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Patrick Nolan on 'CIA Rogues and the Killing of the Kennedys' (Q&A)

Patrick Nolan's 'CIA Rogues and the Killing of the Kennedys' is available now from Skyhorse Publishing.

Today, Hartford Books Examiner welcomes Patrick Nolan.

The author of CIA Rogues and the Killing of the Kennedys: How and Why US Agents Conspired to Assassinate JFK and RFK (Skyhorse Publishing, $24.95), Nolan is a forensic historian who has dedicated his life to uncovering truths surrounding the political assassinations of the 1960s. He has been a journalist, a television news producer, and a professor at Hofstra University and St. John’s University. Nolan and his wife make their home in West Hartford, Connecticut.

CIA Rogues and the Killing of the Kennedys was published last November to coincide with the fifty year passage of JFK’s assassination. The book features an introduction from noted forensic scientist Dr. Henry Lee in which he notes, “[Patrick Nolan] has taken what some considered to be open-and-shut cases and through diligent analysis of facts and the evidence he has found some new answers to the questions surrounding the violent attempts to subvert the national will in the 1960s.” Further, Booklist offered, “Serious conspiracy theorists will probably enjoy this new book … Readers who can’t get enough of speculation about the JFK and RFK assassinations should definitely give it a read …”

From the publisher:

The secret history of the CIA’s darkest days and the killings that scarred a nation.

The US Central Intelligence Agency is no stranger to conspiracy and allegations of corruption. Across the globe, violent coups have been orchestrated, high-profile targets kidnapped, and world leaders dispatched at the hands of CIA agents. During the 1960s, on domestic soil, the methods used to protect their interests and themselves at the expense of the American people were no less ruthless. In CIA Rogues and the Killing of the Kennedys, Patrick Nolan fearlessly investigates the CIA’s involvement in the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert F. Kennedy—why the brothers needed to die and how rogue intelligence agents orchestrated history’s most infamous conspiracy.

Nolan furthers the research of leading forensic scientists, historians, and scholars who agree that there remain serious unanswered questions regarding the assassinations of John F. Kennedy fifty years ago and Robert F. Kennedy in 1968. He revisits and refutes what is currently known about Lee Harvey Oswald and Sirhan Bishara Sirhan, and offers readers a compelling profile of the CIA’s Richard Helms, an amoral master of clandestine operations with a chip on his shoulder.

Bolstered by a foreword by Dr. Henry C. Lee, one of the world’s foremost forensic authorities, CIA Rogues and the Killing of the Kennedys is an unmatched effort in forensic research and detective work. As the fiftieth anniversary of the JFK assassination approaches, Nolan has made a significant contribution to the literature on that fateful day in Dallas as well as shed light on that dark night at the Ambassador Hotel. Readers interested in conspiracy, the Kennedy family, or American history will find this book invaluable.

Now, Patrick Nolan offers a case for your consideration …

1) What inspired you to write CIA ROGUES AND THE KILLING OF THE KENNEDYS—and how do you feel that your book differs from the multitude of others that have been released to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination?

My inspiration probably originated with my having lived through the JFK and RFK assassinations as a teenager. I admired both brothers and always felt that the explanations given for their murders were incomplete, inconsistent and contradictory. My book differs from others in this genre because it takes the investigation one step further and shows how both JFK and RFK were killed by the same forces in the same type of operation and for the same reasons.

2) You make the case that both Lee Harvey Oswald and Sirhan Sirhan were unwitting pawns of the CIA’s MKULTRA program. What similarities do you see between the two that would lend itself to government handling—and how do you feel that this hypnosis manifested itself in their behavior, both prior to and following the killings?

Oswald and Sirhan were programmed fallguys. Oswald was framed – witnesses saw him just before and after the assassination sipping a Coke in the lunchroom of the Texas School Book Depository. In Sirhan’s case, he was framed with gun in hand, yet he has no memory of the shooting even under hypnosis. Witnesses state that he was in a stupor. RFK was hit from behind, yet Sirhan was standing in front of him. Two men in suits were witnessed firing from behind RFK. An examination of the Sirhan weapon has revealed lead in the barrel – blanks had been fired to prevent hitting the real gunmen.

Similarities between Oswald and Sirhan abound. Both were 24, young and easily manipulated. Oswald had studied Russian in the military and was working in intelligence. Sirhan was connected with mob figures at the track in his area and was later found to have had a military intelligence file compiled on his background written prior to the RFK assassination.

Besides links to CIA operatives, both Oswald and Sirhan exhibited symptoms of Agency programming: unexplained time gaps, amnesia, uncharacteristic irritability, episodes of rapid speech and trance-like states. Both had little prior interest in guns. In both cases we find fake diaries, evidence of automatic writing, and other Agency disinformation devices: fake photos, fake documents and the planted rifle. In both cases witnesses were intimidated and many died mysteriously.

3) The domestic assassinations of the 1960s share some stark, if often ignored, commonalities. How do you see the JFK, MLK, and RFK killings as being related—and what was the overall impact of these crimes on American policy?

The JFK, RFK and MLK cases are all related in that they were all rogue Agency unwitting fallguy assassinations. The masterminds were Richard Helms, head of Plans and eventually CIA Director, James Angleton, head of Counterintelligence, David Phillips, Western Hemisphere chief, and E. Howard Hunt, propaganda, disinformation and sabotage expert, along with their mob associates. Their motive was power, self-preservation and ending the Kennedys plans to pursue diplomatic means to bring about peace with Cuba, North Vietnam and the Soviet Union. The right-wing’s anti-communist fanaticism of the 1950s led directly to the assassinations of the 1960s. The impact was the loss of thousands more Americans in Vietnam and a diminishing of trust and faith in our government.

4) What do you see as the ramifications of these killings on contemporary politics—and how do you hope that your book might influence future generations in terms of past serving as prologue?

Today our nation is still divided regarding the true history of the last half of the past century. Those individuals who believe in the O’Reilly-Bugliosi-Posner-Warren Commission fantasies are in many cases those who back the obstructionists causing such dysfunction today in Washington. I believe that if we shine a light on the truth about our past, we will be better equipped to be able to move forward into the future.

5) Given that Dr. Henry Lee provides a foreword to the book, can you briefly outline the forensics of the Kennedy assassinations and how this evidence tends to contradict the “official” version of events?

The forensic evidence in the JFK and RFK cases indicate more than one gunman in both assassinations. In the JFK case, neutron activation tests of recovered bullet particles showed no match. In addition, Parkland Hospital doctors’ statements reveal evidence of both front and rear bullet entry. The film evidence and eye witness accounts also corroborate these conclusions. In the Sirhan case, forensic experts found that striations on bullets recovered from RFK and the five wounded in the shooting differed. Powder burns on RFK’s back and head and the angle and distance of the trajectories all indicate other gunmen. And finally, acoustical analysis of audio recordings of the RFK shooting conducted by the Stanford Research Institute reveal at least ten shots were fired. The alleged murder weapon was an eight-shot revolver.

6) What other books would you recommend as essential reading to students of the assassinations—and what specific areas of inquiry do you believe still warrant further investigation?

I would recommend Accessories After The Fact, The Warren Commission, The Authorities And The Report by Sylvia Meagher and The Robert F. Kennedy Assassination: New Revelations On The Conspiracy And Cover-Up by Philip H. Melanson, PhD. As for further investigations, we know that the CIA rogues destroyed key documents in 1973. However, if any incriminating records still exist, they should be released as soon as possible. But more importantly, based on what we know concerning the RFK case, the legal system should begin the process required to exonerate Sirhan B. Sirhan. Early on he indicated a willingness to undergo an examination that would unlock his mind and possibly reveal the details of his programming. This should be our goal.


With thanks to Patrick Nolan for his generosity of time and thought and to Lauren Burnstein of Skyhorse Publishing for helping to facilitate this interview.

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