Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Deep Politics in Dallas

An excerpt from Peter Dale Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK:

No one has yet documented the rumors one hears in Dallas that Ruby's relationship to the wealthy oilmen and "high rollers" of the Del Charro derived from his practice of supplying girls for them, their parties, and their private clubs.
What remains unexplained is the story of Ruby's relationship in 1963 to Candy Barr, a nationally known stripper and protegee of Mickey Cohen in Los Angeles. In 1957, Barr had been arrested and convicted on trumped-up marijuana charges, by the same players (prosecutor Bill Alexander and Judge Joe B. Brown) who in 1964 would convict Ruby on evidence that led to a reversal; Barr's defense attorneys, Joe Tonahill and Mel Belli, also represented Ruby. 27
In 1963 Ruby was regularly in telephone contact with Candy Barr, who was then out on parole but not permitted to visit Dallas. The rumor persists that the phone calls related to the stripper's attempt to blackmail someone of prominence. The rumor is reinforced by the knowledge that sexual blackmail was a practice for which Mickey Cohen was famous. 28
For some reason the Barr case also drew the attention of Gordon McLendon, who was one of those who told me in 1977 that she [Barr] had been framed on the marijuana charge (by members of the Dallas Police Narcotics Squad). McLendon's brother-in-law Lester May became her first attorney. McLendon told me this when I asked him for information about his friend Bedford Wynne.

While not giving me the answers I was hoping for, he volunteered the detail, which seemed trivial at the time, that Wynne's intimate friend George Owen, later the first [sic] husband of Maureen Dean, had been the man present at Candy Barr's arrest who may have helped set it up. 29

He also volunteered to me the detail, which at the time seemed unrelated, that when Bobby Baker emerged in 1972 from his time in prison for tax evasion and fraud, he went to stay with McLendon at his Cielo Ranch north of Dallas. I thought later that McLendon here was possibly standing in for Bedford Wynne and Clint Murchison, Jr., two of McLendon's friends who had been mentioned in the Bobby Baker hearings and were now unwilling to be publicly associated with Baker.

Since recent revelations about Watergate, I now wonder if the real link was not George Owen. Owen was extremely close to Bedford Wynne, and would party with him in Mexico, or even in his law office, where William McKenzie (of whom more in Chapter 18) was a partner.

George Owen also introduced to Bedford Wynne (the friend of Bobby Baker and member of his Quorum Club) to the woman Owen would later marry: Maureen Biner, who played a much-underestimated role in Watergate as the girlfriend, and then the wife, of John Dean.

27. Gary Mills and Ovid Demaris, Jack Ruby (New American Library, 1968), 64-68.

28. Davis, Mafia Kingfish, 262, where it is asserted that Marilyn Monroe knew both Mickey Cohen and John Roselli.

29. Mills and Demaris, Jack Ruby, 66.

A second excerpt from Peter Dale Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK (1993), p. 236:
White House Call Girl
The most important of these [scandals in Washington involving politicians, call girls, and assignations recorded by intelligence experts for intelligence purposes] is Heidi Rikan's call-girl operation, a few doors from the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Watergate, which two separate and well-researched books have now seen as the key to the 1972 Watergate break-in and scandal.
According to both books, the phone line inside the DNC which was supposed to be tapped by Howard Hunt's Watergate burglar (including Frank Sturgis) was a special line (not going through the central switchboard), which DNC staffers and friends used to phone the Heidi Rikan call-girl operation. 37 Jim Hougan adds that the phone line was already being tapped by a stringer for Jack Anderson, Lou Russell. 38

Lou Russell was a former FBI agent who had helped Nixon with the Hiss case when he was both HUAC's committee counsel and also Hoover's informant on the Committee. 39 An employee in 1963 of Watergate burglar James McCord, Russell was close to Heidi Rikan's call girls whose line was the target of the Watergate burglars. Russell also had an unexplained financial relationship to McCord's attorney, Bernard Fensterwald (a longtime backer of the Garrison and other investigations of the John F. Kennedy assassination) and may have been working for Fensterwald as well.
Bernard Fensterwald

At this point it should be pointed out that Fensterwald, as early as 1957 was employed as an aide to Democratic Senator Thomas Hennings of Missouri, who became John Dean's father-in-law in February 1962 when Dean married Karla Hennings. An attorney from Nashville, Tennessee, where his father was manager of a clothing store, Fensterwald became an administrative assistant to the Senate subcommittee on Constitutional Rights chaired by Hennings, resigning in January 1959 to become the top aide of Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee.

Sen. Kefauver's subcommittee had conducted an investigation into the professional sport of boxing and proposed legislation creating a national boxing commissioner with "power to clean  up the fight game by withholding licenses from boxers, managers and promoters in interstate bouts," a bill not supported by Attorney General Robert Kennedy. Soon after that Fensterwald was fired by Kefauver, and soon found a job working for Democratic Senator from Missouri--Senator Edward V. Long, a defender of Jimmy Hoffa.

Fensterwald would also show considerable animosity against RFK in March 1965 over the Jimmy Hoffa case:

MARCH 3, 1965
WASHINGTON (UPI) — Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, D - N.Y , clashed with a Senate subcommittee today over its airing of charges that he mishandled an investigation of Teamster boss James R. Hoffa while he was attorney general. Kennedy appeared before the judiciary subcommittee to protest what he called the "implication that I handled myself in some shocking manner while I was attorney general." The former cabinet member made no attempt to hide his irritation over the way the sub-committee handled the charge leveled against him by New York attorney Thomas A. Bolan, a witness at Tuesday's hearing.
Bolan said Kennedy had tried to influence public opinion against Hoffa by instigating unavorable publicity while the Teamster boss was under indictment. 
Makes Special Appearance
Kennedy, who denied the charge Tuesday, made a special appearance before the subcommittee today to repeat his denial and object to this handling of the matter.
He told the subcommittee he believed it was improper for Chairman Edward V. Long, D-Mo., to make statements about the matter "after hearing only one side of the story. After hearing Bolan's charge Tuesday, Long said he considered it a "shocking matter." The chairman said he would refer the testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee for whatever action that group might want to take. Kennedy, a former chief counsel for a Senate investigation subcommittee, said he believed it was standard practice —when it was known a matter was coming up — to try to present both sides of a story.
Bolan had said that Kennedy arranged in March, 1961, to have Life magazine publish a story based on an interview with Sam Baron, a disgruntled Teamster Union official, at a time when Hoffa was under indictment.
Definition Of 'Fink'
In an exchange today with subcommittee counsel Bernard Fensterwald Jr., Kennedy said he saw nothing wrong with his actions as attorney general. Fensterwald asked Kennedy if he believed it was proper for a government official to "act as an intermediary between the press and a fink."
"What's your definition of a fink?" Kennedy demanded. "A person who is a stool pigeon." Fensterwald  retorted. "That's your definition," Kennedy snapped. "I consider Mr. Baron as a public spirited person who was doing his duty."
Fensterwald asked if Kennedy thought it was proper for a public official to arrange for publicity unfavorable to a person under indictment. "I never did anything like that and that is the implication of the testimony and remarks made by the subcommittee yesterday," Kennedy said heatedly.
At Tuesday's hearing, Kennedy's methods in prosecuting New York attorney Roy M. Cohn also were questioned. Bolan represented Cohn in New York last year when the former McCarthy committee counsel was tried and acquitted of charges of attempting to bribe a U.S. attorney. Cohn, who also testified Tuesday, made only indirect references to Kennedy. But Bolan told the subcommittee that Kennedy planted an article about a dissatisfied Teamster official in Life magazine. 
Denies Charge
Kennedy denied the charge, the New York Democrat said the Teamster official—Sam Baron—came to him "in fear of his life." According to Kennedy, Baron said he wanted to get in touch with some non-governmental official to tell his story. Kennedy said he set up a meeting with Life magazine with the understanding that nothing would be published until something happened to Baron. At the same time, Hoffa was under indictment, and Baron was "cooperating with the FBI." Kennedy said. Bolan was testifying before the subcommittee about a mail over placed on him. Bolan said he came across the information about Kennedy's involvement in the Life story while investigating the circumstances surrounding a similar story on Cohn.
Senator Ed Long, for whom Fensterwald worked for several years as counsel for his committees and subcommittees, would later be accused of business relationships with Hoffa's attorney, Morris Shenker of St. Louis. Shenker's 1989 obituary stated:
Shenker, a Russian immigrant who grew up in north St. Louis, first made a name for himself as a young lawyer by doing free legal work for the poor and getting involved in Democratic politics.
He had been recurrently in the national spotlight since representing gambling figures before the Estes Kefauver hearings on organized crime in the early 1950s.
Hoffa, his most famous client, had links to organized crime and disappeared in 1975. He is presumed dead.
Because of his Teamsters connection, Shenker, who operated the Dunes Hotel and Casino in the 1970s, ran afoul of the Nevada Gaming Commission. (Shenker's name had also surfaced often in connection with loans from the Teamsters Pension Fund.)
Despite state and federal investigations, however, Shenker escaped indictment until this year. In February, a federal grand jury accused him of conspiring to conceal hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Internal Revenue Service and bankruptcy creditors. The money supposedly was diverted from a California partnership owned by his children to individuals in Canada and then back to Shenker's secretary in Las Vegas in an elaborate scheme to avoid creditors. Shenker denied any wrongdoing.
Shenker had filed for bankruptcy in 1984 after a $34-million court verdict against him for money he borrowed from the Culinary Workers Pension Fund for resorts in Southern California and other projects. He had been involved in court battles over his finances ever since.

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