I spent years writing about Olof Palme but spent almost no time thinking about the Kennedy assassination. Yet the two have a lot in common.
Idealistic men from patrician families with a left wing streak murdered officially by no hope losers yet about whom a whole industry has been built up claiming there were conspiracies and cover-ups involved. Palme was endlessly fascinated by the Kennedy brothers, and may have modelled his Swedish progressivism on the dream of the progressive Camelot that died with the shots in Dallas and the ousting of Bobby Kennedy from the attorneygeneralship shortly after.
Palme is of course a lot less known than Kennedy. But it is said that the shelf space accumulated by the Palme assassination is greater. My thesis is that Palme was assassinated by the CIA, and I was supported in this view as as recently as a meeting with a Swedish retired senior official about three weeks ago. He said with great conviction it was the CIA.
The CIA feared that Palme was taking Sweden in a socialistic direction and was upsetting the political balance of power in Europe. In 2014, I met a guy called Ivan Birchan who was approached before the assassination by a CIA officer asking if he he wanted to hold the gun. There is a whistle blower on the Internet called Chip Tatum who was a helicopter pilot who helped the CIA smuggle cocaine into the United States and distributed on the street on order to fund covert wars in Latin America. There is another dark story from the annals of American history and a journalist called Gary Webb wrote about it for the San Jose Mercury and was initially showered with praise but was later hung out to dry by the US mainstream press and committed suicide, or at any rate he died mysteriously.
Anyway, Gene Tatum claimed that Palme’s death was carried out by the CIA.
My friend Sten Flygare was contacted by a Swedish former secret policeman called Lars Filipson who said that the man next to airport Arlanda chap who from behind bore a resemblance to South African super assassin Eugene de Kock was a CIA official he had formed a friendship with in Belgium.
The American Kennedy investigation has had a lot more resources devoted to it by a larger research community, and what put me off, I suppose, was the fear that it be even more convoluted and complicated than the Palme case, even more of a rabbit hole. That proved not to be the case. A weekend’s reading has given me an outline of the most plausible alternative theory to the idea of a single gunman, the loser Lee Harvey Oswald acting off his own bat, which currently officially prevails. This theory says that it was planned by vice president Lyndon Baines Johnson, the wicked, crude, vulgar, psychopathically ambitious Texas politician who gave up his Senate seat because he thought vice presidency under Kennedy would advance his chances of occupying the White House. This turned out not to be. Robert Kennedy, JFK’s brother, occupied the real number position as number 2 in the land as attorney general and sounding board for the president, and rumour had it that LBJ was going to be phased out of the vice-president for the election of 1964. The votes in Texas would no longer be needed as the Democrats were likely to get California instead. And neither Bobby nor JFK respected or liked LBJ. He was set to chair meaningless committees, was given a few privileges such as the right to use the main White House staircase and was the US government’s funeral-goer-in chief. LBJ compared the presidency to a bucket of warm spit and feared his ascendancy to the job in 1968 would be held up by Bobby, he would take his own eight year turn at the post.
LBJ was supported by Big Oil, which faced a loss of its economic privileges under Kennedy, as well as the CIA, who never forgave him the Bay of Pigs fiasco and thought he was too soft on the Soviet Union. Contrary to popular belief, he had not faced the Soviets down on Cuba, but struck back-channel deals which involved concessions by both sides.
Political consultant Roger Stone has written a very interesting book on the LBJ theme.
In his account, LBJ’s hitman was Mac Wallace. Wallace’s fingerprints were found in the Texas Book Depository room where Oswald was supposed to have fired his shots.
Apart from Wallace, a number of CIA operatives including Cord Meyer, Frank Sturgis, William Harvey and Howard Hunt were allegedly involved in the planning. Cord Meyers’s wife was sleeping with JFK. Hunt – one of the Watergate burglars – confessed his own involvement in his old age to his son, who promptly wrote a book about it. Howard Hunt also recorded a tape about CIA involvement, which is in the public domain.
It is all very interesting – if Stone’s book is true. Over the next couple of blog posts I will look at the Kennedy assassination in greater depth.