Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bolshevik Perfidy and Nazi Greed?

Less than two years ago, much appeared in the news about certain works of art formerly owned by members of the Russian nobility prior to the revolution in which the tsar and his family was overthrown by the Bolsheviks. However, much was left out by the final action of that litigation which occurred in 2010. To fully understand what happened requires that we go back another 35 years to a court case in 1976--to a case which will follow the more recent article printed below.



by MICHAEL KIRKLAND
UPI NewsTrack Oct 10, 2010


WASHINGTON, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- How many years, how many laws or court rulings, how many regulations does it take to wash the tragedy from a work of art? What makes an artwork -- stolen from desperate people, part of what would become the largest claim of restitution involving Nazi theft -- clean enough to be kept in a museum? The U.S. Supreme Court may have a try at finding out.

The focus of a case brought before the high court this term involves the delicate balance among state, federal and foreign governments, and more specifically a California law that extends the statute of limitations for court actions against museums and galleries to recover Nazi-looted art. The case is also a detective story of sorts, with plenty of byzantine twists and turns and a whiff of Bolshevik perfidy and Nazi greed.

"The California Legislature has recognized the unique nature of claims for the return of artworks looted during World War II ... and the roadblocks that make pursuing these claims so difficult," a petition in the case says. "Those who seek legal redress for the theft of artworks during WWII must engage in detailed investigations, often in several countries, obtain translations of foreign historical documents and seek the assistance of legal and historical experts, among other things, all of which may take many years to complete."
Trying to recover looted art "also inevitably forces victims and their heirs to relive the horrors associated with that era," the petition adds. Families or heirs "are often thwarted in their efforts to regain their property because present day possessors resort to statutes of limitations and other technical defenses despite undeniable proof of an earlier Nazi confiscation."

The 2002 California law, unanimously enacted by the Legislature, extends "the statute of limitations for claims for the return of Nazi-looted artworks brought in California against museums or galleries," the petition said. The new law "prevents museums and galleries -- which should know the importance of provenance and are in the best position to discover whether an artwork they are acquiring is among the thousands looted during WWII -- from taking advantage of a technical defense to a meritorious claim for the return of stolen artworks."

Lucas Cranach the Elder
In other words, simply citing a statute of limitations doesn't protect the museum. The art in question is by Lucas Cranach the Elder, a 16th century German Renaissance painter and print-maker, known for his portraits of Martin Luther and other Reformation figures. But he wasn't above doing the occasional nude. Cranach's life-size "Adam" and "Eve" -- appraised at $24 million for the pair -- are on display at the Norton Simon Museum of Art at Pasadena, Calif.

Jacques Goudstikker
Who owns the works is the subject of debate. So is the identity of the original victim, a noble Russian family or a world-renowned Jewish art dealer in pre-war Amsterdam. Marei von Saher, a Greenwich, Conn., resident and "the sole living heir of the noted Jewish art dealer, Jacques Goudstikker," says the Cranachs were part of the works at Goudstikker's gallery. Von Saher is Goudstikker's daughter-in-law.

After the Nazis invaded the Netherlands in 1940, only 35,000 of 140,000 Dutch Jews survived the war. Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering looted the Goudstikker gallery of more than 1,000 pieces of art, including the Cranachs, which he wanted for his personal collection. Actually, Goering put low-level employees in charge of the massive Goudstikker collection, then forced them to sell at ridiculously low prices.

After the invasion, the Jewish Goudstikker, 43, fled the country, and died after he broke his neck in a fall aboard a ship crossing the English Channel. After the war, the Cranachs and the other artworks were recovered by Allied troops, and in accordance with policy, turned over to the Netherlands with the expectation they would be returned to the original owner. Von Saher's petition said Goudstikker's widow did receive some works, but the Dutch government retained the Cranachs and other art looted by Goering. 

Georges Stroganoff-Scherbatoff
Meanwhile, Georges Stroganoff-Scherbatoff appeared in 1961 to say the art actually belonged to his noble Russian family. The Dutch sold the art to Stroganoff in 1966, Von Saher's petition said.
"In fact, the Cranachs came from the Church of the Holy Trinity in Kiev, and Goudstikker purchased them at an auction in 1931," the petition said. "They had never been part of the Stroganoff family art collection."
The Norton Simon Museum of Art at Pasadena acquired the Cranachs from Stroganoff in the early 1970s, where von Saher said she discovered them on or about November 2000. At that point, von Saher said she wanted the Cranachs back, but the museum said no. Meanwhile, the Dutch government apparently had a change of heart in 2001 and decided to return 200 priceless works of art to von Saher.

The museum tells a slightly different story of the Cranachs' provenance: 
"The Soviets" -- needing hard currency -- "sold the Cranachs in 1931 as part of an auction titled 'the Stroganoff Collection,' which featured artworks (confiscated after 1917) from the noble Stroganoff house," the museum said in its own brief. The Stroganoff family fled the revolution and all their Russian property was confiscated. "Over the Stroganoff family's protest, the Cranachs were purchased by ... a prominent Dutch art dealer named Jacques Goudstikker."
Under protest, Goudstikker's widow chose not to seek the return of the artworks, the museum said, "which would have required her to return the money paid by Goering for those works" in the forced sale. "The time to file a claim under Dutch law elapsed in 1951."
The Dutch government transferred the Cranachs to Georges Stroganoff-Scherbatoff as part of a settlement that also included money. Von Saher filed suit in federal court in Los Angeles in May 2007 to recover the Cranachs from the Pasadena museum, but a judge dismissed the suit, holding the California law extending the statute of limitations to make the claim "intrudes on the federal government's exclusive power to make and resolve war, including the procedure for resolving war claims," and is therefore unconstitutional. Without the new law, von Saher had only three years to make her claim under California law after discovering the Cranachs in the museum.

Holocaust restitution 
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also ruled for the museum, saying the California law was designed to create "a worldwide forum for the resolution of Holocaust restitution claims," which was not a "traditional state responsibility." Since California was not exercising a traditional state function, the court said, the state law was pre-empted by the foreign affairs power reserved to the federal government because the intent of the state statute was to right wartime wrongs.

In her petition to the U.S. Supreme Court, von Saher said the appeals court "misconstrued" Supreme Court precedent, particularly in 2003's American Insurance Association vs. Garamendi. The Garamendi case came about because the Nazis "confiscated the value or proceeds of many Jewish life insurance policies issued before and during the Second World War," the Supreme Court said in its ruling. "After the war, even a policy that had escaped confiscation was likely to be dishonored, whether because insurers denied its existence or claimed it had lapsed from unpaid premiums, or because the German government would not provide heirs with documentation of the policyholder's death."

As in the artworks case, California acted, its Legislature passing the Holocaust Victim Insurance Relief Act of 1999. The state act required any insurer doing business in the state to disclose information about all policies sold in Europe from 1920 to 1945 by the company or anyone "related" to it. Violations of the act meant loss of an insurer's state business license. After the act became law, California issued administrative subpoenas against several subsidiaries of European insurance companies that were already cooperating with an international commission on Holocaust insurance claims. The federal government then warned California its new law interfered with the work of that commission.

Eventually, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the California Holocaust insurance law "interferes with the president's conduct of the nation's foreign policy and is therefore pre-empted."

Von Saher's lawyers argue the California law extending the statute of limitations for the recovery of looted art, unlike the state law in Garamendi, does not conflict with any federal law or international treaty, and the 9th Circuit's ruling in the Cranach case unconstitutionally extends federal pre-emption.

Von Saher is no longer alone in her case. A number of organizations have filed friend-of-the-court briefs on her behalf, including the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Bet Tzedek, "The House of Justice," a Southern California non-profit legal service that says it has represented more than 800 Holocaust survivors or their families. California also has filed a brief supporting her. All these briefs, of course, presumably were read by the Supreme Court justices this summer, including the briefs filed by von Saher and the museum. The high court could take several actions: rule summarily for either side without hearing argument, agree to hear argument before any ruling or simply refuse to review the case.

For the moment, the justices are asking the U.S. solicitor general's office for advice. At the start of the new term on the first Monday in October, they asked the administration lawyers for an opinion on what should be done with the case. The solicitor general's office should reply with an opinion within a couple of months.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

George STROGANOFF-SCHERBATOFF, Plaintiff,
v.
Henry H. WELDON, Defendant. 


George STROGANOFF-SCHERBATOFF, Plaintiff, 
v. 
Charles B. WRIGHTSMAN and Jayne Wrightsman, Defendants

The opinion of the court was delivered by: BONSAL, May 18, 1976


 BONSAL, District Judge. 

Plaintiff George Stroganoff-Scherbatoff commenced these actions alleging conversion of certain works of art by defendants Henry H. Weldon, Charles B. Wrightsman and Jayne Wrightsman. Specifically, in a complaint filed February 6, 1974, plaintiff alleged that Henry H. Weldon
"converted to his own use a painting known as Portrait of Antoine Triest, Bishop of Ghent, ["Triest Portrait"], by Sir Anthony Van Dyck, of the value of $50,000, the property of plaintiff." 
Diderot bust
Then, in another complaint filed December 31, 1974, plaintiff alleged that Charles B. Wrightsman and Jayne Wrightsman converted to their own use a bust of Diderot by Houdon, described in Catalogue 2043 of Rudolph Lepke's Kunst-Auctions-Hause, No. 225 with a property value of $350,000. A subsequent suit, 75 Civ. 3174, was brought against the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the present owner of the Diderot bust, which was subsequently consolidated with the Wrightsman case by Court order dated September 30, 1975. 1

Metropolitan Museum of Art
Defendants now move pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(b) for summary judgment in their favor. In support of his motion, defendant Weldon has submitted his own affidavit; the affidavit of his attorney, Harry E. Youtt, Esq.; the affidavit of Robert L. Manning, the Director-Curator of the Finch College Museum of Art; portions of the "Sammlung Stroganoff" or auction catalogue prepared for the auction in Berlin, May 12-13, 1931; and portions of the Catalogue de la Galerie des Tableaux of the Imperial Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia. 

Defendants Wrightsman have submitted an affidavit by their attorney, Betty J. Pearce, Esq.; several documents including "The Stroganoff Palace-Museum--A Brief Guide, St. Petersburg, 1922"; excerpts from the "Sammlung Stroganoff" decrees of the All Russian Central Executive Committee and of the Council of People's Commissars; "Eighteenth Century French Art in the Stroganov Collection"; affidavits of the translators of these documents; documents on Soviet law and the Soviet Constitution; and the affidavit of Charles B. Wrightsman. In opposition to these motions, plaintiff has submitted his own affidavit and a supplemental affidavit of his attorney, Lyman Stansky, Esq. 

Before deciding these motions for summary judgment, the Court, in a Memorandum to Counsel, gave the parties ". . . an opportunity to submit further briefs on the Act of State and Statute of Limitations points in light of Princess Paley Olga v. Weisz, [1929] 1 K.B. 718; Menzel v. List, 22 A.D.2d 647, 253 N.Y.S.2d 43 (1964); and Menzel v. List, 49 Misc.2d 300, 267 N.Y.S.2d 804 (1966)." Supplemental memoranda of law and additional affidavits were subsequently filed by all parties. 

Triest Portrait
It appears undisputed that both the Triest Portrait and the Diderot bust were sold in Berlin in 1931 at the Lepke Kunst-Auctions-Hause (hereinafter "Lepke Auction") by order of the Handelsvertretung or Trade Consulate of the U.S.S.R. 2 

The Triest Portrait was purchased by the Frank T. Sabin Gallery in London which later sold it to the Alfred Brod Gallery, Ltd. in London. In 1963, defendant Weldon acquired the painting from the Brod Gallery and remains the present owner. 

It is unclear from the record who purchased the Diderot bust at the Lepke Auction; however, Charles B. Wrightsman later acquired the bust in June, 1965 from French & Company, Inc., a New York art dealer, and later donated it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art on or about November 14, 1974

Plaintiff alleges that he is the direct descendant of Count Alexander Sergevitch Stroganoff, the original owner of both works of art, and that he is the rightful owner of these works of art by reason of familial succession. Plaintiff contends that the auction catalogue for the Lepke Auction described these works as part of the Stroganoff Collection. ("Sammlung Stroganoff".) 

Defendant Weldon contends that the auction catalogue does not support plaintiff's contentions that the Triest Portrait was part of the Stroganoff Collection. Rather, Weldon contends that the Portrait was part of the collection of the Imperial Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. 3

Moreover, defendant Weldon contends that even if plaintiff can prove ownership of the painting by familial succession, the Court is barred from granting any relief by reason of the Act of State Doctrine.  Defendants Wrightsman also contend that the Act of State Doctrine bars any relief. 

The Act of State Doctrine

The Act of State Doctrine requires courts of this country to refrain from independent examination of the validity of a taking of property by a sovereign state where 1) the foreign government is recognized by the United States at the time of the lawsuit, and 2) the taking of the property by the foreign sovereign occurred within its own territorial boundaries. 

In Underhill v. Hernandez, 168 U.S. 250, 18 S. Ct. 83, 42 L. Ed. 456 (1897), plaintiff brought suit against the defendant, the commander of a revolutionary army in Venezuela, for damages caused by defendant's refusal to issue a passport and for alleged assaults and affronts by defendant's soldiers in Venezuela. Since the United States had recognized the defendant's revolutionary government as the legitimate government of Venezuela, the Court held:
"Every sovereign state is bound to respect the independence of every other sovereign state, and the courts of one country will not sit in judgment on the acts of the government of another, done within its own territory." Id. at 252, 18 S. Ct. at 84.
Then, in Oetjen v. Central Leather Co., 246 U.S. 297, 38 S. Ct. 309, 62 L. Ed. 726 (1918), hides were seized in Mexico from a Mexican citizen by General Villa, acting on behalf of General Carranza, and were sold in Mexico to a Texas corporation which shipped them to the United States where they were sold to defendant. Plaintiff claimed title to the hides as assignee of the Mexican citizen. Taking note of the fact that the United States had recognized the Government of Carranza as the de facto government of Mexico in 1915, and as the de jure government in 1917, the Court denied plaintiff's request for relief and held:
"Plainly this was the action, in Mexico, of the legitimate Mexican government when dealing with a Mexican citizen, and, as we have seen, for the soundest reasons, and upon repeated decisions of this court such action is not subject to re-examination and modification by the courts of this country." Id. at 303, 38 S. Ct. at 311.
The Act of State Doctrine was again applied in Banco Nacional de Cuba v. Sabbatino, 376 U.S. 398, 84 S. Ct. 923, 11 L. Ed. 2d 804 (1964), a case involving the expropriation by the Cuban Government of property located in Cuba but owned principally by American nationals. There, the Court held:
". . . the Judicial Branch will not examine the validity of a taking of property within its own territory by a foreign sovereign government, extant and recognized by this country at the time of suit, in the absence of a treaty or other unambiguous agreement regarding controlling legal principles, even if the complaint alleges that the taking violates customary international law." Id. at 428, 84 S. Ct. at 940.
Here, the record shows that the works of art, whether in the Stroganoff Palace or in the Imperial Hermitage Museum, were appropriated by the Soviet Government under either Decree No. 111 of the Council of People's Commissars published on March 5, 1921, which nationalized all movable property of citizens who had fled the Soviet Union, 4  or Decree No. 245 of March 8, 1923, promulgated by the All Russian Central Executive Committee and the Council of People's Commissars, which nationalized property housed in State Museums. In addition, at the time of the Lepke Auction in Berlin, plaintiff's mother, Princess Stroganoff-Scherbatoff, wrote a public letter of protest stating that:
"This collection remains entirely my property. The Soviet republic has taken possession of this collection in a way that sets at defiance every principle of international law." (Emphasis added.) New York Herald Tribune, May 13, 1931, at 15.
Portrait of Stroganoff
While plaintiff contends that the "taking" did not occur within the territory of the Soviet Union but in Berlin at the Lepke Auction and, under such circumstances, the Act of State Doctrine is inapplicable, the record indicates that the works of art were appropriated in Russia, prior to the Lepke Auction, and were transported to Berlin by the Soviet Government solely for the purpose of the public sale.

 In Princess Paley Olga v. Weisz, [1929] 1 K.B. 718, the British Court of Appeal was faced with a case involving similar facts. There, a Russian refugee noble, Princess Paley Olga, instituted an action in the British courts to recover certain furniture and art objects that had been in the Paley Palace, near St. Petersburg, and which were sold by the Soviet Government to the defendant in 1928. Relying in part on Decree No. 111 of the Council of People's Commissars published on March 5, 1921, and Decree No. 245 promulgated by the All Russian Central Executive Committee and of the Council of People's Commissars in March 1923, the defendant Weisz contended that the articles in question had ceased to be the property of the plaintiff and were in the possession of the Soviet Government as public property. Since that Government was the Government of a foreign sovereign State, and had been recognized as such by the English Government in 1924, defendant contended that the plaintiff could not dispute the validity of the appropriation of the articles by the Soviet Government in the British courts. In affirming the lower court's decision that plaintiff's action must fail, the Court of Appeal (Scrutton, L. J.) held:
"Our Government has recognized the present Russian Government as the de jure Government of Russia, and our Courts are bound to give effect to the laws and acts of that Government so far as they relate to property within that jurisdiction when it was affected by those laws and acts." Id. at 725.
 Here it appears that the Triest Portrait and the Diderot bust were transported to Berlin for public sale in May 1931 at the direction of the Soviet Government. The Soviet Government had been recognized by the United States as the de jure government of Russia in 1933. Whether the works of art had been appropriated under Decree No. 111 of March 5, 1921 or Decree No. 245 of March 8, 1923 appears to be immaterial. The sale of the Stroganoff Collection was held by order of the Handelsvertretung and as such was carried out under the direction and with the consent of the Soviet Government. While the actual sale of the works of art occurred in Berlin, the property had been seized in Russia by the Soviet Government. 

Unlike the situation in Menzel v. List, 49 Misc.2d 300, 267 N.Y.S.2d 804 (1966), where the taking was by an organ of the Nazi Party, not a sovereign state, and the Act of State Doctrine was held inapplicable, here, the Soviet Government, by official decrees of its political organs, had acquired the works of art in Russia prior to their public sale in Berlin in 1931. Moreover, in Menzel v. List, the appropriation of the painting was in Belgium and the Government of the Kingdom of Belgium, although in exile at the time, was still the recognized government of Belgium. Here, the appropriation was by the Soviet Union and occurred within the territorial boundaries of the Soviet Union. 

 Thus, it seems clear that, on this record, plaintiff is precluded from recovery by reason of the Act of State Doctrine. Banco Nacional de Cuba v. Sabbatino, supra; see Princess Paley Olga v. Weisz, supra. In view of the foregoing, the Court does not reach the statute of limitations issue. 5

Accordingly, defendants' motions for summary judgment are granted.

It is so ordered.

Footnotes


1. On February 2, 1974, plaintiff commenced another action, 74 Civ. 625, alleging conversion by defendant Charles Wrightsman of a bust of Voltaire by Houdon. Subsequently, a suit was brought against the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 74 Civ. 3809, for the same cause of action. Both actions were consolidated for purposes of a joint trial by Order dated April 26, 1976.
2. See affidavit of Johann Wille dated December 5, 1975.
3. See affidavit of Robert L. Manning dated February 7, 1975, attached to defendant Weldon's Motion for Summary Judgment.
4. Plaintiff denies that Count Alexander Sergevitch Stroganoff fled the Soviet Union in 1919 and thus disputes the applicability of Decree No. 111 of March 5, 1921 to the facts of this case.
5. Plaintiff has brought these suits for conversion of works of art. Under the applicable New York statute, New York Civil Practice Law and Rules ("CPLR") § 214(3) (McKinney 1972), "an action to recover a chattel or damages for the taking or detaining of a chattel . . . must be commenced within three years." (Section 214(3) of the CPLR, effective September 1, 1963, replaced former Section 48(4) of the Civil Practice Act which provided a six-year statute of limitations.)
Moreover, under New York CPLR § 206(a), a demand is necessary before a person is entitled to bring an action in conversion. That statute provides, in part:
". . . where a demand is necessary to entitle a person to commence an action, the time within which the action must be commenced shall be computed from the time when the right to make the demand is complete."
Here, it would appear that the right of plaintiff's mother to make the demand was complete in 1931 when the works of art were sold at the Lepke Auction in Berlin. Under the New York statute of limitations, it would appear that the time for commencing an action in conversion had already run at the time of Princess Stroganoff-Scherbatoff's death in 1944.
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
There was also an earlier lawsuit in 1966, reported in the International Law Reports here at page 72.

But the real question in my mind is how these Scherbatoffs were related, if at all, to the wife of Max Edward Clark--the former Princess Gali Scherbatoff.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fort Worth's Arlington Heights

Where Max Clark finished high school in 1930

Max Edward Clark

Max Edward Clark was born in Indiana in 1914. His family began moving south, following the oil strikes, shortly before Roberta, the youngest Clark, was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, in December 1920, and the family arrived in Fort Worth, Texas in 1927. Their address in 1928 was 5233 Byers Avenue in the heart of Arlington Heights in Fort Worth--a newly constructed home in an affluent new neighborhood--placing the Clark children in the Arlington Heights schools. The high school at that time was located at 2100 Clover Lane, which is now known as W.C. Stripling Middle School‎. Both Max and younger sister Wilda graduated from high school in 1930 and entered college in Fort Worth--Texas Christian University, about five miles southeast of their home, crossing Camp Bowie and W. Vickery Boulevards.

Early TCU campus, aided by widow of Burk Burnett

The father, Isaac Edward Clark, was an oil operator in Fort Worth, president of his own company called Clarco Oil and Refining Co., which in the late 1920's was one of about six tenants officing on the fifth floor of the Mrs. Dan Waggoner Building at 206 W. 6th Avenue (Sixth at Houston Street).  Clarco followed the rest of the oil industry to wherever the most recent discoveries were made, and it was operating around Abilene, Texas in the 1930's. It went into receivership in 1938, and the receiver started selling off assets to pay debts. The Clark oil operations that remained shared Room 514 with Shaw Audit Company for at least a couple of years after the death of Isaac E. Clark. Max Clark, attorney, and Isaac Clark, oil operator, showed up as a tenant of Room 515 in 1942 while attorneys Richard D. Walker and Maurice Short had Rooms 513-15, and all shared the same telephone number.

A Personnel Security Questionnaire on Max Clark indicates that he was using Room 516 of Dan Waggoner Bldg. in late 1946 as an office while he worked on a temporary basis for the Office of Price Control, shortly after his return from WWII. The Fort Worth city directory shows both the law office and oil operations in that space in 1947 and later. He did not report on the questionnaire that he had filed in 1948 to run for judge in the Court of Criminal Appeals, Second Judicial District, but withdrew in the middle of June. He listed as references attorney Baylor B. Brown, 614 Dan Waggoner Building, and Wayne Weldon, attorney, in Room 713 of the same building.


One block over, at 810 Houston Street, was the other, newer W. T. Waggoner Building which began construction in 1919.

Max enlisted in the Army in March 1941 and was not officially out of the Army until 1950, according to the Biographical Data sheet prepared in 1955 in his FBI file, continuing with the Air Force Reserve as a Major until 1955. While in the military, he had traveled to Morocco, Tunisia, Italy, Sicily, France and Germany, meeting his Russian wife while he was in Europe. 


In April 1946 Max Clark's name appeared on a military transport manifest of soldiers who sailed from Camp Philip Morris near Le Havre with the 1260th Engineer Combat Battalion. This camp was one of the many "cigarette camps" through which millions of American soldiers passed. His rank was shown as Tec 4, with an MOS of 776 (radio operator), an apparent conflict with the rank of Major shown on the above personnel sheet. His departure point was almost 700 miles away from where his future wife's White Russian family had settled after fleeing the Bolshevik armies, and where her father, Prince Michel Scherbatoff lived when his wife, Princess Gali, died in 1964--23 Boulevard Gambetta, Nice Alpes Maritimes, France.

Max testified he had made a subsequent trip to France to visit his wife's relatives, but immigration records reflect they again sailed from Le Havre, rather than from the south coast of France--on the French liner, S.S. De Grasse, October 7, 1947 with a passport issued to Gali Clark in Philadelphia in July that same year.

One mile away, northeast along Crestline Road, from where Clark lived during his teen years was the Rivercrest Country Club where, it is entirely possible, the Clark children may have known members of the Phillips family. Max Clark's siblings were:
  •  Wilda E. (born 1915, married Robert J. Ruble, who later became assistant chief airway operations specialist with the CAA), which at that time was located north of the city near Meacham Airport;
  • Rex Edward (born 1918, married Flora Jane Estes, whose father John O. Estes managed a cotton company); and
  • Roberta D. (born 1921, who married Daniel Maurice Short.
Robert J. Ruble worked at the same location as Birge Davis Alexander, the brother-in-law of then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson. Alexander was the plant engineer at the CAA in 1956.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hired Guns and Mercenaries

We are told that the corporation once known as Blackwater changed its name to Xe Services, and is now called ACADEMI, but we have no real idea what internal changes in stock ownership or underlying capital actually occurred. A recent blog has opined that there seem to be links between the news owners of ACADEMI (formerly Blackwater) and Mitt Romney financial supporters.

Nevertheless, persons who were previously executives or directors of Blackwater have formed other companies with sometimes less than voluntary financial support. James F. Smith is a notable example. Through leaked emails written to the "Texas-headquartered 'global intelligence' company Stratfor," most important of which to WikiLeaks was, of course, relevant to Julian Assange's prosecution, we have we have received a glimpse into "Stratfor’s web of informers, pay-off structure, payment-laundering techniques and psychological methods." WikiLeaks elaborates further about this network, calling it a:
revolving door that operates in private intelligence companies in the United States. Government and diplomatic sources from around the world give Stratfor advance knowledge of global politics and events in exchange for money. The Global Intelligence Files exposes how Stratfor has recruited a global network of informants who are paid via Swiss banks accounts and pre-paid credit cards. Stratfor has a mix of covert and overt informants, which includes government employees, embassy staff and journalists around the world. The material shows how a private intelligence agency works, and how they target individuals for their corporate and government clients.
From one source who has an "extensive record of sharing intelligence with Stratfor," we have recently learned that SCG International, "a government-contracted private security firm is helping the Syrian opposition to overthrow the Bashar al-Assad regime." Upon closer examination, we then discover the source of the Stratfor intelligence was none other than:
Jamie Smith, left
SCG Chief Executive James F. Smith, who used to be director of notorious company Blackwater, now known as Academi. In a separate message Smith introduces himself to Stratfor as having background in CIA and heading a company “comprised of former DOD, CIA and former law enforcement personnel.”

In a story appearing in online edition of RT (Russia Today) dated March 21, 2012, it was stated:
The US has been increasingly dependent on private contractors like SCG, outsourcing functions to them that were previously fulfilled by regular troops. Employees of these “modern mercenaries” provide services like personal and area security, intelligence gathering and recruit training in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan.
Critics of the practice say such firms lack accountability and allow the government to carry out “black op” tasks while being able to deny any involvement.
From his photograph, Jamie Smith looks like a mere youngster, but he is a popular subject for interviews on television "news" shows like MSNBC, CNN and America Now

What these news shows don't tell us, however, is how Jamie got the funds for his private company. We have to go to a local news outlet based in Virginia to learn that. We discover from Bill Sizemore's story in The Virginian-Pilot that there are two people very unhappy with James Frank Smith, Jr.-- Craig Sanford and his wife, Mary Jo, of Morrisville, Pa.--who filed suit in the fall of 2010 against Smith's corporation, SCG, alleging they had been defrauded of $12.5 million. Sizemore also relates that Smith's degree came, not from Harvard, as some have claimed, but that he graduated in the class of 2000 from the much less impressive
Regent University in Virginia Beach, the evangelical school founded by Pat Robertson. And the Navy has no record of him serving. He does appear to have once worked for the CIA, although that is difficult to verify. The CIA does not publicly confirm or deny employment. The Mississippi-born Smith first came to Virginia on assignment to Camp Peary, the CIA's training base near Williamsburg, he told The Pilot in 2003. Later, he was a vice president at Blackwater, the Moyock, N.C.-based security firm, in its early years. He left in 2002 under circumstances that neither he nor Blackwater, since renamed Xe, would discuss on the record.
The article proceeds to tell us about how the "loan" commenced:
Craig Sanford met Smith in 2007 shortly after reaping a financial windfall from the sale of a medical waste hauling business, according to the lawsuit. Smith is said to have portrayed himself as a successful entrepreneur in the security business with "a unique ability to invest funds overseas." Smith is alleged to have guaranteed Sanford a 10 percent annual return on his money, whereupon Sanford turned over $12.5 million in return for a promissory note signed by Smith. Over the ensuing months Sanford received periodic reassuring updates on his investment. But he began to get nervous.
The writer did not elaborate over any collateral or other documentation for the loan, but only that many assurances were made to the Sanfords that the money was safe, such as this one from Jamie's associate in March 2008:
The money is invested in numerous places, foreign and domestic and is being managed by qualified, competent fund managers. Jamie is a wizard so no worries there. He graduated from harvard with honors and I trust him with my kids life.
Of course we know what happened in October 2008--the Dow collapsed. Six months later Sanford, who was already worried, became frantic when "SCG's attorney called with the news that his money had been 'lost in the stock market.' "

But what is far from clear from Sizemore's article is why the $12.5 million turned over to Jamie Smith, which he characterized to a friend as "a gift from God," is called a "loan" that the borrower is unable to pay "on the schedule originally contemplated." What were the terms set out in the promissory note? Was it really a loan or a money management agreement?

Sanford's attorney,  J. Chapman Petersen, a Democratic state senator from Fairfax County, was quoted as saying,
"All I can tell you is, my client had $12.5 million that he gave to this fellow to be invested, and it disappeared....It's a very strange case - that this large amount of money could just walk off like that." (See a copy of the lawsuit, filed under Case 1:10-cv-009-GBL-IDD.)

Shortly after finishing law school, Smith got a job with a law firm in Flowood, Mississippi--Barnes, Broom, Dallas and McLeod--some of whose partners and associates appear in a directory of Mississippi tax attorneys, but from which directory Smith's name is noticeably absent. Instead, his name now appears on emails published by WikiLeaks about an ever increasingly frightening national security state being conducted by hired guns and mercenaries like Jamie Smith.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The White Russian--A Powerful Cocktail

This is only one part of the series. See other parts at www.Opednews.com.

THE JFK CASE: The Twelve Who Built The Oswald Legend 

(Part 6: White Russians Keep An Eye On Oswald In Dallas)

Author, Bill Simpich
By Bill Simpich
(a civil rights attorney and an antiwar activist in the San Francisco Bay Area)

After Oswald returned home from the USSR, George de Mohrenschildt became Legend Maker #9.

The Dallas-Fort Worth community of Soviet and Eastern European emigres - referred to as "White Russians" - took Oswald and his family under their wing upon their arrival from the USSR in May 1962. Consider the importance of White Russian defectors as spies. A re-defector like Lee Harvey Oswald was even more exotic. The ability of a defector to report what is happening behind enemy lines is the ultimate counterintelligence prize.

The White Russian community settled on using George de Mohrenschildt as Oswald's mentor, one of the few liberals in the community who enjoyed spending time with the man.  This chapter will focus on de Mohrenschildt's intelligence connections with Radio Free Europe, key RFE officials Allen Dulles and Cord Meyer, and CI chief James Angleton.

Max Clark, an attorney and former industrial security supervisor at General Dynamics, was a mentor for de Mohrenschildt and this community. Clark was part of a network of security personnel that put the squeeze on the Kennedy Administration that year to get General Dynamics' TFX project in Fort Worth approved over their Boeing competitors.  At the time, this deal to churn out the F-111 fighters was one of the largest military contracts in history. 

The White Russian community harbored an underground anti-Soviet movement known as the NTS.  

White Russian army in 1917

The Dallas White Russian community was tightly aligned with an anti-Soviet movement known by its Russian initials of "NTS" (National Alliance of Russian Solidarists). NTS was founded in 1930 by "second generation" White Russian emigres.  At that time, most of them were living in Yugoslavia and Bulgaria.  Yugoslavia is where Mr. and Mrs. Igor Voshinin met and married in early 1940 - they moved to Dallas, were active in NTS, and knew Oswald.  During this era, "Solidarism" was a quasi-fascist ideology that saw corporations as an ideal and Benito Mussolini as a model of leadership. 

In the 1940s, NTS was thoroughly enmeshed with Hitler's war effort.  After Germany attacked the USSR during World War II, NTS was allowed to set up a Berlin headquarters and encouraged to proselytize in Soviet territories under German control among both POWs and civilians.  When the tides of war shifted, NTS swung back into alliance with the Americans.

After World War II, the CIA included NTS within the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty organization.  Radio Free Europe focused on the East European Soviet satellites, while Radio Liberty focused on the USSR itself. A House report described Radio Free Europe and Radio Free Liberty as "the best known CIA proprietaries" These were pet projects of International Organizations chief Cord Meyer, who headed these radios from 1954 to 1971.  Meyer consulted directly and frequently to CIA director Allen Dulles before making any controversial decisions. As described earlier in this series, CI chief Jim Angleton and Cord Meyer were the best of friends.   Meyer described Angleton as his hero. They were also Legend Makers #1 and #2 for Lee Harvey Oswald, as they had very special relationships with the people who either befriended or studied Oswald.

After meeting with Meyer, Radio Liberty decreed that anyone adhering to NTS' "organizational discipline" would not be allowed to work at RL. NTS infiltrated and dominated groups that challenged its supremacy. NTS members tried to sabotage the installations and intimidate the exile staffs. Meyer saw it as part of his responsibility to "try to provide the radio with the counter-intelligence protection against this continuing intimidation...it was a never ending task".
Chaplain William Sloan Coffin
During the 1950s, the famed anti-war Yale chaplain William Sloane Coffin (the inspiration for the Rev. Scott Sloan in Doonesbury) joined the CIA.   Coffin worked with the NTS to smuggle their spies into the USSR by parachute in a program known as REDSOX.   Most of them were killed.   Coffin looked back on the experience:  "It was a fundamentally bad idea...we were quite naive about the use of American power."


William Blum, the author of Killing Hope, says that CIA decided that the NTS provided the best analysis about the Soviet Union, and became their main financial backer:  "From North Africa to Scandinavia, the CIA network confronted Soviet seamen, tourists, officials, athletes, even Soviet soldiers in East Germany, to present them with the Truth as seen by the "Free World," as well as to pry information from them, to induce them to defect, or to recruit them as spies."  By 1963, the State Department was helping NTS send broadcasts to Soviet troops in far-flung places such as the Dominican Republic.  Although the NTS' power waned over time, the Soviet Communist Party admitted its fear of the NTS and other groups working with Western security agencies as late as 1990.

The intelligence background of George de Mohrenschildt and his role in the Dallas-Fort Worth White Russian community

The Oswald family in Dallas
The CIA-funded NTS network greeted the Oswald family upon their arrival to Fort Worth.    Lee Oswald, however, was a little bit too weird for this community to embrace.  It took another outsider -- the eccentric baron George de Mohrenschildt -- to bring Lee towards the fold as Legend Maker #9 

De Mohrenschildt's father was Russian, of German and Swedish descent, and was a marshal of nobility of the Minsk province.  Similarly, his Russian mother was of Polish and Hungarian descent.  The Bolsheviks ran the family off their Russian home, and they were forced to move to Poland and consolidate their land holdings.  One story is that de Mohrenschildt's father was killed by the Bolsheviks; another story is that his father was arrested but escaped. De Mohrenschildt observed that "most of the colony in Dallas is more emotionally involved in Russian affairs then we are, because they are closer to them. All of them have been relatively recently in Soviet Russia -- while my wife has never been in Soviet Russia in her whole life, and I was 5 or 6 when I left it. So to me it does not mean very much."

De Mohrenschildt had an extremely deep background with the intelligence community, going back for more than twenty years. His handler appears to have been Thomas Schreyer, identified as "the acting chief" of the Cord Meyer's International Organizations Division [IOD] back in 1956.  This means that Schreyer worked very closely with Cord Meyer. [IOD merged in October 1962 with covert action staff.] In April 1963, the Domestic Operations Division asked for traces on de Mohrenschildt, with Schreyer's name provided as the source for any follow-up.

Schreyer 1961 memo

The CIA admitted before the assassination that de Mohrenschildt was "of interest" to them.  CIA Dallas resident agent J. Walton Moore stayed in touch with de Mohrenschildt, which will be discussed later in this series. Covert action chief Richard Helms acknowledged that de Mohrenschildt and his wife provided useful foreign intelligence in 1957. His brother Dimitri von Mohrenschildt, described by the CIA as being "employed in a confidential capacity by the U.S. government," is said to have been one of the founders of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty. A lengthy CIA-created list entitled "Companies and People Known to be Associated with de Mohrenschildt" includes only one political group:  "Dallas Committee Radio Free Europe."    De Mohenschildt's wife in Philadelphia, Phyllis Washington, also worked for Radio Free Europe in the early fifties.

The Radio Free Europe connection is an important link between Cord Meyer and George de Mohrenschildt. George couldn't get OSS credentials during World War II because of security disapproval. He was subjected to five separate investigations by intelligence during the 1940s and 50s.  Officers like Meyer and Schreyer, however, understood the nature of his relationship with people such as the Jacqueline Bouvier family and the White Russian community.  A CIA memo notes that George knew the families of the Kennedys and the Oswalds better than anyone else.

Harbin China's Russian Orthodox Church
One of George's contacts exposes his hidden CIA connections. In 1954, a young oil lawyer named Herbert Itkin wrangled a meeting in Philadelphia with Allen Dulles, the first chief of Radio Free Europe and future CIA chief. Dulles set him up with a meeting with de Mohrenschildt, who told Itkin he was "from that man in Philadelphia" and that his name was Philip Harbin. William Gaudet verified at an HSCA deposition that he knew George under his alias as Philip Harbin. De Mohrenschildt's beloved and soon-to-be new wife, Jeanne, was from Harbin, China. Angleton testified that Dulles was a very close friend of his own family.  Angleton had both an Itkin file and a "Mike/Portio/Haiti" file (Itkin's code name was Portio).  Itkin claimed he met "Harbin" in 1954, while CIA general counsel Larry Houston claimed that he could not find any Itkin files prior to 1964 after thousands of hours of search.  This was probably because Angleton's personal Itkin and Portio files were kept apart from the CIA records system, and were only discovered after Angleton was fired in 1974 All indications are that de Mohrenschildt was provided to Dulles by Angleton.

Working under the Harbin alias, de Mohrenschildt worked with Itkin in oil matters as a nonpaid, voluntary agent between 1954 to 1960, before Itkin moved on to work with another agent. Itkin's skills enabled US Attorney Bob Morgenthau to win convictions against New York political boss Carmine DeSapio and city commissioner James Marcus.   Morgenthau's office described Itkin as "probably the most important informer the FBI ever had outside the espionage field.   He never lied to us.   His information was always accurate."
  
By May 1963, Itkin became the attorney for the Haitian government-in-exile.  CIA documents show that Itkin's handler in 1963 was Mario Brod, who was recruited in Italy by James Angleton during World War II and had operational involvements in Haiti. Before his brother was killed, Bobby Kennedy himself was relying on mob tips from Itkin.  In 1966, Itkin was reportedly researching under his code name "Portio," while Angleton held onto his private "Mike/Portio/Haiti" file.   In 1968, CIRA (CI research and analysis chief) Ray Rocca swore that the "CI Staff definitely never was in contact" with Itkin.  By 1971, CIRA's bird-dog investigator Paul Hartman was asking to review Itkin's CIA file, no doubt to educate himself on some fine points.

De Mohrenschildt's relationship with the NTS in Dallas

De Mohrenschildt knew all about NTS, telling the Warren Commission about:
"This group of Russian refugees (who) called themselves Solidarists. And Mr. and Mrs. Voshinin in Dallas belonged to that group and tried to make me join it. Not being interested, I refused, but I read some of their publications.  And it is a pro-American group of Russian refugees who have an economic doctrine of their own.  And they seem to have some people working in the Soviet Union for them, and all that sort of thing.  It is a pretty well-known political party that - their headquarters is in Germany."

The NTS was very active in Dallas. When the group's leader was interviewed in New York in 1957 by the FBI, the two Dallas people he knew  were oil man Paul Raigorodsky and NTS activist Igor Voshinin. Raigorodsky, known as the "Czar" of the White Russian community, was the head of the Office of Petroleum Coordination for War for two years during the forties. Igor Voshinin and his wife Natalie lived in the New York City area between 1947-1955, and then moved to Dallas. When Mrs. Voshinin was interviewed by the FBI on Dec. 10, 1963, less than three weeks after the Kennedy assassination, she made it clear just how serious the Solidarist movement was in the Dallas area:
"She and her husband are members of NTS - Russian Solidarists, which she stated is known as the National Union of Working People, which organization has a representative in Washington D.C.  She stated this organization exists in the form of an underground movement in Russia and also has groups in the rest of the world; that its objectives include the abolishing of Communism and the establishment of private enterprise."
Jenner was careful not to ask her any questions about the NTS at the Warren Commission hearing. But the irrepressible Natalie Voshinin still managed to flip the script. When Jenner was probing for communistic connections by de Mohrenschildt, she exclaimed that "George repeatedly hinted that he was performing some services for the State Department, you know, of the United States, yes.  And under those circumstances, you just don't feel like asking any questions."  Jenner quickly changed the subject.

De Mohrenschildt once made a presentation at a lecture hall about General Vlasov's Russian POWs that fought on the side of the Germans at the end of World War II, discussed at the beginning of this chapter. Just to shock his Jewish friends at the club, de Mohrenschildt quipped "I came to the conclusion that Himmler wasn't a bad boy at all."  Raigorodsky agreed that de Mohrenschildt was a "prankster." De Mohrenschildt settled down as a member of a political grouping that is virtually extinct - a liberal Republican.  He said that Kennedy was the first Democrat he would ever vote for.  Both De Mohrenschildt and Oswald  were attracted by the union of opposites. 

Look at de Mohrenschildt's musings about Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev:
"He is gone now, God bless his Bible-quoting soul and his earthy personality." 
On the plight of the poor, George brought up his bond with Lee Oswald:   
"I am from New Orleans, as a kid I met refugees from all these banana republics.  No better source of information.  In this way, Lee and I were non-conformist, even revolutionaries...A younger man, I was career and money mad, a hustler...But Lee was the same since his childhood, which made him such a beautiful and worthwhile person to me."
As an aristocratic liberal from a mixed ethnic background, de Mohrenschildt was an outsider in the White Russian community. De Mohrenschildt turned to George Bouhe for guidance in how to get things done. Bouhe was an old-school kind of guy -- born in in Leningrad when it was still St. Petersburg and a bit of an aristocrat himself. Bouhe was an accountant for one of the local oil barons and served as a patriarch in the community.   Bouhe testified that Paul Raigorodsky was the 'godfather' of the group, while he himself did the organization work.  

Bouhe formed the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Parish, one of the two Russian Orthodox parishes in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in 1963.    Also known as the "Bouhe group," they met in individual homes with a priest from Houston visiting every five or six weeks and had services in Church Slavonic, an old Slavic language that is different from modern Russian language. De Mohrenschildt was part of St. Nicholas' choir when married to his Philadelphia wife. The other church, St. Seraphim's, was located at 4203 Newton Street in Dallas, where Igor Voshinin attended and services were in English. Voshinin didn't like Bouhe because he was very publicly in everyone's business, saying things like "Well, you know, I forget things - so I keep a file on everybody." 

De Mohrenschildt's attorney Max Clark had an intelligence background, doubling as an industrial security supervisor at General Dynamics.

When the White Russian community heard about Oswald, they sought out Max Clark's opinion as how they should respond to Oswald. De Mohrenschildt considered Clark to be his lawyer. De Mohrenschildt testified that he thought Clark was connected with the FBI in some way. Clark referred to his interviewing agent Earle Haley as "Earl," and told the Warren Commission that he was familiar with Haley and the FBI from working with them when he worked security at General Dynamics.
"Everyone was discussing that as to whether or not they should (associate with Oswald) especially when he first came back and all of them asked me and I said, "In my mind he is a defector and you know what he is..."
Clark was an industrial security supervisor at the Convair wing of General Dynamics and well-versed in the ways of intelligence. In 1951, Convair had landed the Air Force contract for the first funded ICBM study contract. Max's wife, Gali Clark, was an excellent Russian speaker sought out by Oswald to help his family get situated after their return from the USSR.  Her name was in Oswald's address book.
Stripling High School replaced by Arlington Heights High.

Max Clark had a close relationship to General Dynamics supervisor I. B. Hale.

Three years earlier in 1959, Max Clark had received a CIA "covert security approval" in "Project ROCK" during the same time period that then-foreign intelligence chief Bill Harvey of Staff D worked on the U-2 related Project ROCK.

A covert security clearance with the CIA gives the CIA officer the right to share classified information with a civilian. A CSC is telling evidence of strong interactions between the subject and the CIA, whether the subject is witting or unwitting.  

Max Clark's file states that he "worked closely" with I. B. Hale, a former FBI agent who was the chief of industrial security at General Dynamics.  I. B. Hale had been married to Virginia Hale, who got Oswald his sheet metal worker job at Leslie Whiting during July 1962.   When interviewed after the assassination, Virginia Hale said that she remembered Oswald "quite well".

The Hale family was involved with blackmailing the Kennedy Administration in the TFX scandal.

During this time, the Hale family was involved in a brazen campaign of extortion designed to force the Kennedy Administration into approving General Dynamics as the prime contractor to build the TFX bomber at their Fort Worth plant. This plane is now better known as the F-111. At the time, this 7 billion dollar contract was the largest military contract in history.

Two weeks after I.B.'s wife Virginia got Oswald a job, their sons led a break-in at Judith Campbell's house. Campbell was the girlfriend of not only John F. Kennedy, but also Mafia chieftains Sam Giancana and Johnny Roselli.

On August 5, Marilyn Monroe died in Brentwood, an affluent LA suburb, with a Kennedy phone number near her bed. There are many well-known stories tying her with close relationships with both JFK and RFK. The next day, August 6, JFK mistress Judith Campbell twice called the White House. A note in the White House log shows that Kennedy was in conference, with the scrawled addition "no."

Knowing of these relationships, the Hoover FBI had created a stake-out across the street from Campbell's home. While Special Agent William Carter was on duty, he saw two young men in their 20s come to Campbell's apartment. Campbell was not home, and the FBI later verified that she was elsewhere. One of the perpetrators went inside the apartment, while the other one stood as lookout on the balcony. Agent Carter obtained the license plate numbers for the car, which matched Hale's car. 

The FBI agent concluded that the perpetrators were Hale's sons based on their age (early 20s) and their physical description.   The perpetrators left after about 15 minutes without taking anything.  It is reasonable to assume that they had planted a listening bug.  

The reason for the stakeout is right in the FBI report: The FBI had heard the stories that Judith Campbell was the girlfriend of Sam Giancana, Johnny Roselli, and JFK.  The FBI wanted no part of this case and declined to take any further action after running out a few leads.  
Attempted blackmail around the TFX contract would appear to be the motive. Two months later, in October 1962, General Dynamics won the 7 billion dollar contract over the heavily favored Boeing.  This controversial decision dogged the Kennedy Administration from that day.


Endnotes:
NTS was founded in 1930 by "second generation" White Russian emigres.  At that time, most of them were living in Yugoslavia and Bulgaria:    Kevin Coogan, Dreamer of the Day, (Autonomedia:  Brooklyn, 1999), p. 572. Yugoslavia is where Mr. and Mrs. Igor Voshinin met and married in early 1940 - Dallas emigres, active in NTS, and knew Oswald:  Testimony of Mrs. Igor Voshinin, 3/26/64.  Warren Commission Hearings, Volume 8, p. 427.


After Germany attacked the USSR during World War II, NTS was allowed to set up a Berlin headquarters:   Arch Puddington, Broadcasting Freedom:   The Cold War Triumph of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, (Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 2000), p. 160.   

After World War II, the CIA included NTS and its journal Possev (Seed) within the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty organization:   Coogan, Dreamer of the Day, p. 573.

A report by the House Select Committee on Assassinations described Radio Free Europe and Radio Free Liberty as "the best known CIA proprietaries":   Narration by G. Robert Blakey, Chief Counsel, HSCA Appendix Volumes/ HSCA Report, Volume IV, p. 3.
Cord Meyer was the division chief in charge of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty from 1954 until 1971:   Puddington, p. 24.


After meeting with Meyer, Radio Liberty decreed that anyone adhering to NTS' "organizational discipline" would not be allowed to work at RL, because of NTS' history of infiltrating organizations and dominating them:   Puddington, p. 162.  


NTS had its headquarters near Berlin in Frankfurt:   Memorandum by Thomas A. Parrott to the Special Group, 4/26/63, p. 3,   Miscellaneous CIA Series / NARA Record Number: 104-10306-10024.

Meyer saw it as part of his responsibility to "try to provide the radio with the counter-intelligence protection against this continuing intimidation"...:   Cord Meyer, Facing Reality, pp. 120-121.
Coffin looked back on the experience:   "It was a fundamentally bad idea...we were quite naïve about the use of American power.":   Tim Weiner, Legacy of Ashes (New York, Doubleday:   2007), p. 47.

Soviet consul Golub confides that it was "a great step in his career" when he was successful in halting NTS...:     Memo from CIA's Helsinki Chief of Station to Chief, Western Europe, 1/24/58.  
The CIA network confronted Soviet seamen, tourists, officials, athletes, even Soviet soldiers in East Germany...to induce them to defect, or to recruit them as spies:   William Blum, Killing Hope, p. 116-118.

By 1963, the NTS was broadcasting to Soviet troops in far-flung places such as the Dominican Republic:  Memo by Thomas Parrott to the 303 Committee Group, 4/26/63, Miscellaneous CIA Series / NARA Record Number: 104-10306-10024.J

In 1990, the Communist Party within the Soviet Union admitted its fear of the NTS and other groups working with Western security agencies in preparation for the collapse of the Soviet government:       JPRS Report -- Soviet Union Political Affairs, 1/9/90,   pp. 16-17.

De Mohrenschildt's father was Russian, of German and Swedish descent, and was a marshal of nobility of the Minsk province...:   Warren Commission testimony of George de Mohrenschildt, Volume 9, pages 168-169.

The Bolsheviks ran the family off their Russian home, and they were forced to move to Poland and consolidate their land holdings:
  Nancy Wertz, "George de Mohrenschildt, Who Are You?", The Fourth Decade, Volume 5, Issue 5, July 1998.



One story is that de Mohrenschildt's father was killed by the Bolsheviks:   Statement of Igor Pantoroff, an NYC portrait artist, who knew de Mohrenschildt since the early 40s.   See report of SA James Morrissey, 2/28/64, p. 18, Reel 5, Folder M -- George de Mohrenschildt, NARA Record Number: 1994.04.25.14:02:25:940005.

Another story is that his father was arrested, but escaped:   Statement of Igor Voshinin.   See memo of SA James K. Fresney, 3/12/64, Reel 5, Folder M -- George de Mohrenschildt, NARA Record Number: 1994.04.25.14:02:25:940005.

De Mohrenschildt observed that "most of the colony in Dallas is more emotionally involved in Russian affairs then we are...So to me it does not mean very much." Warren Commission Hearings, Testimony of George de Mohrenschildt, Volume 9, p. 266.

De Mohrenschildt had an extremely deep background with the intelligence community, going back for more than twenty years:
  A good source on his background is Nancy Wertz, "George de Mohrenschildt, Who Are You?", Fourth Decade, Volume 5, No. 5, p. 8, July 1998.


His handler appears to have been Thomas Schreyer, identified as "the acting chief" of the IO Division back in 1956...:    7/6/56 memo from Thomas Schreyer to DCI, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 14 /NARA Record Number: 1993.07.14.17:33:14:000480.

Schreyer also signed the Fitness Reports during the sixties era for E. Howard Hunt, who was a key contact for the Cuban exiles: 12/20/73 memo by DDO, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 37 / NARA Record Number: 104-10105-10233. 

It is curious Hunt advanced so far in the agency, as he was described as "unstable" to CIA security officer Robert Bannerman as early as 1949.  


His brother Dimitri von Mohrenschildt, described by the CIA as being "employed in a confidential capacity by the U.S.government":   Memo, "#775 Subject was Investigated by Federal Agencies", p. 2, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 41 / NARA Record Number: 104-10112-10454.

He is said to have been one of the founders of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty:   AllExperts website:  http://en.allexperts.com/e/g/ge/george_de_mohrenschildt.htm .  Also see Joseph Trento, The Secret History of the CIA.
 
This CIA bio of George states that "Dimitri is stated to be employed in a confidential capacity by the U.S.Government."   Memo, "#775 Subject was Investigated by Federal Agencies", p. 2, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 41 / NARA Record Number: 104-10112-10454.

Records indicate that Dimitri was approved to work with the OSS and that he provided intelligence services for the CIA in the 1950s:   Biographic information on George De Mohrenschildt, 12/21/67, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 41 / NARA Record Number: 104-10112-10442.

Here's a 1968 CIA document looking at using Dimitri at that late date as a source:   11/1/68, Interoffice Memorandum, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 5: Conte - De Mohrenschildt) / NARA Record Number: 104-10244-10132.

A lengthy CIA-created list entitled "Companies and People Known to be Associated with De Mohrenschildt" includes only one political group:   "Dallas Committee Radio Free Europe.":   See title page and p. 5, Reel 5, Folder M, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 5: Conte - De Mohrenschildt) / NARA Record Number: 1994.04.25.14:02:25:940005.  


A CIA memo notes a New York Times article and a de Mohrenschildt quote indicating that George knew the families of the Kennedys and the Oswalds better than anyone else:   Office of Security background information on George de Mohrenschildt, 4/28/75, p. 2,   HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 34 / NARA Record Number: 1993.07.20.11:12:53:400530. 

George couldn't get OSS credentials during World War II because of security disapproval:   Memo from M.D. Stevens to Chief/Research Branch/SRS/OS, 12/30/63, p. 2,  HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 47 / NARA Record Number: 1993.07.31.08:46:41:900046.  
He was subjected to five separate investigations by intelligence during the 40s and 50s:  Memo, "#775 Subject was Investigated by Federal Agencies", p. 2, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 41 / NARA Record Number: 104-10112-10454.
One of the recruitments of de Mohrenschildt exposes his roots in Pennsylvania from back in the day with his Quaker wife Phyllis Hamilton:  See the passport information in Russ Holmes Work File / NARA Record Number: 104-10431-10041.
On Phyllis Washington's employment at Radio Free Europe: See memo from M.D. Stevens to Chief/Research Branch/SRS/OS, 12/30/63, p. 2,   HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 47 / NARA Record Number: 1993.07.31.08:46:41:900046.

On Dulles setting up Itkin's meeting with "Philip Harbin" in 1954:  See Memorandum for the Record by CIA counsel Lawrence Houston, 11/20/68, p. 2, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 38 / NARA Record Number: 1993.07.20.16:58:46:960340 .

CIA chief Allen Dulles was the first chief of Radio Free Europe after World War II:   Puddington, p. 25.

William Gaudet verified at an HSCA deposition that he knew De Mohrenschildt under his alias as Philip Harbin:   Gaudet's 6/15/78 deposition is at the National Archives, JFK Document 010347.  

Nancy Wertz discusses Gaudet's claim that de Mohrenschildt was "Philip Harbin" in her article, "William Gaudet -- Make Room for the Man at the Front of the Line", Kennedy Assassination Chronicles, Volume 5, Issue 2.

There was a 1974 discovery of an Itkin file and a "MIKE/PORTIO/HAITI" file in Angelton's possession, just two files of many that Angleton kept out of the CIA records:   Memo from David H. Blee, Chief, CI Staff, to Chief, Information Management Group, 11/29/79, Miscellaneous CIA Series / NARA Record Number: 104-10303-10000


Itkin's Story of His Work for the CIA:  As related by notes, by Warren Donovan, 1/17/68, NARA Record Number: 104-10107-10116; for a broader overview, see Time Magazine, 10/17/69; and how he got his CIA code name "Portio" and more in the New York Times, 12/15/69. 
Itkin brought down Carmine DeSapio and city commissioner James Marcus:  Martin Arnold, "Marcus, DeSapio Trophies for Shadow Worker Itkin", New York Times, 1/2/70, NARA Record Number: 1993.07.24.08:41:29:500310

Itkin's handler in 1963 was Mario Brod, who was recruited in Italy by James Angleton during World War II and had operational involvements in Haiti:     Notes re memo from Jerrold B. Brown for Inspector General, "Possible Questionable Activity", 7/1/75, pp. 1-2, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (staff notes) /NARA Record Number: 180-10143-10196.

Before his brother was killed, Bobby Kennedy himself was relying on mob tips from Itkin :   Memo from Jerrold B. Brown for Inspector General, "Possible Questionable Activity", 7/1/75, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 43 / NARA Record Number: 104-10119-10002. , 7 HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 43 / NARA Record Number: 104-10119-10002.
In 1966, Itkin was reportedly researching the case of the Sovi  et spy George Blake, under his code name "Portio," while Angleton held onto his private "Mike/Portio/Haiti" file:   "Notes on People", New York Times, 2/23/72 HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 43 / NARA Record Number: 1993.07.24.08:41:29:500310.

"Mike" at the CIA got the article about"Itkin/Portio" anonymously in the mail, according to Ray Rocca:   Note by DC/CI Ray Rocca on Routing and Record Sheet, 2/29/72, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 38 / NARA Record Number: 104-10106-10341.

Angleton held onto his private "Mike/Portio/Haiti" file:  The Mike/Portio/Haiti file was held in Angleton's office and not integrated with CIA documents.   Memo from David H. Blee, Chief, CI Staff, 3/29/79, Miscellaneous CIA Series /NARA Record Number: 104-10303-10000.

By 1971, Paul Hartman from CIRA was asking to review Itkin's CIA file, no doubt to educate himself on some fine points:  6/4/71 request by Paul Hartman for Itkin's security file,   NARA Record Number: 1993.07.24.08:41:29:500310.

This group of Russian refugees called themselves Solidarists:    Warren Commission testimony of George De Mohrenschildt, Vol. 9, p. 267.


When the group's leader was interviewed in New York in 1957 by the FBI, the Dallaspeople he  knew of that were active at that time were Igor Voshinin and oil man Paul Raigorodsky:   Memo by SA Paul Garrity, New York, to Director, FBI, 10/21/57, FBI - HSCA Subject Files, Q - R / FBI - HSCA Subject File: Paul M. Raigorodsky / NARA Record Number: 124-90123-10010.

Raigorodsky, known as the "Czar", served as the chief of the Petroleum Coordinator for War during two years in the forties:  9/16/52 memo by St. Louis FBI.   FBI - HSCA Subject File: Paul M. Raigorodsky /NARA Record Number: 124-90123-10089.

Igor Voshinin and his wife Natalie lived in the New York City area between 1947-1955, when they moved to Dallas:    Testimony of Igor Voshinin, Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. 8, p. 450.  

The NTS - Russian Solidarists...exists in the form of an underground movement in Russia and also has groups in the rest of the world: FBI interview by SA Kenneth B. Jackson with Mrs. Igor Voshinin, 12/10/63, Dallas, Texas; Oswald 201 File, Vol 16/, CD 205, Part 1.


George repeatedly hinted that he was performing some services for the State Department...   Mrs. Igor (Natalie) Voshinin, Warren Commission Hearings. 8, p. 442, 3/26/64.

De Mohrenschildt made a presentation at a lecture hall about General Vlasov's Russian army that fought on the side of the Germans:   Testimony of Igor Voshinin, Warren Commission Hearings, Volume 8, page 468.

Raigorodsky agreed that de Mohrenschildt was a "prankster":   Testimony of Paul Raigorodsky, 3/31/64, Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. 9, p. 20.    When asked if de Mohrenschildt was a "provocative personality", Natalie Voshinin said "definitely".  Id., Vol. 8, p. 443. 

He said that Kennedy was the first Democrat he would ever vote for:   George de Mohrenschildt, manuscript of I'm a Patsy!   I'm a Patsy!   HSCA Report, Volume 12, p. 225.


Look at de Mohrenschildt's musings about Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev:   "He is gone now, God bless his Bible-quoting soul and his earthy personality":   George de Mohrenschildt, I'm a Patsy!, p. 204.

On the plight of the poor, George brought up his bond with Lee Oswald: George de Mohrenschildt, I'm a Patsy!, p. 187.

Bouhe testified that Paul Raigorodsky was the'godfather' of the group, while he himself did the organization work:    Warren Commission Hearings, Testimony of George Bouhe, Vol. 8, p. 358.
George Bouhe formed the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Parish, one of the two Russian Orthodox parishes in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in 1963:   FBI interview by James Hosty of Igor Voshinin, 12/12/63, Commission Document 205 - FBI Report of 23 Dec 1963 re: Oswald, p. 593. Testimony of George Bouhe, Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. 8, p. 357.

The "Bouhe group" met in individual homes with a priest from Houston visiting every five or six weeks and had services in Church Slavonic, an old Slavic language:   Mrs. Igor Voshinin, Vol. 8, p. 430, 3/26/64.









De Mohrenschildt was part of St. Nicholas' choir when married to a Philadelphi woman from the prominent Sharples family:   Warren Commission Hearings, Testimony of Igor Voshinin,. Vol.. 8, p. 455.


The other church, St. Seraphim's, was located at 4203 Newton Street in Dallas,where Igor Voshinin attended and services were in English:  FBI interview by James Hosty of Igor Voshinin, 12/12/63, Commission Document 205 - FBI Report of 23 Dec 1963 re: Oswald, p. 593.

Bouhe was in everyone's business, saying things like:  "Well, you know, I forget things - so I keep a file on everybody." :   Warren Commission Hearings, Testimony of Igor Voshinin, Volume 8, p. 454.
De Mohrenschildt considered Clark to be his lawyer: Interview by Norman E. Warner, First Secretary of the American Embassy in Haiti, of George DeMohrnschildt, 12/4/63

Clark referred to his interviewing agent Earle Haley as "Earl":   Testimony of Max Clark, Warren Commission Hearings, Volume 8, pp. 349, 352.  

Everyone was discussing whether or not they should (associate with Oswald):   Testimony of Max Clark, Warren Commission Hearings, Volume 8, p. 351.

Back in 1951, Convair had also won the Air Force contract for the first funded ICBM study contract:    George Michael Evica, A Certain Arrogance, (Xlibris, 2006), p. 205.

Her name was in Oswald's address book:   See the Office of Security memo, with Max Clark's bio and OSI file: RIF# 104-10419-10316, pp. 1-5.

Clark received a "covert security approval" by the CIA in April 1959 for use in what was referred to as "Project ROCK":      RIF# 104-10419-10316.

William Harvey was part of Project ROCK during this time period:  HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 42/ RIF# 104-10106-10581.


Also see M. D. Stevens memo to file, 1/30/64, "Lee Harvey Oswald/Address Book", HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 47, NARA Record Number:   104-10132-10011.  Re the U-2 (Aquatone) tie-in with Project ROCK.
 
Max Clark worked closely with I.B. Hale, the chief of industrial security at General Dynamics:    HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 40; NARA Record Number:     1993.08.02.10:25:15:250060; Office of Security File on Clark, Max Edward.


I. B. Hale had been married to Virginia Hale, who got Oswald his sheet metal worker job at Leslie Whiting during July 1962...she remembered Oswald "quite well":    Interview by SA Earle Haley and SA Robley D. Madland with Virginia Hale, Warren Commission Hearings, Volume 23, p. 694, Exhibit 1891.  
 

At the time, the 7 billion dollar contract for the TFX was the largest military contract in history: Peter Dale Scott, in The Dallas Conspiracy, Chapter 3.

The next day, August 6, JFK mistress Judith Campbell twice called the White House:  Anthony Summers, Official and Confidential, (G. P. Putnam's Sons: New York, 1993), p. 301.

On I.B. (Insall Bailey) Hale's role with the break-in at home of Judith Campbell, girlfriend of both JFK and gangster Sam Giancana:  Report of SA William R. Carter, 8/8/62, FBI - HSCA Subject File: John Roselli/NARA Record Number: 124-10220-10433. Carter was interviewed by Sy Hersh in The Dark Side of Camelot.

Controversy over the decision to award the contract to General Dynamics:  George C. Wilson, "Twining's Book Backs", Washington Post, 9/18/66.