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« Outing Deep Throat | Main | The Quiet Vietnamese »

11 July 2007


Tom O'Neill

Curious how the author omits any reference to one of Talbot's most damning charges: The role of George Joannides in the manipulation first of Oswald and then of the HSCA.

Talk about cherry picking!!!!

Mel Ayton

Don Bohning has accomplished what The New York Times and The Washington Post failed to do. He has exposed David Talbot's questionable journalistic ethics and practices--an ethical approach to research I was to meet head-on when Talbot investigated the recent allegations that CIA officers had been present at the Ambassador Hotel the night Robert Kennedy was assassinated.

In a response to a David Talbot interview promoting his book ‘Brothers’, (
JFK assassination researcher Steve Barber posted a comment on a JFK assassination forum informing its members that Talbot was being disingenuous by inferring he had been the first researcher (together with Jefferson Morley) to successfully debunk claims made by Irish screenwriter Shane O’Sullivan that CIA officers (George Joannides, Gordon Campbell and David Morales) had been allegedly present at the Ambassador Hotel on the night RFK was assassinated. Barber informed forum members that I was the first researcher to challenge and debunk O’Sullivan’s claims in an article written for History News Network the week or so following the airing of O’Sullivan’s BBC Newsnight story. (

The definitive aspect of my HNN article lies in these simple facts:
*Close friends of Morales--Air Force intelligence officer Manny Chavez who was assigned to the CIA’s Miami station, JMWAVE, and his wife, along with CIA officer Grayston Lynch and his wife--looked at the photos taken from the Ambassador Hotel film footage I provided--which were the same photos used by O’Sullivan--and stated that the man in the photos was definitely not Morales. Manny Chavez even had the photos enhanced and sent them to Luis Rodriguez, another close friend of Morales, who agreed with Chavez and Lynch that the man in the photos was not Morales.
*I received confirmation about Gordon Campbell’s misidentification from Grayston Lynch who knew Campbell as he worked closely with him.

Talbot responded to Barber’s JFK forum post by writing, “Excuse me, but what the hell are you talking (about)? You seem to be very sure of yourself for someone who is talking out of his rear end. Are you implying that Jeff Morley and I somehow leached off Mel Ayton's research? If so, that's an absurd and reckless charge to be throwing around. I have a vague idea of who Ayton is, but I've never read anything he's written. Ayton's report was welcome but hardly definitive. We can all agree that the BBC's story was erroneous. . . . I can assure you that we broke ground no one else has in the course of knocking down O'Sullivan's charges about the RFK assassination. There was no way you could do that unless you did the reporting--i.e., left the armchair in your study--as Jeff and I did, traveling from Washington to Miami to Arizona to California to interview family members, colleagues and friends of Morales, Joannides, etc. If Mr. Ayton or anyone else you know has done this, I'd love to see the fruits of their labor. . . . I have no idea who you are, but you're full of shit and obviously have no conception of what original reporting is. Ayton simply rehashes the same old same old. And for you to make the wild claim that I sucked off his research--when I've never read anything by the man until today and when you never even bothered to ask me--shows how clueless you are when it comes to basic investigation. You're an irresponsible person and you should be ashamed of yourself.”

Barber responded to Talbot’s post by suggesting Talbot
“ . . . check out the ‘fruit of Mel Ayton’s labor’ by reading (the HNN) article--in the age of the internet you don’t have to travel around the world to produce excellent research results. You would have thought that Talbot, the brains behind, would have known this (Check the date attached to the HNN article).”

As any reader can judge I was not “rehashing the same old, same old” as Talbot so indelicately put it. And this wasn’t “new ground” Talbot and Morley were breaking but simply an extension of my research to find others who knew the purported CIA officers allegedly present at the Ambassador Hotel. Talbot’s sources eventually confirmed the statements made by Lynch, Chavez and Rodriguez. To many journalists Lynch et al’s statements to me would be characterized as “definitive.”

It would appear that David Talbot has been playing fast and loose with the facts surrounding the debunking of Shane O’Sullivan’s allegations. Manny Chavez told Talbot about my article when Talbot eventually interviewed him. Manny also told Talbot about our correspondence. And it was Manny Chavez who decisively exposed David Talbot as having been less than truthful about his “vague” recollection of me. Manny wrote, “ . . . so happy to hear from you but regret that David Talbot did not give you credit for having debunked the Morales involvement first, which you certainly did and deserving of at least an acknowledgment. During my interview with Talbot and Morley I specifically told them that I had been in contact with you and that I had informed you that the person in the photo, who Sullivan had identified as Morales, was definitely not the Morales I knew. Bernice, my wife, who also knew Morales, also told them that she could not identify the person in the photo.”

There is nothing wrong or sinister about following up my initial research into Shane O’Sullivan’s RFK/CIA allegations by traveling across the country and finding new sources who could verify whether or not the persons named by O'Sullivan are who he says they are. What is particularly shocking is the fact that in interviews about his book Talbot does not give me any credit for the initial ground-breaking research in the matter. In this sense he has “leached off my research.”

Mel Ayton

Tom O'Neill states that George Joannides manipulated Oswald!

How, when and where, Mr O'Neill?

O'Neill can't provide any proof (nor can Talbot)because there isn't any.

Furthermore, nobody has been able to establish Joannides had a role in the alleged 'JFK conspiracy'.I suggest O'Neill reference Bugliosi's 'Reclaiming History' to find out how this canard started on its rounds. (Endnotes pages 676-690)

It is uninformed people like O'Neill who help conspiracy buffs spread their distorted truths.

Amaury Murgado

I am Angel Murgado's eldest son.

Believe him, don't believe him, I am over it...BUT:

1. Rest assured, most of prominent players of the Brigade have eaten dinner at our home, especially Artime and Oliva (granted I was a little kid, but I remember, they were our heros.)

2. How can the Brigade or Oliva deny my father's participation in the Bay of Pigs seeing that his name is part of the official record (Angel Ledo Murgado)and seeing that he spent the time in the same jail as they did in Cuba. He is also in a famous picture of a briefing just before they jumped into Cuba. The same picture that takes up almost an entire wall at the Brigade Museum.

3. One of the reasons the Brigade is pissed off at my father is because he helped bring back bodies of the Brigade dead to be buried properly in the US. Instead of praising him they vilified him for dealing with Cuba.

4. The author of this article, Mr. Bohning, surmises that why would RFK trust anyone outside the government to help protect his brother? For such an educated man, that was the stupidest statement I have ever heard in a while.

RFK did trust the government to protect his brother and look what is not outside the realm of possibility that he would use CIA trained Cubans to help him. Especially in the light of the guilt JFK felt for his betrayal of the Brigade, or maybe all those pictures with RFK, JFK and the Brigade leadership are clever tricks. Or perhaps all the Brigade members who participated in Operation Mongoose was also a fabrication?

I am always appreciative of anyone that discredits my father. Helps keep him around. Every time I think its over, somebody starts the argument about my father all over again. You guys sure spend a lot of time on somebody who is supposedly full of crap. At least it gives me something to do when I am bored.


Amaury Murgado

Amaury Murgado

Correction. Oliva never ate dinner at our home. I had him confused with another gentlemen. My father corrected me. The rest of my post stands as is.

Craig Browning

The author claims to be correcting weakly-based claims filled with bias, but adds his own when he quotes Richard Helms making claims about Robert Kennedy's role in the Castro assassination effort, without any note of the widespread reports of Helms's animosity towards the Kennedys.

It takes a careful approach to weed out the lies - consider Nixon's attempt to frame the Kennedys by pretending to leak forged 'discovered' cables in a safe implicating them for things they didn't do.

Max Holland

From a 48 Hours interview with Richard Helms, broadcast over CBS in 1992.

HELMS. And I am simply saying this on television because I would like the American public to understand that the CIA was not involved in that assassination, regardless of what anybody says. I tell you, we checked up on it later, not only at the time, but then we checked out when the Warren Commission was sitting and so forth, be sure that nobody had been in Dallas on that particular day.

48 HOURS. You did that in November of 1963?

HELMS. Of course.

48 HOURS. Why did you do that? Had anybody accused the CIA at that time?

HELMS. We weren't sure that, uh -- [hesitates] The place was in an uproar, the country was in an uproar. There was great concern that this might have been a foreign doing of some kind. [A few unintelligible words.]

48 HOURS. Is that why you checked, or did you check because you thought maybe some of your guys might have been involved?

HELMS. I didn't think that anybody was involved, and don't try and make me say it.

48 HOURS. Is there a feeling that there was reason to be scared of the fact that the President of the United States was that mad at the CIA?

HELMS. We were unhappy, but there's nothing we could do about it. What would you suggest that one do under the circumstances?

48 HOURS. Well, you know what people have suggested you did under the circumstances.

HELMS. What was that?

48 HOURS. You had the President killed.

HELMS. Well, that's ridiculous. That's a leap of fantasy. And Americans who think that way have a child's mentality.

Anthony Marsh

A possible motive for Helms to kill Kennedy was the Barghoorn incident. A Yale professor named
Frederick Barghoon was seized by the KGB in late October 1963, probably as a pawn to trade for one of its spies who had been arrested in NJ by the US. The KGB accused Barghoorn of being a CIA agent. Kennedy asked the NSC to look into the allegation. Bromley Smith reported that Helms at the CIA said that Barghoorn had no ties to the CIA. But in fact Barghoorn had once been a CIA analyst. When Barghoorn was released and came back to the US, he revealed that he had once worked for the CIA. Kennedy was furious that the CIA had lied to him and vowed to fire whoever it was at CIA who lied and made Kennedy look incompetent to the Soviets. That was on November 20, 1963 and he said he'd clear up the matter and restructure the CIA when he got back from his trip to Texas.

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