Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Is "Nemesis" a Black Book?

Since this article was forwarded to me as “new evidence in the RFK assassination,” I feel compelled to speak.

I beg forgiveness in advance. I would love to lay out the evidence in scholarly detail to support all I want to say in great detail, and might yet at some future date. But frankly, the ridiculously absurd, ill-supported theory in Peter Evans’ book Nemesis doesn’t deserve it.

I had only to hear the premise to know something was amiss. Onassis had ordered Bobby Kennedy killed? I burst out laughing the first time this was proposed to me, several years ago, by a lawyer in Indiana who claimed “secret knowledge” that Onassis was behind RFK’s assassination. (His scenario, however, was very different from the one put forth in Evans’ book.) When I laughed at this, he got angry and actually threatened me, saying “the Mob will get you” — words to that effect. You heard me right. The Mob. So why would “the Mob” want to “get me” if I didn’t believe some wildass story about Onassis having killed RFK?

I never believed for a second that the people who would “get” me, if anyone, would be from the Mob. But I did believe I was witnessing the birth of a new disinformation campaign, and mentioned it to a few people at the time. Someone was trying to pin the RFK case on Ari Onassis. Now I know who that “someone” is.

You see, the funny thing about this is that the attack laid out in Nemesis, that Onassis ordered the killing of Bobby Kennedy, parallels an earlier CIA disinformation campaign against Onassis.

In 1954, the CIA hired Robert Maheu, whom it would later hire to design Castro assassination plots, to perform a character assassination plot against Ari Onassis. Why? Because Onassis controlled the shipping of Arabian oil, an extremely lucrative market. The CIA was upset because both money and valuable intelligence were being lost to Onassis. According to the CIA’s Inspector General Report on Plots to Assassinate Castro:

“In the 1954-55 time period Maheu was hired by the Greek shipping magnate, Niarchos, to help in a financial tussle Niarchos was having with another Greek shipping figure, Onassis, who had managed to negotiate a pact with King Saud under which Onassis would control 90% of all Saudi Arabian oil shipments. British, American, and German shipping interests opposed Onassis' near monopoly, and the US and UK governments supported Niarchos in his fight to have the agreement canceled. Maheu is believed to have worked at top levels in both the British and American governments, reportedly meeting at least once with Vice President Nixon. Maheu's operations were financed by Niarchos, but CIA became involved in supporting them by request of the Department of State. Agency communications and pouch facilities were made available to Maheu, and he was given help in developing a black propaganda campaign against Onassis. Niarchos, with Maheu's help, won his scrap with Onassis.”

Would it surprise you to learn, then, that this same Robert Maheu was a chief source for author Peter Evans? Would it surprise you to learn that Evans’ other sources included CIA mastermind and Dulles/Helms/Angleton confidante Miles Copeland, as well as the CIA’s best man in Greece, Alfred Ulmer? Evans thanks these three for giving him the introductions and leads to the others in the story.

So what is Evans’ evidence that Onassis ordered Bobby killed? Granted, I’m skimming - but as best I can make it out, a woman said Ari told her he paid to have Bobby killed. THAT’S IT! I’m not kidding!! And 1) we have no way to know if the woman is telling the truth, and 2) even if she has been honest, we have no way of knowing whether she might have misinterpreted what Onassis said. Maybe he made the comment as a joke. We don’t have enough context to accurately assess the seriousness of this comment, if it was even made.

In addition, Evans tries to link Ari to an Arab terrorist who once made a comment about killing an American official. Evans takes the words of a couple of people and strings together incidents that could have had any number of other explanations and that’s his evidence. He makes a big deal of the fact that this terrorist visited William Bryan, the doctor who probably hypnotized Sirhan. But that’s his evidence - the comment and the visit - that this man was directly involved in the assassination plot. Again, I’m not kidding!

Most of his introductions for the sources in the book came, according to Evans’ own acknowledgements, from either proven CIA sources (Maheu, Copeland, and Ulmer) or likely CIA sources such as his much-touted Yannis Georgakis, the prominent Greek man who was the actual instigator for this book. See, Evans had already written a biography of Ari Onassis. Guess what? None of this stuff came up! It took Georgakis to instill curiosity by promising “the rest of the story.” Georgakis was a stellar student in Greece during the years prior to WWII - admitted to law school at the age of 15 and graduating at the age of 20. He studied in Germany where he obtained a doctorate in criminal law, and then returned to Greece at the start of WWII. The CIA was heavily ensconced in Greek politics by the end of WWII as Greece was seen as one of the holdouts keeping the Iron Curtain at bay. It’s not stretching to imagine that such a talented, high-profile individual would be a top recruitment target for the Agency.

Evans’ book simply lays out a theory, and an ill-documented, ill-supported one at that. So just for fun, let’s compare that to my theory.

I propose that the CIA killed Bobby. I propose that they did this because he was pursuing their involvement in the killing of his brother. I propose they knew they would be toast if Bobby ascended to the office of the President. I believe they used Maheu to do this.

I believe that Maheu, concerned perhaps by the growing interest in the RFK assassination, has been looking for an alternate patsy and pulled out his old playbook the CIA gave him and ran it one last time against his archnemesis Onassis.

And let’s look at my evidence.

Maheu had been the CIA’s point man planning the Castro assassination plots. Maheu was directly implicated by Hoover, if John Meier, who talked to Hoover personally, is to be believed. Hoover told Meier, so Meier told me, that “We know this [the Robert Kennedy assassination] was a Maheu operation. But I’m powerless against the CIA” - a comment made believable by the fact that James Angleton had a photo of Hoover with his gay lover Clyde Tolson in a compromising position, and Angleton had provably used that photo to force Hoover’s hand in the case of that other Kennedy assassination, that of President John Kennedy. (See my Angleton articles in The Assassinations for that story.)

After the assassination of RFK, Maheu, for Howard Hughes, hired the cream of the crop of the Kennedy operatives so they would be on his payroll. That’s a nice thing to do - give a job to the folks who might otherwise be interested in finding out what your involvement might have been. It’s always hard to bite the hand that feeds, as any mainstream journalist knows.

Maheu had strong ties to the LAPD, the agency most responsible for the cover-up of the facts proving conspiracy in the assassination of RFK. Maheu had even helped produce a porno film with members of the LAPD to discredit the CIA target and Indonesian leader Sukarno.

Johnny Roselli, Maheu’s close associate, the man who trained Maheu’s would-be assassins for the Castro plots, was involved in a scandal that compromised Grant Cooper, the lawyer who would soon represent Sirhan Sirhan. Cooper was facing losing his license to practice law because some Grand Jury transcripts, stolen by Roselli, ended up on his desk in court. (Cooper was representing an associate of Roselli’s when both were on trial in the Friar’s Club card cheating scandal). Cooper miraculously, amid his own troubles, volunteers to help Sirhan, and equally miraculously, his charges are reduced, payable by a small fine.

I believe Maheu had Roselli compromise Cooper so that Sirhan’s case would never be more than a show trial. It worked. When the LAPD admittedly could not prove the bullets they had in evidence actually came from Sirhan’s gun, Cooper told the Judge in chambers, that’s okay - I’ll stipulate to wherever the cops say the bullets came from. I believe Cooper did this to protect some deal he had made re the sinking of Sirhan’s defense. I mean, what lawyer has his client read from his notebook, “RFK must die, RFK must die” as Cooper had Sirhan do on the stand? Not a lawyer who was trying to help his client. At least, that’s my theory.

See, the thing with my theory is, it’s based primarily on a well-documented record. Not simple assertions by players you’ve never met. Not by statements from spooks told in whispers in dark restaurants. Actual documents. LAPD investigative files. Court records. Stuff like that.

Now you can take your pick. Or make up a theory of your own! Heck, anyone can play this game. But given a choice, I’d rather follow a trail of documentable evidence, rather than a trail laid out by people who lie for a living.

Maybe that’s just me. But I hope not.

I hope that’s you, too.

Lisa Pease

1 Comments:

Anonymous Eightsouthman said...

Lisa, I believe you cut to the chase on this one. After reading "Nemesis", I was convinced the book was a scam to once again trash Onassis and put the onus of a CIA double assassination on the wrong person.

The antagonism between RFK and Onassis was probably real to some degree. The sources of the book though were telling in their reliance on dirty CIA operatives and other CIA people. I tend to agree with you that inserting "CIA" in a few places would get you the killer of both RFK and JFK. And by the way, I didn't mean to infer you said "inserting CIA for other accused". I sure don't want to get you in trouble with the Mob. P.S. I hope you like my moniker. It's a double naught secret.

9:38 AM  

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