The Failings of Joseph Farrell: A Review of LBJ and the Conspiracy to Kill Kennedy
On the eve of the 50th Anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination a rather suspicious glut of obfuscation has descended upon us. We have Tom Hanks stepping into the arena with an Oswald-did-it tale. We have Leonardo DiCaprio falling in with the sad figures of Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann and their false-mob-did-it theorems. Now we have the specter of Lyndon Johnson either crashing the party alone or with a whole host of others in a number of hyped yet flawed books, e.g. Philip Nelson’s book, which, if you recall, Joseph Green did not like very much. (http://www.ctka.net/reviews/Green_LBJ.html)
One would think that Joseph Farrell’s LBJ and the Conspiracy to Kill Kennedy: A Coalescence of Interests is at the cutting edge of LBJ ‘did it’ bogus research by chucking aliens into the mix. But during my travels over the years, I have met a number of ‘travellers’ of a different kind who regularly mix their aliens with LBJ, body and Zapruder film alteration to the point of abnormality. Make no mistake, many, if not most of those afflicted with the ‘Johnsonitis’ (a cruel condition) exhibit symptoms of consistently advocating for the very worst information and witnesses in the whole spectrum of JFK research.
Many of these LBJ advocates may react angrily to themselves being associated with the crank fringe, in particularly with UFO’s. This is another symptom of the condition. The lies, misrepresentations and deceit inside Farrell’s book are a libellous marvel to behold. Yet, were the UFO angle not included, Farrell’s book would likely be lauded as a masterpiece by some simply because it says "Johnson did it." Farrell’s effort does not top John Hankey, a man who still resides atop CTKA’s list of worst researchers ever. But Farrell’s debut turn in the field is an impressively bad effort that undoubtedly puts him in the league of Robert Morningstar, Lamar Waldron and Paul Kangas as people to avoid like the plague.
This essay is in two parts. The first deals with details of Farrell’s book large and small, while the second deals with the ludicrous long essay, “Nomenclature of an Assassination Cabal” aka the Torbitt Document, which, if you can believe it, is a central tenet of Farrell’s work.
The Failings of Farrell — Part One
I) Enter the Dragon
Depressed about having to write this all up I looked around and noted that Charles Drago had done a good deal of the review for me on the Deep Politics Forum (https://deeppoliticsforum.com/forums/showthread.php?6504-LBJ-and-the-Conspiracy-to-Kill-Kennedy-A-Coalescence-of-Interests):
“I'm about a third of the way through Farrell. And for what it's worth, I've read just about everything he's published.
“Farrell's ultimate concerns are other than those of all but the tiniest percentage of JFK assassination scholars. What you're going to get from this book is a grand tour of those concerns.
“To summarize without having finished the book would be unfair. I can make two preliminary judgements, however:
“1. Nothing new whatsoever yet in terms of evidence.
“2. Farrell's title is significantly misleading.
“Again with the caveat that, while I've spot-checked the entire volume, I've seriously read/reviewed no more than a third of it, it seems to me that the title was chosen more for cynical marketing purposes than for any textual contention that LBJ was the assassination's prime mover.
“Farrell will turn off most of us. To follow his reasoning, you must accept his theories regarding everything from ancient extraterrestrial cosmic warfare, to alchemical and "magical" roots and practices within global political structures, to the existence of advanced saucer-shaped craft of Nazi design and development.
“And even if your mind is so open that you'll hang in there with Farrell as his JFK analysis unfolds — in fact, even if you accept in principle the second and third theories as indicated above — you may find his perspective on deep political subtleties of the sort we focus upon to be other than fine.
“This book also is highly derivative in terms of its accounts of Masonic "designs" detectable within the JFK plot. Some of us are old enough to remember a pamphlet-sized publication which made the rounds in the '70s which argued these points. I own it and will try to locate it as discussion of this book continues.”
Clearly, with this pamphlet-sized publication from the seventies, Charles was referring to the now infamous Nomenclature/Torbitt essay which first surfaced in 1970. The year after Clay Shaw was acquitted in New Orleans. As we shall see, that was no coincidence of timing.
II) Trust us - We’re Professionals!
How Charles Drago could read even one of Farrell’s books is a testament to his courage, patience and temperament. To say he has read them all and not thrown himself out the nearest window is testament to his will to live. Lacking Charles’ patience and refinement after reading Farrell’s JFK bilge I have to advise people wanting to find truth in the Kennedy assassination not to touch him with a ten foot pole—Farrell, that is, not Drago.
One of the many gaping flaws of Farrell’s book is readily apparent at its outset. It has an agenda the size of the Great Pyramid of Giza (which, considering Farrell’s previous work, is an ironic yet fitting comparison.) This appears set by Farrell’s friend and crank publishing magnate David Hatcher Childress of Adventures Unlimited Press. In Farrell’s Acknowledgements and Preliminaries section on page 7 he notes that his book on LBJ was the first he had ever been asked to produce for a publishing company. Apparently Childress had insisted that the author use Craig Zirbel’s utterly banal The Texas Connection as the core text for the book.
Let us look at Childress’s impeccable research credentials in the Kennedy sphere that led him to believe in Zirbel as the great ‘Yogi’ of the case.
1.) Childress has backed up, endorsed, and researched the woefully trite conspirahypocrite tome Inside the Gemstone Files with Kenn ‘Steam Shovel Press’ Thomas (http://old.disinfo.com/archive/pages/dossier/id366/pg1/).
2.) He is also an ardent supporter of the fraudulent ‘Crystal Skull’ (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/technology/news/article.cfm?c_id=5&objectid=9005853)
3.) He’s studied brain eating Yetis (http://americanmonsters.com/site/2010/10/famed-author-believes-in-brain-eating-yeti/) .
Indeed, it seems that a prerequisite of writing for Childress is that you have to believe in the Gemstone Files, Torbitt Document, and know Lyndon Johnson killed Kennedy.
Farrell, like Childress, is also no slouch on the kook new age conspiracy gravy train. He’s the author of some rather unfortunately titled books like Giza Death Star Deployed — about the great pyramid being part of an inter-galactic nexus for the Egyptian military industrial complex, which when activated had disastrous consequences for the Solar system. There’s also Cosmic War: Interplanetary Warfare, Modern Physics and Ancient Texts. Now, if your publisher buys into goofiness concerning the Gemstone Files, Crystal skulls, Yetis and the Torbitt Document, do you really think there’s much chance of Farrell being a credible source for anything? Let alone something as complex and as booby trapped as the JFK case?
New age cranks are every bit as bad as Alex Jones’ militia followers (just go to Project Camelot where any and all types of flakes congregate for starters), grand conspiratorial narratives abound. Common sense, not to mention critical analysis, are ignored in favor of wild theories and the adoration of other fantasists. For a long time now many of them, like Jones, have been trying to stake a claim in the Kennedy assassination, or have delusions that their works will be widely accepted within its ranks. Yet this is exceptionally hard to do when you have no idea about older JFK works like say Six Seconds in Dallas, Rush to Judgment, Never Again, Plausible Denial, High Treason, and Conspiracy; or modern ARRB era works like JFK and the Unspeakable, Let Justice Be Done, The Assassinations, The Last Investigation, or Breach of Trust; or at least aspects of books like A Certain Arrogance and Someone Would Have Talked.
These books are just a sampling of what is today available, and despite differences of opinion in some areas they are at the very least honest works, infinitely better than anything Farrell and company have written, or will write on the subject. Though some good material is referenced in Farrell’s book like, for example, John Newman, Fletcher Prouty and Harold Weisberg, all three of them, particularly Weisberg, would have scorned Farrell as a kook of the worst kind. And to lump Newman, Prouty and Weisberg in with the likes of Daniel Estulin, David Lifton, Richard Hoagland, Michael Hoffman, Edward Jay Epstein, James Hepburn, Jim Fetzer and Dave Perry (despite Perry’s being correct about Madeleine Duncan Brown), clearly shows why this melting pot of conspiracy gumbo has a fetid stench lingering around it.
III) Zirbelus Hyperbolus
Let us put Farrell’s and Childress’ lurid acid trip-tinged, cryptozoological, science fiction fantasies and their poor choice of sources behind us. And let us focus again on their hero Craig Zirbel. In the footnotes on page 8, Farrell triumphantly states:
“Zirbel's book will become a central component of our case that Johnson was intimately connected to most of the groups alleged to have been involved in the assassination and thus a key member of the actual “planning committee” of the assassination.”
Let us examine this bizarre claim in-depth. Because it is through examining this comment that we discover what is fundamental about this pretentious, arrogant and confused canard of a book. First, after promoting himself as a scholar with numerous degrees, it is stunning that Farrell, a theologian--supposedly familiar with primary and secondary sources--could bestow Zirbel’s publication (which is, believe it or not, as bad as Farrell’s) with any historical merit? Zirbel’s The Texas Connection is only loosely footnoted in a way that makes it difficult to pinpoint exactly what was said by whom. (For his part, Farrell, the academic, didn’t bother with a name index at the back of his book either — preferring instead seven pages of adverts for all manner of Childress's absurdities and an order form).
During the length of the book, Farrell gradually adds the names of the organizations involved, slowly building up to a crescendo on page 203. The list has their involvement coming in at 3 differing levels 1.) executing the murder 2.) framing Oswald and 3.) being in charge of the overall cover up. Borrowing heavily from the long discredited Torbitt Document (discussed in Part II of this review) he names the following suspects in these categories:
Anti Castro Cubans, Mafia, FBI, CIA, Big Oil, Military, Bankers (Federal Reserve), Nazis, Masons.
Now, recall, this book is supposed to be about Johnson’s role as a ‘kingpin’ in the plot. Hence its title. The problem is that by the end of the book it seems that Johnson is in fact superseded in importance by the three main groups who organized the crime — the Mafia, Big Oil and Nazis — at least that’s what I can make out. It’s actually really hard to discern what the hell is going on. And it’s even more confusing because Zirbel didn’t say jack about any of these guys being involved. Indeed he went out of his way to deny and make excuses (some concerning the Mob were surprisingly feasible), as to why they were not. This is a very telling paradox about this book. And it shows that whoever edited it, did not exercise any kind of insight, care, or judgement. (Which, unfortunately, has become a rather commonplace occurrence at most publishing houses today.) This lack of oversight allowed Farrell to slip out of his Kennedy assassination mode, and back into the more familiar territory of UFO’s, Nazis and the occult, which is probably how he (naturally) gravitated to the fantastic Torbitt Document.
Zirbel’s book essentially states that Johnson and his stooge Connally were the two principal individuals who pulled the levers of the assassination that day. And Johnson, with the full powers of the Presidency, then ran roughshod over the Warren Commission. Zirbel’s Johnson, as portrayed in the book, clearly had favors curried upon him because of people wanting to get in on his show. However, according to Zirbel it was Johnson and Johnson alone who did it, and it is implied that he used his favor-currying oil buddies to get his way. Yes, Zirbel places Johnson as the self made "king of all things," which is just as bizarre as the disinformation Farrell spiels about the friends he claims Zirbel said Johnson had made. Who are they?
Anti Castro Cubans: The Cuban exiles make a brief appearance via Zirbel on pages 56-57. However Zirbel is adamant that anti-Castro Cubans wound up regarding Kennedy as a hero after the Cuban Missile Crisis. Hence, it’s not these guys according to Zirbel, and there’s no links to LBJ among them.
Mob: The ‘Mafia did it’ theory gets a sizable mention in Zirbel’s book, but by page 66 it’s not quite what Farrell would have one believe. Zirbel writes “The Mafia assassination theory is illogical and the use of small time hoods to any conspiracy was more likely someone to create a false tie to implicate the mob or someone who was using small time hoods as “freelancers” to help in a non-mob connected assassination.” It’s ironic that Zirbel’s new book has now expanded into including the Mob’s involvement. For a brief shining moment his statement about the real plotters use of mob lowlifes gave him a shred of all too fleeting credibility.
FBI: Farrell’s a little more accurate with the FBI because they feature briefly on two pages - 19 and 120. And there’s a small mention of Hoover being Johnson’s neighbour for 20 years on page 26. There is no mention at all of Hoover’s involvement in the crime. Or of a conversation Hoover had with Johnson when he asks Edgar ‘Were they shooting at me?”(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZWERQevzms)
CIA: On pages 66-70 Zirbel dismisses the CIA as suspects, imbibing that the CIA had no real reason to dislike the president. Really? How about the Bay of Pigs and the subsequent firing of Allen Dulles, Dick Bissell, and Charles Cabell? Remember, Zirbel is the guy whom Childress believes solved the case. It seems Childress can dream up any bunkum thing he wants but can’t conceive of a shill like Zirbel ignoring the rafts of genuine, that is non MJ-12 aligned, evidence about the issues between Kennedy and the CIA.
Big Oil: Now they do get a number of mentions from Zirbel. And it’s clear that Johnson was pals with H. L. Hunt and Murchison. But on pages 57-59 Zirbel states that Kennedy’s oil depletion initiative was defeated in Congress circa 1962. Thus Zirbel rules out a Big Oil hit.
Military: Zirbel mentions these guys but never as ancillaries to the assassination. All bar Oswald, who was a Marine, and that it was Oswald’s letter to John Connally that put him into the hands of the conspirators as a tool to use.
NAZIS - Federal Reserve: There’s not one mention of Nazis, the Federal Reserve, big money brokers or Masonry in Zirbel’s book. And unless I have made a hash of things, the closest he comes to this is on page 60 when he harangues Harrison Livingstone and Bob Groden's 1989 effort High Treason as their assembling an unwieldy collection of powerful conservatives in a ‘Secret Team’ to eliminate the President. What’s doubly embarrassing for Farrell here is that Livingston and Groden’s book wasn’t big on ‘Masons did it’ mumbo jumbo. While it briefly explored potentials roles of Nazi sympathizers and the Federal Reserve, these were not parts of their central theses. If Farrell had bothered to read High Treason, one of the older pre-ARRB books which still offers some food for thought, he may have learned something. The notion of a ‘Secret Team’ of powerful, generally conservative interests was endorsed firstly by Fletcher Prouty, an individual whom Farrell uses a lot of (and misappropriating him is par for the course for cranks dealing with Prouty). Yet, Farrell does not realize that his mentor Zirbel completely dismisses Prouty.
One of the trump cards played by Farrell is based upon Ruby’s paranoid ramblings of Nazi involvement in the crime. What’s ludicrous is that, for Farrell, this constitutes his having insider knowledge about the case and therefore ties to all of the parties mentioned in Farrell’s book. Yet Farrell, who obviously has no idea about how even the most basic of intelligence operations work, never stops to think that if the plot was so well organized, and those involved so sophisticated, why then would an unstable small time ‘hood’ like Ruby even be given the correct details and identities of the true perpetrators of the crime? This summary overview of The Texas Connection renders Farrell’s claims of Zirbel being a guiding light to his thesis pretty much fatuous. As one can see above, at least 90% of what Zirbel said is clearly disagreed with by Farrell, not agreed with by him. Furthermore, it’s clear that Zirbel isn't the book’s main source of content. If you check the footnotes, Farrell, for want of a better word, liberally used much from Marrs and spiced that up with authors like David Lifton and Harrison Livingstone to make it appear that he didn’t just rip off Crossfire.
IV) The Masonic Dominated Warren Commission
I really wanted to ignore this aspect of the book, but it continually pulled me back in. The Masonic angle of the Warren Commission is a favorite amongst those either new to the case or who are in love with the sounds and imagery of their own imaginings.
The big problem, is that Farrell — as numerous others before him — has fallen for the myth that the Warren Commission was Johnson’s creation. In fact, Johnson had wanted a Texas based investigation. Eugene Rostow and Joseph Alsop where the ones who pressured him and Nicholas Katzenbach into setting up a so-called blue ribbon panel. And in his phone call to LBJ, Alsop really greased the skids for the Commission. This is not a case of conjecture. Thanks to the first rate efforts of Donald Gibson (another researcher far in excess of Farrell’s feeble skills), this is a documented fact (See The Assassinations, edited by James DiEugenio and Lisa Pease, pgs. 3-17). Both FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover and Chief Justice Warren, who according to Farrell corralled the commissioners, were in fact at loggerheads over Warren’s preferred choice of Warren Olney as chief counsel. Hoover just did not want Olney, knowing from past experience he was a maverick and therefore difficult to control. Under pressure from Dulles, McCloy, Ford, Boggs and Hoover, a more agreeable counsel — J. Lee Rankin — was found. Again, today, this is all part of a documented record. (Gerald McKnight, Breach of Trust, pgs. 43-46). Thus, so much for the idea of fraternal love between the two Masonic brothers Warren and Hoover. (Farrell, pgs. 202-03)
As for the rest of this Masonic landscape that Farrell weaves later on in his book, let me pull out some old classics on the jukebox from CTKA essays on other pretenders like John Hankey and Alex Jones, for those curious to see how much bunk has gone into the so called ‘Masonic Commission’.
V) Guy Banister the ‘Big Boss’ from Butte Montana
The Torbitt Document, which is discussed in Part II, ties up Clay Shaw with the Permindex group. Which, in Farrell’s opinion, was a shadowy collection of mobsters, oil men, intelligence agents and Nazis. Of course this leads him into banging heads with one Guy Banister. Now if the Torbitt Document is an antiquated fraud--as the majority of the research community now thinks it is--the intervening stuff about Fred Crisman, Shaw and Project Paper Clip need not be mentioned — and they won’t. What I am going to examine here though is somewhat of a prelude to what will be my follow up piece on the equally bogus MJ-12 documents (which also appears briefly via Richard Hoagland in Farrell’s work), and their attempts to lump a no lesser person than JFK in with UFO’s.
On pages 28-29 of his book, Farrell takes it upon himself to inform the reader about Guy Banister, the famous ex senior FBI agent in New Orleans who was involved in various episodes of sheep dipping Oswald as a communist. Banister’s story is well known and I shan’t bore you. But Farrell chooses to impress upon us what he apparently thinks was the man’s greatest station in the FBI: the chief of its field office in Butte Montana. Why? Now hold onto your hats, this gets ‘loco’ real quick because Banister…
“Was thus intimately involved in the FBI’s covert investigation of UFO’s beginning with the famous Kenneth Arnold sighting in June of 1947, the Maury Island UFO affair, and of course, the Roswell incident in July of 1947.”
Farrell (and it would seem a lot of ufologists) never ask why on Earth (or is it Alpha Centuari) would a SAC of an FBI office in the middle of nowhere like Butte Montana be intimately involved in the Arnold incident two states and 700 kilometers away (that’s somewhere in the vicinity of 450 miles). That is, at Mount Rainier in Washington. Maury Island was also in Washington. And is another 65 kilometers. away from the Rainier location. There was simply no need for him to be there because the strategic importance of Washington state and Oregon meant that the FBI had a very heavy Cold War presence in both locations, and would likely have dealt with any UFOs only after the Air Force had done their investigations.
But by far the most ludicrous thing in Farrell’s statement is his last location. Anybody familiar with maps (which Farrell and his followers apparently aren’t) knows that Roswell is in New Mexico. That’s some 1,520 kilometers (almost 1000 miles) from Banister’s location. But in Farrell’s, and others, alternate universe they seem to think that Banister’s office in the middle of Montana had jurisdiction over an area, that if one connected Butte, Montana in a straight line to Roswell, New Mexico then, from there in a straight line for Maury Island then head directly across back to Butte, well, Mr Banister is in command of a roughly triangular area some 4,430 kilometers in border length, and crossing eight states. That is some huge territory that Hoover entrusted to his Butte SAC.
Now, this might cause more eager individuals to declare that Banister was the SAC of the Pacific Northwest (as I have seen some deluded souls claim). That position never existed. But even if it did, what in ‘Hale Bopp’ has Roswell got to do with Butte? Banister was genuinely involved in some UFO related issues. But all of them were of the 'Earthling' rather than the 'ET' variety. (http://www.project1947.com/gfb/fugo.htm) And these events were in his jurisdiction at the time, as was his office, which covered Montana and Idaho. Why is Banister so important that Farrell then has to go to such elaborate lengths to increase that importance? Well, it’s because he quotes as ‘fact’ what appears to be a piece of speculation from Peter Levenda. In his tome Sinister Forces: A Grimoire of American Political Witchcraft Legendaries:
"A look at recently declassified FBI files for the period in 1947 show a number of telexes from Banister, some with his initials 'WGB,' all pertaining to UFO phenomena, as well as other FBI documents with the designation 'Security Matter -X' or simply 'SM-X,' the origin -the author supposes -of the 'X-Files,' which, at least in 1947, did exist at the FBI and was concerned with UFOs."
Were one to look at his J.K. Rowling like title to his book, one would be forgiven for thinking Levenda (who actually does do some interesting work) is getting a little on the cranky side of the equation in this area. Him not answering my polite email inquiring about this quote suggests that is so. Indeed, JFK researcher Greg Parker called his X-Files ramblings ‘bullshit’. While Bill Davy, an expert on Guy Banister and New Orleans to a level Levenda is likely not, also called the Banister UFO stuff ‘crap’, nor could he find any references or documentation concerning these purported X-Files allegations about Banister. Truth be told I never thought he would either.
VI) Bad Research meets Ralph Macchio
There are numerous errors dotted throughout Farrell’s work. To go through them one after another would increase your boredom and my frustration. So let’s just settle for some of the ‘snarlers’.
- Pages 90-92: Farrell gives us the usual babble about Prouty and the Christchurch Star. In fairness to Farrell it’s a common mistake. Prouty never actually said New Zealand got the word ahead of anywhere else — despite the myths that have been swept up around it and despite what Farrell has quoted Prouty on.
- The Paines are not mentioned once in the book, nor are their ties to Allen Dulles, and their long involvement/association with the CIA, which is kind of unforgivable by any of today’s research standards.
- Farrell also makes something of a splash with George DeMohrenschildt, contending that DeMohrenschildt was spying on the agency and that his true ties belonged to big oil and the all seeing/ all evil Permindex group. Of course, in so doing, he takes up five pages of text, 95% sourced from Edward Jay Epstein whom he describes as an ‘assassination researcher’. In reality, Epstein was James Angleton’s shoeshine boy and the last known person to see DeMohrenschildt alive. That information does not make it into the book surprise, surprise.
- The three tramps (long a subject of debate) take on a mystical significance for the plotters. They’re not Charles Harrison/ Frank Sturgis, Chauncey Holt/Fred Crisman and E. Howard Hunt (as some of the more imaginative lesser lights like Raymond Carroll believe); nor are they Harold Doyle, John Gedney, Gus Abrams (as advocated by Jim DiEugenio and the LaFontaines). They certainly aren’t just part of the scenery (as Fletcher Prouty has stated and it’s an opinion I myself prescribe too). Their real identities are (drum roll please): Jubelo, Jubela and Jubelum. (I guess it’s more exciting than Moe, Curly and Larry). Why? Because Dealey Plaza was selected, not because of it being an excellent place to stage a killing of a head of state (there’s too much common sense in that equation). It’s because the convergence of the three roads in Dealey Plaza construct a trident, an important Masonic symbol. Has Farrell ever heard of Abraham Bolden and the Chicago plot? (Jim Douglas, JFK and the Unspeakable, pgs. 202-207) A cursory glance on Google Maps or Earth at the area of 625 West Jackson Blvd, Chicago, the location where Thomas Arthur Vallee was to be the Chicago designated Patsy, certainly doesn’t look it was chosen for its ‘Masonic’ advantages. It’s a long narrow street. The only clue to anything potentially masonic is where Vallee was located, at a corner by an intersection, …a crossroads, egads!
Well there is something ‘significant’ about ‘crossroads’ if you’re a mason these days. That’s because they’re at a crossroads, apparently due to falling membership and people not taking the rituals seriously. (http://www.freemasoninformation.com/2011/02/at-the-crossroads-of-the-many-paths-of-freemasonry/). I guess you can’t find anything too sinister in a name that conjures up images of a guitar playing Ralph Macchio. Indeed the adherence to hokey documents and the outright lies laid out in Part II by Farrell and his cronies is far more sinister than anything a Mason or the Karate Kid playing slide guitar could ever conjure up.
The Failings of Farrell — Part TWO: Torbitt Document Madness
I) A Question of Timing
It was the Garrison investigation from which the shadowy spectre of the Permindex Company emerged. How it came above board to the American public was due to the links in an Italian Leftist Newspaper Paesa Sera in March of 1967. This newspaper had established links between defendant Clay Shaw and two European-based companies — Permindex (Permanent Industrial Exhibitions) and the CMC (Centro Mondiale Commerciale (World Trade Centrer), the organisation Shaw ran in New Orleans) two suspected CIA affiliates.
In some ways you can’t blame people for getting sucked into the mist surrounding Shaw and the Permindex Company. It’s genuinely fascinating stuff. There does appear to be some evidence that Shaw (despite his liberal façade) was himself sympathetic to fascist politics. And Permindex was clearly one of many groups throughout Europe that was a probable cover for the sinister antics surrounding Operation Gladio, which came above board in 1990 via independent European investigations. Permindex certainly did have ties to various right wing groups including former Nazi intelligence operatives. If the BBC ever had a finest moment, it’s screening of this amazing Gladio documentary which broke the story worldwide, would take the cake. (http://www.informationliberation.com/?id=16921).
Paris Flammonde, author of fine 1969 book The Kennedy Conspiracy, was the individual responsible for the first in-depth look into Permindex from an American perspective. Flammonde methodically associated the company and its ‘offsider’, the CMC, and their many mysteries under the shadow of the Central Intelligence Agency. (http://www.maebrussell.com/Articles%20and%20Notes/Kennedy%20Conspiracy.html).
Flammonde’s measured research was in stark contrast to a batch of papers that began circulating in 1970 entitled The Nomenclature of an Assassination Cabal, more commonly know as The Torbitt Document. (http://www.newsmakingnews.com/torbitt.htm) It takes its more common title from the pen name of its author William Torbitt (aka David Copeland), a lawyer from Waco, Texas. The papers then grew around the Garrison case and Flammonde’s volume like a toxic algae. Part of the problem was Flammonde’s change of direction. In 1971 he authored The Age of Flying Saucers, followed up by The Mystic Healers in 1975. What his leaving the field for more exotic areas did was leave his work on Permindex open to interpretation from those less than scrupulous about the content in the Torbitt Document.
Permindex and CMC were now transformed from being a simple series of covers for Agency intelligence operations, into a motley crew of intelligence amateurs dominated by the Mob, oil millionaires, Division Five of the FBI, religious fronts, and Nazi collaborators. If you can believe it, even Roy Cohn figures in the fantastic revision and expansion of Permindex. In this alternate reality, organizations like the CIA become nothing but servants to these groups, in particularly the Mob. This is understandable. It’s now believed that the Torbitt Document was essentially a CIA disinformation operation aimed at discrediting or convoluting Garrison’s findings, a judgement with which I agree. I also think it’s safe to say that Nomenclature of an Assassination Cabal was also designed to confound and confuse Flammonde’s studies into Permindex. If it was so designed, then where did this disinformation start? Well the Torbitt Document wasn’t the first dud conspiracy angle pushed by the agency. It was preceded by a book entitled Farewell America in which it was stipulated that a big oil club called ‘The Committee’ was behind the assassination.
The designated author of that book was James Hepburn. Hepburn’s real name was Herve Lemarre. Jim Garrison brought him down to New Orleans, and interviewed him several times to no avail. It turns out that Lemarre was not the guy who wrote the book. Jim DiEugenio, who discussed the book at the JFK Lancer's November in Dallas 2010 conference, states:
“This gets to be a shell, inside of a shell, inside of a shell, finding out the mystery of who really wrote this book.
“…it turned out that the guy who really wrote the book is a guy nobody had ever heard of, Philippe de Vasjoly. Philippe de Vasjoly was a former agent of the [The Service de Documentation Extérieure et de Contre-Espionnage] SDECE which is the French intelligence group. He had been kicked out of French intelligence because he had been suspected of being a double agent. Does anybody know who he was a double agent for?”(http://www.jfklancer.com/catalog/nid/)
It’s no surprise that a member of the crowd exclaimed ‘Angleton’. The feared Counter Intelligence chief of the CIA and an individual whose underlings, like Epstein, Farrell had no problem using in particularly Lemarre (whose moniker Hepburn he misspells ‘Hepdurn’) on page 50. Continuing with DiEugenio:
“And so it started out that de Vasjoly actually supervised the writing of “Farewell America.” Now, of course, in 1968 very few people knew that James Angleton was running Oswald, but if Garrison would have known that he probably would have arrested Herve Lemarre. So, this is the first example of what I call these diversions that enter the JFK case. And by the way, to this day people swear by this book, “Farewell America,” without knowing it was written as a project to James Angleton.”
If we tie in Angleton’s actions in conjunction with the CIA’s Operation Mockingbird (see, The Assassinations, edited by DiEugenio and Lisa Pease, pgs. 302-303, not mentioned once in Farrell’s book) we can see that a very powerful apparatus well outside of the scope of LBJ, Big Oil and, in particularly, the Mafia was at play. It’s thus important we touch on these lowlifes briefly so we can set the record straight.
II) The Good Shepard and the Lamb Pizza
Now let’s not get too technical here in explaining why the notion of the agency being servants of the Mob, or anyone else for that matter, is pure and utter fiction and why only the worst researchers in the field like Lamar Waldron, and now Joseph Farrell, buy into this gibberish. Like Waldron, Farrell isn’t really that technically gifted with facts, preferring instead smatterings of sugar in 99 percent of his coffee. One needs to explain to Farrell and his group that in every operation the US government and the CIA have involved themselves with the mob, they, not the mob, have called the shots. This, I hate to repeat myself again, is a fact and there’s simply no excuse for saying otherwise today. (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article1991470.ece).
So let’s bring this down to their skill level shall we?
The film The Good Shepherd is much maligned, and rightly so. It’s inaccurate, predictable and quite frankly a sham, much like Farrell’s work and that’s being kind). Waldron is a lost cause, I strongly suspect Farrell always has been as well. But, if not for a faint hope, he might learn something from this review, I advise he and his coterie of conspiravangelista’s take the time to view the conversation between Edward Wilson (Matt Damon) of the CIA and Joe Palmi (Joe Pesci) of the Mob as to whom really is in charge of it all. The dialogue is so dumb that even Farrell might take a hint.
Palmi: “You’se the guys that scare me, you’re the people that make big wars.”
Wilson: “No, we make sure the wars are small ones Mr Palmi.”
If a movie as dopey and factually challenged as The Good Shepherd can get its facts straight with regard to this most simple of relationships. What excuse can Farrell make?
Farrell, circa pages 158-159, postulates how the apparent insanity of Torbitt’s scribbling had stood the test of time. To this end Farrell enlists the well-known Peter Dale Scott and even Jim DiEugenio. From page 6 of Kenn Thomas’s nauseating Nasa, Nazis and JFK: The Torbitt Document and the JFK Assassination. (The following is from Farrell, quoting Thomas):
“Yet it has a real air of authenticity. It ties together indisputable parts of the Warren Commission and testimony (of) Jim Garrison's case. Few now doubt the existence of the DISC (Defence Industrial Security Command) or the FBI's Division Five…Every major study of the assassination cites the Torbitt Document; some support or expand upon its conclusions; even studies of the files released since the establishment of the governments Assassination Materials Review Board. It is clearly the pivotal document of JFK Assassination Research.”
Yet this is where things get truly bizarre. Farrell had taken out the footnotes from Thomas’s original text, notes 7-8, as seen below:
“Yet it has a real air of authenticity. It ties together indisputable parts of the Warren Commission and testimony (of) Jim Garrison's case. Few now doubt the existence of the DISC (Defence Industrial Security Command) or the FBI's Division Five…Every major study of the assassination cites the Torbitt document; (7) some support or expand upon its conclusions; even studies of the files released since the establishment of the governments 'Assassination Material Review Board' (8) It is clearly the pivotal document of JFK Assassination Research.”
It’s likely Farrell is just trying to be clever like he was with Zirbel (well, if misrepresenting an entire book is clever). He therefore conjoined two differing Scott statements made in Thomas’s book. It’s bad, but nothing should surprise us anymore from Farrell right? Wrong! Because on page 18 in the references to Thomas’s overlong introduction there is a brief bibliography. This is detrimental to Farrell because footnote 7 is actually a quote from a wholly different person. It is pretty bad for Thomas too because the gushy blurb about the virtues of the Torbitt Document and FBI’s Division 5 is attributed to no less than Jim DiEugenio and his book Destiny Betrayed. Shocked by the idea that DiEugenio (a well known critic of the document and the editor of this very piece) ever endorsed it, I rechecked my copy of his book and could find no textual reference to Torbitt at all, except as an ‘unsubstantiated’ report. Wondering if this was it, I contacted Jim and was told the following:
“In my first book I listed it as an unpublished manuscript, in my bibliography, period. (p. 323) I used it for exactly one footnote that appears on page 373, and in the text when I made this reference I qualified it as being "unsubstantiated", along with the other two references I made about Shaw arresting Dornberger and Von Braun”
The above may also be terminal for the credibility of Childress’s crank publishing empire. Mischaracterization bordering on libel is a bad thing to get sued for. And I advise any author who may suspect Farrell, Childress and Thomas of having misapropriated and misrepresented their works to check on a possible legal recourse.
IV) A Failed English Assault
The Torbitt Document is regarded by most nowadays as a cornerstone of all things ‘bad’ in the field. As John Simkin on the Education Forum writes about Farrell after hearing him interviewed on the 18th of February 2011 (http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=17378).
“I was very unimpressed with him. If one looks at his past he has never shown any interest in the JFK case. He admits he wrote the book as a favour for his publisher after the original author dropped out. He says his publisher was upset because he had already paid for the ‘front cover artwork’. It was therefore a rush job. He says that the most important evidence that he discovered for the conspiracy was the Torbitt Document (William Torbitt is the pseudonymous author of Nomenclature of an Assassination Cabal that was first published in 1970). As researchers know, this document is highly controversial and could never be used as ‘evidence’ by any respectable researcher.”
It’s all well and good that Simkin says this, but if it ‘could never be used as evidence’ I have to ask why John (who generally speaking has some good stuff), put up such a fawning write up about it and long extracts from it. The only critical piece he uses is from fellow Englishman Robin Ramsay's 2002 book Who Shot JFK, and it has some major problems (http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKtorbitt.htm):
“Clay Shaw was a director of the World Trade Center in New Orleans and was brought into a similar project in Italy involving a company called Permindex (Permanent Industrial Exhibitions), which proposed to create a network of World Trade Centers: propagandising for American business. Around these bare facts was created a story in which all these companies were CIA fronts for covert operations and assassinations. Permindex had been involved in trying to assassinate General de Gaulle and then had killed JFK. This story was planted on a Soviet-sympathising Italian newspaper; was then picked up by a left-wing magazine in New York and a magazine in Canada; and thence made its way to the Garrison investigation. And Garrison believed it without checking it. His 1988 book, 'On The Trail Of The Assassins,' carries a couple of pages on Permindex in which he quotes only the Canadian and Italian versions of the story. Parts of this Permindex story — itself disinformation — were then picked up and used to form the centrepiece of the most famous and most durable piece of disinformation generated by the case, the 'Nomenclature Of An Assassination Cabal' by 'William Torbitt,' better known as the Torbitt Memorandum.However, as soon as I began trying to check the few citations in it, they proved to be useless: either they didn't exist, were impossible to get or, when tracked down, didn't say what Torbitt said they did. But Torbitt lives on. Like all good conspiracy theories, it is immune to refutation”
For all of Ramsay’s observations about the appalling lack of sources, he stands on some decidedly uneven ground; an article which appeared in Ramsay’s own Lobster Magazine, authored by co-founder Steve Dorril. Dorril, in making salient observations about the unreliability of the document’s sources and its fraudulence, had in fact sourced works from no lesser lights than Edward Jay Epstein and Peter Dale Scott whom he wrote in his footnotes:
“The Garrison investigation was, to some extent, intertwined with the efforts of Teamsters allies to prevent/terminate the imprisonment of Teamster President Jimmy Hoffa. The inquiry became a means of applying pressure to have the Government's chief anti-Hoffa witness, E.G. Partin, recant his testimony. Partin, it was claimed, was the connection between Ruby and Oswald. On this see P.D. Scott's Crime and Coverup (Westworks, Berkeley, California 1977) pp. 27,28; and Edward Epstein's Counterplot (NY 1969) pp. 41, 42.”
There are two things to note here in Dorril’s ill-conceived article. First, as mentioned above, he begins to confuse and confound the fine work by Flammonde on this issue. Second, he uses the Garrison covering for the Mob myth in Scott and Epstein’s work (and similar to Farrell’s version of events on page 141) in which Hale Boggs becomes the Mob’s leading representative on the Warren Commission. One should note here, as Flammonde elucidates, this confusion about Garrison is the work of Walter Sheridan. In reality, Sheridan—as he did so often--tried to get a convicted former Teamster, Zachary Strate to fabricate a story and become a witness against Garrison. (Flammonde, pgs. 324-25) But as if falling for James Angleton’s arch lackey Epstein wasn’t disinformation enough, Dorrill fails to do careful research. He therefore conflates Paris Flammonde’s writings on Permindex with the Torbitt Document, seemingly writing them both off as being part of the same mass hysteria. (As the reader has seen, they clearly were not). The joke here is that Dorril’s sources for this ‘communist heist of truth’ were none other than the rather questionable likes of Richard Helms, James Phelan and Andrew Tully. (http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/lobster.htm#N_1) In other words, Dorrill’s essay was all too eager to throw out the baby with the bathwater. For as declassified State Department Memoranda later showed, Permindex was all too real. (See DiEugenio, pgs. 209-212) And the saga around it was as Flammonde, not Torbitt, had presented it. Dorrill — in a Max Holland debunking mode — was not discriminating enough in categorizing sources of information.
So while the Torbitt Document’s credibility was aptly thrown into doubt by Dorrill and Ramsey, they ignored the ally they had in Flammonde’s earlier writings.
V) Move over Dover, Let Jimi Take over (Apologies to Hendrix)
Now, contrary to popular opinion, my editor and I disagree on quite a few things. But I have to say that Jim DiEugenio really nails these guys on the Torbitt Document. He’s written at length about Helms, Epstein and in particularly Phelan - outing them regularly for their dubious calls while also backing Ramsay’s conclusions concerning the lack of sourcing in the Copeland/Torbitt disinfo product. DiEugenio also gave a good account in a number of posts on Richard DeLa Rossa’s site (which sadly, since DeLa Rossa’s death in 2010, has been only partly incorporated into the Deep Politics Forum as a tribute to his efforts). Therefore, a good part of DiEugenio’s research on the Torbitt Document was lost. Luckily, Ron Williams was able to rescue some of the five post series, of which 1 and 3, if you scroll down, can be read here (https://deeppoliticsforum.com/forums/showthread.php?1307-Nomenclature-of-an-Assassination-Cabal/page2)
As has been discussed, DiEugenio also gave an in-depth address at JFK Lancer concerning the use of bad revisionist histories in November 2010 (http://justiceforkennedy.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2011-05-08T07%3A22%3A00-07%3A00&max-results=5) and touched on a number of issues, such as Torbitt’s denial of Shaw’s ties to the Central Intelligence Agency:
“I came to the same conclusion I did with Farewell America, that it was pure bunk. That it was pure disinformation, except it was a different form of disinformation. If you closely examine the Torbitt essay you will notice something quite odd: it accuses everybody and their mother of being involved in the Kennedy assassination, the Pentagon, the Mafia, the FBI, the DIA, something called DISC, which is not a CD, LBJ, Texas millionaires\billionaires — everybody, except the CIA. Everybody except the CIA is in this document! So, in fact, when it does discuss somebody who is a CIA agent, like Clay Shaw, it doesn’t call him a CIA agent. It calls him a military intelligence agent. Which was true, but only for four years. After Shaw got out of the military he became a CIA agent for a long, long time.”
As for the poor referencing, DiEugenio doesn’t mince his words. In particular with regards to the Torbitt Document’s reliance on non-existent information in Jim Garrison’s files. As we have seen, the Torbitt Document is a very dangerous work to take seriously, yet it was obviously a huge influence on Farrell and Thomas. Continuing with DiEugenio’s Lancer address:
“If you read the footnotes, whenever he says something very controversial or outlandish, what does the footnote say? Files of the New Orleans D.A. Well, I am one of the very few people who have looked through the files of the New Orleans D.A. and I can tell you this is complete crap! This stuff is not in there, at least not the stuff that I have seen. So, to me this is a dead giveaway to the Torbit Document.”
Quite clearly Farrell, Childress and Thomas think the CIA had nothing to do with the JFK case, but that Roy Cohn was involved. With this kind of academic rigor, who knows what is next? Maybe that Nicoletti was on the grassy knoll and Roscoe White was in the storm drain? Well they might be as good a punt as another Torbitt, Farrell and Childress favourite: Ferenc Nagy, the ex Prime Minister of Hungry.
“Nomenclature of an Assassination Cabal” I believe was meant to muddy the waters in the wake of the Garrison investigation by deliberately lying about the contents of his files. And it was meant to do two things: number one, to imply that the CIA was not actually involved in the case, and number two, to throw out a whole laundry list of other suspects, including, if you can believe it, but it’s there, Roy Cohn was somehow involved in the Kennedy assassination.”
Peter Dale Scott’s non-reply to my email for his comments on the misappropriation of his work, in which I asked him if he actually endorsed the Thomas quote, could mean many things. For one, he may know I am not a big fan of his work. But whatever the case, I agree with DiEugenio’s observation:
“Now the unfortunate thing about “Nomenclature of an Assassination Cabal” is this that they succeeded. That essay, like I said, became the Holy Grail for a lot of people in the JFK community. And it stayed that way for quite a long time. Secondly, it did provide a rather long list, myriad list of other suspects that people eagerly took up after. And I actually think you can divine the influence of “Nomenclature,” in a few writers, including Peter Dale Scott.”
V) Its Source Material not Saucy Material
The examination of source material and documentation is highly important. Good researchers like DiEugenio, and generally good ones like Ramsay, make sound points on the lack of evidence in Torbitt’s account. Yet, for myself, the points made about the inaccuracies in the documents can only go so far, not because of any difficulties in pin pointing errors, but rather the fact that there is no authenticity to any of the documents so sourced. For example, what does the footnote which recurs often in Torbitt “Files of the New Orleans DA” actually mean? It’s as if in a strange way such files exist, but on the other hand they really don’t. And at the time of its surfacing, who could check on this? For we now know today that many of Garrison’s files were being incinerated by DA Harry Connick. The others were privately held by Garrison.
Virginia McCullogh from the Mae Brussell archive has stated that she has never seen an original document from Torbitt anywhere. This is very important. Why? Brussell’s files were voluminous, with all kinds of underground ‘info’. If anybody had anything resembling an original copy, even the sliver of a sheet from Torbitt/Copeland, it would likely have been her. McCullogh also states plainly and clearly she has seen ‘other versions’ of the Torbitt Document. But it now gets worse. The documents that had been furnished to Brussell concerning Torbitt had largely come from the notorious Bruce Roberts of the inherently bogus ‘Gemstone Files’ fame (http://www.newsmakingnews.com/vm10,30,01MBresearch.htm).
The ludicrous gunk that emits from those ramblings is something to behold. And though Martin Cannon was a divisive figure in his time, I’d take his breakdown of the documents over any endorsement from Farrell’s editor and ‘Gemstone’ devotee Childress’s. (http://www.newsmakingnews.com/mcgemstoneexposedatlast.htm)
Now, outside of conspiracy ‘La La Land’ where Farrell, Childress and Thomas dwell, there’s a little thing called document authentication. As said, any genuine scholar of any shade, be they pro-conspiracy or not, would be suspicious of a photocopied document. If that document had an anonymous source, then forget it. Real researchers very rarely, if ever, get given anonymous documents anyhow. However, in the world of fraudsters and their marks, anonymous documents are distributed with abandon, accepted without question, and then regurgitated back to their audience who either buy into them or are inspired to start forging their own.
Let’s see what no originals and multiple versions of a document can mean for credibility. In this regard one can see that Farrell has been digging himself a hole since the first sentence of his epic literary failure, and he hits paydirt at the bottom of page 158. There he states that Kenn Thomas had meticulously assembled the only complete version of the Torbitt Document available. Ten pages later, in the footnotes on page 168, Farrell then brags that the Torbitt Document was correct; there was indeed a pro-German stay behind group being run by NATO. Farrell and Childress are either extremely gullible or in on the con themselves. Thomas’s book, predictably called NASA, Nazis and JFK: The Torbitt Document and the JFK Assassination, came out in 1996. The aforementioned Operation Gladio, in which the CIA and NATO were revealed as being heavily involved in Cold War European stay behind fascist groups since the end of WWII, first became public in 1992. In fact, Gladio is mentioned in Jim DiEugenio’s book of that year, Destiny Betrayed. (See page 372)
Oddly enough if one reads page seven of Thomas' book this is the same year that he had an ‘anonymous’ copy fall onto his lap. Is this suspicious? You bet it is. Thus let’s go back to page 158 where Farrell spills the beans that Thomas“meticulously reconstructed it from various photocopied versions in which it had been circulated underground.” Thanks to Farrell’s ineptitude it appears that Thomas was his own ‘anonymous’ source and was likely involved in the further manufacture and expansion of this “document”, which is anything but a document. With that in mind, how can anyone write “This is the first published manuscript of the document, and with luck will increase its availability and encourage researchers to further expand Torbitt’s web of connections”. A document is a document — it doesn’t expand, or contract, other people do that by making unauthorized alterations.
Kenn Thomas, whose actions with the document cast a pall over his work on Danny Casolaro which I once found quite interesting, is behind the veil an even worse aggrandzier of the Torbitt hoax than Farrell. For what he has done is simply cut and paste together differing versions of a work which actually has no original. (Or at least no one can claim to have seen the original.) All he has done is make it longer, and if it is possible, even more pretentious. In Cyber Culture Counter Conspiracy: A Steamshovel Press Reader which compiled a number of articles from his magazine, Thomas includes articles critiquing Jim Marrs’ use of dubious sources in Alien Agenda (oh, the irony), endorsing Seymour Hersh (not surprising considering his good pal Farrell’s choice of bedmates), and mourning the passing of his hero Timothy Leary, the phony counter culture sleaze bag, and FBI informant and probable CIA operative. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/380815.stm) And as such, Leary spread a whole heap of unverified garbage about Mary Meyer and JFK tripping on LSD. (DiEugenio and Pease, The Assassinations, pgs. 341-342) This is a good note to end this on: Farrell, Childress and Thomas are a very bad trip indeed.
Conclusion: The Evolution of Charlie’s Crank Pamphlet
The crank pamphlets of the seventies that the research community was handed have now been replaced by technology. I’ve had the misfortune of seeing this sort of conspiravangelism run roughshod over reality on many a conspirahypocrites blog or forum. What epitomized the arrogance of Farrell’s presentation was his choice of some guy DeHart as his mentor (who obviously knows nothing about the case), not to mention this statement he made early on:
“Any such analysis as is offered here is, of course, highly speculative. But it seems to me that nearly fifty years after the assassination, that it is high time to begin the process of arguing and advancing various structures for the conspiracy and drawing the necessary lessons from it.”
Was Farrell’s book speculative? In one sense, it was not. He was ordered by his editor to write a book on the case based on often archaic, and probably Angleton influenced material on one hand, and people like Dick Hoagland (Mr. UFO), on the other. Working from such parameters, does Farrell honestly think that he has the ability to advance these structures of conspiracy and the different levels and layers? Or indeed does he think he is the first to try? If he does, he’s deluding himself. One of the reasons why genuine researchers often stop short of proffering an overall assassination scenario is that most of them aren’t sure enough to tell anybody how it all played out. Even figures like Jim Douglas have been extremely careful in outlining any plot. Indeed Douglas added a genuine holistic theological perspective to his work which never dominated the good research within it. By comparison with Douglass, Farrell is not a theologian, but a new age travelling medicine man.
I have a feeling that, on Farrell’s behalf , there will likely be claims of being ‘rushed’ or what have you. Either that or we’ll get some horrific email directed at Jim DiEugenio or myself claiming some gross injustice (hey we didn’t make Farrell write this Torbitt baloney, Childress did). So if you’re aggrieved with CTKA, grab a number and join the cue. Because, with CTKA, or any other serious JFK group, no one should get a second chance after writing utterly inane drivel like this. Well maybe with the likes of Jim Phelps, and Hoagland, Farrell would. But there is another altogether mysterious figure who would have endorsed the book, and even more so than Thomas with his Torbitt, Childress with his madness and Farrell with his incompetence. Is largely responsible for another ongoing con in JFK research; the bogus JFK MJ-12 link, his name is Timothy Cooper. Whom will be discussed at length in my next article.