WhoWhatWhy Editor Russ Baker Talks JFK Records Release with Big Radio

Lee Harvey Oswald, Richard Helms
Lee Harvey Oswald (left) and CIA Director Richard Helms. Photo credit: CIA / Wikimedia and National Archives

In the interviews below, Russ Baker explores various issues, but they all have one thing in common — they demonstrate the enduring power of the Deep State. The first concerns the long-withheld documents concerning the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

The mainstream media is having trouble putting into context the promised JFK records release, and President Donald Trump’s decision to hold back some of those records — because they all work off the same flawed script. In a brief interview with Los Angeles radio station KNX, WhoWhatWhy Editor-in-Chief Russ Baker sets the record straight on what is at stake here.

In a second of two radio interviews with host Peter Boyles on 710KNUS in Denver, Russ reveals the answer to an intriguing paradox: Why has the Bush family been outspoken against fellow Republican Donald Trump after holding their tongues during eight years of the Obama presidency?

He also discusses why the mainstream media has such a hard time accepting the possibility that the US intelligence/military coup d’etat machine — which was overthrowing elected leaders worldwide during the 1950s and 60s — might have turned against President John F. Kennedy.

WhoWhatWhy Staff


[original record date: 10/27/2017]

Click HERE to Download Mp3

Click HERE to Download Mp3

KNX/CBS Newsradio Los Angeles — Full Text Transcript:

As a service to our readers, we provide transcripts with our podcasts. We try to ensure that these transcripts do not include errors. However, due to resource constraints, we are not always able to proofread them as closely as we would like, and we hope that you will excuse any errors that slipped through.

KNX Radio Host: Right now though the mystery about who killed President John F. Kennedy continues even though the government has now released thousands of documents about the investigation. With us now is Russ Baker, Investigative Journalist, Editor-in-Chief of the news site WhoWhatWhy.org, author of the best selling book Family of Secrets which explores the Kennedy assassination. Mr. Baker, you and your team have been going through all of these new documents which have just become public. Is there anything new?
Russ Baker: There is. First of all, let me just say that this is an occasion of historic importance. Obviously, the removal of a President of the United States violently is very important. To many people that’s still a remaining mystery. The Warren Commission said it was Lee Harvey Oswald, the House Select Committee on the assassination said it was not or at least they believed it to be a conspiracy, that’s an important controversy there. Key figures, from Harry Truman to Richard Nixon maintained a belief there was more to the story.
What we’re looking at is the fact that we realize that the files would have been gone over many, many times. They’re invoking national security and they’re holding back a lot of documents. What our team at WhoWhatWhy.org is doing is we’re basically going through and assembling breadcrumbs. I would say right now one of the more interesting documents is where we see an investigator in the 1970s asking Richard Helms, who ran covert operations for the CIA at the time of the Kennedy assassination, about Oswald and whether he was in fact, had any US government ties and there is no answer in that document. For some reason that is all missing, we’re going to be asking more questions about that.
There are a lot of interesting questions here and for us I think the main one is Lee Harvey Oswald was a high profile defector, he was in the military, and he had possession of very important secrets from the CIA and the military from working on the U2 Spy Plane Program. Why are there not US government files on Lee Harvey Oswald?
KNX Radio Host: Now, I realize that there are literally tens of thousands of pages and I’m sure you haven’t had an opportunity to go through all of those yet but from what you’ve now seen is there one or two things that just jump out at you and you go, oh wow?
Russ Baker: You know, it’s not like that. What we’ve seen so far … I’ll give you an example. We found a document … Now, this was in a pre-release batch. We found a document showing that the mayor of Dallas at the time of the Kennedy assassination, involved with the arrangements, getting the car to come through Dealey Plaza and all that, the mayor of Dallas was a CIA asset and had been for several years. His brother, very interestingly, was the number two man in the CIA, he and Allen Dulles both fired by John F. Kennedy.
KNX Radio Host: About 300 documents still not released, and we’re a little tight on time but what might be in those documents that is so important, so critical, that can’t be made public?
Russ Baker: Well sure. I mean, actually we’ve only gotten released 52 new documents in full and 2,000 that have been previously redacted, blacked out, they released those in full. There are about as many as 30,000 more that have not been released. Trump had said he was going to release and then at the last minute he said that they were going to let the agencies have, oh, about another six months to go through. We don’t know what is in there but the fact of the matter is that there are a little of crucial tiny details, operational details, code names and things like that that could end up giving us a vantage point into a whole new understanding of how these agencies operate and what they were doing in a period in which the CIA was involved with operations all over the world removing elected leaders. The question is, could that have happened in the United States or is that simply impossible.
KNX Radio Host: Mr. Baker, thank you. Russ Baker, Investigative Journalist, Editor-in-Chief of the news site WhoWhatWhy.org.

Peter Boyles Radio — Full Text Transcript:

Peter Boyles: The book that I read was Family of Secrets, The Bush Dynasty. He has a great website: WhoWhatWhy.org. I read him all the time. Russ Baker joins us. Hey, Russ, thanks. I know your morning’s busy, you got one segment. But welcome back to the show.
Russ Baker: Sure. Good to be here, Peter. Thank you.
Peter Boyles: Yeah. Before we start about the Kennedy stuff, I’m fascinated. For eight years, George W. Bush never opened his mouth about Barack Obama. He’s come out twice now, horrible on Trump. What do you make of all of this and why?
Russ Baker: It’s a tough calculation. I think that the establishment, they have problems with Trump. I in no way would want to defend Trump on practically anything, but I just, factually speaking, I think that the old guard doesn’t like this fellow. They think he’s basically unwashed. Although he comes from money and he comes out of New York, he comes out of a different kind of New York, a different part of New York and a very different kind of a guy. I think that as many problems as you know I have had with the Bush family, their issues with Trump are different. It’s really, I’m not even sure that substantively on a lot of these issues they actually differ that much from him. But I think they don’t like the style.
Peter Boyles: Well, but I’m fascinated by eight years of silence. Suddenly there’s this chorus of…
Russ Baker: Oh, yeah. But, you see, what I’m getting at is that I think to some extent the Bushes and Obama, I think they’re all part of the establishment.
Peter Boyles: Well said.
Russ Baker: That’s what I’m getting at.
Peter Boyles: But how…
Russ Baker: They’re part of the establishment, the liberal wing and the conservative wing of the establishment. The bottom line on all these people … You know I was pretty open about Obama and whether he ever wanted to do anything about these things or his hands were tied. The reality was that the pressures upon people who get into the White House to further the interests of Wall Street and of large corporations operating around the world and seizing resources and assets, it’s all there. That’s the game, whether they’re a Democrat or a Republican.
Peter Boyles: I totally agree. I have no use for George Bush, none. I think he should be on trial right now for war crimes. But having said that, for him to be silent for eight years, not a word, and then he’s kind of invented himself as some latter day Grandma Moses with his paintings. Now women have come forward and said Poppy was grabbing their rear ends. It’s not getting any better than this. And this is why I love the book. By the way, the book is called Family of Secrets. If you want to take an inside look at the Bush Family, Russ is on the job. I just thought it was fascinating. Not a word for eight years. By the way, no one ever critiques the invasion of Iraq. I know you did great work on that. But how they were able to get away with this, to me, is stunning. Thoughts?
Russ Baker: Yeah. It’s a shifting. Keep in mind that Bush, of course, was succeeded by Obama and Obama did not really, he didn’t run against Bush —
Peter Boyles: No.
Russ Baker: — and he didn’t criticize him. They have these understandings and, of course, then Clinton beat Poppy Bush and then they considered him like another son.
Peter Boyles: No, yeah, they all hang out now. Yeah.
Russ Baker: Yeah, they all make their peace. I think the one standout, the one guy out of all of them, out of all the remaining former Presidents who really has I think been a standup guy —
Peter Boyles: Jimmy Carter.
Russ Baker: — is Jimmy Carter. Absolutely.
Peter Boyles: You and I. I said that the other day.
Russ Baker: Yeah.
Peter Boyles: I actually, I’ve met Jimmy Carter twice and the one guy. His Presidency is whatever it is, but you can never hit Jimmy Carter on the things that the Bushes and others have done, the Clintons have done. You’re right. Even in that picture that they showed the body language, Jimmy Carter is alone, by himself, and he’s facing them. They’re all facing forward. I thought it’s almost like Jimmy’s going, “Who are these people?” Yeah. God, it was great.
Russ Baker: That’s a great observation. I think you’re right about the picture. Yep.
Peter Boyles: So here we go. Yesterday the documents drop and, of course, not all documents dropped. I hosted a big fundraiser last night. When I got home, I went online and started to read as much as I can. What conclusions have you come up with? I know we’re short on time with you. We have a limited time. What can we learn so far from what came down yesterday?
Russ Baker: Well, very sadly, first of all, let me say, let me excoriate the media who they’re on these talk shows just chuckling about the conspiracy theorists even though at least two-thirds of the American public I would say believe that Oswald did not do it or did not act alone. Those who actually read the research on this stuff know that he was not involved. The people who… If you’re listening to this and it sounds crazy to you, that means you haven’t read it much.
Peter Boyles: Well, I agree. I totally agree.
Russ Baker: Very simply.
Peter Boyles: We had a guy on yesterday, he turned up on a radio show. I’m driving. The guy didn’t talk about the mob connections and all these different. No, no, no. I’m going, “What’d you mean no?”
Russ Baker: Well, they don’t want to hear about it. But anyway, the media’s exactly the same. They’re know-nothings. They go on these shows and they chuckle about conspiracy theorists. The Washington Post though, I was just reading the Washington Post‘s coverage of the release and, of course, the Washington Post historically is a wholly owned subsidiary of the military-industrial complex. They said they had a bunch of reporters scouring the releases to see what was interesting while what was interesting was all this tabloid junk. They list all these things, salacious things that don’t really tell you much of anything of any import. Right at the bottom, I kid you not, the last item of all the things they mentioned is that they’ve got Richard Helms who is the basically the head of the covert ops when Kennedy was killed. He’s interviewed some years later by another panel after the Warren Commission.
Peter Boyles: Sure.
Russ Baker: The guy asked him, “Was there any connections between Oswald and the agency?” The document is cut off. It’s cut off, and the Washington Post leaves that as the last item out of this long list if anybody bothered to get to the bottom. Of course they did that because probably that reporter actually thinks that is important. But they did it almost like a this is kind of fun. It’s not fun, folks. The assassination or removal of an elected leader in our country is not fun. The failure of these people to make that the headline to ask why the document was cut off, where it is, that is what is wrong with the media, with this country, and with this release.
Now, so far, very little has been released. They waited, they waited, they waited. Yesterday was the final day, 25 years after this law was passed ordering the release of the documents in the wake of the film JFK by Oliver Stone, and they had to release them. Yesterday was the final day. We sat there, WhoWhatWhy.org, our organization. We have a team of several dozen individuals who were ready, scouring those documents. We waited, and waited, waited. It got to, I kid you not, 5:00 PM, nothing. They didn’t release anything. At 5:45, White House did a background call with reporters and basically said that some agencies, CIA, et cetera, et cetera, had some issues with the documents and they wanted more time to look through them.
Trump, this supposed outsider who bashed all those outfits, he says, “Well, oh, yeah, you know. We’re going to give them more time.” So they’ve given these guys six months or more to hold the stuff back further. They did release stuff, but here’s what they released. Out of 3,100 remaining documents that had been withheld in full, they released, as far as I know, 52. Fifty-two. That’s less than 2% out of roughly 30,000 or more documents that were previously redacted, meaning they took a black marker basically and they blocked out anything from a word to the entire page. They released 2,800 of those, that’s out of about 30,0000, that’s less than 10%.
This is not a great feat here, and I can tell you very simply, if you work at any of those agencies and your job is to go through documents and decide what gets released, do you think you’re going to keep your job if you spot a thing saying, “Lee Harvey Oswald was an informant for this agency.” You think you’re going to release that thing?
Peter Boyles: No, no, and that’s … You believe what I believe. I’ve been a great reader about the assassination of John Kennedy. My personal belief is that there are a number of people that wanted Jack Kennedy dead. The CIA certainly did. Organized crime certainly did. Anti-Castro Cubans certainly did. I’ll tell you, this is one of my favorite moments for me although it’s do with it as you may. Years ago along with Governor Owens, we did a project called One State One Book. We put some books up and it was a really fun thing to do. The voting settled on The Snow in August which is the Pete Hamill classic about the little Irish kid after the Second World War and Jackie Robinson’s making his breakthrough. The kid works and helps the Rabbi. It’s a wonderful story. We collectively brought Pete Hamill to Denver. I’d known Pete Hamill for a while.
We’re sitting backstage at the Ellie Caulkins [Opera House] and there’s Governor Owens, Dan Hopkins who was his press secretary, my heart surgeon’s wife, Pete Hamill, and a couple of state patrolmen who bodyguard the Governor. We’re just sitting talking, and I knew that Pete Hamill had dated Jackie Kennedy after the assassination. I’m a huge Pete Hamill fan and, sort of disconnected, I said: “Can I ask you a question?” and he said “yeah.” I said “Did you ever talk to Jackie Kennedy about the assassination?” He said “Yes” and these people were my witness. I said “what did she believe?” And he said: “Jackie Kennedy believed in the conspiracy to kill her husband.”
I realize it’s “he said, she said,” but clearly Jackie, and we now know from reading, Bobby Kennedy believed it, and now some of the documents that I read last night that in FBI memo April ‘64 Edgar Hoover, who I think directed the Warren Commission. He tells these guys that prior to the assassination, and this jumped off the page, a meeting took place at Jack Ruby’s Carousel Club in Dallas. Now this is Edgar Hoover. He said Ruby’s there and some guy you can’t read the name and the Dallas police officer J.D. Tippit, who was shot by Oswald. And they try to spin this story of this troubled Marine but some of this stuff that’s bounced out of here that I can read. I knew that he gone to Mexico, went to the Cuban embassy first. Now he meets with one of the guys from the assassination’s team from KGB. So I know you got a few minutes left but Russ what does all of this mean to everybody? I am with you … the mainstream dismisses, we had a guy on the other morning, which is terrible… He was a mainstream. So your thoughts?
Russ Baker: I don’t see any proof that the real Oswald was ever in Mexico City. The surveillance photos taken of the man they identified as Oswald, the CIA surveillance photos, was a burly, bald man who looked nothing like Oswald. And they said that was Oswald. So I have serious doubts about that. Very clearly, we don’t have time here, but I am working on a new book, ten years in the making trying to solve as much as I can the Kennedy thing. I’ve made considerable advances. Your two stories you just told me, I’d like to talk to you maybe later —
Peter Boyles: Yeah, sure.
Russ Baker: — about those. Very interesting and I appreciate that. Let me just say this in summation. First of all, you mention my other book “Family of Secrets” —
Peter Boyles: Right.
Russ Baker: I’ve got five chapters in there on the Kennedy assassination.
Peter Boyles: I know you do.
Russ Baker: Particularly answering the question, Why does George H. W. Bush, who later became CIA director, not remember where he was on November 22, 1963? I did a tremendous amount of research on that. I think there is very, very strong indications that the same people who were part of the United States coup d’etat machine, they routinely moved around the world fomenting coups, overthrowing and sometimes killing foreign leaders. I could list them. That those same people were put into play here and that is what I believe happened. That’s after all these years of research. I’ve got no dog in that fight.
I consider myself a serious journalist with agnostic views about everything I look into because I’ve got to see the proof. People get mad at me from left and from right, from this and from that, because I won’t rush to any kind of judgment. That’s what I think we are looking at as far as the release of the documents. As I said at WhoWhatWhy.org, we will be releasing our analysis of those and the difference between us and the Washington Post and these big outfits that were on it for a second and then will drop it, we will spend the next few months combing through these documents meticulously, looking for tiny breadcrumbs, connecting the dots, looking for aliases, and very small and somewhat obscure elements because that is how you solve a mystery of that kind.
Peter Boyles: Sure. I know we are right on time. Russ Baker is here, Family of Secrets. One of my favorites. Has a great website I read. It’s called WhoWhatWhy.org.
I agree with you that Jack Kennedy, it could either be a hit like a mob hit, or it could be a term that’s used too often now, game change, or it could be as many people say, Jack Kennedy buys some of his supporters. Say he wanted to break up the CIA and put his brother Bob in charge. There was a plaque and a bumper sticker that was showing up that said, at Foggy Bottom, and they would say things like “first Ethel, now us” aimed at Bobby Kennedy who was going to come and screw them. Somebody knew something, a lot of people knew lots of stuff and Jack Kennedy, the mob could have done it. The CIA could have done it. And then of course he could have just had it done because. So I know it’s kind of like a blatant question but why was John Kennedy killed?
Russ Baker: I have a whole chapter —
Peter Boyles: — No I know, I know you do. I know.
Russ Baker: The thing is, this was a man who didn’t get the message, which was: the president of the United States is not really a free actor. I even saw Frank Underwood just said that on some episode of House of Cards. He actually says that and I believe that’s correct. These guys are wholly owned employees of the system and the second they break away … as many problems as I have with Trump, I think that’s why the establishment doesn’t like him.
Peter Boyles: Oh. They hate him. Sure.
Russ Baker: I’m not saying he’s a good guy because I don’t think he is. They don’t care whether he is a good guy or bad guy. The thing is, is he their guy?
Peter Boyles: Yeah. Then it’s Jack Kennedy —
Russ Baker: — I think what happened with Kennedy was as the months went by he saw how many problems there were with the system with the people around him. That the joint chiefs of staff was just hankering to have a nuclear war with the Soviet Union.
Peter Boyles: They wanted a war.
Russ Baker: And he said “Oh my god, these people are insane.”
Peter Boyles: Yeah.
Russ Baker: Then he saw what the CIA was up to he said “Oh my god is this a mess.” And he started trying to do something about it. He and his brother and they became big targets.
Peter Boyles: Would you … One more last question. The seven days in May, the coup, following Pigs there was maybe leading up to the missiles. There’s a real interesting number of people who wrote books about, was there going to be a military coup in the United States? Was Jack Kennedy going to be couped? And there were some Air Force generals and some other people’s names who came up. And again we’ve talked many times about Charles de Gaulle and the Jackal and the rest of that stuff. Was Jack Kennedy a target for a coup d’etat in this country?
Russ Baker: I believe he was.
Peter Boyles: I do too.
Russ Baker: As you point out. By the way Charles de Gaulle faced something like 20-some attempts by his own security apparatus?
Peter Boyles: By his Colonels.
Russ Baker: How is it that it’s documented that de Gaulle was targeted in the same period by his security apparatus that was tight with the CIA yet our media cannot see clear to say that there’s a possibility that the same thing happened to our President. It’s just a dereliction of duty. Its disgusting.
Peter Boyles: As a geek reader, we were talking about the great guest that comes on. He’s a historian at Baylor. The arrival of the alleged Carlos the Jackal. The Jackal, who tries to kill de Gaulle. Who many people have chosen that name, the Jackal, but the original Jackal may have come out of Algeria and may have been hired by the French Colonels to kill de Gaulle. And you’re right there were so many attempts on de Gaulle’s life. And why can’t we believe it will happen here?
Russ Baker: Indeed. Indeed. And by the way the reason I think that this is so important is I don’t think this country has ever recovered.
Peter Boyles: No. Not at all.
Russ Baker: That sort of takeover. Eisenhower saw it coming, he warned about it. A month after Kennedy’s death, Truman wrote a piece in the Washington Post that basically intimated that the CIA had taken over. That piece was removed from the later edition of the paper. Jimmy Carter tried to break up the CIA and he was kept to one term. Gary Hart was on the CIA and they went after him with the scandal which I believed was engineered.
Peter Boyles: He believed it. I’ve bumped heads with Gary Hart a lot but when one time we talked and Gary Hart believed in the conspiracy, that’s the truth. It could have been his out card but at the same time he did believe it. That’s true.
Russ Baker: He was on the Church Committee. He was involved in all that.
Peter Boyles: I brought up Frank Church to this caller and the guy kind of blew it off. He said “They killed Sam Giancana and Johnny Roselli when they got subpoenaed to come to the Church Committee. Oh no, they killed those organized crime guys all the time.” No! Remember Sam Giancana comes back from Mexico and he’s going to go before the Church Committee and the Church Committee does make a decision that there is a conspiracy.
I’m watching these idiots this morning. Hey, I know you’re way past. Hey, come do the show next week. Will you do the show with me again?
Russ Baker: Yeah. Sure.
Peter Boyles: Russ let me put you on hold. Speak with Case and let’s go back and look at all your work together. I know you are having a busy morning. Russ Baker again WhoWhatWhy.org, and again: Family of Secrets.
You’re on hold, brother man. Thank you. I’ll talk to you first part of next week. Thanks Russ.
Russ Baker: You got it buddy.

Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from Russ Baker (WhoWhatWhy) and National Archives (Bossi / Flickr – CC BY-NC 2.0).

Where else do you see journalism of this quality and value?

Please help us do more. Make a tax-deductible contribution now.

Our Comment Policy

Keep it civilized, keep it relevant, keep it clear, keep it short. Please do not post links or promotional material. We reserve the right to edit and to delete comments where necessary.

print
57 Shares
Share44
Tweet13
Reddit
Flip
+1
Email
Menu
[gravityform id="3" title="false" description="true"]