In 1963, PFC Eugene Barry Dinkin, Rose Cheramie, Richard Case Nagell, Joseph Milteer, U. S. Air Force Sergeant David Christensen, and some others had some kind of advance knowledge that a plot about President John F. Kennedy’s assassination was in the works. In this part 3 of my series entitled “The Saga of Eugene B. Dinkin”, I will show examples of some of the “psychological sets” that Dinkin retrieved and presented to the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1977. Also, I will present info he found about an Air Force Captain named T.D. Smith III.
Here is a recap of some basic information about Dinkin’s attempt to alert the world to the plot that was in place to assassinate President Kennedy.
Regular Army Private First Class Dinkin was serving in Mannsweiler, Germany in the 529th 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 Champaign/Urbana campus of the University of Illinois. He and his family had lived in Chicago. His studies at the university included psychology. His duties would have included deciphering cable traffic from the European Commands, NATO, and so forth.
In the summer of 1963, Dinkin noticed material in the Army newspaper, Stars and Stripes, and other print publications that was negative toward Kennedy and his policies, implying that he was a weak president in dealing with the Russians. The examples that he found became more negative: the suggestion being that if Kennedy were removed as president it would be a good thing.
By October, Dinkin had found enough information—some of it subliminal—that he was convinced that a plot was in the works. One that was driven by some high-ranking members of the military, some right-wing economic groups, and with support by some national media outlets. (Dick Russell, The Man Who Knew too Much, p. 349)
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 noted in my original article. 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 led 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 to resort to other options. (Russell, pp. 349-50)
In late October, 1963, Dinkin gathered up the material that he found in 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 mixture. The sets can be a series of pictures, events, written statements, or a combination of the aforementioned examples used by advertisers and others to implant ideas into the mind of the people that have been 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 a letter written by his mother to Robert Kennedy on December 29, 1963, she said that DInkin had figured out the outlines of a plot against JFK through what she called semantics studies of various journals, especially the Stars and Stripes military magazine. He predicted the date of the murder to be November 28th. It should be noted that in his civil suit of 1975, DInkin wrote to CIA Director Bill Colby in July of that year. He requested all information that the Agency used for “subliminal and illusory distortion techniques in visual communications. Include also any psychological studies regarding the propaganda effectiveness of such techniques.” That letter was not declassified until 1998, the last year of the ARRB’s existence.
Dinkin took his material to Luxembourg, where he visited the American Embassy. There, he tried to see Ambassador William R. Rivkin, but Rivkin was out of the embassy at the time. The Charge d’Affaires, a Mr. Cunningham, refused to read or keep a copy of the data that Dinkin had with him. (Russell, p. 350) Dinkin did share some of the material with a U.S. Marine guard at the embassy.
Disappointed, Dinkin returned to his unit. Shortly after his return, he learned that he had been scheduled to take a psych exam. This caused him to believe that his superiors had learned about his visit to the American Embassy in Luxembourg. (Since CIA Stations in Europe are located at or near the embassies, it is likely that the CIA, also knew of his attempt to pass on his assassination material.)
Shortly after his return to his unit, Dinkin decided to try one more time to get his info to someone who could warn President Kennedy. He went AWOL to Switzerland to find some agency that would help. He visited a number of offices including the newspaper, the Geneva Diplomat, and Time/Life Europe. There, a stringer, Alex des Fontaines, and another female stringer took down the details of Dinkin’s story. (Letter from Richard Helms to the Warren Commission, of May 19, 1964.) As Noel Twyman has shown, the Helms letter to the Commission was not declassified until 1976. And at that time, Dinkin’s name was redacted. It was not released in full until 1992 by the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB). (Twyman, Kennedy Assassination Chronicles, Vol. 4, No. 1)
There was another source which was used by Helms before he wrote his letter to the Commission. This was a teletype that was not declassified until 1995 by the ARRB. It was a report by John Whitten, who was the original CIA liaison to the Commission. In that source it was revealed that, about three weeks in advance, Dinkin had predicted the assassination of JFK would take place in Texas. That particular piece of information appears to be missing from the Helms letter. (See Twyman)
Dinkin also went to Germany, but could not find anyone to pass his info on to the White House. Even the editor of Overseas Weekly would not take his claim seriously. The editor told him to return to his base in order to avoid an AWOL charge.
When he returned to his unit at Metz, France, he was arrested and delivered to the stockade by the Army. This was on November 13, nine days before the assassination. He was then placed in a mental hospital in a closed ward. After the assassination, and while Dinkin was in custody, he was visited by a man who identified himself as a Defense Department official. This man questioned Dinkin about how he knew about the assassination. The official also asked Dinkin for his research material, saying that he would give Dinkin a receipt. Dinkin told him where the material was stored at his barracks. Later when he was able to go to the barracks, he discovered the data was gone and the official did not return to give him a receipt. Had the FBI and Secret Service wanted to identify the DOD official, they could have easily done so. Since Dinkin was in the stockade, anyone visiting him would have had to provide identification and then sign in. The FBI and Secret Service, working for the Warren Commission, did not interview the soldiers, embassy officials and others that Dinkin had shared his information with. The Paris Legation of the FBI inadvertently acknowledged the fact that Dinkin had told his story to several entities. Not long after his psych exam, Dinkin was ordered to report to Walter Reed Army Hospital in the Washington, D.C., area.
Here I will describe some of the examples of “psychological sets” that Dinkin found in various print media sources.
One psych-set demo Dinkin found that had an implied threat to the president was in the July 2, 1963, edition of Look Magazine. The title of an article inside was, “Why Kennedy’s in Trouble”. The title was inside a black border, but the print title was colored blood red.
The article inside the magazine referred to President Kennedy as a new Adam. The analogy would be that Kennedy, like Adam being kicked out of Eden, would be kicked out of his place, the White House. The inside title, “Why There’s Trouble in the New Frontier” is partly colored blood red.
A second example Dinkin deemed significant was from July 5, 1963 edition of Life Magazine. In it, there is a photo of President Kennedy riding in a motorcade in Germany. JFK is standing in the limousine looking back and to the side. There is a dark spot/defect on the back of his head that looks like a chunk of his scalp is missing.
Inside this edition there are pictures of the president’s visit to Ireland. In one of the photos, there is a gravestone with the name John Kennedy on it.
Another article was in the October 15th edition of Stars and Stripes, titled, “Prospective Bosses Fire Jack with Enthusiasm.” The men in both articles resemble Lee Oswald, they are both named pierce/peirce, which can mean putting a hole in something. President Kennedy was often referred to as “Jack.”
On the management staff of Life Magazine, during the time that Life bought the Zapruder film and kept it from the public for more than 10 years, was C. D. Jackson. Jackson was President Eisenhower’s psychological warfare expert. Jackson would have known executive staff in all of the print media where these psychological sets were found by Dinkin. If Jackson was instrumental in the handling of the purchase Zapruder film and subsequent unusual happenings to the film at that very powerful magazine. For instance, their refusal to depict the rearward head moment of the president as he was struck at Z frame 313. And their explanation of a frontal neck wound in Kennedy by saying he was turned around looking at the Texas School Book Depository when that bullet struck. As they must have known, Kennedy is never rotated like that in the film.
While her son Eugene was in the psych ward of Walter Reed Army Hospital, Mrs. Dinkin wrote to Robert Kennedy at the Justice Department. In the letter, she noted that Eugene had asked her to write to Robert Kennedy. Mrs. Dinkin said that Eugene knows through his semantic studies how the assassination was planned and that if you can send someone to talk to him some very important information may come of this. Her letter did not reach Robert Kennedy, but was intercepted by Assistant Attorney General Herbert “Jack” Miller. At this time, Jack Miller had been appointed liaison to the Warren Commission by Deputy Assistant General Nicholas Katzenbach. Miller coordinated the investigation in Dallas into the murder of the President.
Ironically, if the FBI had conducted an honest investigation, Miller as liaison would have been the perfect person for Mrs. Dinkin to have contacted. However, with Miller in control, the FBI hid much important information, did not interview witnesses that could have substantiated Dinkin’s foreknowledge of the plot, and kept many of the films and photos that were taken during the shooting in Dealey Plaza from the public.
Miller, in his answer to Mrs. Dinkin’s letter requesting that someone from the Justice Department go to Walter Reed Hospital to talk to Eugene, lied to her by saying that the Justice Department could not contact Eugene, because he was in the military. President Johnson’s Executive Order creating the Warren Commission gave the FBI, the investigative arm of the Justice Department, the power to find and collect all information about the assassination from any and all agencies.
(In 1967, as James DiEugenio details in Destiny Betrayed, Second Edition, during New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison’s re-investigation of the murder of the President, Miller attempted to sandbag Garrison’s probe.)
During the House Select Committee on Assassinations investigation into the murders of President Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Eugene contacted Jacqueline Hess, the Asst. Director of the committee. He offered to help the investigation by providing information that he had found. He was not called as a witness and his offer of information was rebuffed by a form letter from HSCA Director Robert Blakey.
There are significant differences between Dinkin’s military record and the information that the FBI supplied to the Warren Commission. I will cover that and some other series.
I hope eventually that Mr. Dinkin gets the posthumous recognition that he deserves.