Edwin Walker was born Kerr County, Texas, on November 10, 1909. He graduated from the New Mexico Military Institute in 1927. This was followed by attendance at West Point Academy (1927 to 1931). During the Second World War Walker commanded a joint Canadian-American commando team in Italy.
In 1947 Walker helped the monarchists defeat Communist insurgents during the Greek Civil War. Walker also saw action in the Korean War. On his return to the United States he became commander of the Arkansas Military District in Little Rock.
On 3rd September 1957, the governor of Arkansas, Orval Faubus, used the National Guard to stop black children from attending the local high school in Little Rock. Woodrow Mann, the reforming mayor of the city, disagreed with this decision and on 4th September telegraphed President Dwight Eisenhower and asked him to send federal troops to Little Rock.
On 24th September, 1957, President Dwight Eisenhower, went on television and told the American people: "At a time when we face grave situations abroad because of the hatred that communism bears towards a system of government based on human rights, it would be difficult to exaggerate the harm that is being done to the prestige and influence and indeed to the safety of our nation and the world. Our enemies are gloating over this incident and using it everywhere to misrepresent our whole nation. We are portrayed as a violator of those standards which the peoples of the world united to proclaim in the Charter of the United Nations."
After trying for eighteen days to persuade Orval Faubus to obey the ruling of the Supreme Court, Eisenhower decided to order paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division, to protect black children going to Little Rock Central High School. The white population of Little Rock were furious that they were being forced to integrate their school and Faubus described the federal troops as an army of occupation.
Elizabeth Eckford and the other eight African American students that entered the school (Carlotta Walls, Jefferson Thomas, Thelma Mothershed, Melba Pattillo, Ernest Green, Terrance Roberts, Gloria Ray and Minnijean Brown) suffered physical violence and constant racial abuse. Parents of four of the children lost their jobs because they had insisted in sending them to a white school. Woodrow Mann and his family received death threats and Klu Klux Klan crosses were burnt on his front lawn.
Walker, a supporter of the John Birch Society, was totally opposed to school desegragation. However, as commander of the Arkansas Military District he was forced to implement the orders of Dwight Eisenhower.
In October 1959 Major General Walker was appointed commander of the 24th Infantry Division in Europe and stationed in Augsburg, Germany. In April 1961 Walker was accused of indoctrinating his troops with right-wing literature from the John Birch Society. With the agreement of President John F. Kennedy, Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara relieved Walker of his command and announced an investigation into the affair. Kennedy was accused of trying to suppress the anti-Communist feelings of the military. Walker resigned from the army in protest about the way he had been treated.
David Talbot argues in his book, Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years, that Walker's indoctrination program had been endorsed by General Lyman Lemnitzer. Talbot quotes a letter from Lemnitzer to Walker saying that he found his efforts "interesting and useful."
In September 1961 Walker organized the protests against the enrollment of James Meredith at the University of Mississippi. Another incident the following year resulted in two reporters being killed. Attorney General Robert Kennedy responded by issuing a warrant for Walker's arrest on the charges of seditious conspiracy, insurrection, and rebellion.
Walker now became a leading figure in the fight against what he considered to be the liberal establishment. Based in Dallas, he gave many speeches around the country denouncing communism and liberalism. In February 1962 Walker stood for governor of Texas. Although he gained the support of Barry Goldwater, Walker finished last and John Connally went on to be governor.
In December 1962, Felipe Vidal Santiago had a meeting with a lawyer connected to a "Citizen's Committee to Free Cuba". He told Vidal about a conversation he had with Henry Cabot Lodge, who had been told by Walt Rostow, that John F. Kennedy was exploring "a plan to open a dialogue with Cuba." Vidal was furious about what he considered to be an act of betrayal and immediately told leaders of the anti-Castro community and his CIA contact, Colonel William Bishop. According to Dick Russell, Vidal was also "an information conduit for" General Walker.
On 10th April, 1963, Walker was victim of an assassination attempt while he sat at a desk in his Dallas home. It was later claimed that Lee Harvey Oswald had taken the shot at Walker. Marina Oswald reported that she "asked him what happened, and he said that he just tried to shoot General Walker. I asked him who General Walker was. I mean how dare you to go and claim somebody's life, and he said "Well, what would you say if somebody got rid of Hitler at the right time? So if you don't know about General Walker, how can you speak up on his behalf?." Because he told me... he was something equal to what he called him a fascist."
However, there was a witness to the shooting. Kirk Coleman saw two men making their escape, one stopped to place something in the back of his Ford sedan, then they both drove off in different cars. As Oswald could not drive this has raised serious doubts if he could have been involved in this attempt on Walker's life.
Larry Hancock argues in his book, Someone Would Have Talked, that Felipe Vidal Santiago traveled to Dallas on several occasions between 31st October and 21st November 1963 in order to raise funds for the anti-Castro exiles. This included meeting Edwin Walker. On his return to Miami he "reportedly stated that Walker had no further interest in Cuban affairs." However, Gerry Hemming has claimed that Vidal obtained money from H. L. Hunt, who had been largely responsible for funding Walker's campaign for governor in Texas. Clint Murchison and Gordon McLendon have also been suggested as possible contributors to Vidal's operation.
Afer the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, a photograph of Walker's home was found among Oswald's possessions. When the photograph was turned over to the Warren Commission by the FBI, a hole had been pushed through it right in the spot where the license plate on the car had been, making the car unidentifiable (it did not belong to Walker). Another photograph, taken by the Dallas police, showed Oswald's possessions laid out on the floor of police headquarters. This included the photograph of Walker's home, without the hole obscuring the license plate.
In 1975 Harry Dean claimed he had been an undercover agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In 1962 he infiltrated the John Birch Society. He later reported that Walker and John Rousselot had hired two gunman, Eladio del Valle and Loran Hall, to kill President John F. Kennedy. However, Dean was unable to provide any evidence to back up his claim.
On 23rd June, 1976, Walker was arrested for public lewdness in a public toilet at a Dallas park and accused of fondling an undercover policeman. He was arrested again for a similar offence on 16th March, 1977. He pled guilty and was given a suspended, 30-day jail sentence, and fined $1,000.
Edwin Walker died of lung disease in Dallas on 31st October 1993. The Major General Edwin A. Walker Society was started in 1999 as a "closed, anti-Communist association of active duty and retired officers and noncommissioned officers who have taken upon themselves the mission of combating the communistic forces of Cultural Marxism, multiculturalism, the United Nations and Boshevist influences in the military".
(1) John Birch Society (2004)
We believe the American system of government, a Constitutional Republic, is the finest yet developed by man.
We believe the traditional moral values of our Judeo-Christian heritage form the cornerstone of Western Civilization, and that the family is the basic and most vital unit of society.
We believe the free market system, competitive capitalism, and private enterprise afford the widest opportunity and highest standard of living for all.
We believe in the dignity of the individual. The Society welcomes and enjoys the participation in its ranks of individuals from every walk of life and from all ethnic, racial, and religious backgrounds. Judging others only by character and ability - as we wish to be judged ourselves - our common bond is a love for liberty and our rejection of totalitarianism under any label.
We believe that the rights of the individual are endowed by his Creator, not by governments; that the proper function of government should be limited to the protection of the rights to life, liberty, and property; and that individual rights are inseparably linked to individual responsibility.
We believe in patriotism based on principle, not on pragmatism, personality, or partisan politics.
(2) Joachim Joesten, How Kennedy Was Killed (1968)
To begin with, General Walker had a perfect motive for wanting to kill President Kennedy whom he regarded as his sworn enemy. He had been forced to go into retirement in 1961 after the President had learned that Walker was systematically indoctrinating the troops under his command, in Germany, with Birchite propaganda.
And in September 1962, when Federal troops swarmed into Mississippi to stop the race riots at Oxford University, General Walker had been arrested as a ringleader, charged with sedition and subsequently committed - briefly - to a psychiatric institution.
When Adiai Stevenson visited Dallas, on October 24, 1963, he was spat upon and assaulted by Walker's cohorts parading as the 'National Indignation Convention'. Walker and his like-minded aide. Colonel L. Robert Castorr, also made inflammatory speeches against the Kennedy Administration at meetings of anti-Castro Cuban groups in the Dallas area.
On the eve of the Kennedy visit to Dallas, General Walker really outdid himself. In front of his home at 4011 Turtle Creek, he flew his three flags upside down - an international distress signal. After the assassination, and in defiance of the half-staff mourning period that had been proclaimed, Walker promptly flew all of his flags right side up again - at full staff.
Walker also had printed 5,000 copies of a handbill marked 'Wanted for Treason' which, in the words of the Warren Report, 'bore a reproduction of a front and profile photograph of the President and set forth a series of inflammatory charges against him.'
These handbills, openly describing President Kennedy as a traitor, were made to resemble the 'Wanted for Murder' poster the FBI uses in its hunt for the Ten Most Wanted' criminals. This similarity is of itself full of dire meaning, for the men thus profiled in an FBI poster are considered highly dangerous thugs who at the first sign of resistance will be gunned down mercilessly.
(3) Dick Russell, High Times Magazine (August 1996)
After the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis brought the USA and USSR to the brink of nuclear war, Kennedy's agreement with the Soviets officially barred further U.S. attempts to overthrow Castro or invade Cuba, and U.S.-Soviet relations began to thaw. Even though the CIA continued to plot Castro's assassination, the Kennedy Administration quietly began seeking a rapprochement with Cuba, says Escalante. But before long, wind of the President's efforts got to the CIA and its Miami-based Cuban-exile minions.
Exile militant Felipe Vidal Santiago, arrested on a 1964 sabotage mission into Cuba, told his captors that in Washington, D.C. in December 1962 he'd met with a lawyer/lobbyist connected to a "Citizen's Committee to Free Cuba." This lawyer informed Vidal Santiago of a conversation he'd had with Republican Henry Cabot Lodge, soon to be U.S. ambassador to South Vietnam, who said he'd heard from Kennedy aide Walt Rostow of "a plan to open a dialogue with Cuba."
"Vidal told us he was very surprised," says Escalante. In fact Vidal, infuriated and betrayed, had alerted his exile cohorts, as well as a CIA contact, Colonel William Bishop. "It was almost like a bomb, an intentional message against Kennedy." Vidal was also an information conduit for General Edwin Walker, the ultra-right Texan paramilitary leader at whom Oswald had allegedly taken a shot in April 1963. And FBI files call Vidal a "very close friend" of Miami mobster John Martino, who intimated to family and associates that he had foreknowledge of the JFK assassination...
Felipe Vidal Santiago told Cuban intelligence that on the weekend before the assassination, he was invited to a meeting in Dallas by the CIA's Colonel William Bishop. "It was supposed to be a meeting with a few wealthy people to talk about financing anti-Castro operations," says Escalante. Bishop left on his own "for interviews" numerous times during their stay in Dallas. After approximately four days they returned to Miami.
Not long before his death in 1993, Colonel Bishop confirmed to this writer that he'd had knowledge of the JFK plot. The Cubans indicate that the Vidal-Bishop Dallas trip concerned plans for re-taking the island once Castro's people had been implicated in the assassination.
Escalante surmises: "Oswald was an intelligence agent of the U.S.-CIA, FBI, military, or all of these, we don't know. He was manipulated, told he was penetrating a group of Cuban agents that wanted to kill Kennedy. But from the very beginning, he was to be the element to blame Cuba."
"Not less than 15 persons took part in the assassination," Escalante theorizes. "At the same time, knowing a little about CIA operations, we see how they used the principle of decentralized operations-independent parties with a specific role, to guarantee compartmentalization and to keep it simple."
The Nassau gathering marked the inception of what is anticipated will be an ongoing exchange between Cuban and U.S. researchers into the assassination. The hope is that access to Cuban documentation might be provided in the future-such as Tony Cuesta's written "declaration." The fact that former Cuban intelligence officials are willing to share their knowledge signifies a momentous watershed in the ongoing effort to unravel the haunting mystery of who really killed JFK.
(4) Larry Hancock, Someone Would Have Talked (2007)
In addition to his involvement in the Bayo-Pawley mission, John Martino was personally involved with Felipe Vidal Santiago, Frank Fiorini/Sturgis, and others within the Miami exile community including individuals who had been part of the "casino" scene in Havana.
Vidal mentioned several visits to General Walker during 1963. Walker himself had limited personal funds and relied on his connections to right-wing organizations and in particular, to H.L. Hunt who was largely responsible for funding Walker's campaign for governor in Texas. There is no documented account of Vidal meeting with Hunt or Hunt's representatives. However, Hunt's behavior after the assassination suggests that he may have been concerned about somehow being implicated, at least by his associations or remarks.
Gerry Hemming places Hunt, Murchison and Gordon McLendon, a close friend of David Phillips and supporter of Phillips' intelligence agent organization at a Petroleum Club meeting in Dallas where Texans introduced the subject of eliminating John Kennedy along with Fidel Castro. Hemming also stated that Vidal dealt with the Hunts but that they maintained an arms length relationship and did not want to know any details of Vidal's activities."