Page, could you just elaborate just a little on what you mean by no criminal dimension?

A. Well, again, my Lord, I would—I suppose being a police officer and I am inherently suspicious and I would look at the circumstances and ask myself a range of questions as to why Dr Kelly would have taken his own life.


A. And very early on in the inquiry, based on early discussions with the inquiry it seemed entirely out of character for Dr Kelly to take that move. Therefore, my view of whether there was a criminal dimension to this would centre around: was he being blackmailed? Was he being put under some other criminal behaviour that would have prompted him to take this action?

LORD HUTTON: Thank you for that, I just wanted you to elaborate that. And you have excluded that in your inquiries?

A. We have carried out extensive inquiries and based on those inquiries, I can find no evidence that he was being blackmailed or indeed any other evidence of any other criminal dimension.

151. Those who try cases relating to a death or injury (whether caused by crime or accident) know that entirely honest witnesses often give evidence as to what they saw at the scene which differs as to details. In the evidence which I heard from those who saw Dr Kelly’s body in the wood there were differences as to points of detail, such as the number of police officers at the scene and whether they were all in uniform, the amount of blood at the scene, and whether the body was lying on the ground or slumped against the tree. I have seen a photograph of Dr Kelly’s body in the wood which shows that most of his body was lying on the ground but that his head was slumped against the base of the tree—therefore a witness could say either that the body was lying on the ground or slumped against the tree. These differences do not cause me to doubt that no third party was involved in Dr Kelly’s death.

The evidence of Mr David Broucher

152. Mr David Broucher, a member of the Diplomatic Service, gave evidence that in February 2003 he was the United Kingdom’s Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. He said that he had met Dr Kelly once in connection with his duties. He had not made a minute of the meeting or recorded it in his diary and doing the best that he could he thought that the meeting was in February 2003 in Geneva. He said that he wanted to pick Dr Kelly’s brains because he knew that he was a considerable expert on compliance with the biological weapons convention in relation to Iraq. He had a meeting with Dr Kelly for about an hour.

They talked about the history of Iraq’s biological weapons capability, about Dr Kelly’s activities with UNSCOM, about what he thought might be the current state of affairs, and they also talked about Iraq and the biological weapons convention.

153. Mr Broucher was asked:

Q. Did you then go on to discuss the possible use of force in Iraq?

A. We did.

Q. Can you tell us, in your own words, what was said?

A. I said to Dr Kelly that I could not understand why the Iraqis were courting disaster and why they did not cooperate with the weapons inspectors and give up whatever weapons might remain in their arsenal. He said that he had personally urged—he was still in contact with senior Iraqis and he had urged this point on them. Their response had been that if they revealed too much about their state of readiness this might increase the risk that they would be attacked.

Q. Did Dr Kelly say how he was in contact or not?

A. He did not give any details of names or places or times; and I did not ask him that.

Q. Did he say what he had said to those persons that he had contacted?

A. He said that he had tried to reassure them that if they cooperated with the weapons inspectors then they had nothing to fear.

Q. Which, as I understand it, was the position adopted by the United Nations.

A. So I understand, yes.

Q. And did he disclose how he felt about the situation?

A. My impression was that he felt that he was in some personal difficulty or embarrassment over this, because he believed that the invasion might go ahead anyway and that somehow this put him in a morally ambiguous position.

Q. Did he say anything further to you?

A. I drew some inferences from what he said, but I cannot recall the precise words that he used.

Q. What inferences did you draw?

A. Well, I drew the inference that he might be concerned that he would be thought to have lied to some of his contacts in Iraq.

Q. Did you discuss the dossier at all in this conversation?

A. We did discuss the dossier. I raised it because I had had to—it was part of my duties to sell the dossier, if you like, within the United Nations to senior United Nations officials; and I told Dr Kelly that this had not been easy and that they did not find it convincing. He said to me that there had been a lot of pressure to make the dossier as robust as possible; that every judgment in it had been closely fought over; and that it was the best that the JIC could do. I believe that it may have been in this connection that he then went on to explain the point about the readiness of Iraq’s biological weapons, the fact they could not use them quickly, and that this was relevant to the point about 45 minutes.

Q. Did you discuss Dr Kelly’s position in the Ministry of Defence?

A. He gave me to understand that he—it was only with some reluctance that he was working in the Ministry of Defence. He would have preferred to go back to Porton Down. He felt that when he transferred into the Ministry of Defence they had transferred him at the wrong grade, and so he was concerned that he had been downgraded.

Q. Right. Did you have any other conversation with Dr Kelly that day?

A. As Dr Kelly was leaving I said to him: what will happen if Iraq is invaded? And his reply was, which I took at the time to be a throwaway remark—he said: I will probably be found dead in the woods.

Q. You understood it to be a throwaway remark. Did you report that remark at the time to anyone?

A. I did not report it at the time to anyone because I did not attribute any particular significance to it. I thought he might have meant that he was at risk of being attacked by the Iraqis in some way.

Q. And you, at the time, considered it to be a sort of general comment one might make at the end of a conversation?

A. Indeed.

Q. Where were you in July this year on about 17th/18th July?

A. I was on leave in Geneva.

Q. And did you hear of Dr Kelly’s death at all?

A. I believe I heard about it on the television news.

Q. Right. And did you see a picture of Dr Kelly on the news?

A. Yes.

Q. What was your reaction to that?

A. I recognised him, I realised that I knew him.

Q. And as a result of that what happened?

A. Nothing happened immediately because I was aware that I knew him but it was not until later that I became aware of the circumstances of his death and realised the significance of this remark that he had made to me, seemingly as a throw-away line, when we met in February.

Q. Did you contact anyone about your recollection?

A. Yes, I did, not immediately but when the Inquiry began on 1st August it seemed to me that I needed to make known this fact.

Q. Can I take you to CAB/10/9? How did you make this fact known?

A. I sent an e-mail to my colleague, the press officer for biological weapons in the Foreign Office, Patrick Lamb.

Q. And you say to Patrick Lamb: “Is the FCO preparing evidence for the Hutton Inquiry?” We have heard from Mr Lamb: “If so, I may have something relevant to contribute that I have been straining to recover from a very deep memory hole.” Is that right, that at the time your impression was that it was a throwaway remark, and is it also fair to say that it was deeply buried within your memory?

A. Yes, that is fair to say, and the other facts of the meeting took sometime for me to remember; and it took a long time to establish when the meeting took place because it was not noted in my diary.

154. Mr Broucher was clear in his evidence that he had only met Dr Kelly on one occasion. After he had given evidence Dr Kelly’s daughter, Miss Rachel Kelly, looked at her father’s diary and found that it contained an entry that he had met Mr Broucher in Geneva on 18th February 2002. In her evidence Miss Kelly said:

Q. We have heard from your mother this morning. She has given us some of the background. Can I ask you to look at a diary entry for 2002? Before I ask you to look at that, can you just tell me where you found the diary?

A. Yes. The diary was in my father’s study—

Q. It is FAM/1/1. If we look at the entry for February, what does it tell us?

A. It mentions specifically a meeting with David Broucher on 18th February 2002, and the interesting thing with my father’s diaries is he tended to write entries in them after the event and this would have been a meeting that he actually had because it is in his diary.

Q. It does not look like we have been able to get the diary on the screen, but if I look at the diary that I have in front of me, it says: “Monday 18th February 2002, 9.30, David Broucher, USmis.”

A. Yes, US mission.

Q. It gives details of his flights into Geneva the day before.

A. Yes, the day before.

Q. And out of Geneva on 20th February; is that right?

A. Yes, that is correct, on the 20th.

Q. And that is February 2002?

A. It is a year earlier than the date that David Broucher gave as being this year, the conversation he had with my father.

Q. And I think Mr Broucher told us he had only had one meeting with your father.

A. Yes, that is what made me look at it. I actually thought that was the case.

Therefore it appears to be clear that Dr Kelly’s one meeting with Mr Broucher was in February 2002 and not in February 2003.

155. In his evidence Professor Hawton said:

Q. We have heard evidence from a Mr Broucher, who relayed a comment about Dr Kelly being found “dead in the woods” and he had at the time thought it was a throwaway remark. He had attributed it, if he attributed it at all, to Iraqi agents. Then after hearing of Dr Kelly’s suicide he thought perhaps it was something else. Can you assist with that at all?

A. Well, I gained the impression talking to family members about that particular alleged statement that it was not a typical—not that he would say that particularly—communicate that, but it was the sort of throwaway comment he might make. I have also gathered that it is quite possible that it was not made at the time that was initially alleged but possibly a year beforehand.

Q. We have seen now diaries. Mr Broucher thought it was February 2003. He did say it was a deep memory pocket. We have seen diaries which suggest that he has met Mr Broucher in February 2002 and Mr Broucher has said they only met once. So that may mean it is February 2002. Does that assist?

A. I think it is pure coincidence. I do not think it is relevant to understanding Dr Kelly’s death.

156. It is a strange coincidence that Dr Kelly was found dead in the woods, but for the reasons which I give in paragraph 157 I am satisfied that Dr Kelly took his own life and that there was no third party involvement in his death.

The cause of the death of Dr Kelly

157. In the light of the evidence which I have heard I am satisfied that Dr Kelly took his own life in the wood at Harrowdown Hill at a time between 4.15 p.m. on 17 July and 1.15 a.m. on 18 July 2003 and that the principal cause of death was bleeding from incised wounds to the left wrist which Dr Kelly inflicted on himself with the knife found beside his body. It is probable that the ingestion of an excess amount of Coproxamol tablets coupled with apparently clinically silent coronary artery disease would both have played a part in bringing about death more certainly and more rapidly than would have otherwise been the case. Accordingly the causes of death are:

1a Haemorrhage

1b Incised wounds to the left wrist

2 Coproxamol ingestion and coronary artery atherosclerosis I am satisfied that no other person was involved in the death of Dr Kelly for the following reasons:

1) A very careful and lengthy examination of the area where his body was found by police officers and by a forensic biologist found no traces whatever of a struggle or of any involvement by a third party or third parties and a very careful and detailed post-mortem examination by Dr Hunt, together with the examination of specimens from the body by a forensic toxicologist, Dr Allan, found no traces or indications whatever of violence or force inflicted on Dr Kelly by a third party or third parties either at the place where his body was found or elsewhere.

2) The wounds to his wrist were inflicted by a knife which came from Dr Kelly’s desk in his study in his home, and which had belonged to him from boyhood.

3) It is highly unlikely that a third party or third parties could have forced Dr Kelly to swallow a large number of Coproxamol tablets.

These conclusions are strongly supported by the evidence of Professor Hawton, Dr Hunt and Assistant Chief Constable Page.

158. I am further satisfied from the evidence of Professor Hawton that Dr Kelly was not suffering from any significant mental illness at the time he took his own life.

The statement issued by the BBC after Dr Kelly’s death

159. On Sunday 20 July the BBC issued the following statement:

The BBC deeply regrets the death of Dr David Kelly. We had the greatest respect for his achievements in Iraq and elsewhere over many years and wish once again to express our condolences to his family.

There has been much speculation about whether Dr Kelly was the source for the Today programme report by Andrew Gilligan on May 29th. Having now informed Dr Kelly’s family, we can confirm that Dr Kelly was the principal source for both Andrew Gilligan’s report and for Susan Watts’ reports on Newsnight on June 2nd and 4th.

The BBC believes we accurately interpreted and reported the factual information obtained by us during interviews with Dr Kelly.

Over the past few weeks we have been at pains to protect Dr Kelly being identified as the source of these reports. We clearly owed him a duty of confidentiality. Following his death, we now believe, in order to end the continuing speculation, it is important to release this information as swiftly as possible. We did not release it until this morning at the request of Dr Kelly’s family.

The BBC will fully cooperate with the Government’s inquiry. We will make a full and frank submission to Lord Hutton and will provide full details of all the contacts between Dr Kelly and the two BBC journalists including contemporaneous notes and other materials made by both journalists, independently.

We continue to believe we were right to place Dr Kelly’s views in the public domain. However, the BBC is profoundly sorry that his involvement as our source has ended so tragically.


Since the assassination of the thirty-fifth President of the US in Dealey Plaza, Dallas, in 1963, an average of forty books a year have sought to explain—even explain away—his murder. It is the Big One. The Mother of All Mysteries, the Daddy of all Conspiracy Theories.

Nearly fifty years on, the images still loop from that fateful November day:

Kennedy in the back of the open-top Lincoln, next to Jackie, all smiles and waves in the sun…

Kennedy, his head slumped sideways…

Jackie leaning over to her husband…

Jackie trying to climb up the back of the car…

A blur of speeding cars and motorbike outriders…

Lyndon B. Johnson inside Air Force One taking the oath of presidency, Jackie statue-like by his side…

Elected to the White House in 1960 aged forty-six, Democrat John F. Kennedy was supposedly the bringer of a fresh new dawn. Handsome, charismatic and liberal, JFK promised hope for an entire generation. That hope was snuffed out at 12.30 p.m. on 22 November 1963 in Dealey Plaza.

Kennedy had chosen to visit Dallas to boost the Democratic cause in Texas, a marginal state, and to generate funds for the upcoming November 1964 presidential election. Both Kennedy and his staff had expressed concerns about security because, only a month earlier, US Ambassador to the UN Adlai Stevenson had been jostled and spat upon during a visit to Dallas. Nevertheless, the route the president’s motorcade would take through Dallas was published in Dallas newspapers on the eve of the visit, 21 November 1963. The next day, a little before 12.30 p.m. CST, his Lincoln limousine entered Dealey Plaza and slowly approached the Texas School Book Depository. It then turned 120 degrees left, directly in front of the Depository, just 65 feet away.

As the presidential Lincoln passed the Depository and continued down Elm Street, shots were fired at Kennedy, who was waving to the crowds on his right. One shot entered his upper back, penetrated his neck, and exited his throat. He raised his clenched fists up to his neck and leaned to his left as Jacqueline Kennedy put her arms round him. Texas Governor John Connally, sitting with his wife in front of the Kennedys in the limousine, was hit in the back and yelled out, “Oh, no, no, no… My God, they’re going to kill us all!”

The final shot occurred as the presidential limo passed in front of the John Neely Bryan pergola. As the shot sounded, President Kennedy’s head exploded, covering the interior of the Lincoln with blood and tissue.

Secret Service agent Clint Hill was riding on the running board of the car behind the limousine. After the first shot struck the president, Hill jumped off and ran to overtake it. By then the president had been hit in the head and Mrs Kennedy was climbing onto the boot of the car. Hill jumped on the back of the limousine, pushed Mrs Kennedy back into her seat, and clung to the car as it sped to Parkland Memorial Hospital. At 1.00 p.m. President John F. Kennedy was pronounced dead by hospital staff. A formality. The president was certainly dead before the limo reached the doors of the emergency department.

Meanwhile, back in Dealey Plaza, the first witnesses were talking to police. Howard Brennan, across from the Texas School Book Depository, distinctly heard gunshots from that building. So did Harold Norman, James Jarman Jr and Bonnie Ray Williams, employees of the Depository who had watched the motorcade from a window at the south-east corner of the fifth floor; they heard three shots from directly over their heads. (Of the eye and ear witnesses who would eventually give testimony as to the direction from which the fatal shots came, 56 [53.8 per cent] believed they came from the direction of the Depository, 35 [33.7 per cent] thought they came from a “grassy knoll” on the north side of the Plaza, and 8 [7.7 per cent] thought the shots came from other locations. Only 5 [4.8 per cent] thought they heard shots from two separate locations.) A police search of the Book Depository revealed that one employee, Lee Harvey Oswald, was missing, having left the building immediately after the shooting. After eighty minutes of frantic manhunt Oswald was spotted on a sidewalk by Dallas police officer J. D. Tippit, who on approaching Oswald was shot dead. One hour later, Oswald was cornered in a movie house and arrested. The next day he was charged with the murders of Kennedy and Tippit. He denied shooting anyone and claimed he’d been set up as a “patsy”.

On 24 November at 11.21 a.m., as Oswald was being transferred from Dallas Police Headquarters to the county jail, a local strip-club owner, Jack Ruby, stepped out of the crowd and fatally gunned him down. Ruby was convicted of Oswald’s murder in 1964, but the conviction was overturned. Ruby died in jail awaiting retrial.

A week after Kennedy’s assassination, President Lyndon Baines Johnson (“LBJ”) set up a commission under Chief Justice Earl Warren to investigate the killing. The Warren Commission published its findings in September 1964. According to the Commission, Lee Harvey Oswald had shot Kennedy from the sixth floor of the Texas Book Depository, where an Italian Mannlicher-Carcano M91/38 bolt-action rifle had been found with his fingerprints on it. A bullet on Governor Connally’s stretcher matched this rifle. Oswald, a misfit with Marxist leanings, had been instrumental in setting up the New Orleans branch of the pro-Castro Fair Play for Cuba Committee. He had, concluded the Commission, “an overriding hostility to his environment… [a] hatred for American Society” and had sought “a place in history”. The Commission “could not find any persuasive evidence of a domestic or foreign conspiracy involving any other person(s), group(s), or country(ies), and [believed] that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone”.

In a US still traumatized by the event, the Warren Commission report was initially met with a sense of relief and acceptance. The mood, however, gradually passed to unease and then outright distrust, as it became clear that LBJ had ordered an embargo on huge swathes of the report for thirty years to come. Moreover, the bits and pieces of the report that had been released contained as many questions as they did answers. Why hadn’t the Commission interviewed Ruby, especially as he had informed them he would “come clean”? Then there was the matter of the murder weapon: could a bolt-action relic of the Second World War really deliver three accurate shots, at range, in six to seven seconds?

With the manifest inadequacy of the official investigation into Kennedy’s death, numerous independent investigations tried to get at the truth. Among the keenest-eyed readers of the Warren Report’s selected extracts was New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, who spotted a passing reference to one Clay Bertrand, whom Garrison identified as homosexual New Orleans businessman Clay Shaw. In 1969, Garrison prosecuted Shaw for conspiring to murder the president; unfortunately for Garrison, two of his key witnesses, David Ferrie and Guy Bannister, died in suspicious circumstances before they could testify. (Aside from Oswald, Ruby, Ferrie and Bannister, anything up to forty witnesses in the JFK case have mysteriously died or been murdered.) Shaw was acquitted after less than an hour of deliberation by the jury, yet Garrison’s quest was not in vain; Ferrie would later be identified as a possible co-conspirator by the 1976 House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA). Also, Garrison forced the first public showing of the 486-frame, 8 mm movie shot by Abraham Zapruder of Kennedy’s killing, which shows a backwards blast of brains and blood from Kennedy’s head. On the Zapruder film, it looks as though the president has been shot from in front; Oswald was high up, to the president’s right, at the time of the shooting. If the fatal bullet came from the front, there must have been another gunman. In its 1979 report, the HSCA concluded that there was “a high probability that two gunmen” fired at Kennedy, and that he was “probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy”. In evidence, the HSCA heard a Dictabelt recording from a Dallas police motorcyclist’s radio, on which four gunshots could be heard, one more than Oswald supposedly fired. Among the other evidence supporting the two-gunmen theory was the testimony of Dr McClelland, a physician in the Portland emergency room, that the back right-hand part of President Kennedy’s head had been blown out. Top rifle experts of the FBI could not make the Mannlicher rifle used by Oswald fire two shots in the 2.3-second time frame that Oswald allegedly fired off his first two rounds. Neither could Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hathcock, the senior instructor for the US Marine Corps Sniper Instructor School at Quantico, Virginia. “We reconstructed the whole thing,” said Hathcock, “the angle, the range, the moving target, the time limit, the obstacles, everything. I don’t know how many times we tried it, but we couldn’t duplicate what the Warren Commission said Oswald did. Now if I can’t do it, how in the world could a guy who as a non-qual on the rifle range and later only qualified ‘marksman’ do it?”

Disregarding the truly lunatic theories that John F. Kennedy was murdered by Martin Bormann (who, like Elvis Presley never dies) or time-travelling aliens, the finger of suspicion points at five possible culprits:

CIA and Anti-Castro Cuban Exile Conspiracy

Something very bad is going on within the CIA and I want to know what it is. I want to shred the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter them to the four winds.

President John F. Kennedy

Kennedy despised the CIA for bungling the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in April 1961, and afterwards accepted the resignation of the CIA chief Allen Dulles. The Agency reciprocated Kennedy’s feeling because, aside from his stinging criticism, he was intending to withdraw from Vietnam and seek detente with the Communists. According to Crime and Cover-Up (1977) by Peter Dale Scott, Kennedy’s initiatives would have caused the scaling down of the CIA empire, as well as the curbing of its lucrative narcotics-trafficking business. The Military-Industrial Complex financed the hit, since it had a vested interest in continuing the war in ’Nam, from which it was making billions. Assassination was the CIA’s stock-in-trade. It had participated in the successful murders of two (at least) heads of state, Ngo Dinh Diem of Vietnam and Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic. Why not murder its own head of state? It had the expertise, after all.

HSCA reviewed these theories and concluded that, although Oswald assassinated Kennedy in a conspiracy with others, the conspiracy did not include any US Intelligence agencies. HSCA did believe, however, that anti-Castro Cuban exiles might have participated in Kennedy’s murder. These exiles had worked closely with CIA operatives in covert operations against Castro’s Cuba.

The Commies

Early JFK conspiracy theories centred on the USSR and its stooges. Kennedy had, of course, gone toe-to-toe with the USSR during the Cuban Missile Crisis. In Plot and Counterplot, Edward J. Epstein suggested that Dallas was payback time by a smarting Moscow. Oswald, who had once defected to the USSR but returned to the US, was according to this hypothesis a KGB agent. A variant of the Reds dunnit is that the Communist leader of Cuba, Fidel Castro, organized the assassination. During its investigation, HSCA visited Cuba and interviewed Castro about Cuban complicity in Kennedy’s assassination. He replied: “That [the Cuban Government might have been involved in Kennedy’s death] was insane. From the ideological point of view it was insane. And from the political point of view, it was a tremendous insanity.”

Obviously Castro might have been lying to HSCA, but his point is good: why give the US a 22-carat pretext to invade Cuba by assassinating its leader?

The Military-Industrial Complex

In his farewell speech to the nation, Kennedy’s predecessor Dwight Eisenhower—a former soldier and Republican, so no pinko—railed against the US arms industry: “This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence—economic, political, even spiritual—is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government… We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.”

A year later the new White House incumbent, JFK, blamed the military-industrial complex for fanning fears about the “bomber” and “missile” gaps, which pushed military spending to levels beyond those Eisenhower already thought intolerable. Kennedy’s call for cuts and stated intention of withdrawing troops from ’Nam was hardly likely to win him friends in boardrooms and messes. So, the military-industrial complex wanted him out of the White House, and a more amenable president in his place.

Since the military-industrial complex is a phenomenon or concept, not a corporeal body, it would have been incapable of pulling a trigger. That is not to say that elements of the military-industrial complex were not delighted with, and maybe even helped, the accession of Lyndon B. Johnson.


One of the most vociferous blamers of Cuba was VP LBJ, whose oft-repeated mantra was: “Kennedy was trying to kill Castro. Castro got him first.”

A smokescreen? After all, on the basis of “who profits?” LBJ wins out as Barr McClellan noted in 2003’s Blood, Money and Power: How LBJ Killed JFK. Here Kennedy’s successor Lyndon B. Johnson, together with an accomplice, Edward Clark, planned and covered up the assassination in Dallas. LBJ certainly had a motive: aside from the intrinsic attraction of succeeding to the most important job in the world, Johnson was the subject of four major criminal investigations involving government contract violations, misappropriation of funds, money-laundering and bribery at the time of Kennedy’s murder. All these investigations were terminated upon LBJ’s assumption of the presidency. Worse, LBJ knew Malcolm “Mac” Wallace, a convicted murderer, because Wallace was the on-off boyfriend of LBJ’s sister Josefa; in 1998 JFK assassination researcher Walt Brown announced that he had identified a fingerprint in the “sniper’s nest” in the Book Depository as belonging to Wallace. Former CIA officer and Watergate agent E. Howard Hunt also implicated LBJ in a deathbed confession, along with CIA agents Bill Harvey, Cord Meyer and David Sanchez Morales; in Hunt’s confession the shooter was named Lucien Sarti and shot Kennedy from the grassy knoll.

LBJ apparently had no shortage of willing helpers. Mark North’s Act of Treason (1991) posits that LBJ was helped by FBI head J. Edgar Hoover, who was known to loathe JFK and his brother Bobby, the Attorney General.

In a taped interview with historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jackie Kennedy is reported to have put her name to the list of those who believe LBJ was behind JFK’s murder.

The Mob

The HSCA investigation also identified the Mafia as possible conspirators in the plot to assassinate Kennedy. The Mob, so the theory runs, murdered JFK in retaliation for the heat put upon them by Attorney General Robert Kennedy (who had increased by twelve times the number of mob prosecutions Eisenhower had managed). What HSCA was too discreet to mention was that the Kennedys had long been in bed with the Mob (literally in the case of JFK, who had an affair with Sam Giancana’s girlfriend Judith Campbell Exner) and had used Mafia money in the campaign to secure the White House. The Mob didn’t like the campaign against them, and even less did it like the Kennedys’ hypocrisy. Mafia bosses Carlos Marcello, Sam Giancana and Santo Trafficante Jr topped the list of HSCA gangster suspects.

In their turn, David E. Scheim in The Mafia Killed President Kennedy, and Lamar Waldron/Thom Hartmann in Legacy of Secrecy squarely accuse Marcello as being the man who whacked the president, with a little help from his friends Santos Trafficante and Johnny Roselli. Marcello, whose Mob territory embraced New Orleans and Texas, had once been hustled out of the USA by immigration agents directed by Robert Kennedy to be dumped in Guatemala. Slipping secretly back into New Orleans, he vowed revenge against the Kennedys. According to a memo quoted in the Waldron/Hartmann book by an FBI informant who met with Marcello in 1985: “Carlos Marcello discussed his intense dislike of former President John Kennedy as he often did. Unlike other such tirades against Kennedy, however, on this occasion Carlos Marcello said, referring to President Kennedy, ‘Yeah, I had the son of a bitch killed. I’m glad I did it. I’m sorry I couldn’t have done it myself.’”

HSCA, Scheim and Waldron/Hartmann all found ties between Oswald, Jack Ruby and the Marcello mob of New Orleans. Ruby, a sometime foot soldier for Capone in Chicago, was tasked with “off ng” Oswald before he could squeal. Scheim highlights telephone records showing that, as the assassination date approached, Ruby made numerous calls to relatively high Mob figures in Chicago, New Orleans and Los Angeles, as well as to two associates of Jimmy Hoffa, the Mob-friendly teamster boss. Ruby later told the FBI that the calls were made to get help in stopping rival Dallas clubs from using amateur strippers. Would the Mr Bigs of crime really trouble their unpretty heads with dime-undercutting strippers?

An argument against Mafia culpability is that the JFK assassination did not bear the hallmark of Mafia hits, which tend to be up close and personal; if the Mob did kill Kennedy then it must have hired a trained military marksman, possibly someone in or on the dissident fringes of the CIA, with whom the Mob had cooperated in attempted assassinations of Castro. Someone like Oswald. Legacy of Secrecy’s contention is that Oswald probably thought he was part of the coup plan against Castro but he was actually being set up by Marcello’s goons to be the fall guy when the hit on the president went down in Dallas. When Oswald said he was a patsy he meant it.

An added twist to the Mob theory is given by Mark North in Act of Treason, in which he claims that Marcello tipped off J. Edgar Hoover of the FBI in 1962 that the assassination was being planned. Hoover, who despised Kennedy’s civil rights agenda, intentionally sat on the information and let JFK die.

There is no shortage of other possible, within reason, culprits. The Freemasons (antipathetic to JFK’s Catholicism), Jackie Kennedy (embarrassed and ashamed by her husband’s affairs), Richard Nixon (desiring revenge for his defeat in the 1960 presidential election) and the Israelis (in anger at JFK’s use of Project Paperclip Nazi scientists in his nuclear programme and his opposition to theirs) have all had their fifteen minutes of infamy as the suspected sponsors of the hit. A remarkable number—more than thirty—hoodlums, policemen and government agents have all stepped into the limelight to claim that they pulled the trigger on 22 November 1963, and for a while the diary entry of Dallas policeman Roscoe White, in which he detailed the murder, had many convinced—until it was proven to be a forgery.

In all the JFK confessions and babel, voices do occasionally break through in support of the Warren Commission’s “lone gunman” theory, headed by Gerald Posner’s Case Closed (1994) and Mark Fuhrman’s A Simple Act of Murder (2006). In their scenarios Oswald, an ex-Marine, was a good shot (the calvacade was moving slowly, and a single bullet might have hit both JFK and Governor Connally, meaning that Oswald had to fire only two shots in the time frame, not three).

The lone gunman arguments fall on disbelieving ears. An ABC News poll in 2003 found that 70 per cent of American respondents “suspect a plot” in the assassination of President Kennedy. Jack Leon Ruby is the weak link in the lone gunman, anti-conspiracy case. Why did Ruby step out of the crowd and gun down Oswald? Because he was so morally or politically outraged by Oswald’s murder of JFK that he had to take revenge? Hardly. Ruby was a hood of no fixed moral views. For the fame of it? Possibly, but the HSCA found no evidence that 56-year-old Ruby was psychologically flawed to the degree that he wished to make his mark in history as a shootist. And, when Ruby informed the Warren Commission that he would “come clean” what was he about to divulge? On balance, it must be assumed that Ruby stepped forward with his gun because he was either paid or pressurized by others to silence Oswald permanently. If someone needed to silence Lee Harvey Oswald, then there was a conspiracy

Further Reading

Mark Fuhrman, A Simple Act of Murder, 2006

Jim Marrs, Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy, 1989

Barr McClellan, Blood, Money and Power: How LBJ Killed JFK, 2003

Mark North, Act of Treason, 1991

Gerald Posner, Case Closed, 1994

Robin Ramsay, Who Shot JFK?, 2000

David E. Scheim, The Mafia Killed President Kennedy, 1988

Peter Dale Scott, Crime and Cover-Up: the CIA, the Mafia, and the Dallas-Watergate Connection, 1977

Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann, Legacy of Secrecy, 2009



The Involvement of organized crime. In contrast to the Warren Commission, the committee’s investigation of the possible involvement of organized crime in the assassination was not limited to an examination of Jack Ruby. The committee also directed its attention to organized crime itself.

Organized crime is a term of many meanings. It can be used to refer to the crimes committed by organized criminal groups—gambling, narcotics, loan-sharking, theft and fencing, and the like. It can also be used to refer to the criminal group that commit those crimes. Here, a distinction may be drawn between an organized crime enterprise that engages in providing illicit goods and services and an organized crime syndicate that regulates relations between individual enterprises—allocating territory, settling personal disputes, establishing gambling payoffs, etc. Syndicates, too, are of different types. They may be metropolitan, regional, national or international in scope; they may be limited to one field of endeavor—for example, narcotics—or they may cover a broad range of illicit activities.

Often, but not always, the term organized crime refers to a particular organized crime syndicate, variously known as the Mafia or La Cosa Nostra and it is in this sense that the committee has used the phrase. This organized crime syndicate was the principal target of the committee investigation.

The committee found that by 1964 the fundamental structure and operations of organized crime in America had changed little since the early 1950s, when, after conducting what was then the most extensive investigation of organized crime in history, the Kefauver committee concluded:

1) There is a nationwide crime syndicate known as the Mafia, whose tentacles are found in many large cities. It has international ramifications which appear most clearly in connection with the narcotics traffic.

2) Its leaders are usually found in control of the most lucrative rackets in their cities.

3) There are indications of a centralized direction and control of these rackets, but leadership appears to be in a group rather than in a single individual.

4) The Mafia is the cement that helps to bind the… syndicate of New York and the… syndicate of Chicago as well as smaller criminal gangs and individual criminals through the country.

5) The domination of the Mafia is based fundamentally on “muscle” and “murder.” The Mafia is a secret conspiracy against law and order which will ruthlessly eliminate anyone who stands in the way of its success in any criminal enterprise in which it is interested. It will destroy anyone who betrays its secrets. It will use any means available—political influence, bribery, intimidation, et cetera, to defeat any attempt on the part of law enforcement to touch its top figures…

The committee reviewed the evolution of the national crime syndicate in the years after the Kefauver committee and found continuing vitality, even more sophisticated techniques, and an increased concern for the awareness by law enforcement authorities of the danger it posed to the Nation. In 1967, after having conducted a lengthy examination of organized crime in the United States, the President’s Crime Commission offered another description of the power and influence of the American underworld in the 1960s:

Organized crime is a society that seeks to operate outside the control of the American people and their governments. It involves thousands of criminals, working within structures as complex as those of any large corporation, subject to laws more rigidly enforced than those of legitimate governments. Its actions are not impulsive but rather the result of intricate conspiracies, carried on over many years and aimed at gaining control over whole fields of activity in order to amass huge profits.

An analysis by the committee revealed that the Kennedy administration brought about the strongest effort against organized crime that had ever been coordinated by the Federal Government. John and Robert Kennedy brought to their respective positions as President and Attorney General an unprecedented familiarity with the threat of organized crime—and a commitment to prosecute its leaders—based on their service as member and chief counsel respectively of the McClellan Committee during its extensive investigation of labor racketeering in the late 1950s. A review of the electronic surveillance conducted by the FBI from 1961 to 1964 demonstrated that members of La Cosa Nostra, as well as other organized crime figures, were quite cognizant of the stepped-up effort against them, and they placed responsibility for it directly upon President Kennedy and Attorney General Kennedy.

During this period, the FBI had comprehensive electronic coverage of the major underworld figures, particularly those who comprised the commission. The committee had access to and analyzed the product of this electronic coverage; it reviewed literally thousands of pages of electronic surveillance logs that revealed the innermost workings of organized crime in the United States. The committee saw in stark terms a record of murder, violence, bribery, corruption, and an untold variety of other crimes. Uniquely among congressional committees, and in contrast to the Warren Commission, the committee became familiar with the nature and scope of organized crime in the years before and after the Kennedy assassination, using as its evidence the words of the participants themselves.

An analysis of the work of the Justice Department before and after the tenure of Robert Kennedy as Attorney General also led to the conclusion that organized crime directly benefited substantially from the changes in Government policy that occurred after the assassination. That organized crime had the motive, opportunity and means to kill the President cannot be questioned. Whether it did so is another matter.

In its investigation of the decision making process and dynamics of organized crime murders and intrasyndicate assassinations during the early 1960s, the committee noted the extraordinary web of insulation, secrecy, and complex machinations that frequently surrounded organized crime leaders who ordered such acts. In testimony before the Senate on 25 September 1963, 2 months before his brother’s assassination, Attorney General Kennedy spoke of the Government’s continuing difficulty in solving murders carried out by organized crime elements, particularly those ordered by members of the La Cosa Nostra commission. Attorney General Kennedy testified that:

…because the members of the Commission, the top members, or even their chief lieutenants, have insulated themselves from the crime itself, if they want to have somebody knocked off, for instance, the top man will speak to somebody who will speak to somebody else who will speak to somebody else and order it. The man who actually does the gun work, who might get paid $250 or $500, depending on how important it is, perhaps nothing at all, he does not know who ordered it. To trace that back is virtually impossible.

The committee studied the Kennedy assassination in terms of the traditional forms of violence used by organized crime and the historic pattern of underworld slayings. While the murder of the President’s accused assassin did in fact fit the traditional pattern—a shadowy man with demonstrable organized crime connections shoots down a crucial witness—the method of the President’s assassination did not resemble the standard syndicate killing. A person like Oswald—young, active in controversial political causes, apparently not subject to the internal discipline of a criminal organization—would appear to be the least likely candidate for the role of Mafia hit man, especially in such an important murder. Gunmen used in organized crime killings have traditionally been selected with utmost deliberation and care, the most important considerations being loyalty and a willingness to remain silent if apprehended. These are qualities best guaranteed by past participation in criminal activities.

There are, however, other factors to be weighed in evaluating the method of possible operation in the assassination of President Kennedy. While the involvement of a gunman like Oswald does not readily suggest organized crime involvement, any underworld attempt to assassinate the President would in all likelihood have dictated the use of some kind of cover, a shielding or disguise. The committee made the reasonable assumption that an assassination of a President by organized crime could not be allowed to appear to be what it was.

Traditional organized crime murders are generally committed through the use of killers who make no effort to hide the fact that organized crime was responsible for such murders or “hits.” While syndicate-authorized hits are usually executed in such a way that identification of the killers is not at all likely, the slayings are nonetheless committed in what is commonly referred to as the “gangland style.” Indeed, an intrinsic characteristic of the typical mob execution is that it serves as a self-apparent message, with the authorities and the public readily perceiving the nature of the crime as well as the general identity of the group or gang that carried it out.

The execution of a political leader—most particularly a President would hardly be a typical mob execution and might well necessitate a different method of operation. The overriding consideration in such an extraordinary crime would be the avoidance of any appearance of organized crime complicity.

In its investigation, the committee noted three cases, for the purposes of illustration, in which the methodology employed by syndicate figures was designed to insulate and disguise the involvement of organized crime. These did not fit the typical pattern of mob killings, as the assassination of a President would not. While the typical cases did not involve political leaders, two of the three were attacks on figures in the public eye.

In the first case, the acid blinding of investigative reporter Victor Riesel in April 1956, organized crime figures in New York used a complex series of go-betweens to hire a petty thief and burglar to commit the act. Thus, the assailant did not know who had actually authorized the crime for which he had been recruited. The use of such an individual was regarded as unprecedented, as he had not been associated with the syndicate, was a known drug user, and outwardly appeared to be unreliable. Weeks later, Riesel’s assailant was slain by individuals who had recruited him in the plot.

The second case, the fatal shooting of a well-known businessman, Sol Landie, in Kansas City, Mo., on 22 November 1970, involved the recruitment, through several intermediaries, of four young Black men by members of the local La Cosa Nostra family. Landie had served as a witness in a Federal investigation of gambling activities directed by Kansas City organized crime leader Nicholas Civella. The men recruited for the murder did not know who had ultimately ordered the killing, were not part of the Kansas City syndicate, and had received instructions through intermediaries to make it appear that robbery was the motive for the murder. All of the assailants and two of the intermediaries were ultimately convicted.

The third case, the shooting of New York underworld leader Joseph Columbo before a crowd of 65,000 people in June 1971, was carried out by a young Black man with a petty criminal record, a nondescript loner who appeared to be alien to the organized crime group that had recruited him through various go-betweens. The gunman was shot to death immediately after the shooting of Columbo, a murder still designated as unsolved. (Seriously wounded by a shot to the head, Columbo lingered for years in a semiconscious state before he died in 1978.)

The committee found that these three cases, each of which is an exception to the general rule of organized crime executions, had identifiable similarities. Each case was solved, in that the identity of the perpetrator of the immediate act became known. In two of the cases, the assailant was himself murdered soon after the crime. In each case, the person who wanted the crime accomplished recruited the person or persons who made the attack through more than one intermediary. In each case, the person suspected of inspiring the violence was a member of, or connected to, La Cosa Nostra. In each case, the person or persons hired were not professional killers, and they were not part of organized criminal groups. In each case, the persons recruited to carry out the acts could be characterized as dupes or tools who were being used in a conspiracy they were not fully aware of. In each case, the intent was to insulate the organized crime connection, with a particular requirement for disguising the true identity of the conspirators, and to place the blame on generally nondescript individuals. These exceptions to the general rule of organized crime violence made it impossible for the committee to preclude, on the basis of an analysis of the method of the assassination, that President Kennedy was killed by elements of organized crime.

In its investigation into the possibility that organized crime elements were involved in the President’s murder, the committee examined various internal and external factors that bear on whether organized crime leaders would have considered, planned and executed an assassination conspiracy. The committee examined the decision-making process that would have been involved in such a conspiracy, and two primary propositions emerged. The first related to whether the national crime syndicate would have authorized and formulated a conspiracy with the formal consent of the commission, the ruling council of Mafia leaders. The second related to whether an individual organized crime leader, or possibly a small combination of leaders, might have conspired to assassinate the President through unilateral action, that is, without the involvement of the leadership of the national syndicate.

The most significant evidence that organized crime as an institution or group was not involved in the assassination of President Kennedy was contained in the electronic surveillance of syndicate leaders conducted by the FBI in the early 1960s. As the President’s Crime Commission noted in 1967, and as this committee found through its review of the FBI surveillance, there was a distinct hierarchy and structure to organized crime. Decisions of national importance were generally made by the national commission, or at least they depended on the approval of the commission members. In 1963, the following syndicate leaders served as members of the commission: Vito Genovese, Joseph Bonanno, Carlo Gambino, and Thomas Lucchese of New York City; Stefano Magaddino of Buffalo; Sam Giancana of Chicago; Joseph Zerilli of Detroit; Angelo Bruno of Philadelphia and Raymond Patriarca of Providence. The committee’s review of the surveillance transcripts and logs, detailing the private conversations of the commission members and their associates, revealed that there were extensive and heated discussions about the serious difficulties the Kennedy administration’s crackdown on organized crime was causing.

The bitterness and anger with which organized crime leaders viewed the Kennedy administration are readily apparent in the electronic surveillance transcripts, with such remarks being repeatedly made by commission members Genovese, Giancana, Bruno, Zerilli, Patriarca and Magaddino. In one such conversation in May 1962, a New York Mafia member noted the intense Federal pressure upon the mob, and remarked, “Bob Kennedy won’t stop today until he puts us all in jail all over the country. Until the commission meets and puts its foot down, things will be at a standstill.” Into 1963, the pressure was continuing to mount, as evidenced by a conversation in which commission member Magaddino bitterly cursed Attorney General Kennedy and commented on the Justice Department’s increasing knowledge of the crime syndicates inner workings, stating, “They know everything under the sun. They know who’s back of it—they know there is a commission. We got to watch right now—and stay as quiet as possible.”

While the committee’s examination of the electronic surveillance program revealed no shortage of such conversations during that period, the committee found no evidence in the conversations of the formulation of any specific plan to assassinate the President. Nevertheless, that organized crime figures did discuss possible violent courses of action against either the President or his brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy—as well as the possible repercussions of such action—can be starkly seen in the transcripts.

One such discussion bears quoting at length. It is a conversation between commission member Angelo Bruno of Philadelphia and an associate Willie Weisburg, on 8 February 1962. In the discussion, in response to Weisburg’s heated suggestion that Attorney General Kennedy should be murdered, Bruno cautioned that Kennedy might be followed by an even worse Attorney General:

WEISBURG. See what Kennedy done. With Kennedy, a guy should take a knife, like all them other guys, and stab and kill the [obscenity], where he is now. Somebody should kill the [obscenity], I mean it. This is true. Honest to God. It’s about time to go. But I tell you something. I hope I git a week’s notice, I’ll kill. Right in the [obscenity] in the White House. Somebody’s got to rid of this [obscenity].

BRUNO. Look, Willie, do you see there was a king, do you understand. And he found out that everybody was saying that he was a bad king. This is an old Italian story. So, he figured. Let me go talk to the old woman. She knows everything. So he went to the old wise woman. So he says to her: “I came here because I want your opinion.” He says: “Do you think I’m a bad king?” She says: “No, I think you are a good king.” He says: “Well how come everybody says I’m a bad king?” She says: “Because they are stupid. They don’t know.” He says: “Well how come, why do you say I’m a good king?” “Well,” she said, “I knew your great-grandfather. He was a bad king. I knew your grandfather. He was worse. I knew your father. He was worse than them. You, you are worse than them, but your son, if you die, your son is going to be worse than you. So it’s better to be with you.” [All laugh.] So Brownell—former Attorney General—was bad. He was no [obscenity] good. He was this and that.

WEISBURG. Do you know what this man is going to do? He ain’t going to leave nobody alone.

BRUNO. I know he ain’t. But you see, everybody in there was bad. The other guy was good because the other guy was worse. Do you understand? Brownell came. He was no good. He was worse than the guy before.

WEISBURG. Not like this one.

BRUNO. Not like this one. This one is worse, right? If something happens to this guy… [laughs].

While Angelo Bruno had hoped to wait out his troubles, believing that things might get better for him as time went by, such was not to be the case during the Kennedy administration. The electronic surveillance transcripts disclosed that by mid 1963, Bruno was privately making plans to shut down his syndicate operations and leave America, an unprecedented response by a commission member to Federal law enforcement pressure.

Another member of the mob commission, Stefano Magaddino, voiced similar anger toward the President during that same period. In October 1963, in response to a Mafia family member’s remark that President Kennedy “should drop dead,” Magaddino exploded, “They should kill the whole family, the mother and father too. When he talks he talks like a mad dog, he says, my brother the Attorney General.”

The committee concluded that had the national crime syndicate, as a group, been involved in a conspiracy to kill the President, some trace of the plot would have been picked up by the FBI surveillance of the commission. Consequently, finding no evidence in the electronic surveillance transcripts of a specific intention or actual plan by commission members to have the President assassinated, the committee believed it was unlikely that it existed. The electronic surveillance transcripts included extensive conversations during secret meetings of various syndicate leaders, set forth many of their most closely guarded thoughts and actions, and detailed their involvement in a variety of other criminal acts, including murder. Given the far-reaching possible consequences of an assassination plot by the commission, the committee found that such a conspiracy would have been the subject of serious discussion by members of the commission, and that no matter how guarded such discussions might have been, some trace of them would have emerged from the surveillance coverage. It was possible to conclude, therefore, that it is unlikely that the national crime syndicate as a group, acting under the leadership of the commission, participated in the assassination of President Kennedy.

While there was an absence of evidence in the electronic surveillance materials of commission participation in the President’s murder, there was no shortage of evidence of the elation and relief of various commission members over his death. The surveillance transcripts contain numerous crude and obscene comments by organized crime leaders, their lieutenants, associates and families regarding the assassination of President Kennedy. The transcripts also reveal an awareness by some mob leaders that the authorities might be watching their reactions. On 25 November 1963, in response to a lieutenant’s remark that Oswald “was an anarchist… a Marxist Communist,” Giancana exclaimed, “He was a marksman who knew how to shoot.” On 29 November 1963, Magaddino cautioned his associates not to joke openly about the President’s murder, stating, “You can be sure that the police spies will be watching carefully to see what we think and say about this.” Several weeks later, during a discussion between Bruno and his lieutenants, one participant remarked of the late President, “It is too bad his brother Bobby was not in that car too.”

While the committee found it unlikely that the national crime syndicate was involved in the assassination, it recognized the possibility that a particular organized crime leader or a small combination of leaders, acting unilaterally, might have formulated an assassination conspiracy without the consent of the commission.

In its investigation of the national crime syndicate, the committee noted factors that could have led an organized crime leader who was considering an assassination to withhold it from the national commission. The committee’s analysis of the national commission disclosed that it was splintered by dissension and enmity in 1963. Rivalry between two blocks of syndicate families had resulted in a partial paralysis of the commission’s functions.

One significant reason for the disarray was, of course, the pressure being exerted by Federal law enforcement agencies. In the fall of 1963, Attorney General Kennedy noted, “… in the past 2 years, at least three carefully planned commission meetings had to be called off because the leaders learned that we had uncovered their well-concealed plans and meeting places.”

The Government’s effort got an unprecedented boost from the willingness of Joseph Valachi, a member of the “family” of commission member Vito Genovese of New York, to testify about the internal structure and activities of the crime syndicate, a development described by Attorney General Kennedy as “the greatest intelligence breakthrough” in the history of the Federal program against organized crime. While it was not until August 1963 that Valachi’s identity as a Federal witness became public, the surveillance transcripts disclose that syndicate leaders were aware as early as the spring of 1963 that Valachi was cooperating with the Justice Department. The transcripts disclose that the discovery that Valachi had become a Federal informant aroused widespread suspicion and fear over the possibility of other leaks and informants within the upper echelons of the syndicate. The televised Senate testimony by Valachi led to considerable doubt by syndicate leaders in other parts of the country as to the security of commission proceedings, with Genovese rapidly losing influence as a result of Valachi’s actions.

The greatest source of internal disruption within the commission related to the discovery in early 1963 of a secret plan by commission member Joseph Bonanno to assassinate fellow members Carlo Gambino and Thomas Lucchese. Bonanno’s assassination plan, aimed at an eventual takeover of the commission leadership, was discovered after one of the gunmen Bonanno had enlisted, Joseph Columbo, informed on him to the commission. The Bonanno conspiracy, an unheard-of violation of commission rules, led to a long series of acrimonious deliberations that lasted until early 1964. Bonanno refused to submit to the judgment of the commission, and his colleagues were sharply divided over how to deal with his betrayal, Gambino recommending that Bonanno be handled with caution, and Giancana urging that he be murdered.

The committee concluded, based on the state of disruption within the commission and the questions that had arisen as to the sanctity of commission proceedings, that an individual organized crime leader who was planning an assassination conspiracy against President Kennedy might well have avoided making the plan known to the commission or seeking approval for it from commission members. Such a course of unilateral action seemed to the committee to have been particularly possible in the case of powerful organized crime leaders who were well established, with firm control over their jurisdictions.

The committee noted a significant precedent for such a unilateral course of action. In 1957, Vito Genovese engineered the assassination of Albert Anastasia, then perhaps the most feared Mafia boss in the country. Six months earlier, Genovese’s men had shot and wounded Frank Costello, who once was regarded as the single most influential organized crime leader. Both the Anastasia assassination and the Costello assault were carried out without the knowledge or consent of the national commission. Genovese did, however, obtain approval for the crimes after the fact. It was an extraordinary sequence of events that Attorney General Kennedy noted in September 1963, when he stated that Genovese “… wanted Commission approval for these acts—which he has received.” The Genovese plot against Anastasia and Costello and the ex post facto commission approval were integral events in the rise to dominance of organized crime figures for the years that followed. It directly led to the assemblage of national syndicate leaders at the Apalachin conference three weeks after the Anastasia murder, and to the rise of Carlo Gambino to a position of pre-eminence in La Costa Nostra.

• Analysis of the 1963–64 investigation. In its investigation, the committee learned that fears of the possibility that organized crime was behind the assassination were more common among Government officials at the time than has been generally recognized. Both Attorney General Kennedy and President Johnson privately voiced suspicion about underworld complicity. The Attorney General requested that any relevant information be forwarded directly to him, and there was expectation at the time that the recently created Warren Commission would actively investigate the possibility of underworld involvement.

The committee found, however, that the Warren Commission conducted only a limited pursuit of the possibility of organized crime complicity. As has been noted, moreover, the Warren Commission’s interest in organized crime was directed exclusively at Jack Ruby, and it did not involve any investigation of the national crime syndicate in general, or individual leaders in particular. This was confirmed to the committee by J. Lee Rankin, the Commission’s general counsel, and by Burt W. Griffin, the staff counsel who conducted the Ruby investigation. Griffin testified before the committee that “… the possibility that someone associated with the underworld would have wanted to assassinate the President… [was] not seriously explored” by the Warren Commission.

The committee similarly learned from testimony and documentation that the FBI’s investigation of the President’s assassination was also severely limited in the area of possible organized crime involvement. While the committee found that the Bureau was uniquely equipped, with the Special Investigative Division having been formed two years earlier specifically to investigate organized crime, the specialists and agents of that Division did not play a significant role in the assassination investigation. Former Assistant FBI Director Courtney Evans, who headed the Special Investigative Division, told the committee that the officials who directed the investigation never consulted him or asked for any participation by his Division. Evans recalled, “I know they sure didn’t come to me. We had no part in that that I can recall.” Al Staffeld, a former FBI official who supervised the day-today operations of the Special Investigative Division, told the committee that if the FBI’s organized crime specialists had been asked to participate, “We would have gone at it in every damn way possible.”

Ironically, the Bureau’s own electronic surveillance transcripts revealed to the committee a conversation between Sam Giancana and a lieutenant, Charles English, regarding the FBI’s role in investigating President Kennedy’s assassination. In the 3 December 1963 conversation, English told Giancana: “I will tell you something, in another 2 months from now, the FBI will be like it was 5 years ago. They won’t be around no more. They say the FBI will get it (the investigation of the President’s assassination). They’re gonna start running down Fair Play for Cuba, Fair Play for Matsu. They call that more detrimental to the country than us guys.”

The committee found that the quality and scope of the investigation into the possibility of an organized crime conspiracy in the President’s assassination by the Warren Commission and the FBI was not sufficient to uncover one had it existed. The committee also found that it was possible, based on an analysis of motive, means and opportunity, that an individual organized crime leader, or a small combination of leaders, might have participated in a conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy. The committee’s extensive investigation led it to conclude that the most likely family bosses of organized crime to have participated in such a unilateral assassination plan were Carlos Marcello and Santos Trafficante. While other family bosses on the commission were subjected to considerable coverage in the electronic surveillance program, such coverage was never applied to Marcello and almost never to Trafficante.

• Carlos Marcello. The committee found that Marcello had the motive, means and opportunity to have President John F. Kennedy assassinated, though it was unable to establish direct evidence of Marcello’s complicity.

In its investigation of Marcello, the committee identified the presence of one critical evidentiary element that was lacking with the other organized crime figures examined by the committee: credible associations relating both Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby to figures having a relationship, albeit tenuous, with Marcello’s crime family or organization. At the same time, the committee explicitly cautioned: association is the first step in conspiracy; it is not identical to it, and while associations may legitimately give rise to suspicions, a careful distinction must always be drawn between suspicions suspected and facts found.

As the long-time La Cosa Nostra leader in an area that is based in New Orleans but extends throughout Louisiana and Texas, Marcello was one of the prime targets of Justice Department efforts during the Kennedy administration. He had, in fact, been temporarily removed from the country for a time in 1961 through deportation proceedings personally expedited by Attorney General Kennedy. In his appearance before the committee in executive session, Marcello exhibited an intense dislike for Robert Kennedy because of these actions, claiming that he had been illegally “kidnapped” by Government agents during the deportation.

While the Warren Commission devoted extensive attention to Oswald’s background and activities, the committee uncovered significant details of his exposure to and contacts with figures associated with the underworld of New Orleans that apparently had escaped the Commission. One such relationship actually extended into Oswald’s own family through his uncle, Charles “Dutz” Murret, a minor underworld gambling figure. The committee discovered that Murret, who served as a surrogate father of sorts throughout much of Oswald’s life in New Orleans, was in the 1940s and 1950s and possibly until his death in 1964, an associate of significant organized crime figures affiliated with the Marcello organization.

The committee established that Oswald was familiar with his uncle’s underworld activities and had discussed them with his wife, Marina, in 1963. Additionally, the committee found that Oswald’s mother, Marguerite Oswald, was acquainted with several men associated with lieutenants in the Marcello organization. One such acquaintance, who was also an associate of Dutz Murret, reportedly served as a personal aide or driver to Marcello at one time. In another instance, the committee found that an individual connected to Dutz Murret, the person who arranged bail for Oswald following his arrest in August 1963 for a street disturbance, was an associate of two of Marcello’s syndicate deputies. (One of the two, Nofio Pecora, as noted, also received a telephone call from Ruby on 30 October 1963, according to the committee’s computer analysis of Ruby’s phone records.)

During the course of its investigation, the committee developed several areas of credible evidence and testimony indicating a possible association in New Orleans and elsewhere between Lee Harvey Oswald and David W. Ferrie, a private investigator and even, perhaps, a pilot for Marcello before and during 1963. From the evidence available to the committee, the nature of the Oswald-Ferrie association remained largely a mystery. The committee established that Oswald and Ferrie apparently first came into contact with each other during Oswald’s participation as a teenager in a Civil Air Patrol unit for which Ferrie served as an instructor, although Ferrie, when he was interviewed by the FBI after his detainment as a suspect in the assassination, denied any past association with Oswald.

In interviews following the assassination, Ferrie stated that he may have spoken in an offhand manner of the desirability of having President Kennedy shot, but he denied wanting such a deed actually to be done. Ferrie also admitted his association with Marcello and stated that he had been in personal contact with the syndicate leader in the fall of 1963. He noted that on the morning of the day of the President’s death he was present with Marcello at a courthouse in New Orleans. In his executive session testimony before the committee, Marcello acknowledged that Ferrie did work for his lawyer, G. Wray Gill, on his case, but Marcello denied that Ferrie worked for him or that their relationship was close. Ferrie died in 1967 of a ruptured blood vessel at the base of the brain, shortly after he was named in the assassination investigation of New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison.

The committee also confirmed that the address 544 Camp Street, that Oswald had printed on some Fair Play for Cuba Committee handouts in New Orleans, was the address of a small office building where Ferrie was working on at least a part-time basis in 1963. The Warren Commission stated in its report that despite the Commission’s probe into why Oswald used this return address on his literature, “investigation has indicated that neither the Fair Play for Cuba Committee nor Lee Oswald ever maintained an office at that address.”

The committee also established associations between Jack Ruby and several individuals affiliated with the underworld activities of Carlos Marcello. Ruby was a personal acquaintance of Joseph Civello, the Marcello associate, who allegedly headed organized crime activities in Dallas; he also knew other individuals who have been linked with organized crime, including a New Orleans nightclub figure, Harold Tannenbaum, with whom Ruby was considering going into partnership in the fall of 1963.

The committee examined a widely circulated published account that Marcello made some kind of threat on the life of President Kennedy in September 1962 at a meeting at his Churchill Farms estate outside New Orleans. It was alleged that Marcello shouted an old Sicilian threat, “Livarsi na petra di la Scarpa!” “Take the stone out of my shoe!” against the Kennedy brothers, stating that the President was going to be assassinated. He spoke of using a “nut” to carry out the murder.

The committee established the origin of the story and identified the informant who claimed to have been present at the meeting during which Marcello made the threat. The committee also learned that even though the FBI was aware of the informant’s allegations over a year and half before they were published in 1969, and possessed additional information indicating that the informant may in fact have met with Marcello in the fall of 1962, a substantive investigation of the information was never conducted. Director Hoover and other senior FBI officials were aware that FBI agents were initiating action to “discredit” the informant, without having conducted a significant investigation of his allegations. Further, the committee discovered that the originating office relied on derogatory information from a prominent underworld figure in the ongoing effort to discredit the informant. An internal memorandum to Hoover noted that another FBI source was taking action to discredit the informant, “in order that the Carlos Marcello incident would be deleted from the book that first recounted the information.”

The committee determined that the informant who gave the account of the Marcello threat was in fact associated with various underworld figures, including at least one person well-acquainted with the Marcello organization. The committee noted, however, that as a consequence of his underworld involvement, the informant had a questionable reputation for honesty and may not be a credible source of information.

The committee noted further that it is unlikely that an organized crime leader personally involved in an assassination plot would discuss it with anyone other than his closest lieutenants, although he might be willing to discuss it more freely prior to a serious decision to undertake such an act. In his executive session appearance before the committee, Marcello categorically denied any involvement in organized crime or the assassination of President Kennedy. Marcello also denied ever making any kind of threat against the President’s life.

As noted, Marcello was never the subject of electronic surveillance coverage by the FBI. The committee found that the Bureau did make two attempts to effect such surveillance during the early 1960s, but both attempts were unsuccessful. Marcello’s sophisticated security system and close-knit organizational structure may have been a factor in preventing such surveillance. A former FBI official knowledgeable about the surveillance program told the committee, “That was our biggest gap… With Marcello, you’ve got the one big exception in our work back then. There was just no way of penetrating that area. He was too smart.”

Any evaluation of Marcello’s possible role in the assassination must take into consideration his unique stature within La Cosa Nostra. The FBI determined in the 1960s that because of Marcello’s position as head of the New Orleans Mafia family (the oldest in the United States, having first entered the country in the 1880s), the Louisiana organized crime leader had been endowed with special powers and privileges not accorded to any other La Cosa Nostra members. As the leader of “the first family” of the Mafia in America, according to FBI information, Marcello has been the recipient of the extraordinary privilege of conducting syndicate operations without having to seek the approval of the national commission.

Finally, a caveat, Marcello’s uniquely successful career in organized crime has been based to a large extent on a policy of prudence; he is not reckless. As with the case of the Soviet and Cuban Governments, a risk analysis indicated that he would be unlikely to undertake so dangerous a course of action as a Presidential assassination. Considering that record of prudence, and in the absence of direct evidence of involvement, it may be said that it is unlikely that Marcello was in fact involved in the assassination of the President. On the basis of the evidence available to it, and in the context of its duty to be cautious in its evaluation of the evidence, there is no other conclusion that the committee could reach. On the other hand, the evidence that he had the motive and the evidence of links through associates to both Oswald and Ruby, coupled with the failure of the 1963–64 investigation to explore adequately possible conspiratorial activity in the assassination, precluded a judgment by the committee that Marcello and his associates were not involved.

• Santos Trafficante. The committee also concentrated its attention on Santos Trafficante, the La Cosa Nostra leader in Florida. The committee found that Trafficante, like Marcello, had the motive, means, and opportunity to assassinate President Kennedy.

Trafficante was a key subject of the Justice Department crackdown on organized crime during the Kennedy administration, with his name being added to a list of the top ten syndicate leaders targeted for investigation. Ironically, Attorney General Kennedy’s strong interest in having Trafficante prosecuted occurred during the same period in which CIA officials, unbeknownst to the Attorney General, were using Trafficante’s services in assassination plots against the Cuban chief of state, Fidel Castro.

The committee found that Santos Trafficante’s stature in the national syndicate of organized crime, notably the violent narcotics trade, and his role as the mob’s chief liaison to criminal figures within the Cuban exile community, provided him with the capability of formulating an assassination conspiracy against President Kennedy. Trafficante had recruited Cuban nationals to help plan and execute the CIA’s assignment to assassinate Castro. (The CIA gave the assignment to former FBI Agent Robert Maheu, who passed the contract along to Mafia figures Sam Giancana and John Roselli. They, in turn, enlisted Trafficante to have the intended assassination carried out.)

In his testimony before the committee, Trafficante admitted participating in the unsuccessful CIA conspiracy to assassinate Castro, an admission indicating his willingness to participate in political murder. Trafficante testified that he worked with the CIA out of a patriotic feeling for his country, an explanation the committee did not accept, at least not as his sole motivation.

As noted, the committee established a possible connection between Trafficante and Jack Ruby in Cuba in 1959. It determined there had been a close friendship between Ruby and Lewis McWillie, who, as a Havana gambler, worked in an area subject to the control of the Trafficante Mafia family. Further, it assembled documentary evidence that Ruby made at least two, if not three or more, trips to Havana in 1959 when McWillie was involved in underworld gambling operations there. Ruby may in fact have been serving as a courier for underworld gambling interests in Havana, probably for the purpose of transporting funds to a bank in Miami.

The committee also found that Ruby had been connected with other Trafficante associates—R. D. Matthews, Jack Todd, and James Dolan—all of Dallas.

Finally, the committee developed corroborating evidence that Ruby may have met with Trafficante at Trescornia prison in Cuba during one of his visits to Havana in 1959, as the CIA had learned but had discounted in 1964. While the committee was not able to determine the purpose of the meeting, there was considerable evidence that it did take place.

During the course of its investigation of Santos Trafficante, the committee examined an allegation that Trafficante had told a prominent Cuban exile, Jose Aleman, that President Kennedy was going to be assassinated. According to Aleman, Trafficante made the statement in a private conversation with him that took place sometime in September 1962. In an account of the alleged conversation published by the Washington Post in 1976, Aleman was quoted as stating that Trafficante had told him that President Kennedy was “going to be hit.” Aleman further stated, however, that it was his impression that Trafficante was not the specific individual who was allegedly planning the murder. Aleman was quoted as having noted that Trafficante had spoken of Teamsters Union President James Hoffa during the same conversation, indicating that the President would “get what is coming to him” as a result of his administration’s intense efforts to prosecute Hoffa.

During an interview with the committee in March 1977, Aleman provided further details of his alleged discussion with Trafficante in September 1962. Aleman stated that during the course of the discussion, Trafficante had made clear to him that he was not guessing that the President was going to be killed. Rather he did in fact know that such a crime was being planned. In his committee interview, Aleman further stated that Trafficante had given him the distinct impression that Hoffa was to be principally involved in planning the Presidential murder.

In September 1978, prior to his appearance before the committee in public session, Aleman reaffirmed his earlier account of the alleged September 1962 meeting with Trafficante. Nevertheless, shortly before his appearance in public session, Aleman informed the committee staff that he feared for his physical safety and was afraid of possible reprisal from Trafficante or his organization. In this testimony, Aleman changed his professed understanding of Trafficante’s comments. Aleman repeated under oath that Trafficante had said Kennedy was “going to be hit,” but he then stated it was his impression that Trafficante may have only meant the President was going to be hit by “a lot of Republican votes” in the 1964 election, not that he was going to be assassinated.

Appearing before the committee in public session on 28 September 1978, Trafficante categorically denied ever having discussed any plan to assassinate President Kennedy. Trafficante denied any foreknowledge of or participation in the President’s murder. While stating that he did in fact know Aleman and that he had met with him on more than one occasion in 1962, Trafficante denied Aleman’s account of their alleged conversation about President Kennedy, and he denied ever having made a threatening remark against the President.

The committee found it difficult to understand how Aleman could have misunderstood Trafficante during such a conversation, or why he would have fabricated such an account. Aleman appeared to be a reputable person, who did not seek to publicize his allegations, and he was well aware of the potential danger of making such allegations against a leader of La Costa Nostra. The committee noted, however, that Aleman’s prior allegations and testimony before the committee had made him understandably fearful for his life.

The committee also did not fully understand why Aleman waited so many years before publicly disclosing the alleged incident. While he stated in 1976 that he had reported Trafficante’s alleged remarks about the President to FBI agents in 1962 and 1963, the committee’s review of Bureau reports on his contacts with FBI agents did not reveal a record of any such disclosure or comments at the time. Additionally, the FBI agent who served as Aleman’s contact during that period denied ever being told such information by Aleman.

Further, the committee found it difficult to comprehend why Trafficante, if he was planning or had personal knowledge of an assassination plot, would have revealed or hinted at such a sensitive matter to Aleman. It is possible that Trafficante may have been expressing a personal opinion, “The President ought to be hit,” but it is unlikely in the context of their relationship that Trafficante would have revealed to Aleman the existence of a current plot to kill the President. As previously noted with respect to Carlos Marcello, to have attained his stature as the recognized organized crime leader of Florida for a number of years, Trafficante necessarily had to operate in a characteristically calculating and discreet manner. The relationship between Trafficante and Aleman, a business acquaintance, does not seem to have been close enough for Trafficante to have mentioned or alluded to such a murder plot. The committee thus doubted that Trafficante would have inadvertently mentioned such a plot. In sum, the committee believed there were substantial factors that called into question the validity of Aleman’s account.

Nonetheless, as the electronic surveillance transcripts of Angelo Bruno, Stefano Magaddino and other top organized crime leaders make clear, there were in fact various underworld conversations in which the desirability of having the President assassinated was discussed. There were private conversations in which assassination was mentioned, although not in a context that indicated such a crime had been specifically planned. With this in mind, and in the absence of additional evidence with which to evaluate the Aleman account of Trafficante’s alleged 1962 remarks, the committee concluded that the conversation, if it did occur as Aleman testified, probably occurred in such a circumscribed context.

As noted earlier, the committee’s examination of the FBI’s electronic surveillance program of the early 1960s disclosed that Santos Trafficante was the subject of minimal, in fact almost nonexistent, surveillance coverage. During one conversation in 1963, overheard in a Miami restaurant, Trafficante had bitterly attacked the Kennedy administration’s efforts against organized crime, making obscene comments about “Kennedy’s right-hand man” who had recently coordinated various raids on Trafficante gambling establishments. In the conversation, Trafficante stated that he was under immense pressure from Federal investigators, commenting “I know when I’m beat, you understand?” Nevertheless, it was not possible to draw conclusions about Trafficante actions based on the electronic surveillance program since the coverage was so limited. Finally, as with Marcello, the committee noted that Trafficante’s cautious character is inconsistent with his taking the risk of being involved in an assassination plot against the President. The committee found, in the context of its duty to be cautious in its evaluation of the evidence, that it is unlikely that Trafficante plotted to kill the President, although it could not rule out the possibility of such participation on the basis of available evidence.


According to the Bible Code conspiracy, the Good Book contains hundreds of secret predictions. In Death in the Air, Bible code-breaker Dr Leonard G. Horowitz cracks the beast of all cryptograms, the identity of the Devil. “Among the names of leading suspects,” Dr Horowitz advises, “[Henry] KISSINGER is the only name that decodes to 666.”

Mind you, you don’t have to be a Bible Code basher to believe that Dr Henry Kissinger, former US Secretary of State and National Security Advisor, is evil. British-American journalist Christopher Hitchens, in The Trial of Henry Kissinger, calls for Kissinger to be prosecuted “for war crimes, for crimes against humanity, and for offences against common or customary or international law, including conspiracy to commit murder, kidnap, and torture”. Hitchens believes Kissinger’s identifiable crimes include “The deliberate mass killing of civilian populations in Indochina and the personal suborning and planning of murder of a senior constitutional officer in a democratic nation—Chile—with which the United States was not at war… this criminal habit of mind extends to Bangladesh, Cyprus, East Timor, and even to Washington, DC.”

The “senior constitutional officer” Hitchens referred to was General Rene Schneider, former Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Army; it is asserted that Kissinger ordered Schneider’s assassination because he refused to back plans for a military overthrow of Chilean president Salvador Allende. Schneider’s family tried to sue Kissinger in a Washington, DC, federal court; the case was dismissed, not on its merits, but because the political question doctrine made it non-justiciable. In connection with Kissinger’s alleged role in the disappearance of citizens in South America during Operation Condor, a cross-national scheme by which right-wing dictatorships “disappeared” opponents, Kissinger had had to sidestep legal summons from investigators in Spain, Chile, Argentina and France.

When Henry Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973, the musical satirist Tom Lehrer quipped, “It was at that moment that satire died. There was nothing more to say after that.” Kissinger had only recently instigated the mass carpet bombing of Cambodia to cut off North Vietnamese supply routes. Neither did Kissinger’s thesis that a limited atomic war was winnable, as advanced in his Nuclear War and Foreign Policy, immediately seem the stuff of which Nobel Peace Prize winners are made. Reputedly, the discourse led to Kissinger becoming the inspiration for Kubrick’s film, Dr Strangelove. And Among Kissinger’s hawkish bon mots are the classics: “It is an act of insanity and national humiliation to have a law forbidding the President from ordering assassination,” and, “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go Communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people.”

After Kissinger left office, his musings were still in demand on the international power circuit. He also knew anybody who was anybody. In 1982, Henry Kissinger—born Heinz Kissinger, in Germany in 1923, by the by—founded a private New York-based international consulting agency. In the words of Hitchens, the said Kissinger Associates “exists to facilitate contact between multinational corporations and foreign governments”. Kissinger co-opted a number of big names, such as former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft and NATO chief Lord Carrington, and with such luminaries, collective know-how and connections, Kissinger Associates could hardly fail. And it didn’t. Within five years, the company had paid off its foundation loans, and was turning over $5 million per annum. Kissinger Associates does not disclose its clients’ identities, and when Kissinger himself was asked to head the 9/11 inquiry he stood down rather than reveal the company’s client list as asked to do by Democrats concerned about conflicts of interest. Still, some information leaks out—or is burbled out by CEOs only to anxious to boast their connection to Dr Kissinger—and Kissinger Associates’ known clients include such mega-players as Union Carbide, Coca-Cola, HSBC, American Express, Fiat and Heinz.

Given Kissinger’s track record, it hardly comes as a surprise that pertinent questions have been raised about the activity of Kissinger Associates in, inter alia, the BCCI banking scandal, the ecological catastrophe in Indonesia caused by mining client Freeport McMoran, loans and exports to Hussein’s Iraq, and undue influence on Capitol Hill on behalf of clients, even client states. (Despite Henry Kissinger’s avowed anti-Communism, he is big in China, and has lobbied on China’s behalf; he was an almost lone Western voice supporting the Communist dictatorship’s crackdown on democratic protesters in Tiananmen Square.) Kissinger Associates’ staff also have the useful habit of dropping in and out of government—Brent Scowcroft and Laurence Eagleburger both served in the regime of George H. W. Bush, for example—which, it is suggested, gives the Associates unparalleled access to power, plus inside information which can be turned to unfair commercial advantage.

Kissinger Associates goes from strength to strength. So, inevitably, do suspicions about its influence.

Watch this space.

Further Reading

Christopher Hitchens, The Trial of Henry Kissinger, 2001



To accuse the Ku Klux Klan of conspiracy is a little like accusing Osama bin Laden of fanaticism, or the Pope of Catholicism. It is plain obvious. After all, running around in bed sheets (to hide identity, rather than to pretend to be a ghost at a fancy dress party) in the execution of sticksville plots to lynch uppity “Niggas” squares precisely with the dictionary definition of conspiracy as “a secret plan or agreement to carry out an illegal or harmful act, esp. with political motivation”. What is less recognized, however, is that the Klan from the 1960s has been a terrorist organization, of which three pertinent questions can be asked:

• Did the Klan sponsor the assassination of Martin Luther King?

• Was the Klan behind the Oklahoma City bombings in 1995?

• Did the Klan, as some believe, inject popular foods and drinks to make black men impotent?

Deriving its name from “kyklos” the Greek for “circle”, the Ku Klux Klan was founded by six Confederate soldiers in Pulaski, Tennessee in 1865. Initially the Ku Klux Klan—invariably called the “Klan” or the “KKK”—was a high-spirited quasi charity which looked after Civil War veterans, but it soon turned into a violent network opposed to Reconstruction and for Segregation. The KKK costume of an all-white robe, mask and pointed hood became a symbol of fear and loathing across the ex-Confederacy.

By the end of the decade, the KKK had tens of thousands of members in the South, prominent among them the former Reb cavalry general, Nathan Bedford Forrest. Under Forrest’s headship, the Klan evolved a whole set of Masonic-like names and rituals, with the South becoming the “Invisible Empire”, and the leader the “Grand Wizard”. Each state was titled a “Realm”, headed by a “Grand Dragon”. Forrest, however, was unable to stop the KKK’s hood-long lurch towards terrorism, and in 1869 ordered the Klan to disband. The membership ignored him, and if anything ramped up its night attacks on the black community in the Southern states. With the South burning, President Ulysses Grant passed laws in 1870 and 1871 to outlaw and suppress the organization. Thousands of Klansmen went to the pen. Within a decade the Klan was merely a bad memory.

Bizarrely, the Klan was reborn by a movie, Birth of a Nation, D. W. Griff th’s 1919 epic but racist masterpiece in which an heroic South stands proud against Northern no-gooders and lascivious blacks. After watching the movie, a certain failed preacher by the name of William J. Simmons determined to resurrect the Klan. Astutely, Simmons got on board the project the savvy Indiana businessman David Curtiss Stephenson. The new Klan grew exponentially; by 1924, the KKK had four million members nationwide; in Indiana one in four adult males was a Klansman. The key to Simmons’s/Stephenson’s success was to widen the hate-base of the Klan: Catholics, Jews and union activists joined blacks in the KKK’s gallery of loathing. Underneath the public political campaign of legitimate voting drives, hustings and boycotts, the Klan widely indulged in violent intimidation in the old-style white hoods with the dramatic addition of flaming crosses.

Then, in 1925, the Klan II’s bubble burst as quickly as it had inflated. Stephenson, who was by now the Grand Dragon of twenty-two states (and a rich man on Klan membership dues), was found guilty of the rape and murder of his secretary; one of the causes of her death was from septicaemia, caused by Stephenson’s multiple bites to her body. Embarrassed Klan members could not rip up their membership cards quickly enough; by 1930, Klan membership, hit by the double whammy of the Stephenson scandal and the moneyless Depression, had sunk to 30,000. To absolutely ensure its own demise, the Klan then allied itself with Nazi groups in the USA, such as the German-American Bund, leading to accusations of disloyalty. Thirty years later, KKK membership was estimated at 3,000.

This truncated Klan turned to outright terrorism. During the Civil Rights era the Klan was implicated in a string of outrages: the assassination of NAACP member Medgar Evers in Alabama; the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham; the shooting of Detroit civil rights activist Viola Gregg Liuzzo; the murder of black Army veteran Lt Colonel Lemuel Penn; the shooting of Civil Rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner in Mississippi in 1964.

Then there was the assassination of Martin Luther King. Dr Martin Luther King had a dream of racial harmony, but King’s dream was a nightmare for racists. At 6.11 p.m. on 4 April 1968, as he lounged on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, King was fatally shot. The shot which killed him was traced to a flophouse opposite, where a rifle was retrieved bearing the fingerprints of James Earl Ray. Two months later, after a massive manhunt, Ray was captured in London travelling under a false passport. He was extradited to Tennessee, where he was sentenced to a 99-year prison term.

Days after his sentencing, Ray began protesting his innocence, claiming he had only made an earlier confession of guilt on the advice of his lawyer, so he would avoid the possibility of execution. Numerous other observers of the case weighed in on Ray’s behalf, because aspects of the conviction did not stack up:

• Ray was a two-bit petty criminal, who somehow funded an escape to England with a false passport.

• He was not a trained sniper, but pulled off a difficult single shot to assassinate King. And the bullet from King’s body was never matched to the supposedly responsible rifle.

• The drunk who identified Ray as a denizen of the flophouse recanted when sober.

Although the 1977 House Select Committee on Assassinations disbelieved Ray’s claim that he was a guiltless patsy, it did allow the “likelihood” that Ray did not act alone. The Select Committee noted further that FBI files “revealed approximately 25 Klan-related leads” in the King assassination, but that the passage of time, conflicting testimonies, and a lack of cooperation from witnesses meant that the leads should be discounted. But two of these leads were always suggestive. First, was the evidence of diner waitress Myrtis Hendricks. The Select Committee recorded:

2. In an interview with an agent of the Dallas FBI field office on April 22, 1968, Myrtis Ruth Hendricks, accompanied by Thomas McGee, maintained she had overheard discussions of a conspiracy to kill Dr. King. Hendricks said that while working as a waitress at John’s Restaurant in Laurel, Miss., on April 2, 1968, she heard the owner, Deavours Nix, say he “had gotten a call on King”. Nix was then head of intelligence and the grand director of the Klan Bureau of Investigation for the White Knights of Ku Klux Klan of Mississippi (WKKKKOM) the most violent Klan organization during 1967 and 1968. Hendricks said that on April 3, 1968, she saw in Nix’s office a rifle with a telescopic sight in a case, which two men put in a long box in the back of a 1964 maroon Dodge. Hendricks alleged that on the following day Nix received a phone call announcing Dr. King’s death before the news was broadcast on the radio. Hendricks left Laurel shortly after Dr. King’s death to join her boyfriend, Thomas McGee, in Texas.

The Bureau had independently confirmed that John’s Restaurant was a gathering place for known Klan members and that members had been there on April 3 and 4, 1968. Nevertheless, it found no corroboration of the Hendricks rifle story. The committee’s review of FBI files concerning the White Knights’ activities uncovered informant information similar to the Hendricks’ allegation. In addition, statements attributed to Samuel H. Bowers, the imperial wizard of the WKKKKOM, in John’s Restaurant on April 5, 1968, raised the possibility of his involvement in the assassination. As a result of this information and an indication that it was not developed further in the FBI investigation, the committee pursued the lead.

Myrtis Hendricks denied the substance of her allegation when contacted by the committee. While admitting that she had worked for Nix, she said she was afraid of her former boyfriend, Thomas McGee, but refused to elaborate further. The committee’s attempt to interview FBI informants who had furnished relevant information was unsuccessful. The informants were either unavailable or uncooperative.

The Committee did note, however, that “Laurel, Miss., the scene of the alleged activities, lies between New Orleans and Birmingham. James Earl Ray traveled between these two cities in March 1968.”

More recently, two other pieces of information have surfaced to tie the KKK to MLK’s death. According to a 1993 report in the Memphis Commercial Appeal, rogue government agents in the South recruited KKK members for local ops during the sixties—and some of these Klan stooges were in Memphis on the day of King’s assassination. And, FBI records turned up by researchers Larry J. Hancock and Stuart Wexler show that Ray knew of a $100,000 bounty being offered by the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi to kill Martin Luther King Jr before Ray escaped from a Missouri prison prior to reaching Memphis.

In his definitive book of the King assassination, Killing the Dream, historian Gerald Posner speculates that “there was a conspiracy [to kill King], but on a very low level. Someone, I’d guess part of a racist group, probably agreed to pay him [Ray] maybe $25,000 or $50,000.” Posner, it should be said, is no paranoid conspiracy loon. He thinks JFK was murdered by a lone nut.

The KKK’s connection to Timothy McVeigh, the bomber who brought down the Alfred P. Murrah building in downtown Oklahoma City on 19 April 1995 is straightforward. When the FBI raided McVeigh’s house they found overwhelming evidence that he was a member of the KKK, which he probably joined in 1992. That said, he seems to have been a disaffected, inactive member who was more committed to other far right organizations, specifically the Aryan Republican Army, a group of Midwest bank robbers and racists, whose explosive kit he seems to have borrowed. Or been supplied with.

The Klan’s own take on McVeigh and the Oklahoma City bombing is a convoluted scheme whereby the Feds committed the outrage to blacken the Klan. Why, the FBI would go to such efforts to discredit such small political fry is unclear. Following paramilitarization in the 1970s, the Klan had split into some one hundred autonomous or semi-autonomous fragments, and declined until its main variant had no more than 2,000 members. The Klan’s place on the racist right of the US has long been taken by the militias and neo-Nazi groups.

As for the KKK running major companies with a view to lacing their products with drugs to make black men impotent, this is a plain and simple urban myth. Kentucky Fried Chicken is the favourite target of the legend, with the Colonel reputed to put saltpetre in with the spices, and have 10 per cent of profits put in the Klan coffers. Actually, the Colonel is long dead, and 10 per cent of KFC’s profits, even 10 per cent of the Colonel’s will—if it did a have a pro-Klan clause, which it didn’t—would leave a public paper trail wider than a four-lane black top. Marlboro (you get three K shapes from the chevrons on the packet!), Kools and Coors have all been the target of similar rumours that they are tools of the Klan. They are not.

Indisputably, the Klan has been involved in numerous local terrorist conspiracies over the years. As for the MLK assassination, there is no evidence to tie the Klan as an organization to the crime, but it is not beyond possibility that Klan individuals were involved.

Further Reading

Wyn Wade, The Fiery Cross: The Ku Klux Klan in America, 1987

Worth H. Weller and Brad Thompson, Under the Hood: Unmasking the Modern Ku Klux Klan, 1998



The Knights of Columbus society was founded by Father Michael McGivney, an Irish Catholic priest, in Connecticut in 1882. Catholics in America were excluded from many labour unions and fraternal benefit societies, and McGivney hoped his society would be a mutual help society based on the Church of Rome’s teachings. Like other clubs of the time, it adopted arcane rituals and promises, but ensured these not so onerous that they conflicted with the Papal ban on secret orders. Only Catholics were, and are, allowed.

The KoC is invariably and robustly right wing, and in the 1950s supported Joe McCarthy’s anti-Red witch-hunts. Nonetheless, it is lauded for its charitable works, funded through such exciting means as pasta nights. So popular has the KoC become, that it has spread throughout the USA and to Canada and Mexico. An Irish facsimile, the Knights of St Columbanus was founded in Eire in 1915, and remains active.

It may come as a surprise to the KoC members and their families attending the pasta night, but the KoC is actually nothing but a front for the Society of Jesus/the Bavarian Illuminati (take your pick) and is conspiring to overthrow the Protestant faith. Aside from swearing the Bloody Oath, which is the same one the Jesuits promise to obey (allegedly; see p. 492), members of the KoC, like the Jesuits, perform their initiation under the symbol INRI. According to www.biblebelievers.org.au, INRI stands for “Iustum, Necar, Reges, Impious”, meaning “It is just to exterminate or annihilate impious or heretical Kings, Governments, or Rulers”.

Er, actually INRI is the abbreviation for the Latin “Iesvs Nazarenvs Rex Ivdaeorvm”. This means “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews”.

Still, never let the facts get in the way of a good conspiracy. Or indeed let logic be a bar. One internet site seeking to expose the Knights of Columbus reaches the exemplar in non sequiturs: “The capital of the United States is Washington D.C. which stands for ‘District of Columbia’. America was discovered by a man named Columbus. The Fraternal order Knights of Columbus have been exposed aided [sic] the drug trade in Colombia the country.”

KoC members have brought successful libel actions against parties proclaiming they uphold the Bloody Oath.

Further Reading

Christopher Kauffman, Faith and Fraternalism: The History of the Knights of Columbus, 1982


Founded in 1854 by Dr George W. L. Bickley, the Knights were initially a ginger group for an expansion of the US southwards by which it would make a “Golden Circle” around the Gulf of Mexico. Bickley’s project had a particular lure for southerners, because the acquired lands were deemed wholly suitable for slave-worked plantations. And in this newly expanded US the South would dominate the abolitionist North.

When the geographical Golden Circle failed to materialize, the Knights turned to cheerleading for Southern independence. With the coming of the Civil War in 1861, the Knights thickened the plot by working behind enemy lines (i.e. in the North), where their castles (lodges) tried to sabotage the Union military effort. Especially active in the Midwest, the Knights opposed the draft, spread anti-war propaganda, organized politically to stymie the Republican party of Lincoln, ran contraband goods to Confederate capital Richmond, ran escaped Confederate POWs home, and assisted Confederate spies. Joseph Holt, United States Judge Advocate General, warned in a report to Congress that the KGC was involved in the “Northwest Conspiracy” to remove this part of the Union from Washington’s control.

But the KGC’s real claim to infamy came with the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Northern politicians immediately rushed into ink to damn the Knights for their role in Lincoln’s murder. They had lots of suspicions, but little evidence. However, a century later, in 1966, the Northern accusation was retrospectively aided by the publication of a diary by John H. Surratt, one of those implicated in the plot to kill the president. A Confederate spy, Surratt was also a member of the KGC. Aside from an intoxicating account of the Masonic-like initiation ceremony of the KGC (see Document, p.308), Surratt drops tantalizing mentions of another KGC member throughout his diary—one John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln’s undisputed assassin. Although Surratt was quite happy to claim a role in a plot to kidnap Lincoln, he was at pains to proclaim his innocence in Lincoln’s murder most foul. Thus he writes:

November 8, 1864.—The election returns are in, at least enough to decide that McClellan is defeated. To save the South, Lincoln must be removed before the 4th of March. He shall never again be inaugurated. Booth wants his life, but I shall oppose anything like murder. It would serve our turn quite as well to capture the despot, and keep him for a while in Libby Prison. I reckon the South would then gain the day.

Surratt’s diary is not as damning as it seems; it was largely authored by its editor Dion Haco, who was not beyond exaggeration in the interests of a good sell. Which is not to say that the “Fifth Columnist” Knights of the Golden Circle did not aid John Wilkes Booth; it is merely to note that the “proof ” is not beyond reasonable doubt. The KGC certainly had the appetite for bumping off Lincoln. When Clement Vallandigham, the Knights’ titular head, ran a failed campaign for the governorship of Ohio, large numbers of despairing Knights departed for the Order of American Knights (OAK)—and they advocated the plain and simple armed overthrow of the North. Vallandigham himself took the office of Supreme Commander of the OAK.

Like numerous other political secret societies, the Knights went under a bewildering number of pseudonyms, all intended to put Fed agents off their trail. They were known as the Knights of the Mighty Host, the Circle of Honor, the Circle (not to be confused with Le Cercle), the Peace Organization, and the Mutual Protection Society. Northerners dismissively nicknamed them “Copperheads”, after the poisonous snake. Although the Knights—however named—ceased to be an active potent force after the surrender of the Confederate armies at Appomattox in 1865, they are reputed to have lingered on until 1916, by which time they were old or dead men, and the bitter torch of antiblack politics had passed to the Ku Klux Klan.

Further Reading

Dion Haco, The Private Journal and Diary of John H. Surratt, The Conspirator, 1966

Joseph Holt, Report of the Judge Advocate General on “The Order of American Knights”, alias “The Sons of Liberty”. A Western Conspiracy in aid of the Southern Rebellion, Washington, DC: Union Congressional Committee, 1864


It might have been an hour, or only twenty minutes, that I had waited alone in that room; but, as I took no account of the time, it seemed almost an age. Every feature of the apartment had been examined, and I could have described every color therein, from the paper on the walls, and the hangings of the windows to the uniforms of the revolutionary heroes, and the background of the portraits. Still no one came, and the solitude became painful.

“Can this have been a deception?” thought I; “and has the trip from Washington to this place been made only to play a trick upon me?”

Patience is a virtue, but still it may at times be overtested; and, certainly, on this occasion, it required a great deal of it to reconcile me to remain (alone so long.) Young and impetuous, I wished to know the secret; but, at the same, I had no desire to be kept there in that manner—especially, as it might after all only prove a trick, a practical joke of my friends playing. This thought first excited me, then vexed, and finally made me mad; and, in an instant, starting to my feet, I rushed to the door by which I had entered the room. Useless—it was fastened.

“There is no help for it,” thought I; “therefore the best thing to do, is to wait and abide the result.”

The longer I had to wait, the more nervous I became; until at last my patience was entirely exhausted, and a nameless dread took its place. The salutations in the dark rushed to my memory; and the thought of facing fire and steel, to find out a secret that might in the end only prove worthless, was not entirely pleasant, even to me who never flinched from any known or open danger.

While in this state of mind I heard a voice, from some invisible form, say: “Arise, and follow, if you would be made acquainted with the secrets of the Knights of the Golden Circle.”

Without delay I sprang to my feet, but my guide was still not to be seen—at least, I had not yet observed him, although certain that the speaker must have been in the room when giving me the order to get up from my seat.

Suddenly the room grew dark, and I became aware of the fact that, by some unaccountable means, the heavy curtains had dropped before the windows, and had thus excluded the light. The next moment my hands were seized on either side, each by a strong and gauntleted grasp, and an unknown and unseen person next placed a bandage over my eyes. Then my clothing was torn from my breast, which was thus barer; and held and blinded, I was led from the room—whither, I knew not, and have not since divined. There seemed to be no end to the long path, if path it was; and the doors that were opened and closed were so numerous that all attempt at counting their numbers was soon given up by me.

At length we stopped before a door—at least, such I judged it to be, from the signal given upon it and returned from the other side—and the following question was asked in a military tone of voice: “Who comes here?”

“One who is true to our cause,” was the reply of one near me.

“How is he known to be true?” was the question next uttered by the first voice.

“By the recommendation of a tried knight,” replied my supposed guide, for the voice was strange to my ears, as indeed were they all.

“He can then be trusted?” were the next words uttered.

“Such is our belief,” was the reply.

“But should he fail, and betray us—what then?”

“He will learn the penalty soon enough.”


We moved onward a few steps, when the same cold contact with steel, and the same sharp but slight puncture of the breast, was felt, as on a former occasion.

This time I did not flinch, although the sharp pain was as unexpected as before. Again I heard a solemn voice utter, in a slow and measured tone, the ominous words: “Those who would pass here must face both fire and steel.”

“Are you willing to do so?” asked another, addressing me.

Having, after a few moments’ consideration, answered in the affirmative, I was again told to advance, and commanded to kneel, on what seemed to be a cushion, as it yielded slightly to the pressure of my knee.

While in this position, an oath, terrible, horrible and appalling, was administered by the same solemn voice, and, while kneeling, I had to repeat the words after him in a slow and distinct tone, one hand resting on something cold as ice, the other on a book which appeared to be open.

The obligations taken, I was then informed that it would be necessary to remember every word I had uttered—can I ever forget them?—and not to forget the penalty of a disclosure of what I should learn, or a betrayal of the names of any one with whom I should be brought into companionship, no matter when, where, or under what pain, peril or promise. I was also admonished never to allude, either publicly or privately, to what I might then or hereafter learn; always to be ready to assist a brother-knight, even unto death; to abide by and follow all the directions of the order with which I had become connected; to carry out the objects which should be subsequently communicated to me, if found worthy of confidence; to bear witness and even to swear falsely in order to save a brother’s life or liberty, if arrested for anything appertaining to the directions of the order; never to give a verdict against a brother, if on a jury to try him for any offense arising from directions emanating from the order, or any of its officers; and, in every way, to make the business of the new body, to which I had become allied, pre-eminent before religion, political feeling, parental or fraternal duty, or even before love of country. It was to be first and foremost in everything, at daylight or midnight, at home or abroad, before the law of the land or the affection for a wife, mother or child; to be all and everything.

“Are you willing to abide by this obligation?” asked the voice.

What could I do, or say? Refuse, I dare not; for I had felt the sharp point of the sword at my breast, and the words of that horrible oath still rang in my ears and vibrated through my aching brain. I was powerless to refuse, and therefore answered—faintly, it is true—in the affirmative.

“You remember the penalty?” asked the voice.

Could I have ever forgotten it? Remember it? Yes, indeed, did I remember it; perhaps, too vividly for the calm reflection of my mind at that moment. The very question, calling up, as it did, the remembrance, made me silent for the time, and I could not give a reply.

“Brother Knights!” exclaimed the voice, in a solemn tone. “Recall to the mind of him who now kneels here, the penalty of betrayal, either by sign, word or deed.”

A sound like thunder rang around me; the clanging of arms broke the former almost death-like silence, and a hundred or more voices murmured, hissed, whispered or groaned out, three times, the single word,

“Death! Death!! DEATH!!”

The first sound was horrible in its solemnity; the second utterance was terrible in its significance; the third and last was appalling in the repetition and the grave-like silence which followed it. My senses almost reeled under the influence of the fearful warning; my tongue appeared to swell until it filled my mouth and nearly choked me; I felt the hot blood rush over my brain and burn as it pursued its rapid course; it seemed as if the tortures of all the infernal regions had come upon me in a moment; I thought madness would be the result, unless the trial was soon to be ended, and yet I could not speak. And all this time my eyes were bandaged and my limbs bound. It was not the fear of death that caused within such terror—for I was willing to face any danger that could be seen; it was not the binding obligation I had taken—for I had firmly resolved to be true; but the nameless, unknown and unseen perils of that place and from those around me, appeared to call up to my imagination a thousand fears, indistinct and shadowy, yet plain enough to my mental vision. I had longed, craved for and earnestly desired to obtain a secret; but would, at that moment, have given up all I then possessed, or ever hoped to gain, could I have safely withdrawn from the “Circle” within which I found myself so inextricably enclosed. Shall I, can I ever forget that time, those few, long moments of agony?

Never; no not while life remains within this body, or until my senses become benumbed with the frosts of age or imbecility. Never!

How long the silence lasted, I know not; but the same solemn voice—it seemed miles away, and yet was plainly distinct—again addressed me in a slow manner, first repeating the awful word that had been repeated by so many voices, then admonishing me never to forget it, and finally inquiring whether I was ready to proceed with my initiation. I could return no verbal answer—my tongue refused its office—and I merely bowed my head, more mechanical than otherwise, for, to my present remembrance, it does not appear that I had any voluntary power left within my body.

“It is well,” said the voice. “Proceed!”

A movement of feet was next heard by me, followed by a low murmur of voices; the words uttered were drowned by the one single sound that burned through my brain, rang in my ears, appeared in letters of blood before my blinded eyes, and was present to me in every possible shape. That word was, “Death.”

The movements and sounds all ceased, and the solemn silence again ensued, which after a short interval was broken by the voice I had before heard, saying, “Show him all.”

A chorus of voices repeated the words, and the next instant the bandage was quickly taken from my eyes.

For a few seconds my vision was blinded by the light, the dazzling light that fell upon me at that moment; and, before I could recover from the strain thus inflicted upon those organs of sight, I felt a number of sharp points pierce my breast, back and sides. My right hand had become almost frozen with the cold object upon which it rested, while the remainder of my body was in a perfect fever. I gave one glance around me, and, amid what appeared to be a cloud of fire, stood a number of armed men, clothed in coats of mail, their helmeted heads surmounted by red and white feathers, and their faces covered with barred vizors of metallic plates. Each had a sword in his hand, and every one of the points were directed at my almost paralyzed body, puncturing the flesh, and causing the smarts I had so recently felt.

Gradually my sight became restored, and, one by one, the objects before and around me were visible.

The mailed knights stood as still as statues, and any movement of mine might have caused a serious if not a deadly wound from one or the other of their weapons, which shone with a bright, glaring and flashing brilliancy on every side. Had I desired it ever so much, movement or escape was an impossibility.

The light next appeared to become, through some invisible agency, slowly, very slowly of a dimmer character, and to burn with less radiance and dazzling glare; but whether this was actually the case, or some optical illusion, I am now at a loss to determine. I then perceived for the first time that I was kneeling before an altar on which burned a dull blue flame; that my left hand had rested on an open Bible, and my right—horror of horrors—on the face of a corpse.


How the word rang in my ears. With a horrifying glance I looked down towards the floor, and beheld another corpse, upon whose breast I had been compelled to kneel.


Again the word rang in my ears. I raised my eyes to those around, saw no glance of encouragement beyond those helmeted faces, and could comprehend nothing but the bright, polished swords, presented at me on every side.


Still that pitiless word was present. A mailed knight stood beyond the altar, in the direction from which I had heard that solemn voice, and with his unsheathed sword he pointed silently to the ghastly object on which my right hand rested. Not a word emanated from his lips, but his sword’s point echoed the appalling, terrible word, “DEATH!”

Darkness appeared to spread itself before my vision. I felt my senses leaving me, and a nameless horror took possession of my whole soul!


Abraham Lincoln, helmsman of the Union in the Civil War and emancipator of the slaves, was the first US president to be assassinated. That “Honest Abe” died at the hand of conspiracy is sure-fire certain; the only debate is over the size and motive of the plot.

Lincoln was mortally shot by a single bullet to the head from a Derringer .44 pistol while watching the play Our American Cousins from the state box at Ford’s Theater, Washington DC, on the evening of 14 April 1865. The killer, after administering the fatal lead injection, leaped eleven feet from the box down to the stage, landed badly, but raised himself to shout dramatically, “Sic semper tyrannis!” to the audience. The Latin tag, which means “Thus ever to tyrants!”, is also the state motto of Virginia.

Since the killer was an actor—indeed a familiar face at Ford’s—and the crowd was 1,000-strong, he was not difficult to identify. Pausing only to have his injured leg fixed by Dr Mudd, John Wilkes Booth—for it was he—lit out for the South. Federal authorities caught up with him a fortnight later at a barn at Garrett’s Farm, Virginia, where he was shot dead before he could surrender by an itchy-fingered Sergeant Boston Corbett.

A memo book was found on Booth’s body, which left no doubt of his guilt. Neither did the Federal investigators have much trouble in rounding up Booth’s co-plotters, John Surratt, Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, George Atzerodt, David Herold, Michael O’Laughlen, Dr Samuel Mudd and Samuel Arnold. After facing a military tribunal, Herold, Atzerodt, Powell and Mary Surratt were all hanged on 7 July 1865; the remainder were imprisoned, with the exception of John Surratt who escaped to Canada.

Such are the basic facts of the case. In orthodox histories, Booth is a Confederate “nut” who was motivated by racist indignation at Lincoln’s plan to extend the voting franchise to blacks and who sweet-talked a motley collection of acquaintances and Southern-sympathizers into helping him. However, for a century and a half, conspiracists have suggested that Booth et al were merely “trigger men” for vast dark forces, the conspiracists’ suspicions fuelled by the actions of some of the central characters. The behaviour of Sergeant Boston Corbett—who is the Jack Ruby of the Lincoln murder—is a case in point. Why did he not let Booth surrender? Was it because Booth might implicate someone high up the chain of the plot? Corbett was a religious lunatic, who had castrated himself to help his concentration on higher things, and was later locked up in an asylum. From which he then escaped and vanished without trace. Good going for a mad man, no?

If John Wilkes Booth and Boston Corbett were pawns in the assassination of Lincoln, there is no shortage of contenders for the title of the “Arch-Conspirator”, the cabal or the individual who masterminded the deed:

• In the febrile days after Lincoln’s death, Northern politicians loudly blamed Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederacy for the murder. Even accounting for Northern prejudice against the South, this theory has legs. Although General Robert E. Lee had recently surrendered the main Confederate army at Appomattox Courthouse, Davis was unwilling to haul up the white flag. Killing Lincoln was a means of keeping the Civil War going.

Booth did have incriminating connections to the Southern top table around Davis. Ideologically Booth was a die-hard “Rebel” of the Davis stripe. More: Booth was almost certainly a Confederate spy. Six months before the assassination Booth travelled to Montreal in Canada, where he conferred with Jacob Thompson, chief of the Confederacy’s secret service. Booth also made an unexplained deposit of $20,000 into his bank account on his return. And what better cover for a spy than the itinerant profession of thespianism?

• On the other hand, the First Lady, Mary Todd Lincoln, pointed the finger of blame at someone inside the Lincoln camp—at no less than Andrew Johnson, the Vice President. Her evidence? Aside from being a Southerner—admittedly almost enough in itself to guarantee guilt in the paranoid aftermath of Abe’s death—he did know Booth socially. Booth had even called on Johnson on the afternoon of the assassination and left his card.

Yet the VeePee does not quite fit the frame as Mister Big, for one overwhelming reason: he was on the list of figures to be killed by the conspiracy on that April night. Luckily for Johnson, George Atzerodt, slated for the homicide, developed cold feet and went on a drinking bender instead. Why did Booth call on Johnson in the afternoon of that bloody Good Friday? Probably to determine his whereabouts so he could be butchered.

• In Otto Eisenschiml’s 1937 book Why Lincoln Was Murdered, another of the president’s men is outed as the master of the conspiracy. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton certainly had a motive, because he was wholly opposed to Lincoln’s soft, liberal Reconstruction policies for the South. Also Stanton, curiously, refused Lincoln’s request that Stanton’s Atlas-like aide, Major Eckert, accompany the party to the Ford Theater. Instead Abe got a buffoon as a bodyguard, who was in the pub at the fateful moment. Rather than taking a bullet for the president, John Parker was taking a shot of rye.

Another circumstantial piece of evidence against Stanton is Booth’s memo book, which the Secretary of War stashed away in his safe; when the memo book was later made public, at least eighteen pages were found to be missing. Chief of the National Detective Police, Lafayette C. Baker, testified that the journal had been complete when his men handed it over to Stanton…

• But then Baker himself is under suspicion. Three years after the assassination, the venal cop wrote what appears to be a rhyming confession: “In New Rome there walked three men, a Judas, a Brutus, and a spy. Each planned that he should be the kink [sic] when Abraham should die… As the fallen man lay dying, Judas came and paid respects to one he hated, and when at last he saw him die, he said ‘Now the ages have him, and the nation now have I.’”

Stanton is obviously Judas, but who Baker meant by Brutus is uncertain. Possibly it was Ward H. Lamon, Lincoln’s buddy and US marshal for Washington DC, who just happened to be elsewhere on the evening in question. As to the identity of the spy, Baker answered that himself: “But lest one is left to wonder what has happened to the spy, I can safely tell you this, it was I. Lafayette C. Baker 2–5-68.”

Shortly after composing his cryptogram, the previously healthy 44-year-old Baker died. His wife believed he was poisoned by government agents.

Of course, there is always someone who sees Jewish bankers behind every evil deed, and sure enough the Rothschilds have been nominated as the hands that steered Booth. Their reason? Because Lincoln had issued “greenbacks”, government notes to fund the war, thus robbing the Rothschilds of easy high-interest shekels. Equally, no conspiracy is complete without putting a secret society in its sights, and as soon as Lincoln’s heart stopped beating at 7.22 on the morning after he was shot, rumours began to circulate that the Knights of the Golden Circle, a circle of pro-South Northern Democrats, were up to their elegant necks in the deed. And there is always the super-ambitious alternative history in which plural plotters come together for one epoch shaping moment; in The Lincoln Conspiracy, David Balsiger and Charles E. Sellier Jr propose a heady, swirling scenario whereby Secretary of War Stanton linked up with Confederate spymaster Jacob Thompson, plus Northern speculators who wanted to keep the money-making war going and good ol’ Maryland boys who wanted to keep Negroes in their place, viz. down on the slave plantation. Just in case you thought that Booth was treated a little harshly for his part in delivering a bullet to Lincoln’s brain, he did not die staggering from a bullet in a blazing barn. No, no, no. In this left field conspiracy scenario, the body in the barn belonged to a James William Boyd, a Confederate fugitive, who unfortunately for him looked like Booth, the latter having been smuggled by Stanton out of the country. Some said to California, England and India. Yes, exotic India, not humdrum Indiana.

Like the controversy over the assassination of John F. Kennedy, that over the assassination of Lincoln shows no sign of slowing up. Unfortunately, the death of Lincoln is now so far in the past that any new evidence is unlikely to be unearthed. The truth lies buried with the bodies of the main actors in the drama.

Further Reading

David Balsiger and Charles E Sellier, The Lincoln Conspiracy, 1977

Otto Eisenschiml, Why Lincoln was Murdered, 1937

Theodore Roscoe, The Web of Conspiracy: The Complete Story of the Men Who Murdered Abraham Lincoln, 1960


On 7 May 1915 the British passenger liner Lusitania, under the command of Captain Turner, was sunk by a U-boat off the south coast of Ireland.

The loss of life was terrible. Since the ship was lying on its side, the starboard lifeboats could not be used, and 1,201 people died. Of these, 128 were citizens of neutral America.

Firing at a passenger liner was outside the accepted rules of war, and anti-German riots occurred in many countries. The President of the USA, Woodrow Wilson, wrote to the German government demanding “reparation so far as reparation is possible”. At the fourth time of writing, the Germans caved in, accepted responsibility and agreed to stop the sinking of passenger ships.

In the short term, German capitulation to Wilson’s demands was enough to prevent the USA entering the war on the Allied side. However, anti-German sentiment had been so effectively stoked by the sinking, that when Germany resumed unrestricted submarine warfare in 1917 it was inevitable that the US would side with Britain, France and Russia.

Over time, military historians have come to suspect that the sinking was a set-up in which the Germans were deliberately encouraged by the British to sink the liner in the expectation that the negative publicity would lure the Americans onto the British side.

The suspicions were brought together in 1972 by Colin Simpson in The Lusitania. As Simpson detailed, the British failed to provide the Lusitania with any form of escort, although the Germans had placed advertisements in the newspapers of New York (from where Lusitania sailed) warning “that any travellers sailing in the war zone on ships of Great Britain or her allies do so at their own risk”. More, the Lusitania appeared to make no effort to avoid a U-boat attack although it was travelling through a zone where U-boats lurked. No less than twenty-three merchantmen had already gone to Davy Jones’s locker in the area.

A letter written by Winston Churchill, First Lord of Admiralty, to Walter Runciman, the president of Britain’s Board of Trade, seems damning evidence of the conspiracy: “It is most important to attract neutral shipping to our shores in the hope especially of embroiling the United States with Germany… For our part we want the traffic—the more the better; and if some of it gets into trouble, better still.”

Furthermore, the radio exchanges between the Lusitania and the Admiralty from early May remain classified to this day.

Conspiracy or cock-up? The Lusitania was not “neutral shipping” and the fact that Churchill hoped that a ship got into useful trouble is not proof he planned the Lusitania sinking. In 1915, the minds of the Admiralty were concentrated on the Dardenelles campaign, and the sailing of one liner was a minor matter. Also, the ship was famously fast and well built, and the brass at the Admiralty likely presumed she was uncatchable at best, unsinkable at worst.

A foul-up would also explain the cover-up and locking-up of the radio traffic between the Admiralty and Lusitania: if the blunder had been made public, it would have been an embarrassment in front of the world.

Further Reading

Colin Simpson, The Lusitania, 1972


The Beatles, a.k.a. the Fab Four. John, Paul, George and Ringo.

Actually, make that the Terrific Three plus an imposter. According to a rumour broadcast in October 1969 by Detroit disc jockey Russ Gibb, Paul McCartney had died in a car crash in 1966, having been distracted by a lovely meter maid. As this would have destroyed The Beatles, Paul was replaced by a lookalike, William Campbell. (Or was it Billy Shears?) With a little plastic surgery here, a handy growth of facial hair there, William/Billy made a passable Paul and The Beatles kept on making money, money, money.

The Paul is Dead rumour swept the world. The evidence for Gibb’s proposition? Nothing less than The Beatles’ own lyrics and album covers. Racked by guilt, the remaining mop-tops could not stop themselves inadvertently hinting at Paul’s demise, in a sort of mass outbreak of Freudian slips. Thus on the sleeve of Sergeant Pepper Paul is standing next to a grave, while the hand of the statue of the Hindu god Shiva, “The Destroyer”, points directly at Paul. Then there’s the BEATLES wreath, and the doll in the red-lined dress, to symbolize Jane Asher, who died in the car with him. Inside, the sleeve depicts Paul wearing an arm patch with the letters OPD, standing for “Officially Pronounced Dead”. The lyrics are the clincher. In “She’s Leaving Home” the accident is revealed to have been on “Wednesday morning at five o’clock”, while “Good Morning Good Morning” confirms there was “nothing to do to save his life” and the climactic “A Day in the Life” acknowledges he “blew his mind out in a car”.

If the track “I’m so Tired” on The White Album is played backwards, the words become “Paul is dead, man, miss him, miss him”.

But it is The Beatles’ 1969 Abbey Road that provides the mother lode of clues to Paul’s death. On the LP cover the four Beatles are pictured crossing the road in a funeral procession. Lennon is the priest (he’s wearing white), Harrison is the grave-digger (wearing denim), Starr is the funeral director (dressed formally). McCartney is the corpse: he’s out of step with the others, has bare feet, and is smoking a cigarette—the symbol of death in Sicilian culture. More, the licence plate on the car reads “LMW 281F”, which stands for “Linda McCartney Weeps”.

In 1993, Paul McCartney played sly homage to the long-running conspiracy theory about his premature death by titling his live album—Paul is Live!

On this album, as on all the other records made by Paul McCartney post-1966, Billy Shears/William Campbell sounded exactly like the pre-1966 Paul McCartney.

Funny that.


She only had a walk-on part in the drama of the New Testament, but Mary Magdalene has become the star turn of modern conspiracy theory.

In the gospel accounts of Jesus’s life, Mary (a.k.a. Miriam of Magdala) is the woman from Galilee who watches his crucifixion, and is the first person to see him after the resurrection. But lo! in the modern alternative theory Mary is Jesus’s wife and the mother of his children, whose descendants then walked the face of the Earth, specifically France, where they ruled as the Merovingian dynasty. The Holy Grail of legend is no longer the platter used by Jesus at the Last Supper, but Christ’s bloodline, which has extended down over the years to reach, inter alia, the Sinclairs in Scotland, Italian nobility and Princess Diana. Safeguarding the Holy Grail are two ancient orders: the Knights Templar and the Priory of Sion. Although sworn to secrecy, Templars and Priory members have been unable to resist leaving clues to the existence of Mary’s marriage and motherhood, notably in Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper painting, where it is not the apostle John that is depicted to the right of Jesus but Mary, while the V shape formed between the two acknowledges the symbol for femininity.

Obviously, all of the above contradicts the theology of the Catholic Church. To cover up Jesus’s intimacy with Mary—and so maintain its own power—the Catholic Church, it is suggested, cast Mary as a harlot and excised gospels featuring her. The Church also deliberately misinterpreted in medieval times “Sangreal” as “Saint Grail” rather than the correct “sang real ”, meaning royal blood.

If Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code takes the laurels for most popular exposition of the Mary Magdalene conspiracy, the vade mecum is the 1982 “non-fiction” bestseller Holy Blood, Holy Grail by Henry Lincoln, Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh. And this in turn owes something to Hugh Schonfield’s The Passover Plot (1965), while the British poet Robert Graves had speculated that Mary was Jesus’s wife as early as 1946 in King Jesus.

The Priory of Sion, Christ’s children ruling Gaul, the mistranslation of “Sangreal”, the discovery by Father Berenger Sauniere of the Holy Grail at Rennes-le-Chateau is… all humbug, set afoot by a hoaxing minor French aristocrat, Pierre Plantard de Saint-Clair, who wanted to give himself regal glory by planting “evidence” that he was the rightful king of France. (He would have done a more persuasive job if the key Middle Ages documents “found” at the Bibliothèque Nationale had been written in medieval and not modern Latin.) Even so, aspects of the Mary Magdalene conspiracy hold up. The early Catholic Church did ban and burn gospels not in accordance with its views. Courtesy of the discovery in 1948 by an Egyptian peasant called Muhammad Ali al-Samman of a buried collection of “Gnostic” texts at Nag Hammadi the content of some of these banned gospels is now known. The role they assign to Mary is controversial. In the Gospel of Philip, Jesus is declared to be “the partner of Mary Magdalene, [and he] loved her more than all the disciples and often kissed her on the mouth”. In Greek, the language of the Gnostic texts, “partner” can also mean “companion”; but whether “bride” or “close friend”, it is abundantly obvious that in this early strain of Christianity Mary was regarded as being a crucial figure in Christ’s ministry. There is even a Gospel of Mary Magdalene in the Nag Hammadi haul. A key incident in this gospel is a confrontation between Mary and the apostle Peter, in which Peter tries to humiliate Mary on the grounds that she is a woman, but is roundly told off by Jesus.

Even if Mary was the literal bride of Christ—and it is a big if—there is no guarantee that children came from the union. But it is a matter of historical record that various early Church dignitaries, from St Peter to St Paul (whose Letter to Timothy is an unintentional classic of misogyny) to Pope Gregory the Great, suppressed pro-Mary Magdalene currents in early Christianity and denigrated her role in Christ’s ministry. They would not have seen themselves as conspirators, but fighters for “orthodoxy” in what was effectively a theological battle.

Further Reading

Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, 1982

Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code, 2003

Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels, 1980


What do Robert F. Kennedy, John Lennon, Martin Luther King and Israeli Premier Yitschak Rabin have in common? All four are alleged to have been assassinated by remote-controlled, hypnotized killers or “Manchurian candidates”.

The expression “Manchurian candidate” comes from Richard Condon’s 1959 bestselling novel of that name, which features a brainwashed killer under the control of Chinese and Soviet intelligence located in Manchuria during the Korean War. The assassin is an American POW repatriated to the US, where he is programmed to kill the president.

Condon did not pluck the scenario out of thin air. During the Korean War, the Communists were understood to have achieved conspicuous success in brainwashing US POWs into confessing to war crimes they could not possibly have committed. Although a 1953 investigation by Drs Harold Wolff and Lawrence Hinkle of Cornell Medical College found that the Chinese had not used hypnosis or drugs to “re-educate” POWs (relying rather on violence to produce “confessions”), this did not stop the Agency heading pell-mell into a secret project to create a programmed assassin using hypnosis and drugs. Set up by CIA head Allen Dulles in 1953, Project MK-ULTRA experimented with LSD, electronic brain implants, mescaline, psilocybin, radiation, barbiturates, amphetamines and sensory deprivation on hapless subjects as it sought the Holy Grail of mind control. Probably the most grotesque of the MK-ULTRA experiments was subcontracted to Montreal psychiatrist D. Ewen Cameron, which involved the “breaking down of ongoing pattern of the patient’s behaviour by means of particularly intensive electroshocks” while LSD was simultaneously applied. Some of Cameron’s subjects received electro-convulsive therapy at thirty to forty times the normal rate, this followed by weeks of LSD-induced coma in which they were played an endless loop of noise or speech.

At one stage, MK-ULTRA consumed 6 per cent of the CIA’s entire budget. Whether the CIA succeeded in programming a Manchurian candidate is unknown. The Agency has always claimed that its attempt to produce a real life Raymond Shaw—Condon’s assassin character—was fruitless, and this was also the conclusion of a Senate Committee headed by Ted Kennedy when the MK-ULTRA programme was finally dragged out into the light by the New York Times in 1974.

The cynics are legion, however. By 1974, CIA director Richard Helms had destroyed the bulk of the MK-ULTRA files because of a “burgeoning paper problem”. Suspicious? Almost as suspicious as the 1953 defenestration suicide of Dr Frank Olsen, a CIA researcher, who had voiced opposition to the MK-ULTRA project. On later exhumation Olsen’s body was found to have marks on the skull consistent with a repeated attack. Suspicious? Almost as suspicious as the accidental death by drowning of ex-CIA director William Colby in 1993 days after being subpoenaed to testify about Olsen.

Cults like the Scientologists are widely held to achieve brainwashing. Is it really plausible that the CIA with millions of dollars and legions of scientists failed where L. Ron Hubbard succeeded?

Then there is the assassination of Robert Kennedy in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on 4 June 1968. Dozens of witnesses saw “lone nut” Sirhan Sirhan pull the trigger on Kennedy. But Sirhan himself could never recall the shooting, and to this day protests his innocence. William Turner and John Christian in The Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy and Philip Melanson in The Robert F. Kennedy Assassination all suggest that Sirhan was programmed by hypnosis to kill Kennedy. One leading expert, Dr Herbert Spiegal, estimates that Sirhan is among the 10 per cent of the population most susceptible to hypnosis. Under hypnosis by prosecution psychiatrist Dr Seymour Pollack, Sirhan answered the question, “Who was with you when you shot Kennedy?” as follows: “Girl the girl, the girl…” A girl in a polka-dot dress was seen running from the Ambassador shouting “We shot him!” If Sirhan was a Manchurian candidate, then the girl was his handler. According to a BBC Newsnight investigation in 2006, several CIA operatives were also in the Ambassador on the fateful night, although they had no reason to be there, since the CIA has no domestic jurisdiction.

The CIA had a plausible motive to kill RFK: if RFK had succeeded to the White House he might have uncovered evidence of the CIA’s complicity in the killing of his brother. The CIA also had the immoral appetite to kill an American politician: a 1954 CIA memo specifically proposed using a hypno-programmed killer to assassinate “a prominent [deleted] politician or, if necessary, against an American official”.

The official version remains that Sirhan alone killed RFK. Few believe it.

Further Reading

John Marks, The Search for the Manchurian Candidate: The CIA and Mind Control, 1989

Philip H. Melanson, The Robert F. Kennedy Assassination: New Revelations on the Conspiracy and Cover Up, 1991

Gordon Thomas, Journey into Madness: The True Story of Secret CIA Mind Control and Medical Abuse, 1989

William Turner and John G. Christian, The Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, 1978


I) The CIA memo below was written on April 18, 1958 by Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, chief of the Chemical Division of the Agency’s Technical Services Staff.


18 April 1958


SUBJECT: MKULTRA, Subproject No. 83

1. The purpose of Subproject No. 83 will be to support the editorial and technical survey activities of [deleted] assigned to the [deleted] and is covered as an employee of the [deleted]. During the past six months, his activities have been to make technical surveys of social and behavioral science matters of interest to TSS/CD/Branch III. During this period he has been carried on the budget of the [deletion]. However, it was originally proposed that as soon as he demonstrated his ability, he would be established as an independent project and his activities widened.

2. [Deleted] has completed a detailed survey of handwriting analysis. He has prepared a review of current attitudes towards handwriting analyses as reflected by scientific researchers in the technique; fringe or pseudo-scientific developments in the field; general attitudes of psychiatrists, psychologists and other behavioral scientists to the techniques; and attitudes of document analysts and law enforcement agencies to the method. He has isolated the various “schools” of handwriting analysis, both American and European, and has prepared a readable, accurate and informative document that can be made available to potential consumers of handwriting analyses. More important, however, he has assembled data making it possible to design relevant and meaningful research into the usefulness and applicability of handwriting analyses to intelligence activities.

3. On the basis of the many contacts developed by [deleted] it is now possible to undertake systematic research. During the next year, [deleted] will be responsible for the development of a research project on handwriting analysis. The recommendations for the design of this project, as developed by [deleted] are included as Attachment No. 2.

4. In addition [deleted] will begin to develop similar technical surveys on other controversial and misunderstood areas. These will include, though not necessarily in the next year:

a) a revision and adaptation of material already developed on deception techniques (magic, sleight of hand, signals, etc.)

b) psychic phenomena and extrasensory perception

c) subliminal perception

d) hypnosis

e) “truth serums”

f) expressive movements (body type, facial characteristics, etc.)

He will also assist the [deleted] in editing the material they develop including annual reports, project summaries, and conference notes.

5. [Deleted] will be under the supervision of the Executive Secretary of the [deleted] and will continue to work out of the [deleted] offices. Additional space for his activity is necessary and is included in the summary budget attached. Accounting for money spent will be included in the regular [deleted] audit.

6. The total cost of this subproject will be $25,000.00 for a period of one year beginning 1 May 1958. Charges should be made against Allotment 8–2502–10–001.

7. [Deleted] has been cleared for access to Top Secret material by the Agency.

II) This memo, again from Sidney Gottlieb, records his approval of a test on “the biochemical, neurophysiological, sociological, and clinical psychiatric aspects of L.S.D.”

DRAFT—[deleted] 9 June 1953


SUBJECT: Project MKULTRA, Subproject 8

1. Subproject 8 is being set up as a means to continue the present work in the general field of L.S.D. at [deleted] until 11 September 1954.

2. This project will include a continuation of a study of the biochemical, neurophysiological, sociological, and clinical psychiatric aspects of L.S.D., and also a study of L.S.D. antagonists and drugs related to L.S.D., such as L.A.E. A detailed proposal is attached. The principal investigators will continue to be [deleted] all or [deleted].

3. The estimated budget of the project at [deleted] is $39,500.00. The [deleted] will serve as a cut-out and cover the project for this project and will furnish the above funds to the [deleted] as a philanthropic grant for medical research. A service charge of $790.00 (2% of the estimated) is to be paid to the [deleted] for this service.

4. Thus the total charges for this project will not exceed $40, 290.00 for a period ending September 11, 1954.

5. [deleted] (Director of the hospital) are cleared through TOP SECRET and are aware of the true purpose of the project.


Chemical Division/TSS


[signature of Sidney Gottlieb]

Chief, Chemical Division/TSS

III) A memo from Gottlieb of the CIA on the Agency’s early experiments with hypnosis.

DRAFT-SG/111 11 May 1953


SUBJECT: Visit to Project [deleted]

1. On this day the writer spent the day observing experiments with Mr. [deleted] on project [deleted] and in planning next year’s work on the project (Mr. [deleted] has already submitted his proposal to the [deleted]).

2. The general picture of the present status of the project is one of a carefully planned series of five major experiments. Most of the year has been spent in screening and standardizing a large group of subjects (approximately 100) and the months between now and September 1 should yield much data, so that these five experiments should be completed by September 1. The five experiments are: (N stands for the total number of subjects involved in the experiment).

Experiment 1—N-18 Hypnotically induced anxieties to be completed by September 1.

Experiment 2—N-24 Hypnotically increasing the ability to learn and recall complex written matter, to be completed by September 1.

Experiment 3—N-30 Polygraph response under Hypnosis, to be completed by June 15.

Experiment 4—N-24 Hypnotically increasing ability to observe and recall a complex arrangement of physical objects.

Experiment 5—N-100 Relationship of personality to susceptibility to hypnosis.

3. The work for next year (September 1, 1953 to June 1, 1954) will concentrate on:

Experiment 6—The morse code problem, with the emphasis on relatively loser I.Q. subjects than found on University volunteers.

Experiment 7—Recall of hypnotically acquired information by very specific signals.

[deleted] will submit detailed research plans on all experiments not yet submitted.

4. A system of reports was decided upon, receivable in June, September and December 1953, and in March and June 1954. These reports, besides giving a summary of progress on each of the seven experiments, will also include the raw data obtained in each experiment. At the completion of any of the experiments a complete, organized final report will be sent to us.

5. After June 1, [deleted] new address will be:


6. A new journal was observed in [deleted] office:

Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis published quarterly by the Society for C. F. & E. H., publisher is Woodrow Press, Inc., 227 E. 45th Street, New York 17, N.Y. Price is $6.00

To date two numbers issued, Vol. 1 #1 January 1953, and Vol. 1 #2 April 1953.

7. A very favorable impression was made on the writer by the group. The experimental design of each experiment is very carefully done, and the standards of detail and instrumentation seems to be very high.

Sidney Gottlieb


Chemical Division, TSS

IV) A 1955 CIA document reviewing the Agency’s research and development of mind-altering substances and methods, including materials which will render the indication of hypnosis easier or otherwise enhance its usefulness.



5 May 1955

A portion of the Research and Development Program of TSS/Chemical Division is devoted to the discovery of the following materials and methods:

1. Substances which will promote illogical thinking and impulsiveness to the point where the recipient would be discredited in public.

2. Substances which increase the efficiency of mentation and perception.

3. Materials which will prevent or counteract the intoxicating effect of alcohol.

4. Materials which will promote the intoxicating effect of alcohol.

5. Materials which will produce the signs and symptoms of recognized diseases in a reversible way so that they may be used for malingering, etc.

6. Materials which will render the indication of hypnosis easier or otherwise enhance its usefulness.

7. Substances which will enhance the ability of individuals to withstand privation, torture and coercion during interrogation and so-called “brainwashing”.

8. Materials and physical methods which will produce amnesia for events preceding and during their use.

9. Physical methods of producing shock and confusion over extended periods of time and capable of surreptitious use.

10. Substances which produce physical disablement such as paralysis of the legs, acute anaemia, etc.

11. Substances which will produce “pure” euphoria with no subsequent let-down.

12. Substances which alter personality structure in such a way that the tendency of the recipient to become dependent upon another person is enhanced.

13. A material which will cause mental confusion of such a type that the individual under its influence will find it difficult to maintain a fabrication under questioning.

14. Substances which will lower the ambition and general working efficiency of men when administered in undetectable amounts.

15. Substances which will promote weakness or distortion of the eyesight or hearing faculties, preferably without permanent effects.

16. A knockout pill which can surreptitiously be administered in drinks, food, cigarettes, as an aerosol, etc., which will be safe to use, provide a maximum of amnesia, and be suitable for use by agent types on an ad hoc basis.

17. A material which can be surreptitiously administered by the above routes and which in very small amounts will make it impossible for a man to perform any physical activity whatever.

The development of materials of this type follows the standard practice of such ethical drug houses as [deleted]. It is a relatively routine procedure to develop a drug to the point of human testing. Ordinarily, the drug houses depend upon the services of private physicians for the final clinical testing. The physicians are willing to assume the responsibility of such tests in order to advance the science of medicine. It is difficult and sometimes impossible for TSS/CD to offer such an inducement with respect to its products. In practice, it has been possible to use the outside cleared contractors for the preliminary phases of this work. However, that part which involves human testing at effective dose levels presents security problems which cannot be handled by the ordinary contractor.

The proposed facility [deleted] offers a unique opportunity for the secure handling of such clinical testing in addition to the many advantages outline in the project proposal. The security problems mentioned above are eliminated by the fact that the responsibility for the testing will rest completely with the physician and the hospital. [deleted] will allow TSS/CD personnel to supervise the work very closely to make sure that all tests are conducted according to the recognized practices and embody adequate safeguards.


On 4 June 1947, veteran pilot Kenneth Arnold was cruising in his private plane over Washington State’s Cascade Mountains when he saw strange batwing craft in the distance. Afterwards, Mr Arnold likened the sight and motion of the craft to “saucers skipping on the water”.

On that day, in that place, the “flying saucer” phenomenon was born. The Air Force said that Arnold had been chasing a mirage. The newspapers talked glibly of little green men. The public, brought up on pulp sci-fi stories, went out at night UFO-spotting for a lark.

Seven months later, on 7 January 1948, the UFO phenomenon went serious. Servicemen at Godman Army Airfield at Fort Knox in Kentucky began reporting an unusual aerial object in the vicinity (see Document, p.339). P-51 Mustangs of C Flight, 165th Fighter Squadron Kentucky Air National Guard, already in the air on a routine patrol, were requested to approach the object. Piloting one of the Mustangs was Captain Thomas F. Mantell, a 25-year-old flyer with combat experience from World War II

One of the Mustangs turned back low on fuel. The other two pilots accompanied Mantell as he ascended almost vertically in pursuit of the object, which air traffic control reportedly heard him describe as “metallic, and of tremendous size”. Only one of Mantell’s wingmen had an oxygen mask; since he was low on oxygen, and the other wingman had none, they called off the chase at 22,500 feet, leaving Mantell to go it alone.

Minutes later, Mantell’s Mustang crashed in a fiery ball at a farm near Franklin, Kentucky. His watch, stopped by the force of the crash read, 3.18. Half an hour later, the UFO was no longer visible to personnel at Godman Field.

An American had died. A UFO had been sighted. Sensational rumours swept the nation, the biggest of all being that Mantell had been gunned down (rayed-down?) by a UFO. The Mantell Incident, along with the Godman encounter, fixed UFOs in the civilian mind as absolutely, 100 per cent real. As for the military’s new research group for the study of UFOs, Project Sign, it never came to a conclusion on Mantell’s demise.

What happened to Mantell? He may have taken a broadside from a UFO phaser. A more likely explanation is that he blacked out from lack of oxygen as he climbed. And the mysterious object in the sky? Some experts propose Venus, others nominate a skyhook weather balloon, noting that the balloons at 30 metres diameter are indeed “metallic, and of tremendous size”. At the time skyhook balloons were a top-secret US Navy project, and according to UFO doubter Philip Klass skyhooks were in the air over Kentucky that fateful day. Truth to tell, the skies of America at the beginning of the Cold War buzzed with top-secret craft, and the Air Force deliberately pumped-up UFO sightings to distract the public—and the pesky Russkies—from what they were really up to.






9 January 1948

SUBJECT: Report of Observation of Unidentified Object in Skies Above Godman Field

TO: Commanding General, Eleventh Air Force

ATTENTION: Lt Col Chandler PIO Section

1. The inclosed certifications are of personnel from Godman Field who witnessed the object in the southwestern sky from Godman Field on 8 January 1948. With additional information concerning the loss of a P-51 (NG869).

2. Standiford Tower, Standiford Field, Louisville, Ky., reported that two aircraft of an unspecified type were taking off from Standiford at approximately 1500 hrs and could be directed to proceed to Godman to assist in determining a definite status of the reported object. These aircraft did not appear. Another flight composed of four P-51’s flew directly over Godman Tower at approximately 1500 hrs, at which time they were asked their identification. Upon being informed that they were National Guard aircraft from Standiford Field, and upon their replying in the affirmative that sufficient gas was available, they were asked if they would deviate from their course to assist in determining the nature of the object. Their ETA for the flight to Standiford was changed at that time.

3. The object, as it appeared to the undersigned was circular in shape and, if it was a great distance away, was 1/10th the size of a full moon. If it was an earthly object, the size, as compared to the diminishing size of the P-51’s flying toward it, seemed to be at least several hundred feet in diameter.


Lt Colonel USAF

6 Incl Air Inspector

1. Statement: Pfc. Stanley Oliver

2. Statement: T. Sgt Q. A. Blackwell

3. Statement: Capt. Cary W. Carter

4. Statement: Capt. James F. Duesler, Jr.

5. Statement: Col Guy F. Hix, Commanding Officer

6. Statement: Lt Orner



1. Pfc. Stanley Oliver statement




Godman Field, Fort Knox, Ky

9 January 1948


I, Pfc Stanley Oliver, was on duty in the Control Tower at Godman Field on the afternoon of 7 January 1948. When first heard of the object in the sky about 1320 CST, we received a phone call from Colonel Hix’s office that a large object was sighted at Mansville, Kentucky, the supposed object was supposed to be about 250 feet to 300 feet in diameter at 1330 CST or more.

Sgt Blackwell sighted an object to the southwest of Godman Field and he asked me if I saw it. I saw the object but thought I was imagining I saw it and Sgt Blackwell told me to look again. This time I was really sure I saw an object and then we called Lt Orner, who came to the Control Tower and he too saw the object. Lt Orner then called Captain Carter who, after coming to the Control Tower, also saw this object. Captain Carter called Colonel Hix who came to the Control Tower and he too saw the object. We all then attempted to figure out just what it could be and to me it had the resemblance of an ice cream cone topped with red.

At or about 1445 CST we sighted five (5) P-51 aircraft coming on from the southwest and as they came over the Control Tower someone suggested contacting the aircraft. Sgt Blackwell contacted them on “B” channel (VHF) and aircraft acknowledged his call. Someone suggested they try to overtake the object and we requested the planes to try and the flight leader stated he would. The call sign of this ship was NG869. They turned around and stared toward the southwest again. One pilot in the formation told the flight leader that he would like to continue on to Louisville with the flight leader giving his permission to do so. We kept in contact with the flight leader for about twenty-five (25) minutes. The last contact we had with the flight leader was when one of his wingmen called and said, “What the hell are we looking for?” Flight leader stated had the object in sight and he was going up to see what it was. He said at present he was at 15,000 feet and was still climbing. Those were the last words I believe we heard from him. Other pilots in the formation tried to contact him but to no avail.

In about another ten or fifteen minutes another P-51 took off from Standiford Field to look for the object. He gave me a call and asked if we still had the object in sight. He was told that at present the object was behind a cloud formation but he said he would try and locate it and in the meantime he tried contacting his flight leader but was unable to do so. He then reported he was unable to see the object and was coming back in when he came over the Control Tower.

I received a call from Standiford Operations that the plane had crashed and the pilot was killed at Franklin, Kentucky. He then saw the object again and to my belief the object was a great distance from Godman Field and it was so far I couldn’t tell if it was moving or not.


2. T. Sgt Q. A. Blackwell statement




Godman Field, Fort Knox, Ky

9 January 1948


I, T. Sgt Quinton A. Blackwell, AF18162475, was on duty as chief operator in the Control Tower at Godman Field, Ky. on the afternoon of 7 January 1948. Up until 1315 or 1320 matters were routine. At approximately that time I received a telephone call from Sgt Cook, Col Hix’s office, stating that according to Ft Knox Military Police and “E” Town state police, a large circular object from 250 to 300 ft in diameter over Mansville, Ky. and requested I check with Army Flight Service to see if any unusual type aircraft was in the vicinity. Flight Service advised negative on the aircraft and took the other info, requesting our CO verify the story. Shortly afterward Flight Service gave Godman Tower positions on the object over Irvington, Ky. then Owensboro, Ky. of about the same size and description. About 1345 or 1350 I sighted an object in the sky to the South of Godman Field. As I wanted verification, I called my Detachment Commander, 1st Lt Orner, to the Tower. After he had sighted the object, he called for the Operations Officer, Capt. Carter, over the tele-talk box from the Traffic Desk. He came upstairs immediately, and looked at the object through the field glasses in the Tower. He then called for the CO, Col Hix. He came to the tower about 1420 (appx) and sighted the object immediately. About 1430 to 1440 a flight of four P-51s approached Goldman Field from the South, en route from Marietta, Ga. to Standiford Field, Ky. As they passed over the tower I called them on “B” channel, VHF and asked the flight leader, NG 869, if he had enough gas and if so, would he mind trying to identify an object in the sky to the South of Godman Field. He replied in the affirmative and made a right turn around with two planes and proceeded South from Godman Field. The fourth plane proceeded on to Standiford Field alone. The three ship formation proceeded South on a heading of 210°, climbing steadily. About 1445 the flight leader, NG 869, reported seeing the object “ahead and above, I’m still climbing”. To which a wingman retorted, “What the hell are we looking for?” The leader reported at 15,000 ft that “The object is directly ahead of and above me now, moving about half my speed.” When asked for a description he replied, “It appears metallic object of tremendous size.” At 15,000 ft, the flight leader reported, “I’m still climbing, the object is above and ahead of me moving at about my speed or faster, I’m trying to close in for a better look.” This last contact was at about 1515. About 5 min. afterward, the other two ships in the flight turned back. As they passed over Godman NG 800 reported, “It appears like the reflection of sunlight on an airplane canopy.” Shortly afterward, the same pilot and plane took off from Standiford and resumed the search. He went to 33,000 ft. one hundred miles South and did not sight anything. I left the Control Tower shortly afterward.

The foregoing statement is true and correct to the best of my knowledge.

/a/Quinton A. Blackwell


3. Capt. Cary Carter statement




9 January 1948

The undersigned was on duty at Godman Field 7 Jan 48 as Operations Officer.

At approximately 1400 hours and 7 minutes, 7 Jan ’48 I received a call from Lt Orner, AACS Detachment Commander, that the tower had spotted an unidentified object and requested that I take a look. Lt Orner pointed out the object to the southwest, which was easily discernible with the naked eye. The object appeared round and white (whiter than the clouds that passed in front of it) and could be seen through cirrus clouds. After looking through field glasses for approximately 3 or 4 minutes I called Co. Hix’s office, advising that office of the object’s presence. Lt Col Wood and Capt. Duesler came to the tower immediately. Col Hix followed them.

About this time a flight of four P-51 aircraft were noticed approaching from the south. I asked Tec. Sgt Blackwell, Tower Operator, to contact the planes and see if they would take a look at the object for us. The planes were contacted and stated they had sufficient gas to take a look. One of the planes proceeded on to Standiford, the other planes were given a heading of 230°. One of the planes said he spotted the object at 1200 o’clock and was climbing toward it. One of the planes then said, “This is 15,000 ft, let’s level out.” One of the planes, at this point (apparently the plane who saw the object) estimated its speed (the object’s) at 180 M.P.H. A few seconds later he stated the object was going up and forward as fast as he was. He stated that he was going to 20,000 feet, and if no closer was going to abandon the chase. This was the last radio contact I heard. It was impossible to identify which plane was doing the talking in the above report. Later we heard that one plane had landed at Standiford to get fuel and oxygen to resume the search.

The undersigned reported to Flight Service a description, position of the object while the planes searched for it.

/a/Cary W. Carter


Captain, USAF

MAXW-PBB3–719, 832, 833

4. Captain James Duesler statement




9 January 1948

At approx 1420, 7 Jan 48, I accompanied Lt Col E. G. Wood to the Godman Field Control Tower to observe “an object hanging high in the sky south of Godman”.

Shortly after reaching the tower, Col Guy F. Hix, the Commanding Officer, was summoned; it was at that time that I first sighted the bright silver object.

Approximately five minutes after Col. Hix came into the tower, a flight of four P-51’s flew over Godman. An officer in the tower requested that the Tower Operator call this flight and ask the Flight Leader to investigate this object if he had sufficient fuel. The Flight Leader (Capt. Thomas F. Mantell) answered that he would, and requested a bearing to this object. At that time one member of the flight informed the leader that it was time for him to land and broke off from the formation. This A/C was heard requesting landing instructions from his home field, Standiford, in Louisville.

In the meantime the remaining three P-51’s were climbing on the course given to them by Godman Tower towards this object that still appeared stationary. The Tower then advised the Flight Leader to correct his course 5 degrees to the left; the Flight Leader acknowledged this correction and also reported his position at 7,500 feet and climbing. Immediately following the Flight Leader’s transmission, another member of the flight asked “Where in the hell are we going?” In a few minutes the Flight Leader called out an object ”twelve o’clock high”. Asked to describe this object, he said that it was bright and that it was climbing away from him. When asked about its speed, the Flight Leader stated it was going about half his speed, approximately 180 M.P.H.

Those of us in the Tower lost sight of the flight, but could still see this object. Shortly after the last transmission, the Flight Leader said he was at 15,000 ft, and still climbing after “it”, but that he judged its speed to be the same as his. At that time a member of the Flight called to the leader and requested that he “level off ”, but we heard no reply from the leader. That was the last message received from any member of the flight by Godman.

/a/James F. Duesler, Jr


Captain, USAF


5. Col Guy F. Hix statement




9 January 1948

At approximately 1300 hours a call came to this Headquarters from State Police, reporting a flying object near Elizabethtown. Another report came in from Madisonville about ten minutes later. A third call came in from Lexington, Kentucky. (All towns are south of Godman Field.)

We alerted the Tower to be on the lookout for flying objects. At 1445 hrs the Tower notified me that an object had been sighted at about 215°. I went to the Tower and observed the object until 1550 hrs., when it disappeared behind the clouds.

The object observed could be plainly seen with the naked eye, and appeared to be about one-quarter the size of a full moon, white in color. Through eight-power binoculars, the object seemed to have a red border at the bottom, at times, and a red border at the top at times. It remained stationary for 1½ hours.

When I arrived at the Tower, Tech. Sgt Quinton Blackwell had contacted the P-51 airplanes over the field and suggested that they have a look if they had sufficient fuel. When I arrived they were within sight of the Tower, heading on a course of 215°.

I heard one of the pilots report that he saw the object straight ahead and estimated the speed of 180 M.P.H. The pilot stated that the object was very large and very bright.

/a/Guy F. Hix


Colonel, USAF Commanding


6. Lt Paul Orner statement




Godman Field, Fort Knox, Ky

9 January 1948


Following is an account of the sighting of unknown objects from the Control Tower on 7 January 48 at Godman Field.

On the above date at approximately 1400 CST a report came in to the Control Tower through M Sgt. Cook of a report of an unidentified object flying at terrific speed in the vicinity of Maysville. This call was cancelled minutes later by the Military Police at