Thursday, 2nd October, 2014
In 1992 Vasili Mitrokhin, a retired senior KGB archivist, provided the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) with six large cases of top-secret material from the KGB's foreign intelligence archive. Some of this material deals with the assassination of John F. Kennedy. This includes the claim, from Polish sources, that Clinton Murchison and H. L. Hunt had been involved in the funding of the assassination.
The KGB archives show that the Soviet Union helped fund the publishing the books claiming that Kennedy was killed as a result of a right-wing conspiracy. Some of this money was sent to Carl Marzani (codenamed NORD). Among the books published by Marzani in 1964 was Oswald: Assassin or Fall Guy? by the German writer, Joachim Joesten. The KGB also arranged for Mark Lane to receive $1,500 to help his research. However, the document makes it clear that Lane was not told the source of the money. The same person arranged for Lane to receive $500 to help pay for a trip in Europe in 1964. KGB agent, Genrikh Borovik, was also assigned to help Lane with his research for Rush to Judgement (1965).
Probably the most interesting material from this archive concerns the KGB assessment of the relationship between John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King. Ever since the Soviets started sending agents into the United States they had been encouraging members of the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA) to become involved in the struggle for civil rights. For example, they enjoyed great success in their propaganda campaign for the Scottsboro Boys in 1931.
After the Second World War the Soviets used the way that African-Americans were treated in the United States as an attempt to gain influence in the Third World. At first they welcomed the campaigns of Martin Luther King against the Jim Crow Laws as it provided evidence of the worldwide struggle against American imperialism. However, to the dismay of the KGB. King repeatedly linked the aims of the civil rights movement to the fulfillment of the American dream and "the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence".
After King's inspirational letter from Birmingham Jail on 16th April, 1963, where he argued "We will reach the goal of freedom in Birmingham and all over the nation, because the goal of America, is freedom", it was decided by the KGB to mount a smear campaign against the leader of the civil rights movement. The task was given to Yuri Modin, deputy head of Service A (KGB's disinformation unit). Modin is an interesting character who has been largely ignored by historians. Modin was the man who in 1947 he was sent to London and became the main contact of Kim Philby, Donald Maclean, Guy Burgess, Anthony Blunt and John Cairncross. Modin also arranged the flight of Maclean and Burgess in 1951 and was in Beirut when Philby went missing in January 1963.
One of the great ironies in history is that while the KGB were trying to portray King as betraying African-Americans, J. Edgar Hoover was telling William C. Sullivan, the head of the Intelligence Division of the FBI, that “King was an instrument of the Communist Party” and posed “a serious threat to the security of the country.” Hoover instructed Sullivan to get evidence that “King had a relationship with the Soviet bloc”. Despite an intensive surveillance campaign, Sullivan was unable to find a clear link between King and the Communist Party of the United States. This did not stop Hoover from using his contacts in the press to write stories giving the impression that King was a communist.
The KGB campaign against King was stepped up with the passing of civil rights legislation under President Lyndon B. Johnson. Modin arranged for articles to appear in the African press which could be reprinted in American newspapers, portraying King as an "Uncle Tom" who was secretly receiving government subsidies to tame the civil rights movement and prevent it threatening the Johnson administration.
One of the most interesting documents in the KGB archive is dated August 1967 and authorizes Modin: "To organize, through the use of KGB residency resources in the US, the publication and distribution of brochures, pamphlets, leaflets and appeals denouncing the policy of the Johnson administration on the Negro question - and exposing the brutal terrorist methods being used by the government to suppress the Negro rights movement. To arrange, via available agent resources, for leading figures in the legal profession to make public statements discrediting the policy of the Johnson administration on the Negro question. To forge and distribute through illegal channels a document showing that the John Birch Society, in conjunction with the Minuteman organization, is developing a plan for the physical elimination of leading figures in the Negro movement in the US."
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The Death of Tomás Harris (24th September, 2014)
Simulations in the Classroom (1st September, 2014)
The KGB and the JFK Assassination (21st August, 2014)
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The First World War and the War Propaganda Bureau (28th July, 2014)
Interpretations in History (8th July, 2014)
Alger Hiss was not framed by the FBI (17th June, 2014)
Google, Bing and Operation Mockingbird: Part 2 (14th June, 2014)
The Student as Teacher (7th June, 2014)
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Why MI5 did not want you to know about Ernest Holloway Oldham (6th May, 2014)
The Strange Death of Lev Sedov (16th April, 2014)
Why we will never discover who killed John F. Kennedy (27th March, 2014)
The Allied Plot to Kill Lenin (7th March, 2014)
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Winston Churchill and Chemical Weapons (11th February, 2014)
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The Death of John F. Kennedy (23rd November 2013)
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The Strange Case of William Wiseman (21st October 2013)
Robert Vansittart's Spy Network (17th October 2013)
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Paul Dacre, The Daily Mail and Fascism (12th October 2013)
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The Activities of MI5 (9th October 2013)
The Right Club and the Second World War (6th October 2013)
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Ralph Miliband and Lord Rothermere (2nd October 2013)