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Kennedy Curse or a Right-Wing Vendetta? (Why Tragedy has Haunted America's First Family)  

by Mark Tracy

Kennedy Curse

or a Right-Wing Vendetta?

 

Why Tragedy Has Haunted America's First Family


"A certain pattern -- something more profound than bad luck or coincidence -- must be at work."
--Edward Klein

 

The Kennedy Curse:  JFK Assassination — November 1963

"Military and intelligence officers did not take kindly to Kennedy's attempts to restrain this powerful conglomeration.  Kennedy angered these men by refusing to use U.S. military power to salvage the Bay of Pigs Invasion.  Then he added fuel to the fire by rejecting recommendations by the joint chiefs to bomb the missile emplacements in Cuba and to refrain from signing a nuclear test ban treaty with the Russians....  Some generals -- including Dallas mayor Earle Cabell's brother, Gen. Charles P. Cabel -- even went so far as to brand Kennedy a 'traitor.'  Cabell, after being fired by Kennedy as deputy director of the CIA, resumed responsibilities in the Pentagon."
--Jim Marrs, Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy

"Bobby Kennedy came up talking to John Kennedy and saying, 'You know, if you go too far in negotiations with Kruschev and with the Communists, you're going to get assassinated.  People in this country don't want the President of the United States to make deals with the Communists.'"
--Pierre Salinger (JFK's press secretary), video interview

"The ancient imperial capital [of Rome] ... was full of dark intrigue, treachery and gruesomely memorable characters.  But it had nothing on Washington, our Rome on the Potomac....  JFK -- who was increasingly isolated from his top national security advisers in the Pentagon, CIA, and even the White House -- clearly sensed the mutinous mood in some corners of Washington.  In conversations with friends, Kennedy raised the specter of an assassination or coup with disturbing frequency during his brief presidency."
--David Talbot, Salon "Rome on the Potomac," 3 May 2007

"In a remarkable passage in 'One Hell of a Gamble,' a widely praised 1997 history of the Cuban missile crisis based on declassified Soviet and U.S. government documents, historians Alexksandr Fursenko and Timothy Naftali wrote that on November 29, one week after the [JFK] assassination, Bobby Kennedy dispatched a close family friend named William Walton to Moscow with a remarkable message for Georgi Bolshakov, the KGB agent he had come to trust during the nerve-wracking back-channel discussions sparked by the missile crisis.  According to the historians, Walton told Bolshakov that Bobby and Jacqueline Kennedy believed 'there was a large political conspiracy behind Oswald's rifle' and 'that Dallas was the ideal location for such a crime.'"
--David Talbot, Salon, "The Mother of All Cover-Ups," 15 September 2004

"By Thursday, November 21, [Wayne] January and the Cuban had become close enough to talk somewhat freely.  During their lunch break and after a period of silence, the Cuban looked at January and said:  'They are going to kill your President.'  January could tell the man was not joking.  He had shown no sign of being less than serious before this in any conversation.  When January asked him why he was saying this, the Cuban talked about being involved in the Bay of Pigs and about being told how his friends had died because Robert Kennedy had talked John Kennedy out of sending the air support they had been promised for the invasion.  He talked about the pain and the embarrassment of those involved.  'They are not only going to kill the President, they are going to kill Robert Kennedy and any other Kennedy who gets in that position.'  January knew the man was serious, but it was too much for him to believe and he said so.  The Cuban closed the conversation with, 'You will see.'"
--Someone Would Have Talked, Larry Hancock.  (Wayne January was the owner of a private airline, American Aviation Company, located at Red Bird Air Field in Dallas.  Out of fear for his life, and the lives of his family, January kept secret what the Cuban told him until 1992 when he broke his silence.)

"Goddamn the Kennedys.  First there was Jack, now there's Bobby, and then Teddy.  We'll have them on our necks until the year 2000."
--Clyde Tolson (J. Edgar Hoover's associate director, confidant, and roommate), cited by William Sullivan, head of the FBI's domestic intelligence division, The Bureau: My Thirty Years in Hoover's FBI.  (Upon hearing Tolson's comment, Hoover reportedly nodded in agreement.  Note: Sullivan's book about the FBI was published posthumously after Sullivan was shot dead near his New Hampshire home by a man who mistook him for a deer.)

"[William Sullivan] told me the last time I saw him -- he had lunch at my house -- he had been fired by Hoover and he was going into retirement -- he said that, 'Someday you will read that I have been killed in an accident, but don't believe it, I've been murdered,' which was a shocking thing to say."
--Robert Novak (conservative pundit and author), interviewed by John Hawkins, 20 August 2007

"The thing I am concerned about, and so is [Deputy Attorney General Nicholas] Katzenbach, is having something issued so we can convince the public that Oswald is the real assassin."
--FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, speaking on the telephone to Johnson aide Walter Jenkins two hours after Oswald was murdered by Jack Ruby, HSCA Report, vol. III, pp. 471-73.  (The Warren Commission -- charged with determining the truth in the JFK assassination -- relied upon Hoover's FBI as its primary investigative arm.)

For more information on the JFK assassination click here:   Citizens for Truth about the Kennedy Assassination

 

The Kennedy Curse:  RFK Assassination — June 1968

"I hope that someone shoots and kills the son of a bitch."
--Clyde Tolson (J. Edgar Hoover's personal assistant), cited by William Sullivan, The Bureau: My Thirty Years in Hoover's FBI.  (Tolson made this remark to colleagues at an executive meeting, in the summer of 1968, when it began to look as though Bobby Kennedy might win the presidency.)

"Do you know what I think will happen to Bobby? ... The same thing that happened to Jack."
--Jacqueline Kennedy's comment to Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., after hearing of Robert Kennedy's decision to run for the presidency, Robert Kennedy and His Times

"I was in Dallas when we got the son of a bitch [JFK] and I was in Los Angeles when we got the little bastard [RFK]."
--David Sanchez Morales, former Chief of Operations at the CIA station in Miami (JM/WAVE) and a consultant to the Deputy Director of the Joint Chiefs, cited by Shane O'Sullivan in The Guardian, 20 November 2006

"They're killing all the Kennedys."
--Pierre Salinger (JFK's press secretary), Salinger made this comment to his wife after Robert Kennedy was killed, cited by Pamela Sampson, Associated Press, 17 October 2004

The killing of Robert F. Kennedy, the senator who would have surely been president had he not been gunned down, is at the same time an ostensibly simpler yet more mysterious crime than the assassination of his brother, the president....
  • The blood seeping from Kennedy's head came from a wound behind his right ear.  Powder burns indicated that the shot came from no farther than two or three inches away.  Sirhan was at all times in front of Kennedy.  Even granting the ad hoc (and false) explanation that Kennedy suddenly turned his head away from the gunman, Sirhan never got closer than a few feet.  Given that single piece of evidence there is no physical possibility that Sirhan could be the sole assassin.  The coroner who ascertained the position of the fatal wound, Thomas Noguchi, was fired and had to sue to get his job back.
  • Based on evidence of other bullet holes and bullets found in the pantry, at least thirteen shots were fired.  Sirhan's pistol held just eight shots and they were accounted for, having been recovered from Kennedy's body and the bodies of other wounded victims.  The LAPD explained some of the extra bullet holes as "dents caused by food carts" and suppressed photographs of its own officers examining other holes.  Ceiling panels and door jams where extra bullet holes were sighted and photographed were destroyed.
  • At least five witnesses -- according to police reports -- saw a woman in a polka-dot dress fleeing the scene of the assassination.  Some of the witnesses -- notably a young Kennedy campaign worker named Sandra Serrano -- heard the woman shouting, gleefully, "We shot him!"  Serrano asked the mystery woman whom they shot.  "Senator Kennedy," the woman replied, on her hurried way out.  A couple identified only as "the Bernsteins," who were interviewed briefly by a patrolman, told the same story, but they were outside the hotel, about one hundred feet down a staircase from Serrano's position when they had a brief exchange with the woman who was still screaming, "We shot him! We killed him!"  The "Bernsteins" (who could not be located later) also asked the woman "Who was shot?" and received the same reply....
  • The chief investigator for Special Unit Senator, the man who made all the decisions, was Manny Pena, an LAPD officer brought out of "retirement" for the occasion.  In fact, he had never really retired.  He was working for the CIA....  [Note:  One of Manny Pena's associates was CIA-man Dan Mitrione who was kidnapped and killed by rebels in Uruguay for teaching torture techniques to the police forces there.]
  • The fatal shot was likely fired ... by a security guard named Thane Eugene Cesar who was stationed right behind Kennedy and admitted drawing his gun -- and even privately admitted firing it.  Cesar somehow lost his clip-on necktie during the confusion.  In the famous photo of a dying RFK sprawled on the pantry floor, a stray clip-on tie lies just a foot or so from Kennedy's clutching right hand.

Note:  The above text is excerpted from The 70 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time by Jonathan Vankin & John Whalen

"Subject to me getting elected [President], I would like to reopen the Warren Commission."
--Senator Robert Kennedy, talking to campaign worker Richard Lubic in San Francisco, David Talbot, Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years

According to Robert Kennedy's former press spokesman Frank Mankiewicz, when Robert Kennedy was asked at a campaign appearance, days before his assassination, whether he would reopen the investigation into the death of his brother JFK, he uttered a simple, one-word answer:  "Yes."
--David Talbot, Salon, "The Mother of All Cover-Ups," 15 September 2004

For more information, click below:
Sirhan and the RFK Assassination: The Grand Illusion
CIA Assassin David Morales Photographed at the Ambassador Hotel

 

The Kennedy Curse:  Senator Edward Kennedy — Two Near Fatal "Accidents"

John Dean:  ...if they get those bank records between the start of July of 1969 through June of 1971 ... there comes Chappaquiddick with a vengeance....
Richard Nixon:  (unintelligible)
John Dean:  ...if they get to it -- that is going to come out and this whole thing can turn around on that.  If Kennedy knew the bear trap he was walking into....
--Watergate tape, 3/13/73


In July 1969, a year after Senator Robert Kennedy was assassinated, Senator Edward Kennedy's car went off a bridge at Chappaquiddick, killing his woman passenger.  The following is a brief account:

"On 18 July 1969, [Mary Jo] Kopechne attended a party on Chappaquiddick Island, a short ferry ride off the island of Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts.  Edward Kennedy and Kopechne left the party together; a short time later, their car plunged off the Dike Bridge into a pond, where it overturned.  Kopechne died in the car.  Kennedy swam ashore but didn't report the accident until the next morning, later claiming he had been dazed by the crash.  Though the details of the incident are not entirely clear, Kennedy's critics suggested he had been driving drunk, had panicked after the accident, or even had tried to arrange a cover-up of his involvement.  Nothing was ever proved.  Kennedy had been considered a likely candidate for president in 1972; instead he pled guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and had his driver's license revoked for a year."
--from the Internet site, Who2?

This is a typical chronicle of the Chappaquiddick tragedy.  However, given the likelihood of conspiracies in the assassinations of JFK and RFK -- and the right-wing's hatred of the Kennedys in general -- it is conceivable that Edward Kennedy was also the target of conspirators.

In fact, Senator Edward Kennedy was involved in a near fatal "accident" before Chappaquiddick.  On June 19, 1964, Kennedy's plane was en route to the State Democratic Convention in Springfield, Massachusetts.  However, the plane never reached its destination; it crashed on final approach in an apple orchard.  Kennedy's aide, Edward Moss was killed in the crash, along with the pilot, Edwin Zimny.  Kennedy would spend weeks in a hospital recovering from a severe back injury, a punctured lung, broken ribs, and internal bleeding.


Kennedy Curse


It should be noted that during this period, one bitter rival of the Kennedy brothers was the Republican Richard Nixon.  Nixon was a favorite of America's right-wing, having taken a lead role in the Alger Hiss case and the Red Scare congressional hearings that preceded McCarthy.  Later, Nixon would endear himself to right-wing Cuban exiles and their CIA sponsors for his hard-line position against Fidel Castro.

Nixon had lost the presidential election to John Kennedy in 1960 and, for a time, it looked as if his political career might be over.  However, by 1968, Nixon's fortunes had changed.  He managed to win the Republican nomination and, in November 1968, he was elected President.  Nixon's road to the White House was paved by the assassination of Democratic presidential candidate Robert Kennedy in June, five months earlier.

Once in office, Nixon would use his position to wage a clandestine smear campaign against the Kennedys.  The top field operatives in the White House campaign of dirty tricks were Watergate burglars E. Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy.  

Before joining the Nixon administration, E. Howard Hunt was a political officer in the CIA, helping to stage coups in several foreign countries.  Hunt also helped plan the Bay of Pigs invasion against Fidel Castro, developing close ties to many CIA-trained Cubans.  On a more ominous note, Hunt has been accused of involvement in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, a charge which he denied for years, but finally acknowledged in a deathbed statement released in 2007.  (see Dirty Politics -- Nixon, Watergate, and the JFK Assassination)  G. Gordon Liddy was an FBI agent from 1957 to 1962 and was part of COINTELPRO, a program of surveillance and sabotage against domestic political dissidents.

One of Nixon's first attempts to tarnish the Kennedy family was aimed at the deceased President John F. Kennedy.  In 1971, the White House requested that E. Howard Hunt forge "...some [diplomatic] cables in order to blame John F. Kennedy for the death of the leader of South Vietnam [Ngo Dinh Diem] ... for the purpose of publishing them in Time and Life."  (Source:  New York Times, David Rosenbaum, 25 September 1973)  

However, most of Nixon's smear attempts were aimed at Senator Edward Kennedy.  Edward Kennedy had survived the ordeal of Chappaquiddick and Nixon wanted to make sure that he was not left unscathed.  The White House asked "retired" CIA officer E. Howard Hunt to obtain "...cartoons that had been prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency, political cartoons attacking Senator Kennedy, for use should Senator Kennedy at that time run for president of the United States."  (Source:  Plausible Denial, Mark Lane)  Also, on a White House tape, Nixon can be heard telling his aides to place spies among a Secret Service detail assigned to protect Senator Kennedy in the hope of uncovering damaging information on Kennedy.  Nixon says, "we might just get lucky and catch this son of a bitch -- ruining him."  Nixon also directed two of his most ruthless aides, H. R. Haldeman and Charles Colson, to plant a false news story linking Arthur Bremer -- the man who shot presidential candidate George Wallace -- to Edward Kennedy.  (Source:  All the President's Men, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein)

Along with the Kennedys, the Nixon administration targeted other people and organizations it didn't like -- "enemies" as the White House called them.  Among these were Daniel Ellsberg who leaked the Pentagon Papers to the press; newspaper columnist Jack Anderson who Hunt and Liddy, at one point, marked for death; and the Brookings Institution, scheduled for a firebombing and break-in.  (see box below)

The following quotes are from the book, Will by G. Gordon Liddy:

"[E. Howard] Hunt enlisted the aid of Bernard Barker and we traveled to Miami to interview [about a dozen] men....  The men were exactly what I was looking for:  tough, experienced, and loyal.  Afterward Howard told me that between them they had killed twenty-two men, including two hanged from a beam in a garage." (p.191-192)

"We devised a plan that entailed buying a used but late-model fire engine of the kind used by the District of Columbia fire department and marking it appropriately; uniforms for a squad of [right-wing] Cubans and their training so their performance would be believable.  Thereafter, Brookings would be firebombed by use of a delay mechanism....  The Cubans in the authentic-looking fire engine would "respond" minutes after the timer went off, enter, get anybody in there out, hit the vault, and get themselves out in the confusion...." (p.171-172)

"In September of 1971 ... Howard Hunt approached me on the next Ellsberg neutralization proposal.  According to Hunt, Daniel Ellsberg was scheduled to speak at a fund-raising dinner ... and Chuck Colson thought it an opportunity to discredit him.  Could [we] drug Ellsberg enough to befuddle him, make him appear a near burnt-out drug case?  Hunt and I studied the matter and developed a plan to infiltrate enough Cuban waiters into the group serving the banquet to be able to ensure that one of our people would serve Ellsberg at the dais." (p.170)

"Howard Hunt and I had lunch with a man he introduced to me as Dr. Edward Gunn, a physician retired from the CIA and an expert on 'the unorthodox application of medical and chemical knowledge....'  The purpose of the luncheon, Hunt had explained to me previously, was to take advantage of the expertise of Dr. Gunn in preparing ... a plan to stop columnist Jack Anderson....  Dr. Gunn [suggested] a technique used successfully abroad.  It involved catching the target's moving automobile in a turn or sharp curve and hitting it with another car on the outside rear quarter.  According to Dr. Gunn, if the angle of the blow and the relative speeds of the two vehicles were correct, the target vehicle would flip over, crash, and, usually, burn." (p.207-208)  [Note:  Before his retirement, Dr. Edward Gunn was the CIA's Deputy Director of Medical Services.  In 1962, his CIA superiors requested that he produce a poison for use against Cuban leader Fidel Castro.  As can be inferred, Dr. Gunn's expertise was utilized in both foreign and domestic assassinations.]

When the Watergate story first broke, G. Gordon Liddy wondered if he himself might be a target of covert operatives out to protect higher-ups in the Nixon administration.  Liddy said, "It occurred to me that people who would seriously consider the use of drugs against Ellsberg and the killing of Jack Anderson might well decide to go ahead with an assassination in my case." (p.257)

The public might also wonder whether such people would have decided to go ahead with an assassination in another case:  that of Senator Edward Kennedy, which brings us back to Chappaquiddick.  (see box below)

"One of the things he [my father, E. Howard Hunt] liked to say around the house was 'let's finish the job -- let's hit Ted [Kennedy].'"
--Saint John Hunt (the son of E. Howard Hunt), interviewed on The Alex Jones Show, 14 May 2007

"[At the Watergate hearings] E. Howard Hunt told of a strange trip to Hyannisport to see a local citizen there about the Chappaquiddick incident.  Hunt's cover story on this trip was that he was digging up dirt on Ted Kennedy for use in the 1972 campaign.  The story does not make much sense if one questions why Hunt would have to wear a disguise, including his famous red wig, and to use a voice-alteration device to make himself sound like someone else.  If, on the other hand, Hunt's purpose was to return to the scene of his crime just to make sure that no one who might have seen his group at the bridge or elsewhere would talk, then the disguise and the voice box make sense.

"The other important testimony came from [White House spy] Tony Ulasewicz who said he was ordered by the Plumbers to fly immediately to Chappaquiddick and dig up dirt on Ted.  The only problem Tony has is that, according to his testimony, he arrived early on the morning of the "accident", before the whole incident had been made public."
--from The Taking of America 1-2-3 by Richard Sprague

"If he gets shot, it's too damn bad."
--President Richard Nixon talking about Senator Edward Kennedy.  Nixon's comment was recorded on a White House tape, 7 September 1972.  The tape was released to the public thirty-seven years later on 28 August 2009, three days after the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy.

 

The Kennedy Curse:  JFK Jr. Plane Crash — July 1999

"Why would anyone want to kill John Kennedy Jr.?  There are many reasons.  He was planning to run for national office according to Newsweek and People.  In fact, he had already told Al Gore he would run for President in 2000 or 2004.  He told friends he would have run for Senate in New York, but let Hillary [Clinton] run instead.  And he could have won.  He was the most popular man in the US.  He was also the only Kennedy to ever acknowledge a conspiracy in his father's death.  As the owner of an influential magazine, George, he had just launched an investigation into the death of his father."
--from the Internet site, http://gatorpress.com/badsam/page20.html

"Kennedy, Jr. showed his interest in murders of state and covert operations by publishing an article [in his magazine, George] by Oliver Stone stating that in the course of history powerful men typically murdered their opponents, and that JFK had been dispatched this way.  George also published "A Mother's Defense" by Guela Amir, the mother of Yigal Amir, who was convicted of assassinating Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli prime minister who offended the Israeli far-right by wanting to trade land for peace much as JFK had offended -- amongst others -- the military industrial complex and the Council on Foreign Relations that wanted war in Vietnam and continued hostilities toward the USSR.  Guela Amir revealed that her son had operated under the tutelage and training of a Shin Bet agent, Avishai Raviv, working for forces seeking to halt the peace process."
--John Hankey, The Assassination of JFK Jr.

"If they're killing Kennedys, then my children are targets."
--Jacqueline Kennedy (the mother of JFK Jr.), after Robert Kennedy was killed, Time magazine, 19 July 1999

"Everybody knows airplanes are fragile anyway, small airplanes in particular.  So it's a very clean type of assassination, in terms of ways to do it, because the area where the plane crash happens can be quickly cordoned off ... and the evidence can be cleaned up very quickly, and most of it is destroyed anyway.  But if there's anything left, it can be disposed of very, very quickly."
--John Perkins, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

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