JFK Series 2: The Strange Tale of the Dallas GI Forum

Even though the discussion on the JFK assassination between Kantbot and myself ran some three and a half hours, there are plenty of bits of information, odd ties, and dangling threads left that simply couldn’t be worked in – so I’ve decided to write over time a small series of posts covering some of these various anomalies. Time is tight and research on other topics beckons, so this series will probably trickle out slowly, but hopefully people find them interesting and they can point to other potential research avenues.

The topic of this post – Joe Molina, the Dallas G.I. Forum and the whirlwind of infiltrators, paramilitary groups and law enforcement outfits that seemed to have surrounded it – has haunted me a bit in the recent weeks. It’s something of an unofficial ‘prequel’ to the assassination: it doesn’t directly pertain to the events of November 22nd, 1963, but it features a wide cast of characters that drift in and out of the Kennedy assassination sage in interesting and often inexplicable ways. KB and I, in our wider conspiracy theory, emphasize the social dimensions of how covert operations unfold, the dynamic possibility space that becomes the stage on which the action is set. The story of the G.I. Forum is an excellent window in this; it clearly illustrates, I think, certain aspects of the character of the city of Dallas itself, and how political and social relations in this landscape worked. It is in Dallas that we find a maelstrom, an invisible anarchy, that stretched back many years before the killing, and managed to reach to the heights of political power down to the desperate activities of fringe groups and the high-stakes games they thought they were playing.


The Second Accused

The common story of the Kennedy assassination is the one we all know: the president was shot and killed by lone gunman Lee Harvey, an ex-Marine who had defected to the Soviet Union, harbored pro-Castro sympathies, and decided to turn a window on the sixth floor of his place of employment, the Texas State Book Depository, into a sniper’s nest.

The common story continues by saying that he was arrested rapidly after shooting and killing Dallas police officer J.D. Tippitt, charged with the murdered, and then died at the hands of Jack Ruby just days later. Something that isn’t mention often is that there was, for a moment, a second suspect in the assassination, who was either brought in (as described by the Dallas police records) or arrested (the interpretation found in FBI files) on November 23rd. This individual was Joe Molina, another employee at the Texas School Book Depository who only had, it seemed, only passing knowledge of Oswald’s existence.

In the middle of the night following the assassination, a team of Dallas police officers led by the head of the DPD Special Services Bureau – and member of the 488th Military Intelligence Detachment – Patrick Gannaway, visited the Molina’s home. Between 1:30 and 2:00 AM, Molina was questioned by Gannaway and Lieutenant Jack Revill, Gannaway’s subordinate and the head of the DPD intelligence unit (the intelligence unit was housed within the Special Services Bureau, with Gannaway and Revill working together daily, often directly with the FBI). As the questioning unfolded, police detectives – apparently without a warrant – searched Molina’s home, scaring his wife and children, looking to find “weapons, ammunition, explosives, or anything else to connect Molina with Lee Harvey Oswald”. All that discovered was a list of names belonging to individuals affiliated with Dallas branch of the G.I. Forum – “and the names of these members were copied”.

At Gannaway’s request, Molina paid a visit to the DPD headquarters the following day for a more intensive questioning session. This time the interrogation was not to headed up by Gannaway or Revill, but by the Captain Will Fritz, head of the DPD detectives, and an unnamed FBI agent. Molina is ultimately kept at the station for many hours, before he is subjected to another by Revill, and then is finally released late in the afternoon. It was at this point that Molina learned to full extent of the DPD’s interest in his case. As Molina told the Warren Commission,

When I got dome, of course, there were about three or four cars at the house. My wife was all shook up and she said “My God” she said “Don’t you know what they been saying about you?” I said “No, I don’t know what they are saying about me.” She said “Don’t you know you been on TV and the news media across the nation saying you are on the so-called list with the Dallas Police Department claiming that you associate with persons of” – see if I can quote it right – “I was known to associate with persons of subversive background… It was a statement made by Chief Curry…

I called the Police Department and told them I wanted to talk to Chief Curry and they said he was busy. I was talking to, I think someone, fellow named King. He answered the phone and he said any retraction has to come from Chief Curry. I called the Associated Press which released the statement to the news media and they wouldn’t give me any satisfaction. They told me I would have to get in touch with some fellow in New York or something like that, so that was – I couldn’t get any satisfaction. I was accused of something I didn’t know anything about.

Joe Molina’s appearance before the Warren Commission was an entirely voluntary act: he had never been called or subpoenaed, and he came of his own accord in an effort to clear his name. Reading through Molina’s statement, he believed his treatment by the DPD was entirely unfair – and it casted a long shadow across the rest of his life. He was ultimately let go from the Texas School Book Depository on the grounds that his position was being automated away; having never heard news of technological upgrades in company, he felt that this was merely an excuse. It appears that difficulty in finding employment continued to follow him. The momentary identification of Molina as suspect #2 in the assassination of the president had, in other words, exacted a significant toll.

So on what grounds the DPD – and maybe the FBI – determined that Molina had have been an accessory to Oswald’s alleged plot? The key was the organization whose membership list had been found in Molina’s house: the Dallas G.I. Forum. The G.I. Forum had been identified within the DPD files as a potentially ‘subversive’ organization – so it’s quite interesting that Oswald himself ended up in close proximity here. The story of ‘Oswald the Communist’ was pivotal to the whole construction of the assassination itself. Was Molina’s presence at the Book Depository part of the reason that Oswald was there in the first place? This is the theory posed by people like Peter Dale Scott (he goes on to speculate further, suggesting that perhaps Oswald thought he was there to keep tabs on Molina). While this might sound like a far-fetched proposition, digging deeper into the contents of the FBI’s files on the G.I. Forum reveal a strange history of informants, plots and counterplots – and just maybe makes these just a little more plausible.

Informant Games

The American G.I. Forum was a civil rights organization launched in 1948 by World War 2 veteran Hector Garcia to deal with the issue of segregation between veteran groups. It had a deep pedigree in Texas: it was founded in Corpus Christi, and the headquarters for several of its large, nation-wide programs were located in San Antonio and Dallas. Molina had become a member of the Forum’s Dallas branch in around 1954, and two years later, in June of 1956, he was elected as the branch’s chairman. While he appears to have ultimately never served in this function, his nomination for the position came from the Forum’s sergeant-at-arms, one William Lowery. It is through Lowery – and a small handful of other individuals – that the G.I. Forum to be identified as a ‘subversive’ organization: he was among a small coterie of individuals from the Texas Communist Party that had infiltrated the Forum. This, however, was only one side of Lowery. He was also a confidential informant for the FBI, designated in the Bureau’s files as “DL- 2-S”.

Reading through the FBI files – many of which are based on information provided by Lowery – makes it clear the Communist Party had taken something of a special interest in Molina. Not only had Lowery, a member of the party, worked to put Molina in place as chairman of the Dallas branch: in 1955 multiple members of the party had paid visits to Molina, with it aim, it seems, to recruit Molina. Information provided by Lowery and other informants illustrate that, despite these efforts, Molina had little interest in the plans of the Communist Party – and was even opposed to their activities:

It is not clear if the DPD knew of Lowery’s status as an FBI informant. In a Bureau report dated July 17th, 1964, DPD chief of police Jesse Curry was reported as telling an agent that the file on the G.I. Forum maintained by Revill’s intelligence unit within the Special Services Bureau that Lowery was simply “believed by officers to be a Communist Party member” close to Molina. Interestingly, both the intelligence unit and the Special Services Bureau that it was contained within closely coordinated investigative activities with the FBI via the Law Enforcement Intelligence Unit program. This wasn’t launched until the late 50s, sometime after Lowery had become an informant – but one of the recipients of Lowery’s information was FBI special agent James P. Hosty (later the FBI’s pointman in investigating Oswald’s activities in Dallas as early as 1962), who was eventually having daily meetings with both Gannaway and Revill. It is unlikely, however, that the identities of confidential informants was entered into exchange of information between the DPD and the Bureau.

Clandestine Activities

Lowery was not the only FBI informant within the Dallas G.I. Forum. Another was a Felix Botello, designated “DL-18-S”:

The last individual listed, Augustin Estrada, was the chairman of the Texas state board of the Communist Party. In November of 1955, Botello/DL-18-S informed FBI agent Hosty that Estrada was attending as “National or Regional meeting of the [Communist Party]”. – and the same report mentions that Lowery/DL-S-2 provided further information, such as the amount of money that Estrada had set aside for the trip. Despite this confluence of informants converging in the same place, neither Botello nor Lowery knew that the other was an FBI informant. In some cases, Botello provided information to the FBI pertaining to Lowery’s status as a member of the Communist Party. In yet another, Lowery provided information on Botello. On February 2nd, 1960, Lowery, as DL-S-2, provided information to SA Hosty that he had informed Estrada that Botello was plotting to destroy the G.I. Forum. The report describes a “Dr. Andrews”, a “dangerous man”, who might join with Botello in order to “red-bait” members of the Forum – including Lowery himself.

As this might indicate, Botello was something of a very different political persuasion from the Communist Party members within the G.I. Forum: his orientation towards the far right, and, in fact, the militant, paramilitary right. He had knowledge of Minutemen activities in various parts of Texas, as indicated by a September 1962 FBI memo that reported that “former DL-18-S… stated that there were individuals sympathetic to the ‘Minutemen’ in the Houston area”. The report is quick to add that Botello’s statements were “non-specific in nature”, “general statements” – but it is quickly noted that these statements came directly from remarks made by Robert dePugh, a prominent member of the John Birch Society and founder of the Minutemen. This suggests that Botello himself was in direct contact with dePugh.

The Dallas G.I. Forum, in other words, was being targeted by groups on both the left and the right, and the FBI in turn had informants situated in both camps that were actively relaying information on these activities consistently from around 1955 onward. Yet the picture gets remarkably stranger when we consider further the activities of Botello. He was no simple Minuteman:

A 1964 memorandum from the Dallas FBI special agent in charge to J. Edgar Hoover outlines the existence of an “unnamed organization of Dallas, Texas Patriots”, with members including Botello, Vance Beaudreau (a former member of the Dallas branch of the American Nazi Party), and Ashland F. Burchwell. The file outlines that the FBI’s monitoring of this ‘unnamed organization’ had been going back many years; in November of 1961, Lowery had been asked by the FBI to report any info he had come across on the Minutemen and this group (it is likely that Lowery’s proximity to Botello via the G.I. Forum precipitated this request). Botello himself was queried about the group, along with Minutemen and John Birch ties, while around the same time that Lowery was turning scant information, SA Hosty told the FBI that no Minutemen were operating in the Dallas area. A few days later, Jack Revill of the DPD intelligence unit reiterated this same position.

Both of these claims are rather dubious. Revill’s intelligence unit was tasked with tracking ‘subversives’ on both the left and right – and according to former FBI William Turner in his book Power on the Right, the Dallas PD was inundated with officers who held membership in the Minutemen. FBI files from this same period suggest this, and go directly against Hosty’s statement: George Butler of the Dallas PD, a friend of Jack Ruby who was involved in the prisoner transport of Oswald, was widely known as either being a member of the Minutemen, the Klan, or both. In a similar vein, Robert Surrey – a close friend and aide of General Edwin Walker, himself closely tied to John Birch and the Minutemen – stated that he has been a ‘bridge partner’ for years of SA Hosty. Surrey would later be revealed as the source for the infamous “Wanted for Treason” posters that were distributed ahead of Kennedy’s visit to Dallas. The design of these posters, in turn, was based on “Wanted for Murder” posters depicting Khrushchev that were distributed by the Minutemen.

Despite this evasions, the FBI report of ’64 does contain further enlightening information as to the activities of this unnamed group. It reports, for example, that “individuals in this organization appear to be extremely fearful that the United States is in imminent danger of a communist take-over either directly or through surrender of the United States surrendering its armed forces to the United Nations”. These ideas, Dallas FBI SAC suggests, stem from the material propagated by American Eagle Publishing Company – a right-wing propaganda outfit owned by Edwin Walker, with the aforementioned Surrey acting as president.

The report also states that an informant of Hosty’s within the Dallas Republican Party, Donald G. Kemp, told him that

on a highly confidential basis that Edward C. Schwille is a leading member of a secret organization similar to the “Minutemen”. Mr. Kemp advised that Schwille keeps large amounts of ammunition and weapons secretly stored in his house and that he, Kemp, has seen this ammunition and weapons which included a sub-machine gun.

Schwille himself had a background in the John Birch Society, and the unnamed organization is described as consisting of former John Birchers ready to move onto bigger and better activities. It was Botello himself who furnished this information:

Schwille also maintained a series of higher-level connections. He was, for example, a financial backer of Earle Cabell, the mayor of Dallas at the time of the assassination – as well as a CIA asset and brother of CIA director Charles Cabell, who oversaw both the U-2 spy plane program and the Bay of Pigs invasion. He corresponded extensively with fellow John Bircher Martin Dies, a Texas Democratic congressman and chairman of the House on Un-American Activities between 1937 and 1944. Schwille was also an associate of Dallas oil tycoon H.L. Hunt, a generous donor to far-right causes (he provided money to, among other things, the American branch of the Comité International pour la Défense de la Civilisation Chrétienne, run by the man once described by Douglas MacArthur as “my pet fascist”, Charles Willoughby). H.L.’s son Nelson Bunker Hunt, meanwhile, would later finance the Patriotic Party, founded in 1966 by members of the Minutemen – and in the 1980s would become ensnared in the peripheries of the Iran-Contra affair.

In September of 1962, member of this ‘unnamed group’ Ashland Burchwell was picked up by the DPD after being pulled over for a traffic violation. Inside his car were maps, various kinds of survivalist gear, weapons and ammunition. Kemp provided information to Hosty that this ammunition had been provided to Burchwell by Schwille from his private reserves – while Burchwell himself told the DPD that he was an employee of Edwin Walker, and was at the time of arrest en route to “Mississippi to back Governor Barnett”. This was the notorious event of the “Ole Miss Riot of 1962”, which pro-segregation Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett barred James Meredith from Jackson State University, despite segregation having been deemed unconstitutional. After a series of negotiations, Robert Kennedy, fearing violent confrontation, arranged for Meredith to be escorted by hundreds of US Marshals, Border Patrol, and Federal of Bureau Prisons officers. The riot was sparked by thousands of counter-protesters, led by Edwin Walker, clashed with the federal officers on the campus grounds. Military police were soon activated to bring the violence to a halt – and Robert Kennedy ordered Walker to undergo a 90-day evaluation and treatment in a mental institute.

Political Stakes

In March of 1960, Lowery furnished information to FBI SA Edwin Kuykendall on a meeting with the leader of the Texas Communist Party, John Stanford, that concerned, among other things, working within organizations equitable to the party’s goals – including the G.I. Forum. A particularly fascinating piece of political intrigue bubbles up when Stanford turns his attention to the activities of the Texas Young Democrats, the youth league of the Democratic National Committee:

Informant [Lowery/DL-S-2] further advised that John Stanford stated that the Democrats of Texas had held a state meeting, possibly in Austin, and that it was very noticeable that issue of Johnson for President had been left out of the program. Johnson stated that in Houston and San Antonio, pro-Johnson were trying to disrupt and split the Young Democrats.

Lowery responded to Stanford by pointing out information he had already received, via a Young Democrat and trade unionist named Paula Weaver, that “there was already a movement in the Dallas area to split the Young Democrats; that Dr. Andrews was already calling separate meetings trying to get control of the organization”. This Dr. Andrews is the same Dr. Andrews that was mentioned in conjunction with Felix Botello in infiltrating and the G.I. Forum (and thus suggesting a possible link between Andrews and the “unnamed organization of Texas Patriots”). The identity of this Dr. Andrews is revealed in an earlier FBI memo, dated December 1959, as a “Dr. William Andrews”. He is described here as receiving money from a “Dixie-crat”, but further research is needed into his activities.

This “Dixie-crat” was likely the wealthy Texas industrialist E.B. Germany. In the March 1960 FBI memo, Lowery was reported as having information from Paula Weaver that Dr. Andrews was “receiving financial help from E.B. Germany, the president of the Lone Star Steel Company and a Shivercrat… [Andrews] is now calling his own meetings of the Young Democrats of Dallas in a suite at the Baker Hotel”.

The Shivercrats were a faction of the Texas Democratic Party that, in 1952, broke the state’s party in two by siding with conservative Democrat Governor Allen Shiver. Shiver, over the course of that year, had carried out two major breaks. First, he had refused to pledge support for the Democratic nominees ahead of the Democratic National Convention. Second, he threw his support behind Eisenhower, and helped deliver Texas over to the Republicans. As the party descended into factionalism, those who rallied behind Shivers were dubbed the “Shivercrats” and those who opposed him the “Loyalists”.

In 1956, there was a push to by state Democrats to bypass Shivers in announcing support for Lyndon Johnson (who had himself initially supported the Shivercrats, but in time came to oppose their positions). Shiver labelled this dissenting group the “Liberal-Loyalist-CIO-NAACP wing of the Democratic Party”, and drew a sharp distinction between his vision of a state’s rights-oriented political and Johnson’s ‘nationalist’ position– recalling the earlier division between anti- and pro-New Deal Democrats. Shivers was ultimately defeated at the May 22nd Texas Democratic Convention, though in the succeeding years he would use his influence in support of Republican candidates. He rallied behind George H.W. Bush in his 1964 bid to replace Democrat Texan Senator Ralph Yarborough (Bush’s ticket-mate in this election, hoping to unseat John Connolly, was Col. Jack Crichton, the oilman who in 1956 had launched the 488th Military Intelligence Unit).

Throughout his long career, Shivers maintained long ties to right-wing Texan businessmen. Among these were H.L. Hunt (discussed last section) and E.B. Germany, the money-man behind Dr. Andrew’s attempt to split the Young Democrats away from Johnson. Like Shivers, Germany was a notoriously conservative – and particularly anti-labor – Democrat: he had served as the chairman of the Texas Democrats, but in 1964 he headed up East Texas Democrats for Bush committee. And also like Shivers, he was close with the Hunt family. H.L. Hunt’s brother, Sherman M. Hunt, served on the board of directors of Germany’s Lone Star Steel Company.

Germany had become the president of Lone Star Steel in 1947, but he was already something of an icon in Texas by this point. During World War 2, he had organized the air unit of the Texas Defense Guard, which would later be transformed into the Texas State Guard. Several years later, in 1942, he became the intelligence officer of the Civil Air Patrol and a commander of the Dallas CAP; it is likely that he knew D.H. Byrd, the Dallas oilman who co-founded the CAP (Byrd, incidentally, owned the property where the Texas School Book Depository was located, and co-directed the Dorchester Gas Producing Company with Jack Crichton). 1944 saw a deeper engagement with politics proper: in that year, he served as a statewide coordinator for the Texas Regulars, an organization of anti-Roosevelt Democrats that later became the “Eisenhower Democrats”. Several important threads converge here: Martin Dies, mentioned last section in conjunction with Schwille, supported the Texas Regulars, and the Shivercrats greatly overlapped with their ranks. Another prominent Texas Regular was oilman Clint Murchison, a close associate of the Hunt family that, in the early-to-mid 60s, seems to have helped finance at least some of the CIA’s anti-Castro Cuban operates (such as providing money to Alton Ochsner and Ed Butler’s Information Council of the Americas, or INCA, in New Orleans).

In the late 50s and early 60s, Germany continued to be active in Dallas politics. His name is listed among the directors of the Dallas Council on World Affairs alongside Dallas mayor Earle Cabell (and it is this same organization whose meetings were attended by CIA officer J. Walton Moore and George de Mohrenschildt). He was also the director of the Texas Law Enforcement Foundation, alongside – once again – Cabell, as well as Gordon McLendon, the intelligence community-linked radio broadcaster and close associate of Jack Ruby (McLendon, incidentally, was close friends with Clint Murchison, and engaged in several business ventures together).

Informant Postscript

One of the theories advanced by Peter Dale Scott in Deep Politics and the Death of JFK is that many of the far-right actors in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi were involved in what he calls “Phase-1” propaganda, which entailed the supposed identification of Oswald as a subversive communist agent working on behalf of the Soviets and/or the Cubans. He convincingly illustrates this through drawing out a series of linkages between articles and books written by various, socially-connected individuals. These instances include, but are not limited to:

  • Philip J. Corso informed Julien Sourwine, a staffer for the Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security (SISS, the Senate equivalent to HUAC) that Oswald was part of a KGB spy ring inside the CIA. Corso was a member of the far-right Order of St. John along with Charles Willoughby, who as we’ve seen was close to the Hunt family.
  • Guy Richards, the “press contact” for the Order of St. John, reported that Oswald was trained at a KGB assassin school in Minsk. Richards, at the time, was close with Polish intelligence defector Michal Galeniewski, who claimed that the KGB had infiltrated the CIA at high levels.
  • John Martino wrote that Oswald was a KGB-trained assassin involved in plot coordinated together by the KGB and the CIA. Martino was a Minuteman, and would be involved in the creation of the Patriot Party that would be financed by Nelson Bunker Hunt.
  • Revilio Oliver, a member of the John Birch Society, wrote that Jack Ruby was meeting with Soviet agents in Cuba. This same story was propagated by certain anti-Castro Cuban exiles, who brought this ‘information’ to investigators with the SISS.
  • Oliver’s story was also promoted by Frank Capell, who Oliver described as his “research consultant”. Capell worked for the Foreign Intelligence Digest alongside Charles Willoughby. The Digest was financed by H.L. Hunt.

The curious episode where Oswald allegedly shot at Edwin Walker was, in my opinion, a catalyzing element in promoting these sorts of propagandized notions. Early suspicions, long pre-dating the assassination, that Oswald was a smoking gun in CIA/communist collusion, drove Otto Otepka, the deputy director of the State Department’s Office of Security until his firing in November, 1963, for leaking files to SISS. In the aftermath of these events, he became something of a hero for John Bircher and Minutemen types (in 1969, The Ordeal of Otto Otepka was written and published by William Gill, the editor of the American Security Council’s Washington Report – and it was at the ASC we can find Corso, Willoughby, and many others of this persuasion in orbit. It might also be worth pointing out that the ASC received financial backing from the Eversharp Corporation, which was also providing money to the Information Council of the Americas in New Orleans.

Following his firing, Otepka’s case was taken up by Robert Morris, who served on the board of directors of the Eversharp Corporation and a former general counsel to SISS. Morris was also close to Edwin Walker, having served as his attorney in the aftermath of the Ole Miss Riot of 1962. There were, then, many lines that connected Otepka, the man who hunted Oswald years prior to anyone else, to Edwin Walker, the man who Oswald allegedly fired at months prior to the Kennedy assassination. Another potential avenue, one that circumvents Otepka, is the connection between FBI SA James Hosty, who investigated Oswald upon his arrival in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and was apparently friends with Walker’s close aide Robert Surrey?

Was Oswald positioned in close proximity to Molina to help facilitate this kind of ‘Phase-1’ propaganda? As we’ve seen, Molina would have been known to law enforcement, intelligence, and these sorts of networks going back into 1950s. Once again, we have the Hosty linkage, as he received much of the information furnished by Lowery in his capacity as FBI informant DL-2-S and Botello as DL-18-S. But we also have the “unnamed organization of Texas Patriots” that infiltrated the G.I. Forum via Felix Botello. Given the close ties between this group and Edwin Walker (such as Edward Schwille providing arms and ammunition to Walker’s employee Burchwell to go fight at Ole Miss) it seems conceivable that the coincidence between Molina’s presence in the G.I. Forum, his proximity to Oswald, and his public identification as a suspect would lead certain people to begin connecting certain ‘threads’.

From this perspective, it’s quite interesting to note that Communist Party member/FBI informant DL-S-2/G.I. Forum sergeant-at-arms William Lowery makes a final appearance – but not in his capacity as a federal informant. On January 30th, 1964, an FBI memo was drafted that described how one Earl Lively Jr. had reached out to Lowery, looking for information for a book he was writing on Oswald and the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. Lively himself would turn up in the course of Jim Garrison’s investigation; one file that mentions him describes him as a “right-wing extremist”, “admittedly a John Bircher”, and “probably a covert Minuteman”. Lively told Garrison’s investigator that in 1963 he had been approached by Larrie Schmidt and Gordon Novel “to contribute to an anti-Castro fund”. Novel, an associate of Guy Banister, has been alleged to have been working on behalf of the CIA, and in 1961 assisted in a munitions left alongside Cuban exile Sergio Arcacha Smith and David Ferrie”. Schmidt, on the other hand, was very close to Edwin Walker, and was involved in Nelson Bunker Hunt’s anti-Kennedy newspaper ads on the morning of November 22nd, 1963.

The FBI file on the Lowery/Lively incident continues on to state that assisting him in penning the book was “Dr. Robert Morris, general counsel to the Senate Internal Security Committee [SISS]… and Lt. George Butler of the Dallas Police Department. Butler, as mentioned earlier, was the longtime associate of Jack Ruby who oversaw Oswald’s doomed prisoner transport (he had also been, perhaps importantly, the former partner of Dallas PD Special Services Bureau chief Pat Gannaway). Butler has courted accusations of being a ‘far-rightst’, a Minuteman and even a member of the Klan– one Dallas newspaper article connects him to the Klan while also identifying him as the personal chauffeur of H.L. Hunt.

Through the connections between Butler and the Minutemen, Klan and Hunt, between Morris, SISS, and Walker, and Lively’s own personal history, it is clear that he fits neatly within the network of fringe-right individuals and institutions that Scott suggests produced ‘Phase-1’ stories. His book was certainly along these lines, hoping to use the Fair Play for Cuba Committee incident as a basis for reinforcing the Oswald-as-communist narrative.

Butler, Lively told Lowery, “was going to try to get any information he could that the FBI turned over to the Dallas Police Department”. It was this statement that caused Lowery, having by now left the Communist Party and his days as an informant behind him, to reach out to one of his FBI contacts. The FBI, in turn, recommends that the special agent-in-charge reach out to Jesse Curry, chief of the DPD, with the allegation and put a stop to it if possible.


2 thoughts on “JFK Series 2: The Strange Tale of the Dallas GI Forum

  1. JFK’s assassination always reminds me “Murder on the Orient Express”; all the power centers and brokers were in coordination in order to execute that.


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