Sunday, February 8, 2015

Wayne January's Tale about a Tail Number (Part I)

Photo Credit
(Updated on May 30, 2017, highlighted below, with added links to later research embedded within highlight.)
(Updated with added material, highlighted below.)

A Facebook friend (Alan Kent) recently messaged me to ask whether I had researched entities mentioned by Wayne January to author Matthew Smith in his book, Conspiracy: The Plot To Stop The Kennedys, pp. 141-45. The name did not ring a bell, so I had to refresh my memory on the computer.

Here is a Summary of what I learned:
On November 21, 1963, Wayne January is working side by side with a Cuban born pilot who is to fly a newly purchased DC -3 out of The Redbird Airfield tomorrow. Since early that morning, January has been helping the pilot complete a preflight inspection in order for the plane. The pilot becomes uneasy and finally turns to January and says: ‘they are going to kill your president. January will eventually tell researcher Matthew Smith that the Cuban pilots goes on to say: ‘I was a mercenary pilot, hired by the CIA’. The pilot continues: ‘they are not only going to kill the President. They are going to kill Robert Kennedy and any other Kennedy that gets in their position. When January expresses his skepticism, the pilot replies ‘you will see’. The conversation is dropped for a while, then the pilot breaks the silence: ‘they want Robert Kennedy real bad. ‘When January asks why, the pilot replies ‘never mind. You don’t need to know. Let’s get this job done, time is running out. My boss wants to return to Florida; he thought we would be through today. (Conspiracy) Matthew Smith believes this DC-3 flew the group of assassins out of Dallas the next day Inquiries indicate that the plane was not logged out of The Redbird Airfield. Smith says this is an indication that the plane and its flight plan are under the auspices of the CIA. When Smith asks the FAA for details on the aircraft, he is told that no such plane existed. Later, the FAA does confirm the number of the plane (N-17888) originally belonged to a Douglas DC-3, having later been transferred to another aircraft. Smith eventually learns that the aircraft had been purchased by the Houston Air Center. A former [alleged] CIA agent tells Smith that the Houston Air Center was a front for the CIA.
Here is another person's take on the book's story:
One company Wayne January was a partner in was said to be Royal Air Service Inc., which was wrapping up the selling off of large aircraft--supposedly part of a top-secret government program that was interested in developing radar mapping for low-level flying by such planes as the F-111 fighter-bomber. At the time of our story they only had one DC3 left to sell off to finish the contract. This final plane was sold in mid-November by January’s partner and the owner showed up on November 18 to sign for it. January told [author Matthew Smith] he was a very well-dressed gentleman. January said “he was about six feet tall, fair complexioned, brown hair, and late thirties to early forties. His haircut was short, military type, and wore slacks and a sport shirt.” January also said, “he had no particular accent.” January said later on he found out he was an Air Force Colonel who specialized in the type of plane being specialized….

Matthew Smith believes this DC3 flew out of Red Bird that day with the complete team that had murdered JFK. He surmised it went from Dallas to Houston, and he also believes David Ferrie’s “ice skating” trip to Houston was really to fly this plane from Houston to its ultimate destination.

Smith tried to trace this plane and did learn that the number (N-17888) had been tied to a DC3 after initially being told a different type plane had that number and the DC3 never “existed.”

He also found out that the plane had been purchased by the Houston Air Center. Mr. Smith then contacted a former CIA Agent out of Houston and asked him if he would check this out for him. The former CIA Agent said the Houston Air Center was a “CIA front.”
The best explanation of the incident was written by Larry Hancock (whose book proved, incidentally--once I located it on its backshelf, covered in dust--that I had actually read of the episode years ago and even underlined parts of it, before depositing it into an unmemory hole). The following is from Hancock's article appearing at
The plane had come to Red Bird in January 1963 and was owned by two different companies there during that year. Wayne January was a partner in both companies. At some point that year, the aircraft had been heavily modified, all the seats had been removed from the plane and it had been reclassified with the FAA as a research and development aircraft. We also know that it had been sold to individuals of the Houston Air Center, but paperwork was not actually completed until it was eventually resold outside the U.S. to a company named Aerovias del Sur. The records place that company’s headquarters in Mexico City, however, defunct companies of that name can be found in Cuba, Mexico and Columbia. Further tracing seems virtually impossible.

Another tack in evaluating January’s overall story of the incident is to look at where such aircraft were indeed being used covertly during the timespan of 1964-1965. Records reveal that the Cuban exile autonomous group initiative supported by Robert Kennedy in 1963 was in the process of buying and leasing a broad variety of equipment, both boats and planes. That effort was led by Manual Artime and records demonstrate that extensive “cut outs” were used to shield its financial activities — and the fact that the U.S. was funding the project. Available records confirm that Artime did lease a similar Douglas transport aircraft until his project was closed down in 1965. Artime’s personnel were all Cuban exiles and his funding, purchasing and leasing were all carried out by CIA staff in a highly covert project designated as AMWORLD.

Another covert operation involving aircraft and Cuban exile personnel would have been the highly secret dispatch of aircraft and Cuban exile pilots to the Congo, which began in 1963. A joint effort of the American military assistance mission and the CIA, the effort focused primarily on providing B-26 fighter-bombers and Cuban exile pilots. However a number of transport aircraft and technicians were also sent into the Congo in 1964.[10]

A third option, and one especially interesting in regard to the modifications and R&D recertification of the Red Bird aircraft, is the fact that a variety of covert air assets were being prepared to go into Laos in this period. In addition, the Air Force was developing the class of modified C-47 gunships eventually known as “Spooky”. The craft were totally stripped internally to allow the mounting of heavy machine guns and cannon.[11] Development of these gunships was underway in 1964 and the first aircraft were deployed into Vietnam in 1964. Therefore, the aspect of January’s story about the pilot being familiar with certain veterans of the Bay of Pigs is supportable.

January indicated to Smith that it was his understanding that the series of aircraft being purchased through companies at Red Bird and Houston Air Center were being processed through a series of cut out sales for eventual use in secret government projects. Investigation confirms that such projects and cut out sales were most definitely occurring at that time. It also confirms that Cuban exiles were very much involved in some of them. Of course, if January had gone to the FBI with such an incident at the time, it obviously would have had security implications as well as a negative impact on his own business. Beyond that, it would have likely done little good, as we have a number of examples from both Texas and Miami that show the FBI was not at all interested in following up on Cuban exile assassination leads; even when they had specific names in hand.[12]

After 50 years it is virtually impossible to carry Wayne January’s most significant lead to a final resolution. Still, with what has been learned about both January himself, as well as the aircraft sale, it seems rather foolish to write it all off as some sort of fiction. Especially since Wayne January never told anyone but Smith and then only with the promise of total anonymity. If true, it could offer a major insight into the President’s assassination.
Excerpt from The Second Plot

After doing the above research, the book I ordered by Matthew Smith (JFK: The Second Plot) arrived. Here Smith sets out his interpretation of the assassination plots from the evidence he had gathered:
So the two plots were meticulously put into operation. The team of marksmen were recruited and drilled. Weapons were prepared, heights and distances calculated in relation to motion; this was to be a once only event and it must succeed first time.... But for all its precision and careful planning, the first plot by itself added up to little more than a bunch of hi-tech bandits lying in wait to spring an ambush on the President. All the real sophistication lay in the planning and execution of the second plot. Without the second plot the shooters would have been picked up at once and those who had sent them would have been exposed....

It was probably only a few days before the President's visit that Lee Oswald was given his instructions. He was told that a decision had been made to fly him into [probably] Cuba in a light aircraft. He would make the trip on the afternoon of Friday, 22 November, the day the President was to visit Dallas. Advantage would be taken of the commotion the visit would create for him to slip quietly away.

A pilot would be provided and pretense made that they were flying to Yucatan [blogger's italics]....On the morning of Wednesday, 20 November, he was driven out to Red Bird airfield by [most likely] two agents. They sought to hire a small aircraft there, perhaps a Cessna or a Piper Cub or something of that kind, for the trip....One operator they called upon was Wayne January, who recounted Oswald's visit to this author in detail. He told how one man waited in the car whilst the others in the party came to speak to him:
There was a man and woman and they asking intricate questions concerning a certain type of aircraft which was capable of delivering them to their destination, and the way they were dressed and the way the conversation went I was sensitive to the fact that why would they want to know that many technical questions to take a vacation trip . . . (They continued) talking to me asking me the fuel consumption, the amount of hours in the air, the total distance and would it be capable of going on to another location under certain wind conditions and things like that . . . People don't ask those kind of questions to charter an airplane.
January decided not to accept the charter, being suspicious the\at they were going to hijack the plane and go on to Cuba. His reasons, he said, were:
. . . because of the way they were dressed, I sensed something not right. Their dress was not anybody who could afford to hire that kind of aeroplane to make that kind of trip, and the car was an older car. It was a black 1947 model which I recognised because I had had the very same model. I carried my tools in it and I knew it . . . and I was questioning, well, where are they going to get all this money? Y'know it was an expensive trip they were talking about....
He then told his prospective clients:
I think you need to go somewhere else to get this done.
As they left, January had a look at the man who had been sitting in the car during the discussion which had taken place. He said he was curious to see whether he was dressed like the others and he wondered why he hadn't come out to talk with him. Watching television and reading newspaper reports of the assassination two days later he saw pictures of the man who had been sitting in the car. It was Lee Harvey Oswald.

Another take on Dobbs House incident by Epstein
. . . Oswald was next seen that day at Dobbs Restaurant on North Beckley, having a late breakfast. The waitress, Mary [Ada] Dowling, testified that Oswald usually called in for his breakfast between 7 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. before he started work, but on Wednesday, 20 November he did not arrive until 10 a.m. She remembered it well, because Oswald made a lot of fuss about his order, which was not cooked to his satisfaction. He swore, she said. A policeman who was in the restaurant at the same time looked across when he heard the commotion. It was Officer J. D. Tippit, and Tippit was [we assume] scheduled to pick Oswald up to take him to Red Bird Airfield on Friday, 22 November, just two days later. Since they had never met, this may have been the means by which Tippit and Oswald identified one another in preparation for the Friday pick up. Oswald would recognise Tippit, since he was the only police officer in the restaurant at that time, but Tippit may have been told he would identify the passenger by looking for the mean creating a row about his eggs.
After reading what Judyth Vary Baker has told us about the fact that she and Lee hoped to meet up in Mexico, travel to the Yucatan, and explore the Mayan ruins at Chichen-Itza, we find ourselves wondering whether Lee took off work on Wednesday, November 20, the day preceding the evening when he had his last conversation with Judyth. At the time Lee had gone to Mexico in late September, Lee's CIA associate Alex Rorke went missing. Alex had already agreed to help Judyth get to Mexico in the event Lee was successful during his time in Mexico in getting a visa to Cuba. The plan was by those working on the bioweapon, for Lee to deliver it to a contact in Cuba to inject the cancer cells into Fidel Castro. But the window of time was short, and Lee failed to obtain the necessary visa, and he returned to the U.S. Otherwise, he would have met Judyth in Mexico, where she was to have been delivered to him by his pilot friend, Alex Rorke.

Excerpt from Me and Lee by Judyth Vary Baker

Under the heading September 25, 1963, beginning on page 498:
Today, we know that Alex Rorke's plane crashed on the day Lee left for Mexico City after leaving Cozumel, where I believe Alex and his co-pilot, Geoffrey Sullivan, flew to check out where I could safely be dropped off. Then the plane took off on another mission, apparently near or over Cuba, where it was shot down. On Oct. 6, eleven days later, Gerry Hemming took Interpen members and hunted for the downed plane and bodies. I find the timing of both the Alex Rorke rumor and his subsequent disappearance troubling.
Once his business in Dallas was finished, Lee boarded the Dove again and flew to Houston, landing at Hull Field in Sugarland, on the west side of Houston. There, he was handed a second blue zippered "lunch bag" and told that it contained fresh cancer cells which would give the Product to extra days of shelf life. Then Lee swapped the lunch bags and took a long bus ride to Laredo. To the outside world, he seemed to have traveled by bus all the way from New Orleans....

Finally, the phone rang. It was Lee calling from Houston. He began by telling me that Alex Rorke was missing. I could hear the stress in his voice. Lee said he was planning to meet Alex Rorke in Mexico City to discuss the best places to drop me off in the Yucatan. He would try to find out more about Alex's situation.

In the meantime, I should be ready to go to Eglin AFB [in Florida]. He would try to find another pilot. If not, I could take a commercial flight out of Tampa or Miami.
Alexander Rorke was last seen at Cozumel? Read entire document in pdf.

Did Lee, after fearing the worst about Alex, attempt to rent an aircraft in Dallas to get Judyth to the Yucatan, and, if so, who would have taken him to Red Bird on Wednesday, a day he should have been at work?

Tail number N-17888

What follows is the research I did in answer to the question of a curious reader, Alan Kent, who thought my interest about people in Texas might reveal a deeper part of the story.

Everything I know about tail numbers I learned from my friend Daniel Hopsicker. In fact, I picked up almost as much knowledge about this subject from him as he learned about the Texas Railroad Commission from me. Virtually zero. goes.

A google search of the tail number showed the plane had been part of Braniff’s fleet used during August, 1952 through May 1960. How does one find out to whom Braniff sold it? Alan Kent snail-mailed me documents he had acquired, which set out the history of the plane's ownership. On November 28, 1944 the Army Air Force declared this airplane to be surplus property of the government, with title transferred to the Surplus War Aircraft Division of Jesse Jones' financial empire within President Franklin Roosevelt's administration. A month later it was registered to the Defense Plant Corporation for disposal, eventually going with several other aircraft to Mid-Continent Airlines, Inc. of Kansas City, Missouri. Title of the specific airplane, as part of a 69-airplane fleet, was transferred to Braniff in 1952 when the two corporations merged.

Apparently, that was where Wayne January's companies came in. Wiki tells us all we need to know about Braniff. From Wiki we learn that things began to change dramatically at Braniff only two years after it acquired this airplane:
Braniff and Edgar Tobin, among others, died in crash.
On January 10, 1954 Braniff founder Thomas Elmer Braniff died when a flying boat owned by United Gas crash-landed on the shore of Wallace Lake, 15 miles outside of Shreveport, Louisiana due to icing. According to information from Captain George A. Stevens: "Mr Braniff was on a hunting expedition with a group of important citizens of Louisiana. They were departing from a small duck hunting lake out of Shreveport in a Grumman Mallard aircraft with no deicing system. The wings iced up and they attempted to land. One of the wings hit cypress stumps and the plane crashed against the shore. It caught fire and all 12 lives aboard were lost." [1]
Braniff Executive Vice President Charles Edmund Beard became the first non-Braniff family member to assume the role of President of the airline after Tom Braniff's untimely death. Mr. Beard gathered Braniff employees to announce that the airline would move forward and assured the public that the airline would continue.
Paul R. Braniff died later that year of cancer.[6] Tom Braniff's wife, Bess Braniff, also died in 1954. Tom's son Thurman Braniff was killed in a training plane crash at Oklahoma City in 1938, and his daughter Jeanne Braniff Terrell died in 1948 from complications of childbirth.[1]
That must have been one unlucky airplane for the Braniff family! I decided the book by John J. Nance, footnoted in the Wiki citation, was a must-read and placed an order: Splash of Colors: The Self-Destruction of Braniff International. Had I not already done some research into the alleged buyer of this airplane, my interest would not have been piqued by some of the facts surrounding the death of the Braniffs, who were all dead by 1954!

Background Title on N-1788

Documents detailing the history of the title to Tail Number N-17888, sent to me by Alan Kent, revealed:
  • On July 9, 1960, Braniff tranferred the title to Navion Aircraft Corporation (NAC) of Galveston (Division of Tusco Corportion). Leo F. Childs was then vice president and J. L. McCann was president. Childs grew up in Center, Texas, where the first aircraft manufacturing in Texas began in 1933. [Added on April 23, 2015: Childs in 1955 was general manager of Camair Aviation in Galveston, a division of Cameron Iron Works.
    During the Korean War Cameron Iron Works supplied armaments and was involved in power generation and manufacture of jet engines and airplane parts. In 1957 it established a guided-missile plant. Cameron Iron Works was controlled by Texas oilman, James S. Abercrombie, who was related to Secretary of Defense Robert Abercrombie Lovett--a partner with Prescott Bush in Brown Brothers Harriman.] When Navion borrowed money and placed a lien on this DC-3 airplane in October 1961, it was then situated at Hou-Port Aviation Agency, Inc. in LaPorte, Texas. The lien also included another DC-3 (#N-151A) situated at Redbird in Dallas, though, according to the mortgage, "both of said Douglas DC-3 airplanes [were] permanently home-based at International Airport, Galveston." The promissory note amount of $92,925.00 was payable to Tennessee Bank and Trust Company of Houston in monthly installments amortized for one year.
  • NAC sold the plane in January 1963 to Executive Aircraft Service, Inc. of Dallas, and it was registered for the corporation on January 17 by V.E. Morgan. 
  • One month later L.V. Emery, President of Executive Aircraft transferred the plane's title to Jack Birdwell, Harvey M. Phillips and Wayne January, partners of  American Aviation (101 Terminal Bldg. at Redbird). 
  • After being repaired and refitted, it was transferred effective March 1of that year to Royal Air Service, Inc., with paperwork signed on May 10.
  • Effective as of May 9 all three partners transferred it back to Executive Aircraft, Inc. (signed on August 9).
  • On May 1, 1963 (Royal Air Service, Inc. (Harvey M. Phillips, president; Jack Birdwell, vice president; and Wayne January, secretary-treasurer) borrowed $32,400 from an unnamed lender. A Dallas insurance agent named Jesse Ambler, signed on the back of the document in the space designated for the person notarizing the signatures made on behalf of the borrower, Royal Air Service, Inc.. Below Ambler's signature someone named Evelyn B. Bedinger in Berrien County, Michigan, notarized the signature of the non-existent seller-mortgagee, which also failed to assign the chattel mortgage to the entity which printed the form document, i.e. Appliance Buyers Credit Corporation (ABCC), a Delaware corporation with a Michigan address. This document was recorded by the FAA in October 1963, but apparently returned as not acceptable. Two years later it was attached to another document which indicates ABCC was the original lender in the amount of $20,0000, the lien amount being transferred to Walter E. Heller & Company of California on July 16, 1965. Wayne January indicated that this was the standard procedure for the business.
  • On October 9, 1965 the three men in the same capacities signed a bill of sale to Houston Air Center, Inc. of 7700 Airport Blvd. in Houston. A lien was retained to secure a $40,000 note to North Side State Bank in Houston. This document was recorded by the FAA on October 27.
  • On October 18, 1965 Houston Air Center, Inc. executed a chattel mortgage on the plane in favor of the North Side State Bank, indicating it was then at Houston Int. Airport (Hobby). E. Mitchell Smith, Jr. signed as president of Houston Air Center, Inc. 
  • A new certificate was issued by the FAA to Houston Air Center, Inc. on October 28, 1965. On the back of this certificate is a transfer to Aerovias del Sur, Mexico City D.F., signed by Clarence E. Wigley. It was stamped in Oklahoma City on December 20, 1965.
  • It was removed from American registry records on January 5, 1966.

Red Bird Airport

Red Bird Airport was located at 4800 S. Hampton Road in Dallas. The 1960 phone directory shows the only company listed there that year was Texair, Inc., 4837 S. Hampton Road, Dallas [click link to see map]. This is the servicing company mentioned by the Garrison investigation in 1967. Today that site is the location of Dallas Executive Airport.

Red Bird was then about 3.7 miles from the Januarys' 1960 home -- 931 S. Montreal, while Braniff was based at Love Field in Dallas. Before construction of the interstate highway, the two air fields were 13 miles apart via Hampton Road routing through Oak Cliff and passing Sunset High School, from which Wayne January graduated, according to information we have gleaned from various sources. 
Wayne January was born in Coryell County, Texas in 1931 to Mr. and Mrs. Charles Hasten January. He attended Sunset High School on the southwest side of Dallas, where in 1947 he played in the orchestra. He graduated in 1951, the same year his father died. His father's obituary reads:
News Circulation Employee, Charles H. January, 65, Dies - Charles Haston January, 65, a district manager of the Dallas News' circulation department, died of a heart attack at his desk Wednesday. He had been with The News for eight years, and was in charge of twenty-eight carriers of the West Dallas district.
He lived at 824 North Edgefield [mere blocks from the high school].
Before coming to The News, January was captain of the Highland Park fire department for twenty years, and before that was a member of the Dallas fire department for seven years.

January was born in Shelby County in 1886. As a young man, he joined with others in setting up an oil refinery in De Leon, Comanche County. In 1909 he sold his interest in the refinery and moved to Dallas.

He was a member of the Round Table, Dallas News employee organization.

Surviving are his wife, the former Miss Vadah Baldwin of Dallas, whom he married in June, 1918; five sons, W. Spencer January and Wayne January, both of Dallas, Farold January of Waco, C. H. January, in service in Korea, and Lawrence E. January, at an Air Force base in Alabama; two daughters, Mrs. Ruth Landers and Mrs. Shirley Hurley, both of Dallas; one sister, Mrs. Blanche Morrison of Center; and four brothers, Dillon January and Luther January, both of Dallas, Walter January of San Antonio, and Hugh January of Houston; and seven grandchildren. Funeral arrangements had not been completed Wednesday night.
- Dallas Morning News, November 15, 1951

Wayne’s older brother, C.H. Jr., enlisted in the Army in 1942 and served the military for 20 years as a veteran of WWII and the Korean War, and was also assigned to the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos, NM. He died in 2011 in Denton.

In 1966 Wayne married Sylvia Gwynn Landrum, though we see from directories in 1960 and before that his wife was Delores; Wayne died in 2002 in Ellis County.

The Mary Ferrell website contains a document placed in Oswald’s 201 file concerning the interview of Wayne January, who had called his local FBI office on November 27, 1963 and spoke to Special Agent John V. Almon. It took Almon and Agent Kenneth B. Jackson two days to make it out to conduct a personal interview with January on the 29th at Red Bird Airport terminal building in Room 101.  The interview began with a discussion about Jack Ruby's Carousel Club, which January admitted to frequenting between February and April of 1963, beginning a month or so after the airplane and others arrived at January's company at Red Bird. There was mention by Larry Hancock that the plane arrived from Woburn Aircraft, though the documents provided by Alan Kent do not bear this out. It was during this same time frame that FBI reports indicated he reported receiving calls about chartering an airplane, though January was adamant that the visit by Oswald actually occurred on November 20.

I found online a text version of the document, apparently posted by John Watters at alt.assassination.jfk in July 2002 and reposted by Peter Fokes. including these prefatory remarks:
From my reading of the FBI memo below there seems to be an implied connection between January's frequenting of the Carousel Club between February and April 1963 and the two anonymous phone calls in February and March 1963. The Feebs did not ask if there was any connection with the Carousel, whether he recognized the voice(s) or whether the men had given any indication why they had chosen him particularly.

They did not ask him why he would surmise that the trip to Laredo involved narcotics. What made him jump to this conclusion, the person asking the favour (in which case, did he know them?) or the destination itself (was Laredo synonymous with narcotics?).

The Feebs do not seem to have raised an eyebrow at the call re $12 million of gold dust - $12 MILLION ??!! Wow, if this kind of caper was connected to the Carousel and Ruby, Jack could hardly be dismissed as just a nightclub owner and small-time hoodlum.

I confess I don't understand the significance of the comments re plain clothes officers in the Carousel but I guess the Feebs must have had their reasons for including this in their report.

The report includes January's views on Ruby - not something you would expect from someone who had just gone to the guy's nightclub for a while. The Feebs don't appear to have asked January how often he had spoken to Ruby, how long he had known him, how well he knew him etc etc.

And finally, on to LHO - the Feebs played down January's identification of LHO, changed the date of the incident from 20 November to late July [blogger's italics] and emphasized that the man asking the questions had not been LHO. (No-one had ever claimed that the man asking the questions was LHO - January clearly stated that LHO had stayed in the car).

Is there an implied connection between the flights January was asked to make in February/March and the LHO incident in November?

Matthew Smith's "JFK: The Second Plot" contains the following FBI memo which Harold Weisberg obtained under the FOIA:
"The following interview was conducted by SA's KENNETH B. JACKSON and JOHN V. ALMON on November 29, 1963:

WAYNE JANUARY, owner, American Aviation Company, Room 101, Terminal Building, Red Bird Airport, Dallas, Texas, advised that from February through April, 1963, he, together with several friends, on occasion frequented the Carousel Club, Dallas, Texas, which he understands is owned by one JACK RUBY.

JANUARY stated that during February, 1963, he received an anonymous telephone call from a  man who offered him the sum of $5,000.00 to fly to Laredo, Texas, and back with no questions asked. JANUARY said that he surmised that this individual planned to transport narcotics to Dallas and for this reason he declined the offer. JANUARY further stated that during March, 1963, he received a second anonymous telephone call from a man who wanted him to fly $12,000,000.00 worth of gold dust to Mexico City where he was to pick up the currency and return with it to Dallas. He stated that this individual offered him $400,000.00 to make this flight which he also declined.

JANUARY stated that during the latter part of July, 1963, a man and a woman whom he had never seen before contacted him at his office at which time they inquired about chartering a plane for a trip to "Old Mexico". JANUARY stated that when he asked this man questions essential to such a flight he was definitely evasive in his answers. JANUARY explained that this individual did not appear to know exactly where he desired to go in Mexico but said something about the West Coast. Furthermore, he did not appear to know when he desired to return or or exactly how many passengers could be expected on the flight. JANUARY said that this man, after stating that he did not wish to make the flight for a couple of months, stated that he would consider the information which JANUARY had given him and let him know at a later date. He said that when the couple left he observed a third man who had been waiting in their automobile during the entire conversation, and after observing a photograph of LEE HARVEY OSWALD on television it now seems to him that this man somewhat resembled OSWALD although he was not definitely sure in this respect. JANUARY was unable to offer any additional information which might be of assistance in identifying the man and woman who inquired about the flight to Mexico. He said that they did not appear to him to be persons of sufficient financial means to charter a trip such as the one discussed.

JANUARY reiterated the fact that the man, accompanied by the unidentified woman, who made inquiries concerning a chartered flight to Mexico, was not LEE HARVEY OSWALD and said that he has no records or any other method of identifying the persons who contacted him during the latter part of July, 1963.

JANUARY further commented that he never visited the Carousel Club when he did not observe several plainclothes officers, and when a friend of his attempted to date one of the performers, KATHY KAY, she informed this friend that she had to go with another man, whom she identified as a plainclothes officer.

JANUARY concluded with the opinion that JACK RUBY was not the type of individual who would have killed, or attempted to kill, anyone charged with the assassination of the President. He said that he does not think that RUBY would care that much, even about his own mother."
We are told by Smith that:
Wayne January had never seen this memo until Matthew Smith showed it to him and, according to one of Smith's books, "was amazed when this author told him the FBI stated he had said his visitors, including Oswald, had called several MONTHS before the assassination, instead of two days before." January said, "How would I have been able to remember the face to compare with the pictures of Oswald I saw on television for that long? It was the Wednesday before the assassination."
Smith also says, "As opposed to the uncertain identification stated in the report, January told this author his identification of Oswald was so strong he would give it nine out of ten."
We pick up in our next post with research into exactly who owned the Houston Air Center and find out what it was about United Gas that intrigued me so.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Edited Remarks from JFK Conference

Below is what I wrote to share at the JFK Assassination Conference. Unfortunately, I got sidetracked and only skimmed the surface. I appreciate all the gracious comments I received. For those who wanted me to go more in depth, here is what I failed to say:

The Big Picture 
by Linda Minor

Prefatory Remarks

I am honored today to be asked to lead off this conference, the second one inspired by the dream of Judyth Baker to exonerate a man she met in New Orleans in 1963—Lee Harvey Oswald.

This weekend you will hear many presentations about the shooting in Dallas, which occurred 30 minutes after high noon 51 years ago today. Each speaker will zero in on that event from his or her unique perspective. We come from a variety of backgrounds, levels of education and expertise. We certainly do not agree on what is the most significant detail about the murders of the three men killed on the weekend before Thanksgiving in 1963.

Three unsolved murders
John F. Kennedy, the elected President of the United States, J. D. Tippit, a Dallas police officer, and Lee H. Oswald, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps--these three murders constitute, without question, the biggest unsolved conspiracy of our lifetime. Can it ever be solved? Does it really matter now, all these years later?

My own research into the assassination conspiracy began, like many others, after I saw Oliver Stone’s movie, "JFK," shortly after its release. At that time I lived in Houston, Texas, and was working as an assistant county attorney, assigned to help in an investigation involving bribery allegations against the county judge, Jon Lindsay, who had served as campaign chairman in Houston a few years earlier on the first George Bush’s campaign for President. My work on this case and my interest in the assassination of 1963 began to dovetail as I learned more about Houston's history, and the wealth that created that city.

My research became centered around what was called the “Suite 8-F Crowd”—numerous men and one woman who could frequently be found hanging out on the 8th floor of the Lamar Hotel in the days before Lyndon Johnson instantly rose to the Presidency as the result of an act of extreme violence. Using the Torbitt Document, subtitled “The Nomenclature of an Assassination Cabal,” as my guide, I focused first on the oil men listed in that document who lived in Houston and later spread my research to their Houston associates. Eventually my work broadened to include other sections of the state and country.

It is now some twenty years later. What have I learned that I feel I would most like to pass on to this crowd?

I will answer this question by asking you to picture a scene from a second movie which had a tremendous impact on my life, All the President’s Men. We are in a dark parking garage. Robert Redford whispers to Hal Holbrook that he has reached a dead end in his effort to obtain evidence about who planned the break-in at the Watergate office of the Democratic National Committee. He does know that Kenneth Dahlberg had given a $25,000 cashier’s check to the Committee to Reelect the President, known by its acronym, CREEP; after a few twists and turns, that same check had shown up as a deposit in the bank account of one of the burglars, Bernard L. Barker. Woodward turned to Deep Throat for a new lead.

Hal Holbrook inhales on his cigarette and leans toward Redford. A raspy whisper escapes his mouth, along with the smoke: “Follow the money!” That’s all. Just follow the money.

That one sentence describes what I’ve learned in the last twenty years. It’s about money. Why was John F. Kennedy killed? Who authorized the assassination? Follow the money.

Follow the Money

Money is what the Cold War was really all about. American capitalists wanted to maintain control of an empire they had been in the process of creating since WWI--more accurately perhaps, since the Mexican War in 1845.After the 1776 revolution, those in power had learned that nation-building needed wealth, and they had made secret special immunities to privateers, willing to engage in foreign intrigue, free of fear of prosecution. It is a sordid part of our history never really revealed.

The biggest profits, it seems, are made from activities that most of us would shun: Pushing narcotics on unwilling users and furnishing victims for perverted minds are two examples. Significant profits also can be made from war, and profiteers from revolutionary days and throughout the 19th century had been accumulating a vault of knowledge about how to create wars, disguise the proceeds therefrom, and gain power and prestige in the process. That valuable vault had to be locked away from the prying eyes of outsiders by ensuring its secrecy through "secret societies" set up within universities controlled through elite trustees. It had taken 150 years from the time colonists began arriving in America before a generation born on American soil was ready to fight a war against British control. The newly independent nation, unfortunately, was unable to separate itself from the institutional control which had been put in place during colonial days. Harvard and Yale, for example were established under trustees who had a contractual loyalty to the empire the founders of the United State had fought against. (The legal rule was decided in Dartmouth College v. Woodward in 1819.)

Not long after that Supreme Court case, secret societies began appearing on university campuses, within whose vaults is buried a very closely guarded secret:
How to obtain profits from any corrupt source and turn criminal donors into beneficent philanthropists.

With tainted gold and unholy wealth those conspirators created a system based on capital at the expense of principle. Those early-day institutions, and others formed under their aegis, still control the American empire. The history of why and how our country departed from its noble undertaking as a republic and descended or ascended, depending upon one's perception, into the realm of empire, has been written about at my blog called Where the Gold Is. There is no time to talk about that today, but for those interested in how the oligarchy we live in developed, I would refer you to that blog.

Ruth Hyde Paine's Ancestry

Siblings of W.F. Hyde
When I chose the topic of Ruth Hyde Paine, all I really knew about her actually pertained to the ancestry of her husband Michael Ralph Paine. About Ruth's own family, I knew little. In preparation for this presentation I spent a couple of weeks researching her genealogy and learned that, even though she had grown up in Columbus, Ohio, and had met Michael Paine in Philadelphia, where she was teaching Phys. Ed. and folk-dancing at Germantown Friends' School, there were two generations of Hydes before her who grew up in California. Her great-grandfather, William Penn Hyde, relocated from New England to Santa Clara in 1881. A Methodist minister, he had moved from Connecticut to Massachusetts and then to Rhode Island until 1881, when, claiming bad health, he relocated his branch of the Hyde family.

William Penn Hyde's son, William Fletcher Hyde, Ruth’s grandfather, was already college-age when he arrived in Santa Clara, California, and enrolled in University of the Pacific, which had been originally named California Wesleyan College in 1851. It was chartered by the Methodist Episcopal Church two years after gold was discovered in California. The college went through a couple of name changes before the trustees agreed in 1921 to move the campus to Stockton, California, although the medical school it created merged with Stanford.

William Fletcher (better known as W.F.) Hyde managed the bookstore at the Santa Clara campus until shortly after Leland Stanford, Jr. University opened its doors in 1891. He then moved to the new town of Palo Alto and became manager of Stanford's first bookstore. During his life he became well acquainted with both the President of Stanford, David Starr Jordan, and with most of the professors who taught there.

As a matter of fact, Martha Constance Smith, who had been attracted to Stanford to work on her Ph.D., became an instructor at Stanford even before she and W.F. married and began rearing children. Martha’s grandfather, strangely enough, had co-founded the university where William Penn Hyde, her husband’s father, had received his education. So it seems, Ruth Hyde's eventual decision to become a Quaker in or before 1948 has never been fully explained.

W.F. Hyde became heavily involved as a great believer in progressive reform in Palo Alto's municipal politics during the years that Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican, was president. W.F.'s younger brother, James McDonald Hyde (see list of Hyde siblings above) studied geology and metallurgy at Stanford in the same class with Herbert Hoover’s brother, Theodore Jesse (Tad) Hoover. While W.F. helped to reform politics in Palo Alto, his brother James worked for the Hoovers in various mining concerns throughout the world and in 1913 became associate professor in the geology department at Stanford, with Tad Hoover as its head. This Hyde family member, Ruth's great-uncle, became quite liberal in his later years, moving to Hollywood and serving on the city council. He died in 1943.

Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat, had been elected with the help of Roosevelt's "progressives," and was inaugurated in 1913. Herbert Hoover, a Republican in that progressive mold, was called to Washington, D.C. to work for Wilson's administration. He was appointed to the War Trade Council as food administrator and also served on the Supreme Economic Council in Paris during the time Colonel House, Robert Lansing and the Dulles brothers were there negotiating the peace treaty after WWI. Hoover later served as Secretary of Commerce for two Republican administrations that followed Woodrow Wilson, and then became President himself in 1928.

As U.S. President, Hoover was likely to call on Stanford graduates to fill many of the positions available in his new government.

By the time Hoover took the oath of office in 1929, Ruth’s own father, William Avery Hyde, had graduated from Stanford with a degree in chemical engineering. He met a female student who also had the last name of Hyde—Carol Elizabeth Hyde. They even shared a common ancestor back in New London, Connecticut, several generations removed. Carol’s father, Charles Ludlow Hyde, had been ordained as a Congregationalist minister at Oberlin College when he was 35, taking up a pastorate in Colorado for several years before relocating to Fremont County, California.

While Carol's parents were at Oberlin, another member of the Hyde family, from yet a different branch (law student, Arthur Mastick Hyde, son of Ira B. Hyde of Missouri), was also there. He would be chosen as Herbert Hoover's Secretary of Agriculture in 1928. He was such a dark horse candidate for the job, he almost declined in shock. That is just one more strange coincidence in Hyde family genealogy.

Another curiosity from Hyde-lore is a newspaper article from 1916, which mentioned that Carol Hyde's father sought employment through a San Francisco staffing agency to work at, of all things, a poultry cooperative! Once hired, he then moved to Menlo Park near Palo Alto just in time for his daughter Carol to enroll at Stanford and study music. She graduated in 1924, a year behind William. Another news item revealed the name of the Congregationalist Church, where Carol and her father sang in the same choir with W.F. Hyde, Ruth's grandfather!

Forbes and Hyde - with a Dash of Jekyll?

Carol no doubt imparted a love of madrigal singing and folk dancing to her second daughter, Ruth, who would be born in New York City in 1932. Carol and William, who married in 1926, ostensibly moved to the Big Apple for him to work as a chemist at Bell Telephone Laboratories, whose largest shareholders, from earliest days, members of the Forbes family. In fact, after Alexander Graham Bell had patented the device called the telephone, he sought advice from bankers and businessmen about how to create a network of telephone users in order to make money off the invention, which had no marketable value unless someone with a great deal of money to invest would build the infrastructure and buy the equipment to connect telephones all over the country.

As it turns out, the man who had the vision of how such a network of telephones could be established happened to be William Hathaway Forbes, who was mentioned in Harper's Weekly in 1914. See clipping to the left. In 1921 Harper's Monthly included an essay written by biographer Albert Bigelow Paine, detailing how the telephone companies had been consolidated into one corporation. It also reveals that American Telephone & Telegraph had worked secretly with the Naval intelligence during WWI to develop wireless communication.

Whose Money Was It?
William Hathaway Forbes' father, John Murray Forbes, was the same man who returned from China and consolidated the Chicago, Quincy and Burlington Railroad with opium profits. William Hathaway Forbes was grandfather to Ruth Forbes Paine, Michael Paine's mother. Michael Paine was, of course,  the man Ruth Avery Hyde would just happen to meet thirty years after her father went to work for the telephone research laboratory financed by William Hathaway Forbes. Small world!

Stanford Grads Do Columbia

As it turns out, New York City had attracted other graduates of Stanford in 1926. In fact three students Carol had known in the Cosmopolitan Club made their way to Columbia’s graduate school that year. We found their photographs in the 1924 Stanford yearbook, where the four were members of the Cosmopolitan Club:
  1. Carol Hyde, who studied music; 
  2. Talbot Bielefeldt, who majored in political science; 
  3. Paul W. Orr, who had studied biology; and his future wife, 
  4. Violet Balcomb, whose interest was education.
They would all come together in 1930 in New York City, as we shall see. Carol already had two children by 1930. Paul Orr and Violet Balcomb also married in 1926 and both attended Columbia until 1928, at which point, almost by accident, they happened to meet some students and faculty members returning from the Soviet Union ten years after the Bolsheviks had taken over but before Stalin showed his true colors.

William Avery Hyde's Family

Although Ruth Paine's father, William A. Hyde, worked as a chemist for Bell Labs for at least four years, he never mentioned that fact to the FBI or the Warren Commission when questioned subsequent to the assassination about his background and his knowledge of his daughter's connection to the Oswalds.

 A.J. Weberman once posted on a now-defunct website (with no citation) quoted Hyde as follows:
From 1930 to 1942 I worked for, and with, various New York metropolitan area consumer cooperatives. They were subject to attempts at communist infiltration almost continuously. Both Mrs. Hyde and I took our part in trying to block this. From 1939 to 1941 I was the District Sales Manager of Greater New York for the Farm Bureau Insurance Companies of Ohio (now Nationwide). No one could get an agent's contract from the companies in my district except through me.
As mentioned earlier, Carol Hyde's father had specifically sought employment in California at a poultry cooperative in about 1920; possibly he helped to steer his son-in-law William into
selling insurance at the Farm Bureau Cooperative agency in 1930. In those years following the Communist Revolution in Russia, however, cooperative had become highly suspect of being subversive to the capitalistic lifestyle. Were William, Carol and their friends really advocates of a socialistic, if not communistic, system? More research needs to be done to determine what he was really doing. Documents are just starting to be released that may tell the story.

Bell Labs relocated from midtown Manhattan to Murray Hill, N.J. in 1941, but William and Carol had already moved to a community called Freehold, according to their friend and neighbor, Gerritt E. Fielstra, who told the FBI they had been neighbors there when the Hyde children (born 1927-1932) "were small and in grade school"--a time span which could cover from 1933 up until 1942. However, I have not been able to find Fielstra's name in any census or city directory showing that he actually lived in New Jersey. It was, nevertheless, intriguing to discover that Fielstra had joined the Cosmopolitan Club while a student at the University of Michigan in 1927. His wife, Emily, was enrolled at New York University in 1931, and listed her address as 3916 Packard in Long Island, NY. She was pregnant that year with daughter, Gretchen, who would later attend the University of Michigan's school of music and dance and marry a man named Bouwsma. Daughter Joan (Bornstein) would attend Michigan State in East Lansing. Emily predeceased her husband, and he married Terry Fielstra, according to an obituary for Joan. Their father died in 2001 in St. Petersburg, Florida, after having lived there since as early as 1985. It would be interesting to learn whether the daughters left any records showing they had known the Hyde children.

Fielstra reported the families remained close over the years, according to Fielstra, who worked for many years in New York City's library, and was available to witness Ruth's passport application in 1952, when she went to Europe for a conference. Six years earlier her sister Sylvia worked at Time magazine during her stint at Antioch College, living with the Fielstra family and giving his name as the person to contact in case of emergency. At that time he lived at 1293 E. 2nd Avenue, the same address he had when he signed Ruth's passport application six years later. [WC Doc. 504 - FBI Brune Jr. Report of 21 Sep 1956]

During Ruth's 1952 trip, she traveled from Hoboken, N.J. on the Hamburg-Amerika Line to visit several western European countries and attend the conference sponsored by New York's Church of All Nations, a Methodist-sponsored settlement house located at 9 Second Avenue (located in a row of buildings since demolished on the fringes of Greenwich Village). The Fielstras lived on the same street at 1293 S. 2nd, but the Hyde family had been living in Columbus, Ohio, for ten years by that time.

The conference followed immediately after a semester spent at a school located at 235 East 11th Street in lower Manhattan, as Ruth's testimony to the Warren Commission reveals:
Mr. JENNER - And then in the fall quarter 1951, that is October, apparently, through January 1952, and then March through May of 1952 you were a recreation instructor and a leader in the Downtown Community School in New York City, N.Y.; is that correct?
Mrs. PAINE - That is after reentering Antioch.
Mr. JENNER - Yes.
Mrs. PAINE - Right. The job you describe was part of my work placement from Antioch College.
Jenner took each of her jobs in order without inquiring further. He asked no questions about Ruth's summer in Europe or the curriculum of the school where she worked shortly before the summer trip, whose program fit in with the type of education offered to Antioch College students. We learn elsewhere that:
The Downtown Community School was a progressive, cooperative, racially integrated school, founded in 1944 by a group of parents and educators. As director, [Norman] Studer attempted to create a curriculum that was aimed at promoting a healthy concept of self and a deeper understanding of society.
The 1940 census reveals that William Hyde did show his occupation by then as an insurance agent instead of a chemist, and reported that he had lived in this same town five years earlier. Ruth told the Warren Commission that when she was eight years old (1940), the family moved back to New York for two years, and moved to Columbus, Ohio, in 1942.

Commies Under the Bed?

It is the 1930 census, however, which is the most revealing. It indicated that the Hydes, who knew  Talbot Bielefeldt from Stanford days, showed him as a resident with them at their apartment near Columbia, while he allegedly worked as a clerk at a credit reporting agency. He then more or less disappears from public sight until 1936, when he was awarded the position of Postmaster in his hometown, the same town, coincidentally, where Richard Nixon’s family had lived in 1920.

When I looked up Talbot’s name in Mary Ferrell’s database, what immediately popped up was the fact that Talbot Bielefeldt was a CIA agent no later than 1953, cleared to attend that year’s war college along with several other persons whose names were familiar:
  • E. Howard Hunt, 
  • Thomas W. Braden
  • Cord Meyer, Jr. and 
  • Tracy Barnes. 
The above memorandum was signed by Matthew Baird, a director of training for CIA, whose picture was shown in a 1951 article in People Today (see clipping).

A 1955 memorandum written by Talbot to the CIA’s security division for employee clearances reported about his being invited by Ruth’s brother-in-law, John Hoke, to meet with William Avery Hyde, the father of Ruth Hyde Paine. The name of another person also invited was redacted from the memo. The subject line reads “Paul and Violet Orr,” and the body mentions that “we three” knew each other at Stanford.

In 1955 Paul and Violet Orr were fired from jobs they held in California because of Senator Joe McCarthy’s campaign to weed Communists out of the government. Clearly, from other information in the files, Talbot was also investigated, but those files have not been located to date.

The job Paul Orr lost in 1955 was at Caltech in Pasadena, California, where NASA's jet propulsion laboratory (JPL) was located; he had previously been in charge of the biology stockroom. Many newspapers reported that he refused to give evidence about his membership in communist groups when he was called to testify by Congressman Richard Nixon's House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC).

In 1928 Paul and Violet had traveled to Moscow and Leningrad to teach English in Russia for two years. Immigration records show they returned in 1930, giving the same address where Talbot and the Hydes lived that year. Were they Communists? Were they spies? The answer is that at this point we don’t really know. Had Paul Orr obtained a security clearance before being placed in charge of JPL's biology stockroom? We know that after returning from Russia, the Orrs lived in Richmond, California, across the bay from San Francisco for several years during the mid-1930's.

Ruth and Her Siblings

Let’s move forward to the next generation. I discovered numerous documents about the Paine family at NARA, which contains an excellent search engine. One person interviewed by the FBI stated Ruth had attended Middlebury College in Vermont for two months in 1959, while she was pregnant, just before she and Michael moved to Texas. The Russian language course she took was designed for persons who could speak Russian fluently; Ruth had never studied Russian before but was able to attend because another student had cancelled at the last moment.

The Hyde folder at NARA also indicates that a neighbor reported that William A. Hyde had his wife, Carol, committed to a mental hospital in 1960. After getting out, she divorced him the same year and enrolled at Oberlin College, where her parents had graduated many years earlier. Although her father had been in the Congregationalist ministry before working for the poultry cooperative, Carol was ordained as a Unitarian minister. On page 8 of the file it is reported that an informant had reported to the FBI in 1954 that Carol Hyde had been a speaker at a group in Columbus, Ohio called the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, considered by officials as a Communist front group.

Michael Paine was also a member of the Unitarian Church, not uncommon for members of the Forbes family in Massachusetts. Ruth Hyde became interested in the Friends Society possibly as early as 1948 (according to her friend, Mary Forman). Both of Ruth's parents, however, had attended a   Unitarian church by that time. According to the Warren Report, Ruth graduated in 1955 from Antioch, and had become a Quaker during high school in 1951 the same time as her brother, Carl Dudley Hyde. However, one witness, Mrs. Richard Eastman, stated that she met Ruth in 1947 or '48 when Ruth attended the Friends' Bible School, while living at home and also going to Antioch College. This college, it has been stated, had some strange ties to Albert Schweitzer College, to which Lee Oswald submitted an application shortly before he was scheduled to leave the Marine Corps.

It is even stranger to learn from Stephen Frank Jacobs, that he knew Ruth well enough to attend her wedding and correspond with her twice a year when he actually graduated from Antioch in 1951 and obtained a Ph.D in physics from Johns Hopkins in 1957. Ruth's friend from Antioch, Carol Freedman (later Townsend), stated they roomed together in 1954 and 1955. (See complete NARA file). How could she possibly have known Jacobs, who was at Antioch from 1947-51, if she was still there in 1955? Did she possibly start classes at Antioch when she was only 15? Could Jacobs have her confused with Sylvia? We may never know.

An obit notice in NY Times indicates Carol Freedman Townsend's mother (Mrs. Zac Freedman), was also known as was Irene Thirer, who died on Feb. 19, 1964. She was a "Motion Picture editor and critic of N.Y. Post, wife of [Aaron] Zac, mother of Mrs. Lee Townsend and Charles Freedman, grand­mother of Laird Charles Townsend, sister of Mrs. Marjory Geiss and Mrs. Richard P. McKeon of Chicago." Carol Townsend lived in Greenwich, CT (Bush family bailiwick) until 1976, when she moved to San Francisco. Her second husband was Milton Moskowitz. She died in 1995.

Ruth’s sister, Sylvia Hyde, married a man named John Hoke and obtained a security clearance to work in Air Force intelligence. J. Edgar Hoover sent the FBI reports on Sylvia Hyde Hoke, which were made in September and October of 1956 and in February 1957, to J. Lee Rankin of Warren Commission in 1964. It appears that Sylvia decided not to pursue employment in June 1957 prior to completion of the the security clearance, Hoover indicated in his letter to Rankin, referring him to check further with the Office of Special Investigations, Department of the Air Force. He also forwarded 1953 FBI reports which had been generated when Ruth's brother, Carl Dudley Hyde, applied for the status of conscientious objector during the Korean War. The actual files appear near the end of the file identified as

Beginning in February, 1956, at least seven months before the FBI furnished any reports in connection with Sylvia Hoke's employment with the Department of the Air Force, four FBI confidential informants were reporting on activities of a woman named Dorothy Hazel Wilson, who lived less than two miles south of the Columbia University neighborhood in New York City, where the Hydes had lived in 1930. In 1943 Wilson had become a member of the North Beach, California, Branch of the Communist Party, and she subscribed to People's World, a Communist newspaper published by the Pacific Publishing Foundation, Inc.

By 1955 Wilson was in contact with a Communist named Isadore Gibby Needleman, who worked for Amtorg Trading Agency, the USSR's official organ of trade, according to a fifth confidential informant. Other confidential informants, apparently assigned to follow Wilson in New York, reported on her employment by Helen Hoke Associates, a business owned by Sylvia Hoke's mother-in-law in 1956. This business was at Lexington Avenue and 49th Street in the Hotel Shelton. She later married Franklin Watts, and published her books under his name with the address of 699 Madison Avenue in New York. Incorporation papers included the name of Dorothy H. Wilson.

The report on Sylvia went back to her birth and dug deeply into her education at Antioch College, which had a cooperative program to send its students to an internship program in New York City. Sylvia, a psychology major, had interned with the YMCA in New York one semester, according to James Curtis Day, Antioch's placement counselor, working from March to July as a "test scorer." During one six-week portion of this internship, Sylvia lived at 101 West 55th Street, in the home of the woman who would later become her mother-in-law: Helen Hoke (who later married Franklin Watts).

Shortly after Sylvia's graduation from Antioch College, her mother, Carol Hyde, began telling neighbors (who reported the information to the Columbus, Ohio office of the FBI) that she was a Communist. By this time William Hyde was working at an insurance company affiliated with the Consumers Coop--the Farm Bureau--at its Columbus office headquarters. Neighbors reported that the Hydes regularly associated with "foreigners," and persons of different races. One neighbor with whom they were friendly was Dr. Margaret Shuttleworth, who said they told her they were Quakers and pacifists until WWII but then changed their belief, although their children may have continued with the same religion.

Another Confidential Informant from Cincinnati reported that Carol Hyde spoke to a meeting of the Women's International League of Peace and Freedom in 1954 and stated that all people are made by one creator. This local chapter had been formed in 1952 by Ruth Hamlin, said to be a member of the Communist Party. By 1955 this group was working for disarmament. By this time the Air Force was apparently attempting to gather witnesses to testify against Sylvia at her security clearance hearing. The FBI consulted the credit reporting agencies, who furnished information from credit applications pertaining to addresses and work history. The credit information in 1955 stated Sylvia's husband, John Hoke, was a public relations official.

By 1957 the FBI reported that Dorothy Wilson had in January 1957 told her associate Isadore Gibby Needleman that John Hoke was employed by AAA in Washington, D.C. at the same time Sylvia worked with "Naval Intelligence." She also said Helen Hoke was getting out of the publishing business except for maintaining limited luncheon contacts. Wilson revealed that she was relatively certain the to secret Air Force clearance would not be granted to Sylvia Hoke.

The NARA file that contains reports on Ruth's background reveal she applied for a passport in May of 1952 in order to spend two months in Europe, to attend a conference presented by the Church of All Nations (9 Second Avenue in New York), and to visit Holland, Germany, France and England. Her passport application was witnessed by a family friend, Gerritt E. Fielstra, who shared similar views with the Hydes.

The FBI report quoted findings of other confidential informants related to Gerritt Fielstra, a New York librarian who attempted to form a union and to organize discussion groups in the 1940's. It is quite fascinating, apart from anything in the FBI file, to discover that Fielstra graduated from the University of Michigan in 1927 and was a member of the Cosmopolitan Club, the same club Carol and her friends had been members of only two or three years earlier at Stanford. By 1930 he and his wife and daughter lived in Queens, New York.

His name was mentioned in "The Negro-Caucasian Club: A History," Michigan quarterly review (Volume VIII, Issue: 2, Spring 1969, pp. 97-106):
...Emily Hulbert and Gerritt Fielstra together. They married in 1928. They had listened to the lecture of W. E. B. Du Bois that year, and, shocked and stirred, they planned their honeymoon trip accordingly. They drove to Nashville, and visited Fisk University and Meharry Medical School, staying several days in the dormitories and getting to know the Negro students in their daily lives. Then they drove on to Atlanta and stayed several days with the students of Morehouse and Spelman Colleges. The truth of segregation at first hand was devastating to all old prejudices.
The FBI report on the Paines also delved into the background of Michael's family, revealing that after her divorce from Lyman Paine, in about 1935 Ruth moved to Santa Barbara, California for about a year and was said to be producing ballets, "designing sets and costumes herself." She was in Santa Barbara a year or two after William Lee Ustick received a fellowship in 1933 from the Henry E. Huntington Library in San Marino to study Renaissance literature. The two cities were about 115 miles apart.

In 1940, Ruth Paine and her sons appeared twice in the census at two different addresses. One showed her to be living at at 39 Mt. Auburn Street, though the word "cancel" appears to have been written over the entry in pencil. A second enumeration appears for her and her sons at 12 Dunstable Road in Cambridge, Massachusetts with W. Lee Ustick, an English professor, originally from St. Louis. Dr. Ustick had taught previously at Washington University and at Goucher College near the campus of Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. Although he appears to have been married to Eugenie Miltenberger Ustick, his wife was not shown in the Cambridge home with him while Ruth and her boys were there. This was a year before she married Giles Waldo Thomas. However, Eugenie was listed in the city directory with him in 1941 and subsequent years. Mrs. Ustick was an alumna of Bryn Mawr, a Quaker college, where her daughter Ellen was also later enrolled. It is possible the mother and daughter went abroad during 1940.

As a boy Ustick had lived at 4207 Westminister Place, only a block from the home of Max Kotany, a Hungarian stockbroker who married Mrs. G. H. Walker's sister, Mildred Wear. G.H. Walker was, of course, Prescott Bush's father-in-law. In 1921, Prescott and his wife, the former Dorothy Walker of St. Louis, had lived in Milton, Massachusetts, only two blocks from where Ruth Forbes had lived at the time. Years later this Ruth Paine would join Cord Meyer's World Federalist Movement, after becoming appalled by the atomic bombs dropped on Japan. She asked the United Nations' U-Thant how she could help, and he sent her to Indar Jit Rikhye, who became the first president of her organization, the International Peace Academy.

Ruth Hyde's father was also working with US AID, but we don’t know in what capacity. He appears to have spent some time in South America, Peru in particular. Evidence so far is quite sketchy, but we know that in 1963, after Ruth had dropped Marina Oswald off in New Orleans, she drove her station wagon, children in tow, leaving Michael behind at the Bell Helicopter plant, all the way from New Orleans to Ohio, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C. before returning back in time to fetch the pregnant woman and young June and take them back to Irving, Texas. By this time her parents had divorced, and her mother, had become a Unitarian minister. She visited with each family member separately, as well as Michael’s parents, who had invited her to the family reunion that summer on Naushon Island, just off Nantucket, Massachusetts. We can only wonder whether one of the Kennedys sailed by on their yacht that summer.

The Naushon Island retreat was a private island that had been purchased many decades earlier by John Murray Forbes, presumably with some of the massive profits he had earned in China engaged in the opium trade. It was his son, William Hathaway Forbes, who had consolidated AT&T, which set up Bell Labs to do research and development. Michael’s mother was a granddaughter of W.H. Forbes. Her father was Ralph Emerson Forbes, who married Elise Cabot. Both sides of the family were heavily involved in the China trade and with privateering as far back as the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. Most of the research on this has been posted at one or another of my blogs.

Arthur Young's patent
Michael Paine had studied engineering and had worked for several years constructing models from the helicopter plans drafted by his stepfather, Arthur M. Young, who sold the designs to Bell Aircraft Corporation in New York in 1941, but continued working to build a prototype in the Gardenville plant near Niagara Falls. (See interview with Raymond Entenmann.) Arthur Young left Bell Aircraft in 1947 and married Ruth Forbes Paine the following year.

Prototype helicopter
When Lawrence Bell built the helicopter plant in Hurst, Texas in 1951, he created a separate subsidiary corporation called Bell Helicopter, which hired Michael Paine, Ruth's son, after  Bell died in 1956. Michael married Ruth in 1957, and Michael and Ruth moved to Texas. They bought a home in Irving, a few miles from the Bell Helicopter plant in Hurst, in about 1958. At some point during these events, a pregnant Ruth Paine found time to worm her way into Middlebury College to study Russian.

It was not long after their move to Texas that a strange new type of corporation bought the company which employed Michael. The new owner, a conglomerate called Textron, got its name from the fact that it was created originally to buy up textile mills, mostly located in New England. In fact, the man who envisioned the octopus-like entity had begun began his buying spree shortly after WWI concluded. During the war most of such plants had been converted to war production. Most factories of this type could also make weapons, and it is highly likely that they had been purchased by the government, and that the apparent owner was engaged in selling off the assets of these old mills as surplus. We must remind ourselves that Prescott Bush's father, Samuel Bush, of Columbus, Ohio, was a high-ranking member of the War Industries Board during WWI. Shortly after the war, Prescott married Dorothy Walker, whose father, G. H. Walker, stood to inherit the dry goods business and textile mills owned by his own father and siblings--Ely & Walker Co. Further research would need to be done in this connection.

What we know at this point is that the parent corporation, Bell Aircraft, sold only its “defense and government products operations” to Textron, which had set up assorted charitable trusts based in Providence, R.I. Through these trusts Textron held title to the corporate stock of companies such as Bell Helicopter. The SEC referred to Textron as “the world’s first conglomerate.” Other sources called it a pyramid arrangement. My suspicion is that something totally different was going on. Money was being moved into these tax-free trusts which were stockpiling war materiel at the precise time coups were being staged by American and British intelligence operatives in Guatemala and in Iran. In 1954, the United States was looking toward taking over from France the war that had been ongoing for decades in the colonial empire in Indo-China. Money was needed in massive amounts to fight communism. I suspect that Textron was a proprietary of the first order.

Textron paid the purchase price for Bell Helicopter’s assets and stock on July 1960 with $32 million cash.

In today’s dollars that would equate to more than a quarter billion in cash!

Where did the money come from? How much of the company’s stock was owned by Michael Paine’s mother and stepfather? We may never know, but it would be fascinating to have access to those records.

The scheme was devised by G. William Miller, who had been hired by Textron in 1956 as an assistant secretary. After a year he was promoted to vice president of the company and by 1960 was elected company president at the age of 35. Miller came from a lower middle-class background. Born in Oklahoma in 1925 to parents who had migrated from Arkansas, but soon moved on to the oil boom town of Borger, Texas, where Miller went to public schools during the years of depression. After a year at junior college in Amarillo he was awarded a position at the Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut. By the time he graduated with a degree in marine engineering in 1945, the war was practically over, but he began serving his commission in the Pacific, mostly in Okinawa and Shanghai. While there he met and married a Russian émigré Ariadna Rogojarsky (or Rogajarski), according to his 2006 obituary in the New York Times.

The Coast Guard then financed further education at Boalt School of Law in Berkeley. After graduating among the top of his class, he was hired by the Wall Street law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore in 1952. One of his first clients was Textron, for which he handled a proxy fight. Textron’s founder was so impressed, he hired the lawyer to work full-time for the corporation in 1956. He was amazingly successful at what he did, so much so that before long he became governor of the Federal Reserve, and after that he was appointed by Jimmy Carter to be Secretary of the Treasury.

Beginning in 1953, Textron, this corporation with $6 million in losses, began a buying spree, acquiring over the next few years 40 manufacturing companies which made metal parts or other products which could easily be converted to war production. Textron set up a Massachusetts trust in Providence, R. I., which then issued stock through two investment banks in order to raise funds from investors in the conglomerate which was betting that there was a new war just waiting in the wings.

In a moment of madness as I wrote this presentation, I found myself wondering what banker might have handled this issue of Textron stock. What I discovered shocked even me:
The shares of stock in Sixty Trust were issued in 1962 by two investment banks: G.H. Walker & Co. and Blair & Co.
I’ll repeat that first name. G. H. Walker. Sound familiar? George Herbert Walker, who created that investment bank had been the father-in-law of Prescott Bush (from 1921 until his death in 1953)--father of George Herbert Walker "Poppy" Bush (41) and grandfather of George Walker Bush (43). The family investment bank was then operated by G. H. Walker, Jr., known as Poppy Bush's Uncle Herbie, the man who became his nephew's chief business adviser. In 1943 Herbie Walker was a  Captain in the Army Air Corps and stationed at Wright Air Field in Dayton, Ohio.

A few years later there were two separate Senate investigations into G. William Miller’s conduct while he served as Governor of the Federal Reserve Board. One involved a payment of $2.9 million made in 1973 by Bell Helicopter to a company called Air Taxi, Inc. Air Taxi was said to be Textron’s sales agent in Iran. It had been discovered by the Senate investigators that Air Taxi was owned by Mohammed Khatami, the Shah’s personal pilot, who also was married to Fatimeh Pahlavi, the Shah’s sister. America’s relationship with the Shah, as I mentioned, dates back to 1953 when Eisenhower’s man in the CIA Allen Dulles was toppling communist governments in Guatemala and Iran. Was Bell Helicopter a CIA proprietary? Was Textron a creation of the CIA to finance the war in Vietnam?

Khatami had unfortunately died in an accident in 1975 before the first Senate investigation when former chairman of Textron was being approved to serve as Governor of the Federal Reserve Board and later as President Carter’s nominee for Secretary of the Treasury. Although the almost $3 million payment in 1978 was characterized by one senator as a bribe, Miller survived the inquiry.

At some point before February 1977, the son of Lyndon Johnson's secret back channel briefer, Howard Burris, Jr., married Princess Shahrzad, daughter of the Shah’s eldest sister, Shams. They may have met while she attended Mt. Vernon College, and they were married in a quiet ceremony in the Iranian Embassy in Rome in 1976. Burris’ mother was the daughter of Governor Beauford Jester of Texas, who married Colonel Burris Sr. in 1946, Lyndon Johnson's back channel adviser on intelligence--one of the men who would serve on LBJ's inaugural committee. The other was Col. O. Delk Simpson. Together the two men were given the code names SIO and Intellfirst by Robert Morrow in his book, The Senator Must Die.

In 1960 Textron earned $14 million, or $2.93 a share, on $383 million in sales. The corporation had 29,000 employees and 90 plants and ranked 124th in size on Fortune magazine's roster of the 500 largest industrial companies. And in 1963, it sold off all its remaining textile operations. In 1968 Miller became Chief Executive Officer of Textron and was elected Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in 1974, a post he held until he moved to the Federal Reserve Board. In December 1968 the announcement was made that Textron had been awarded a $28 million government contract for the HU-1B utility helicopter, more commonly known as the Huey.

As I said earlier, the best way to understand how our world works:
Follow the money!