January 28, 2015
New York, NY
ADAM GORIGHTLY INTERVIEW
Author: Caught in the Crossfire: Kerry Thornley, Lee Oswald and the Garrison Investigation
Adam Gorightly takes us through the looking glass in his new book, Caught in the Crossfire: Kerry Thornley, Lee Oswald and the Garrison Investigation (Feral House Publishers, 2014). Adam accomplishes an uncovering of Kerry which will provide new insight into the JFK assassination and more.
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Kerry was born in Los Angeles, California in1938. He founded the lampoon-religion Discordianism with Greg Hill while in high school in Whittier, California in the late 1950's. Later, as a member of the United States Marine Corp he served with Lee Harvey Oswald at the now closed Marine Corp Air Station El Toro near Santa Ana, California. Kerry and Lee would coincidentally (or maybe not) both serve at El Toro and at Naval Air Facility Atsugi in Japan, and later in the anti-Castro 'hot-bed' of New Orleans after their military days were over.
At this time Kerry spent two years on a 'sojourn' in New Orleans, meeting JFK suspects Guy Banister, David Ferrie, and Clay Shaw. By the 1990's, Kerry would find these meetings to be no innocent coincidence. He would later suspect that he might be an alternate patsy for the JFK assassination should Oswald falter in some way. He ran with Slim Brooks and Gary Kirstein in New Orleans. He told his story of how they discussed "how to" scenarios for the killing of President John F. Kennedy, and was unhindered in telling anyone who would listen that JFK needed to be killed. His anger stemmed from JFK's support for horrible events in Katanga, where a slaughter had taken place.
He then suddenly left his apartment in New Orleans, and moved to Arlington, Virginia waiting to be called to testify for the Warren Commission on May 18th, 1964. Kerry's writings included a manuscript, 'The Idle Warriors', based on Lee Harvey Oswald's defection to Russia. Lee was the main character of the work and this was prior to the JFK assassination. Kerry painted Lee as being five feet-five inches tall, and a rebel with Communist sympathies to the Commission. Lee was actually closer to Kerry's five feet-ten inches tall, which is a remarkable error. Most every other Marine serving with Oswald did not believe he was any sort of Russian sympathizer, but rather in training for an intelligence assignment. The intelligent and insightful Kerry Thornley was strangely myopic in this instance, with what seemed to be little effort he pushed the hook more deeply into Oswald's mouth before the Commission.
After Watergate, Kerry would come to believe that Gary Kirstein was actually E. Howard Hunt. Photos of tramps in Dealey Plaza discovered by authors Michael Lee Canfield and A.J. Weberman seem to show Hunt (who confessed to participation in the assassination before his death in 2007) along with two others that look like CIA contract killers.
Slim Brooks met Kerry while working with him as a telephone solicitor. He introduced Kerry to Kirstein/Hunt. Kerry said that Slim worked for Guy Banister. Kerry would also say of Slim and Hunt that it was "very obvious that they had been involved" (in the JFK murder plot). Where Hunt was clearly CIA Slim felt more like a facilitator to Kerry.
Kerry initially complained that Garrison suspected he was one of the many 'doubles' impersonating Lee, yet they did not resemble one another. Of the doubles, however, he would later remark that "Most of them did not look like (Lee Oswald)." however, he would also state that he was, "...set up by some people who led Oswald around by the nose." He further made the point that Garrison was, "...ignoring my confession for the more serious way in which I was involved." Between propinquity and Kerry Thornley's own bombastic statements, one cannot fault suspicion being aimed at him.
Adam Gorightly is the main biographer of Kerry Thornley. He also authored The Prankster and the Conspiracy and Thornley's friend, Robert Anton Wilson wrote the introduction (2003). Kerry Thornley holds Jim Garrison in a high degree of contempt, and is defensive of his subject. There is no doubt that Gorightly is the main source to tap to work through the maze that is Kerry's life and experience. Adam was kind enough to answer some questions regarding his work for this article.
Bob Wilson: What was the relationship between Lee Harvey Oswald and Kerry Thornley?
Adam Gorightly: Thornley and Oswald met at El Toro Marine Base located near Irvine, California in the spring of 1959 and over a three month period engaged in spirited discussions about literature, religion and politics, including Marxism. At this time, Oswald opening subscribed to Pravda and, according to Thornley, sometimes spoke in Russian within the ranks, often times in a joking manner. My suspicion is that Oswald was already working as an intelligence agent at his time, and was using the cover as someone interested in Marxist ideology to draw out others in the unit who might have had similar sympathies—or who may have been considered potential security risks, like Kerry Thornley—who was quite interested in discussing not only Marxism, but other political ideologies, such as Anarchism and Objectivism and openly stated that he was an Atheist, which during the Eisenhower Cold War years would have no doubt raised some red flags with the military brass.
Bob Wilson: What was Oswald doing at the Queen Bee nightclub in Japan?
According to a fellow Marine at Atsugi, David Bucknell, Oswald was approached at the Queen Bee by a lovely Eurasian hostess, who was also most likely a Russian spy, and she started working him for information about the secret U2 flights and over activities going on at Atsugi Base. Oswald reported this incident to brass, as the story goes, and they recruited him at that juncture into their intelligence operation and encouraged him to have a sexual relationship with the women while feeding her disinformation and gathering whatever information he could about her activities. In Caught in the Crossfire we reproduce a page from Oswald’s military records where it stated he was on a “special assignment” with “special pay” while serving overseas. A second document, taken from Oswald’s medical records, indicated that he was treated for gonorrhea contracted "in line of duty, not due to own misconduct." Allen Simco—who was assigned to Oswald’s unit as an S&C Clerk (Secret and Confidential File Clerk)—noted that both of these documents appeared to be out of the norm, as the typical radar work Oswald performed would have not been considered a “special assignment” nor would have contracting gonorrhea be considered part of his mission with the Marines. Unless, of course, Oswald was engaged in intelligence work.
Bob Wilson: What did the testing of LSD have to do with Thornley and Oswald at this time?
Adam Gorightly: Adam Gorightly: Atsugi was one of the CIA’s most critical installations from which the top-secret U-2 spy plane flights originated. At Atsugi, Thornley and Oswald performed the same function, that of radar technicians. According to researchers A.J. Weberman and Michael Canfield, Atsugi was devoted to grooming intelligence agents, one of whom they suggested was Oswald, and it was there that he was taught Russian as part of his intelligence training.
A 1983 Rolling Stone exposé revealed that Atsugi Air Base was one of two overseas outposts where the CIA conducted MK-ULTRA experiments during the late 50s and early 60s. These activities took place in a group of buildings at Atsugi identified as the Joint Technical Advisory Group, the ultimate aim of which was to establish if drugs, such as LSD, could be used as interrogation tools on enemy agents, and also as a tool for agents-in-training to familiarize themselves with LSD’s effects in case they were slipped a psychedelic mickey. Atsugi, it should be noted, was just one of two locations outside of the US (the other in Manila, in the Philippines) where the CIA, during this period, maintained storage of LSD. Besides Atsugi, Kerry also served in Manila, so whether he was totally aware of it at the time, he was right in the nest of the MK-ULTRA operations going on at this time. Thornley later grew to suspect that both he and Oswald had indeed been victims of MK-ULTRA mind control during this period.
Bob Wilson: Was Watergate burglar E. Howard Hunt around during this period of time?
Adam Gorightly: According to his biography, E. Howard Hunt served at Atsugi during the same timeframe as Oswald and Thornley. Later a letter surfaced that Oswald had supposedly written asking a certain Mr. Hunt for instructions on how to join his organization; a letter that was sent anonymously to researcher Penn Jones, Jr. It may also have been written to oil man H.L. Hunt or his son Bunker Hunt who was involved in the John Birch Society with General Edwin Walker, who Oswald was later accused of having taken a potshot at. Curiously enough, John B. Wells informed me that Edwin Walker told him that he had contacted then Attorney General Bobby Kennedy after this incident to request that the charges against Oswald be dropped. Walker, it should be noted, had a hand in the “Wanted For Treason” flyers to announce Kennedy’s fatal visit to Dallas.
Bob Wilson: What was Thornley's novel The Idle Warriors about?
Adam Gorightly: The Idle Warriors was Thornley’s novel about a young Marine’s disillusionment as a result of overseas duty. The protagonist was named Johnny Shellburn, a composite character based on Thornley and other Marines he had known, including Oswald. Kerry began work on The Idle Warriors during his trip to Japan aboard the U.S.S. Breckenridge, following the period he’d been stationed with Oswald at El Toro, sometime around the summer of ’59. In October of that year—during the period Thornley was stationed at Atsugi—Oswald defected to the Soviet Union, a story that made national headlines. At that point Thornley decided to shift focus and base the Shellburn character primarily on Oswald. So, in essence, Thornley was writing a novel based on Oswald three years before the Kennedy assassination, a curiosity that would later raise eyebrows with Garrison and his investigators. Thornley would later present the book to the Warren Commission.
Bob Wilson: When did Thornley change his opinion, and begin to see Oswald as a patsy?
Adam Gorightly: After researcher David Lifton presented facts about the case to Kerry and his wife in Los Angeles in 1965. This included Lifton bringing along all 26 volumes of the Warren Report to Thornley’s apartment and pointing at the many inconsistencies therein. Previously, Thornley had believed the conclusions of the press and the Warren Commission. After Lifton spoke to them, Thornley had a 180 degree turn in his viewpoint, and now believed that Oswald had been a scapegoat in a larger conspiracy. Thornley’s wife Cara was so moved by Lifton’s presentation that she was left in tears.
Bob Wilson: Thornley later suffered greatly due to all of this. Can you describe some of that, please?
Adam Gorightly: By the mid-1970's, Thornley went off the deep end due to the stress of the Garrison investigation as well as his suspicions he'd been a victim of mind control. At one point he was diagnosed as a paranoia schizophrenic, but later in his life was able pull out of this bad period. Nonetheless, he believed for the rest of his life that he had indeed been manipulated.
Bob Wilson: What were the interviews with Sondra London all about?
Adam Gorightly: During the period of the Sondra London interviews you’re referring to—many of which you can find on youtube—she was working on a book project with Thornley called “Confessions to a Conspiracy” regarding Thornley’s role in the JFK assassination, which he suspected was that of an unwittingly participant, much in the same way that Oswald had been manipulated as fall-guy in the conspiracy. Thornley even speculated that he may have been an alternate patsy in the assassination had the Oswald set up gone awry, and that one of his handlers may have been E. Howard Hunt in disguise ala Gary Kirstein (aka Brother-in-law.)
Bob Wilson: David Ferrie was an interesting character. What do you make of him?
Adam Gorightly: At this date, I’m not sure what to make of Ferrie, where to separate fact from fiction. The deeper one digs into the Garrison investigation, the less black and white the story becomes, with many shades of gray distorting the picture coming from whatever side of the fence you may sit on regarding Garrison’s legacy.
Thornley was portrayed by Garrison as a rabid right wing Oswald imposter employed by the CIA who was supposedly having a affair with Marina Oswald—all claims that have little or no factual basis, at least as far as I’ve been able to determine. During the Garrison investigation, Thornley edited a libertarian newsletter and for awhile was a disciple of Randian Objectivism and felt that JFK was a dangerous demagogue. Due to his political opinions, Garrison’s investigators erroneously concluded that Thornley was an ultra conservative, or a John Bircher, which was never the case. Far from it. In fact, Thornley’s political stance was more influenced by Anarchism, and he later melded these ideas with Zen Buddhism in his book, Zenarchy.
Bob Wilson: Who were some of the other players considered suspects in JFK that Thornley had met in New Orleans?
Adam Gorightly: At one time or another, Kerry met with many of the key players that Garrison claimed were involved in JFK’s assassination. Most of these were brief encounters—with the likes of Ferrie, Bannister and Shaw—which Kerry didn’t think much of at the time, but he later came to suspect that these brief meetings were more than chance encounters and had perhaps been arranged to set him up after the fact. Later—when Thornley was working at an apartment complex in Los Angeles—he got to know Johnny Roselli who lived in the building and who some researchers claim had a role in the assassination, as part of the whole Mafia-CIA-anti-Castro nexus.
Bob Wilson: What do you make of Thornley stating to so many that JFK should be shot, and the conversations Thornley said that he had with E. Howard Hunt?
Adam Gorightly: Thornley engaged in conversations with Brother-In-Law (part of Hunt's possible Gary Kirstein alias), and Slim Brooks (believed by Thornley to be Jerry Milton Brooks) about how to theoretically kill a president. These conversations would later come back to haunt him and he suspected may have been a trap to later set him up as a fall-guy.
Thornley, who was not a big fan of Kennedy, also joked on occasion that he thought JFK should be shot, although I don’t think he was serious with these remarks. He also made light of JFK’s assassination at the time, but later regretted these antics, and how they alienated him from many of his friends in the French Quarter. This was one of the reasons he listed for having moved to Arlington, Virginia three weeks after the assassination. That, and a messy split up he had with a girlfriend at the time, as well as his plan to try to wrangle an appearance before the Warren Commission as a way to promote The Idle Warriors, which he was still working on during this period. He figured being in Arlington would put in him closer proximity to the Warren Commission hearings in D.C. and ultimately his plan worked out and he appeared before the Commission, delivering testimony that Garrison later theorized was designed to frame Oswald.
Adam Gorightly You Tube on Sync Radio
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