Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Hillary Clinton and the JFK Assassination -- or: Why DID she wear that pink ribbon?

By Leo. B. Harley

At first, drawing a connection between Hillary Rodham Clinton and the JFK assassination would seem an exercise in absurdity. But a link does exist. Indeed, the senator might be called the last living witness.

Those conversant with the history of the controversy may recall that in 1992, Bill Clinton promised to look into the evidence of conspiracy in the JFK killing. After Clinton reached office, that pledge underwent a sad defenestration. In late 1993, the major media trumpeted Gerald Posner's book Case Closed as "proof" that Oswald acted alone, and Bill Clinton issued a statement endorsing Posner's findings. In the years since, we have learned of the many deceits, large and small, within Posner's volume.

Why was the President so quick to place his seal of approval on a book of lies? Was Bill Clinton ever, in fact, on the side of justice? The facts given in this essay will provide strong evidence that Clinton may have been motivated by a desire to cover up his own wife's participation in the post-Dallas clean-up operations.

I am not going to propose that Hillary Clinton played any role in the actual events of the assassination. She was, after all, a mere 16 on November 22, 1963. Only the most absurd theorist would suggest that one so young might have foreknowledge of the event. However, as the 1960s progressed, her all-consuming ambition gained her--and a small coterie of other young ladies--entrance into a hidden world.

The key names are these: Bobby Baker, Mary Jo Kopechne, Mark Shields, Irv Kupcinet, and Karyn Kupcinet. All of these individuals link to both Hillary Clinton and the assassination milieu through Wellesley College.

Karyn Kupcinet

As Edgar Allen Poe often noted, nothing rivets the imagination like the death of a beautiful young lady. For this reason, few Hollywood tragedies have the haunting resonance of Karyn "Cookie" Kupcinet's unsolved murder.

Born Roberta Lynn Kupcinet, she was the beautiful daughter of famed and powerful Chicago columnist Irv Kupcinet (jocularly known as "Kup"). Under the name Karyn, she gained a foothold in Hollywood, appearing in Jerry Lewis' The Ladies Man and in an episode of Perry Mason. Although given to occasional bouts of mild depression and groundless concerns about her weight, the 23 year old actress seemed poised for an important career. She wanted for little, since her father sent her a generous monthly allowance.

Karyn Kupcinet was strangled to death in her Hollywood apartment on November 28, 1963 -- just a week after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The crime has never been solved. The nation remained so transfixed by the tragic events in Dallas that Karyn's mysterious death did not attract the press attention that otherwise might have accrued.

Here are the facts surrounding her death:

Karyn had befriended actor Mark Goddard and his wife Marcia. He later became well-known for his role in the science fiction television series Lost in Space, and his wife Marcia. Later still, Godddard became a university professor.

On the last day of her life, Karyn had Thanksgiving Eve dinner at the Goddard home in Beverly Hills. The Goddards noticed that her behavior seemed odd: Her speech was faltering and her manner distracted. It remains unknown whether this behavior was due to emotional turmoil or to prescription drugs. Many theorize that she took pills in order to cope with a stressful situation.

According to Mark Goddard, Karyn had related a fanciful story about an abandoned baby being placed on her doorstep that very day, a tale which no doubt carried a certain symbolic truth. She left the Goddards by taxicab at 8:30, promising to call her friends to assure them of her safety.

(A conflicting account of her mental state on that evening appears in John Austin's 1970 volume, Hollywood's Unsolved Mysteries. Quoting Mark Goddard, Austin describes Kupcinet as happy and "vivacious" during her last meal. For unknown reasons, Austin excised the Kupcinet chapter from the 1990 edition of his book.)

Within the hour, Karyn was at her apartment and in the company of two other friends, writer Edward Stephen Rubin and actor Robert Hathaway. By this point, she appeared to have regained her normal state of mind. The trio watched television until she fell asleep on the sofa. After she awoke briefly and transferred herself to her room, the two men lowered the television volume and left. The time was shortly after 11:00. They went to Hathaway's home and were joined by Karyn's on-and-off boyfriend, Andrew Prine, a successful television actor. The three men socialized until 3:00 a.m.

So, at least, they told the police. The statements of Rubin and Hathaway thus provided an alibi for Prine, with whom Karyn had a tempestuous relationship.

Karyn had promised to telephone the Goddards to assure them that she was safe and in good health. After more than a day had passed with no contact, the Goddards became anxious and visited the apartment. It is worth noting that they entered without a key. Goddard said that the door just "popped open" -- even though Rubin and Hathaway adamantly told the authorities that they had locked the door behind them. (An acquaintance named David Lange had earlier tried the door and found it unlocked. But he did not enter.)

Karyn's nude body was lying on the sofa, even though she had gone into her room on the night of the 28th. The Goddards initially presumed that she had died of an overdose.

Coroner Harold Kade found a broken hyoid bone in her throat. The examination concluded that Karyn Kupcinet had died of strangulation on the night of the 28th, shortly after her friends had left the apartment.

In later years, crime writer James Ellroy theorized that Kupcinet had broken her neck while taking a shower. This suggestion was immediately ruled out by the family -- and, it would seem, by the facts. It should be remembered that the body was found on the couch, not in the bathroom. (How could a woman with a broken neck make such a journey journey?) Flecks of blood were found on the body. Even a less-than-competent coroner can easily determine strangulation by damage to the larynx, disc-like bruises, damage to the thyroid cartilage, hemorrhaging under the skin of the neck and bruising of the strap muscles. It is inconceivable that an experienced forensic pathologist, employed by a large city, could miss such obvious signs. The hyoid bone is almost never found broken unless fractured during manual strangulation. Ellroy's suggestion would appear to be not just wrong, but -- some might argue -- intentionally misleading.

A brandy snifter filled with cigarette butts had been overturned onto the floor. This indication of a violent struggle was not present when Rubin and Hathaway had left.

Who had motive to murder Karyn Kupcinet? The police would naturally suspect the boyfriend, who was, by some accounts, trying to back away from the relationship. But they could not break his alibi.

Assassination allegations

Flashback: One week earlier.

According to the Toronto Star Telegraph of November 23, 1963, twenty minutes before the assassination, a telephone company executive named Ray Sheehan overheard a woman say that "the president was going to be killed." The woman was calling from Oxnard or Camarillo, California, less than an hour's drive north of Beverly Hills.

Ray Sheehan, manger of the Oxnard division of General Telephone Co., said the caller "stumbled into our operator's circuits," perhaps by misdialing.

Sheehan said the woman "seemed to be a little bit disturbed." Besides predicting the President's death, he said, she "mumbled several incoherent things."
The woman's upset state of mind and general location are consistent with what we know of Karyn Kupcinet. If placed in a stressful situation, she was likely to self-medicate, hence the grogginess in her speech.

Still, these factors hardly constitute evidence that Kupcinet and the unidentified woman were one and the same. It should be noted that a mental institution then operated in Camarillo.

In the second volume of his series of books Forgive My Grief, Texas journalist Penn Jones definitively stated that the woman was, in fact, Karyn Kupcinet. In his book, Jones said that an "Associated Press dispatch" told "approximately the same story as we have on Miss Kupcinet." Unfortunately, Jones inflicted some self-damage by getting the date of Kupcinet's murder wrong. When I spoke to the late Penn Jones in the early 1990s, he alleged that he had an independent source of information for linking this prophetic telephone call to Karyn Kupcinet. Unfortunately, he did not name his source.

Despite their disagreements on other issues, both Ellroy and the Kupcinet family are united in disputing the Jones account. They point out that she had, in fact, traveled south (not north) on the 22nd, going to Palm Springs in the company of Prine and actor Earl Holliman. She struck them as very upset by the events of the day, and did not indicate any foreknowledge.

Although most reearchers now believe that Karyn Kupcinet was not the person who made the call from Oxnard/Camarillo, the possibility cannot be entirely ruled out, since the trip to Palm Springs began after the tragedy. No-one can explain why Karyn would travel north to make such a call. Perhaps she feared having the call traced to her home number. Arguably, she was in an agitated state of mind when she made a mad dash on the freeway until she found a phone booth which she considered a safe distance away.

Karyn's father, famed columnist Irv Kupcinet, had known Jack Ruby during Ruby's days in Chicago. This relationship -- admitted even by Warren Commission supporters -- should surprise no-one, since both men made it their business to know "anyone who was anyone" in town.

Penn Jones always believed that Ruby had given Kupcinet some prior indication of the conspiracy to murder JFK, and that Karyn learned of this plot via her father. This is not a theory which I share.

According to this investigator, journalist Mark Shields (more recently a PBS commentator) played a role in the cover-up:
The warning given to the Los Angeles FBI by Kupcinet's daughter Karyn was never passed on to Washington D.C.Dallas, Texas thanks to the heads up phone call made to the CIA by...Mark Shields.
Mark Shields was clearly operating as a CIA asset and FBI informant on November 22, 1963.
At the risk of getting ahead of our story, perhaps we should here note that Shields has become part of the Clinton inner circle:

Mark Shields also participated with Bob Woodward of the Washington Post and Judy Woodruff's husband, Al Hunt, then of the Wall Street Journal, now with Bloomberg News, in conducting a smear campaign against Gore during the Clinton fundraising scandals in order to take the heat off Bill and Hillary.

Shields once stated to this reporter on the phone in early 1994, after Hillary blew out the Democratic Congress, that Al Gore would never again be nominated for national office by the Democratic Party because he was not part of the Washington elite.

Shields even stated to this reporter... "Gore won't play ball so he is not a good horse."

If Karyn Kupcinet possessed any foreknowledge of the assassination, her father, in all likelihood, was not the source. It certainly is hard to imagine why Irv Kupcinet would give his young daughter (but no-one else) scuttlebutt received from a low-level gangster like Jack Ruby.

However, she may have inadvertently been introduced her into a dangerous milieu via Bobby Baker.

Baker was the chief aide to Lyndon Johnson, the man who succeeded JFK to the presidency. Like his successor Bill Clinton, Johnson had many links to organized crime -- and Baker was the point of contact.
In the early 1950s Baker had also been involved in helping the InterContinental Hotels Group to establish casinos in the Dominican Republic. Baker arranged for Ed Levison, an associate of mobsters Meyer Lansky and Sam Giancana, to become involved in this deal. Afterwards, Baker continued to do business with Levison, Giancana and Ben Siegelbaum (an associate of Jimmy Hoffa) in the Dominican Republic, believing that the Dominican Republic could be a Mafia replacement for Cuba.

In 1962, Baker established the Serve-U-Corporation with his friend, Fred Black, and mobsters Ed Levenson and Benny Sigelbaum. The company was to provide vending machines for companies working on federally granted programs. The machines were manufactured by a company secretly owned by Sam Giancana and other mobsters based in Chicago.

Although his only official income came from his role as Johnson's aide, Baker was clearly a very wealthy man, and rumors eventually began circulating that he was involved in corrupt activities. Baker was investigated by Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, who discovered Baker's links to several Mafia bosses.
As evidence emerged linking Johnson directly with organized crime, the Kennedy's soon understood that they might have to drop LBJ from the ticket.

Baker's secretary and mistress was a young woman named Nancy Carole Tyler, who shared an apartment with none other than Mary Jo Kopechne, the woman killed in the accident (if accident it was) that did such irreparable damage to Edward Kennedy's political career. More than that:
Nancy Carole Tyler was Bobby Baker's secretary. She lived with Mary Jo Kopechne, who worked for George Smathers. It was later discovered that the home was owned by Baker who used it to hold sex parties for his political and business associates.
These parties -- which call to mind the Profumo affair, as well as the later scandal involving Tonsung Park -- will prove key to our story.

Tyler refused to testify against Baker during a 1964 Senate investigation. Later, her relationship with Baker turned acrimonious when he refused to leave his wife for her. She died in a mysterious plane crash on May 10, 1965.

Her roommate, Mary Jo Kopechne, is also thought to have been involved with Baker's activities. The manner of her death is well-known.

Kopechne and Tyler were not just roommates -- they were also students at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. At some point, Karyn Kupcinet became enmeshed in this same milieu.

Some researchers have mistakenly claimed the Kupcinet was herself a Wellesley student, but this is not quite true. "Cookie" attended Pine Manor Junior College, also located in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Assassination researcher John Simkin has found evidence linking the beautiful Karyn Kupcinet to Nancy Carole Tyler -- and thus, to Bobby Baker's operation.

I am not suggesting that Karyn ever became one of Baker's escorts. However, a source has informed me that Tyler did befriend Kupcinet. This is, in and of itself, unremarkable: Karyn's undeniable beauty naturally would have prompted Baker to attempt to recruit her.

This innocent friendship between three attractive young women placed Karyn Kupcinet within the circle of powerful individuals who had excellent reason to despise and to fear both John F. Kennedy and his brother's Department of Justice.
LBJ had been receiving kickbacks from business contacts through Bobby Baker. The largest was the Fort Worth TFX contract to build a fighter plane for $7 million. Word circulated that Johnson, Vice President of the United States at the time, was going to be indicted. President Kennedy, it was rumored, was going to drop Lyndon from the ticket in 1964. Perhaps he would choose Senator George Smathers, who would become President Kennedy's "best friend," yet would say detrimental things about Kennedy's lifestyle after the Assassination, hurting Kennedy's memory. Don Reynolds, a man who put together Johnson's will and knew a lot about LBJ's finances, was testifying that he had seen a $100,000 payoff to Johnson over the TFX contract. Reynolds' testimony came to a halt that day when word came that President Kennedy had been assassinated.

LBJ began a smear campaign against Don Reynolds. Reynold's testimony would not be made public.
Karyn Kupcinet. Nancy Tyler. Mary Jo Kopechne. All three girls with potential knowledge of the plot met with untimely ends.

Karyn's killer was, in all likelihood, a Chicago mobster named Paul "Red" Dorfman, a known Ruby associate. Like Kupicinet, Prine and Holliman, Dorfman was in Palm Springs on the day of the assassination. Their presence in the same town was not coincidental.
When Ruby shot Oswald, Irv Kupcinet, Chicago columnist and Karyn's father, immediately called Paul Dorfman, a heavily mob-connected man. He'd been written about by none other than Robert Kennedy in Kennedy's book about organized crime, The Enemy Within. Dorfman served as head of the Waste Handler's Union in Chicago after Jack Ruby. He is described as a slight man with a benign demeanor. Where did Irv find Paul Dorfman on November 24th? Palm Springs where Karyn stayed that weekend. Irv Kupcinet had a lot of feelers out. He located Paul Dorfman easily enough.
After the assassination, Irv Kupcinet went scurrying after the scoop of a lifetime. The famed, extremely well-connected columnist formulated the goal of telling the true story of the JFK murder. He was uniquely well-situated to get at the truth: At some point before the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald, he put a call through to his old associate Jack Ruby, nicknamed "Sparky." In a sense, this communication both endangered and saved the columnist's life:
Had they killed Irv Kupcinet, people would connect it to the Assassination and Ruby.
While some suspect that the motive for Karyn's murder was to distract, my own sourcing suggests that the motive was to send the elder Kupcinet a message. Killing Karyn had "the added benefit of having her most prominent columnist/talk show host father, Irv, get off the Ruby case. He wouldn't be in any shape to investigate Jack Ruby or Mobsters."

I would add: He would not be able to investigate the Bobby Baker angle, about which Karyn could have provided inside information.

The Clinton Factor

Early in 1965, Hillary Clinton -- who, while in high school, had already established herself as an active supporter of Republican Barry Goldwater -- entered Wellesley, where she quickly became the president of the Young Republicans. (She says that the debates over Vietnam and Civil Rights eventually caused her to switch affiliations.)

At this time, Bobby Baker's operation remained ongoing. It must not be presumed that he ran a mere "call girl" ring -- these were worldly, politically-connected and erudite young women whose job was to get to know well-connected and powerful individuals in DC. Sex might or might not be involved.

Although Hillary may not seem a likely candidate for this operation, photos from her first year at Wellesley depict an attractive, elegant, well-groomed young lady, fresh out of high school. Moreover, her commitment to right-wing causes could easily put prominent conservatives at ease. Her ambition made her trustworthy.

A Wellesley classmate, whom I will here call F, confirms that Hillary Clinton came to know an older student connected to the Baker operation -- a woman I will call K. At the time, K was widely rumored to be Hillary's first lesbian lover. Although some incautious researchers have privately linked Hillary with Nancy Tyler, these reports are almost certainly erroneous; Tyler, as you will recall, met her premature end in 1965, and I know of no evidence indicating that she had communicated with Hillary Clinton before her fatal airplane trip. K, whose full name I will be at liberty to reveal only after her death (although it has already appeared in at least one biographical study), later went on to form an even more remarkable association with John Gittinger of the CIA. She initiated Hillary Clinton into this world of intrigue, guiding her well-crafted segue from "Goldwater girl" to student radical.

The ties between the two women cannot be understood without some knowledge of the student organizations operating at that college. A sorority at Wellesley actually refers to itself, in a jocular vein, as the Secret Society. Previously, it went by other titles, although the insignia has always consisted of a skull and crossbones overlaid with a pink bow. (The pink ribbon presumably serves a humorous purpose, although, as we shall see, the effect can at times be anything but funny.) Their current web page includes the following information:
The Secret Society will work to foster social opportunities at Wellesley College and strive to forward a lifestyle that balances academics with social opportunities on campus.

Listed activities include "TAG/Assassin" and "Spooky World trip." Again, these terms are meant to present a jovial external face to the world -- but they also hint at the darker secrets known only to the upper echelons. This inner grouping operates, in turn, within the shadowy Phi Sigma sorority.

Although I have no evidence that Clinton ever joined Phi Sigma, I do know that K was a leading member. These seemingly innocuous sororities have served as "feeders" for intelligence community personnel. The Skull and Bones fraternity at Yale (which Clinton also attended) performs a cognate function.

Thus it was that Hillary Clinton was tasked with an important assignment: She was to deliver a message to columnist Irv Kupcinet.

Kupcinet, after he had somewhat recovered from the shock of his daughter's death, had tentatively decided to return to a study of the JFK assassiantion after his old friend Jack Ruby had died of a strangely rapid cancer. (Ruby had been under the care of Doctor Louis Jolyon West of the CIA.) Another famed reporter, Dorothy Kilgallen, met with an untimely death after interviewing Ruby in 1965. A transcript of that interview has never been made available.) Kilgallen had once said, vis-a-vis the assassination, "That story isn't going to die as long as there's a real reporter alive, and there are a lot of them alive." Kupcinet considered himself just such a figure.

In 1970, Kupcinet had an unusual guest on his popular television program: Hillary Rodham, then an unknown student at Yale, later the first lady of the United States. Why did a major broadcaster in Chicago pay such undue attention to an obscure young lady from Connecticut? The more one mulls over the scenario, the less likely it seems.

In fact, a member of the Kupcinet production staff arranged for the guest spot. Hillary's appearance no doubt came as something of a surprise to the host of the show.

But the true jolt came when arrived in the studio wearing a pink ribbon.

The interview became more unnerving as it progressed. Repeatedly, Hillary Clinton made pointed and deliberate use of the phrase "That's the way the Cookie crumbles." (As you will recall, "Cookie" was Karyn Kupcinet's nickname.) Those reviewing the tape will not miss the elder Kupcinet's visible nervousness every time Hillary utters the word "Cookie."

No further words were necessary. She did not need to deliver any obvious threats. Indeed, it is very likely that Hillary Clinton herself had no awareness of the import of her words. She may not have known who or what "Cookie" meant. She was simply given a line to say, and she said it -- to devastating effect.

Irv Kupcinet abandoned his search for the truth. He never wrote another word about the JFK assassination -- not until Oliver Stone came out with his 1991 film JFK. At that time, Kupcinet sent out a message angrily denouncing any conspiracy theories touching upon the death of his beloved daughter. He was, of course, worried about the safety of other family members.

I have no doubt that Kupcinet family will continue to denounce or to detract from any objective investigation into these areas. Who can blame them? The image of young Hillary Clinton -- wearing that bow, saying those words -- probably remains forever seared into their consciousness.

(c) Leo B. Harley

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  1. You´re an absolute nuthatch. Why would "the conspirators" choose to "warn" Irv Kupcinet on a national radio show, rather than in private?

    That is just one of the numerous objections to your kooky article.

  2. To all Hillary fans. I like the possibility that she was or is a lesbian.

  3. I am curious to see this footage.