Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Permindex and Double-Chek Agents and Activities

After a question was posed by a reader of this blog, I noticed a draft which I failed to post earlier. It relates to research done a few years ago pertaining to what prompted the publication of the Torbitt Document in 1969.

What did "Torbitt" Know?

David Copeland's Manuscript
David Copeland (writing under the pseudonym of William Torbitt) wrote in Chapter VI of the Torbitt Document, entitled "Permindex and Double-Chek Agents and their Activities") that Double-Chek Corporation
a Florida corporation organized and operated by the CIA and the American counterpart of Permindex and Centro Mondiale Comerciale, was taken over by Division Five of the FBI and was used as one of the principal funding agencies for President Kennedy's death planners.
In other words, Copeland, through information he gleaned from various underground sources while his first wife was employed at Consolidated Vultee Aircraft in Fort Worth, compared Double Chek's organization to that of Permindex and CMC--all CIA proprietaries which he thought were "taken over" by J. Edgar Hoover in order to pay the assassins of President Kennedy.

The Italian Centro Mondiale Commerciale (translated "world trade center") was a creature of the national security authority Americans set up to comply with requirements of various international pacts at the conclusion of World War II to fight further Soviet expansion. These mutual security agreements set the stage for "stay behind" military forces which continued to police Europe in order to prevent Stalin's military from taking advantage of the devastation. At the same time, other funds were funneled into companies designed to strengthen the ability of the locals to defend themselves. Presumably the CMC was a front company into which American money was funneled for either or both of such purposes.

Not until 1973 was the existence of Double-Check as a CIA proprietary company confirmed by the Church Committee Report.

From Church Committee Reports, page 263
In describing the Defense Industrial Security Command, Copeland seemed to rely on the gun-running activities in which David Ferrie and Jack Ruby had often been engaged, but he also used information supplied by criminal defendants he had represented. After mentioning the allegations made by Donald P. Norton connecting Ferrie to Oswald, as well as statements made by Jules Rocco Kimble about Ferrie's contacts in Montreal, he stated that Walter Sheridan "was the liaison man with Bobby Kennedy for Joe Carroll of the Defense Intelligence Agency."

One of the agents employed by Hoover's Espionage Section [also referred to as Division 5 or the Domestic Intelligence section] was W. Marvin Gheesling, who took Lee Oswald off the FLASH warning only one day before alarms would have been set off while he was in contact with the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City. [See page 178 of James Douglas, JFK and the Unspeakable.] David Copeland aka William Torbitt wrote the following, concerning the assassination cabal housed somewhere in Mexico:

Mexican Assassins in Texas in 1952
The Free Cuba Committee, anti-Communist Russian Solidarists, A.C.C.C. and Division Five of the FBI obtained the team of world's best Mexican riflemen through the offices of Double-Chek Corporation, an American based subsidiary of Permindex, the FBI and CIA funded Swiss corporation, and Centro Mondiale Comerciale, also known as World Trade Center Corporation, another FBI and CIA funded corporation which moved from Rome to Johannesburg, South Africa in 1962. Both of these corporations had been used by J. Edgar Hoover to fund the 1961 and 1962 assassination attempts on General DeGaulle.
The existence of the espionage section of the FBI's nest of professional assassins in Mexico began under the supervision of Albert Osborne in 1943. It was Hoover's brain child and he has kept a close management on the unit of twenty-five to thirty expert riflemen and continues to do so in 1969. He has allowed the Defense Intelligence Agency to use these men but they remain as his charges. In 1952 two of the professionals, Mario (El Turko) Sapet and Alfredo Cervantes, took a private contract to assassinate Jake Floyd, a District Judge in Alice, Texas, and a bitter enemy of George Parr of Duval County. These men were allowed to take such private employment but [the FBI's] Division Five never knew anything concerning such unauthorized killings.
At about dusk on September 8, 1952, Sapet and Cervantes positioned themselves in a field adjacent to the rear of Floyd's house and when Buddy Floyd, Jake's 19 year old son, who resembled his father, started out of the house to the garage, Cervantes mistakenly shot Buddy through the head, killing him. Cervantes, Sapet and Nago Alaniz, George Parr's personal lawyer, were indicted for the assassination and for conspiracy to murder. Sapet was caught before he could cross the Mexican border and was given a 99 year sentence. Cervantes crossed back into Mexico where he found his Division Five assassination group, and, although Mexican authorities arrested him, political pressure was brought to bear and Alfredo has remained a free man in Mexico despite sixteen years of constant effort to extradite him by Sam Burris, the Alice District Attorney. Burris and Bill Allcorn, Special Assistant Attorney General of Texas, were unable to convict Nago Alaniz, but one of the conspirators gave Bill Allcorn pertinent information. The accomplice told Allcorn that there were twenty-five to thirty professional assassins kept in Mexico by the espionage section of the U. S. Federal Bureau of Investigation; that these men were used to commit political assassinations all over North, South and Central America, the East European countries and in Russia; that these men were the absolute world's most accurate riflemen; they they sometimes took private contracts to kill in the United States; that the contact man for employment of the riflemen was a man named Bowen posing as an American Council of Christian Churches' missionary in Mexico; that you could reach Bowen through the owner of the St. Anthony's Hotel in Laredo, Texas.
Albert Alexander Osborne, alias John Howard Bowen, alias J.H. Owen, a charter member and employee of the A.C.C.C. [American Council of Christian Churches], met Lee Harvey Oswald and accompanied him to Mexico City in late September of 1963. Osborne or Bowen in 1942 organized and operated a Nazi black shirt group called the "Campfire Council" in the country near Knoxville, Tennessee. The "Campfire Council" was sponsored by the espionage cover group, the "American Council of Christian Churches." Osborne so vehemently opposed the United States war with Nazi Germany that during 1942, he tore down an American flag and stomped it into the ground. The neighbors complained of the pro-Nazi activities of Bowen and his young Fascists even though the rural area in Tennessee where they were located was very sparsely populated. More than six witnesses on the bus trip from Laredo to Mexico City placed Osborne with Lee Oswald in his company as a definite traveling companion. The two stayed together during the entire trip and sat together on the bus.
On February 8, l964, Osborne was interviewed by the FBI and lied to them about his name among other things. He gave them the name John Howard Bowen and gave them the following statement: Bowen advised that he has been in the Russellville, Alabama area, speaking at various rural Baptist Churches, and has been residing at the residence of Wylie Uptain, Rural Route, Russellville, Alabama. He stated that he intended leaving the Russellville, Alabama area, February 11, 1964, enroute back to Laredo, Texas by way of New Orleans, Louisiana.
Bowen stated to the best of his knowledge he was born at Chester, Pennsylvania on January 12, 1885, and his father's name was James A. Bowen, and his mother was Emily Bowen. He did not know his parents, but he was reared in an orphanage in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His grandmother, Sarah Hall, participated to a limited extent in giving him guidance and shelter during the early years of his life. His grandmother and relatives are all deceased, and he has no known relatives of any kind. . . . Bowen stated he considers himself an itinerant gardener and preacher. He was formerly a member of the First Baptist Church at Knoxville, Tennessee, and more recently was a member of the First Baptist Church at Laredo, Texas. He has visited and worshiped at the latter church intermittently for the past twenty years. . . .  He considers his home to be the St. Anthony Hotel, Laredo, Texas, and he is well known there by the manager, Oscar Ferrina. He has been residing at the hotel intermittently for the past twenty years, and has made trips to Mexico for the past twenty years as an itinerant preacher. . . .  On February 20, 1964, Osborne was interviewed by FBI agents in Laredo, Texas and repeated the falsehoods told in the earlier statement. Then on March 5, 1964, he told FBI agents at Nashville, Tennessee the amazing story which follows. Please remember that this is the man who was such a dedicated Nazi that during World War II, he tore down the American flag and stomped it into the ground in protest against the United States war with Hitler's Nazi Germany. A part of the amazing statement follows:
Albert Osborne, whose permanent address is 920 Salinas, Box 308, Laredo, Texas, was interviewed at his temporary place of residence at the Central YMCA, Nashville, Tennessee, where is registered under the name of John H. Bowen. (Box 308 is the address of the St. Anthony Hotel in Laredo).
At the outset of the interview, Osborne denied his true identity and claimed that his name was John H. Bowen; however he later admitted that his correct name is Albert Osborne and he furnished the following background information concerning himself. Osborne indicated that he was born November 12, 1888 at Grimsby, England, to James Osborne and Emile Cole Osborne, both of whom are deceased. He identified his brothers as Walter Osborne, Grimsby, England; Arthur Osborne, Grimsby, England; William Osborne, deceased, and Frank Osborne, deceased. . . . .
 Osborne admitted that he had been untruthful in three previous interviews concerning his own identity and had furnished false information concerning John H. Bowen, whom he had previously indicated was an acquaintance for whom he, Osborne, had been frequently mistaken. . . . . Osborne was advised that his photograph had been positively identified by other English speaking people on the Red Arrow Bus from Laredo, Texas to Mexico City on September 26, 27, 1963. Osborne again denied that he was on a bus with any other English speaking people and that he himself spoke no English to anyone on the bus.
Rev. W. L. Hluchan; click to enlarge.
Osborne's associates said he had lived in Central Mexico since about 1942. One close associate said Osborne had a mission in Texmelucan, State of Puebla, Mexico, and "his mission consisted have no home or ties." Rev. Walter Laddie Hluchan of Eagle Pass, Texas, [see newspaper excerpt, right] said, "Osborne has for many years given religious instruction to Mexican boys who resided at his residence." Oscar Ferrino, owner of the St. Anthony Hotel, Laredo, Texas, said Osborne "is operating a school for approximately 25 to 30 boys" in Pueblo, Mexico. Ferrino has known and taken mail and messages for Osborne since 1942. When not in Mexico supervising his "missionaries," Osborne traveled regularly to Austin, Dallas and Tyler, Texas. In Dallas he visited one Cortez and H.L. Hunt. Cortez was reported to be one of the assassins in the 26 volumes published by the Warren Commission. The same volumes connect a Saunders from Tyler Texas in the plot with Cortez.
Albert Osborne was in Clay Shaw's office at 124 Camp Street, New Orleans on October 10, 1963. [Note: This is the same day the alarm would have gone off about Lee Oswald's contacts with the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City, had not the FLASH being discontinued by the FBI agent, W. Marvin Gheesling.]
Later the same day he was in the office of  Maurice Brooks Gatlin, the FBI transporter and Guy Bannister, the FBI Section Five Southern Manager, at their office at 544 Camp Street, New Orleans. From there, Osborne went directly into Mexico City where on the 17th or 18th of September, 1963, he was [had previously been?] seen by a Mexican detective with the man posing as Oswald. A Cuban Negro delivered a large sum of money to the man posing as Oswald as a partial payment for his part in the assassination. Osborne, alias John Howard Bowen, was discovered to have another person working with him who also used the alias John Howard Bowen. The second person also travelling as Bowen was Fred Lee Chrismon [sic; Crisman], another agent for the munitions makers police agency, the Defense Industrial Security Command.

Chrismon [sic] also posed as a missionary and also used other aliases. Among the cognomens for Chrismon [sic] were Fred Lee, Jon Gould and Jon Gold. Osborne and Chrismon [sic] also bore a marked resemblance and appeared to be about the same age. Chrismon [sic] was a Syrian immigrant and had been closely associated with Osborne since the 1920's. Chrismon [sic], Osborne and their riflemen charges in Mexico were based at Clint Murchison's huge ranch when not posing as missionaries in other areas of Mexico.
In addition to the misspelling of Crisman's name, the so-called Torbitt Document above also was incorrect in stating that he was a Syrian immigrant. Frederick Lee Crisman was born in Tacoma, Washington, and both his father (a WWI veteran) and mother (the former Eva Pitcher) were born in Iowa. His paternal grandfather, Frederick M. Crisman was born in Pennsylvania in 1849. 

While residing in Laredo, John Howard Bowen, was reported in 1944 to be organizing the "Campfire Baseball League" comprised of players ages 16 and under. Bowen urged "captains, coaches and managers" to attend a meeting "between the Red Cross building and the Colonial Hotel on Hidalgo Street." 

More than a year later, the following item appeared in that same paper:

Missionary Returns
John Howard Bowen has returned after a several weeks visit to cities in the north and east. While away he enjoyed his favorite sport of skiing. He was a former missionary in India and Arabia, and while away visited in New York, Washington, D. C., Nashville, and the estwhile [sic] "Secret City" Oak Ridge Tenn. He spoke in the chapel at Oak Ridge where 75,000 families are housed, as well in other cities he visited. [Laredo Times, Jan. 31, 1946]
A few weeks after his return, on Feb. 17, 1946, the following letter appeared on the editorial page of the Laredo Times:
The Editor
Laredo Times

I have travelled around the world twice. I have crossed the seas on North German Lloyds, Orient Lines, P and O Steamers, Cunard Lines and the French Lines. I have rode in all manners of vehicles, house-boats, sampans, junks, and canoes. I have travelled in all kinds of wheels vehicles tongas, ekkas, drokas, bashes, wheelbarrows and jinrikhas. The jinrikisha, is a large baby carriage which is pulled by a man. Its name means "manpulled-car" hence, it is the original pullman car. I have travelled, on elephants, buffaloes, camels, Mexican burros, mules, horses and afoot. I have swam the rivers Jordon, in Palestine, Ganges, in India, Nile, in Egypt, and the Congo, in Africa, as well as the rivers of America. I have walked with pilgrims on the road to the holy city of Benares, in India, with the Sikhs to the Golden Temple, with Mohammedans on the trackless wastes r of the Arabian desert to Mecca, and the Blue Mosque, in Cairo, in Egypt, and accompanied David Solemon Cohen, the Clerk of the City of Jerusalem, to the Temple there. I have taught school in India, Arabia, and Africa, and in all my observations and travels, I have never seen a better spirit of cooperation and brotherhood, than was manifested at the Brotherhood banquet at the Plaza Hotel on Friday night.
Here ten Protestant congregations, and two Jewish congregations gathered in the finest spirit of brotherhood, and it is indeed a credit to the City of Laredo, to have religious leaders who believe like the great Jewish Apostle to the Gentiles, that "From one forefather He (God) has created every nation of mankind, and made them live on the face of the earth". There can be no longer any desert solitudes. The races have become people.
"The blood of the people! Changeless tide
Through century, creed and race
Stilll one, as the sweet salt sea is one
Though tempered by sun and place
"One love, one hope, one duty theirs!
No matter the time or kin.
There is no separate heart-beat
In all the races of men."
John Howard Bowen                                         
Box 635 Laredo, Texas                                      
Poem from World Service of the Methodist Episcopal Church

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

THE DAILY GLEANER, Kingston, Jamaica - December 14, 1949
Mr. William G. (Bill) Gaudet, head of Latin American Reports, Inc. in New Orleans, arrived in the island on Friday afternoon last on the first leg of a complete Latin American tour. He left on Saturday afternoon for Port au Prince, Haiti.

Bill Gaudet of The Latin American Report

 January 24, 1967
Credit U.S. Diplomats With
Ending Nicaraguan Uprising
MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP)—U S. diplomats were credited today with ending a 20-hour uprising against the Nicaraguan government, an uprising that killed 21 and wounded more
than 100 Nicaraguans. Through U.S. Embassy mediation, the rebellion ended Monday night when the rebels freed 117 foreign hostages, including 89 North Americans held in the Grand Hotel, which had been turned into a fortress. The rebels surrendered their arms and were allowed to go free.

Waved Bedsheet
The American role was dramatized when Bill Gaudet, publisher of a New Orleans monthly, the Latin American Report, followed by two American nuns ran out of the hotel waving a bedsheet as a white flag. The nuns were Jeanne Dienan of St. Paul, Minn., and Mary Martha Meyer of Los Angeles of the Sisters of St. Joseph, who were attending a nurses' convention. Gaudet said he told rebel leaders in the hotel he was going out to try to get the shooting stopped, then grabbed the sheet and yelled: "Who will go with me?" The nuns volunteered, and the three made a dash to a corner where there were National Guard officers. 

Taken to Embassy
After Gaudet asked the guards to hold their fire he and the nuns were taken to the U.S. Embassy. The rebels against the Somoza family, which has ruled Nicaragua for more than 30 years, had holed up in the hotel. National Guardsmen with tanks surrounded the hotel
while insurgent leaders negotiated with representatives of President Lorenzo Guerrero in
the presence of U.S. diplomats. A cheer went up from a crowd outside as the first U.S. hostages emerged from the hotel. They included uniformed but unarmed members of the U.S. military mission. An American flag appeared over the second-floor balcony.

The hostages included a number of North American tourists and businessmen staying at the
hotel. They were given shelter in the homes of U.S. diplomats and U.S. residents in Managua. Inside the hotel, soldiers sorted out a small arsenal of rebel weapons, including 10 rifles and 25 pistols of ancient make, a quantity of ammunition, knives and saws.
The short-lived revolt erupted Sunday after a political rally conducted by Fernando Aguero,
Conservative party candidate for president against Gen Anastasio Somoza Jr., standard
bearer of the Liberal party and an heir to Latin America's oldest political dynasty.

The "Latin American Report" was allegedly published by Citizens Committee for a Free Cuba Inc., of Washington, D.C., and Miami, Fla. Bill Gaudet, from New Orleans and a graduate of Tulane,  had been a journalist for several years prior to WWII for the International News Service when his name began to appear in connection with the monthly paper. Paul Bethel, an attache in Havana for three years before Castro's takeover, ran the Citizens Committee for a Free Cuba and had some involvement in the Latin American Report in the 1960s.

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