Mary’s Mosaic, Part 2: Entering Peter Janney’s World of Fantasy
The first two people to inform me of Peter Janney’s upcoming book on Mary Meyer were Lisa Pease and John Simkin. Many years ago I wrote a two-part essay for Probe called “The Posthumous Assassination of John F. Kennedy” (This was later excerpted in The Assassinations.) The first part of that essay focused on the cases of Judith Exner and Mary Meyer giving me a background and mild interest in the subject. Consequently, when Lisa Pease told me about Peter Janney I wondered what kind of book he was going to write. After Lisa exchanged e-mails with him she told me not to expect much, since Janney had bought into Timothy Leary hook, line and sinker.
JFK forum owner John Simkin’s backing was a real warning bell. For two reasons: first, Simkin is an inveterate Kennedy basher. He once wrote that Senator Kennedy was the choice of the so-called “Georgetown crowd” for the 1960 presidential election. Most accurately described as Georgetown, which seemed to house half the hierarchy of the State Department and the CIA and the journalistic establishment, many of whom gathered for argumentative high-policy dinner parties on Sunday nights (‘The Sunday Night Drunk,’ as one regular called it.” Smithsonian magazine, December 2008) This shows that Simkin is the worst kind of Kennedy basher: the kind that knows next to nothing about Kennedy. If Simkin was backing Janney’s book then I naturally figured the plan would be to aggrandize Meyer and diminish Kennedy. (Which, as we shall see, is what happened.) Second, Simkin said that Janney would be taking up the late Leo Damore’s work on Meyer. The dropping of Damore’s name and work really raised my antennae. Although Simkin praised Damore with Truman Capote type accolades, I discounted all of them. Why? Because I had read Senatorial Privilege, Damore’s book about Ted Kennedy and the Chappaquiddick tragedy. (Senatorial Privilege: the Chappaquiddick Cover-Up, Regnery Gateway 1988) I knew about the controversy surrounding that book. In addition to being sued by his original publisher to get their advance back, Damore was also sued by one of his interview subjects, Lt. Bernard Flynn. Flynn declared that Damore had an agreement with him in which he was promised $50,000 for his cooperation in writing the book. (Sarasota Herald Tribune, 7/10/89) Checkbook journalism was almost to be expected for that book and so was Damore’s excuse for why Random House had declined his manuscript, namely that the Kennedys were behind it. (A premise, as Lisa Pease noted, which the judge did not accept.)
Rejected by Random House, Damore was then picked up by rightwing political operative Lucianne Goldberg. With her leading the way, Damore signed with the conservative oriented publishing house Regnery. This move showed that Random House was correct in divorcing themselves from Damore because, unlike Random House, Regnery did not review the book’s facts or interpretations. As James Lange and Katherine DeWitt show, Damore distorted his book so much that its main theses were not supportable. (Chappaquiddick the Real Story by James Lange and Katherine Dewitt, July 1994)
Damore picked up John Farrar’s unlikely theory that the drowned Mary Jo Kopechne could have survived for hours in the overturned car by means of an “air pocket”. The problem is that Farrar was not in any way a forensic pathologist or experienced crime scene investigator. He was the manager of the local Turf ‘N Tackle Shop and supervisor of the local Fire and Rescue unit where he did have experience with scuba searches and rescues. For as Lange and DeWitt show, three of the four windows in the car were either blown out or open as the car drifted underwater. (ibid, p. 89) Since Kopechne was in the front seat, the current was raging, and water pouring in, how could she have survived in an air pocket? Second, Farrar and Damore ignored the danger of hypothermia, which is the cooling of body temperature from water that can lead to death. (ibid, p. 83) Further, as Lange and DeWitt show, there was no collusion by the Kennedys to gain favorable treatment. Damore misquoted the laws of Pennsylvania where Kopechne was buried in order to make that faulty impression. (ibid, p. 156) Relying on an estranged and embittered Kennedy cousin Joe Gargan, Damore tried to say that Ted Kennedy wanted him to state that someone else drove the car. (ibid, p. 81) As more than one commentator has written, the problem with this is that Ted Kennedy never made this request at any time. It comes from Gargan and Gargan himself did not say it until 14 years after the fact. Damore bought it whole.
The worst part of Senatorial Privilege is the title. Because, as Lange and DeWitt demonstrate, Ted Kennedy did not get preferential treatment. He got what any other citizen would have gotten back in 1969 if he could afford a good lawyer. Lange was an attorney who specialized in these types of cases, personal injury and car accidents. On the criminal side, Kennedy was liable for the charges of leaving the scene of an accident and reckless driving. On the civil side, he and his insurance company paid out $140,000 to settle with the Kopechne family for wrongful death. (About a half million today.) And that was what anyone else could expect under these circumstances. Keep in mind this incident preceded the formation of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers and the escalating penalties for DUI’s. There simply was no other credible evidence to sustain any other charges. Consider what Joseph Kopechne, father of Mary Jo, said in this regard, “I can understand shock, but I cannot understand Mr. Gargan and Mr. Markham. They weren’t in shock. Why didn’t they get help? That’s where my questions start.” (ibid, frontispiece)
This comment cuts to the heart of the matter. Gargan and Markham were the two people who Kennedy went to after he tried repeatedly to rescue Kopechne from the car. There is no doubt that Kennedy was suffering from a concussion. It was so bad that his doctors were thinking of doing a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) to see if there was brain damage. (ibid, pgs. 47, 72) This explains his shock, disassociated state, and his retrograde amnesia. And this is where Gargan and Markham should have stepped into the breach and gotten Kennedy to a hospital, or called the Coast Guard or police. They did neither.
For me, the Lange and DeWitt volume is the best book on that subject and they, not surprisingly, had some unkind words for Damore as an author. They said the problem with Damore was that he believed anyone. Without checking up on what they said – even when it was easy to do so. They were also specific about two serious background defects Damore had as a writer. He was very weak on the legal research side and his knowledge and skill in forensic science left much to be desired. (ibid, p. 269)
As stated, Damore was working on a book about Mary Meyer when he died. The late Kennedy researcher and author John H. Davis was briefly associated with the project, but he did not proceed. Peter Janney then decided to pick up where Damore left off. A major problem with Janney is this: He never questioned anything that Damore did previously even though Senatorial Privilege tended to show that Damore was an agenda driven kind of an author who did not do his necessary homework. Further toward the end of his life Damore was suffering from some serious psychological problems that were manifesting themselves in visible ways. Both areas should have been addressed by Janney.
Before leaving Damore for now, let me note one more important fact about both him and Janney. The text of Janney’s book runs for almost 400 pages yet you will not see the quote that Damore gave to The New York Post about where his book was headed: “She (Meyer) had access to the highest levels. She was involved in illegal drug activity. What do you think it would do to the beatification of Kennedy if this woman said, ‘It wasn’t Camelot, it was Caligula’s court.’” (Damore biography at Spartacus Educational site.) Caligula was the ancient Roman Emperor who was said to have had incest with all three of his sisters, opened a brothel in a wing of the imperial palace and wanted to make his horse into a consul. This revealing statement illustrates the complaints that Lange and Dewitt had about Damore as an author. That is, he believed anyone without doing any checking or homework because, as we will see, there is virtually no credible evidence to support any of that statement.
There are two reasons I spent some time on Leo Damore. First, as stated, much of what Janney writes derives from Damore. Second, the portrait drawn of Damore as an author is seriously skewed by both Janney and his promoter Simkin. (Simkin actually pushed Janney’s work on writer David Talbot, and he included it in his book Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years. A segment that seriously flawed a fairly good book.) This skewing of Damore is echoed throughout Mary’s Mosaic. Janney’s book is so preconceived, so agenda-driven, so monomaniacal, that the character portraits the author draws can kindly be called, stilted. Unkindly, one could say they are distorted, almost grotesque. Before getting into this baroque gallery of caricature, let me briefly summarize the story that Janney is at pains to portray.
Mary Pinchot was the sister of Antoinette Pinchot. Antoinette was the wife of Ben Bradlee, future editor of the Washington Post. Mary Pinchot married Cord Meyer, a rising star in the World Federalist movement who eventually joined the CIA and rose to an officer’s status. The Meyers divorced in the late fifties after having three sons. Mary then began to cultivate what appears to have been a hidden but real talent for painting. Due to the fact that her sister was friends with the First Lady, and Ben Bradlee was friends with President Kennedy, she was often invited to the White House. Less than a year after Kennedy was assassinated, Mary Meyer was killed while jogging. The accused assailant, for whom there was plentiful probable cause, was Ray Crump. Crump was acquitted due to the services of a bright and skillful lawyer named Dovey Roundtree. It is important to note that, up to this point, 1964-65, there was nothing more to this story. Mary Meyer was killed, the only suspect was acquitted and that was that. It was not until 12 years later that the story began to mastasize itself. Through former Washington Post/Newsweek reporter James Truitt, The National Enquirer now wrote that Mary was having an affair with JFK and this included a claim of them smoking grass in the White House. This revelation was not enough for Timothy Leary. Several years after the National Enquirer story surfaced, Leary then added to it by saying that Meyer and Kennedy were not just toking weed, but dropping LSD. And that he supplied it to Mary. Although according to Leary, Mary never named JFK, Leary adduced that Kennedy was killed because Mary had given him LSD and this had turned a cold warrior into a peace seeker.
This was the tale that Damore picked up and Janney then completed. They add to it that Mary had somehow become disenchanted with the national security state, and had become some kind of foreign policy maven. She was therefore advising former cold warrior Kennedy in 1963. After Kennedy was killed, she suspected that it was a high level plot. She also figured out that the Warren Report was a cover up. The CIA learned about this and decided to have her eliminated in an elaborate, commando type of plot in which Ray Crump was an innocent bystander.
The reader is familiar with the old saying that extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. If not, they are reduced to empty bombast. This book is filled with claims and revisionism that are so extraordinary that they are startling. The problem is that there is a paucity of evidence for them that is simply appalling. It is so appalling that, for the experienced and knowledgeable reader, one has to wonder why Janney wrote the book. After reading it, and taking 15 pages of notes, I think I figured it out. And it relates to the problem of his skewed portrayal of Damore.
When the Meyers were married and Cord worked for the CIA, their family became friends with the Janney family. Peter Janney’s father was a CIA analyst. The Janney children therefore knew the children of Cord and Mary Meyer. It is fairly clear from his description of her that young Peter Janney became enamored with Mary Meyer early in life. While playing baseball at her house he raced around to retrieve the ball and discovered her sunbathing nude. This is how he describes the scene: “She lay completely naked, her backside to the sun. I was breathless… and I stood there for what seemed to me a very long time, gawking. At the time, I had no words for the vision that I beheld….” (Janney, p. 12) If this is not enough, he then adds to it by saying this experience had left him “somehow irrevocably altered, even blessed.” (ibid) So, for Janney, seeing Mary Meyer’s nude backside was a quasi-religious experience that altered him permanently. To make this point even more clear, it is echoed when Janney learns that Mary Meyer is dead. He says he crawled up into bed in a fetal position. He adds that his sleep was fitful that night as he wrestled with the fact of her death. (p. 14) The problem with this early infatuation is that Janney kept and nurtured it his entire life. Anyone can see that by the way he approaches her. He doesn’t write about the woman. He caresses her in print. This is not a good attribute for an author. For it causes the loss of critical distance. As Dwight MacDonald once wrote about James Agee, a far superior writer to Janney, “The lover sees many interesting aspects of his love that others do not. But he also sees many interesting ones that aren’t there.” This is clearly the case here. For the aggrandizement of Mary Meyer in this book is both unprecedented and stupefying. If Janney could back it up with credible evidence, it would be one thing. He doesn’t. Therefore it gets to be offensive since it says more about Janney’s childhood wish fulfillment than it does about Mary Meyer.
But there is something even worse at work here. Since Mary Meyer is to be the exalted center of the book’s universe, this means that all the other personages rotating around her will be defined by Janney’s blinding portrait of Mary. Cord Meyer is insensitive, brooding, and worst of all, no fun. James Truitt, Mary’s friend who started it all off, has been maligned. Ron Rosenbaum and Philip Nobile, who wrote an extended essay on the search for Mary’s “diary”, are independent, and searching authors wedded to the truth. Ray Crump is an innocent naïf who just happened to be at the scene of a CIA hit. And, worst of all, John Kennedy was an empty playboy who needed to be guided to his vision of world peace by Mary Meyer and, of all people, Timothy Leary.
The problem with all the above is not so much that its wrong – it is. But that, as with his portrait of Damore, Janney tries to juggle and curtail and borrow from certain sources in order to make it seem correct to the novice reader. Most readers, of course, are not aware of the juggling, curtailment, and borrowing, or the reliability of the sources. To demonstrate, let us start with the two most important people in the book: Meyer and Kennedy. As I noted, Janney tries to portray the young Mary Meyer as something like a supernatural being who is not so much headed for Vassar as Valhalla. Consider this: “Was it encoded in Mary Meyer’s DNA to be so independent, strong-willed, even courageous? Quite possibly yes.” (Janney, p. 145) Or this: “For her life’s mosaic only begins to reveal the complexity and uniqueness of a woman…. This remarkable odyssey… reveals a glimpse of a strikingly rare and exceptional woman….” (Ibid, p. 144) Oh my aching back. After reading this I wrote in my notes: “Is he serious? The reason we are talking about Mary Meyer is twofold: her brother-in-law was Ben Bradlee and her husband was Cord Meyer.” That might seem cold, but it’s a lot closer to the truth than the hot air Janney spews.
Why do I say that? Because there is no credible evidence to show that Mary Meyer was the foreign policy maven that Janney wants – needs – her to be. The closest that anyone can come is to say that she once worked as a reporter for both NANA and UPI. (Janney, p. 159) She also freelanced articles to Mademoiselle on things like sex education and venereal disease. (New Times, July 9, 1976) This was in the early to mid forties. So what does Janney do to fill in the breach of the intervening years? He tries to say that Mary, the housewife and mother, furthered this interest while married to Cord Meyer while he was president of United World Federalists (UFW). So I went to Cord Meyer’s book Facing Reality to see if there was any proof of this. There isn’t. For example, while on a working holiday, Mary was not helping him write, she was fishing. (Meyer, p. 39) In fact, Cord Meyer actually writes that his position in UWF had created a distance between him and his family and this is one reason he resigned. (Meyer, pgs. 56-57) Cord then went to Harvard on a fellowship in 1949-50. If Mary had any special interest in foreign affairs, this was the place to develop it. Yes, she did take classes, but they were in design. And this is where she first discovered her painting ability. In 1951, Cord Meyer is about to join the CIA. If Mary had really been helping Cord in his UFW work, wouldn’t she have said “No, that is not what we believe in.” Again, the opposite happened. Mary was all in favor of him joining the CIA. (Ibid, p. 65) But further, Cord Meyer kept a journal. In his book, when he is discussing their decision to divorce, the split in not over the nature of his work. Its simply because he spends too much time on it and therefore is not a good husband since he doesn’t take enough interest in her. (ibid, p. 142) This, of course, is a common complaint among housewives.
After this, when the two separated and then divorced in the late fifties, Mary got custody of the two sons. Therefore, she raised them and worked on her painting. She was under the instruction of one Ken Noland. Noland was not just her instructor, she also slept with him and their relationship went on for a while. But he was not the only one for Mary Meyer was involved with several men after her divorce. (ibid, New Times) So, as unconventional as Mary’s life seemed to be, where did she get the time and knowledge to become, in Janney’s terms, Kennedy’s “visionary for world peace”? While Meyer was quite intelligent and studied, the evidence for this is simply not there. This is the price a writer pays when he idealizes his subject beyond recognition.
But it’s worse than that. As I said, Mary is Janney’s sun, everything else in the book revolves in a direct relationship around her. Therefore to fulfill his childhood dream of Mary as JFK’s muse, not only does Janney exalt Mary, he must then diminish Kennedy beyond recognition. I was a bit surprised as to how he accomplished this. In this book, any kind of CIA source, including Janney’s father, is suspect in regards to Mary, as is the Washington Post. But yet, this standard is reversed with Kennedy. For Janney now uses authors like Post favorites Peter Collier and David Horowitz to characterize the young Kennedy as the empty young playboy who first encounters Mary Meyer when he was a college freshman. He also trots out, of all people, CIA asset Priscilla Johnson. But that’s just the beginning. Janney is so intent on reducing Kennedy to Hugh Hefner that he then hauls in books like Kitty Kelley’s biography of Jackie Kennedy, and even Edward Klein, who has been convincingly accused of manufacturing quotes. Seeing this pattern, I waited for Janney to drop the neutron bomb. That is, Seymour Hersh’s piece of discredited tripe, The Dark Side of Camelot. He didn’t disappoint me. It’s there at the end of Chapter 8, with all the other rubbish.
Janney has to do this because he simply will not let anything – like facts or evidence – counter his agenda. For if he did try to present the true facts about young John Kennedy it would undermine the picture he is laboring so hard to etch. For instance, Janney writes, “Jack Kennedy entered his presidency as an avowed Cold Warrior.” (Janney, p. 234) He says this because he needs to portray Mary as Kennedy’s guide to a different world. There’s a big problem with this: It’s a lie.
John Kennedy did not need a Mary Meyer to tell him anything about what his foreign policy vision was. As anyone who has read good books about Kennedy knows, his unusual ideas about the United States, Russia, the Cold War and communism did not begin with the Truitt/Leary fantasy about drugs in the White House. Kennedy’s education went back over a decade earlier. This was when young congressman Kennedy visited Saigon in 1951 to find out what the French colonial war there was actually about. There he discovered a man named Edmund Gullion. Gullion worked in the State Department and understood what was really happening in Indochina. He told Kennedy that the conflict was not about communism versus democracy. It was about national liberation versus European imperialism. And the French could never win that struggle since Ho Chi Minh had galvanized the populace so much around the issue that thousands of young men would rather die than stay under French rule. (Richard Mahoney, JFK: Ordeal in Africa, pgs. 14-15.) This visit was the key to turning Kennedy’s views around on this issue. Kennedy never forgot Gullion, who was his real tutor on the subject. Once he became president, Gullion came into the White House. Predictably, you will not find Gullion’s name in this book.
Now, if Janney were really interested in finding out the truth about Kennedy, after establishing this fact, he would have then done two things. First, he would have asked: Why did the congressman do what he did in Saigon? He didn’t have to go off the beaten track like that. He could have just swallowed the hokum about communism, the domino theory and the Red Scare. How do you explain what he did as he was now about to embark on a race for the Senate? Secondly, the author then would have traced the speeches Senator Kennedy gave pummeling the Dulles brothers, Eisenhower, Nixon and the Establishment’s view of the Cold War. These speeches are plentiful and easy to find. One can locate them in the Mahoney book or in Allan Nevins’ The Strategy of Peace. Kennedy continually railed against John Foster Dulles’ hackneyed and Manichean view of the Cold War. In 1957 Kennedy said, “Public thinking is still being bullied by slogans which are either false in context or irrelevant to the new phase of competitive coexistence in which we live.” (Mahoney, p. 19) In 1956, he made speeches for Adlai Stevenson in this same vein. Stevenson, the darling of the liberal intelligentsia, thought they were too radical and told him to stop. (ibid, p. 18) Then, in 1957, Kennedy rose in the Senate to make his boldest attack yet on the White House and it’s backing of European colonialism. This was his blistering speech concerning the administration’s inability to talk France out of a second colonial civil war, this time in their North African colony of Algeria. (ibid, pgs. 20-21)
Janney cannot present Kennedy honestly – even though this information is crucial to understanding the man – because that would make him too interesting and attractive to the reader. For the enduring attraction of John F. Kennedy is this: How did the son of a Boston multi millionaire sympathize so strongly with the Third World by the age of 40? For that is how old Kennedy was when he made his great speech about Algeria. That seeming paradox seems to me much more important and interesting than any aspect of Mary Meyer’s life. But beyond that, it would show that Kennedy was anything but a Cold Warrior when he entered office in 1961. This is all demonstrable because it was this decade long education that made Kennedy break so quickly with Eisenhower/Dulles in 1961 and on so many fronts e.g. Congo, Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam, and Iran.
So this whole idea that Janney is peddling, that somehow a single mom and fledgling painter like Mary Meyer was going to teach the sophisticated John Kennedy what the likes of Gullion, John K. Galbraith or Chester Bowles could not, this is simply not tenable. It can only exist in utter ignorance of who Kennedy really was, way before he got to the White House. So when Janney tries to pull off a rather cheap trick, as he attempts to do on pages 259-74, for anyone who knows Kennedy, it’s transparent. What he does here is set up Jim Douglass’ JFK and the Unspeakable on one side of the table. On the other he has a calendar of when Mary was at certain presidential functions in 1963. He then tries to argue that, somehow, if she was there when such a thing happened, then she had advised JFK to do it. Once you understand the method, it gets kind of humorous to watch. For instance, when Kennedy goes to the Milford, Pennsylvania Pinchot estate for a family dedication in September of 1963, he is about to announce NSAM 263, the withdrawal order from Vietnam. Also, the back channel with Fidel Castro is heating up with Cuban diplomat Carlos Lechuga, ABC reporter Lisa Howard and American diplomat Bill Attwood. Presto, Mary is again responsible. (By the same logic, Kennedy’s limo driver could have been advising him also, since he was there too.) What Janney doesn’t tell you is that Kennedy’s withdrawal plan began two years earlier, in the fall of 1961. That’s when he sent John K. Galbraith to Saigon in order to present a report to Secretary of Defense Bob McNamara recommending a draw down in American forces. (James Blight, Virtual JFK, pgs. 72-73) The back channel actually began in late 1962 and early 1963, when New York lawyer James Donovan was negotiating the release of the Bay of Pigs prisoners. (See Cigar Aficionado, “JFK and Castro”, September/October 1999.) An author should not deprive the reader of important information like that. But this is how intent Janney is to abide by his Mary Meyer social calendar so he can make something out of nothing. Its also how intent he is on diminishing Kennedy. In reality, this information proves the Timothy Leary part of this fairy tale is an utter fabrication and that Janney and Damore were suckers to buy into it. Kennedy needed nothing from Leary’s psychology or mind enhancing to achieve his goals.
First, Leary had written literally dozens of books prior to his 1983 opus Flashbacks. (In Flashbacks, Leary said he slept with Marilyn Monroe. I have little doubt Janney buys that also.) For my earlier essay, I waded through the previous books one by one trying to find any mention of the episode that – mirabile dictu – first appeared there. For it was in 1983 when Leary first wrote about a scene in which this striking looking woman comes to see him back in the early sixties. Her goal is to turn on some powerful people in Washington. So Leary supplies Mary with mind-altering drugs. Then, in early 1964, she comes in looking sad. She says words to the effect: “he was changing too fast”. The implication being that somehow the combination of Mary’s (phantom) knowledge and Leary’s drugs made JFK see the light. Leary was so desperate to sell his book Flashbacks that he didn’t do his homework. He didn’t notice that even though he had written over 20 books previously, and had 21 years to do so, he never once mentioned this unforgettable and crucial incident in the thousands of pages he had already published. Somehow it slipped his mind. Maybe because it didn’t happen?
Second, Kennedy did not need either him or Mary Meyer to construct a vision of how he was going to alter American foreign policy. As I have shown above, he had been preparing for that well in advance and immediately got to work on it in 1961. The exposure of Leary as a fabricator, along with the facts about Kennedy’s real foreign policy ideas, this combination obliterates one of the book’s main theses and with it, two entire chapters: 9 and 10.
Janney needs to have a reason for Meyer to be killed by someone besides Crump. So what did he and Damore dream up as a motive for a precision commando team to do away with the single mom who was trying to be a painter? According to the two sleuths it was this: Mary doubted the Warren Report. (Janney, p. 329) Yep, that’s it. We are supposed to believe that the CIA so feared the single mom’s Vincent Salandria-like forensic skills that they decided to kill her. The problem with this is that there isn’t any credible evidence for it. But that’s no problem for Janney and Damore. They find a way around it. According to Janney, Mary must have read Mark Lane’s critical essay about the Commission in The Guardian in December of 1963. She must have read the New Republic piece called Seeds of Doubt by Staughton Lynd and Jack Miniss also. And, of course, Mary had to have read the article by Harry Truman in the Washington Post, which really is not about Kennedy’s assassination, but about how Truman felt the CIA had strayed from its original mission. I think this is what Janney is saying. Since he spends six otherwise unnecessary pages describing these 3 essays. (pgs. 297-302) The problem is there is no evidence, let alone proof, she did any of this, or was even interested in it. Just as there is no proof that Mary discussed the assassination with William Walton. Even though, if you can believe it, Janney spends five pages on that possibility. (pgs. 302-06) Janney apparently thinks that if he describes something long enough we will be convinced that Mary read it. Not so. For anyone who sees through that tactic, this material is empty filler.
But then comes something that had me agog. It was bold, even for Janney. Janney writes that, when the Warren Report was published, Mary rushed out and bought it. She read it carefully and she became fully enraged by the cover up taking place. She even had notes in the margins, with many pages dog-eared for future reference. Now, let us step back from this construct for a moment. The report was issued on September 28, 1964. Meyer was killed on October 14th, about two weeks later. Janney wants us to believe that the fledgling painter with two kids and a number of boyfriends read the 888 page Warren Report, fully digested it, and thoroughly deconstructed it in two weeks. As someone who has actually studied the Warren Report, I found this quite far-fetched. So much so that it made me wonder if Janney had actually even read that volume. I really don’t think he has. Because the Warren Report has over 6,000 footnotes to it. Almost all of them are to the accompanying 26 volumes of hearings and exhibits. And those were not issued until after Mary was killed! It would have been difficult for anyone to understand the report enough to be “enraged at the cover up” without seeing the back up evidence. The first person to actually do this was Vince Salandria, an experienced lawyer, and it took Salandria months to assemble and break down the evidence in the volumes. Unless there were evidence showing she was in communication with someone who was following the government’s investigation closely, are we really to believe that painter Mary could do in a flash what it took lawyer Salandria months to achieve? Please.
But let us grant Janney his miracle. Maybe Mary took Evelyn Wood classes in speed-reading. Maybe she made secret trips to Dallas. Maybe, through her ex-husband, she got Warren Commissioner Allen Dulles to give her an advance copy of the Warren Report and the volumes. Let us grant Janney any or all of these necessary illusions. How was this single mom, this private citizen with no official position anywhere, going to do anything about the media’s embrace of the Commission? If we are old enough, let us think back to the release of the Warren Report. Every single arm of the mainstream media was broadcasting how great the report was, and in the most thunderous and unqualified terms. It was a coordinated propaganda operation run out of the White House, with help from the United States Information Agency. Was Mary going to march into the local CBS affiliate and demand airtime? Was she going to fly to New York and request a coast-to-coast hook up from NBC? While there, would she demand a front-page article in the New York Times? That was not going to happen in 1964 or 1965. Not with people like Bill Paley (CBS) and David Sarnoff (NBC) in charge. Was she then going to go to her brother-in-law, Ben Bradlee, then of Newsweek, later the Washington Post? Because Bradlee obviously didn’t publish anything suspicious of the Warren Report regardless of his relationship with JFK, for he knew it would endanger his power base. (David Talbot, Brothers, p. 393) And if this is not the point, then what is? That Mary was going to talk about her doubts with her sons, or her friends? What would that achieve? Especially with the mass media smothering all attempts to raise any doubts. And again, where is the proof of this? Once we realize that Janney has built on a base of unfounded assumption, then the reason d’être for the book evaporates. There simply was no motive for the CIA to kill Mary Meyer. And they didn’t.
When Dovey Roundtree was first approached about the case of Ray Crump she was an accomplished attorney who was one of the few females to graduate from Howard University Law School. Quite naturally, the whole issue of race formed a big part of her life. Consider this passage from her book Justice Older than the Law where she describes her feelings about going to Spelman College in Atlanta: “I was nearly paralyzed by my pain in those years. Decades would pass before I finally let go of the seething rage I harbored toward every white person who had ever wronged me, toward the whole faceless mass of white humanity who might someday wrong me for the mere fact of my blackness.” (p. 30, Roundtree and Katie McCabe) This is why, after she became a lawyer, she then became an ordained minister at Allen Chapel African Methodist Church in Washington D.C. I note this because, although Crump was black, even Roundtree was hesitant to take his case at first. As she writes, “I was dubious about his innocence, so persuasive were the facts the government had arrayed against him.” (ibid, p. 190) What then pushed her into taking on his cause? Through her own minister, Crump’s mother decided to make a personal plea to Roundtree. Predictably, she said her son was a “good boy.” And, of course, he would never do anything like what he was accused of doing here. With her background, this plea emotionally resounded with Roundtree. As she writes, “I compared her, consciously, to my grandmother, fighting ever so ferociously for Tom and Pete and all us “chillun” against onslaughts of every sort.” (ibid, p. 191) Since her grandmother had just died, this vaulted her to defend Crump “with a force I would not have thought possible.” (ibid, p. 194)
The prosecutor, Alan Hantman, made two tactical errors which allowed Roundtree to raise the issue of reasonable doubt. Since the police arrived within minutes of the attack, and sealed the publicly known egresses, there was no exit from the towpath area where Mary was killed. Therefore, Hantman deduced that Crump, who had been hiding in the undergrowth next to a culvert, had to be the assailant. The problem is that the mapmaker, Joseph Ronsivale, had never actually walked the area himself. The well-prepared Roundtree had. On cross-examination, she indicated there were possible areas of exit not on the map. (Nina Burleigh, A Very Private Woman, p. 263) Secondly, there appeared to be a discrepancy in the chief witness’ estimate of the height of the assailant. (Although, as Lisa Pease noted, jut about everything else in his identification was spot on.) Roundtree harped on the point to establish reasonable doubt. It was not until the end of the trial that Hantman was alerted to the fact that Crump had worn shoes with two-inch heels that day. Therefore, the prosecutor only brought this up in his summation and could not restore Henry Wiggins while he was on the stand. (Ibid, pgs. 272-73) But Wiggins saw the assailant slip something dark into his jacket pocket as he stood over the fallen body. And the moment he saw the apprehended Crump he exclaimed, “That’s him!” (New Times, 7/9/76)
Hantman also made a strategic error. He thought Crump would testify on his own behalf. When Crump was apprehended, he was soaking wet. He was wearing a t-shirt with torn black pants. He was covered with bits of weed. He had a bloody hand and a cut over his eye. The police later discovered a jacket near the scene. Along with his cap, Crump had ditched it, and his wife confirmed it was his. (Burleigh, p. 234) There was no one else in the area in this condition. Hantman looked forward to cross-examining Crump, not just about his condition at the time, but all the lies he had told to explain his incriminating state away. For example, he said he was in the area to go fishing. Except he didn’t bring his pole. He said he cut his hand on a bait hook – which he also left at home. How did he explain having his fly down? An officer did it. Why was he soaking wet? Crump first tried to explain this by saying that he had slipped into the river from his fishing spot. When that lie was exposed, he said he had fallen into the river while asleep. (ibid, p. 265) Did his hat and jacket fall off his body as he slipped? Once these lies were exposed for what they were, Hantman would then be able to show that Crump’s condition had all the earmarks of a man who had been involved in a sexual attack. It had been resisted, and Crump had then tried to wipe away the nitrates in the water, and bury the weapon in the soft dirt. Once he was under cross-examination, Crump would wither and weep and say, as he did to the police, “Looks like you got a stacked deck.” (ibid, p. 234) Justice would be done.
Hantman never got his opportunity to expose Crump. Roundtree was too smart and experienced for that. She knew Hantman would demolish her client. (Ibid, New Times.) So she declined to put him on the stand. Roundtree did what a good defense lawyer does. She raised the specter of reasonable doubt. Crump was acquitted.
And that is a shame. For Crump had serious problems prior to Meyer’s murder. He had been arrested for larceny. And he had a bad drinking problem. He suffered from excruciating headaches and even blackouts. His first wife despised his drinking problem. When drunk, he became violent toward the women around him. (ibid, p. 243) And there was evidence Crump had been drinking that day. As Nina Burleigh demonstrated in abundance, Crump went on to become a chronic criminal, a real menace to society. He committed a series of violent crimes, many of them against women. Roundtree and Janney understand what a serious problem this is for them. No lawyer wants to admit they helped a guilty man go free. So she came to say that it was Crump’s incarceration while under arrest, and the pressure of the trial, that did this to Crump. This ignores his record prior to the arrest. And it begs the question: If Crump was really the put upon naïf they make him out to be, he would not have been arrested 22 times afterwards. The record indicates the opposite: a budding sociopath was now free to terrorize many more innocent people
Lisa Pease did a neat job rendering absurd the scenario Janney tries to conjure for his version of what happened on the towpath. We are supposed to believe that this was a precision commando team plot:
- One of the trial witnesses who identified Crump, William Mitchell, was actually a deep cover CIA hit man, the actual assassin. As Lisa points out, in Janney’s world, Crump was picked out that morning.
- Apparently one of the platoon was stationed outside of Sears or Penney’s with a walkie-talkie. (Janney actually says they were delivered by CIA technical services.)
- When Crump was located near the scene, his clothes description was relayed to this person via radio.
- The person bought clothes that perfectly fit Crump.
- The clothes were then delivered to Mitchell. And Mitchell actually killed Meyer.
The reader should note: this James Bond scenario has two problems with it. First, it is so precise and intricate it makes the Mossad look like Keystone Cops. Why go through all of in the first place? Why not just kill Mary from any of the concealed areas nearby with a sniper, a silenced rifle and sabot? This would take care of any witness contingencies, or any possible friends joining Mary for her jog. And, in fact, Helen Stern had arranged to meet Mary that day for a run. (Burleigh p. 230. You won’t find Stern’s name in Janney’s book.) Secondly, would not such a precise commando team realize that there was a big problem somewhere along the way? Namely that Crump was black and Mitchell was white? So I imagine that after all the clothes were ordered, then delivered to the crime scene, some Navy Seal put on his color corrected glasses, looked up and said: “Oh shit! The guy’s black!” We are supposed to believe that with its enormous reach, and realizing this was Washington D.C., the CIA could not find one black covert operator in all of its worldwide operations.
As is his bent, Janney shoves that lacuna under the rug. What he does to paper it over is startling. I had to read this section over twice to make sure I did not misread it the first time. Mary was shot twice. There is evidence her body was also dragged about 20 feet. Janney writes that this was done in order to be sure there was a witness! (Janney, p. 335) But why would you do that if Mitchell was white and Crump was black? Well see, the CIA had ways to alter skin pigmentation. (ibid, p. 332) Apparently the chemical process could be done on the scene and was effective instantaneously. In a matter of minutes, Mitchell went from Caucasian to African-American. It must have been an amazing sight to watch. (And Michael Jackson’s doctor was way behind the times.) But Janney’s pen cannot keep up with the constant convolutions of his imagination. Because three pages later he now says that Mitchell escaped after the killing and was replaced by a stand-in for Crump. (ibid, p. 335) Janney never asks himself: “Why would the CIA do that?” Why not just have the African-American stand in kill Mary in the first place? Maybe because someone just wanted to see if Mitchell could transform himself from a white guy to a black guy in front of your eyes?
As the reader can see, in his unremitting effort to fit a square peg into a round hole, Janney has ascended into the heights of dreadfulness. And he spared himself no embarrassment in getting there.
If I did not mention the reports about Mary’s “diary”, I would be remiss. In 1976, James Truitt was the source for an article in The National Enquirer. The article said that Meyer had been having an affair with JFK in 1962 and 1963 but that wasn’t enough for Truitt. He added that Kennedy and Meyer smoked weed in the White House, but Kennedy had told Mary she should try cocaine. Truitt actually said he supplied the joints and that Mary had kept a diary about the affair. The original article supplied almost nothing about why Truitt should reveal this at the time about two people who had been dead for over a decade. But there were some strong indications as to why. And the Enquirer was not at all forthcoming about them. Ben Bradlee was promoted to executive editor of the Post in 1968. One year later he fired Truitt. According to Nina Burleigh, Truitt had developed a drinking problem by this time and had also begun to show signs of mental instability, perhaps a nervous breakdown. (Burleigh, p. 284; Washington Post 2/23/76) Therefore, Bradlee forced him out with a settlement of $35,000. (Burleigh, p. 299) Truitt’s problems now grew worse. It got so bad that his wife Anne sought a conservatorship for him based on a physician’s affidavit that he was suffering from mental impairment. (ibid, p. 284) The actual words used in the affidavit were that he was incapacitated to a degree “such as to impair his judgment and cause him to be irresponsible.” (ibid, italics added) In 1971, Anne divorced him. A year later, so did the conservator. All this left Truitt in a sorry state with nowhere to turn. He wrote to Cord Meyer and asked for a job with the CIA. When the job did not materialize he moved to Mexico. He remarried and lived with a group of expatriates, which included many former CIA agents. And he now began to experiment with psychotropic drugs. (ibid) If this was your source for a front-page story, I can understand not revealing the man’s background.
The upshot of The National Enquirer story was that Ron Rosenbaum and Philip Nobile later wrote an article for New Times in which they tried to trace what happened to Mary’s incriminating “diary”. It is hard to decipher this story because you have to understand the personal relationships at work. Ben Bradlee was at loggerheads with CIA counter-intelligence chief James Angleton. Angleton thought that Bradlee had blown his cover when writing a review of a book by Kim Philby, a high-ranking member of British intelligence who was exposed as a double agent. (Burleigh, p. 283)
As we have seen, Truitt had serious problems, was doing psychotropic drugs, was involved in a CIA expatriate community, and was clearly closer to Angleton than he was to Bradlee. Truitt also seems to have had an anti-Kennedy bias from the beginning. (See Bradlee’s Conversations with Kennedy, pgs. 43-49) I won’t go through the whole morass of testimony on the “diary” issue. I already did that in my previous article. (For those interested, see The Assassinations, edited by James DiEugenio and Lisa Pease, pgs. 339-44) Further, contrary to what Janney tries to imply, the two people who wrote the 1976 New Times essay, Ron Rosenbaum and Philip Nobile, were not paragons of honest and indefatigable reporting. In fact, one could argue they were much too close to both the CIA and the Post. I once wrote a short article about Rosenbaum for Probe revealing what a CIA lackey Rosenbaum went on to be. (Probe, Vol. 4 No. 6, p. 28) And further, how he had been co-opted by Angleton and his acolyte Edward Epstein. To the point that Rosenbaum actually argued that Kim Philby had not snookered Angleton. Instead Angleton had let Philby escape to Russia so that he could relay back to him secrets of the KGB! Rosenbaum’s sources for this one? Epstein and Howard Hunt. Need I add, that along with his pro-Angleton tendencies, a clear anti-JFK coloring also marked his work. (ibid) In other words, if Angleton could have picked a writer to follow up on the Truitt tale, he could hardly have done better than Rosenbaum.
But the bottom line is this: Even considering all the relationships and biases, there is no credible evidence that any diary, in the normal sense of that term, was found. What was found was a sketchbook that had traces of Mary’s relationship with Kennedy in it. (ibid, p. 343) Toni Bradlee, Mary’s sister, destroyed it, which was the natural choice.
After sifting through this whole “diary” imbroglio, I came to a conclusion in this regard as far as Angleton went. If the diary had depicted what Truitt told The National Enquirer, wouldn’t Angleton have found a way to get it into the press? With his connections? But he never did that, did he? And he had 23 years to do so. So he did the next best thing. Recall, Angleton had been fired at the time of The National Enquirer story’s appearance. In regards to Kennedy’s assassination he was now becoming “a person of interest” to both the Church Committee and the House Select Committee on Assassinations. Realizing this, he was starting to map out defenses. One of these, apparently worked out with Dick Helms, was a veiled threat to discredit and smear JFK personally. (Dick Russell, On the Trail of the JFK Assassins, p. 57) What I believe happened is that after Angleton was ousted he contacted his friend Truitt. Due to his social and emotional state, and his animus toward Bradlee, Truitt was now easy prey. Angleton got the poor guy to say things Angleton wished the “diary” had said, but it didn’t. (But, in fact, Truitt was now actually doing those things himself.) It is also important to note that, at this point in time, Angleton told these kinds of bizarre stories to anyone who would listen to them. He once told reporter Scott Armstrong that Truitt was not just doing peyote and mescaline in Mexico but that he had done LSD in America. Who was his acid trip partner? Phil Graham, previously the publisher of the Post. He also told Armstrong that Mary Meyer had had an affair with Graham, among several other men. (Burleigh, p. 299) Of course, these posthumous libels never got into print. But, the Enquirer was a different story as far as evidence and credibility went.
Let me touch on one more method that Janney uses to further his unremitting agenda. As noted by Lisa Pease, like Truitt, Leo Damore was a very troubled man towards the end of his life. But knowing that, the indiscriminate Janney still sources many of his footnotes to “Interview with Leo Damore”. No documents, no exhibits, no independent corroboration. Just Janney talked to Damore. In the echelons of academia, this technique is called the self-reinforcing reference. And Janney does not just use the technique with Damore. For instance, I have pointed out why Timothy Leary is a dubious witness. To bolster Leary’s credibility, who does Janney use? More Leary. Maybe Janney thinks if he makes a walking, talking hologram of Leary that will make him believable.
Well, Janney’s piece de resistance in this regard is a set of notes made by Damore’s lawyer, Jim Smith, about a phone call Damore had with him in 1993. Damore called Smith and said he solved the Meyer case. Damore said he sent a letter to a CIA safe house to one William Mitchell. Recall, this is the guy who used a chemical process to turn himself from white to black to fake out Wiggins in the murder. Well, if you can believe it, Mitchell replied to Damore’s letter.
Again, it is necessary to step back from the construct. I have been doing field research in this case for a long time. I have encountered CIA safe houses. The reason they are called that is that they are run, monitored, and controlled by the Agency. The idea that a journalist like Damore would write a letter to one, it would get through, the hit man would reply, and they then would talk for hours on the phone, this is all quite foreign to my experience. But that is what Janney wants us to believe happened. (Janney p. 407) Janney even writes that Damore supposedly met the man in person. (ibid, pgs. 378, 404) Now, just this would be enough for me to arch my eyebrows and close my eyes. But further, there are no tapes or transcripts of any part of the call. Even though Damore said he taped the whole thing. (ibid, p. 408) Even though Damore said he was up most of the night talking to the man. (ibid, p. 404) Further, none were produced either at the time of the call in 1993, after Damore’s death two years later, or in the intervening 17 years. Any writer worth his salt who had been working on a project as long as Damore had would have:
- Taped the call
- Had it transcribed almost immediately
- He would then have had the tape and transcripts duplicated.
- The originals would have been placed either in a personal safe or in a safe deposit box at a bank. Not just to prevent them from being purloined. But because they were worth money. They would be instrumental in negotiating a large book contract from a major publishing house.
What does Janney say in this regard? That Damore’s book agent told him “he thought he remembered Damore talking about certain aspects of this call.” (ibid, p. 412, italics added) Under normal conditions, once Damore told the agent about every aspect of the call, the agent would have requested the copies be sent to him special delivery. He then would have begun working the phones. Within a week or so, he would have had a substantial contract for Damore to sign. Yet, none of this happened, or even came close to happening. Damore had two years to come up with this proof, or to meet with Mitchell, attain his photo, and ascertain his precise living conditions. Yet none of this information exists.
But Janney now goes further in using Damore. The notes say that Damore talked to Fletcher Prouty. Prouty helped Damore put some pieces of the puzzle together and identified Mitchell as an assassin. (ibid, p. 420) This jarred me. Knowing the life and work of Prouty as I do, it was out of character for him. Fletcher never identified a black operator unless he had a high public profile e.g. Ed Lansdale, Alexander Butterfield. I knew this not just from his work but also from the patron of his work, Len Osanic. So I talked to Len about this point: Did you ever know Fletcher to expose an undercover black operator? He replied in the negative. In fact, he even sent me a radio show in which a host was badgering Prouty to do just that. Fletcher would not. I then asked him if Fletcher had ever mentioned Damore, Janney, or Mary Meyer to him. He said no. I asked if, since Fletcher’s death in 2001, Janney had called him to confirm anything? He said no he had not. I then asked him when Fletcher had resigned his position in the Pentagon. Len said it was in January of 1964. (E-mail communication with Osanic of 6/22/12) I now started to scratch my head. Mary Meyer was killed in October of 1964. How could Fletcher have known about the Damore/Janney “operation” if he wasn’t in the Pentagon anymore?
But that’s not the worst about Damore. For Damore, his most obstinate obsession was his protean attempt to turn Mary Meyer into a combination of Sylvia Meagher and Madeleine Albright. And the key for that was the existence of a “diary”. One that would say more than what the Bradlees said it did. Well, for that poor soul Damore, this became his equivalent of the Holy Grail of Arthurian legend. And according to those notes Janney finds so bracing, Damore found it. But I think the notes overdo it. Because he didn’t find it just once. Not even just twice. But three times. (See pgs. 325, 328, 349) Even Mitchell had a diary. Did he break into her apartment after killing her? (What skin pigment did he use this time? Maybe Native American?) But guess what? None of these are around today. As the reader can see by this sorry trail, Lange and DeWitt were correct. Damore’s problem is that he believed anyone – without doing any checking. But Janney then multiplied this problem. Because, in turn, he believed anything Damore told him. And as shown above, he also didn’t check it. Even, it appears, when Damore was in a questionable mental state.
From the above analysis, it is difficult to find a credible source that Janney uses to further his rather leaky conspiratorial construct. Or a credible document. And this brings us to a man whose name I thought I would never again have to type: Gregory Douglas. As Lisa Pease pointed out, Douglas has many names he goes under e.g. Peter Stahl and Walter Storch. And in fact, it appears his son might us one of them. He also has a proven record of being involved in past forgeries, including Rodin statuettes. But Janney is going to minimize the past history of this scoundrel. In fact, he actually begins his section on the man by praising his knowledge of the Third Reich and his book Gestapo Chief: The 1948 Interrogation of Heinrich Muller. (Janney, p. 352) Again, this is disturbing because that book is certainly a forgery. In it, it is claimed that the wedding between Hitler and Eva Braun in the Berlin bunker was a staged production. The real Hitler was planning to escape so he poured through Berlin to find a stand-in for himself. (Reminds one of Janney’s Crump stand-in.) Hitler staged this bit of theater and then had the stand-in killed to mislead the Russians. Hitler then escaped Germany in April of 1945 for Spain. In other words, the stand-in, who, apparently, even talked like Hitler, fooled all the seven – actually even more – witnesses who were in the bunker. Another giveaway is that Douglas claimed to have the original interrogations of Muller. Yet he needed to get these translated into German for German publication. The problem is that, according to the American version of the book, these already were in German. (When you lie as often as Douglas, it’s hard to keep track of them all.) Douglas also has been known to modify bad forgeries. In other words, after the first run through, someone will point out that, say, the heading on the letterhead is wrong. He will then correct that technical error. But he keeps the fabricated information the same. Douglas also tried to pass off a letter to David Irving and Gitta Sereny showing that Hitler knew nothing about the Holocaust. (http://www.fpp.co.uk/Legal/Observer/Sereny/Independent291191.html)
Why is a discredited person with no credibility important to Janney? Because of the so-called Zipper Documents. These were part of a group of papers that Douglas alleges were left to him by former CIA officer Robert Crowley. Crowley knew Angleton. If one believes Douglas, Crowley likely had foreknowledge of the JFK assassination and Angleton left him a set of papers, which depicted his planning of the murder. This is ridiculous in and of itself. The idea that a man like Angleton would keep such a record in his possession is laughable. That Crowley would be left a copy is even more so. But the worst thing about the Douglas dubbed “Zipper Documents” is that, like the Muller book, they have been demonstrated to be near certain forgeries. (Click here for one demonstration http://www.ctka.net/djm.html). In 2002, when Douglas used these to publish his book Regicide, more than one person began to examine them. Finding serious problems with them – like Lyman Lemnitzer being Chairman of the Joint Chiefs in 1963, when he was not – they began to do some background work on the author. They discovered his long and sorry history of flim-flammery. But Janney wants to minimize this key fact. Why does he want us to do such a thing? Because Douglas included a couple of paragraphs about Mary Meyer in his faked book.
But it’s even worse than that. Because Janney seems to have developed a friendly relationship with the forger. As noted in the above referenced article I wrote about Douglas, journalist Joseph Trento and Douglas got into a dispute about Crowley’s papers. To the point that Trento and Crowley’s surviving family thought of filing legal action against Douglas/Stahl/Storch. (This seems to have stopped Douglas from setting up a web site based on his phony documents.) Janney seems intent on making this confidence man credible. So he allows Douglas to produce an email exchange between him and Trento in which Trento asks Douglas to produce some documents from the Crowley papers. (Janney, p. 360) Janney then says that this email reveals that Douglas actually had the actual Crowley papers. What can one say about such logic? Except that Janney never asked himself this question: If a man is going to forge a four volume set about Hitler’s Gestapo chief Muller, then what does it take to fake a one paragraph email? And when I called Trento, and read him this e-mail he stopped me about four lines into it and said, “No, I never sent him an email like that at all. And anyone who believes I did is a fool.” (Phone interview with Trento, 7/3/12. Also, there are web sites devoted to the subject of faking e mails.)
Let me close this section by addressing another significant point in this rather sorry excuse for a book. In Janney’s obsession, he is willing to actually say that his father, Wistar Janney, was somehow part of a conspiracy involving Mary Meyer. Wistar’s crime: He was listening to the radio at work and heard about a murder in the towpath area which Mary frequented. From the description, the victim was likely Mary. So Wistar called his friends Cord Meyer and Ben Bradlee and told them about it. Let us see how this is dealt with by the man on the other end of the line, Bradlee: “My friend Wistar Janney called to ask if I had been listening to the radio. It was just after lunch, and of course I had not. Next he asked if I knew where Mary was, and of course I didn’t. Someone had been murdered on the towpath, he said, and from the radio description it sounded like Mary. I raced home.” (Bradlee, A Good Life, p. 266) What could be suspicious in that? Further, if one believes Rosenbaum and Nobile, this is how Angleton also first heard about the possibility that Mary may have been the victim. His wife called him after listening to the radio. But not taking it seriously, he shrugged it off and went back to a meeting. (Ibid, New Times.) Further, Cord Meyer writes about the call he got from Wistar in his book also. (Facing Reality, p. 143) Some conspiracy. But further, why would the plotters need Wistar to be listening to the radio and make the calls if this was some kind of ultra precision CIA elimination? According to Janney there were about a half dozen people involved in the crack commando team right there on the scene. Shouldn’t one of them have contacted a relay center? Makes a heck of a lot more sense than a desk guy listening to his radio.
But further, in most states, the definition of a criminal conspiracy is this: two or more people agree to perform a crime and there is one overt act committed in furtherance of the enterprise. Mary was already dead at the time of this call. So what was the overt act Wistar committed? But beyond that, what was the crime in Wistar alerting Mary’s brother-in-law and former husband that she may have been the victim of an attack? Wouldn’t her sister and children be the most impacted people if it was her on the towpath? Therefore, weren’t Ben Bradlee and Cord Meyer the right people to call? But let us consider this also: What if Wistar had not made the contact? Would not the two men have found out about it later that day anyway? Yes they would have. In fact, Bradlee’s home was notified by the police to identify the body. So if Wistar had not made the call, what would have ended up differently? The Bradlees still would have been at Mary’s apartment that night, and so would the Angletons, since they had a previous engagement with Mary that night. (Ibid, New Times)
After long and careful textual and source analysis, what does this book rely on to advance its theses? It relies on people like Damore and Truitt who, as shown here, simply were not reliable in the state they were in. It relies on a chimerical “diary” that does not exist, and which the best evidence says was really a sketchbook. It relies on so-called CIA documents that are demonstrative fakes originating from a proven forger. It relies on a man like Leary whose story only surfaced 21 years later after he had somehow missed 25 opportunities to tell it.
Like a contemporary Procrustes, the author then distorts the major characters to fit into his agenda. If one recalls from Greek mythology, Procrustes was a bandit from Attica who would abduct people and then either stretch them or crush them to make them fit into an iron bed. This book stretches Mary Meyer beyond recognition, and crushes JFK beyond recognition. It elongates Crump and then crushes Mitchell to fit into that iron bed. The combination of its dubious information plus the distorted character portraits makes the volume look less like a book than a 17th century phantasmorgia.
But as bad as the book is, it might have been worse. Because in its original form, Janney’s book was not just going to be Mary leading the neophyte Kennedy to worldwide détente. But she also was leading him to the hidden secrets about UFO’s! (Was this is one of the versions of the “diary” Damore found?) Therefore, Kennedy and the USA were not just going to achieve world peace, but Spielberg-like, Mary would also help him make peace with the creatures from the outer space. Although, as Seamus Coogan points out on this site, this whole UFO thing appears to be another Douglas like hoax. (Click here as to why http://www.ctka.net/2011/MJ-12_Preamble_I.html)
And further, Janney was going to use another spurious major source, namely the late David Heymann. In fact, Janney and Simkin talked about spending hours on end talking with Heymann years ago. It was not until Lisa Pease and myself exposed Heymann as the serial fabricator he was that they realized he was a liability and separated themselves from him.
The worst part about this whole sorry spectacle is that, as with David Talbot, Janney has somehow convinced some people they should take him and his book at face value. What can one say when Doug Horne jumps on Amazon.com to praise Mary’s Mosaic? Or when Dick Russell writes an introduction for the book? Or Jim Marrs gives Janney a blurb? Because someone knows the JFK case, or thinks they know it, does not mean they know the Meyer case, and this is one of the very worst things about this book. Janney often navigates back and forth between the really fine work done in the JFK case and people like Leary and Douglas and Damore. Unlike what Janney tries to imply, these are two distinct and separate entities. They contain two separate databases of evidence, two separate lists of source literature, and, for the most part, two separate casts of dramatis personae. To say that if one is familiar with JFK, that you then have the credentials to pronounce judgment on a book about Mary Meyer, that is simply a fallacy. And what is worse, it appears that none of these people did their homework. They just rushed out to create unwarranted accolades and now are left with custard pie on their faces.
If we actually place any value in Mary’s Mosaic, then we simply become a reverse mirror of the MSM. They think almost no history-altering event is a conspiracy. Our side replies, "Well look, if you are imaginative enough, dedicated enough, and work long enough, anything can be a conspiracy. And a high level, dastardly one too.” As long as you don’t scratch it too much. After nearly 49 years, we have to be better than that. The fact that Janney’s book has been accepted by some in the critical community indicates to me the continuing ascendancy of the Alex Jones, “anything goes” school. That is, an alternative media with no standards; one which accepts any conspiracy theory as long as its contra the official story. To me, as the USA declines further and further, this is just another form of distraction to entertain the masses in the coliseum. Pity the country that has to choose between Jones and say Chris Matthews. If that’s the choice, to paraphrase W. C. Fields, I’d rather be in Costa Rica.