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Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Kennedy Assassination

You will find some good YouTube videos of some important witnesses here:

James Hosty, Seth Kantor, Buell Wesley Frazier, Ruth Paine and Harold Norman being cross-examined by Vince Bugliosi:

Jim Garrison

There are some good YouTube videos on Jim Garrison. I have linked them to my page on Garrison:

I would recommend the following:

Jim Garrison Response (in 3 parts)

Jim Garrison Story (in 3 parts):

John F. Kennedy

My new uploaded page on John F. Kennedy includes some of his major speeches in office:

Mary Jo Kopechne

There was a documentary on BBC 2 the other night on the death of Mary Jo Kopechne. The documentary included a filmed interview with Rosemary Keough, the only person at the party who has broken their vow of silence. However, her testimony was only concerned about the moral behaviour of the women at the party. She denied that Mary Jo or any of the other women were sexually involved with the Kennedys. However, she refused to say anything about the party. This vow of silence is one of the most interesting aspects of the case. Why, after all these years, are these people still not talking about what happened at the party?

The documentary also included an interview with Kennedy’s close friend, Dun Gifford. He was also unwilling to talk in any detail about Chappaquiddick. However, using the testimony of Kennedy family pilot, Wilfred Rock, Gifford reluctantly agreed that he and Kennedy had lied about the timing of events that night. It has always been clear that the car went into the water at a different time than the one put forward by Kennedy.

There is one major problem with the timings provided by Kennedy. At about 12.45 Kennedy's stationary car was seen at the intersection on Dike Road near the bridge by Christopher ‘Huck' Look, deputy sheriff and part-time police officer. Look claims that a man was driving and that two other people were in the car. Look approached the car on foot but when the driver saw his police uniform the car then sped off down Dike Road . The car had a Massachusetts registration letter L. It also had a 7 at the beginning and at the end. Only eight other cars of this type had this number plate. They were all later checked out. Kennedy's car was the only one with that number plate that was on the island that night.

Christopher ‘Huck' Look appears to be a convincing witness. There seems to be no reason why he should lie about what he saw on the morning of the 19th July, 1969. Therefore we have the situation where Edward Kennedy and Mary Jo Kopechne left the Lawrence Cottage at around 11.15 p.m. For some reason Kennedy returns to the cottage at 12.20 a.m. However, it is not to report the accident as at this stage the car has not yet had the accident on Dike Bridge.

The most interesting aspect of the documentary concerned the re-enactment of the car accident that killed Mary Jo Kopechne. Car accident investigators unanimously agreed that Edward Kennedy’s testimony was clearly false. In fact, they argued persuasively that Kennedy would have been unable to escape from the car if it had crashed into the water in that way. They concluded that Kopechne was driving the car when it went off the bridge and that she was alone as no one else could have escaped from the vehicle.

Jim Arena, the Edgartown Chief of Police, claimed on camera that his investigation showed that Kennedy was not in the car when it went into the water. Lieutenant George Killen has already gone on record as saying something similar. He interviewed two friends of Kennedy, Ross Richards and Stan Moore, who met with him in his hotel just before 8 o'clock. They reported that he appeared to be acting in a relaxed way and did not appear to be under any stress. Soon afterwards, Paul Markham and Joe Gargan arrived at the hotel. According to Richards they were “soaking wet”. It was while talking to Markham and Gargan that Kennedy became visibly upset. Killen, who interviewed all those people who had contact with Kennedy that morning in the hotel, became convinced that it was at this stage that Kennedy first discovered that Mary Jo Kopechne was dead. Ross Richards also agreed with this analysis.

The solution to this puzzle in the documentary was very unconvincing. They used the theory of Lieutenant Bernie Flynn. He said: “Ted Kennedy wasn't in the car when it went off the bridge. He would never have gotten out alive.” Flynn was convinced that Kennedy had intended to have sex with Mary Jo in the car. He was drunk (evidence suppressed in court showed that Kennedy had consumed a great deal of alcohol that day). When Look approached Kennedy's car, he feared he would be arrested. Therefore he sped off into the darkness. Afraid that Look would catch him up he gets out of the car and persuades Mary Jo to drive off (she herself has consumed a fair amount of alcohol. Kennedy then walks back to the cottage. When Mary Jo does not return Kennedy becomes convinced she has had an accident. Kennedy then goes back to his hotel leaving Markham and Gargan to search for Mary Jo. It is not until the next morning they discover what has happened. They then go to Kennedy's hotel to tell him the news. This fits Lieutenant George Killen idea that Kennedy did not know about the accident until the morning meeting with Markham and Gargan.

I agree with part of Flynn’s theory. Especially, the part that claims that Kennedy did not find out about the accident until the following morning. However, if he had left the car because he was drunk, why didn’t admit to doing this when interviewed by the police? It would have been far less hurtful to his career than to admit that he left the scene of the accident without reporting it, therefore guaranteeing her death.

My own theory of what happened that night at Chappaquiddick includes the following: Mary Jo Kopechne worked as a secretary for George Smathers in 1963. She also shared an apartment with Nancy Carole Tyler, who worked for Bobby Baker. As a result, I suspect she had important information about the assassination of JFK. Like Grant Stockdale (Smathers’ business partner) she probably passed this information onto Robert and Edward Kennedy. However, for some reason, Robert did not do anything with this information and publicly claimed he agreed with the Warren Commission. Maybe the Kennedys told Mary Jo that they were biding their time. As I have said before, I think that the real motive was that they were trying to protect the reputation of the Kennedys. Robert no doubt thought that if he remained quiet he would become president in 1968. After gaining power he would then be in a safe position to reveal details about Operation Freedom. What we do know is that Mary Jo becomes Robert’s secretary after the assassination of JFK. Maybe this was done to keep an eye on her. He does not want her to talk about what she knows.

Robert Kennedy looks like he is going to become president until he is murdered on 4th June, 1968. Mary Jo now sees no reason for holding back this information. Edward Kennedy disagrees. Why? What do these people have on the Kennedys? Is Edward still playing the long game? He still believes the best way of becoming president is not to reveal this information. Does he tell the people responsible for the assassinations that he has taken out an insurance policy. That all the information the Kennedys have will be published if he is also murdered. Maybe a deal is done. Edward Kennedy will be allowed to become president in 1972 if he keeps quiet about what he knows about the deaths of his two brothers. In this way the reputations of his two brothers will remain untarnished.

If that is the case, Mary Jo has to be kept from talking. Edward is told to arrange a meeting with Mary Jo. Edward believes the idea is for Mary Jo to be frightened into not talking. However, the conspirators see it as an opportunity to prevent Edward from ever becoming president.

Edward leaves the party with Mary Jo and takes her by car to a place where she is to be “frightened”. Edward is then taken by boat to his hotel in Edgartown.

The conspirators then murder Mary Jo (drugged and then drowned). The car is driven at speed towards Dyke Road Bridge to provide the tyre markings that will implicate Kennedy in her death. Mary Jo is then placed in the passenger seat and the car which is then pushed off the Dyke Road Bridge.

This helps to explain Edward’s behaviour following the accident. In fact he does not know that Mary Jo is dead until he arrives back on Chappaquiddick Island the next morning. Edward Kennedy is allowed to live but will now never become president. Edward cannot tell now what he knows without disclosing his own role in the cover-up of JFK’s assassination and the death of Mary Jo. The best option for Edward is to go along with the story that he was driving the car.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky

Some good videos on Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky at YouTube:


Rosa Luxemburg

On 1st May, 1916, the Spartacus League decided to come out into the open and organized a demonstration against the First World War in Berlin. Several of its leaders, including Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht were arrested and imprisoned. While in prison Luxemburg wrote The Russian Revolution, where she criticized Vladimir Lenin and the dictatorial and terrorist methods being used by the Bolsheviks in Russia. The book included the following quotation: "Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently."

Luxemburg was not released until October, 1918, when Max von Baden granted an amnesty to all political prisoners. Two months later Luxemburg joined with Karl Liebknecht, Leo Jogiches, Paul Levi, Ernest Meyer, Franz Mehring and Clara Zetkin to establish the German Communist Party (KPD).

In January, 1919, Luxemburg helped organize the Spartakist Rising in Berlin. Friedrich Ebert, the leader of the Social Democrat Party and Germany's new chancellor, called in the German Army and the Freikorps to bring an end to the rebellion. By 13th January the rebellion had been crushed and most of its leaders were arrested.

Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht were executed without trial on 15th January, 1919. Leo Jogiches was later murdered while trying to track down her killers.

YouTube Videos

When I update future pages on the Spartacus website I will add relevant YouTube videos. See for example my pages on Hiroshima and Winston Churchill.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Peter Kerrigan

Wilfred Macartney was an unpopular commander of the British Battalion. It was decided by the Communist Party of Great Britain that McCartney should be recalled to London and that he should be replaced by party member, Tom Wintringham. On 6th February, 1937, Peter Kerrigan went to see McCartney. Kerrigan later recalled what happened during this meeting: "I visited him in his room before he went back to have a talk with him about the situation with the battalion and so on. It was the intention that he would come back. This was about mid-January but he had a big, heavy revolver and I had a rather small Belgian revolver, and he said: Look Peter, how about you giving me your revolver. I am going through France I don't want to lump this thing about. I said all right. He asked to show me how to operate it. I took the revolver in my hand but I can't say for sure whether or not I touched the safety catch, or whether it was off or not, or whether I touched the trigger, but suddenly there was a shot and I had hit him in the arm with a bullet from the small Belgian revolver. We rushed him to hospital, got him an anti-tetanus injection and he was patched up and off he went."

Charles Sewell Bloom, an intelligence officer at the International Brigade Headquarters, had a different opinion on the shooting: "We were going to the front and Wilfred McCartney didn't want to go back. He said he was going with the fellows to the front. Peter Kerrigan and the rest of us thought he shouldn't, and it so happens that he shot him in the arm to make him go back to hospital. That was the only way to get him back because we didn't want to give him a bad name."

Wilfred Macartney

Wilfred Macartney is one of the most interesting people in history. Yet there is virtually nothing on him on the web. You can now read a detailed account of his life here:


Monday, 21 September 2009

Jason Gurney

If any teacher wants to use first-hand experiences of the Spanish Civil War in their teaching I would highly recommend Jason Gurney's "Crusade in Spain". It is a masterpiece. Unfortunately, the book was only published after his death in 1973.

You will find extensive extracts from the book here:

Kenneth Sinclair Loutit

In 1930 Kenneth Sinclair Loutit won a place at Trinity College, Cambridge. At university he joined the Cambridge Socialist Society where he met John Cornford. Loutit became concerned at the growth of fascism in Italy and Germany. He also became an active opponent of Oswald Mosley and his British Union of Fascists. He later wrote: "there was an ever increasing consensus, uniting men and women of all ages and all backgrounds, in a simple refusal of complaisance toward fascist thinking... We were ready to do something about the world we lived in, rather than to accept whatever might happen next."

After completing his degree at University of Cambridge he began a medical degree at St Bartholomew's Hospital in London. However, Sinclair Loutit decided to volunteer to help the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War. According to Tom Buchanan, the author of Britain and the Spanish Civil War (1997), "he disregarded a threat of disinheritance from his father to volunteer." Loutit was appointed Administrator of the British Medical Aid Unit that had been set up by the Socialist Medical Association to help the victims of fascism.

In August 1936 he left for Spain with twenty other volunteers and a fully equipped mobile hospital. According to the woman who later became his second wife: "He found himself heading an autonomous municipal department employing several hundred staff in first-aid posts, a mobile medical unit, rescue parties with light engineering capacity, motorised stretcher parties and a mortuary." They eventually set up hospitals at Cuenca, Murcia and Albacete.

While in Spain he met the journalist Tom Wintringham. When asked what he was up to, Wintringham replied: "Look, the Party as you saw in Paris is the brain, heart and guts of the Popular Front and it's even more so in Spain. Unless the unit is right with the Party you'll be lost." According to Sinclair Loutit, Wintringham was already "formulating the concept of the International Brigades."

At this time Sinclair Loutit described himself as "a non-party, radical intellectual aged 23, frightened and disgusted by the inhumanity of the depression." Tom Wintringham, who was a leading member of the Communist Party of Great Britain, befriended the young doctor: "He (Wintringham) was helpful and kind in great things and small. To be with a warmly human Marxist who was also a cool soldier made it possible for me possible for me to find the beginning of the path and I count him one of the best friends I ever had."

After returning from the Spanish Civil War he completed his medical degree at St Bartholomew's Hospital. He married Thora Silverthorne and the couple lived at 12 Great Ormond Street. Sinclair Loutit was elected as a “unity front” councillor for Holborn. Unfortunately, the marriage was not a success and ended in divorce.

Kenneth Sinclair Loutit became a doctor in London and in 1938 helped establish Finsbury Health Centre. His second wife, Angela Sinclair Loutit, later recalled that it had been "founded on socialist principles that would later become the bedrock of the National Health Service. For the first time, doctors worked side by side with nurses, social workers, radiographers and physiotherapists."

On the outbreak of the Second World War Loutit was appointed Medical Officer in Paris to the Polish Relief Fund and Medical Officer for Civil Defence in Finsbury. He was on duty during the Blitz. On 10th May, 1940 he was involved in trying to extricate survivors from a collapsed block of flats in Stepney. He later told a journalist: "On May 10, the borough was hit so badly it was just a jungle of smoke and flames. I led my rescue team into the wreckage and the first few yards of tunnelling were always the worst; if the building was going to cave in on top of you, it would most likely be at the start. Each bomb that dropped, he said, was a form of Russian roulette in which the trigger is pulled by someone else."

Loutit was awarded a MBE for his work during the early stages of the war and it was suggested that he stood for the House of Commons. However, his second wife, Angela, persuaded him not to embark on a political career: "I wasn’t really into politics at the time, so I advised him to take another job offer with the World Health Organisation." He remained with the WHO for the rest of his working life.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Spanish Civil War

I am currently updating my Spanish Civil War page:

This includes a page on Marty Hourihan. He was made the new commander of the Abraham Lincoln Battalion by a committee of the soldiers. In Comrades and Commissars: The Lincoln Battalion in the Spanish Civil War (2007) Cecil D. Eby claims that "Party hard-wires distrusted the new Lincoln commander, a political maverick so defiant of the Party line that at times he seemed not even to know what it was."

Jason Gurney, the brigade observer, was impressed by his new commanding officer. "Marty, in his role of Commander, inevitably lived a rather lonely life; he had to maintain absolute neutrality without any close friendships or favourites, but he was by nature a gregarious man and the friendship which we had formed for one another was very strong. He had a terrific sense of humour and, although he had little formal education, a very good mind and a superb sense of human sympathy. He never bore grudges or carried on feuds, he could be tough as hell in public, but there was much more of sorrow for human weakness than condemnation of wickedness in his outlook."

Marty Hourihan became completely disillusioned by the actions of the Political Commissioners in the Spanish Civil War. His close friend, Jason Gurney, became convinced that Steve Nelson was "responsible for the mysterious disappearances of a number of people from among our ranks and for the secret trials, for real or imagined offences, which caused so much fear and suspicion within the Battalion." Gurney later recalled: " The nobility of the cause for which I had come to Spain was clearly a fiction, and now the sudden and absolute conviction that life was an experience with no past and no future, merely ending in annihilation."

Hourihan shared Gurney's feelings about the behaviour of the Political Commissioners who were taking their orders direct from the Soviet Union. On 5th April 1937 Vladimir Copic told Hourihan to leave their trenches to attack the Nationalist forces at Jarma. Hourihan refused and Copic replied: "You're cowards! You don't perform your duties! You're not aggressive enough!" Hourihan later told Steve Nelson: "I'm not going to give any orders to the Battalion to climb out of the trench and get themselves slaughtered until there is some real support." Gurney commented that Nelson and Copic accepted this because he knew "the entire Battalion was sufficiently angry to mutiny, as it had done before."

On 6th July 1937, the Popular Front government launched a major offensive in an attempt to relieve the threat to Madrid. The main battle took place at Brunete. In the subsequent attack on the town Hourihan was hit in the leg by a sniper that resulted in his thigh bone being broken.

The medical board at Albacete ordered Hourihan to be repatriated as he was considered to be unfit for further military service. When he arrived back in the United States he resigned from the American Communist Party. As a result he was denounced by the Daily Worker as "an enemy of the working-class". Hourihan was also criticised for not having lost too many men during the attack on Nationalist forces on 27th February 1937. As the historian Cecil D. Eby pointed out, this was "proof for them that he had been more interested in saving lives (including his own) than in exterminating Fascists."

After the Second World War Hourihan obtained a teaching post in Greenlaw County. He also attended Huntingdon College, Alabama, graduating in 1959.

In 1967 Marty Hourihan was manager of a country club in Terra Haute, Indiana. The historian, Cecil D. Eby, who managed to find him later reported that: " Hourihan... made me promise never to divulge his whereabouts because he feared as a former Communist he would lose his job. To my surprise, he was not afraid of being denounced by the FBI but by the CP or VALB, as punishment for straying from the faith".

Women's Patrols

The origins of female police officers comes from women's patrols in the First World War. It was decided to billet the soldiers in local towns and villages. Some people became concerned about the soldiers corrupting local girls. The Headmistresses' Association and the Federation of University Women suggested the formation of Woman's Patrols to stop local woman from becoming too friendly with the soldiers.

The War Office gave permission for these patrols to take place outside military camps. They were also very active in public parks and cinemas. After visiting 300 cinemas in three weeks, the Women's Patrol Committee recommended that lights were not dimmed between films.

Women's Patrols worked closely with the local police and the Women Police Volunteers. It is estimated that during the First World War over 2,000 patrols were established, including over 400 in London.

You can read some funny local newspaper reports on this here:

Martin Luther King

I have updated my page on Martin Luther King to include YouTube videos:

I have done the same for the Montgomery Bus Boycott:

Friday, 11 September 2009

Message from Denmark

History of the Roman Empire

Unfortunately, the Roman Empire is not studied in as much detail as it was in the past. However, I have produced a new section on the Romans in my history encyclopaedia:

At the moment it contains 46 biographies and 26 individual topics. It also includes questions produced for National Curriculum History. It will grow considerably over the next few months.

Another good source for the Romans is Schools Wikipedia:

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Did the CIA murder a journalist working on the Sunday Times?

The Sunday Times chief foreign correspondent, David Holden was murdered in December 1977 soon after arriving in Cairo to report on Israeli-Egyptian peace-talks. At first, the authorities told the editor, Harold Evans, that Holden had probably been murdered by a taxi-driver. The motive was that Holden had made sexual advances towards the man.

Evans sent three of his top journalists to investigate Holden’s death. They soon discovered that the original theory was clearly wrong. Holden’s body was found on a piece of waste ground. He was on his back, his feet neatly together, his arms folded across the chest. All marks that might suggest his identity or nationality had been removed, including the maker’s label in his jacket.

The manner of his death was equally methodical. He had been shot once from behind with a short-cartridge 9mm automatic. The range was so close that his jacket was scorched. The killer had aimed his gun down-ward so that the bullet would pierce Holden’s heart.

Research by the police discovered that Holden had not been picked up by a registered taxi-driver at the airport. Eventually, a white Fiat had been found abandoned. In the boot they found Holden’s suitcase and his portable typewriter. They also found his notes for the book he was writing on Saudi Arabia. Missing were his passport, his camera, any exposed films and any material he had accumulated on his trip. As the officer in charge of the case remarked: “It looks as if the killers knew what they were looking for.”

The airport was teeming with security men. Therefore, he could not have been forced into the car. It is assumed the only reason he willingly got into the car was because he trusted the people whom he met at the airport.

A second Fiat car was found abandoned. This one included the cartridge case matching the 9mm bullet. Holden’s bloodstains were also found in the car. The headrest on the passenger seat had been removed to make it easier for the gunman to shoot Holden from behind. The missing headrest was found in the first car.

Nearly a month later, a third Fiat was found with documents from the murder car. All three Fiats had been stolen in identical fashion. The first car had been stolen on the day following Holden’s decision to take the assignment. The car that contained his belongings was stolen the day after Holden agreed to report on the peace-talks. (He initially refused the assignment because he was working on a book about Saudi Arabia.)
The other two cars were stolen on the day that Holden booked his flight from Jerusalem to Cairo. The journalists investigating the case came to the conclusion it was a well-planned assassination.

One of the surprising aspects of the case was that the killers appeared to have precise details of Holden’s movements. For example, Holden appears to have been followed as he went via Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and the Israeli-occupied West Bank before arriving in Cairo.

It was initially assumed that the Holden had been killed by Fatah hardcore rejectionists, who were attempting to sabotage Sadat’s peace initiative. However, this made no sense as Holden was seen as someone sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. Fatah’s chairman, Yasser Arafat, told them that the Sunday Times had been regarded as a “friend of the cause” because it had campaigned against the ill-treatment of Palestinian prisoners.

Another theory was that Holden was a victim of mistaken identity. David Hirst of the Guardian had angered Sadat by writing several articles about corruption in the Egyptian government.

About a month after the killing of Holden, an intelligence source told one of the Sunday Times journalists that: “the killers knew exactly when Holden would arrive in Cairo because they got the information from the horse’s mouth”. In other words, the organisation responsible for his death had a spy within the offices of the Sunday Times.

Evans also discovered that incoming messages about the case were being stolen from the telex room. Evans called in Scotland Yard and it was decided to set-up a sting operation. The police’s C-10 surveillance unit hid infrared cameras to monitor office movements. Police officers also worked undercover at the Sunday Times. Evans points out in his recently published autobiography: “We then baited the trap.” Department heads were told there had been a breakthrough by senior reporter Paul Eddy who was working in Cairo on the case. However, the cameras failed to pick up anyone stealing Eddy’s messages being sent to the telex room. Evans points out in his autobiography: “I began to think I’d made a mistake letting the Foreign Office know that we’d detected the thefts. What if our own secret intelligence service (MI6) had played some role in the abduction of Holden?”

Further research showed that when Holden was on the way to Cairo he had a meeting with two American archaeologists, John and Isobel Fistere in Amman. Holden had originally met the Fisteres in Beirut in 1963. They were with Kim Philby just before he fled to the Soviet Union. It was generally believed that the Fisteres were keeping watch on Philby on behalf of the CIA. Later the Fisteres denied eyewitness accounts that they spent time with Holden. According to them, they only met with him briefly in the hotel press centre. The journalists also discovered that Holden had a meeting with an academic at Birzeit University. Later it was revealed that he was a paid agent of the CIA.

The Sunday Times then discovered that the CIA had a file on Holden that contained 33 documents. This dates back to a close relationship he had with Leo Silberman, a former communist who was a supporter of Israel but also an anti-Zionist. According to Silberman’s brother, the two men had been lovers. This came as a surprise as Holden, who was married to Ruth Lynam, a photojournalist, was known to be a very active heterosexual. Silberman died in 1960.

The investigating journalists became convinced that Holden had been working for the CIA. This was linked to his reporting of CIA involvement in Cuba and Chile. For example, his reports in 1973 strongly denied that the CIA was involved in the overthrow of President Allende.

In 1988 the Sunday Times was told by a senior US diplomat in the Middle East that Holden had been killed on the orders of the CIA but it had been carried out by Egyptian agents.

After looking at all the evidence Harold Evans become convinced that the CIA was involved in the death of Holden. He had been informed that the Holden case was the “liquidation of an asset”. This belief was increased when the CIA and FBI blocked efforts to see American intelligence files on Holden under the US Freedom of Information Act. Instead, the CIA argued that Holden had been killed by Egyptian terrorists who wanted his press credentials.

The question remains why? By 1977 Holden was clearly not willing to be part of Operation Mockingbird. However, that is no real reason to kill him. Unless, of course, he was willing to write about how the CIA had been manipulating the foreign press since 1947.