Few people risk their job, their reputation and their life for an important mission. But that is what Eugene B. Dinkin did. For that reason, I believe Mr. Dinkin deserves the critical community’s respect and admiration. Maybe more than that. Yet how many people, even in the research community, know who he is? If one turns to a standard reference book on the JFK case, Michael Benson’s Who’s Who in the JFK Assassination, the man merits only three desultory lines that tell us nothing about him. In the first edition of the late Jim Marrs’ Crossfire, which is really a desk compendium on the JFK case, there is no mention of him.
So who is Eugene B. Dinkin and what exactly did he do involving the assassination of President Kennedy? Dinkin was a young American soldier who was serving in the United States Army in 1963. If he is a hero, and this author thinks he is, why have we not heard about him?
One reason is this: the Warren Commission hid his name and the information he had gathered in an attempt to warn the President about a plot prior to November 22, 1963. Fifteen years later, he tried to get his information to the House Select Committee on Assassination to help solve the crime, but they also hid this information.
I first got a hint of Private First Class Dinkin when, in the early Nineties, I saw a file that referenced an Army man who had information about the murder of the President. The file was dated from the Seventies, but it did not include Dinkin’s name. I was left to wonder who the person was and what he knew. Then in the mid-Nineties Congress passed the JFK Records Act, mandating that the CIA, FBI, U. S. Secret Services and other agencies release their holdings on the assassination to the National Archives. That mandate also covered the material that the Warren Commission and the HSCA had collected. (The U.S. Army should also have released their files, but it was learned that they had destroyed their files sometime in the 1970’s, which is an important story for another time.)
Once bundles of files came to the archives, I went there looking for all that I could find on the twenty-some witnesses who took film or photos in and around Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963. (That is a topic for another interesting story.) In the back of my mind, the Army soldier file lurked. So with the kind assistance of the personnel at the Archives, we came up with Dinkin’s name and a trove of documents about his story.
Regular Army Private First Class Dinkin was serving in Metz, France in the 599th Ordinance Group. He held a secret security clearance for his job in the crypto-section of his unit. Prior to enlisting he had attended the University of Chicago. He and his family had lived in Chicago. His studies at the university included psychology. His duties at Metz would have included deciphering cable traffic from the European Commands, NATO and so forth.
In September, 1963, Dinkin noticed material in the Army newspaper, Stars and Stripes, and other print publications, that was negative toward the president and his policies and implied that he was a weak president in dealing with the Russians. The examples that he found became more negative, the suggestion being that if he were removed as president it would be a good thing. By mid-October Dinkin had found enough information—some of it subliminal—that he was convinced that a plot was in the works. One driven by some high ranking members of the military, some right-wing economic groups, and with support by some national media outlets.
He did not tell his superior officers about this information—given that he believed that the military was involved. He did tell quite a few Army friends and some others that I will note shortly. This information probably got back to Army authorities because Dinkin was transferred to the Army Depot in Metz, France, where his duties did not require a secret clearance.
Dinkin’s studies forced him to conclude that the plot would happen around November 28, 1963, and that the assassination would be blamed on “a Communist or a Negro”. He then sent a registered letter to Attorney General Robert Kennedy. When he got no reply, he decided on other options.
In late October, 1963, Dinkin gathered up the material that he found that had psychological sets, which Dinkin would be sensitive to because of his college studies. Psychological sets are a batch of information that is used to induce a particular state of mind in an individual being exposed to the sets. The sets can be a series of pictures, events, written statements or combinations of the aforementioned examples that are used by advertisers and others to implant ideas into the mind of the people being exposed to them. In advertising, of course, the goal would be to get you, the target audience, to be interested enough in the product or service that you would buy it.
In the case of the psychological sets being used against President Kennedy, the goal was to get American citizens to believe that President Kennedy was a weak, Communist-sympathizer, whose murder would not be a bad thing. Additionally, Dinkin concluded that sets were placed in print media to implant into citizens’ consciousness the recognition of Oswald, Ruby and various other assassination artifacts.
On October 25, 1963, Dinkin left Metz and went to the United States Embassy in Luxembourg, where he tried to see Mr. Cunningham, Chargé d’Affaires at the embassy. He sent word to Mr. Cunningham that he had information concerning a plot to assassinate the president, and at one point he was able to speak to Mr. Cunningham by phone. Mr. Cunningham refused to see him or to review the newspapers and other data that he had collected that would advance his assertions. While he was at the Luxembourg Embassy, Dinkin spoke to an unnamed Marine Corps guard about his research. Not being successful in his attempt to get authorities to pass on his warning, he went back to his unit at the Army Depot.
After he returned from Luxembourg, his superiors informed him that he was to undergo a psychological evaluation on November 5, 1963. Due to this impending development, Dinkin went absent without official leave from his unit and travelled to Geneva, Switzerland to try to present his information to some higher authority.
In Switzerland, he went to the newspaper Geneva Diplomat and tried to speak to the editor. Dinkin also tried to talk to a Mr. DeWhirst, a Newsweek reporter, but he would not listen to the information. Dinkin then went to Time-Life publications and was able to speak to the secretary who was located in Zurich.
On November 6, 1963, Dinkin went to the press room of the United Nations office in Geneva. There he told reporters about the plot. One reporter, Alex des Fontaines, a stringer for Time-Life and Radio Canada, later told authorities that he and a female reporter both recalled Dinkin talking about his assassination information, which prompted Des Fontaines to file the story on November 26, 1963.
In 1977, when the House Select Committee on Assassinations was re-investigating the murders of President Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Dinkin related some of his ordeal in a letter to Jacqueline Hess, one of the chief investigators for the Committee. He wrote that on November 6, 1963, he had told the Tass News Agency representative about his forecast of the assassination. Dinkin said on November 7th and 8th that he was in Frankfurt and Bonn, Germany and had been a cryptographic operator at the 599th Ordinance Company, Metz, France. He wrote that his secret clearance had been revoked at the time messages were going across teletype lines. He noted to Hess that he had never decoded any illicit cryptographic message that appeared to relate to the JFK assassination. Six months after Dinkin wrote to Hess at the HSCA, he received a form letter, but not from Hess. It was from the HSCA Chief Counsel Robert Blakey.
An FBI Airtel from the Paris Legation to FBI Director Hoover of February 27, 1964 gives additional information about the FBI’s knowledge of Dinkin’s activities in Geneva in
early November 1963. The Airtel noted that on November 8, 1963—over two weeks before Kennedy’s assassination—a Bern Airtel contained references to Dinkin’s activities and stated that since his statements and actions apparently received considerable publicity, his case might have already come to the Bureau’s attention. If that had not already occurred, it certainly would now be that the FBI was onto it. From these intelligence documents, and his attempts to meet embassy personnel, we know that a significant number of people, some of them officials of the United States government, either met Dinkin and/or heard Dinkin’s information. They all failed to investigate it thoroughly, report it to the Secret Service, or report it to the White House.
About a month after the assassination, with the Warren Commission in process, Eugene Dinkin’s mother wrote a letter to the Attorney General’s office. In her December 29, 1963, letter she noted that she was writing on behalf of her son. She stated that, through his semantic studies, her son knew how the assassination was planned. Mrs. Dinkin wondered if the Attorney General could arrange someone to talk with Eugene so that perhaps some important information could come of this. She ended the letter by hoping that the Attorney General would look into this matter. She gave her son’s location as Walter Reed Army Hospital, right there in Washington, D. C.
Mrs. Dinkin’s letter was answered by Assistant Attorney General Herbert J. Miller Jr. Which was unfortunate, because, as writers like James DiEugenio have shown, Miller was an important part of the cover up. (See The Assassinations, edited by James DiEugenio and Lisa Pease, pp. 35-40) He replied in keeping with that pose.
In his one paragraph answer, Miller lied to Mrs. Dinkin three times. He said the matter was entirely in the jurisdiction of the Department of the Army. This was not true; the FBI had been given authority on November 29, 1963 by an executive order of the White House to investigate all matters pertaining to the murder of the President. The FBI is the investigative arm of the Justice Department. Miller’s second false statement was that his
(Miller’s) department had no authority to take action. Obviously wrong, since the Justice Department houses the FBI. His third lie was that the Attorney General had only asked him to acknowledge Mrs. Dinkin’s letter. Early after the assassination, Attorney General Robert Kennedy came to CIA Director John McCone and asked him if the Agency was involved in any way in his brother’s death. From that indication, Robert Kennedy would have been very interested in hearing what PFC Dinkin knew about the murder.
Agency cables of November 12 and 18 to CIA Director McCone should have made him interested in getting more knowledge about Dinkin or, at the minimum, alerting the Secret Service about Dinkin’s information. Neither Director McCone nor anyone from the CIA passed this knowledge on to the President or the Secret Service in time to foil the plot. The CIA and the FBI had at least 2 weeks, from November 8 to 22, to warn the Secret Service and the President. They did not do so. On November 13, 1963, after he had returned to base in Metz, Dinkin was confined to the “Psych Ward” where, on the evening of November 22nd, he was questioned by a Secret Service agent and asked if the plot was from the left or right. Dinkin said that it was “from the right”.
On December 5, 1963, Dinkin was sent to Walter Reed Hospital. There he underwent numerous psychiatric tests. He told the FBI that he was aware that the Army psychiatrist had declared him to be “psychotic” and “paranoiac”. Dinkin was at Walter Reed for 4 months. There he was given extensive therapy, including being asked to record lists of words. Dinkin had been recently discharged from the Army prior to an interview by the FBI on April 1, 1964.
The FBI interviewed Dinkin in Chicago on April 1, 1964. He told them that he had been discharged from the Army. He then related the details about his pre-knowledge of the assassination. He told the agents that he first became aware of the plot to assassinate President Kennedy in September, 1963. At that point Dinkin felt that he did not have enough facts to support his view, but by October he believed he had enough information to substantiate his theory.
So, on October 16, 1963, he wrote a letter to Attorney General Robert Kennedy setting forth his information, and signed the letter with his own name. He got a friend to send the registered letter because Eugene thought the letter might be intercepted if he showed his own name and address on the envelope. In the letter he requested that he be interviewed by a representative from the Justice Department. (He got no response, but since we know that Asst. Attorney General Herbert Miller answered Mrs. J. Dinkin’s letter to Attorney General Bobby Kennedy, it is likely that Miller intercepted this letter as well.) Dinkin informed the agents who interviewed him that he had told a number of people about his research. He listed the following individuals as having heard the plot details prior to November 22, 1963: PFC Dennis DeWitt, PFC Larry Pullen, Sergeant Walter Reynolds , a Dr. Afar, an Army psychology teacher at Metz, and R. Thomas, a student attending Friebourg University in Switzerland.
After Dinkin returned from his leave to Switzerland and Germany on November 8, he was placed in detention until November 13. While there, Dinkin was contacted by a white male who identified himself verbally as a representative of the Defense Department. This individual asked Dinkin for the location of the material that he had compiled as proof of his prediction of the assassination of President Kennedy. He added that he desired to obtain these proofs and furnish Dinkin a receipt for the papers. Eugene told the FBI agents that he instructed the man where the papers were located at the base, at which time the man left. This was prior to the assassination.
Dinkin stated that upon his release from custody, he discovered that all of his notes were missing. He presumed that the individual mentioned previously had taken them. Dinkin never received a receipt for his papers. Dinkin reasserted to the FBI agents that he believed that there had been a plot perpetrated by a “military group,” and abetted by newspaper personnel working with the group that plotted to assassinate President Kennedy.
After November 13, 1963, Dinkin was taken to Landstuhl Hospital in Germany for a psychological evaluation, and was subsequently transferred to Walter Reed Naval Hospital, where he remained for four months until he was discharged. At this point in April, 1964, Dinkin had given the FBI agents enough information for them to verify his story. They could have interviewed the individuals with whom Eugene had consulted about his assassination information. Additionally, the FBI could have interviewed the white male from the Defense Department. The FBI could have easily identified him because the CID detention center at Metz would have kept a visitor log and no one would have been able to visit a prisoner without signing in and showing identification.
So far in my ongoing research, I have found no indication that the FBI did anything that was called for to either corroborate Dinkin’s story or refute it. Hopefully when more materials are released in a few days to the National Archives at College Park, Maryland, we will get a complete picture of the Dinkin saga.
Dinkin filed a civil suit in New York against the Army and others. Writer Dick Russell references that action in his book as Civil Action No. 75C 1015 U.S. District Court for Eastern District of New York. There is no information in the record of which I am aware that has indicated that Dinkin was contacted by the Warren Commission, despite their having been made aware of him by the FBI. Also, there is no record that the Secret Service or the Justice Department contacted him for detailed interviews, even though these agencies knew of Dinkin while the investigation of the assassination was ongoing.
As noted above, on February 23, 1977, when the HSCA was reinvestigating the murder of the President, Dinkin wrote a letter to Jacqueline Hess, Deputy Chief Researcher. Dinkin noted to Hess that he felt that the enclosed material, which he called Media Demonstrations, could be used as evidence to discover the source of the crime. He noted that studies in perception, brain research, mass hysteria, and subliminal advertising should be used as a reference framework for understanding the exhibits that he enclosed. Dinkin mentioned that further examples of the demonstrations that he sent could be gotten from a civil action he had filed at the U.S. District Court, Eastern District, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Dinkin followed up with another letter dated March 10, 1977. In this letter to Jacqueline Hess, he noted some errors in the material sent by Richard Helms, CIA Deputy Director of Plans, to the Warren Commission back in 1964, that related to his activities in Switzerland and Germany during the time he was attempting to warn authorities about the assassination. He again stated to Hess that he believed that the exhibits that he had sent could be pertinent to the HSCA investigation. With the 23 examples that Dinkin enclosed with his February letter, he provided written descriptions for how to interpret the demonstrations.
Demonstration 2, for instance, is comprised of photos from the October 15, 1963 and October 18, 1963 editions of Stars and Stripes. The headline on the October 15th story is “Prospective Bosses Fire Jack With Enthusiasm”. The photo attached to the story is of Jack Pierce, an unemployed California man who has been fired 73 times. The man in the photo has a vague resemblance to Oswald. President Kennedy was often referred to as Jack, so the headline could be processed to mean getting rid of Jack Kennedy. The California man’s name reinforces this subliminal message: pierce Jack -with a bullet. The October 18th story includes a picture of an Army specialist named Clinton Pierce. This photo of Pierce has a vague resemblance to Oswald. Pierce’s job is operating heavy equipment, and the story is about his toy collecting hobby. The caption under his photo is, “so who needs a Jack?” This again could be taken to mean Jack is unnecessary and can be gotten rid of. The last name of the Army specialist is “Pierce”, again a reference to putting a hole in something.
The other demonstrations include a number of different types of psychological sets that create a variety of assassination related images in the mind of the reader/viewer. In researching the murder of President Kennedy I have found a number of examples similar to those that Dinkin discovered.
The July 2, 1963 edition of Look Magazine has a caption in the upper right-hand corner of the cover page that reads, “Why Kennedy’s in Trouble”. The caption is written in red, the color of blood. The main part of the Look cover is of Pope John kneeling in prayer. The caption and the Pope taken together could suggest the Pope praying at a funeral mass. The title of the story inside, “Why there is trouble on the New Frontier”, has the words “New Frontier” also in blood red. The story itself was critical of many of the President’s decisions on a variety of issues. JFK when first elected was likened to a new Adam, but the article focuses on the New Frontier’s lack of success in getting domestic programs passed, which suggests the fall of Adam. The article included phrases like “a dark breeze blowing through the Washington political community,” “the bloodstained frontier,” “woes descended on the head of the President,” and “White House unfurled the white flag,” suggesting the fall of the new Adam.
I have found additional demonstrations in the February 2, 1963, June 8, 1963, and the November 16, 1963, November 23, 1963 issues of Saturday Evening Post, and the July 5, 1963 issue of Life. I have not located all copies of Hearst publications dated between March, 1963 and November, 1963, so there might be more examples of psychological sets out there that were intended to predispose citizens to accept aspects of the assassination of President Kennedy. Writer Dick Russell included quite a bit of Dinkin’s information in his book The Man Who Knew Too Much. Noel Twyman also covered some of Dinkin’s story in Bloody Treason. Neither of these writers used the psychological set examples that Dinkin sent to the HSCA, probably indicating that they had not seen them.
Russell obliquely refers to material in publications as part of a cover story that Dinkin came up with to account for where he thought he had learned about the plot. This idea surfaced during the Jim Garrison investigation where, like many leads, Dinkin’s name first appeared. Russell writes that some of the military associates Garrison’s investigators talked to told the DA that while he was hospitalized, Dinkin was made to recite a cover story. This may be because when Garrison dug deeper into Dinkin he discovered that one of his functions as a code breaker was to decipher messages from the French OAS. (Dick Russell, The Man Who Knew too Much, Second Edition, p. 352) Which is interesting, since the OAS despised Kennedy for his alliance with Charles DeGaulle against their efforts to overthrow the French leader, and also Kennedy’s early advocacy for independence for the French colony of Algeria, which they violently resisted. As Henry Hurt later discovered, a member of the OAS (Secret Army Organization) was in Fort Worth the morning of the assassination, and in Dallas that afternoon. He was picked up within 48 hours and expelled back to France. (Hurt, Reasonable Doubt, pp. 414-19)
This, of course, is only a theory. But it remains such because neither the FBI, nor the Warren Commission, ever investigated the Dinkin case. And there is no evidence that the HSCA, even though they knew he was alive, ever tried to interview him. Even though it was a fact that he predicted Kennedy’s assassination well in advance of his murder. If that was not an important lead, then what was? Such was the quality of the inquiries into the JFK assassination.
- Warren Commission Document 788
- HSCA CIA cable 11/12/63
- HSCA CIA cable 11/18/63
- CIA Text Document (Russ Holmes File) 11/29/63
- FBI File Paris Legation 02/27/64
- CIA Text Document (Russ Holmes File) 05/19/64
- DOJ Document 12/29/63, HSCA Letter 02/23/77
- HSCA Letter 08/10/77
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