"Coup in Dallas" - More Conspiracy Nonsense!
Updated: Jan 19, 2022
Many people might be surprised that I buy an awful lot of conspiracy books. I'm interested in how they frame their arguments and I like to examine their footnotes. The new book, Coup in Dallas: The Decisive Investigation into Who Killed JFK, piqued my attention and my copy arrived a few days ago.
I really wanted to have a look at the section on Permindex and to see where Albarelli got his information. The section on Permindex starts on page 77, and it begins by referencing this document:
Albarelli includes the second and third paragraph of this document, a CIA translation of an article in Pravda, and thus makes it look like it originated with the Agency.
Here is the actual article:
The information from this Pravda article comes from the Italian communist-controlled newspaper Paese Sera, hardly a credible source. The Paese Sera articles are full of mistakes and contain lots of rumors with very little hard information. In fact, it is quite possible that these articles were part of a KGB operation to help convince Americans that the CIA was behind the assassination. Here is another interesting article.
The articles were not just reprinted in communist newspapers, they hit the mainstream press in Le Devoir in Montreal. And from there to Canadian Dimension (a small left-wing magazine), and then Ramparts.
The text in Albarelli's book is also riddled with errors: (Page 78)
"It should be noted that Canadian-born lawyer and businessman Louis Bloomfield, who rose to the rank of major in the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps and was named in the reports as having been involved in the foundation of Permindex, was the attorney/representative of the Bronfman dynasty, alleged to have been significant investors in Permindex."
Louis Bloomfield was the lawyer for several investors, but he was not the lawyer for the Bronfmans, and the Bronfmans were not investors in Permindex. I know this for a fact because I have gone through about twenty thousand letters from Bloomfield's law firm between 1958 and 1967. The only time Louis Bloomfield corresponded with the Bronfmans was for Jewish political events like Canadian Friends of Histadrut, or the Jewish National Fund.
Albarelli then tries to link Bloomfield and Permindex with the Organisation de l’Armée Secrète (OAS) and makes this claim: "It should be noted that Major Bloomfield maintained an office in Tangier." (page 78)
This is also false. There is not one letter in the Bloomfield letters that references Tangier.
Albarelli then dismisses the notion that the Paese Sera articles were disinformation, and then writes this: (page 78)
"More informed researchers recognize that the CIA's own documents prove that over the years, former OSS agent Col. Shaw had participated on a contract basis in agency activities."
There is no footnote that relates to the claim that Shaw was a former OSS agent. How could there be? He wasn't. As for the continued claim that Shaw was a "contract agent," please see the following link:
Was Clay Shaw a "Contract Agent" for the CIA?
Albarelli then tries to link the CIA with Permindex: (Page 78)
"Agency documents are clear that Ferenc Nagy, a fellow Hungarian and close friend to Mandel, contacted the agency to invite their utilization of and involvement in the real estate development and management firm Permindex."
Yes, Nagy made an offer to the CIA to place an agent in Permindex. However, Albarelli does not tell you about the CIA document that examined Permindex which indicated that it was not a good candidate to place an agent. Have a look at Charles White's memo on Permindex, which was written well after Clay Shaw was placed on the Board of Directors.
A large part of Albarelli's book centers on the datebooks of Jean Pierre Lafitte, who was supposedly a "deep-cover contract operative for the CIA and U.S. drug enforcement agencies." (page ix) Albarelli does not reproduce any pages from these datebooks, and there no mentions of Lafitte in the Mary Ferrell database.
The datebooks discuss a Robert Shaw. Albarelli wonders if this is really Clay Shaw, and writes that "We therefore proceeded with the likelihood that Pierre meant Clay Shaw; in fact there is reason to believe Pierre worked for Shaw long before being hired in 1967 as chef of the Plimsoll Club in the International Trade Mart."
There are no footnotes for any of this. "Now, with Lafitte's datebook as evidence, Clay Shaw's nexus cannot and should not be ignored or dismissed out of hand." (page 79)
Albarelli then goes on to discuss the Rome World Trade Center (Centro Mondiale Commerciale or CMC) and goes on to quote, as his expert, Mae Brussell: (Page 79)
"its (CMC) location was frequently moved, its presidents rotated; its modus operandi altered. CMC included Italian fascists, elements of the European paramilitary right, the CIA, and the U.S. Defense Department. There were major shareholders with banks located in Switzerland, Miami, Basel and other major cities."
No footnote to support any of this. CMC did not move - they were based in Rome, and the ventured floundered because they could not get enough tenants. CMC was closed in 1962. There were no members of the paramilitary right, the CIA, or the U.S. Defense Department on the Board of CMC.
Albarelli then tries to link CMC to Mussolini by quoting a Reuters article from 1959:
"The organizers, Permanent Industrial Exhibition, 'Permindex,' have taken four large, abandoned palaces ... that were part of a dream world of the Italian Fascist dictator who planned them as the focus point of a grandiose world fair and monument to the external glory of Fascism ..." [Italics added by Albarelli]
Yes, CMC got a very good deal on these abandoned buildings. So what? How on earth does this tie them to Mussolini?
Albarelli then makes another incredible leap: (page 80)
"Informed researchers assert that Permindex was a direct extension of Bill Donovan and William Stephenson's World Commerce Corporation and that WCC worked closely with the World Trade Mart of New Orleans, nominally to promote world trade."
Of course, no footnotes on any of this. I don't even know what he means by "a direct extension" and how he brings Bill Donovan and William Stephenson is beyond my comprehension.
He then says: (Page 80)
"[International Trade Mart] ITM was founded by Col. Clay Shaw, who during WWII served under Donovan as an OSS liaison officer to Winston Churchill's headquarters."
None of this is footnoted and none of this is true. There is absolutely no evidence of Clay Shaw link to the OSS.
Albarelli then goes to to his other source of information on Permindex - Michele Metta and his books (he has published different versions of essentially the same book) on Permindex:
Unfortunately, this book is a complete mess and contains just a bunch of rumors and allegations. Check out this post where Metta links Clay Shaw to the umbrella man.
Albarelli quotes Metta tries to link Shaw with fascists:
"According to Italian journalist Michele Metta, who reported persuasively on political intrigue and the machinations in Italy in 1963 but who suffered decades of criticism from American assassination researchers, the fascist Valerio Borghese was tied directly to CMC as president of Italian financial entity Credito Commerciale e Industriale. Metta insists that "Credicomin," headed by Borghese, who according to ally and Belgian fascist leader Leon Degrelle was the most important fascist in Italy and whose close relative appears in the address book of Clay Shaw, came into the hands of the son of Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Trujillo."
Huh? I don't understand that paragraph. And the link to Shaw is that a close relative of a fascist appears in his address book. Just who was that person? And why should we care?
If you think this couldn't get any sillier than check this out: (page 84)
"Over the years, variant sources have offered names of Permindex executives and board members. Among them were prominent Canadian, Swiss, and Italian businessmen and financiers, including aristocracy and their representatives. At one point, the board included American attorney Roy Cohn, who served as general counsel to rabid anticommunist Senator Joe McCarthy."
Roy Cohn? Really? Of course, no footnote.
But wait, there's more board members: (page 84)
"For this investigation, Permindex board members who stand out include: Jean de Menil, who had known French anthropologist Jacques Soustelle years prior to Soustelle's personal revolt against de Gaulle and joining the OAS; Paul Raigorodsky, a White Russian with experience in the Soviet Union's oil industry who landed in Dallas after the war; and Prince Guiterez di Spadafora, Sicilian-Italian industrialist and landowner."
Once again, a supposed link to OAS but no footnote! Spadafora was indeed a board member for a short period.
Spadafora is used to tie this all in with Hitler. His son married the daughter of Hjalmar Schacht, who was Minister of Economics under Hitler until 1937. He clashed with Hitler over rearmament and was arrested by the Gestapo in 1944. He was tried and acquitted at Nuremberg.
I don't know the relevance of any of this. Albarelli doesn't mention that George Mantello, the founder of Permindex, was a hero during the Holocaust.
But Albarelli has found the key to all this in the Lafitte notebooks where he found this notation for Thursday November 7, 1963: (page 85)
11:30 meet Warsaw (+hotel) with T. and Hjalman/Ilse - Get $
Now what this entry means is beyond me. But Albarelli has figured it out.: (Page 85)
"Considering the timing and the surrounding entries, we know that Ilse Skorzeny was in Dallas, and from there we deduce that she was having lunch with Uncle Hjalmar Schacht at the Old Warsaw, a posh restaurant known for its old-world European ambiance and cuisine located in the Oak Lawn/Maple Terrace neighborhood north of downtown Dallas."
Ilse Skorzeny is related to Otto Skorzeny, but it unclear what the relationship is. You can read more about Skorzeny here.
Of course, according to Albarelli, Permindex board member Paul Raigorodsky lived in an apartment next door to one of the addresses for George de Mohrenschildt.
My head hurts. Can there be more to his utter nonsense?
Yes, there is more! (Page 86)
"Permindex member Jean de Menil, who married into the Schlumberger family and assumed charge of the global oil well services company, had served in Venezuela during the war, running Gen. Charles de Gaulle's Free French forces alongside Soustelle. Disillusioned with de Gaulle over the question of Algerian independence, Soustelle joined the OAS, which would attempt (on numerous occasions) to assassinate Charles de Gaulle. Jena de Menil had aligned with Soustelle over de Gaulle. It was President de Gaulle who raised alarms that Permindex was serving as a front for operations designed to topple his Republic and kill him in the process."
The factoid that de Gaulle warned about Permindex has never been sourced. It's mentioned in several books - for instance, Bill Davy, in his book Let Justice Be Done, writes: (page 99)
"However, one newspaper, that enjoys a better reputation, reportedly published an expose linking Permindex with the assassination attempts on French President Charles de Gaulle. In the spring of 1962, Les Echos (the French equivalent of the Wall Street Journal) ran several news stories and editorial reports of de Gaulle's accusations of Permindex involvement in many of the attempts on his life."
Sounds convincing, no? Davy's source is a Lyndon LaRouche publication and he writes, "If there are any researchers with access to French newspaper archives, tracking this down would be a worthy project." In other words, he took this from a questionable source, and never did any research.
Joan Mellen also mentions the allegation from Les Echos in her book, A Farewell to Justice (page 137) but doesn't provide a source.
The concluding paragraph from Albarelli's chapter on Permindex and other organizations alleges "sanctioned assassinations": (Page 86)
"Having confirmed that holding companies -- including CMC and Permindex -- served as fronts for intelligence operations, including sanctioned assassinations executed from WWII through the height of the Cold War, we turn to profiles of persons of interest who until now have skirted appreciable scrutiny, beginning with our chronicler Jean Pierre Lafitte -- familiar to Clay Shaw -- who would be selected as project manager for "Lancelot," the plot to kill JFK:"
And Albarelli ends with a supposed note from Lafitte's datebook that proves the conspiracy:
Hard 2 believe that it will
go forward ... but it will, it is
- Lafitte datebook, October 19., 1963.
Gee, talk about convincing evidence!
Greg Doudna challenges the authenticity of the Lafitte datebooks.
On page vii there is a Publisher's Statement which says:
"We are proud to bring to readers, researchers, and scholars Hank Albarelli Jr.'s book Coup in Dallas, a comprehensive analysis of the machinations behind the John F. Kennedy assassination.
We do not have a definitive position on the authorship of the Jean Pierre Lafitte 1963 datebook and make no representation or warranty as to the veracity of its entries. However, we feel that Hank was a serious and dedicated researcher with absolute faith in the legitimacy of the datebooks, and his analysis ought to be part of the public record." [emphasis added]
Even Albarelli's publisher seems to have had some doubts.