<photo: Joseph Milteer, alleged accomplice of General Walker>
We confess we still have not found a smoking gun among the thousands of JFK documents released on June 30, 2023. But we're still searching. Today we're going to give a shout out about Joseph Milteer.
Today we recognize Dr. Jeffrey Caufield who pinpointed Joseph Milteer as a likely accomplice in the Dallas far-right assassination of JFK 60 years ago. While Milteer wasn’t very important personally, his tape-recorded conversation with FBI informant Willie Somersett is very important.
As we learned from Caufield’s carefully researched, 900-page book, General Walker and the Murder of President Kennedy (2015), this man Joseph Milteer was a far-right, racist activist in Georgia in 1963. He was a rich member of far-right groups like the White Citizen's Council of Atlanta, the Klan, and the NSRP (National States Rights Party).
On November 9, 1963, an FBI informant named Willie Somersett met Joseph Milteer at a Miami NSRP meeting and asked about JFK's politics. Somersett secretly tape-recorded their conversation which went something like this:
Mr. SOMERSETT: ...I think Kennedy is coming here on the 18th...to make some kind of speech...I imagine it will be on TV.
Mr. MILTEER: You can bet your bottom dollar he is going to have a lot to say about the Cubans. There are so many of them here.
Mr. SOMERSETT: Yeah, well, he will have a thousand bodyguards. Don't worry about that.
Mr. MILTEER: The more bodyguards he has the easier it is to get him.
Mr. SOMERSETT: Well, how in the hell do you figure would be the best way to get him?
Mr. MILTEER: From an office building with a high-powered rifle...
Mr. SOMERSETT: They are really going to try to kill him?
Mr. MILTEER: Oh yeah, it is in the working. . .
Mr. SOMERSETT: Hitting this Kennedy is going to be a hard proposition, I tell you. I believe you may have figured out a way to get him, the office building and all that. I don't know how the Secret Service agents cover all them office buildings everywhere he is going. Do you know whether they do that or not?
Mr. MILTEER: Well, if they have any suspicion, they do that, of course. But without suspicion, chances are that they wouldn't...
Mr. SOMERSETT: Boy, if that Kennedy gets shot, we have got to know where we are at. Because you know that will be a real shake...
Mr. MILTEER: They wouldn't leave any stone unturned there. No way. They will pick somebody up within hours afterwards, if anything like that would happen, just to throw the public off.
Mr. SOMERSETT: Oh, somebody is going to have to go to jail, if he gets killed.
Mr. MILTEER: Just like Bruno Hauptmann in the Lindbergh case, you know.
Somersett later reported Milteer's boast that some communist group had been infiltrated by his far-right friends so that the communists could be blamed for the assassination. Milteer also boasted, reported Somersett, that the patsy they selected didn't know anything so there was no danger of him talking.
The HSCA (House Select Committee on Assassinations) took the story of Joseph Milteer seriously in 1975, but found no legal issues. Since those hearings, many rumors were told about Milteer, e.g., from Jim Marrs, Anthony Summers, Robert Groden, and other CTers. Rumors included canceling JFK's Miami trip because of Milteer, or that Milteer was one of the JFK shooters.
The most popular rumor involved a photo allegedly showing Milteer in Dealey Plaza moments before JFK drove by. HSCA put experts on this photo, and they reported that it wasn't Milteer. First, Milteer was about 5 foot 3 while the man in the photo was about 5 foot 10. Also, the photo showed a fat upper lip and a receding hair line - the opposite of Milteer.
THE FRIENDS OF JOSEPH MILTEER
The photo alleging that Milteer was in Dallas in November 1963 isn’t really important. The bigger issue was Milteer’s disclosure of US extreme right-wing thinking coast-to-coast. Who cares if Joseph Milteer was on the sidewalk of Dealey Plaza in Dallas as JFK rode by?
The truly important issue about Milteer was that his fanatical far-right friends nurtured a wish to kill JFK and would resort to anything to make that wish come true. They had access to technical expertise in paramilitary rifle clubs like the Minutemen, a popular coast-to-coast club with former US military officers as leaders and ex-servicemen (like Harry Dean) in their rank-and-file.
They also had friends in high places in Dallas that could help them manage an assassination-plus-patsy plot. For example, we suspect Dallas FBI agent James Hosty and Dallas Secret Service agent Forrest Sorrels to be the two highest level US government officers in Dallas closest to Lee Harvey Oswald with ties to the radical right. Hosty and Sorrels had the means, the motive, and the opportunity to misinform Washington DC about the facts in Dallas.
Together (we allege) they told the Washington FBI and Secret Service headquarters department, the PRS (Protective Research Section) that there were no dangerous people in Dallas, and that the Dealey Plaza parade route was totally safe.
Both Hosty and Sorrels testified before the WC in 1964 to give their side of the story. Hosty’s testimony was soon challenged by witness and Dallas policeman Lt. Jack Revill who testified that Hosty admitted to him that Hosty knew Oswald was a danger but didn’t report that to the authorities. Hosty strenuously denied that.
As for local celebrities in Dallas, General Walker was a prince in radical right circles. The favorite Walker myth in Dallas was that JFK fired General Walker from the US Army because Walker was just too patriotic. What is certain is that JFK and RFK sent General Walker to an insane asylum after the Ole Miss racial riot on September 31, 1962. This ruined Walker's hopes for a political career -- and started a lifetime vendetta.
General Walker was somebody with lots of influence in Dallas who knew a lot about paramilitary operations. He was a leader in the Dallas Minutemen and could be quite helpful to the US far right in Dallas in 1963.
J. EDGAR HOOVER KNEW
On the very day of the JFK Assassination, Director of the FBI J. Edgar Hoover knew exactly the names of all the Dallas JFK Kill Team members in the White Citizens Council, the Klan, and the Minutemen. The FBI had tracked these far-right extremists for years – including General Walker.
Actually, Dallas FBI agent James Hosty was assigned specifically to monitor General Walker himself. He says so in his own 1996 book, Assignment Oswald, page 4). Despite his book title, the FBI didn’t assign Hosty the task of monitoring Oswald until Hosty requested it in October 1963. Yet Hosty had unsuccessfully requested the reopening of Oswald’s FBI file several times earlier that year.
Hoover was not involved in the JFK Assassination (we say), but Hoover did have thick files of political fanatics in Dallas, and he quickly requested those files. He soon learned that Lee Harvey Oswald was not a communist, so he telephoned Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy that same day to report that fact. (We have official FBI records of this phone call and its content.)
But J. Edgar Hoover was also a brilliant intellect, and he knew that such a major crime rooted in internal US politics could never be reported to the press for all of the nations of the world to read during the peak of our Cold War with the Soviets. It was a matter of National Security. The Dallas radical right would not be openly pursued. But the demands of the Dallas radical right – to blame the Communists – would not be pursued at all. It was out of the question.
The only solution, according to the actions of J. Edgar Hoover, was to blame Lee Harvey Oswald alone for the JFK Assassination, and to strenuously deny that Oswald had any accomplices who were still at large – either on the right–wing or on the left–wing. The FBI stomped hard on any suspicion otherwise. This solution became an FBI dogma that has survived for 60 years despite countless US university professors challenging it decade after decade.
Joseph Milteer was a symptom, not a cause. Yet his case shines a light exactly where it belongs – on the extreme right-wing in the US, coast to coast, and with a special focus on Dallas, Texas in 1963. General Walker was a well-known political speaker in the South among groups such as the White Citizens Councils, the Klan, and the NRSP. He was admired by Minutemen coast to coast. He was especially popular among the Dallas Minutemen.
Joseph Milteer pointed the way. Jeffrey Caufield shines a light on that way.
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