The Canterbury Lectures — Lecture One: The CIA in New Orleans and Cuba

Lectures given for Dealey Plaza, UK, Canterbury, Kent, UK. April 26th and April 27th, 2014. Canterbury Christ Church University.

By Joan Mellen

 I’ll speak today about CIA, in New Orleans and in Cuba, and tomorrow about my current project, a book about Lyndon Johnson and Mac Wallace.

 

The theme of my talks is “Murder Wol Out.” I cannot resist invoking Geoffrey Chaucer, because this was what Jim Garrison believed, even in the face of the dishonesties of Robert Blakey and the House Select Committee On Assassinations. Blakey made his deal with CIA early in his tenure, and it wasn’t long before he corrupted the good investigation pursued with thoroughness and subtlety led by Miami investigative reporter, the late Gaeton Fonzi.

“Judge, this is going nowhere,” former New Orleans homicide detective L. J. Delsa told Jim Garrison.

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The Canterbury Lectures — Lecture Two: Lyndon Johnson and Mac Wallace, Sunday April 2

Lectures given for Dealey Plaza, UK, Canterbury, Kent, UK. April 26th and April 27th, 2014. Canterbury Christ Church University.

By Joan Mellen

For those who may be new to the Mac Wallace/Lyndon Johnson scenario, Mac Wallace was a young Texan who has been linked to a series of murders of witnesses to the scams and schemes of a Texas con man named Billie Sol Estes. These crimes implicated Lyndon Johnson as a U.S. Senator, as a Vice-President, and then as President of the United States. According to the urban legend that grew up around Mac Wallace, and that was based entirely upon the accusations of Estes, Mac Wallace has come down in history, if he has, as a hit man in the pay and service of Lyndon Johnson.

According to this scenario, Mac Wallace murdered between eight and seventeen people, culminating, for some, in the assassination of President Kennedy. What we can state as fact is that Mac Wallace committed one murder for which he was tried and convicted of murder with malice, what in places other than Texas was called “murder in the first degree.”

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Review of “A Farewell to Justice” by Dr. Stuart Jeanne Bramhall, Veterans Today

From Veterans TodayPicture 10

New Evidence in JFK Assassination

Newly Unclassified Documents Prove High Level CIA Involvement

by Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall

A Farewell to Justice is an exhaustive review of the only arrest and trial stemming from the 1963 murder of President John F Kennedy. The late New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison describes the 1967 grand jury investigation and prosecution of long time CIA officer Clay Shaw in his 1988 bestseller On the Trail of the Assassins. In 1992, the public outcry prompted by JFK, Oliver Stone’s screen version, led Congress to pass the JFK Records Collection Act. A Farewell to Justice uses classified documents released under this Act to update Garrison’s original case against Shaw and other CIA co-conspirators.

A revised version of the 2005 edition, the new 647 page A Farewell to Justice is a virtual encyclopedia of the JFK assassination. The book leaves no doubt that high level CIA officials authorized the murder and provides a complete list of the cast of characters who played roles in the assassination and/or cover up.

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Speech delivered by Joan Mellen at the annual meeting of “November In Dallas,” for the JFK Lancer group, November 23, 2013

Larry Hancock suggested that the theme of this conference might be a
much neglected-issue faced by writers on the Kennedy assassination:
What constitutes reliable evidence? How do we recognize it? How then
do we interpret its meaning? Would the evidence we present be
acceptable in a court of law?
                    When is historical evidence even stronger than
information emerging at a trial? In the case of the book I am writing
about Mac Wallace, and no project presented more evidentiary problems
to me than the story of Mac Wallace – I had to raise this question:
does someone’s having sworn to tell the truth before a grand jury mean
that what he said was reliable? Did it constitute evidence? What if
this were your only witness?
           When the accusations that he had been Lyndon Johnson’s hit
man were made, Mac Wallace had been dead for thirteen years. Should
historians have taken the charges leveled against him seriously?

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The Politics of CIA Presented Joan Mellen at the Annual Meeting of COPA, Coalition on Political Assassinations

THE POLITICS OF CIA

Joan Mellen

November 23, 2013 at the annual meeting of COPA, Coalition on Political Assassinations

Dallas, Texas
In the media saturation of the fiftieth anniversary of the Kennedy assassination, Jim Garrison has been virtually ignored. His name is rarely mentioned in the profusion of articles or on the television programs cable or network about the assassination. Please allow me to suggest that the reason for Garrison’s being ignored, despite his monumental contribution to investigating who was behind the murder of President Kennedy is Garrison’s certainty that CIA stood behind the plotting of the assassination. In the corporate media, this view remains taboo.                                                     

My topic today is the political perspective, and values, of CIA, what policies it has pursued in its policy-making function, and what as an institution this Agency has stood for. What I’ve discovered in looking into the history of CIA is a concerted effort by this Agency to substitute itself for the elected government, executive and legislative branches both. If we look closely, we can observe CIA making policy far more blatantly than in the days when President Kennedy attempted to rein them in, and suffered the consequences.

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JFK and Its Historical Significance

Lecture, “JFK and Its Historical Significance,” conference at Rider University, “The Films of Oliver Stone,” November 2, 2013

 

Good morning. My name is Joan Mellen, and I’ve come to this conference commemorating Oliver Stone and his film “JFK” wearing three hats:

  • As a student and teacher of film studies
  • As a writer about the Kennedy assassination
  • And as the biographer of Jim Garrison

Many in this room could recite a litany of films that have played a role in illuminating history while advocating social change: “The Grand Illusion,” “All Quiet On the Western Front,” “Gentleman’s Agreement,” Oliver Stone’s own “Platoon” and “Born On The Fourth of July.” But “JFK” is different: “JFK” became an ACT of history.

                   From revealing the truth about the Kennedy assassination, and “JFK” does that, accurately, despite CIA’s efforts to say otherwise, Oliver Stone’s film went on to become a historical event in its own right. Stone’s film restored interest in the Kennedy assassination to new generations, people born too late to be susceptible to the obfuscations of the Warren Report and the confused Report of the House Select Committee On Assassinations with its emphasis on the Mafia. That we know.

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Clay Shaw Unmasked: The Garrison Case Corroborated

Address at “Passing the Torch: An International Symposium On The 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, held at the Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law.

Presented October 18, 2013

By Joan Mellen

I began my work on the Kennedy assassination by studying the Garrison investigation. Since 2005 I have attempted to bring Jim Garrison’s findings up to date utilizing the CIA, FBI and other agency releases that came to the National Archives after the passage of the John F. Kennedy Records Collection Act in 1992. For this, the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination, “A Farewell To Justice” was reissued with a 90 page update.

                      I put Perry Russo on the cover because he was a perfectly fine witness and he stood up well to the abuse of James Phelan and Walter Sheridan. I describe what  happened in an early chapter of “A Farewell to Justice.”

                  I’ve also written three other books that flowed from my work on the Garrison case. They were all influenced by Jim Garrison’s suggestion that we examine the activities of CIA and its role in American political life. “Our Man In Haiti” focuses on Lee Harvey Oswald’s CIA handler in Texas, George de Mohrenschildt, a figure parallel to Clay Shaw in New Orleans.

                      Among the curiosities at the National Archives are two brimming Office of Security files of documents and clippings dating from 1967, the time of the Garrison investigation. These materials are all about Garrison’s prosecution of Clay Shaw. Yet the file jackets read not “Jim Garrison,” “Garrison case” or “Clay Shaw.” Rather, they’re marked “George de Mohrenschildt.” For CIA, these figures served similar functions.

                        The Great Game In Cuba examines CIA’s handling of the anti-Castro efforts.  Following Jim Garrison’s hypothesis that CIA had something to do with the Kennedy assassination, it examines the politics of the Agency right before and after the JFK assassination. President Kennedy was furious to discover that CIA was making policy. I attempted to uncover the Agency’s political views, what policies they supported. The third book is set in Texas and is about Mac Wallace, who has been accused of being a hit man and murderer under the sway of Lyndon Johnson.

                Every author who writes on the subject of the Kennedy assassination today draws on the profusion of documents in the archives, myself included. Although these writers  rarely tip their hats to Jim Garrison in gratitude, they should. Were it not for Garrison there would have been no Oliver Stone movie, “JFK” since its focus is on the Garrison case.                          

                  Were it not for the outcry inspired by this film, there would be no JFK Act, and therefore no profusion of documents. JFK provoked a resurgence of interest in the Kennedy assassination, and more doubts about whether the Warren Report had any validity at all.

                         When a grand jury indicted Clay Shaw based significantly on the testimony of Garrison witness Perry Raymond Russo, it was, Garrison said, the first blow struck to the Warren Report. Garrison was the first person to make public the Zapruder film – at the Shaw trial. The prosecution showed the film several times. In response to objections from Clay Shaw’s lawyers, Judge Haggerty ruled that Garrison could show the Zapruder film as many times as he liked. So it was Garrison who first made the point, and in a court of law, that Lee Harvey Oswald, whatever he was, could not have been the “lone assassin” that the Warren Report depicted him as being.

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Joan Mellen on WLRN’s Topical Currents

Joan Mellen Discusses “The Great Game in Cuba: How the CIA Sabotaged Its Own Plot to Unseat Fidel Castro”

From the WLRN website: 04/15/13 – Monday’s Topical Currents is with Temple University professor and investigative author Joan Mellen. She’s written THE GREAT GAME IN CUBA: How the CIA Sabotaged Its Own Plot to Unseat Fidel Castro. Her story revolves around Texas ranch-tycoon Robert Kleberg, and his loss of a huge Cuban satellite property to Fidel Castro’s land grab. Shady CIA dealings included those of its Director, Allen Dulles, and then FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.

Haitian Art Gallery Presentation: “Our Man In Haiti: George de Mohrenschildt and The CIA In The Nightmare Republic

“Our Man In Haiti: George de Mohrenschildt and The CIA In The Nightmare Republic”

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Our_Man_in_Haiti_cover-medMy book is called “OUR MAN IN HAITI.” The title contains two Graham Greene references. It echoes “Our Man In Havana,” while the term “Nightmare Republic,” derives from Greene’s novel, “The Comedians.” Under the Duvalier regime, Haiti became for its people a “nightmare republic,” a designation that the painting on the cover suggests was not by any means permanent.

Here in a painting by the Haitian artist Gary Dorsainvil, we see neatly dressed, orderly Haitians, with picket signs evocative of the deep and abiding aspiration of the Haitian people to control t heir own destiny. They face five soldiers with guns trained on them as they continue to demonstrate, with signs that read “Vive La Liberte.”

The figures on the cover of “Our Man In Haiti” represent to me the descendants of the Haitian slaves of 1804 who determined that, no matter what, they would not submit to slavery ever again. They are a people who deserve better- their primordial crime having been to cast off their chains, no matter that the alarmed Great Republic to the North would keep hold of its own slaves for another half century and visit unrelenting economic subjugation on the Haitian people almost as if in retaliation for its great embarrassment.

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Books and Books Presentation

JOAN MELLEN BOOKS & BOOKS PRESENTATION

March 13, 2013

“The Great Game In Cuba: How The CIA Sabotaged Its Own Plot To Unseat Fidel Castro

Thank you very much for coming to this talk about “The Great Game In Cuba.” The title is a British locution referring to the intelligence services, in particular, MI6. My book is about CIA’s treatment of the Cuban struggle to unseat Fidel Castro. What I learned surprised me although it may not surprise people here tonight.

Given the 1967 CIA Inspector General’s Report of CIA-Mafia plots to assassinate Fidel Castro, we might have supposed that CIA would support the anti-Castro militants determined to conduct their struggle inside Cuba. Yet this was far from the case. In reality, CIA opposed and sabotaged those efforts. My book looks into CIA motives and methods and tells a story that hasn’t been told before, at least by an American.

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The Great Game In Cuba: How The CIA Sabotaged Its Own Plot To Unseat Fidel Castro

 

The Great Game In Cuba

The Great Game in Cuba uses the backdrop of the Cuban Revolution to examine the CIA’s inner workings during the fifties and sixties. Detailing the agency’s lies and deceits, Mellen paints a vivid behind-the-scenes picture of the CIA in Cuba after the Castro revolution: what it wanted and the lengths it was willing to go to paralyze the opposition to Fidel Castro.

The game begins with Robert J. Kleberg, Jr., proprietor of the legendary King Ranch, one of the largest ranches in the world. Kleberg’s messianic ambitions bring him to Cuba, where he establishes a satellite ranch managed by his right-hand man, the James Bond–type character Michael J. P. Malone, who secretly reported to both the FBI and to at least five CIA handlers.

From there the plot thickens as an array of Cubans share never-before-revealed information regarding the agency’s activities in Cuba and its attempts to unseat Castro and install a CIA-friendly figurehead in his place. The mysterious disappearance of Camilo Cienfuegos, a major figure in Castro’s government, is told here for the first time. The agency’s shady dealings with a major U.S. publication are uncovered.

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A testament to the sheer volume of previously classified and untold information, The Great Game in Cuba is a story the world needs to hear.

Contact Publicist Lauren Burnstein