Peter Dale Scott taught at Sedbergh School and McGill University before joining the Canadian Department of External Affairs, (1957-1961) and the Canadian Embassy in Warsaw, Poland (1959-1961).
Returning to academic life Peter Dale Scott taught at the University of California for over thirty years. Books by Peter Dale Scott include The War Conspiracy: The Secret Road to the Second Indochina War (1972), Crime and Cover-Up: The CIA, the Mafia, and the Dallas-Watergate Connection (1977), Deep Politics and the Death of JFK (1993) and Deep Politics II: Essays on Oswald, Mexico, and Cuba (1996), Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America (1998), Drugs, Oil, and War: The United States in Afghanistan, Colombia, and Indochina (2003), The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America (2008) and American War Machine: Deep Politics, the CIA Global Drug Connection, and the Road to Afghanistan (2010)
Peter Dale Scott believes that a group of Mafia bosses and corrupt union leaders, including Sam Giancana, Jimmy Hoffa, Carlos Marcello, Johnny Roselli, Santos Trafficante and Dave Yarras were involved in organizing the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
At the first meeting of the newly constituted Warren Commission, Allen Dulles handed out copies of a book to help define the ideological parameters he proposed for the Commission's forthcoming work. American assassinations were different from European ones, he told the Commission. European assassinations were the work of conspiracies, whereas American assassins acted alone. Someone was alert enough to remind Dulles of the Lincoln assassination, when Lincoln and two members of his cabinet were shot simultaneously in different parts of Washington. But Dulles was not stopped for a second: years of dissembling in the name of "intelligence" were not to fail him in this challenge. He simply retorted that the killers in the Lincoln case were so completely under the control of one man (John Wilkes Booth), that the three killings were virtually the work of one man.
Dulles's logic here (or, as I prefer to call it, his paralogy) was not idiosyncratic, it was institutional. As we have seen, J. Edgar Hoover had already, by November 25, committed his own reputation and the Bureau to the conclusion that Oswald had done it, and acted alone. Chief Justice Warren knew this, yet said at the same meeting, "We can start with the premise that we can rely upon the reports of the various agencies that have been engaged in the investigation." John J. McCloy spoke for the extra-governmental establishment when he added that it was of paramount importance to "show the world that America is not a banana republic, where a government can be changed by conspiracy."
FBI documents released in 1979 show other instances in which key information was either altered before it reached the Warren Commission, or else withheld altogether. For example, judging from Warren Commission records, the FBI covered up Jack Ruby's connections to organized crime. The Commission did not receive an important interview with Luis Kutner, a Chicago lawyer who had just told the press (correctly) about Ruby's connections to Chicago mobsters Lennie Patrick and Dave Yaras. All the FBI transmitted was a meaningless follow-up interview in which Kutner merely said he had no additional information.
Apparently the FBI also failed to transmit a teletype revealing that Yaras, a national hit man for the Chicago syndicate who had grown up with Ruby, and who had been telephoned by one of Ruby's Teamster contacts on the eve of the assassination, was about to attend a "hoodlum meeting" of top East and West Coast syndicate representatives, including some from the "family" of the former Havana crime lord Santos Trafficante.
Such an explanation is less plausible for the FBI's interference with leads that appeared to be guiding its agents to the actual assassins of the President - a case, seemingly, of obstruction of justice, or worse. How else should one assess the response of FBI headquarters to a report from Miami that Joseph Adams Milteer, a white racist with Klan connections, had in early November 1963 correctly warned that a plot to kill the President "from an office building with a high-powered rifle" was already "in the working"? These words are taken from a tape-recording of a discussion between Milteer and his friend, Miami police informant Bill Somersett. Miami police provided copies of this tape to both the Secret Service and the FBI on November 10, 1963, two weeks before the assassination, and this led to the cancellation of a planned motorcade for the President in Miami on November 18.20
Although an extremist, Milteer was no loner. Southern racists were well organized in 1963, in response to federal orders for desegregation; and Milteer was an organizer for two racist parties, the National States Rights party and the Constitution party. In addition he had attended an April 1963 meeting in New Orleans of the Congress of Freedom, Inc., which had been monitored by an informant for the Miami police. A Miami detective's report of the Congress included the statement that "there was indicated the overthrow of the present government of the United States," including "the setting up of a criminal activity to assassinate particular persons." The report added that "membership within the Congress of Freedom, Inc., contain high ranking members of the armed forces that secretly belong to the organization."
In other words, the deep politics of racist intrigue had become intermingled, in the Congress as elsewhere, with the resentment within the armed forces against their civilian commander. Perhaps the most important example in 1963 was that of General Edwin Walker, whom Oswald was accused of stalking and shooting at. Forced to retire in 1962 for disseminating right-wing propaganda in the armed forces, Walker was subsequently arrested at the "Ole Miss" anti-desegregation riots. Nor was the FBI itself exempt from racist intrigue: Milteer, on tape, reported detailed plans for the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr., whom Hoover's FBI, by the end of 1963, had also targeted for (in their words) "neutralizing ... as an effective Negro leader."
Four days after the assassination Somerset! reported that Milteer had been "jubilant" about it: "Everything ran true to form. I guess you thought I was kidding you when I said he would be killed from a window with a high-powered rifle." Milteer also was adamant that he had not been "guessing" in his original prediction. In both of the relevant FBI reports from Miami, Somersett was described as "a source who had furnished reliable information in the past."
To sum up, it would appear that Bobby Kennedy, consciously or not, had targeted a number of figures, such as Sam Giancana, James Plumeri, and perhaps even Jimmy Hoffa, who were simultaneously intelligence assets. Well-placed informants and/or their government handlers have furthermore implicated members of this intelligence-mob connection in the coalition of forces that retaliated by killing the President. The House Committee Report, steadfastly refusing to look at Ruby's very pronounced connection to this intelligence-mob milieu, provided instead a distorted governmental account of "La Cosa Nostra," from which the intelligence connections had been systematically expunged. But if Blakey was responsible in repeating the opinion that those who killed Kennedy killed Giancana as well, it becomes even more important to know who was the "CIA guy," who (according to FBN and DEA informant Charles Crimaldi) used someone from the underworld to kill Giancana.
After so many years, some of the mob members of this milieu are now notorious - notably John Rosselli, Santos Trafficante, Carlos Marcello, and Sam Giancana. Others - Barney Baker, Dave Yaras, Irwin Weiner - have been known for years to researchers.
In the June 1994 Reviews in American History, you published an essay by Max Holland concerning my book, Deep Politics, which he had already attacked in the Wilsonian Quarterly. His article opens with a reference to "fantastic conspiracies through innuendo, presumption, and pseudo-scholarship" (p. 191); it closes with his own innuendo about "palpable, cunningly manufactured falsehoods" (p. 209).
Surely it is gross intellectual cowardice to allege or imply falsehoods without supporting this accusation. One might have thought that in a 19-page attack on my "opaque prose" and "fevered imagination" (p. 191), there would be at least a paragraph dealing with what I had actually written. I can actually find only one dependent clause on the penultimate page, referring to "the fantasy that Kennedy was on the verge of pulling out from South Vietnam" (p. 208). Even this is not very close to what I actually wrote: "that in late 1963 Kennedy had authorized an initial withdrawal of... troops... to be substantially completed by the end of 1965" (Deep Politics, p. 24). I went on to note how "time after time... critics, from Leslie Gelb in the Times to Alexander Cockburn in the Nation, have replaced this verifiable issue of fact by an unverifiable one: whether or not JFK would have pulled the United States out of Vietnam" (pp. 25-26). Holland, a long-time Nation editor, has, you will note, once again resorted to this simple trick of devious substitution.
Why do we find in an academic journal the turgid rant and wildly mixed metaphors ("unfathomable crossroads," p. 193) of the Nation? Holland demonstrates at the outset that he has done no basic research on Oswald, whom he believes to be the only person important in the case. He writes that "Prior to that Friday [November 22, 1963], no one called him Lee Harvey Oswald" (p. 193). In fact he had been called Lee Harvey Oswald in newspaper accounts of his 1959 defection to the USSR (and 1962 return) in the New York Times, Washington Post, New York Herald Tribune, Washington Star, Fort Worth Press, etc. to name only some of those press accounts filed under "Lee Harvey Oswald" by the FBI, ONI, Texas Department of Public Safety, etc. (It is true that the CIA chose for its own reasons of state to label one of its three files on Oswald "Lee Henry Oswald," but Holland would be very foolish to adduce this as proof that to the CIA Oswald was unimportant.) The very first State Department cable from Moscow (1304 of 10/31/59) referred to "Lee Harvey Oswald," and this cable was also filed by other federal government agencies, as well as reproduced in the Warren Commission volumes (18 WH 105). Holland's theorizing about the ignored Oswald's supposed "desire to prove his central importance" (p. 199) is based on, and misled by, perverse secondary sources -- notably Gerald Posner's Case Closed.
Holland also has it wrong when he says that "the FBI and CIA had lied by omission (my italics) to the [Warren] Commission" (p. 204). Officials of both agencies had lied in much more constructive ways, to the Commission as well as to each other. The CIA for example supplied a radically falsified version of "Lee Henry Oswald's" 201 file, which Richard Helms then certified to be accurate and complete. The FBI falsely denied a pre-assassination contact with Oswald, and compounded possible perjury about this (5 WH 13) with criminal destruction of relevant evidence. (I refer you on this last point to Posner's Case Closed, pp. 214-16.)
In my view, these undisputed falsifications of the record after the assassination (which I did not even bother to mention in my book) are much less significant than the misleading games played with the Oswald files of the CIA and FBI (with innuendos of a possible KGB plot) just before the assassination. I gave prominent place to these in my book, and Holland, predictably, ignores them. The newly released documents prove the pre-assassination deceptions to be far worse than I described them. Given these facts, it is surprising that an academic journal supposedly committed to inquiry, shortly after tens of thousands of important new documents have been deposited in the National Archives, would publish Holland's fatuous excuse for not bothering to look at them (they "ultimately will only prove one thing: the Warren Commission got it right" -- p. 208).
There is only one quotation in Holland's essay about Oswald from an actual Oswald contact: a Dallas assistant district attorney (Bill Alexander), who complained that Oswald was so smug "I was going to beat the shit out of him" (p. 201). This quotation is much more revealing than it sounds. It is taken from Gerald Posner's Case Closed (p. 345), the latest rehash of the Warren Report for true believers. Alexander is not just a proven liar (as are so many of Posner's preferred sources), he is, only three pages later in Posner's book, a self-admitted liar!
Posner is a lawyer, and we are quite used to seeing lawyers turn to known liars for facts they cannot obtain elsewhere. But why is a self-admitted liar quoted as a source in a supposedly reputable academic journal?
In the first chapter of my book I noted how the Kennedy assassination, and related topics such as Kennedy's late 1963 authorization of troop withdrawal, had become for many disreputable and indiscussible topics (pp. 12-16). Even so, I was disappointed to see those who have published me attacked vigorously for doing so by a major historical journal. I continue to believe that it is the job of the academy to open minds, not to close them.