<Photo: Handbill from Lee Harvey Oswald for his Fake FPCC in New Orleans. Notice the address – 544 Camp Street – this was the building where rightwing activist Guy Banister had his offices.>
Edward Scannell (Ed) Butler did not testify before the Warren Commission (WC), and this makes our analysis difficult since we’ve based so much of our observations on first-hand WC testimonies. In this blog post, we’ll attempt to piece together a plausible scenario regarding Ed Butler from these seven works:
(1) Carlos Bringuier’s WC testimony (1964);
(2) Bill Stuckey’s WC testimony (1964);
(3) On the Trail of the Assassins, by Jim Garrison, (1988);
(4) Live by the Sword, by Gus Russo (1998);
(5) Oswald and the CIA, by John M. Newman (2008);
(6) State Secret: Wiretapping in Mexico City, by Bill Simpich (2014);
(7) General Walker and the Murder of President Kennedy, by Jeffrey Caufield (2015).
Ed Butler was born in 1934 in New Orleans to a rich family. He went to college to become a journalist but the Cold War tormented him and his one obsession was to find some way to defeat Communism quickly.
Ed joined the Army. He took Army Management training 1957-1959, after which he briefly became an account manager with an advertising company. During this time, Ed Butler nurtured a political relationship with Bill Stuckey. They both wrote anti-communist editorial articles for newspapers on the side.
In June of 1960, Ed and Bill were flabbergasted when Fidel Castro welcomed his first USSR Ambassador to Cuba. Ed quit his job and rushed to use the power of the pen to help the US State Department, the CIA, European radio, and every other anti-communist institution that he could.
Ed joined one Latin American propaganda company after another as he planned to start his own company. For startup cash, Ed invited some wealthy and powerful anti-communists in New Orleans, like Clay Shaw and Guy Banister. As 1961 began, Ed was working for the FVLA (Free Voice of Latin America) in Shaw’s International Trade Mart, and the AIFP (American Institute for Freedom Project) with Guy Banister.
In early 1961, Ed Butler started his own company, INCA (Information Council of the Americas) to overwhelm the Caribbean, Central America, and South America with pro-Western propaganda. He produced countless “Truth Tapes” (interviews of Cuban exiles who despised Fidel Castro) which he sent to over 50 radio stations in Latin America.
Locals would use Truth Tapes to energize political campaigns and raise funds. Naturally, the CIA watched any US political activity that reached outside US borders, and they were quite impressed with Ed Butler’s progress.
Bill Stuckey brought Ed countless Cuban exiles to interview and Bill would also interview them, using the same strategy on a smaller scale in New Orleans that Ed used in Latin America. In mid-1961, Ed and Bill began to focus intently on the newly formed FPCC organization, which was Fidel’s favorite fund-raiser in the USA. They regarded the FPCC as one of the most dangerous of Castro’s organizations.
Besides Clay Shaw and Guy Banister, other Butler supporters included the owners of the Reily Coffee Company; the owner of WDSU TV in New Orleans; Congressman Hale Boggs who helped INCA get its tax-exemption; and anti-Castro fanatics like Sergio Arcacha Smith, Gordon Novel, and David Atlee Phillips.
[NOTE: John Newman in 2008 found that the CIA had also run an anti-FPCC operation under David Atlee Phillips and (later) Watergate burglars, Howard Hunt and James McCord. In his unpublished 1987 novel, The AMLASH Legacy, about a CIA officer at Mexico City's Embassies, Phillips wrote: “I was one of those officers who handled Lee Harvey Oswald...We gave him the mission of killing Fidel Castro in Cuba...I don’t know why he killed Kennedy. But I do know he used precisely the plan we had devised against Castro...I share that guilt.”]
Ed Butler was an important young American in 1963. The focus of this blog post, however, will be the 16 days in August 1963 (August 5-21) when Butler orchestrated some political theater involving Lee Harvey Oswald (LHO) to slam the FPCC. His allies in this theater were: Bill Stuckey, Carlos Bringuier, and, as we will argue, LHO himself.
HERE’S OUR SPECULATION:
Since July 1963, Ed Butler had collaborated with Guy Banister to start a Fake FPCC in New Orleans. They would use this Fake FPCC to try to infiltrate or impersonate the real FPCC in New York. Guy Banister and David Ferrie selected LHO to be their spokesman for this Fake FPCC.
LHO quickly forged FPCC membership cards and ordered 1,000 copies of a semi-official FPCC handbill, and soon began to fake a presence of the FPCC in New Orleans. (NARA still holds the receipt for these printed handbills).
Now the political theater was ready to begin.
(A) On August 5, 1963, LHO appeared inside the Casa Roca clothing store of Carlos Bringuier, publicly pretending to be a fierce anti-communist.
(B) On August 9, LHO switched and publicly handed out pro-Fidel leaflets on Canal Street. (Some of those leaflets had Guy Banister’s office address stamped on them). TV news station WSDU filmed LHO for a few minutes as he passed out these FPCC fliers.
(C) Carlos Bringuier then pretended to fight with Oswald on Canal Street with lots of shouting and littering. (Nobody threw actual blows, according to all witnesses). Police arrested both LHO and Bringuier. While in jail, LHO called the FBI to his jail cell, for no clear reason -- most likely to get into the official record that the FBI was also there, i.e., to help legitimize his fakery.
This fiasco got a small remark in the back pages of the news. The police report, the FBI report, and the news clippings, however, were the payoff for Act 1. (LHO would use these clippings to make a resumé to take to the embassy compound in Mexico City).
(D) On August 12, three days later, a New Orleans judge fined LHO $10 and set Bringuier and his pals free.
(E) On August 13, early in the morning (as he testified) Bill Stuckey went to visit LHO to briefly talk about politics on his porch. That very night (as he testified) Bill Stuckey hosted LHO on his WDSU radio show, Latin Listening Post. Stuckey lobbed LHO many easy questions – easy for somebody well-groomed for the project.
(F) During the next nine days, the owner of TV station WDSU arranged for a live, 25-minute radio debate with LHO against Bill Stuckey, Carlos Bringuier, and Ed Butler, to air on August 21st.
(G) It wasn’t 3 against 1 – it was 4 against 0. LHO was a willing foil in this political theater to portray the FPCC as a Marxist and communist threat. The theme of the radio show was that since LHO was a defector to Russia, therefore his FPCC must be communist. This was the payoff for Act 2.
This part of the Butler/Banister political theater was a roaring success. This propaganda was now active. (In a few more days, their Fake FPCC would simply fold). There are the 16 days in August (5-21). During these 16 days in August (5-21), the Fake chapter of the FPCC in New Orleans appeared and dissolved. This was no coincidence. It was planned theater.
AN HOUR AT COMEAUX’s BAR?
After the broadcast was over, testified Bill Stuckey, LHO looked so dejected that Stuckey invited him to go for a beer. LHO agreed (though LHO didn’t drink). They went to Comeaux’s Bar, just five doors down from station WDSU.
Stuckey then gave the WC an unusual portrait of LHO. (Here we might recall the bogus portrait of the final 3 days of LHO’s life as testified by Captain Will Fritz, FBI agent James Hosty, and Postal Inspector Harry Holmes, among others).
Stuckey told the WC that he saw LHO relax for the first time. They joked about Russian clothing and spoke for a full hour about Russian daily life, foreign affairs, and why LHO wasn’t drinking his beer. Here are the unexpected characterizations that Bill Stuckey claimed about LHO:
1. LHO admitted that he didn’t drink beer because he had become accustomed to drinking only vodka; a habit he had learned from his father- in-law, who was a Russian Army colonel!
2. LHO finally let Stuckey know the names of Marina and June.
3. LHO showed Stuckey his Marine “Honorable Discharge” card, which was identical to Stuckey’s.
4. LHO admitted that he began reading Marx in public libraries starting at age 15.
5. LHO admitted that he decided to defect while serving in Japan for the Marines. The terrible living conditions convinced him to go to Russia to see for himself.
6. LHO admitted that after 3 years in Russia he became disappointed with Russia. Soviet factories had just as much nepotism as US factories – if not more. LHO saw lots of dishonesty.
7. LHO admitted that Russian life was bland and homogenized. Everybody seemed alike in Russia because the Communist Party had eliminated the dissenting elements.
8. LHO admitted that Russia would never let a radical organization like the FPCC operate there!
9. LHO admitted that it was a load off his shoulders to no longer have to hide his Russian residence.
How unlike LHO all this sounds! LHO is made out to go to a bar with a political opponent; and to make several personal confessions to somebody he’d known less than 2 hours in his life!
Also, according to Bill Stuckey, that meeting was the very last time that he ever met with LHO. As Bill testified, from August 13 to August 21, Stuckey had interacted with LHO for only nine days, total. Not only that – but Stuckey also testified that he had interacted with LHO for less than 3 hours in those nine days (i.e., about an hour on the 17th, a half-hour on debate radio, and an hour at Comeaux’ Bar).
There was no time for Stuckey to learn personal details about LHO’s life after only 2 hours of political debate. In our interpretation, common sense itself obliged Stuckey to make up this story to explain how he had become close enough to LHO to know so much about his personal life. Without the Comeaux’s Bar story, their relationship was an all-too-brief debate between political opponents – not between chums. (Note that Stuckey testified twice to the WC, but the State Department refused to release his first testimony – so we have only his second testimony.)
As we see it, Stuckey had known LHO far longer than his two hours of contact that he testified to the WC. It is far more likely that Stuckey met LHO in friendly circumstances – in late July – in the context of a coven with Ed Butler, Carlos Bringuier, Guy Banister, Clay Shaw, and David Ferrie.
THE ROLE OF ED BUTLER
As for Ed Butler, his time with LHO was even shorter – only three days – from August 18th to August 21st. We are so impressed by all these events in LHO’s life over only 16 days, that we must remark that it all sounds planned – like political theater – a loosely scripted play.
Even before the Dallas Police charged LHO with the JFK murder, Ed Butler kept publishing snippets from his WDSU radio debate with LHO to as many INCA and other media contacts as he could, and anyone in government who would listen to him.
New Orleans D.A. Jim Garrison began investigating LHO 1963 activities in 1967, and he included Butler and INCA. Butler quickly slammed Garrison using all his media contacts. Garrison was insane, he screamed! All of Garrison’s followers were communists who wanted to destroy America, he shouted! Garrison was relentless, so Ed Butler drove all his INCA files to Los Angeles where he could depend on California governor Ronald Reagan to refuse to extradite Butler and his files.
For the rest of his life, Butler remained dedicated to these political views – which were largely identical with the political views of the resigned General Edwin Walker in Dallas, i.e., one was either a right-winger or a communist – and no middle term.
The question must arise – we’ve spent years on this website explaining that the JFK Assassination was primarily a Dallas plot – with no involvement by the official CIA. Does the Jim Garrison investigation contradict our theme with his various claims of New Orleans leadership combined with the CIA? We don’t see it that way.
We repeat: the CIA high command was like the Keystone Kops after the JFK Assassination. Still, two CIA
What about CIA officer David Atlee Phillips, who, through his 1977 manuscript, suggested that he managed LHO and a fake FPCC to assassinate Fidel Castro. Is this not CIA involvement? No, not directly concerning JFK.
But two CIA agents admitted involvement, namely, E. Howard Hunt and David Sanchez Morales. Hunt admitted to his son, Saint John Hunt, that he was certainly involved in the JFK hit, but as a bagman; a courier, recruited by CIA agent David Morales, and mercenary Frank Sturgis.
David Morales, in 1973, after a long rage against JFK to his friend, Ruben Carbajal, finally settled down and muttered, “Well, we took care of that son of a bitch, didn’t we?” Yet Morales was not a high-ranking officer of the CIA, therefore, “we” in this case could mean anybody, e.g., a loose-knit group of rightist plotters, or anybody else.
Evidence by Bill Simpich (2014) adequately showed that after the JFK Assassination, the CIA high command was still involved in a high-level “mole” hunt to find out who had impersonated LHO in Mexico City only seven weeks earlier. That’s Keystone Kops, folks, not plotting.
WHAT ABOUT NEW ORLEANS?
But what about Jim Garrison’s failed court trial, and his theory of a New Orleans core of assassins around Guy Banister? Didn’t Garrison show that the JFK Assassination was a New Orleans plot? Not really. Jim Garrison failed to find a genuine smoking gun, nor did he positively identify any of the gunmen, or much of anything aside from the fact that JFK had countless domestic enemies. We already knew that.
No – we repeat – the evidence on this website over the past several years remains overwhelming: the JFK Assassination plot began and ended in Dallas. However, we must fully account for the episode of LHO in New Orleans in the summer of 1963. Here’s our estimation, based on the findings of Dr. Jeffrey Caufield:
(i) The resigned General Edwin Walker of Dallas had the means, the motive, and the opportunity to organize his Dallas followers into a well-oiled militia.
(ii) General Walker was a widely respected leader in the Dallas Minutemen – just as Guy Banister was a widely respected leader in the New Orleans Minutemen. Both men were politically active in their respective counties. Both were avid segregationists (at a time when Alabama Governor George Wallace made that viable).
(iii) Walker and Banister moved in the same political circles inside the South and Southwest. The chances of them knowing each other personally were high. The chances of them cooperating for mutual benefit were also reasonably high.
(iv) As we surmise, General Walker was the first to call Guy Banister for help. Walker learned on April 14, 1963 (four days after LHO’s Walker shooting) that LHO had been his shooter. (Ultimately, he heard this way down the grapevine from his nemesis, George De Mohrenschildt). Exploring LHO’s background, Walker learned that LHO was from New Orleans, so it’s likely that Walker contacted Banister in the early Spring of 1963.
(v) As fate would have it, Guy Banister’s right-hand man was David Ferrie, who happened to know LHO when LHO was a young teenager as a cadet in the Civil Air Patrol. They would invite LHO back home, and (pretend to) offer him a career in the CIA if he played ball.
(vi) By the end of Summer 1963, LHO had become completely submerged underground as an amateur double-agent, working for Guy Banister and Clay Shaw. At the end of LHO’s Mexico City trip (perhaps his last chance for redemption), Banister delivered LHO back to Dallas into the grips of Walker’s Dallas Minutemen.
(vii) Until the end, LHO probably believed he was still part of a top-secret plot to assassinate Fidel Castro.
In future blog posts, we’ll develop this scenario even further.
© Copyright 2022, by Paul Edward Trejo. All rights reserved.