Kennedy’s girlfriend murdered

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Kennedy’s secret girlfriend, socialite and artist Mary Meyer

I’ve just been reading a book called Mary’s Mosaic by Peter Janney.

It argues that JFK’s lover was assassinated by the CIA. Her name was Mary Meyer and she was the ex-wife of the very senior CIA official, Cord Meyer. Cord Meyer was the head of the CIA’s propaganda division, which controlled hundreds of journalists in many countries. The CIA ran publishing houses, controlled magazines, bought off journalists. Cord Meyer was a very interesting character.

Born in 1920, he fought in the US Marines in the Second World War and lost an eye in the Pacific. Facing death in the foxhole, he pledged himself to world peace should he survive. Which he did. He became an early published poet and writer, and tried to get into academia after the war, but went instead into the CIA, hired by Allen Dulles in 1951. His political commitment at that time was with a world federalist organisation and he believed in a world government. His life companion was Mary Meyer, a girl from Vassar College and from the top section of society. She was extremely beautiful and extremely idealistic and started out a career as a journalist. They were going to change the world. They had three children and settled into a suburban Georgetown, Washington, lifestyle.

However, as Cord Meyer buried himself in the new organisation, the marriage drifted apart. Another blow came when the couple’s son, Michael, died in a car accident aged nine as he crossed the road one winter’s evening. Cord Meyer was increasingly alcoholic and aggressive, and, although he truly loved his wife, he couldn’t abide his wife’s constant sarcasm and jokes at the CIA’s expense at gatherings with other CIA wives. That broke all the rules. Maybe Mary realised that Cord was not the man of  ideals she dreamed he was.  By all accounts, Cord never stopped loving her .

They divorced after Mary and her sister Toni went on a “husband-dumping” trip to Europe. Mary found a French playboy whom she briefly shacked up with, but back in the United States she found lovers and gurus in the arts world to which she increasingly turned. She had always moved in the same circles as the senator from Massachusetts, namely John F Kennedy. They lived a few doors down from each other in Georgetown, the posh district of Washington DC. They had known each other vaguely for decades. They came from the same social background and been to the same schools. JFK and even cut in on her during a school dance once at Choate when they were both 17. But she’d always turned him down as a compulsive womaniser who wasn’t serious. Kennedy had always been fascinated by her. She was one of the brightest catches of Washington. And there seems to have been some socialising in the late 50s brought them closer together and by the time of the inauguration of Kennedy in 1961 they were apparently lovers. At the same time Mary was developing her life in new directions after having been a CIA wife. She was into LSD and became quite an accomplished abstract artist. She and a few other Washington socialite wives cracked the plan to wind down the Cold War by feeding their husbands LSD….

Mary Meyer spent an enormous amount of time with Kennedy in his last two years. His marriage with Jackie was not going well. JFK had other lovers, notably Marilyn Monroe, but none was nearly as serious as Mary Meyer, perhaps the only woman he ever treated as an equal, apart from his sister who died during the war. She was formidably intelligent and she was often attending his meetings in the White House. She agitated constantly for peace and was extremely hostile to the CIA, which of course she knew from the inside and blamed the CIA and the military-industrial complex for the close shave with nuclear war that happened in the Cuba crisis of October 1962.  A view which she eventually got Kennedy to share – although he’d probably done a lot of thinking himself.  Peter Janney knows the Georgetown and CIA milieu of which he writes.  Janney’s own father was a CIA official and his parents knew the Meyers well; Peter’s best childhood friend was Michael Janney, the son who died in the car accident.

When Kennedy was assassinated, Mary Meyer was of course devastated. And she had her own theories that the CIA did it, views that she put in her diary. Within a year, she herself had been murdered. Now, the case is not uncontroversial.

Many still believe that it was carried out by Ray Crump, a black day labourer who happened to be in the towpath area in suburban Washington where she was gunned down by two shots in October 1964. But no semen stains, no fingerprints, no clothes fibres, no blood,  or  bits of hair from either Mary or Crump could be found on the other person when the autopsy was carried out, even though she struggled with her attacker and there were blood stains on her clothes.

Crump was a pathetic, alcoholic character to didn’t fit the witness testimony of a black man as the assailant weighing  180lb and 5 foot 11.  Crumb was 3 inches shorter and 50lbs lighter. There was something suspicious about him, admittedly. He did lie to the police about being fishing there that day, but his fishing rod was at home. And his zipper jacket, dark trousers and shoes did seem to fit with the testimony of mechanic who saw a black man standing over Mary’s body. The mechanic was a few dozen feet away on the road parallel to the towpath. He had been called out to try and start up a station wagon that someone had abandoned on the road.  The mechanic did not see the murder itself.

He potentially faced the electric chair,  but the jury determined that he was innocent thanks to the efforts of very persistent black defence lawyer in her 50s, Dovey Roundtree. Some have said that she was a minister and so knew how to persuade through the impassioned power of her delivery and they pointed out that the jury was mostly black so it was a racially biased acquittal. On the other hand, Crump had never been seen with a gun before, had never been seen using one, and Roundtree found a woman, “Vivian”, who could testify in an affidavit that they had had sex that morning in the vegetation next to the towpath.

However, Vivian had been reluctant to go public because she too was married,  so perhaps Crump’s suspicious behaviour could be partly explained by him having just finished an adulterous assignation. His zipper was open when stopped by the police wandering aimlessly down the towpath 40 minutes after the murder not because he had tried to rape Mary Meyer because he just had consensual sex nearby with his married lover.

The writer Peter Janney – whose father was CIA – has written an extremely gripping book, which reads like a thriller.  He relies on the notes of another writer, Leo Damore, who committed suicide 20 years ago after investigating the Mary Meyer story for years – before his book was ever published. Or was it something other than suicide? One never knows with these things.

Damore tracked down one of the witnesses, in addition to the mechanic, who implicated Crump, a runner in his 30s known as Robert Mitchell – whose late stage testimony was not sufficient, however, to convince the jury.

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Murdered by the canal

Janney managed to track down the man also and shows evidence to prove that Mitchell was a trained special forces soldier who resided even officially at one of the CIA safe houses at the time. Far from being a witness he may even have been the assassin himself. According to Damore’s researcher, Mark O’Blazney, Damore had Mitchell’s confession on tape. The tapes themselves, unfortunately, were never found after Damore’s suicide.

Janney’s hypothesis is that apart from Mitchell, the assassin, there was the second accomplice, a black man, wearing the same clothes as Crump, which the CIA had got hold of after stalking Crump as the putative patsy for a couple of weeks. They knew that Mary took walks along the towpath every day, and that Crump had regular fishing visits to the same area. So it was a very elaborate plot. The CIA also parked a broken down station wagon in the area,  then called in at a nearby gas station to get a repair man to turn up at the station wagon at the same time as when the fake Crump turned up in identical clothes and stood over the dead body for some seconds before walking away, satisfied that the eyewitness had seen “Crump”

CIA counterspy chief James Jesus Angleton, a family friend in the incestuous community of the Washington elite, was later seen around her studio in Georgetown and made off with her secret diary which may have contained her speculation about the CIA operation against Kennedy as well as stories of dope taking and LSD sessions in the White House. The fact that a CIA contact informed Ben Bradlee, the journalist who was married to Mary’s sister, later legendary editor of the Washington Post, hours before the police went out with the information that Mary been killed is another factor adding to the suspicions. In Janney’s book. an author called HP Albarelli is quoted as saying he was told by a longtime source that “Mitchell” had been involved in the “Mary Meyer murder and that he did it at the request of the Agency’s Domestic K (Contracts) office in DC.”.

This very exciting book also chimes in with the evidence from Howard Hunt, legendary CIA operative, who said in a deathbed confession in 2004 to his son, St John Hunt, that the murder was carried out by the CIA.

Howard Hunt was one of the organisers, the operatives were CIA men involved in the anti-Castro movement, people like such as David Morales and Frank Sturgis – they were in the Dealey Plaza  on 22.11.63.

The most significant name on Hunt’s list is  Cord Meyer. Hunt did not elaborate. And his son just republishes the claims without digging into them; while Hunt is long dead.  Of course, Meyer’s participation (if he was involved) could be explained by whatever the political motives the rest of the CIA had against Kennedy but it  is hard to believe there wasn’t a personal issue. This raises the dramatic possibility that the murder of a century was not the only a military-industrial complex operation against a president who wanted peace but was also a love triangle drama between three of the most promising individuals of the golden generation: Cord Meyer, his ex wife Mary Meyer and his ex wife’s lover John F Kennedy.  Cord Meyer himself died peacefully in his bed in 2001.

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