Joachim Joesten

Joachim Joesten

Joachim Joesten, the son of a doctor, was born in Cologne, Germany on 29th June, 1907. He attended Nancy University in France and the University of Madrid in Spain. Joesten worked as a journalist for the Weltbuehne . According to a Gestapo document, Joesten returned to Berlin in 1928 and established a lending library of books "primarily of a Marxist tendency". The report claims that Joesten joined the German Communist Party on 12th May, 1932.

After Adolf Hitler gained power Joesten emigrated to France. Later he moved to Copenhagen and in 1937 he published an article in a French newspaper warning of Germany's military threat to Denmark. The Gestapo was still monitoring Joesten's activities and in his file it was recorded: "Joachim Joesten, a notorious Marxist well-poisoner... who has seriously transgressed against his duty to remain faithful to his (the German) people and state by his anti-German conduct in foreign countries."

Joesten's first book, Denmark's Day of Doom, was published by Victor Gollancz in 1939. When the German Army arrived in Denmark on 9th April, 1940, Joesten fled to Sweden. After marrying May Nilsson, Joesten and his wife emigrated to the United States. Soon after arriving in New York, Joesten joined Newsweek magazine. In 1944 he became a freelance writer. Books by Joesten include The Battle for the Atlantic (1942), The Luciano Story (1954), Nasser: The Rise to Power (1960), The Red Hand (1962) and Spies and Spy Techniques since World War II (1963).

Joachim Joesten traveled to Dallas a few weeks after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and spent four days there, interviewing witnesses and examining key locations. He came to the conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald was not a lone gunman. However, he did think that he was involved in the conspiracy to kill Kennedy. "I wish to make it absolutely clear that I believe Oswald innocent only as charged, but that he was involved with the conspirators in some way."

Joesten began work on his book, Oswald, Assassin or Fall Guy? Like other early authors who questioned the official version, Joesten was forced to get his book published in the England (Merlin Press). Before the book was published, Joesten, who was in Hamburg, received a letter from J. Lee Rankin of the Warren Commission, requesting a copy of the book. In March 1964, the United States Embassy in West Germany requested a meeting.

According to John Kelin, the author of Praise from a Future Generation (2007): "All copies of Joesten's book manuscript were with either publishers or literary agents, so he was unable to comply with Rankin's request. But he did sit down with the embassy man, whom he identified only as Mr. Morris... They met at the American Consulate in Hamburg on March 21, 1964... The two men talked for about four hours, during which time Joesten told Morris anything he had learned - why he believed Oswald was innocent of killing President Kennedy and Officer Tippit, and who he thought was really responsible."

Joesten later recalled that Morris seemed "particularly concerned with the fact that I believed Oswald had been connected with both the Central Intelligence Agency and with the Federal Bureau of Investigation." Joesten also told Morris that he believed General Edwin Walker organised the assassination and that it "was a military-type operation with firing from both front and rear." Joesten also speculated that Bernard Weissman was involved in the assassination.

Joesten later discovered that while he was in Hamburg his home in New York City to interview his wife. "Since I had been located, I coudn't help wondering if the FBI had simply used that excuse to enter my home, talk to my wife and, to put it plainly, snoop around." The FBI agents recorded that Mrs. Joesten said her husband had returned from Dallas convinced of Oswald's innocence. "Mrs. Joesten advised that she definitely feels that her husband is on the verge of a nervous breakdown."

Joesten's book, Oswald, Assassin or Fall Guy? was published in the United States by Carl Marzani in July 1964. In the book Joesten claimed that the Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Dallas Police Department and a group of right-wing Texas oil millionaires conspired to kill Kennedy. He openly accused Police Chief Jesse Curry of being one of the key figures in the assassination.

Victor Perlo, reviewing the book in the New Times , commented that the book had been rejected by several publishers before Marzani accepted it. "The firm deserves credit for publishing and promoting the book, so that thousands of copies were sold in a short time, despite a blackout by commercial reviewers. Publisher-editor Carl Marzani edited the manuscript brilliantly... This reviewer approached the Joesten book with skepticism. Despite my low opinion of the Dallas police and the FBI, I've had enough experience to know that utterly senseless things do happen in America... But the Joesten book erased most of my skepticism."

The book was largely ignored by the mainstream media but was reviewed by Hugh Aynesworth, a strong supporter of the lone gunman theory and a reporter with Dallas Morning News, in the Editor and Publisher. "Joesten, an ex-German who became a U.S. citizen in 1948... states that Oswald was an agent of both the FBI and the CIA (how's that for a 24-year-old who couldn't spell "wrist"?). It's the same old tripe with some new flavouring." Aynesworth uses the review to criticize Mark Lane, who was another writer questioning the idea that Oswald was a lone-gunman: "Lane is the troublemaker who spent two days in Dallas in January on his investigation and now pretends to be an expert on all aspects of the weird tragedy."

Other books by Joesten include De Gaulle and his Murderers (1965), Marina Oswald (1967), Oswald: The Truth (1967) and The Garrison Enquiry: Truth & Consequences (1967). In 1968 Joesten published How Kennedy was Killed: The Full Appalling Story. In the book he provided information that Haroldson L. Hunt was involved in the assassination. He also named Larry Craford, a man who worked for Jack Ruby, as the man who impersonated Lee Harvey Oswald in 1963. This was disputed by David E. Scheim who claimed that Craford looked nothing like Oswald. Joesten also argued that Ruby was murdered on 3rd January, 1967.

Joesten published and The Dark Side of Lyndon Baines Johnson in 1968. Joesten argued that Lyndon B. Johnson and Bobby Baker were involved in the killing: "The Baker scandal then is truly the hidden key to the assassination, or more exact, the timing of the Baker affair crystallized the more or less vague plans to eliminate Kennedy which had already been in existence the threat of complete exposure which faced Johnson in the Baker scandal provided that final impulse he was forced to give the go-ahead signal to the plotters who had long been waiting for the right opportunity."

Joachim Joesten died in August, 1975.

Primary Sources

(1) Joachim Joesten, New Times (23rd September 23, 1964)

Americans await the long-delayed report of the Warren Commission on President Kennedy’s assassination. Indications are that it will adhere to the FBI-police version that Kennedy was murdered by a lone operator, Lee Oswald, for no rational reason. Most Europeans, and many politically-oriented Americans, believe otherwise. The suspect Kennedy was the victim of a Rightist political plot.

Unofficial investigators have done much research. The Buchanan book attracted much attention in Europe, but was kept from significant circulation in the United States. Attorney Mark Lane, former member of the N.Y. State Legislature, has been the leading advocate of a real investigation.

(2) Hugh Aynesworth, Editor and Publisher (1st August, 1964)

If you would listen to this one, he would have you thinking that Lee Harvey Oswald was a polite little misunderstood youth who just got mixed up in the wrong company...

Oh how terrible, says Joesten (an ex-German who became a U.S. citizen in 1948 and must wonder why), poor little Lee Harvey was the victim of a ruthless plot headed by Dallas police leaders, District Attorney Henry Wade and his staff and a few "bad guys" from the FBI.

Joesten further states that Oswald was an agent of both the FBI and the CIA (how's that for a 24-year-old who couldn't spell "wrist"?).

It's the same old tripe with some new flavoring....

The tip-off is the foreword, wherein Joesten dedicates his book to "Mark Lane... the brilliant and courageous New York attorney...." Lane is the troublemaker who spent two day's in Dallas in January on his "investigation" and now pretends to be an expert on all aspects of the weird tragedy.

(3) Letter from Richard Helms (Deputy Director of the CIA) to J. Lee Rankin, about Joachim Joesten (1st October, 1964)

1. Attached are reproduced copies of a set of German documents seized by the U.S. authorities at the end of World War II. The documents concern Joachtm JOESTEN, author of Oswald. Assassin or Fail Guy?, Marzani & Munsell Publishers, Inc., 1964. The captured documents in this set range in dates from July 1936 to November 1937 and contain the statement that JOESTEN had been a member of the Communist Party of Germany since 1932. You will note that the attention of the German security organs was directed at JOESTEN as early as 1936. At that time the Communist Party had been outlawed in Germany and the German authorities apparently had begun collecting information about JOESTEN and his activities. Their investigation seems to have culminated in the proposal for revocation of his German citizenship.

2. A two page memorandum, dated 8 November 1937, prepared by the Gestapo, included in essence all of the facts provided in the other documents in the set. Therefore, we have translated that memorandum and are attaching the translation.

(4) Joachim Joesten, Marina Oswald (1967)

The Russians never pay any foreign Communists, even the truest and most tested ones, for coming to the Soviet Union and extolling the virtues of communism from that safe sanctuary. Indeed, they only grant asylum to those most conspicuously in grave danger in their homelands and those who, exceptionally, are allowed to stay in the Soviet Union and are immediately put to work as translators, interpreters, analysts, economists or workers. They never receive a red Kopek just for expressing belief in communism as supposedly... Oswald did. In Minsk, where he lived for more than two years, doing unskilled work in a factory at the lowest pay rates, Oswald was never in a position to hold a press conference, to speak over the radio, to write for publication, or in any other way to make even a modest contribution to Communist propaganda. Why on Earth, then, should the Soviet secret police subsidize him to the tune of 700 rubles a month, putting him on a par, financially, with the director of the plant where he worked? Why, moreover, should the Soviet authorities make available to Oswald a comfortable apartment, one of the rarest and most eagerly sought-after amenities of life in the Soviet Union? Just because, in Moscow, upon his arrival, he had been ranting a bit about the "great Soviet Union"? Does it make any kind of sense?

(5) Joachim Joesten, How Kennedy was Killed (1968)

When District Attorney Garrison, in his statement of September 21, 1967, made the startling disclosure that the assassination of President Kennedy had been ordered and paid for by a handful of oil-rich psychotic millionaires, he didn't name any names. But I'm quite sure that all the good people of Dallas, if any of them were privileged to hear the news, instantly thought of their fellow-resident Haroldson Lafayette Hunt, the boss of the immensely rich Hunt Oil Company of Dallas.

Hunt is not only by far the richest of all the Texas oil millionaires but he is also, and more importantly, the one with the most pronounced and most vicious spleen. And, above all, the one who hated Kennedy most.

It so happens that H. L. Hunt is also a long-time friend, admirer and financial 'angel' of the most prominent Texas politician of our time, Lyndon B. Johnson, the man who was destined to become President of the United States automatically the moment Kennedy died. Perhaps this is the reason why Garrison preferred not to be too specific.

(6) Joachim Joesten, How Kennedy was Killed (1968)

And so Jack Ruby, on December 9, 1966, - exactly one day after he had learned that his new trial was going to be held in February or March 1967 at Wichita Falls, about 140 miles from Dallas - was stricken with a mysterious disease first diagnosed as a common cold, then as pneumonia and finally as generalized cancer.

For more than three years, with a death sentence hanging over his dead for most of the time, Ruby had been as fit as a fiddle in the custody of Dallas Sheriff Bill Decker. At no time before December 9, had the prison doctor who visited him regularly, detected any flaw in Ruby's splendid health. But now, with a new trial in prospect in a different place, death quickly overtook the man who knew perhaps more than any other living person (with the possible exception of David Ferrie, then still totally unknown to the public at large) about the real background to the assassination. He passed away in the morning of January 3, 1967 - and another inconvenient trial was happily averted.

As always, my critics are likely to counter at this point with the challenge: 'Where is your evidence that Ruby was murdered?'

The evidence is there, plain to see for anyone with an open mind, but it is purely circumstantial, not tangible. (The people who arranged for Ruby's death, as they had previously arranged for the overt murders of President Kennedy, Patrolman Tippit and Lee Harvey Oswald, to say nothing of the 20-odd witnesses who have also been disposed of, weren't stupid enough to leave any palpable traces of what they had done.)

(7) Joachim Joesten, How Kennedy was Killed (1968)

For the plot to kill President Kennedy to have a maximum chance of success, it was necessary to draw him out of an environment where he was ordinarily well-protected, such as Washington, and lead him to a place where the security apparatus could be effectively neutralized. Dallas was just such a place, for there the police force was in the hands of an organisation (The Citizens Council) determined to get nd of the liberal, progressive, peace-minded Chief Executive. In all of the United States, there was no city where Kennedy had more powerful and active enemies. Not only the local police force, but also the regional bureaus of the FBI and the Secret Service were headed by persons hostile to him. In Dallas there was, to use the favorite LBJ term again, a 'consensus' that Kennedy was a president the nation could do without and that Lyndon B. Johnson would make a fine successor. And out of that consensus developed the conspiracy.

(8) Joachim Joesten, How Kennedy was Killed (1968)

The conspiracy to kill President Kennedy sprang from a gradually developing consensus of (mostly, though not exclusively) Texas political figures. Big Businessmen, right-wing extremists and key elements of the Dallas power elite, with the ClA in it at all levels as the connecting and cementing link.

Three levels of operation can be distinguished. At the top or control level were men consumed by ambition and the thirst for power; at the intermediate or command level, ClA men and high police officers guided the course of events. And at the lowest or operative level, experienced marksmen, recruited from the ranks of the Minutemen and Cuban adventurers, trained and equipped by the ClA, carried out the assassination.

Apart from the obvious overall purpose of ending the Kennedy Administration and opening a new era, prime factors in the conspiracy were the desire to effect a radical change in foreign policy (in particular towards Cuba and in Vietnam) and to preserve specific Texas interests such as the tax privileges enjoyed by the oil industry.

All these aims were attained. Cuba was further isolated through the establishment, with the help of the ClA, of military dictatorships throughout Latin America. The war in Vietnam - which Kennedy had meant to liquidate at the earliest possible moment - was escalated, step by step, into the senseless mass slaughter in progress at the end of 1967. And the oil industry has never had it so good.

(9) Joachim Joesten, The Dark Side of Lyndon Baines Johnson (1968)

He (Billy Sol Estes) went into bankruptcy and, at the end of March, 1962, was arrested by the FBI. One year later he went on trial, in federal district court in El Paso, on multiple charges of mail fraud involving the swindling of about 100 individuals and a dozen major finance companies, in mortgage deals which involved $24 million. The jury found him guilty on four mail fraud counts and one conspiracy charge; he was declared innocent on nine other counts. He was sentenced to 8 years in prison and later drew additional prison sentences following other indictments in federal and state courts. He was last reported to be serving a 15 year stretch in Leavenworth federal penitentiary.

(10) Joachim Joesten, The Dark Side of Lyndon Baines Johnson (1968)

He (H. L. Hunt) was shocked because Johnson had appointed Chief Justice Warren to head the Commission three days after the Communist Daily Worker, in a front-page statement, had suggested it. That Johnson did not follow this advice in order to accommodate the Communists, but for a truly Machiavellian purpose, was something bound to escape the limited intellect of an H. L. Hunt.

Hunt was scared to death, and for apparently good reason, for Earl Warren had, immediately after the assassination, publicly expressed the opinion that this foul deed was the work of right-wing extremists. His anxiety grew when investigators for the Warren Commission found out that one of his boys, Nelson, had paid for that despicable ad in The Dallas Morning News, while another, Lamar, maintained a cozy business and social relationship with the notorious pimp and murderer Jack Ruby.

What the old man didn't realize is that the Commission, in this as in a score of other cases, simply sought to establish the damaging facts in order to be better able to suppress them and to shield effectively those responsible for the assassination. How Lyndon B. Johnson ever managed to get a man like Earl Warren so abjectly to prostitute his great name and prestige, remains the only real mystery of Dallas. But he did it and thus managed to fool, at least for a few years, public opinion throughout America and the world.

After the Warren Report had been released, Hunt heaved a deep sigh of relief. When reporters asked him how he felt about it, Hunt replied, 'It's a very honest document.' And that, coming from H. L. Hunt, is about the most damning thing anybody has ever said about the Warren Report.

(11) Bernard Fensterwald, Assassination of JFK: Coincidence or Conspiracy (1977)

The Senate investigators finally established that FBI Director Hoover not only had prepared secret "derogatory dossiers" on the critics of the Warren Commission over the years, but had even ordered the preparation of similar "damaging" reports about staff members of the Warren Commission. Whether FBI Director Hoover intended to use these dossiers for purposes of blackmail has never been determined.

Although it was not until eleven years after the murder of John F. Kennedy that the FBI's crude harassment and surveillance of various assassination researchers and investigators became officially documented, other information about it had previously surfaced.

Mark Lane, the long time critic of the Warren Report has often spoken of FBI harassment and surveillance directed against him. While many observers were at first skeptical about Lane's characteristically vocal allegations against the FBI, the list of classified Warren Commission documents that was later released substantiated Lane's charges, as it contained several FBI files about him. Lane had earlier uncovered a February 24, 1964 Warren Commission memorandum from staff counsel Harold Willens to General Counsel J. Lee Rankin. The memorandum revealed that FBI agents had Lane's movements and lectures under surveillance, and were forwarding their reports to the Warren Commission.

In March, 1967, the official list of secret Commission documents then being held in a National Archives vault included at least seven FBI files on Lane, which were classified on supposed grounds of "national security." Among these secret Bureau reports were the following: Warren Commission Document 489, "Mark Lane, Buffalo appearances;" Warren Commission Document 694, "Various Mark Lane appearances;" Warren Commission Document 763, "Mark Lane appearances;" and Warren Commission Document 1457, "Mark Lane and his trip to Europe."

In at least one documented instance, the CIA had been equally avid in "compiling" information on another critic, the noted European writer Joachim Joesten, who had written an early "conspiracy theory" book, titled Oswald: Assassin or Fall Guy (Marzani and Munsell Publishers, Inc., 1964, West Germany). A Warren Commission file (Document 1532), declassified years later, revealed that the CIA had turned to an unusual source in their effort to investigate Joesten. According to the document, which consists of a CIA memorandum of October 1, 1964, written by Richard Helms' staff, the CIA conducted a search of some of Adolph Hitler's Gestapo files for information on Joesten.

Joachim Joesten, an opponent of the Hitler regime in Germany, was a survivor of one of the more infamous concentration camps. The Helms memorandum reveals that Helms' CIA aides had compiled information on Joesten's alleged political instability - information taken from Gestapo security files of the Third Reich, dated 1936 and 1937. In one instance, Helms' aides had used data on Joesten which had been gathered by Hitler's Chief of S.S. on November 8, 1937. While the CIA memorandum did not mention it, there was good reason for the Third Reich's efforts to compile a dossier on Joesten. Three days earlier, on November 5, 1937, at the infamous "Hossbach Conference," Adolph Hitler had informed Hermann Goering and his other top lieutenants of his plan to launch a world war by invading Europe."

In late 1975, during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing that featured the questioning of top FBI officials, Senator Richard Schweiker disclosed other secret FBI surveillance of Warren Commission critics. Senator Schweiker disclosed new information from a November 8, 1966 memorandum by J. Edgar Hoover, relating to other dossiers on the critics. According to Schweiker, "Seven individuals [were] listed, some of their files... not only included derogatory information, but sex pictures to boot.

During the Senate Committee session, Schweiker also disclosed that "we came across another FBI letter several months later on another of the critic's personal files. I think it is January 30, 1967. Here, almost three months apart, is an ongoing campaign to personally derogate people who differed politically. In this case it was the Warren Commission [critics].

As will be seen in the chapter on "Links to Watergate," copies - of the FBI's "derogatory dossier" on another leading Warren Commission critic, associated with Mark Lane, were later distributed through the Nixon White House by secret Nixon investigator John Caulfield, John Dean, and H. R. Haldeman's top aides.

Still further information relating to FBI-CIA surveillance of the Warren Commission critics was disclosed in January, 1975 by Senator Howard Baker and the New York Times. On January 17, 1975, the Times disclosed that Senator Baker had come across an extensive CIA dossier on Bernard Fensterwald, Jr., the Director of the Committee to Investigate Assassinations, during the course of Baker's service on the Senate Watergate Committee. Senator Baker was then probing various areas of CIA involvement in the Watergate conspiracy. The New York Times reported that Baker believed the dossier on Fensterwald indicated that the Agency was conducting domestic activities or surveillances - prohibited by the Agency charter's ban on domestic involvement.

Among the items contained in the CIA dossier on Fensterwald was an Agency report of May 12, 1972 titled "#553 989." The CIA report indicated that this detailed surveillance was conducted under the joint auspices of the CIA and the Washington, D. C. Metropolitan Police Intelligence Unit. D. C. Police involvement with the CIA, which in some cases was illegal, subsequently erupted into a scandal which resulted in an internal police investigation in 1975 and 1976, as well as a Congressional investigation.