Hoover, Blackmail, Hemingway and Murder.
by Mat Wilson
“Corrupt and Incompetent Law Enforcement Officials give murderers the opportunity to evade criminal prosecution, but the public always knows exactly what a murderer looks like and how he or she behaves.”
Blackmail is strictly a vehicle of coercion. The practise is itself repulsive but the ramifications that surround it are even graver.
People who practise blackmail are like dope addicts -the disease is progressive. If, for example blackmail does not fulfil the desired consequences, murder is the natural follow up.
The failed attempt to blackmail and coerce Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., prompted his murder.
The failure to blackmail or to manipulate the Kennedys towards a specific policy direction made it clear in the “one track mind” of the zealot, that murder was the only way to deal with them. In particular, Hoover’s obsession to control people and their ideas had in fact made targets out of the most prominent people in America.
They were not all blackmail victims in the literal sense of the word, but they were all victims of the obsessive campaign to control public opinion. Political adversaries made ideal blackmail targets because politicians are deemed to be publicly accountable and are consequently more susceptible to the effort to publicly embarrass them. To be sure, when the blackmail charges are extremely frivolous and evidently fraudulent, the effort ultimately fails, even though the allegations linger and often assume a “second life” when they are exploited by publicity-seeking scavengers who embellish sensational lies. The insidious effort to control through blackmail is not very effective against prominent targets like Ernest Hemingway who were not easily intimidated, and the obsession to control them progressively escalated to the point where the “target” was murdered. To be sure, public ignorance records the “fact” that Hemingway committed suicide. Regardless, there is not a single shred of credible evidence to suggest that Hemingway did in fact kill himself. Ernest Hemingway was a persistent target of Hoover’s FBI since at least 1940 when Hoover was infuriated over what he saw as unwarranted intrusion into his exclusive right to spy. In 1940, Hemingway had organized a private spy network in Cuba to gather information about Nazi sympathizers, in effort to undermine Hitler’s war. Hemingway called his anti-Nazi operation the Crook Factory, and Hoover’s repeated, failed attempts to close down the operation invariably fanned his paranoia. The “infallible” Director was not used to being denied, and Hemingway was consequently viewed to be a powerful adversary who was feared as much as he was despised. The 124-page FBI file on Hemingway reflects the fear, the paranoia and the zeal to control the famous writer who was treated like a dangerous adversary. Hemingway’s FBI file “showed that the Bureau resented his amateur but alarming intrusion into their territory; that it unsuccessfully attempted to control, mock and vilify him; that it feared his personal prestige and political power.” Hoover’s relentless efforts to discredit Hemingway reflects the paranoia of a dangerous demagogue who was unable and unwilling to leave his target alone. In 1942, J. Edgar Hoover wrote: “Any information which you have relating to the unreliability of Ernest Hemingway as an informant may be discreetly brought to the attention of the Ambassador Braden. In this respect it will be recalled that recently Hemingway gave information concerning the refuelling of submarines in Caribbean waters which has proved unreliable.” Just two days after dismissing Hemingway as “unreliable” Hoover wrote: “[Hemingway’s] judgment is not of the best, and if his sobriety is the same as it was some years ago, that is certainly questionable”. In contrast to Hoover’s frivolous, malicious and relentless efforts to dismiss Hemingway’s entire life by claiming that he was absolutely nothing beyond an unreliable, pathetic drunk with the proclivity to support Communist causes, Hemingway’s characterization of Hoover’s FBI has proven to be entirely accurate. In 1950, when Most Americans were still having a love-in with the Director and his so-called infallible FBI, Hemingway said that Hoover’s FBI was antiliberal, pro-Fascist and dangerous of developing into an American Gestapo.” In retrospect, Hemingway’s assessment was absolutely reliable. Watergate burglar Gordon Liddy, who joined the FBI in 1957, is certainly a living embodiment of the fact that Hoover’s FBI was essentially “America’s Gestapo.” Indeed, the evidence is so clear and beyond dispute that one does not even need to make any inferences or assumptions. All one has to do, is to quote Gordon Liddy himself. Liddy’s FBI training led him to develop the belief that he belonged to an elite corps of agents whose duty it was to save America from all form of subversion -real or imagined and J. Edgar Hoover was the supreme dictator who spearheaded the national security-motivated war. In the words of Gordon Liddy: “As Adolph Hitler was referred to throughout the Third Reich as simply der Fuhrer, so J. Edgar Hoover was referred to throughout the FBI as the Director.” Hoover storm trooper, Gordon Liddy was prepared to do whatever was deemed to be necessary, to satisfy der Fuhrer. Indeed, discussion about the liquidation of political enemies was entertained as casually as most people talk about the weather. The following Liddy narrative reflects the sinister murder plots that tyrannical intelligence spooks like J. Edgar Hoover were prone to embrace:
I urged as the logical and just solution that the target [Jack Anderson] be killed. Quickly. My suggestion was received with immediate acceptance, almost relief, as if they were just waiting for someone else to say for them what was really on their minds. There followed a lengthy discussion of the ways and means to accomplish the task best. Hunt [former CIA agent who has been linked as a co-conspirator in the Kennedy assassination] still enamoured of the LSD approach asked Dr. Gunn [a physician retired from the CIA known for his “unorthodox application of medical and chemical knowledge”] whether a massive dose might not cause such disruption of motor function that the driver of the car would lose control of it and crash. [like Kennedy’s car at Chappaquiddick, the event that, according to Nixon, “would undermine Kennedy’s role as a leader of the opposition to the administration’s policies.]4 Dr. Gunn repeated his earlier negative advice on the use of LSD. Besides, though LSD can be absorbed through the skin, our hypothetical target might be wearing gloves against the winter cold, or be chauffeur-driven. The use of LSD was, finally dismissed. Hunt’s suggestion called to Dr. Gunn’s mind a technique used successfully abroad. It involved catching the target’s moving automobile in a sharp 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.
Liddy goes on and on talking about all kinds of different ways to murder people and about illegal FBI operations which were always staged in a manner that made it appear as though the FBI was absolutely blameless. Indeed J. Edgar Hoover routinely authorized criminal activity like illegal surveillance, mail openings, unauthorized bugging, illegal wiretaps, break-ins and murder -and it was all successfully covered up through the overriding obsession to avoid discovery. Gordon Liddy embodies the fact that murder was the ultimate consequence of Hoover’s obsession to control a particular target, and l
ike all illegal FBI activity, it was done in a manner that “proved” that it was not the fault of the FBI even though it was. Ernest Hemingway was precocious enough to characterize the murderous capacity of Hoover’s FBI, but he was ignored and at least four decades ahead of his time -we are still just beginning to appreciate the significance of Hoover-directed tyranny. Would-be assassins like Gordon Liddy should certainly erase every single shred of doubt about the fact that J. Edgar Hoover cultivated and worked with murderers. To be sure, Gordon Liddy has never been prosecuted for murder, but like Al Capone who was also accomplished in the art of covering up criminal operations, allegations of murder follow him as closely as is evidently warranted. According to Washington attorney Bernard Fensterwald: “G. Gordon Liddy has been reliably linked to two separate alleged murder plans during his work for Nixon’s top aides, and one other actual completed murder, during his previous FBI service.”6 When Liddy became Nixon’s crony and the cozy relationship between Hoover and the Nixon White House soured, Liddy and his faithful Cuban partners in crime were responsible for break-ins at Hoover’s apartment and “a poison of the thyon-phosphate genre was placed on Hoover’s personal toilet articles.”7 The poison induces fatal heart attacks. Howard Hunt had indicated that he had been ordered to kill Anderson with an untraceable poison and while the scheme was dropped, the simple fact that zealots with a proclivity to commit politically motivated murder had access to such diabolical resources, is in itself revolting.
If the implications of the sinister dimension of Hoover’s FBI are not acknowledged, it is not possible to realistically assess the actual substance of the relationship between Hoover and Hemingway. There is in fact a huge gaping omission in the historical record because deception, denial, fraud and evasion has too often provided the opportunity to cover up Hoover sponsored crime. Moreover, the common tendency to ignore the significance of Hoover’s ferocious, anti-Hemingway crusade certainly dulls the prospect of reconstructing the elusive truth. In retrospect, it is impossible to ignore the fact that the extreme hostility between Hoover and Hemingway drew battle lines which were clearly defined and courted predictable casualties. In particular, Hemingway despised and opposed the McCarthy-style persecutions that Hoover secretly supported, criticized the practise of using the FBI to harass American citizens without justification and was predictably “exiled” for vigorously condemning the tyranny that Hoover promoted and encouraged.
Quoted in Look in May of 1954, when McCarthy was at the height of his power, Hemingway said that there is nothing “wrong with Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin that a .577 solid would not cure”. McCarthy and Hoover evidently incited the worst and destroyed the best of everything they touched. Hemingway was not a gun-toting extremist. It was Hoover who induced that spirit. The frustration of being persecuted by Hoover’s FBI had taken its toll as early as 1954, when FBI agents evidently shadowed Hemingway wherever he went. Recall that Frank Wilkinson, a relatively obscure target had as many as eight FBI agents tailing him -an internationally reputed author like Hemingway was invariably the victim of an equally outrageous degree of unwarranted, illegal surveillance. But despite the fact that he was a target of covert, illegal operations, Hemingway was provided no recourse to justice and could do very little beyond mock the “obtrusive, inescapable FBI men, pleasant and all trying to look so average, clean-cut-young-American that they stood out as clearly as though they had worn a bureau shoulder patch on their white linen or seersucker suits”. Hoover used the “infallible” wing of the FBI to spy on Hemingway, and unbeknownst to agents who were simply following relatively innocuous instructions, they ultimately aided and abetted a murderer like J. Edgar Hoover. Clearly, when FBI agents placed Hemingway under surveillance to develop a derogatory profile, the plot to discredit Hemingway escalated from the effort to label him a drunk, a liar, and a Communist to the determination to declare him insane in order to justify his alleged suicide. FBI smear campaigns against Hemingway were extremely secretive because Hoover was afraid to confront him in public and public ignorance made it easy for him to promote the suggestion that Hemingway was paranoid. How, for example, could Hemingway convincingly claim that Hoover’s FBI was America’s Gestapo, when the FBI did not publicly demonstrate any interest in him? In the final analysis, it is the extreme secrecy that Hoover maintained which provided the opportunity to promote the claim that Hemingway was paranoid and unstable when in fact he was more reasonable and more perceptive than most. Critics who harp on common misrepresentations had a field day with the claim that Hemingway committed suicide, but they merely promoted common ignorance. Hoover had spent over a decade trying to convince anyone who would listen that Hemingway was unreliable, and it was only a matter of time before his relentless, illegal intrusions destroyed Hemingway. Having committed the unpardonable sin of challenging the infallible reputation of the FBI, Hemingway was clearly a priority target who was always shadowed by the FBI until the very day he was murdered or, as the official record dictates, “committed suicide”.
In late 1960, when Hemingway arrived in New York, having left Cuba for the last time, Hemingway told his wife Mary: “They’re tailing me out here already… Somebody waiting out there.”9 Hoover’s FBI was indeed always tailing Hemingway -a harassment that disturbed him so profoundly that he didn’t even want to leave his small apartment. Hemingway’s wife dismissed his legitimate concerns and developed the belief that he was “losing it”. Ironically, it is the fact that Hemingway was perceptive enough to challenge unwarranted FBI surveillance which prompted the allegation that he was suffering from delusions, paranoia, fear of persecution -mental illness. But it is the people who claimed that Hemingway was unstable who were ultimately deluded. Hoover’s FBI in New York had nothing better to than to tail so-called Communist subversives and prominent adversaries like Hemingway were invariably smothered by overzealous FBI agents who thrived upon the opportunity to satisfy the Director’s paranoia over public literary enemy number one. Hemingway’s deepest and most disturbing fear concerning the FBI was well grounded, yet he was constantly branded paranoid whenever he exposed what was essentially the truth. Perfectly logical commentary like “nobody likes to be tailed… investigated, queried about, by any amateur detective no matter how scholarly or how straight”, reflected legitimate frustrations not paranoia -frustrations that Hemingway had to deal with all by himself. Even his wife and his so-called friend Hotchner, who called him paranoid simply because he acknowledged the obvious, inadvertently made it easier for Hoover to persecute Hemingway. Determined to “prove” that Hemingway was unreliable, paranoid and delusionary, the secrecy that Hoover imposed ultimately granted the opportunity to exploit the ignorance of those who did not acknowledge the threat that Hoover’s FBI posed. Mary and Hotchner certainly manifested the phenomenal ignorance which shaped their frivolous perspectives:
Both Mary and Hotchner have said that Hemingway imagined he was being followed and spied on by FBI agents in Ketchum and in the Mayo Clinic, and that no kind of argument or evidence could change his mind or alleviate his irrational but quite terrifying fear. Mary and Hotchner thought his fear of the FBI meant that he was losing touch with reality and heading for a mental breakdown -[all music to Hoover’s ears]
Hemingway, who was invariably always followed by Hoover’s FBI, has been posthumously v
indicated. Hemingway wasn’t paranoid. Hotchner and Mary were ignorant.
In 1960, suffering from high blood pressure, liver and kidney diseases and haemochromatosis, a rare, chronic form of diabetes, Hemingway sought medical treatment to relieve his physical ailments. Hemingway was not, as has been frequently suggested, a psychiatric patient. Having endured a liver malady since 1937, Hemingway had given up drinking on the advice of his doctor, but by 1960, his worsening condition prompted the need for further medical attention. Thus, on November 30, 1960, Hemingway entered the Mayo clinic and hoped to return home by Christmas. Knowing that the FBI was monitoring every move that he made, Hemingway sought to enter the Mayo clinic under an assumed name to keep his visits to the Mayo a secret, but despite Hemingway’s expressed orders, Dr. Rome, a psychiatrist at the Mayo Clinic, violated Hemingway’s right to privacy. The FBI was carefully monitoring Hemingway’s treatment at the Mayo clinic and “a letter from special agent in Minneapolis to J. Edgar Hoover on January 13, 1960 reported that Hemingway had secretly entered the Mayo Clinic and the FBI knew about his treatment.” Indeed “the FBI had, in fact, tracked Hemingway to the walls of the Mayo Clinic and discussed his case with his psychiatrist.” Dr. Rome was evidently cooperating more with Hoover’s FBI and not at all, to the concerns of Ernest Hemingway. This direct, unethical violation of Hemingway’s rights and expressed orders is directly responsible for his murder. At the Mayo Clinic, instead of treating the physical ailments that concerned him, Hemingway was given a series of electric shocks to the brain. Electro-convulsive therapy was the best-known treatment for hopeless psychiatric patients, it was not a cure for liver disease. It was, above all, an extreme, illegal, perverted effort to induce a stubborn non-conformist to become the docile and passive FBI cheerleader that Hoover demanded.
Prior to having received shock therapy at the Mayo, Hemingway had never attempted suicide and had never sought out or received psychiatric treatment. Moreover, there is no credible evidence to suggest that he required a treatment as harmful and as controversial as shock therapy. When medical experts like Dr. Bonnie Burstow, an outspoken critic of ECT, describes the treatment, it sounds like the entire procedure was the ideal behaviour modification tool that Hoover spent a life time seeking to acquire. According to Dr. Burstow:
Why am I opposed to shock treatment… To begin with, because of what it is, intrinsically a brain damaging treatment. To understand this, it is important to know how the treatment works. Shock treatment is one in which sufficient electricity is passed through the brain to produce a grand mal seizure, thereby resulting in cell death. This is what it does; this is all it does. Brain damage, to be clear, is not a side-effect of shock treatment. It is the primary effect.
Moreover, there is absolutely no reliable evidence to even remotely suggest that Hemingway would ever submit to such a radical method of treatment. On the contrary, his lifelong scorn of psychiatrists coupled with his assertion that his analyst was “portable Corona No. 3”, strongly suggests that the treatment that he received at the Mayo Clinic, a direct violation of everything that Hemingway believed in, was as improper and as unethical as aiming a gun at his head and pulling the trigger. If Hemingway cooperated with Dr. Rome, it was probably because, as Anthony Burgess has indicated, Dr. Rome “was a psychiatrist but did not present himself as one.”
In retrospect, the fact that J. Edgar Hoover exploited the prestige of the FBI and used the behavioral sciences to control people like Hemingway, is not at all surprising. Given Hoover’s paranoia and obsessions, it is not unreasonable to assume that there exists a closet full of controversial “suicide” cases which reflect Hoover’s tendency to use the influence of his “infallible” FBI to enlist the services of unsuspecting or sympathetic professionals, in his private, covert war against domestic “subversives”. The two most common cases which evidently reflect Hoover-sponsored tampering are Dr. Rome who treated Hemingway and Dr. Greenson, who treated Marilyn Monroe. Hoover had essentially cultivated the extraordinary capacity to “dictate individual sanity” and that evidently intoxicated Hoover with the sense that his power was absolutely divine. Indeed, when Martin Luther King, Jr., became his priority target, Hoover’s FBI actually sought to induce him into committing suicide. The astounding arrogance of the belief that Hoover’s FBI could simply will King into committing suicide by promoting the belief that the civil rights champion was perverse and mentally unstable, is evidently an astonishing insight into what Hoover’s FBI deemed possible -like the capacity to prompt the “suicide” of Hemingway. The bizarre plot to provoke the “suicide” of King had to be linked to previous Hoover-instigated perversions like the “suicide” of Hemingway -it just doesn’t make sense in isolation. But if Hoover had made Hemingway kill himself, why couldn’t he attempt to do the same to King? In the final analysis, the missing ingredient in the attempt to cause King’s suicide was a “politically reliable” Doctor who could be prevailed upon to manipulate King and to maintain the level of secrecy that Hoover demanded. Indeed, without Dr. Rome, Hoover could not have possibly prompted Hemingway’s “suicide” because he would have been denied the opportunity to exploit the influence of the “behavioral sciences” in the ongoing effort to “prove” that Hemingway was insane. The cooperative, extremely secretive relationship between Dr. Rome and Hoover’s FBI, ultimately determined that Hemingway was hopelessly insane. In the midst of it all, secrecy is ultimately responsible for the perverted plots that Hoover managed to get away with. Secrecy provided J. Edgar Hoover the opportunity to recruit “politically reliable” doctors who did little beyond perform what they saw as their patriotic duty by taking Hoover’s FBI at face value. Secrecy provided Dr. Rome the opportunity to zap Hemingway’s brain with electric currents while he slept, and secrecy provided J. Edgar Hoover the opportunity to cover it all up. In retrospect, the aura of secrecy which surrounds the treatment of Hemingway is repugnant. Dr. Rome conveniently claimed patient/client privilege and refused to talk but he was evidently quite comfortable talking to Hoover’s FBI about Hemingway. Despite violating Hemingway’s trust by cooperating with Hoover’s FBI, Doctor Rome demonstrated the shameless audacity to hide behind the censorship refrain: “I’ve made it practice never ever to reveal any of my contacts with Mr. Hemingway because I gave him my word when he was my patient.”14 It all sounds very ethical, but under the circumstances, an orchestrated cover up is the only rational explanation which accounts for the extreme secrecy. Psychiatrist Irvin D. Yalom made a futile effort to uncover the truth, but “gag orders” effectively denied the opportunity to penetrate all the deception. Doctor Irvin D. Yalom is as specific as Rome is evasive. According to Yalom:
I attempted to interview Howard Rome, the psychiatrist who treated Hemingway in his final depression but he informed me, with a finger across his mouth, that before treating Hemingway he had been obliged to promise that his lips would be forever sealed.
How convenient. Here you have the murder of an internationally celebrated genius and Doctor Rome’s “lips were sealed”. At the same time, while Doctor Rome distorts the truth through his refusal to tell it, he belittles the opinions of psychiatrists through arrogant commentary like “That’s his opinion”, and “I don’t know that Dr. Robitscher ever saw Mr. Hemingway”, and having been told that he had not, he pompously added, “Then that’s his opinion, gratuitousl
y.” In actual fact, even if Dr. Robitscher had tried to see Hemingway before his death, he would have been denied access, and in that respect, Dr. Rome is not at all authoritative, just evasive. Indeed, even Hemingway’s friend, Winston Guest, was denied access to Hemingway. According to Mr. Guest:
I knew he’d gone to a hospital, but I was very naive about it; I didn’t know how ill he was. I’ll never forget finding out who was the top psychiatrist at the hospital and I called him and said I wanted to talk to Ernest. I told him who I was. The doctor said practically, “Are you mad? Are you crazy? You can’t talk to him at all.” So then I guessed he must have been seriously ill, mentally ill. And I never saw him again after that.”
Mr. Guest illustrates the ease in which the assumption that Hemingway was insane was, without good cause or authority, matter-of-factly accepted. A more scrupulous analysis, offered by author Jeffrey Meyers, effectively challenged the credibility of the erroneous assertion that Hemingway was insane and highlights the simple fact that Hemingway was essentially murdered through shock therapy when he said:
For some people, yes [shock therapy is an effective treatment]. But when it didn’t work with Hemingway the first time they tried it a second time. And when it didn’t work a second time, they tried it a third time. Rome should have gotten the picture that with this patient it’s not working. He just had one way of doing everything. If somebody came in to Rome with cancer or a hang nail, he’d probably get shock treatment.
When author Denis Brian asked Doctor Rome to justify repeated shock therapy treatment, he predictably said: “Unless you know the whole content of what he had… But I choose not to talk about that.”
To talk about the “whole content,” Ernest Hemingway was obsessed by the incredible passion to live -he even gave up drinking for it. In fact, throughout his life, he repeatedly equated the act of committing suicide with cowardice, and one would really have to stretch the imagination to suggest that Hemingway was a coward. Indeed, the very thought of what he perceived to be a cowardly act like suicide repulsed Hemingway and in 1935, he clearly exposed his unequivocal, anti-suicide “crusade” when he wrote:
My father was a coward. He shot himself without necessity. At least I thought so. I had gone through it myself until I figured it in my head. I knew what it was to be a coward and what it was to cease being a coward. Now, truly, in actual danger I felt a clean feeling as in a shower. Of course it was easy now. That was because I no longer cared what happened. I knew it was better to live it so that if you died you had done everything that you could do about your work and your enjoyment of life up to that minute, reconciling the two, which is very difficult.
Having equated the act of suicide to cowardice, Hemingway was effectively immune. The ending of A Farewell to Arms, rewritten seventy times, reflects Hemingway’s general philosophy:
He has the most profound bravery that it has ever been my privilege to see… He has had pain, ill-health, and the kind of poverty that you don’t believe-the kind of which actual hunger is the attendant; he has had about eight times the normal allotment of responsibilities. And he has never compromised. He has never turned off an easier path than the one he staked himself. It takes courage.
In the final analysis, the claim that Hemingway committed suicide is patently absurd. Hemingway was in fact the last person in the world who can credibly be called suicidal. Even despair, which is commonly used to justify suicide, was a hurdle that motivated Hemingway to strive to become the very best that he could possibly be. In a letter to Scott Fitzgerald in 1934, Hemingway essentially exposed the motivation that made him both a great writer and an unlikely suicide victim, when her wrote:
We are all bitched from the start and you especially have to hurt like hell before you can write seriously. But when you get the damned hurt use it -don’t cheat with it. Be as faithful to it as a scientist.
Despair was never a serious obstacle, it is actually what made Hemingway put pen to paper. Living through his work, Hemingway retained his zest to live and to write for as long as he was not the victim of shock therapy. That became quite obvious in February of 1961, [after shock therapy treatment] when Hemingway tried to pen a few words to commemorate the newly inaugurated President John F. Kennedy. The month previous, an invitation to attend the Kennedy inauguration had cheered Hemingway, but he was too ill to attend. And so he continued to try to pen just a few words, to thank the new President for the invitation. Hours latter, the paper was still blank. J. Edgar Hoover had finally destroyed Hemingway’s capacity to think and to write. Just a few words, any school child, gifted or not, could pen just a few words. Hemingway, the literary genius, father of A Farewell to Arms and For Whom the Bell Tolls could not pen just a few words. Hemingway was dead.
It had taken a long time for Hoover to determine how to deal with a popular dissenter like Hemingway without arousing suspicion and he had finally figured it out. In retrospect, it was all a typically perverted J. Edgar Hoover plot -it was the most bizarre, unbelievable exploitation of power imaginable. The golden rule of pre-watergate, mainstream America was to obey and not to question authority and that gave Hoover’s highly trusted FBI agents an extraordinary degree of power. But in the context of the abuse of power that Hoover practised, FBI agents were essentially spies who provided Hoover the opportunity to target and to scheme the murder of his enemies. Indeed, even unsuspecting FBI informants like Ronald Reagan, who spied on his fellow co-workers in hollywood and branded them Communists, ultimately furthered the perverse ends of J. Edgar Hoover. In the final analysis, the evil inherent in spying on law abiding citizens is clear. History clearly records the fact that there is very little, if any distinction between politically motivated spying and counselling to commit murder, and intelligence agencies and their informants have established an extremely deplorable record of criminal culpability. Indeed, throughout North America, the most enduring legacy that intelligence agencies have established on the domestic front is a record of excessive, unmerited use of covert action. The tragic, senseless murder of Ernest Hemingway is just one of countless cases where targets of illegal surveillance were exterminated like flies. The only reason we can determine what happened to Hemingway is that he was famous enough for people to have written books about him. Lesser targets or relative unknowns, were even easier to victimize through the power of secrecy. A staged suicide, a staged burglary, a staged car accident or any other perverted scheme that lurks in the minds of the Gordon Liddy’s and the Howard Hunt’s of this world, should be exposed by the vast resources of the intelligence community, they should not be facilitated.
Like Hemingway, Marilyn Monroe was also a victim of Hoover’s McCarthyite witch hunts. Since 1956, when Marilyn Monroe’s husband, playwright Arthur Miller, was hauled before the Un-American Activities Committee to purge his so-called Communist associations, Monroe developed a serious hatred for Committee supporters like Richard Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover and she didn’t hesitate to make her views known. Like Hemingway, who had lashed out at McCarthy, Monroe was livid with anger and in 1958, she blasted:
Some of those bastards in Hollywood wanted me to drop Arthur. Said it would ruin my career. They’re born cowards and want you to be li
ke them. One reason I want to see Kennedy win is that Nixon’s associated with that whole scene.
Red-baiting zealots disturbed and angered Monroe and it was her hatred of anti-Communist rabble-rousers like Hoover and Nixon, that drove her towards the Kennedy camp. Hoover considered Marilyn Monroe to be a serious threat to the national security of the United States, and she certainly fanned his paranoia in 1960 when she became a sponsor of SANE, the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy. Clearly, as far as Hoover was concerned, Monroe was a certifiable Communist -her strong feelings for civil rights, for black equality and for peace, was in fact the so-called un-American agenda that Hoover violently opposed. In retrospect, the battle lines were very clearly defined. Demagogues like Hoover and Nixon manufactured, encouraged and exploited un-American hysteria while reasonable people were repulsed by what was clearly an ignorant witch hunt. Even the eminent British historian, Professor Arnold Toynbee, ridiculed the Cold War tendency to bully the individual through what he called “mass opinion”, and like John F. Kennedy, who discredited Cold War epithets, Professor Toynbee ridiculed the very word “Un-American” when he said:
This word “Un-American!” -the Committee on Un-American Activities. A Committee on “Un-British Activities” for the British Parliament would be so laughable it could not be done. Or can you imagine a “Committee against Un-French Activities?”
Most Americans shared the belief that Hoover’s Un-American witch hunt strangled individual hope and freedom, and in 1983, Gloria Steinhem essentially assessed the damage when she said:
It was [Kennedy’s Presidency] the last time in my life that the majority views of the country have been connected to the government.
Indeed, in the 1960’s, “the majority views of the country” were violently opposed and the diabolical plots of a national security-motivated minority determined the course of American politics. Innocent victims like Marilyn Monroe were caught in a political crossfire. The political volatility of the 1950’s and 1960’s certainly dominated and claimed both the life and the death of Marilyn Monroe. The House on Un-American activities was not a local, Washington witch hunt -it was a phenomenon that had even divided hollywood into two hostile camps that saw self-proclaimed anti-Communists on the right, identifying, blacklisting and harassing anyone who was deemed to be an agent of Communism. Hoover was particularly obsessed by the struggle in hollywood because he believed that Communists were trying to infiltrate the movie industry and he certainly was not about to let that happen. Astoundingly, just like anti-Castro operations in Cuba, the interests of Hoover and the Mafia converged in hollywood as well. The secret war to dominate the hollywood industry was also a preoccupation of L.A. mobsters like Mickey Cohen, who made a career out of exploiting hollywood stars like Marilyn Monroe. Blackmailing movie stars by threatening to expose their secret sexual liaisons, Cohen arranged for the lovemaking of his targets to be surreptitiously filmed and recorded. Johnny Roselli, who shared the interest in “carving out” a piece of hollywood for the Mafia, was Giancana’s hollywood representative, and that placed Monroe’s blackmail potential in a new perspective. Marilyn Monroe, who was an acquaintance of both the Kennedys and Mafia predators like Johnny Roselli, was natural “bait” in the desperate, obsessive campaign to blackmail the Kennedys.
And so when rumors about affairs between the Kennedys and Marilyn Monroe began to fly, it is not surprising to note that the source of these groundless allegations was none other than Hoover’s Mafia friends. On August 1, 1962, just three days before Marilyn Monroe was murdered, FBI transcripts record Mafia Mogul Meyer Lansky discussing the obviously fabricated claim that Robert Kennedy was having an affair with Marilyn Monroe. Indeed, FBI microphones [that the shrewd Lansky was obviously tipped off about] recorded Meyer Lansky and his wife, and the following “incriminating” FBI document, dated August 11, 1962, was produced in a deliberate, futile attempt to embarrass the Kennedys.
To read the end of this chapter, go to Preserving the Legacy
Lee Harvey Oswald
Copyright © 2007