Saturday, May 10, 2008

Journalists who are the last to see someone alive

Dan Moldea, the author of a Sirhan-did-it-alone book on the RFK case (when provably, Dan knows better, based on his earlier article about the case), was in the news tonight in the strangest of ways. He was working on a book about the DC Madam Deborah Jeane Palfrey and was "one of the last people to see Palfrey alive" (per CNN). Moldea said he had lunch with her and Jim Grady, a friend of his, "a few days before her conviction."

"She was fine," he said. "She was very upbeat" and "convinced that she was going to be acquitted." But he also says that on no less thant three occasions she had said she was going to kill herself if she was convicted.

He says he had information "from a very reliable source" that Jeane had tried to kill herself before - that she had taken an intentional overdose that failed. I can't help but wonder who that "reliable source" was - one of his CIA buddies?

I say that because Moldea dedicated his book on the RFK case to Walter Sheridan, a man who "disposed over the personnel and currency of whole units of the Central Intelligence Agency." Moldea was also friends with Carl Shoffler, the cop who was supposed to be on his way to his own birthday party, who instead sat in a car near the Watergate and was the first to respond - in plain clothes - when the call came in. Shoffler's ties to the CIA are put in context in Jim Hougan's excellent book Secret Agenda, which I still consider to be the best book ever written on the Watergate story, even while I think it's incomplete in terms of the Hughes angle. Hougan's book is also relevant to the DC Madam case in that it details how the CIA has used sex rings to obtain political intelligence as well as blackmail material on opponents.

Hearing Moldea touted as one of the 'last people' to see the Madam alive, while an obvious exaggeration, reminded me of two other figures who died mysteriously shortly after meeting with high profile journalists with intelligence ties.

During New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison's investigation of the Kennedy assassination, key figure Dave Ferrie died. The last person to see him was longtime Washington Post journalist George Lardner, Jr. Lardner has built a career on his access to the CIA - access granted only to friendlies and the CIA's own agents in the media. Oddly, the coroner felt strongly Ferrie had to have died before the time Lardner said he had left Ferrie's apartment. Yet Lardner reported Ferrie was alive and well when he left.

During the House Select Committee on Assassinations' investigation into the JFK case in the late 1970s, George de Mohrenschildt allegedly committed suicide just before his appointment with House Select Committee investigator Gaeton Fonzi, and just after meeting with another longtime journalist and personal protege of the CIA's 25-year counterintelligence chief, James Angleton, Edward J. Epstein. Epstein would purport that de Mohrenschildt had expressed thoughts of suicide.

So when I heard Moldea was trying to say he had personal knowledge that she committed suicide, I couldn't help but think, "how convenient." A lot of people would have a lot to cover up if this woman decided to talk.

I believe Moldea when he says she was in good spirits. I don't believe him when he says she had talked about suicide before. Which doesn't mean that isn't true. But Moldea's so intellectually dishonest book on the RFK case has earned him no trust in my book. And the pattern is not without precedent. Get some high profile journalist to put out the official version of what happened and no one looks twice. No one, that is, except people like me, who know from experience that it's usually not until you look at least twice that the truth starts to surface.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ms. Pease,

I like the way your mind works and I appreciate every opportunity to benefit from its output.

Do you know when "An Open and Shut Case" will be released? The web site is kaput.

3:38 PM  
Blogger Real History Lisa said...

The Web site is still up -

I'll have more to say about that book in the next few weeks. Still reading my advance copy now.

4:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of assassinations and journalists.

For some reason the DC Madam case reminds me of the Dorothy Kilgallen case.


11:07 AM  
Blogger hANOVER fIST said...

Don't forget Danny Casolaro...he made the same proclamations as Deborah Jeane Palfrey.

There's a certain cephalopod that keeps creeping around...could it be...the Kraken?

3:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lisa, you or I, or somebody should write a book about all the "suicides" and bizarre plane crashes that have happened in the past 45 years. Just off the top of my head I can think of a 100. I know the JFK case chalked up quite a number of dead. Or maybe this book has been written? I know Mae Brussells spoke of this a lot and Peter LEvenda gets into it quite a bit in his 3 part masterpiece Sinister Forces, but I'd like to see a book written solely on that subject of inexplicable and timely Bermuda Triangle whistleblower suicides. Many of them are quite bold as in the D.C. car bombing of that South American chap set to testify that's been tied to Poppa Bush in the 77(?).

One I'd really like looked into is the Franklin Boystown suicide at the Four Seasons in D.C.

6:06 AM  

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