Thursday, February 15, 2018

Atlantic City 1929 Crime Convention


Meyer Lansky, Al Capone and Nucky Johnson strolling on the Atlantic City Boardwalk.

Image result for Al Capone and Nucky Johnson 1929

Actually a composite photo created by the Hurst Newspaper Syndicate to discredit Johnson

 The 1929 Atlantic City Convention of Organized Crime – Bill Kelly

Atlantic City has been known as a convention town for a long time, but the most significant convention the city has ever hosted didn’t meet at Convention Hall or even conventionally, and certainly didn’t abide by Roberts Rules of Order.

The May, 1929 meeting of organized crime bosses in Atlantic City was probably the most significant ever held, not only because of its effect on the future development of the town, but because of the national impact the decisions made there had on society, not only then, but over time, up to and including today.

At the time Atlantic City was considered “wide open,” a place where gangsters could go to make private, if sometimes illegal investments and for sit-down mob meetings, as were a few other cities – Miami, Las Vegas and Old Havana. Atlantic City was run however, by one man – Enoch “Nuckey” Johnson , the local political boss who ran the town as his private domain. Like “Commodore” Lou Kinley had before him. Nuckey got a percentage of practically every business in Atlantic City, especially illegal businesses, and as it was during Prohibition, the most lucrative business at the time was the importation of smuggled liquor.

Lonnie Zwillman of North Jersey controlled most of the bootleg market once the cases of booze from the Caribbean and Canada were transferred at sea from mother ship transports to small Chirs Craft speedboats. Once brought ashore the booze was put on waiting trucks to be transported the goods throughout the rest of the country. It was later estimated, by the Kefauver Committee that Zwillman’s outfit had a 65% market share of all illegal booze in North America.

But there were also illegal casinos in Atlantic City at the time, all operating openly and open to the public. And Big Time confidence men like Charlie Gondorff (of The Sting fame) were allowed to run Big Store Con games, as long as long as they only hit on transients and didn’t take any local citizens for Marks.

Booze, casino gambling, the boardwalk and beach, it didn’t even seem like there was a Depression going on. Things appeared quite normal onMay 12th, 1929 when newlyweds Meyer and Anna Citron Lansky checked into one of the city’s finer boardwalk hotels. They were assigned the Honeymoon Penthouse with its panoramic view of the ocean and boardwalk.

Which hotel they checked into is not recorded for history, but you can be sure it was one owned by Jewish businessmen, as all the first class hotels at the time were owned by Jews or Quakers, and each served a different clientele. That’s a fact that came into play the very next day when Alphonese “Scarface” Capone stepped off a train and took a cab to one of the city’s classier hotels. Although he entered town unnoticed, and he signed into the hotel under an assumed name, his cover would soon be blown, the city of Atlantic City would be shaken upside down and the nation would rattle with the aftereffects for decades.

Snickering to his lieutenants as he signed the fictitious name to the register, Capone got a smile from Frank Nitti, Murry Humphries, Jake Guzik and Frank Rioi, but the joke quickly turned sour when the somewhat naive and strictly formal desk clerk looked at the name and politely informed Capone that, “I’m sorry sir, but this hotel does not serve those of your persuasion. My I suggest you try the hotel just down the street.”

This was Atlantic City, New Jersey, probably the only place in Americawhere “Scarface” Al Capone could mingle with the masses and go unrecognized. He did however, have a friend in his old pal Nuckey Johnson. Capone had been Johnson’s gracious host two years earlier when Nuckey went to Chicago and was supplied with ringside seats to the Jack Dempsy-Gene Tunney heavyweight fight – the famous battle of the “long count’ bout.

Now Capone was in Atlantic City to meet with Meyer Lansky and other mob bosses. They came to Atlantic City because Nuckey Johnson controlled the town and they were assured they wouldn’t be subjected to the police hassles the Sicilian Mafia guys were subjected to in Cleveland a few weeks earlier.

Although Nuckey Johnson couldn’t protect Capone from some ethnic embarrassment, he did have such tight control over all facets of the city’s operations that, unless they robbed a bank or made a scene, known gangsters from out of town didn’t have to worry about being picked up for questioning by the police. Capone made a scene.

Told by a hotel clerk that he couldn’t check in because he signed his name under a wrong ethnic persuasion, Capone’s famous temper flared, and after a burst of obscenities and the trashing of some lobby furniture, Nuckey Johnson quickly learned that Al Capone was in town. Moving quickly to meet him, Capone and his entourage were heading south on Pacific Avenue when they were intercepted by Johnson’s convoy of dull, black limos heading the other way. They met in the middle of the street, blocked traffic for a few minutes as Capone emerged from his cab, cigar in hand, and gave Nuckey an obscenity laced public verbal lashing, letting off steam from the hotel desk incident.
Once appeased by Johnson, always the gracious host, they hugged and patted each other on the back and adjourned to the back of Nuckey’s limo. After seeing that Capone and his people had proper accommodations at the right hotel, Johnson and Capone were later seen taking in the tourists sights together and strolling down the world famous boardwalk.

Johnson and Capone then had dinner in the Italian “Ducktown” neighborhood, not far from the recently completed Convention Hall – the new auditorium which was then the largest of its kind in the world, with the biggest stage and the largest pipe organ as well. While it established Atlantic City as a major convention town on the East Coast, it’s facilities were not to be used by the guys who started checking in behind Lansky and Capone.

From Cleveland came Al “the Owl” Polizzi, one of the Sicilians hassled by cops at the earlier regional sit-down a few weeks earlier. Also from Cleveland was Moe Dalitz of the Mayfield Road Gang and his bootleg companions, Morris Kleinman, Sam Tucker and Louis Rothkopft. Other gangsters who have been identified as having attended the Atlantic City meeting include Charles “King” Solomon from Boston, Joe Bernstein from Detroit, and Joe Lanza from Kansas City, all of whom came with their henchmen in tow.

From North Jersey there was Abner “Longie” Zwillman, who controlled most of the New Jersey bootleg shipments. Philadelphia was well represented by Harry “Nig Rosen” Stromberg, Max “Boo Boo” Huff, Sam Lezar and Charles Schwarts. By far, the biggest delegation came down from New York, and consisted of Frank Costello, Author “Dutch Schultz” Flegenheimer, Louis “Lepke” Buchalter, Joe Adonis, Salvadore “Lucky” Luciano and Meyer Lansky.

Anne Citron Lansky got angry the next morning when she read in the morning newspaper that Al Capone was in town, and knew that it had to more than just a coincidence. Her new husband couldn’t even go on his honeymoon without having business to take care of.

Born Maier Suchowljansky in Grodno, Poland in 1902, young Meyer came to the United States in 1911 with his mother, sister and younger, but bigger brother Jake. Like so many other arrivals, his birthdate was noted by immigration officials as July 4th, and he took quickly to the American dream.
Later telling Israeli journalists Uri Dan that he took to gambling early, relating an incident that occurred when he was a young boy walking down Delancy Street in Manhatten on an errand for his mother. Coming across a sidewalk craps game he quickly lost his mother’s nickel, an event that had a profound affect on his life. “What troubled me more than anything else,” Lansky said, “was that I had been a loser, and that night….I swore to myself that one day I would be a winner.”

Going back to the sidewalk craps game young Lansky watched and studied the gamblers intently, and learned when to place his bet with a sure winner. “Then I began to notice,” he said, “that the men who actually ran the dice games were only pawns…of other well dressed and prosperous men,” who he also noticed seemed to be all Italians who in turn were “servant” who were “collecting the money for somebody bigger. So it must be a very big business, gambling with nickels and dimes on the sidewalks of the Lower East Side.”

After graduating from Public School #34 in 1917, Lansky worked as an auto mechanic, and first came to the attention of the police when he was arrested for fighting with Charles Luciana and Benjamen Siegel. That was the first time he was known to have officially used the name Lansky, and after the judge listened to their story, he decided that the boys had “bugs in their heads,” which temporarily gave Lansky the nickname “Meyer the Bug,” but Siegel could never shake the name “Bugsy.”

The three boys became fast friends and developed business associations, while Luciana rose in the ranks of the Italian Mafia allied under Joe “the Boss” Masseria. They were perennially at war with another New York gang run by Salvatore Maranzano, whose henchmen picked up Luciano and took him for a ride to Statin Island where they shot him a number of times and left for dead. Luciano miraculously survived, earning him the nickname “Lucky” Luciano.

Lansky, Siegel and Luciano formed a life-long alliance with each other and established themselves on the Lower East Side as a competent and efficient guns-for-hire entrepreneurs that became known as “The Bugs and Meyer Mob,” which also included Joseph “Doc” Stacher, Joe Adonis, Abner “Longie” Zwillmen and Arthur “Dutch Schultz” Flegenheimer. They either escorted Zwillmen’s bootleg liquor or they hijacked any competitors who tried to muscle in on their rackets in their territory.

Philadelphia gangster “Waxy” Gordon was especially upset at the Bug and Meyer Mob for hijacking some of his truck shipments and, as with the Capone-Moran feud in Chicago, there was tension between gangs. Since Capone actually controlled only certain sections of Chicago, other Chicago gangsters also came in to the Atlantic City meeting, including Joe “Polock” Saltis and Frank “Machine Gun” McEarlane, complete with violin cases under their arms.

Other than Capone, these were mostly new names and faces in the underworld of 1929, but before long they would make their mark and become household names. The old-guard “Mustache Petes” who ran the big city rackets for the previous few decades, referred to these new, young gangsters as “The Young Turks,” but they in turn, were considered too old fashioned, narrow-minded and set in their ways to mingle with the gangsters of other nationalities and neighborhoods. The “Petes” were not even invited to this meeting.

To some, Luciano was thought to represent the New York capo de capi Guseppi “Joe the Boss” Masseria, but in retrospect, Luciano had Masseria murdered and replaced him after the protracted war that was wagged between Masseria and the other New York rackets boss Salvadore Maranzano. Masseria and Maranzano were from the Old Order and were on the way out, and The Young Turks knew it.

One member of the old school who was invited and did attend the Atlantic City conclave was John Torrio, who was born in Naples and was one of the first immigrants to leave the notorious “Five Points” section of Brooklyn to go to Chicago, where he ran his uncle’s whorehouse. After killing his uncle and setting up his own numbers racket, Torrio brought in Al Capone from the old neighborhood to be his enforcer.

Torrio, who didn’t drink or smoke, was Capone’s mentor and one of the oldest and wisest of the delegates at the Atlantic City convention. He would play a significant role by making key policy decisions concerning the promotion of other vices, most notably gambling.

While there would be other, more notorious meetings of mobsters – Havana, 1946, the 1957 Apalachin, New York meeting that was broken up by local police, a New York restaurant sit down that was also busted by the cops, the 1929 meeting in Atlantic City was most significant because it established a new policy of inter-city-gang cooperation on a nationwide basis.

It was not a question of who was at Atlantic City, but who was not there. Besides the Mustache Petes from the Old Order of things, Bugs Moran was the most notable big name absentee. He was left back in Chicago to lick his wounds and regroup his forces after the disastrous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

As the most blatant gangland mass murder in history, the massacre called attention to the mobsters and put pressure on them from the public, the press, politicians and the police. It became the most influential factor in persuading the factional mob leaders of the necessity for a meeting to hash things out. Rather than let the situation get completely out of hand and reach a level of violence that would force the authorities to take action, the gangsters decided to sit down at the same table for the first time, discuss their mutual problems and arrange for an agreeable solution like normal businessmen.
Although most of the published sources place the main gathering of gangsters at the President Hotel on the Boardwalk, the large number of delegates made it necessary for them to meet in smaller caucus to discuss the topics on the agenda. Pushed along the boardwalk in wicker-rolling chairs, they didn’t talk in front of the push cart operators, but at the end of the boardwalk, like other tourists in from the big city, they took off their shoes and socks, rolled up the cuffs of their pants and waded in the shallow surf like any normal day-tripper. With their conversations muffled by the sounds of the surf breaking, the mobsters plotted strategy and began the long term planning that would control organized crime activities for the next fifty years.

Since minutes of the meetings were not transcribed for posterity, legend has it that the order of business was basically two fold. For one, they had to agree on an amiable solution to the conflicts that erupted into mob warfare, primarily geographic turf battles. Secondly, since by then it was obvious that Prohibition would not last forever, they had to get involved in legitimate businesses as well as devise an alternative source of illegal income once Prohibition ended.

As for mob warfare, since such violence hurt everyone’s business, they decided to end such conflicts by adhering strictly to the territorial spheres of influence, with each gang controlling particular rackets in each area. They also agreed to work together in setting prices, sharing warehouse space and coordinating the wholesale distribution of liquor.

The Atlantic City accords were a radical departure from previous mob practices because they also agreed to form an executive committee to oversee and arbitrate all disputes, denote the degree of punishment to all violators and to set policy for the governing of all future illegal operations.
The creation of the Board of Directors of the National Syndicate of Organized Crime was as big as the founding of the United Nations. Although it’s very existence would be kept hidden from the public for decades, and spy novelist Ian Fleming would ridicule them with his fictional Special Executive for Counter-Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion – SPECTRE, it would become generally known as “The Commission.”

As for the second item on the agenda, they decided to explore gambling as a replacement for the lucrative illegal liquor profits after prohibition. With the repeal of the Volstead Act in 1933, gambling became the main preoccupation of the local mobs until 1946, when, after the Havana meeting, the French Connection became the primary source of the drugs and narcotics that would become the Syndicate’s primary source of revenue other than gambling.

The Federal Bureau of Narcotics concluded, from information provided from undercover informants that the Atlantic City convention established the basis for the Syndicate that carved the nation into specific territories, developed a system of kangaroo courts that provided the gangsters with their own quasi-judicial system, and protected the hierarchy of the local mafia families.

Arrangements were also made to invest in a multi-million dollar slush fund to bribe law enforcement officials, ensure the election of certain politicians, hire the best attorneys and pay for the educational development of promising young men who could serve their interests in the future.

The hallmark of the meeting in Atlantic City was the centralizing of particular powers with an executive committee, like the board of directors of a blue chip industry, an exceptional and extraordinary concept that was not immediately acceptable to many of the ethnic oriented gangsters like Massaria and Marrassano, who were dinosaurs that had to go the way of the buffalo.

The dissentions of the still primarily ethnically Italian gangsters was overcome in a power-play move when Lansky nominated the Mafia’s own Johnny Torrio as Chairman of the Board, a motion that quickly won the endorsement of most of the mobsters present. Torrio was also the only one who could take care of Capone, whose violent ways were causing problems for all of them.

With the Commission in charge, Torrio at the helm and business completed, the final item on the agenda was Capone, and what to do with him. While the Chicago rackets were combined, and Capone was the nominal boss, he had to take a vacation, or he was going to be thrown to the wolves. He was given the option of dieing right then, or taking a sabbatical from the business for a while. The newspapers had all reported that Capone was in town and one of the William Randolph Hurst newspapers even ran a faked composite photograph of Capone, Knucky Johnson and Meyer Lansky walking down the boardwalk, all of which had the pubic clamoring for Capone to be busted for something.

Although they put an APB – All Points Bulletin out for the man who was seen all over town – throwing chairs in a hotel lobby, screaming obscenities on Pacific Avenue, having dinner in Ducktown, riding in a wicker-walker and strolling down the boardwalk with Johnson, suddenly, Capone couldn’t be found anywhere.

According to local legend, when the heat was turned on, Capone slipped out of Atlantic City and retreated to a local private country club, either the Atlantic City Country Club in Northfield or Seaview in Absecon, where he played bad golf and good cards until the heat was off a few days later.

On May 16, 1929, a week after Lansky’s wedding, Capone showed up at the train station but missed the train by minutes. With a police motorcycle escort to the edge of town, Capone’s entourage drove to Philadelphia, where he again just missed a train to Chicago. Going to a movie on Market Street with his bodyguard Frank Rio, Capone emerged from the theater to be confronted by Philadelphia Police Detective James “Shooey” Malone.

Malone flashed his badge, they talked quietly for a moment and Capone calmly volunteered his .38 caliber revolver and was promptly arrested by Malone. Rio momentarily balked, but Capone smiled and urged him to surrender his weapon too.

Philadelphia’s Director of Public Safety Major Lemel B. Schoefield accepted praise for the arrest of the nation’s number one crime czar, though it later became apparent that Det. Malone had met Capone the year before at Hialeah racetrack in Florida, and Capone had arranged for his own arrest. Besides taking the heat off the rest of the Syndicate, in the secure hands of the law he also acquired sanctuary from a vengeful Bugs Moran.

In the custody of the Philadelphia authorities, Capone was forthcoming about the Atlantic City Sit Down, emphasizing the decision to end mob warfare. “I told them,” Capone said, reciting a line from one of Lansky’s lectures, “there is enough business to make us all rich, and it’s time to stop the killing and look on our own business as other men look on theirs.”

When asked about the purpose of the meeting, Capone said, “It is with the idea of making peace among the gangsters that I spent the week in Atlantic City and got the word of each leader that there will be no more shooting.”

But Capone also told them he, “…had to hide from the rest of the racketeers,” who weren’t at the meeting. They had a vendetta against him. It seems that there comes a point in every gangster’s career when, despite all the power and money they have accumulated, life is suddenly vulnerable to one professional contract killer. John Torrio thought that prison was the safest place, Sam Giancana, who would later take over the Chicago mob, fled to Mexico and South America, Joe Bonnano had himself kidnapped. Capone chose jail.

Philadelphia Criminal Court Judge John E. Wash sentenced Capone harshly for such a petty crime of being a suspicious person and carrying a concealed deadly weapon, the maximum of one year at Holmesburg Penitentiary. After a short stint there however, Capone was transferred to the more relaxed confines of Eastern Pen, where he served out the duration of his sentence under the lenient warden Herbert B. Smith, who furnished Capone’s cell with lamps, a library, radio console and lounge chair and gave him access to his private office telephone.

With Capone in jail, the Syndicate began the process of getting rid of the old Mustache Petes and preparing to engage in Big Time gambling activities on a very large scale.

In Hoboken, New Jersey, Lansky’s new father-in-law permitted him to use his Molaska Inc. as a front for a number of his illegal businesses, one of which was the largest distillery in the state. Molaska took its name from molasses chips, a necessary ingredient for the making of rum, which became more profitable than smuggling it.

Molaska rum business took Lansky to Cuba, where he met with Sgt. Fugencio Batista, the strong-arm coup leader who twice took over the reins of Cuba. The first time he was in power Lansky made a deal with Batista to allow him to open a legal casino in Cuba, much like the illegal casinos he operated in Florida, New York and New Jersey. In order for the Syndicate to control casinos in Havana, it was arranged for casinos to operate in hotels with 500 rooms or more, and since the Syndicate controlled Hotel National was the only hotel in Havana with 500 rooms, the Lansky mob owned the only casino in Cuba.

The second Havana hotel to qualify for a casino was owned by Santo Traficante, who hired Atlantic City native John Martino to run his electronics and security operations.

Two weeks before Castro came to power Lansky and the Syndicate sold the National Hotel-Casino to Mike McLaney and Carroll Rosenbloom, both of whom would loose their shirts in the deal. While Mike McLaney’s brother William owned the land near New Orleans where anti-Castro Cuban commandos trained – and reportedly the Magazine Street house where Lee Harvey Oswald lived, Lyndon Baines Johnson would be Rossenbloom’s houseguest in Atlantic City during the 1964 Democratic National Convention.

In 1976 New Jersey law allowed for legal casinos in Atlantic City hotels that had 500 rooms or more, – the Havana model, with only one hotel in the entire city that qualified – Resorts International, a Lansky-Syndicate controlled company. The second and third Atlantic Citycasinos – Bally and Caesars, were also Syndicate controlled companies, following the policies, delineating the strategies and continuing the traditions laid out at the 1929 Convention.

The federal government did not officially recognize the existence of the syndicate until May 1, 1951 when Estes Kefauver, Chairman of the Senate Crim Investigating Committee, visited Atlantic City, New Orleans, Chicago and New York before determining and reporting that, “a nationwide crime syndicate does exist in the United States,…and behind the local mobs which make up the national crime syndicate is a shadowy, international criminal organization known as the Mafia.”

Even after that, the FBI refused to place a priority on the Mafia or organized crime until years later, when local police broke up a major mob meeting in upstate New York.

The records of Kefauver’s investigation were then promptly and routinely locked away for 50 years as “Congressional Records,” which are exempt from Freedom of Information Act requests.

In 1998, the Assassination Records Review Board refused to release the records of the Kefauver Committee investigation by declaring them “assassination records” because they claimed they were not related to or considered relevant to the assassination of President Kennedy, even though the second chief counsel to the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) believes that the President may have been the victim of a mob hit.

The Kefauver Committee records were scheduled for release in 2001, but are being systematically released after being reviewed by request.

More recently the HBO TV production of “Boardwalk Empire” has called attention to Nucky Johnson and his control of the rackets in Atlantic City and how he helped fuel the nation during prohibition.

Bottlefed by Oswald's NANA

BOTTLEFED BY OSWALD’S NANA – By Bill Kelly & John Judge

“Not even Marina knows why I went to Russia” – Lee Harvey Oswald


With the intent of returning to the United States, ex-Marine and American defector Lee Harvey Oswald wrote a letter from Russia to former Secretary of the Navy John Connally whom he was later accused of shooting, trying to get his Marine discharge corrected.

After more than a year without communication, Oswald’s mother wrote to tell him that his discharge had been downgraded from honorable to undesirable. Oswald drafted the letter to Secretary of the Navy Connally, attempting to appeal his status.

Oswald had defected to Russia shortly after being discharged from the Marines in 1959. He had a good record in the military, held a top-level security clearance, monitored the U-2 spy plane as a radar operator in Japan, and had good grades in a Russian language test after taking accelerated courses, apparently at the Monterey Language Institute (Now the Defense Language Institute).

The circumstances of his discharge from the Marines were unusual. A letter documenting an injury his mother had sustained (nasopharyngitis from a blow to her nose), used as a basis for his early dismissal, arrived several days after he was granted a “hardship discharge.” It had been a fully honorable discharge at the time, ostensibly allowing him to return home to support his injured mother.

Oswald returned home, however he shortly afterward boarded a tramp steamer for Europe on the first leg of a journey that would take him behind the Iron Curtain from France and England to Helsinki and Moscow, where he turned over his passport to the US Embassy officer Richard Snyder, announcing his defection. After his defection received press attention in the United States, the Marines held a court-martial in Oswald’s absence, changing his discharge to undesirable. It was illegal to hold such a court martial “in absentia,” and improper to base the grade of discharge on events that occurred after his military service ended.

Oswald later assumed an infamous position in American history as the alleged assassin of President John F. Kennedy, and is also alleged to have shot then Texas Governor John Connally and Dallas police officer J. D. Tippit. But whether the victim is the President of the United States or a bum in the street, in every homicide investigation, the approach to solving the murder must address the means, motive and opportunity to commit the crime.

Determining Oswald’s motive would prove to be a key to implicating him in any role in the assassination, other than what he claimed to be – “a patsy.”

The actual motives and real behavior of Lee Harvey Oswald were never ascertained.

In this context, Oswald’s letter to Connally is revealing, especially as it pertains to his motive in going to Russia after leaving the Marines, and may be a critical clue to his real historical role. Although cryptic, it can be deciphered. Oswald wrote to Connally:

“I wish to call your attention to a case about which you may have personal knowledge since you are a resident of Ft. Worth as I am. In November of 1959, an event was well puplicated in Ft. Worth newspapers concerning a person who had gone to the Soviet Union to reside for a short time (much in the same way E. Hemingway resided in Paris).”

“This person, in answers to questions put to him by reporters in Moscow, criticized certain facets of American life. The story was blown up into another “turncoat” sensation, with the result being the Navy department gave this person a belated dishonorable discharge, although he had received an honorable discharge after three years of service on September 11, 1959 at El Toro Marine Corps base in California.”

“These are the basic facts of my case. I have always had the full sanction of the U.S Embassy, Moscow, USSR, and hence the U.S. Government.”

By the time Oswald wrote this letter, Connally had been replaced as Secretary of the Navy by Fred Korth, a Fort Worth attorney. Oswald was not unknown to Korth, since Korth had represented Oswald’s stepfather in his divorce from his mother, Marguerite. Korth became embroiled in a scandal as Secretary of Navy in regards to the controversial TFX fighter, and had to resign a few weeks before the assassination.


One of the reporters Oswald complained about in his letter to Connally was Priscilla Johnson McMillan.

In her book “Lee & Marina,” Priscilla Johnson McMillan notes that Oswald “went so far as to compare his sojourn in Russia with that of Hemingway in Paris in the 20’s.”

Indeed, Hemingway lived in Paris in the ‘20s as an expatriate writer, and later described the experience in his book A Moveable Feast, and perhaps he did have pretensions of becoming a writer in the Soviet Union. He did write voraciously, kept notes and a journal, took photographs and wrote a short story titled “The Collective.”

According to Priscilla Johnson McMillan, Oswald wrote in the style of one of his favorite authors, George Orwell, keeping a typewriter wrapped in a blanket so that the noise would not alert suspicions, and he went to great lengths to smuggle out manuscripts when he left the Soviet Union. She also notes that Oswald also took a fancy to Ian Fleming’s James Bond spy thrillers.

This rather romantic view of Oswald as a dissident writer may have more to do with Priscilla’s imagination than his own. She is also the author of “Khrushchev and the Arts: The Politics of Soviet Culture 1962-1964,” which presents embellished profiles of some Soviet writers as dissidents.

But Oswald never specified the 20’s in his analogy, and Priscilla Johnson McMillan’s conjecture on this point is speculative. A more convincing argument could be made that Oswald was referring to Hemingway’s stay in Paris in the 1940’s instead.


In 1944 Hemingway was in France, not just as a journalist, but as a war correspondent attached to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), and a comparison of Oswald’s experiences and Hemingway’s later activities is even more revealing.

Out of Key West, Florida and Havana, Cuba, early in the war Hemingway served as a special agent for the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), using his fishing boat “the Pilar,” to patrol for Nazi submarines.

While working as a war correspondent for the North American Newspaper Alliance (NANA), Hemingway wrote about the war and life on the front lines, and sometimes behind the lines.
Hemingway’s son was a member of the JEDBERGs, a joint UK-USA detachment trained as commandos in England and parachuted behind the lines to organize resistance to the occupying Nazi armies. Hemingway’s son was captured by the Germans and spent the rest of the war in a prisoner of war camp.

Hemingway himself organized and led a loose band of French resistance fighters and, along with OSS Col. David Bruce, participated in the liberation of Paris.

Bruce was the senior OSS officer on the ground in the European theater of operations. Bruce would later serve as best man at Hemingway’s wedding and JFK’s Ambassador to the Court of St. James. Riding a jeep at the head of a convoy of trucks of armed partisans, while French General LeClerc accepted the surrender of the German general at the train station, Hemingway and Bruce liberated the bar at the Hotel Ritz, where Hemingway also lived on occasion. Today, the Hemingway Bar at the Ritz is named in his honor.

Placing his gun on the bar, when the bartender asked what he wanted to drink, Hemingway looked around, counted heads and said, “Sixty vodka martinis.” Of course that would be “shaken,’ not stirred,” as a strong case can be made that Oswald went behind the Iron Curtain in the same way as Hemingway went to Paris in 1944, when it was still “behind the lines,” and not as a writer, but as an intelligence agent.


In his letter to Connally, Oswald complained that his story became another “turncoat sensation” at the hands of journalists who interviewed him in Moscow. He had good reason to believe that the Hotel Metropole rooms where he stayed were bugged for sound, and that what he told the reporters would also be reaching the ears of Soviet authorities. Soviet intelligence was quite suspicious of his “defection.”

The Warren Commission, appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson to investigate and report on the assassination of President Kennedy, automatically assumed that the Soviet journalists who interviewed Oswald in Russia were KGB agents, but they never voiced a similar suspicion that the American journalists who interviewed him had U.S. intelligence connections as well.

The idea of journalists being used as spies or intelligence agents posing as journalists is not a new one. The British circle of W. Somerset Maugham, Noel Coward, Malcolm Muggeridge, Kim Philby, Cyril Connally and Peter and Ian Fleming serves as a good example, especially because it comes into play here.

When information about the CIA’s “Family Jewels” was released in the late 1970s, the agency’s use of journalists as spies was exposed, along with other nefarious activities, such as behavior modification, MKULTRA drug experiments and the attempted assassination of foreign leaders.

Carl Bernstein, in Rolling Stone Magazine, reported over 400 cases of such CIA journalist-spies working in the printed media alone, and the CIA’s network of media agents and assets, which covert action chief Frank Wisner said could be played like a Wurlwizter organ, has been referred to as “Operation Mockingbird.”

During World War II there was a popular song, “A Mockingbird Sang on Berkley Square,” which was near the then secret British code-breaking detachment.

Former CIA director Richard Helms worked as a reporter for UPI in Germany before World War II, managed an exclusive interview with Adolph Hitler, and is one of the few people who can’t remember where he was when John F. Kennedy was killed.

Penthouse magazine revealed that the Copley News Service out of San Diego, California, was run by former OSS spies and was actively used to promote CIA propaganda and disinformation. It has since been learned that dozens of similar operations existed.

The University of Missouri School of Journalism produced “Soviet Affairs Expert” and “KGB” author John Barron, who worked with U.S. Naval Intelligence before joining Readers Digest. That firm also published his book, and supported the research of Edward J. Epstein, author of “Legend: The Secret Life of Lee Harvey Oswald,” which makes the case that Oswald was more than just a crazed lone-nut. Readers Digest also supported Henry Hurt’s research for a book on the assassination of President Kennedy, but after it took a conspiratorial bent he had to find another publisher.

The first American reporter to interview Oswald in Moscow, Aline Mosby, was also a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and worked as a correspondent for UPI. Oswald and Mosby talked for two hours, while Oswald explained his reasons for defecting to her, and the listening Soviet ears.

Priscilla Johnson McMillan was another reporter who met Oswald in Moscow. She interviewed Oswald for five hours in a hotel room at the Metropole. Years later she wrote that, “Lee looked and sounded like Joe College, with a slight southern drawl. But his life hadn’t been that of a typical college boy…As we sat in my hotel room that evening and into the early hours of the morning, he talked quietly about his plans to defect to Russia. I soon came to feel this boy was the stuff of which fanatics are made.”

Following the interview Priscilla said she, “asked him to please come back to see me before he became a Soviet citizen, or whatever was going to happen, just so that he would know somebody. It wasn’t very journalistic, I know, but I felt sorry for him.”

On the same day Priscilla Johnson spoke with Oswald in Moscow, his fingerprints were pulled from FBI files in Washington.

Priscilla later admitted that she sought Oswald out “on the advice of an American colleague in Moscow.” The colleague turned out to be John McVicker, an Embassy officer and assistant to Richard Snyder, Oswald’s primary contact at the US Embassy. Snyder had connections to the CIA, and his intelligence background was later exposed at the spy trial of Oleg Penkovsky, an American double-agent during the Cuban missile crisis, who was executed. If Snyder was an intelligence officer, then so was McVicker, and if McVicker was Priscilla Johnson’s “colleague,” it is likely so was she. In fact, the files released under the JFK Assassination Records Act reveal that Johnson was a “witting informant” and valuable asset if not an agent of the CIA.

When Oswald renounced his citizenship he handed over his passport to Snyder, a passport that said Oswald was in the “import-export” business, just as Ian Fleming’s fictional 007 had the cover job of working for “Universal Export.” Actually Oswald did work in the “import-export” business shortly before he enlisted in the Marines. When he was only sixteen years old, Oswald worked as a messenger for Leon Trujague & Company, a New Orleans import-export company. Trujague was on the board of directors of the Friends for Democratic Cuba, an anti-Castro Cuban organization that used Oswald’s name, while he was in Russia, to purchase jeeps to be used for covert operations against Cuba.

When he handed over his passport to Snyder, Oswald threatened to apply for permanent citizenship in the Soviet Union. But when his “stateless persons” permit expired, Oswald only applied to extend it. Snyder kept Oswald’s passport handy, in his desk drawer, and handed it back to him when Oswald told Snyder he was ready to return home with his Russian wife Marin. Snyder also assisted in getting them clearance and travel funds from the State Department.

After Priscilla Johnson interviewed Oswald, and told him to contact her before obtaining Soviet citizenship, she dined with Snyder’s assistant, McVickers, who later told the Warren Commission that he thought Oswald “followed a pattern of behavior which indicated that he had been tutored by person or persons unknown, and that he had been in contact with others before or during his Marine Corps tour who had guided him in his actions.”

In an amazing coincidence, Oliver Hallett, the Navy attaché at the US Embassy in Moscow - who was apparently in the room at the time Oswald handed over his passport and announced his defection – was also the Navy officer in the White House Situation Room on November 22, 1963. Hallet relayed the wire service reports to the Cabinet Plane and Air Force One that Oswald had been arrested as a suspect in the assassination. Hallett’s wife, a receptionist at the Embassy, also met Oswald in Moscow, and escorted him to Snyder’s office.

By another amazing coincidence, Priscilla Johnson McMillan, one of the first reporters to interview Oswald at the time of his defection in Moscow, was the only writer permitted to speak to Oswald’s wife Marina after the assassination. Over the years, Priscilla Johnson would write periodic pieces on the assassination, always portraying Oswald as the archetypical “lone nut.” In a piece for the New York Times, she even suggested that by killing Kennedy, Oswald was fulfilling the “primal wish to kill the father.” More recently she wrote an article that questioned whether or not “assassination is contagious.”

In book reviews for the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer and New York Review of Books she consistently praised those who support the Warren Commission’s conclusions, such as David Belin’s “You Are the Jury,” while criticizing those who suggest there is evidence of conspiracy, like “The Fish Is Red” by William Turner & Warren Hinckle.

In a televised appearance on Tom Snyder’s TV show in the 1970s, Priscilla Johnson repeated her constant theme in relation to any belief in a conspiracy to kill Kennedy. “It’s hard for people to accept,” she claimed, “the idea that one person who is not so different from themselves, went off and did a thing like that. It threatens people’s sense of order about history.”

“You think that the President’s elected by the whole country,” she said, “and when one man can step up there and nullify the will of an entire country, it makes life seem meaningless and without order, and I think conspiracy theorists want to give life an order and coherence that it lacks. It’s terribly upsetting to think that Oswald could do that.”

Of course, if Oswald was the assassin, and not the patsy, and he was in fact a deranged lone-nut case who was acting on his own perverted, psychological motives, then there would be no meaning to what happened at Dealey Plaza.

But if Oswald was set up as the patsy, or was one of the snipers who was part of a well planned and executed covert intelligence operation, then the assassination, whatever you believe happened at Dealey Plaza, is infused with meaning and makes political and historic sense when placed in the proper context. If Oswald was a patsy, it also means that Oswald was innocent of the crimes attributed to him, and others have gotten away with murder.

The task of the posthumous reconstruction of Oswald’s real background resembles peeling the layers of an onion. Oswald has been variously portrayed as an agent of Cuban or Russian intelligence, a ‘lone nut’ and a Mafia hit man, but none of these portraits explains his defection and subsequent activities in New Orleans and Dallas, his association with both the Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC) and Student Revolutionary Directorate (DRE), or his conduct and statements on the day and day after the assassination. In reality, Oswald, the alleged assassin, as a pawn in a much larger game, played only a small but critical role in the covert operation that left the President dead and a new government in power.

The framing of Oswald was a critical part of the cover-up. Establishing possible false motives for his actions, especially after he was dead, became the primary occupation of the Warren Commission and the media, while subsequent psychological profiles of Oswald, assuming he was the killer, ignore the political power plays and the broader context in which he moved. Some of these “studies,” especially those that maintain Oswald was the lone assassin and acted on psychological motives, are deliberately deceptive; and journalists who played more than a passive role in this endeavor must be held suspect and accountable.

Oswald seemed doomed to a succession of negative characterizations from supposed friends and seemingly sympathetic acquaintances who were later to denigrate him and implicate him in the murder of Kennedy. Priscilla Johnson McMillan was merely one of the first.

Priscilla Johnson was a Russian major at Bryn Mawr College, on the Main Line in Philadelphia, and was intimately entwined with the US intelligence community. While a college student she was a World Federalist, an organization that tried to persuade the nations of the world to form a “world government” and strengthen the United Nations. Cord Meyer, Jr., one of the founders of the World Federalists, and a former New York neighbor of Johnson, went on to become a deputy to CIA director Allen Dulles and the head of the CIA’s International Organizations Division.

After Johnson applied for employment with the CIA, she was at first rejected because of her World Federalist associations. She worked for awhile for Senator John F. Kennedy while he was recuperating from a back operation and writing Profiles In Courage, which would win him a Pulitzer Prize. In 1991, Priscilla Johnson appeared on a television program with former CIA director William Colby, who also continued to portray Oswald as the lone assassin and lone nut while she played up her association with both Oswald and Kennedy. She also intimated that Kennedy flirted with her during her short period she was with him, playing up on his “womanizing.”

While Kennedy went on to become President, Priscilla Johnson worked as a translator for the State Department and the New York Times. She has threatened libel suits against publications that claim she worked for the CIA, but has never followed up on these threats. 

Priscilla Johnson claimed that because she couldn’t get a security clearance for government work, she went to Moscow as a correspondent for the North American Newspaper Alliance (NANA).

NANA – The North American Newspaper Alliance

NANA was a large and prominent American news and feature service syndicate that once competed with Associated Press (AP) and United Press International (UPI) wire services, and included Ernest Hemingway as one of its correspondents.

Another NANA correspondent, Inga Maria Peterson Arvad, was said to have been recruited by NANA editor Ernest Cuneo. A Danish beauty queen, she managed interviews with Herman Goering’s fiancé and Hitler himself. In January 1942 Walter Winchell broke the story that a young naval officer, the son of a former ambassador, was dating a young women who many suspected of being a Nazi spy. The naval officer, John F. Kennedy, had met Arvad through his sister, and the two went on a holiday to a Charleston, South Carolina resort hotel, where their lovemaking was said to have been recorded by J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI, just as 007 was filmed in bed in “From Russia with Love.”

Although an officer assigned to the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) at the time, Kennedy was quickly reassigned to the South Pacific.

In the mid-nineteen fifties, NANA was purchased by former British Intelligence officer Ivor Bryce and his American associate Ernest Cuneo, who served in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). The funds for the purchase of NANA reportedly came from the proceeds of the sale of one of Bryce’s Texas oil wells.

Ivor Bryce, an independently wealthy millionaire, and Cuneo, were both close friends and associates of Ian Fleming, so after the war, when they purchased NANA, they hired Fleming to be the European Editor.

During the war, Ian Fleming served as assistant to the chief of British Naval Intelligence. Fleming came to America and met Cuneo while visiting Sir William Stephenson at his New York apartment. Stephenson, a Canadian industrialist, had replaced Sir. William Wiseman as the representative of British Intelligence in the United States.

While on a wartime mission to the United States, Fleming wrote out an outline for the establishment of a permanent American intelligence agency, based on the British model, and was given a gun, a .38 Police Positive revolver from Donovan for his efforts.

Donovan’s OSS was patterned on the British Military Intelligence 6 – MI6 organization, and its officers learned their spy tradecraft techniques from their British mentors. The director of MI6, Sir Stewart Menzies, was known as “C.”

Ernest Cuneo, a New York  attorney, had served as an aide to New Yorkmayor LaGuardia and as a wartime assistant to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, with an officer’s rank in the OSS. Cuneo was one of the main liaisons between President Roosevelt, William “Big Bill” Donovan, chief of the OSS, and William “Little Bill” Stephenson, aka “a man called INTREPID,” the representative of British Intelligence in the United States.

The names of both Fleming’s associates at NANA were to appear in the 007 novels, Cuneo as a Las Vegas cab driver in “Diamonds Are Forever” and Bryce as an alias for James Bond in “Dr. No.”
During World War II, Ian Fleming had helped organize Operation Goldeneye, a plan for the defense of Gibraltar, and parachuted into France during the Nazi blitzkrieg on a mission to convince French Admiral Darlan to move his fleet to a neutral or English port. Fleming was unsuccessful, and Darlan’s fleet fought the Allied armies in North Africa and Darlan himself was assassinated, probably by British agents. Fleming was more successful in helping Yugoslavian King Zog to escape the Nazis. His brother, Peter Fleming outranked him in the Naval Intelligence services and was part of Operation Sea Lion.

Fleming had accompanied Ivor Bryce to Jamaica for a wartime conference on U-boat warfare in the Atlantic, and after the war, Fleming became Jamaican neighbors with others who maintained vacation homes along Jamaica’s north shore, including Bryce, Stephenson and Noel Coward. Fleming’s house there was called Goldeneye.

So when Priscilla Johnson went to Moscow as a correspondent for NANA, when she interviewed Lee Harvey Oswald at the time of his defection, Ian Fleming was NANA’s European Editor and Ivor Bryce and Ernest Cuneo signed her checks.


After leaving NANA, Priscilla Johnson became an associate at the Harvard University Russian Research Center and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for International Studies. The Russian Research Center itself was bankrolled by CIA funds through the Ford Foundation, whose board of directors included McGeorge Bundy, President Kennedy’s national security advisor, and John McCone, President Kennedy’s director of the CIA. The Russian Research Center was set up to “carry out interdisciplinary study of Russian institutions, behavior and related subjects.”

One of the most important operations at the Center was the CIA sponsored refugee interview project, which “debriefed” émigrés from Communist Russia, Poland, Yugoslavia, Hungry, Rumania and East Germany, code-named Operation WRINGER. The Harvard Center worked closely with the West German Intelligence (BND), which was directed by former Nazi General Reinhard Gehlen. It was Gehlen who established and supervised WRINGER, attempting to penetrate the Soviet Union and reinforce his spy network inside Russia. Gehlen had been Hitler’s intelligence chief for the Nazi German “Armies East,” the Russian front. His files and network, turned over to the Americans at the end of the war, served as the foundation for the American CIA files and operations against the Soviets.

Priscilla Johnson began her book publishing career while at the Russian Research Center. Her first book, about the persecution of Russian writers, was published by MIT Press with the assistance of the Center for International Studies. In their book, The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence, Victor Marchetti and John Marks reveal that, “…in 1951, CIA money was used to set up the Center for International Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.”

Max F. Millikan, then the Center’s director said, “The Center is a remarkable institution devoted to inquiry into current affairs of man, especially of American man and the multitude of new affairs that have pressed so hard and swiftly in upon him in these years.” Marchetti and Marks also note that, “In 1952, Max Millikan, who had been Director of the CIA’s Office of National Estimates, became the head of the Center….in 1953 the MIT Center published “The Dynamics of Soviet Society”…but there was no indication to the reader that the work had been financed by CIA funds.”

The Center actually published two versions of “Dynamics,” written by Walt Rostow. One version of Rostow’s book was for government policy makers and CIA readers and the other for the general public. According to “Cult of Intelligence,” the MIT Center also assisted Rostow in other ways. Rostow was a political scientist with intelligence ties that date back to his OSS service during World War II. Rostow went on to become an assistant for national security affairs under both Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. It is also interesting to note that Walt Rostow first recommended that he appoint a commission to investigate the assassination of President Kennedy.

In addition to Priscilla Johnson’s affiliation with the MIT CIS, Oswald’s cousin Dorothy Murret had a curious connection to the Institute. According to some Warren Commission and FBI documents Murret, “was linked in some manner with the …. apparatus of Professor Harold Isaacs.” Issacs was an MIT professor and CIS associate who had resided in China from 1931 to 1936 where he edited a local English language newspaper, The China Forum, and contributed to Newsweekand the Christian Science Monitor on Far Eastern affairs. Much of his work took him away from MIT, and it is possible he met Murret during the course of her travels.

Cult of Intelligence notes that the CIA “also used defectors from communist governments for propaganda purposes. These defectors…are immediately taken under the CIA’s control and subjected to extensive secret debriefings. The Agency encourages and will help the defector write articles and books about their past life.”

Even Priscilla’s family seems to have been involved in the tangle of Soviet émigrés, American spies and intelligence agency-run publishing efforts. One of the most important keys to the real history of Soviet leadership, Svetlana Stalin, the daughter of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, defected to the United States through India with the assistance of the CIA. Stalin had died mysteriously of a blood clot to the brain after being given drugs by his new doctors, drugs that were supplied by outside interests, possibly even the CIA.  

When Stalin’s daughter arrived in the United States, she was a prime candidate for debriefing and funneling through Operation WRINGER, and soon after her defection she was taken to the home of Stewart H. Johnson of Locust Valley, New York, Priscilla Johnson’s father. Priscilla then returned home and helped to translate Svetlana’s memoirs and two other books, including “Twenty Letters to a Friend,”which the CIA helped to publish.

After the murder of Oswald, Priscilla Johnson McMillan was one of the only writers allowed to have access to Oswald’s wife Marina, and she obtained the exclusive contract to write Marina’s story, for which they both got paid. That book, fifteen years in the making, was eventually published as Lee and Marina. As Marina’s friend, advisor and ghost writer, Priscilla communicated with and coached Marina’s testimony before the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) in 1978. 


Both the Warren Commission and Priscilla Johnson McMillan suggest, in their portrayals of Oswald, that he held the personal political beliefs of a communist, while actually associating with rich, right wing oil executives like George Bouhe, George DeMohrenschildt and Paul Ragoridsky in Dallas, and fanatic anti-Communists like Guy Banister, David Ferrie and Carlos Bringuier in New Orleans. 

From a military family, Oswald was determined to become a Marine like his older brother Robert. Another half-brother, Edward Pic served in the Coast Guard at New York harbor before enlisting in the Air Force.

Oswald’s favorite book and TV program, “I Led Three Lives,” by Herbert Philbrick, concerned an undercover FBI agent who infiltrated communist groups for a decade before exposing his true beliefs when testifying against his former friends in court.

It is possible that Oswald was recruited and trained for counter-intelligence work while serving as a Marine in Japan and California, possibly by the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), the American intelligence agency that was reportedly responsible for a fake Soviet defector program that Oswald may have been a part of.

The circumstances of Oswald’s “defection” clearly suggest that he was sent as a military intelligence agent to penetrate the Soviet Union and test and monitor their response to his defection. In Russia, he became affiliated with another anti-communist network that included a similar “defector,” his factory foreman Alexander Ziegler and his family.

Ziegler, a Jewish émigré during World War II, left Argentina, where he had worked for an American company, and resettled in Byelorussia. Ziegler was Oswald’s nominal boss at the radio factory where they worked in Minsk, and he encouraged Oswald to marry Marina. When Oswald was ready to leave Russia, Ziegler reportedly gave him an envelope to smuggle to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, which was addressed to CIA director Allen Dulles.

Oswald once traveled to Moscow alone and met some American tourists, two young women and an older lady who had lost their official Intourist guide and were traveling unescorted around Russia. A few weeks later Oswald met the same trio in Minsk, and can be seen in a photo of them together, a photo that ended up in the files of the CIA.

Oswald applied to the US Embassy to leave the USSR in the same month that many other Office of Naval Intelligence “defectors” also returned. Marina Oswald, in her testimony to the Warren Commission about how Oswald came to Russia and where he lived gave the details of another ONI false defector instead, Robert Webster.

Eventually arriving in New York with his Russian wife and child, Oswald and his family were met by Spas T. Raiken of Traveler’s Aid. Raiken was also the secretary-treasurer of the American Friends of the Anti-Bolshvik Block of Nations, a CIA front group, part of the World Anti-Communist League and an arm of Operation WRINGER.


In the summer of ’63 Oswald became involved with both the Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC) and the DRE – an anti-Castro Cuban student group, both of which were subjects covered by NARA reporter Virginia Prewett and monitored if not controlled by David Atlee Phillips, a CIA officer from Oswald’s old Fort Worth neighborhood.

Oswald was seen meeting with Phillips shortly before Oswald ostensibly went to Mexico City visiting the Cuban and Russian embassies monitored by Phillips’ surveillance teams.

Virginia Prewett was one of Phillips’ media assets who often wrote news articles in support of CIA operations. Prewett was interviewed by author Anthony Summers and British journalist David Leigh, and although Ben Bradlee of the Washington Post commissioned Leigh to write an article about Phillips and Prewett, Bradlee refused to publish it.

Summers reported that Prewett confirmed the existence of “Maurice Bishop” and his association with both David A. Phillips and Tony Veciana, one of the leaders of the anti-Castro Cuban Alpha 66 terrorist group, who had seen Oswald and “Bishop” together in Dallas. Prewett was also one of the founders of the Friends of Democratic Cuba, along with other associates and media assets of David Atlee Phillips. Many researcher believe that Maurice Bishop was a pseudonym used by David Phillips, and at least one former CIA operative has confirmed it.


“Goldberg” is one of the names Oswald wrote in his notebook while in the Soviet Union, and was ostensibly a Moscow correspondent he had met, and not either Sidney or Luci Goldberg, who worked for NANA.

One protagonist in George Orwell’s 1984, a favorite novel of Oswald’s, is Emmanuel Goldberg, the supposed Party traitor who writes the Book of Revolution.

When Bill Kelly talked with Sidney Goldberg on the phone, he said he knew Ian Fleming from working at NANA but that Fleming left the organization around the time [Goldberg] became affiliated with it in 1963.

“Alongside Goldberg’s possible acquaintance with confirmed CIA agent Seymour Freidin, her 1972 claim to be affiliated with the North American Newspaper Alliance takes on additional significance. NANA actually existed, but it was infested with CIA connections, as JFK assassination researchers eventually discovered. Priscilla Johnson McMillan, who had numerous CIA and State Department links, was working for NANA when she interviewed Lee Harvey Oswald in Moscow in 1959. 

Another NANA reporter, Virginia Prewett, was an anti-Castro activist recruited by NANA founder Ernest Cuneo, a high-ranking OSS veteran. In the mid-1960s, NANA was acquired by a partnership between Leonard Marks, Drew Pearson, and Fortune Pope. In 1952, Fortune Pope’s brother, Generoso Pope, Jr., bought the National Enquirer. The previous year Generoso was a CIA officer (according to Generoso’s listing in Who’s Who in America, 1984-85). Marks and Pearson were also friendly with the CIA.”

According to Frank Greve and Rod Hutcheson (Knight-Ridder/Tribute Information Service), Luci and Syd Goldberg were close personal friends and NANA colleagues with Victor Lasky.
“Victor Lasky, who died on February 22, 1990, was more than a simple right-wing columnist. From 1956-1960 he was a public relations executive for Radio Liberty, which was one of the CIA’s two largest propaganda operations at the time (the other was Radio Free Europe). Starting just two years later and continuing until 1980, the North American Newspaper Alliance distributed his syndicated column. It was revealed during Watergate testimony that Lasky was secretly paid $20,000 by Nixon’s Committee to Re-elect the President while he was writing his column. CREEP included a number of CIA operatives. In the mid-1980s, Lasky was close to CIA director William Casey.”

Lucianne and Sidney Goldberg were not only associated with NANA in regards to Oswald in the Soviet Union. Luci later posed as a reporter covering the McGovern campaign, while actually working as a “dirty trickster” for the Republicans. The Goldbergs were also mentioned in regards to the Eagleton scandal, which exposed the vice presidential candidate has having had psychological counseling.

From the San Francisco Chronicle, January 23, 1998: “In 1972, ([Lucianne]) Goldberg told the McGovern campaign that she worked for the North American Newspaper Alliance and later for Women’s News Service. The addresses she listed for both agencies then is the same as her current residence on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.”

Then Luci became entangled in the Monica Lewinski affair. It was Luci Goldberg who encouraged the Pentagon secretary Linda Tripp to secretly and illegally tape record Lewinski detailing her relationship with President Clinton. Lucianne Goldberg still identified herself as associated with NANA at that time. Her son, Jonah Goldberg continues in the tradition as a vehement right-wing propagandist, and somehow recently secured an exclusive interview with Fidel Castro.


With editors and correspondents like Ernest Hemingway, Ernest Cueno Ivor Bryce, Ian Fleming, and Syd Goldberg, and a bevy of young and beautiful correspondents like Inga Avid, Priscilla Johnson McMillan, Virginia Prewett and Luci Goldberg, the North American Newspaper Alliance – NANA was a fully functioning intelligence network closely associated with the CIA’s Operation Mockingbird.

As exemplified by the North American Newspaper Alliance (NASA), the corporate connection between the CIA and the US media is at the heart of the psychological warfare campaign that has portrayed Oswald variously as a Cuban or Soviet agent, deranged lone-nut or mob hit-man, rather than what he clearly was – an expendable agent for a domestic military-intelligence network. Oswald was an American spy and what ever his role in it, the assassination was not a foreign attack but “an inside job,” a coup.

Oswald used aliases, forged identity papers, post office boxes, pay phones, dead letter drops, and micro-dot photography. He was multi-lingual in Russian and English, and could converse in basic Japanese and Spanish. He traveled widely, primarily using public transportation, and was educated by a specialist in the crafts of intelligence practices and techniques. As they used to say in the fifties, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. Oswald was a covert intelligence operator and agent for some domestic anti-communist network.

Lee Harvey Oswald went to Russia like Hemingway went to Paris in 1944 – not as a writer but as a war-time penetration agent operating behind the lines.

Set up as a patsy, Oswald’s presence at the scene of the murder of President Kennedy served as a message – that the murder of the President was not only a conspiracy, but a more specific covert intelligence operation designed to shield those actually responsible. It was a plot that originated within the heart of the federal government itself and showed that those who killed the President can get away with anything.

At a COPA conference on the assassination in Dallas in October 1992, a workshop panel on the role of the media in the assassination concluded that the most significant facts have not been the subject of news stories because of negligence on the part of the media.

Rather than negligence however, it is clear the mainstream media response to the assassination of President Kennedy can be shown to have been influenced if not entirely controlled by the CIA from the very moment of the assassination, and they did this through the utilization of their media assets, particularly those at Time-Life, CBS News and NANA – the North American Newspaper Alliance.