About French MacLean

The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ

Starting in 1963, and continuing to this day, it has become fashionable to disparage everyone who takes an alternative view about an historical event by calling them “A Conspiracy Nut,” or words to that effect.  But always remember, just because something is a conspiracy theory doesn’t mean it wasn’t an actual conspiracy.   If you are one of those that believe everything a network talking head, reading off a teleprompter, tells you, or blows with the winds of popular thought, or who couldn’t follow a line of florescent dots on the floor leading to the bathroom even if you had rampant diarrhea, you need to know that generally if you can reason, think logically, and can connect dots to solve difficult puzzles, you will generally do better in life than if you are unable, or worse unwilling, to do so, because that often translates into being a pawn for those who will take advantage of you.  I hope that I have some small ability to “connect the dots” to find out what really happened in history, especially involving significant crimes.

Part of that stems from serving in the Army, during which I was lucky enough to carry out a tour as an Inspector General for the United States Army Europe – often investigating situations that involved complex facts and human behavior, which often follows patterns of great repetition.  I also have been flat lucky enough to run into evidence and documents that for whatever reason should have been in the public domain, but were not – the most significant of I was able to turn into a book, The Fifth Field: The Story of the 96 American Soldiers Sentenced to Death and Executed in Europe and North Africa in World War II.  If you have followed this website even briefly, you know this work deals with how 96 American soldiers in Europe and North Africa were tried by American General Courts-Martial, convicted by military juries, sentenced to death, executed and buried in an obscure, secret plot at an American military cemetery in France.

While after the book was published, the court-martial records were transferred from a closet to the National Archives, it still appears that one needs a special permission to actually visit the section at the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery and Memorial outside Seringes-et-Nesles, France.  If you visited there, and were given permission to see the special field where these men are buried, please email me with that information, and I shall include that.

My discovery, however, of what really happened in those significant events pales in comparison to The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ, by Roger Stone.  Now, let us address the obvious: if you do not like Roger Stone, you may use that bias to disbelieve anything and everything he writes or says.  That would be unfortunate for you.

I believe that Stone would never claim to be a professional author, even though he has written six other books, writing has not been his life’s primary work; to make sure he obtained the correct flow, sequencing, level of support documentation and so forth, he enlisted Mike Colapietro, who not only is an excellent writer, but also had practical law enforcement, serving in the Office of the Chief of Staff at the Broward Sheriff’s Office in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  Meanwhile Stone, the consummate political insider, talked to numerous government officials during his career beginning in 1972.  Fascinated by the assassination – as were a lot of people our age (Roger is 69; I am 70) since about 1972, he would always ask guys about it, as he did favors for them, including some really high guys.  One “suggested” he not put anything in writing until the 50th anniversary, 2013, when all the folks talking would be dead by then!!!

Stone and Colapietro began this story with a time-tested truism for a murder investigator’s first question, cui bono (who benefits)?  In most cases, that may come to be a life insurance policy with the killer is the beneficiary, or killing a spouse to avoid alimony payments, or the killing of a witness by a defendant in another criminal case so that person cannot testify against the perpetrator.

Stone and Colapietro then expanded that to: who had the most to gain from Kennedy’s death at this moment in 1963, and conversely, who had the most to lose by a second John F. Kennedy presidential term beginning in 1965?  The answers soon became obvious, and maybe you already know the following:

  • Vice-President Johnson wanted to become President, hopefully running in 1968 after John Kennedy’s second term in office. However, Johnson became convinced that Kennedy was planning to dump him from the ticket prior to the election in 1964.  Even worse, law enforcement was closing in on Johnson for several instances of graft and bribery – charges that might go public and lead to an indictment before the end of 1963.  After Johnson assumed the Presidency, the charges went away.  Cui bono?
  • President Kennedy had informed the chief of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), J. Edgar Hoover, that he would face mandatory retirement from that position in 1965. Hoover joined the Justice Department in 1917 and was named director of the Department’s Bureau of Investigation in 1924, which later became the FBI.  Hoover wanted to remain in the job, but was not supported in that request by his immediate boss, Robert F. Kennedy, the U.S. Attorney General and the President’s younger brother.  Vice-President Johnson supported Hoover as FBI chief, and Hoover remained in that position until 1972.  Cui bono?
  • The Mafia provided valuable support at the request to Joe Kennedy, John F. Kennedy’s father, especially in West Virginia and Illinois, in the 1960 election of Kennedy. However, after assuming office, not only did President Kennedy not turn a blind eye toward Mafia activities, he appointed his younger brother Robert as U.S. Attorney General.  Bobby was an existential enemy of the Mafia.  In 1962 alone, Robert Kennedy touted the fact that prosecutions for racketeering by his Organized Crime Section in the Justice Department rose by 300 percent above 1961 and convictions of organized criminals grew by 350 percent.  Kennedy left the Attorney General position just ten months after his brother was killed.  Cui bono?

Using that as a guidepost, the authors concluded that in the end, Vice-President Lyndon Johnson leveraged his personal connections in Texas; and from nationwide organized crime (the Mafia,) and from the federal government – specifically the FBI and the CIA – to form a conspiracy to murder President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963.  And he used his influence to personally select the subsequent Warren Commission that would cover up the participants in that crime.

But you don’t have to just take my word for it.  Here are some other comments.  Because far too many people pre-judge a person’s opinion based on political leanings, race, creed, religion or other characteristic, I have omitted names and used only titles.

“A consummate political insider, Roger Stone views the JFK assassination through the prism of a murder investigator’s first question, cui bono (who benefits)?  Stone’s shocking answer is that the primary suspect has been hiding in plain sight for 50 years: LBJ.  A riveting account.” – Former U.S. Attorney

“Any serious student of politics or history should read Roger Stone’s stunning new book The Man Who Killed Kennedy.” – Judge

“Roger Stone nails LBJ for JFK murder!” – Journalist, Filmmaker

“Stone’s book will change American history forever!” – Historian

Do yourself a favor that will change your viewpoint, because the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963 fundamentally changed this country, and not for the better.  Read The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ.

The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ2022-04-18T14:58:25-06:00

Tom Ward

Tom Ward and the author

Thomas J. Ward, 96, of New Cumberland, passed away on Sunday, December 19, 2021 in his residence with his loving family at his side.  He was retired from the New Cumberland Army Depot, and was formerly a Foreman with Miller & Norford Construction Contractors, Lemoyne.  Tom attended Christian Life Assembly, Camp Hill; was a member of the Order of the Purple Heart; and a master craftsman working with wood, stone and small engines.  Anyone who needed anything fixed would bring it to Tom.  He was born in Lemoyne, the son of the late John C. and Edith (Grey) Ward.  He was also preceded in death by a daughter and a son, Jonette Ward and Jeffrey Martin and siblings, Elva, Romaine, Vance, Tennis, Robert, Margaret, Richard and Preston.  Tom is survived by his loving wife of more than 43 years, Winifred (Shuff) Ward; children, Thomas J. Ward, Jr. of Coudersport, Barbara Fontaine of Athol, ID, John Ward of Camp Hill, Christine McGee of Harrisburg and Karen Martin of Mechanicsburg; grandchildren, Allen, Thomas, Tony, John, Lainie, Cameron, Jeremy, Joshua, Heather and Taylor; thirteen great grandchildren; and two great-great grandchildren.  Funeral services were held on Monday, December 27, 2021 in Parthemore Funeral Home & Cremation Services, New Cumberland.

Born on June 9, 1925 at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Tom enlisted on September 2, 1943 and was assigned to Company I, 23rd Infantry Regiment in the Second U.S. Infantry Division.  An Infantry sergeant, Tom was decorated with four Purple Hearts, the Bronze Star, the Combat Infantryman Badge and numerous campaign awards, having served in Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland and Ardennes-Alsace.  After his fourth wound, he departed the 2nd Infantry Division in 1945 and reported to the Loire Disciplinary Training Center, where he served as the supply sergeant.

Loire Disciplinary Training Center.  Sergeant Tom Ward on left

At Le Mans, Tom was John Woods, the U.S. Army hangman in Europe, closest friend, often going downtown in the evening for a beer together, although they never discussed at the pubs what happened inside the center.  He recalled that the day before each execution, Woods would walk to the supply room to get the rope and black hood that would be used in the upcoming event; a new rope was used for each hanging, although Woods would use each black hood several times.  He also recalled that many of the executions occurred just before noon, when many of the men in the stockade – not involved in the execution – were standing in line outside the mess hall for lunch, and when the trap door opened, the motion was so violent and unique that the loud noise could be heard throughout the DTC and this distinctive sound spoiled many a man’s appetite.  Later, Master Sergeant Woods even asked Tom to be his assistant hangman, but the quiet sergeant from Pennsylvania had seen enough death and declined.

Without his help, American Hangman could not have been written.  But in addition to his historical knowledge, Tom was one of the most decent human beings I have ever known.  A tough soldier, he unleashed hell on a German defensive position after one of his men had been killed in the ongoing combat.  And later, Tom once knocked out a fellow American sergeant with one punch for calling him a REMF.  But Tom also had compassion for everyone he met in life who had things harder than he did.  During the war, Thomas Ward broke regulations and gave army blankets to refugees he met on his supply runs from Le Mans to Le Havre during the cold winter of 1944-45, and seventy years after the war ended, he was still hopeful that they had survived and went on to have a happy life.

Congratulations Sergeant Ward.  Yours was a life well-lived.

Tom Ward2022-04-18T14:55:56-06:00

Is Dr. Anthony Fauci Really a Dr. Josef Mengele?

Josef Mengele

A new book The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., says that Dr. Anthony Fauci is America’s Joseph Mengele for what he did to poor orphan minority kids in the 1980s, specifically that Dr. Fauci tested harsh chemotherapy drugs on orphan children in order to determine their potential for AIDS treatments; that he got control of foster homes in 7 states that served as sources for the youngsters; that these children were denied guardians and any kind of legal protector; that most of the children did not have HIV/AIDS, they were just used as guinea pigs to see if they could survive the harsh drug regimen; and that as a result, at least 85 children died as part of these experiments.

The selection ramp at Auschwitz. The column on the left will head directly to the gas chambers. The column on the right will enter the camp and be worked to death. Mengele is the officer in the right-center.  He is looking for twins.

I do not know how true these allegations are, but I do know who Dr. Josef Mengele was and you should know about him also or this comparison means nothing.

Josef Mengele, also known as the “Angel of Death,” was a German Waffen-SS captain and physician during World War II.  For decades after the war, and continuing today in some circles, the fable has remained alive that the SS personnel who served in the concentration camps were somehow different from their honorable brethren, who fought at the frontline in the Waffen-SS, in units.  Thus, those in the combat units have earned a pass from some historians, who believed the former Waffen-SS General Paul Hausser story Soldaten wie andere auch (Soldiers Like Any Other.)

But Hausser was incorrect.  As The Camp Men demonstrates with irrefutable proof from the official SS personnel file for each officer, almost half of the concentration camp officers also served in Waffen-SS combat divisions.  Mengele served in the 5th Waffen-SS Division in Russia.

But the real shocker is how many physicians, like Mengele, in Germany supported the Nazi Party.  More than 38,000 doctors, nearly half of all the physicians in Germany, joined the Nazi Party.  None were forced to join; they saw it as an opportunity to advance their careers.  At least 316 doctors served in the concentration camps, as well as at least 57 dentists.

Before the war, Mengele had received doctorates in anthropology and medicine, and began a career as a researcher.  He joined the Nazi Party in 1937 and the SS in 1938.  In early 1943, assigned to the Auschwitz concentration camp, he saw the opportunity to conduct genetic research on human subjects.  His experiments focused primarily on twins, with no regard for their health or safety; many died.  Mengele later served at the Gross-Rosen concentration camp.  But don’t take it from me; here are a few quotes from The Angel of Death:

“It would not be humanitarian to send a child to the ovens without permitting the mother to be there to witness the child’s death.”  The ovens here refer to the crematoria at Auschwitz, where the dead were burned.

“I don’t have anything to hide.  Terrible things happened at Auschwitz, and I did my best to help.  One could not do everything.  There were terrible disasters there.  I could only save so many.  I never killed anyone or hurt anyone.”

“Scientists have always been able to study twins after they have been born together.  But only in the Third Reich can Science examine twins who have died together.”

SS-Hauptsturmführer Josef Mengele; Mengele served in the 5th Waffen-SS Division Wiking, winning the Iron Cross 1st Class, before transferring to Auschwitz and subsequently Gross-Rosen.  

Josef Mengele drowned in 1979 after suffering a stroke while swimming off the coast of Bertioga, Brazil and was buried under the false name of Wolfgang Gerhard.  Dozens of Nazi doctors did not escape justice and were hanged after the war for Crimes Against Humanity.  You can read about some of them in American Hangman.

Maybe Anthony Fauci had nothing to do with the orphans and AIDS experiments on children at all; if so, Mr. Kennedy owes him an immense apology.  Maybe Dr. Fauci did play a role, but believed that their suffering, and the death of many of them, would do a greater good for mankind as a whole.  But as the International Military Tribunal (IMT) in Nuremberg, Germany showed after the war, their are limits to medical experimentation covered in Crimes Against Humanity.  And if the allegations in Kennedy’s book are accurate, in my opinion those experiments were clearly in in violation of that category.

If you have any actual information about the New York experiments, you can stand up for these kids — who could not stand up for themselves.  If you are reluctant to contact Children’s Health Defense at 1227 North Peachtree Pkwy, Suite 202 in Peachtree City, GA 30269 at 202-618-2477, contact this website and I’ll forward your evidence.

Is Dr. Anthony Fauci Really a Dr. Josef Mengele?2022-02-16T18:27:21-06:00

Simon Wiesenthal

I was just reorganizing my desk and found some photographs almost twenty years old.  One was a picture from July 2002 when I was fortunate enough to meet Mr. Simon Wiesenthal in his office in Vienna.

Nazi hunter

Simon Wiesenthal (above in his later years) was born on December 31, 1908, in Buchach, in the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, which was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  His father was a wholesaler, who had left Russia in 1905 to escape the anti-Jewish pogroms.  The elder Wiesenthal was called to active duty in 1914 in the Austro-Hungarian Army at the start of World War I; he was killed in action on the Eastern Front in 1915.  Simon, his younger brother and his mother fled to Vienna, when the Russian Army overran Galicia.  In the ebb and flow of war, the family returned to Buchach in 1917, after the Russians retreated.  Simon attended the Czech Technical University in Prague, where he studied from 1928 until 1932.  After graduating, he became a building engineer, working mostly in Odessa in 1934 and 1935.  The next six years are unclear, concerning Wiesenthal’s life; he married in 1936, when he returned to Galicia.

After the Nazi invasion of Russia in 1941, Wiesenthal’s mother came to live with him and his wife in Lvov.  Wiesenthal, a Jew, was detained by German authorities on July 6, 1941, but was saved from an Einsatzgruppe firing squad by a Ukrainian man, for whom he had previously worked.  German police deported Wiesenthal and his wife in late 1941 to the Janowska labor and transit camp and forced to work at the Eastern Railway Repair Works.  Every few weeks the Nazis would conduct a selection of Lvov Jewish Ghetto inhabitants unable to work.  In one such deportation, Wiesenthal’s mother was transported by freight train to the Belzec extermination camp and killed in August 1942.  On April 20, 1943, Wiesenthal avoided execution at a sand pit by firing squad, when at the last moment a German construction engineer intervened, stating that Wiesenthal was too skilled to be killed.

On October 2, 1943, the same German warned Wiesenthal that Janowska and its prisoners were about to be liquidated.  Wiesenthal was able to sneak out of camp and remained free until June 13, 1944, when Polish detectives arrested him in Lvov.  With Russian troops advancing, the SS moved Wiesenthal and other Jews by train to Przemyśl, 135 miles west of Lvov, where they built fortifications for the Germans.  In September 1944, the SS transferred the surviving Jews to the Płaszów concentration camp in Krakow.  One month later, Wiesenthal was transferred to the Gross-Rosen concentration camp.  While working at a rock quarry there, Wiesenthal was struck on the foot by a large rock, which resulted in the amputation of the large toe on his right foot.  The advancing Russian Army forced the evacuation of Gross-Rosen; Wiesenthal and other inmates marched by foot to Chemnitz.  From Chemnitz, the prisoners were taken in open freight cars to Buchenwald.  A few days later, trucks took the prisoners to the Mauthausen concentration camp, arriving in mid-February 1945.   When the camp was liberated by American forces in May 1945, Wiesenthal weighed 90 pounds.

Wiesenthal dedicated most of his life to tracking down and gathering information on fugitive Nazis.  His goal was to bring as many conspirators to the “Final Solution” as possible to justice for war crimes and crimes against humanity.  In 1947, Simon Wiesenthal co-founded the Jewish Historical Documentation Center in Linz, Austria, in order to gather information for future war crime trials. He later opened the Jewish Documentation Center in Vienna.  Wiesenthal was instrumental in the capture and conviction of Adolf Eichmann.

Visiting Mr. Wiesenthal in Vienna, 2002

The author interviewed Simon Wiesenthal at his small office in the Jewish Documentation Center in central Vienna in July 2002.  During the visit, Mr. Wiesenthal said that there was one thing wrong with his book, The Camp Men.  Dismayed, French waited for the explanation.  “You were born 50 years too late.  You found how to look through their officer files to prove they had been in the camps, while I had to rely on eye-witnesses.  If you had been there to help me back then, I would have found more.  But you weren’t born yet!”

Wiesenthal wrote The Sunflower, which describes a life-changing event he experienced when he was in the camp.  He died in Vienna on September 20, 2005; his remains are buried at Herzliya, Israel.

Simon Wiesenthal2021-12-24T11:02:23-06:00

Dare to Dream

Luis Ángel Colón World Record Cuatro

Sometimes you run across a person with a special talent, and even if you don’t know that individual well, you want success for them.  Such is the case of Luis Ángel Colón, whom I met while researching for maybe a new novel on Puerto Rico.  He lives in a modern, wooden house high on a hill outside Barranquitas.  He built the house because that is what Luis does – build incredible things with wood.  Not only houses, he may be the best craftsman currently constructing the Cuatro Puertorriqueño.  Known as a Cuatro for short, it is Puerto Rico’s most popular melodic instrument, and is played in both secular and religious music.  It sort of looks like a violin, or more accurately a violin-shaped guitar.  The Cuatro originally had four double-strings (hence cuatro for four) but at the end of the nineteenth century a fifth was added as its popularity rose on the island.

Cuatro by Luis Ángel Colón

Luis’ Cuatros are wonderful instruments, but don’t take my word for it.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City [Accession Number: 2003.216.1] has one of Luis’ creations.  An artist himself, Luis is proud when Cuatro-players around the island tell him what a great instrument he has made for them.

But like almost all artists, Luis dreams big and at first that meant creating the world’s largest-playable Cuatros, which he did several years ago.  The result was a 30 foot-long, Puerto Rican cuatro that weighs 1.4 tons.  Up to 15 people can fit inside Luis’ giant instrument, which you can actually tune, and play its chords with a giant guitar pick.  However, Luis is not finished.  In addition to building a second house, crafting exquisite  regular-size Cuatros, and also producing the Guiro Clásico Puertorriqueño, Guiro, a hollowed out gourd, about sixteen inches long, that has been dried and treated so that it can be used as an instrument.  Notches are carved on one side of the gourd, and the musician uses a stick or tines to create various raspy tones.  Johnny Pacheco was a famous Guiro player.  Janis Joplin was a famous singer who tried to play the Guiro, they key word being tried.

Guiro by Luis Ángel Colón

“Do It Again,” by Steely Dan, has prominent Guiro tones, as does “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing,” by Stevie Wonder.  If you are a Santana fan, you know all about this instrument; “I Ain’t Got Nobody That I Can Depend On” is a great one, as is “Guajira.”

Luis’ Dream — A Cuatro Museum and Restaurant

However, Luis has his sights set higher…much higher.  He has begun to organize architectural drawings of an entire building shaped as a Cuatro, possibly solar powered, here in Puerto Rico, that might be able to serve as a combination Cuatro museum and restaurant (with dishes named after parts of the Cuatro) in a unique fusion of music and food.  Luis Colón just might have an idea for you.

Create your own dream by checking out Luis’s dreams.  If you are a guitar player, broaden your horizons with your own Cuatro, maybe even one built by him.  Play along with Stevie, or Carlos and Jorge Santana with your own Guiro – you can get a good one for a very reasonable price.

Or just maybe you want to spend some quality time down in the Caribbean and want to open a one-of-a-kind restaurant.

Dare to Dream2021-09-04T16:54:41-06:00

West Point, Class of 1974

1974

Admitted

1967 – 1

1968 – 1

1969 – 12

1970 – 819

Graduated – 833

Time at West Point:

Upon arriving at West Point in the summer of 1970, the question every new cadet tacitly pondered was whether they would serve in Vietnam at some point during their time in service.  The country was deeply divided over the war, and nationwide anti-war demonstrations came to a tragic climax with the killing of four and wounding of nine other unarmed Kent State University students by the Ohio National Guard on May 4, 1970.  Despite division over the war, 1377 new cadets entered the Academy out of over 6,000 applicants.  On his way to perform for the troops in Vietnam, Bob Hope and his entourage, stopped at West Point on December 15, 1970, for a special Christmas show.  And on May 29, 1971, President Nixon visited the academy with a message of assurance that no graduates from the Class of 1974 would be deployed to Vietnam, although this news was a little late for our future First Captain Jack Pattison, who had fought on Hamburger Hill in that conflict before attending the Prep School and subsequently West Point.

French & Dad at Graduation; it had been a LONG way from Summer School for Chemistry

While most of the class members were on summer leave, a few to summer school, army orientation training, or airborne school, a federal appeals court ruled on June 30, 1972, that mandatory chapel was unconstitutional, thus ending a years-long tradition at West Point.  On July 1, 1973, President Nixon fulfilled a re-election promise by ending the draft and ushering in the era of an all-volunteer army.  Distinguished scholars among the 833 graduates included Andrew Green and Thomas Downar recognized with the Hertz Foundation Award; Dwight Helton and Willis Marti awarded the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship; Kerry Pierce awarded the Rhodes Scholarship; and Michael Reopel awarded a White House Fellowship.

Dave Petraeus and fiancée at graduation

Environment upon Graduation:

The Class of 1974 entered a peacetime Army divided between draftees and enlistees who served in Vietnam, and volunteers who had no combat experience.  Graduates were immediately challenged to address post-war issues such as low morale, racial tensions, and unit readiness as the Army transitioned from the Vietnam war to more defensive missions in Western Europe and South Korea.  The class also provided exemplary leadership regarding the integration and development of women into combat support units.  Missions and training broadened to include desert warfare in anticipation of conflicts in the Middle East.

Receiving Diploma from Superintendent, Lieutenant General William Knowlton. The “Supe” was probably more surprised than I was!

Career Highlights:

Members of the Class of 1974 served in assignments around the globe and played a key role in providing frontline combat leadership in the Gulf War (1990-1991), the Iraq War (2003-2011), and the Global War on Terror.  No members of the Class were killed in action or died while in captivity.  Twenty-five members of the Class became General Officers, including four 4-star generals, three 3-star, eleven 2-star, and seven 1-star.  Completing over forty years of active service, GEN Martin “Marty” Dempsey served as the 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from October 1, 2011, until September 25, 2015.  GEN Keith Alexander, serving in the United States Army for nearly forty years, served as director of the National Security Agency, chief of the Central Security Service, and commander of the United States Cyber Command.  GEN David “Dave” Petraeus served as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency after serving 37 years in the United States Army.  Highlighting nearly thirty-seven years of service in the United States Army, GEN Walter “Skip” Sharp last served as the Commander, United Nations Command, Commander, ROK-US Combined Forces Command and Commander, U.S. Forces Korea.  After retiring as a Colonel, Matthew S. “Matt” Klimow (who was Keith Alexander’s roommate at West Point) went into the U. S. State Department; his career there culminated as the U.S. Ambassador to Turkmenistan.  Keith Alexander, Marty Dempsey, and Skip Sharp were each awarded the USMA Distinguished Graduate Award in 2016, 2017, and 2019, respectively.

West Point, Class of 19742021-06-28T19:22:58-06:00

The Po Po Report Now Podcast

Paul Ciolino

Sometimes I have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century, but once I found how easy it is to watch Podcasts, I was glad I did.  First, you can listen whenever you want; second, you can listen more than once; and third, for the ones I have found, all the commercials are cut out of regular broadcasts.

Take the Po Po Report broadcast that used to be every Saturday night from 7:00-9:00 p.m. on WLS Radio, 890 AM.  Led by Paul Ciolino, a former policeman and now a private investigator, the show delves into police, crime and punishment in Chicago, so you know that they are never at a loss for material.  They talk about street crime, transgressions by political bosses — giving kudos to special police officers and slamming crooks.  Po Po is just one of the nicknames for the police in Chicago, hence the name.

WLS was OK, but when the pandemic came, the radio station cut back and started making demands that Paul was not prepared to live with.  So Po Po became a big time podcast, that is far more real than following rules from a radio station.  In fact, the only rule is that the subject has to be interesting!  And it is every week.

Paul is my age; in fact we were in the same infantry company in Germany in the mid-1970s.  Being the only two guys from Illinois, I would swing by the company arms room, which he ran, and checked what the latest was in Chi-town.  A few years later, Paul got out of the Army and went into law enforcement, finally becoming a private investigator.

Let me sum him up: if I ever was arrested for a major crime I did not commit, Paul Ciolino is the private detective I would want on my side.  He has been involved in the OJ Simpson Case, the Oklahoma City Bombing Case, the Amanda Knox Case in Italy, and several capital murder cases in Illinois that proved that the wrong people were sitting on death row, which led to a policy change on the death penalty in Illinois.

Right now, Paul is working on the mysterious death of boxer Arturo Gotti, who died on July 11, 2009.  Brazil and Canada have weighed in over the years on the cause of death, with a lot of so-called experts settling on Suicide.  Once again, Paul is the voice of reason in an increasingly irrational world, and is working on a special network presentation that Arturo was murdered.  If you are out in Las Vegas anytime soon, take Murder and give the points.

Now Paul is the savvy old-timer; his partner on the show is Lupe Aguirre, a younger lawyer and police officer; my guess is early 40s, so he knows the current state of play in the police department (like how a police lieutenant can take a nap on duty), as well as the Millennial scene, not that too many listeners care about the latter.  You want Chicago accents, often politically incorrect language, and stuff on crime you won’t find anywhere else.  This is it.  You hear about murders every weekend in Chicago.  You’ll hear about them here too, but you will also hear that there is probably a serial killer loose in the city that may have murdered 51 women in Chicago.  That’s right, 51 women and a whole lot of the media hasn’t bothered to really cover it.

They talk about the abysmal arrest rate on murder cases and why that is so.  They hand out the “Jagoff of the Week” which is derogatory street slang meaning a person who is stupid or inept.

The guys also give you tips about using Uber drivers and other things to keep you safer in Chicago.  Supposedly the show even has a following in Statesville, the replacement prison in the state for the infamous Joliet Prison.  It is worth your time, so go to the podcast.  In a perfect world, you could have a couple of beers every week with Paul at a Chicago watering hole; this is the next best thing.

The Po Po Report Now Podcast2021-06-15T14:52:05-06:00

The Murder of Tsar Nicholas II and His Family 1918

The Murder of Tsar Nichols II and His Family 1918

After a lifetime of research, and final research lasting a decade, the Romanovs’ Murder Case: The Myth of the Basement Room Massacre solves the mystery of the murder of Tsar Nicholas II and his family is finally out.  And what a book it is.  The Romanovs’ Murder Case destroys the myth that the entire family, plus a number of personal servants, were shot together in the basement of the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg, Russia in the early morning hours of July 17, 1918.  My friend and neighbor, lawyer and author T. G. Bolen, using architectural analysis determines that the basement murder room simply was not wide enough to allow for the Bolshevik version of events.  Enlisting a state police forensic handwriting expert, he has concluding that the last entry of the Tsarina into her diary was probably done later by another person, thus putting the accepted timeline into question.  Finally, he presents the fascinating career of an American Army military intelligence officer, Major Homer H. Slaughter.

Interviewing Colonel Slaughter’s family,  the author found physical pieces of evidence that support that Homer Slaughter was actually in the Ipatiev House withing hours of the crime, and that Slaughter determined that some people were murdered there, but that murders occurred in at least two rooms.  Slaughter’s personnel file at the National Archives in St. Louis, revealed that Slaughter received a promotion to Colonel and in the 1930s was the chief of Army Intelligence for the Far East.  A master of many languages, an expert map-maker, with probably a photographic memory, Homer Slaughter was America’s “James Bond” without the glitz or pretension.  During his career, he intercepted a proposed treaty between Japan and Russia, appeared throughout Asia in the most dangerous places and face great dangers.  Once, in Harbin, China, he was being followed by a Japanese secret service agent.  Slipping away to his Chinese contact, he informed him of the problem.  The next morning, Homer heard a knock on his hotel door, but when he opened the door, no one was there — only a medium sized box.  He took the box into the room and opened it.  Inside was the head of the agent who had been following him!  In true Slaughter style, Homer closed the box, dressed and took the closed box downstairs to the hotel concierge with instructions to deliver the box to the Japanese consulate!

However, the most important contribution to history by Homer Slaughter was not exposing a treaty or engaging in the “Great Game” of the 1930s between the intelligence assets of the United States and Japan, but in an innocuous small, glass slide used in presentations to selected military audiences in the 1930s.  It is a depiction of an architectural drawing of the second floor of the Ipatiev House, the floor in which the Russian royal family resided during their final stay in the Ipatiev House.  Homer personally modified the floorplan, and it is this modification, shown in the book as Plate 4A, that will forever change the way in which historians view the final moments of Tsar Nicholas II and his family.  It will change your views as well!

The Murder of Tsar Nicholas II and His Family 19182022-04-18T15:03:51-06:00

Denial

Denial Cover Kindle

The great novel of Puerto Rico is finally here!  After writing all these books on history, Olga and I decided to try and write a novel and the result is now on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing under the title:

Denial

A Crime Mystery Novel of Puerto Rico

The mysterious disappearance of a valuable animal in the mountains of Puerto Rico leads Detective Sergeant Antonio Ponce from the murder investigation of Hector “Macho” Camacho to a dangerous journey into the world of animal trafficking in the Caribbean.  The search to solve the crime is complicated by professional hit-men and a Puerto Rican bureaucracy that is in a perpetual state of denial that any crime of this magnitude could ever occur on “The Isle of Enchantment.”  In addition to a page-turning build-up to the book’s conclusion, the work presents an in-depth look at the history, people, geography and culture of the “Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.”

Researching and writing it was fun and stretched our imaginations trying to craft a believable work of fiction.  I think it is a page-turner, but in addition to the storyline, you will find a wealth of information about the island’s people, geography, food and travel — a great book to take with you on your Kindle or Ipad when you go on vacation down there (the restaurants and coffee houses named in the book are all there in real life!)

So have a great time…and do be careful the next time you take a bath!

Denial2016-05-13T19:21:13-06:00

The Wisdom of Crowds

Hunting Hitler Web

Read this carefully, because I really need your help in proving or disproving a historical mystery, and after you think about what you have read I would ask you to email me with your opinions.

My interest in World War II probably began at age five and since then, especially concerning the war in Europe, I have tried to read book after book on this subject that has been printed in English or German.  After five decades and at least 1,000 books read, I was pretty comfortable that I understood how the war unfolded and the general ground truth of what happened.

Within the last two years, however, something has changed with the publication of the book Grey Wolf: The Escape of Adolf Hitler, and last fall the appearance on the History Channel of the series Hunting Hitler.  Until these two events, I would have mortgaged the house, sold the dog, taken a second job and wagered every dollar I had, or would ever make in the future, on the premise that Adolf Hitler committed suicide in Berlin on or about April 30, 1945.  That event was a given in World War II history and was supported by a mountain of indicators.

Now, while I still freely admit that the mountain of indicators is still there, this little, itty-bitty voice of doubt has crept into some historical recess of my mind that is now saying, “Not so fast.”

Let’s do a quick review of established history.  The Soviet Army advanced through Poland and was in an operational pause along the Oder River, just east of Berlin.  On April 16, 1945, they launched their attack to take the German capital, concentrating their forces to break through in the Seelow Heights area.  After two days of bitter fighting, the Soviets broke through the German defenses and advanced toward Berlin, while at the same time sending attack wings north and south of the city so as to encircle it.   By April 23 April, Berlin was fully encircled and the Battle for Berlin entered its final stage.  Hitler decided to die in Berlin, while many or his subordinates attempted to escape over the next eight days.  During the last 49 hours of his life, Adolf Hitler married his long-time mistress Eva Braun, dictated his final will and testament and made preparations for his death.  The two committed suicide about 3:30 pm on April 30, 1945.  SS personnel took the bodies of both people outside the bunker, where they attempted to burn them beyond recognition.  A general breakout from the bunker occurred the next day, with some personnel escaping the Red Army, but with most killed or captured.

Grey Wolf, and since I first read it I have discovered that several investigative reporters and historians in South America have come to the same conclusion – one even stating that some of the work in the book was his own – presents a detailed account of how the Nazis amassed a fortune in Argentina and paid off several highly-placed Argentinian leaders to not only look the other way, but to actively assist those Nazis that escaped to their country after the war.  The non-fiction work then goes into detail on how Hitler – and Eva Braun – escaped.  It gives names of those assisting in the effort, presents the most-likely path of escape, tells of the exact U-boat that ferried the Führer across the Atlantic, describes Hitler’s life in the South American country and presents a descript of the Nazi leader’s last days.  More incredibly – if that is possible – the work tells how Eva soured on her husband and how she and their two children left the unstable dictator.  In short, Grey Wolf tried to answer the question: Did Hitler, code name “Grey Wolf”, really die in Berlin in 1945?

That all sounded incredible – to the point that I have read the book three times and began a search to verify or disprove the details as they were presented (i.e., what was the history of the U-boat in question; what was the history of the area in Argentina to which the couple fled, etc.)

Then last fall, History Channel introduced their series Hunting Hitler, which not only had one of the authors of Grey Wolf on its investigation team, but was also staffed by several other accomplished experts and led by former CIA case officer and author Robert “Bob” Baer.  Here was a “heavy-hitter”, a graduate of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown, an intelligence columnist for Time Magazine and a consultant on intelligence issues and subjects for CNN.  Mr. Baer simply is not the type of professional who would support a fraudulent effort to answer a legitimate question, because his reputation is his stock in trade.  After watching every episode of the series, my conclusion was that Hitler and Braun could have escaped from Berlin; the short series simply did not have the time or focus to get me to a conclusion that they did escape.

There are now rumblings that there may be a second year for the series, and it may be wise to turn to a new method of analysis to try and prove or disprove this potentially history-shaking subject – the wisdom of the crowd.  This information-gathering and decision-making tool rests on the conclusion that the collective opinion of a group of individuals is more accurate and prescient than that of a single expert.  Behavioral scientists have found time after time that a large group’s aggregated answers to questions involving quantity estimation, general knowledge and many types of reasoning is as good as – and often better than – the conclusion arrived at by any single individual within the group, no matter their education or specialty.  This is also the basis of our jury system and how 12 jurors can come up with the correct verdict.

The readers on this website are real thinkers, as their emails to me indicate all the time.  So if you are reading this post, I would like you to think about your answer to the following question:

What would History Channel in the second year of their series Hunting Hitler have to show you for you to conclude that Adolf Hitler probably did not die in Berlin in 1945 and instead escaped to South America?

To help you organize your thoughts let me offer some “baskets” of proof that you could consider – but if you have something else, please develop that.  The goal of this post is to have you send me an email (go to contact the author) and let me hear the wisdom of the reading group and I will try and get that to the creators of the series.

Basket 1 – Witness Statements.  This might include Argentinians who believe they saw Hitler in Argentina after the war.  How many different witnesses would cause you to believe their conclusions?  What if one or more of the U-boat crewmen that reportedly took Hitler to South America was still alive and made a statement on camera to that effect?  Would it take more than one of these sailors to convince you?

Basket 2 – Photographs.  If any photographs of Hitler were shown, and were verified by photo experts to have been taken in the 1940s or 1950s, and a forensic expert was able to superimpose them on known photographs to get a percentage of match, how would that affect your opinion?

Basket 3 – Remains or DNA.  I am not sure if anyone has DNA that is known to be Hitler’s or someone in his family, as DNA was not a known tool back then for identification.  What are your observations concerning the use of DNA.  Additionally, if the investigators found what they believe are the remains of Hitler, how would you want that presentation to be handled: a dental records comparison, etc.?

Basket 4 – Eva Braun and the supposed children.  Even if Hitler did escape, he would be long dead by now and Eva Braun would most likely be dead unless she was over 100 years old.  But if the couple indeed had children, those individuals could still be alive.  What evidence concerning them would you like to see?  If the investigators find a gravestone in a secluded cemetery for Eva Braun and the burial records show the person was born in Munich on the same day that the famous Eva was, what does that do to the little voice in your head?

Basket 5 – Something else.  No matter how crazy it may sound, let me hear it!

Basket 6 – This is the “I ain’t buying anything they find or show.”  That is important to know as well as it shows a would-be writer or producer the magnitude of the challenge he or she must overcome to change a historical opinion that has been sort of set in concrete for over 70 years.

So please think about the essential question, Did Hitler really die in Berlin in 1945?  Think about what level of evidence or proof you need to answer this in the negative, if that can be done at all.

And then please write me with your thoughts!

 

 

 

The Wisdom of Crowds2016-03-27T11:01:32-06:00
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