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RICHARD CASE NAGELL

RICHARD CASE NAGELL

 

Electronic Assassinations Newsletter


Issue #2 New Discoveries in the Recently Released Assassination Files


Oswald and the CIA

by Dick Russell

One day after receiving a letter from the Assassination Records Review Board, a key witness in the murder of JFK was found dead in his home in California. Meanwhile, new evidence continues to pile up regarding Lee Harvey Oswald's connections to the CIA.

At 9 PM last November 1, the landlord of a house in the Echo Park section of Los Angeles unsuccessfully tried the locks, then pried open a window and forced his way inside. Robert Lavelle had been alerted by a neighbor that his tenant, 65-year-old Richard Case Nagell, had not been seen for several days. Lavelle discovered the already-decomposing body of Nagell in the bathroom, and immediately alerted the police.

Only the morning before, in Washington, the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB)--mandated by Congress under the JFK Records Act of 1992 to review for public release all still-secret files on the John F. Kennedy assassination--had mailed Richard Nagell a letter. The board was seeking access to documentation he claimed to possess about a conspiracy to murder the 35th President of the United States.

Although an autopsy performed by the L.A. County Coroner's office determined that Nagell had died of a heart attack, the timing triggered alarm inside the ARRB. More than a month earlier, based upon testimony of this writer at a public hearing in Boston, ARRB executives had decided to pursue Nagell's private files and use their subpoena power to call him to testify. Upon hearing of his sudden death, the ARRB issued a subpoena for any records he may have kept in his house and flew an investigator to Los Angeles.

What may surface next remains an open and very provocative question. As outlined in my 1992 book about Nagell, The Man Who Knew Too Much (Carroll & Graf Publishers, New York), the ex-military intelligence and CIA operative said he had made arrangements for certain "smoking guns" to be divulged in the event of his death. These are likely to include a tape recording done surreptitiously by Nagell in the late summer of 1963, where at least four individuals--himself, Lee Harvey Oswald and two Cuban exiles--plotted the assassination of President Kennedy. A photograph of Nagell and Oswald, which Nagell had a vendor take in New Orleans' Jackson Square, was said to be stashed in a bank vault in Zurich, Switzerland.

In summary, what Nagell has chosen to reveal about his role in the conspiracy goes like this: Under contract to the CIA, he undertook an assignment as a "double agent" who would cooperate with Soviet intelligence beginning in the autumn of 1962. Under KGB instructions from Mexico City, for a year he monitored discussions among a group of embittered Cuban exiles who were seeking to assassinate Kennedy and make it look as though Fidel Castro's Cuba was behind it. He was simultaneously asked to keep an eye on Lee Harvey Oswald, recently returned to America after his alleged "defection" to the USSR.

Oswald was brought into the conspiracy in July 1963, deceived into thinking he was working for Castro. Soviet intelligence ordered Nagell either to convince Oswald he was being set up to take the rap--or to kill him in Mexico City before the assassination could transpire. While both U S and Soviet intelligence agencies were aware of the conspiracy, it was the KGB--not the CIA or FBI--that attempted to prevent it. The Soviets, who had reached a growing accommodation with Kennedy after the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, were also afraid that the assassination would falsely be blamed upon them or the Cubans.

Nagell, instead of carrying out his assignment, sent a registered letter to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover (which he also served as a confidential informant) more than two months before the tragedy in Dallas, providing enough information to warrant the arrest of Oswald and two Cuban exiles. While the bureau says it cannot locate any such letter in its files, it is likely that Nagell kept a copy and the registered-mail receipt among his effects.

Also alerting CIA officials of the plot, Nagell then walked into a bank in El Paso, Texas, on September 20, 1963, fired two shots into the wall and intentionally had himself placed in federal custody. He hinted to me in a series of meetings that right-wing extremists, including wealthy Texas oil interests and CIA renegades, were ultimately behind the assassination.

Considerable documentation, including a notebook seized by the FBI upon Nagell's arrest that contained listings remarkably similar to Oswald's own notebook, already lends credibility to his story. Yet he was ignored by both the Warren Commission and the House Select Committee on Assassinations. The new ARRB thus became the first official government body to express an interest in what he might be able to reveal. And, like Oswald's friend George deMohrenschildt--who allegedly committed suicide hours before a House Select Committee investigator was to see him in 1977--suddenly, Nagell was dead.

Previously unavailable files released so far through the ARRB's process have already raised more questions about a high-level cover-up surrounding Nagell. After his arrest in El Paso, he was held without a trial for nine months in a county jail, where the FBI and Secret Service visited him on several occasions after the assassination. Although no mention is made of Nagell in the Warren Commission's 26 volumes, FBI reports from December 1963 clearly state that he talked of having known Oswald in Texas and Mexico City.

Transcripts of assassination-related telephone conversations with President Lyndon Johnson show that his friend Homer Thornberry, a federal judge who had been a Texas Congressman, was in touch with LBJ twice in the weeks following the assassination. Then, late in January 1964, Thornberry suddenly stepped in as the new judge in the Nagell case--where court transcripts indicated a concerted effort to suppress Nagell's efforts to describe his true motive for his alleged "attempted bank robbery." Thornberry handed down the maximum sentence upon Nagell's conviction in June 1964, a conviction that was later overturned on appeal. Nagell was released from prison in the spring of 1968, flying to Europe shortly thereafter, where he was arrested on a train by East German authorities and held for four months behind the then-"Iron Curtain" before being released to US authorities at the Berlin border.

Long before this, according to a just-declassified March 20, 1964 CIA file, the agency was pursuing the significance of six names of CIA employees found in the Nagell notebook taken by the FBI in September 1963. Another CIA memorandum, dated July 20, 1963 out of its Mexico City station, tells of an American using the name Eldon Hensen who wanted to establish contact with the Cuban Embassy there. Having picked up this information via a telephone tap, the CIA then dispatched someone posing as a Cuban Embassy officer to lure Hensen to a hotel restaurant. The file describes Hensen's expressed willingness to "help Castro government in US, willing travel, has many good contacts in States, can 'move things from one place to another' "--which carries overtones of Nagell's own "double" role.

Author John Newman, in Oswald And The CIA, his 1995 book based on the recently released files, uses this incident to highlight the CIA's capability "to enter surreptitiously into someone's life to control or manipulate it," a scenario Newman cites as a precursor to the agency's shenanigans when Oswald paid visits to the Soviet and Cuban embassies in Mexico City two months later. What Newman fails to mention is the significance of the CIA file's stating that Hensen "agreed accept phone call with key word 'Laredo' as call from [deleted] contact."

In one of my interviews with Nagell in 1978, he discussed his own use of the same code name, "Laredo," when making contact with Soviet intelligence. When I last spoke with Nagell in April 1994 and gave him Hensen's physical description, he said only: "That fits somebody I'd run into at the time." Asked why he chose not to mention Nagell in his book, Newman responded: "My methodology made that impossible. If it wasn't in the new documents, it didn't make it into my manuscript. I wanted to keep everything focused on the CIA's internal paper trail. I still don't know what to make of the Nagell story; if it's true, it's dynamite."

What Newman sets down about the CIA's "paper trail" does, in fact, add credence to the Nagell revelations. Here, for example, is the author's summary analysis of the three months preceding the assassination:

"The CIA was far more interested in Oswald than they have ever admitted to publicly. At some time before the Kennedy assassination, the Cuban Affairs offices at the CIA developed a keen operational interest in him. Oswald's visit to Mexico City may have had some connection to the FBI or CIA. It appears that the Mexico City station wrapped its own operation around Oswald's consular visits there. Whether or not Oswald understood what was going on is less clear than the probability that something operational was happening in conjugation with his visit."

Noting the possibility of a CIA "renegade faction" manipulating Oswald, Newman concludes: "We can finally say with some authority that the CIA was spinning a web of deception about Oswald weeks before the President's murder," based upon an exhaustive survey of now-visible files that were denied to previous official investigations.

This dovetails with Nagell's earlier statements that the CIA's Cuban Task Force, then run by Desmond FitzGerald, as well as the agency's Mexico City station, were deeply embroiled in the Oswald affair. It also backs up his claim that Oswald did not know who was pulling his strings.

Newman devotes considerable attention, too, to Gerry Patrick Hemming, whose CIA files bear curious parallels to Oswald's. A former Marine who filed reports to the agency, Hemming claimed to have met with Oswald near the Cuban consulate in Los Angeles early in 1959. Hemming's trail into the Cuban exile community seems to have been followed by two CIA employees in Los Angeles, Joseph DaVanon and Ernest Liebacher. Both of their names appear in the notebook seized from Nagell by the FBI in September 1963, under the heading "C.I.A."

Also pertinent is Newman's tracing of earlier CIA interest in Oswald, from the moment the ex-Marine showed up at the American Embassy in Moscow trying to renounce his citizenship in October 1959. "I was particularly interested,"Newman says, "in trying to marshal evidence for Oswald having been a counterintelligence dangle. In other words, the CIA would have been using him to ferret out a 'mole,' who was first thought to be in the U-2 program before the focus very quickly changed to their own Soviet Russia Division." (A "mole" is a hidden asset of the KGB, such as Aldrich Ames; observing the then top-secret U-2 spy-plane program was part of Oswald's mission while a Marine in Japan.)

Newman observes that the "most pronounced fingerprints" on Oswald emanated from the CIA's mole-hunting unit, CI/SIG, run by the late superspook James Jesus Angleton. The existence of Soviet moles inside the CIA was among Nagell's key points about the assassination. He indicated that John Paisley, who was in charge of a CIA unit overseeing Soviet electronics at the time Oswald was employed in a radio-electronics factory in Minsk--and who died mysteriously in 1978--was one such mole. Nagell also hinted that his own case officer inside the Mexico City station had nefarious ties to Soviet intelligence, which he himself did not discover until the late summer of 1963.

This is not to say that the Soviets were behind the assassination, a theory that Nagell adamantly repudiated, but rather that the CIA hierarchy's cover-up of its relations with Oswald related to its ultra-secret mole hunt.

Norman Mailer, whose 1995 book Oswald's Tale offers fresh insights into Oswald's time in the USSR, conducted numerous interviews with ex-KGB agents there. After reading Newman's book, Mailer says: "I redid a little my thinking on what the KGB told us. They were very consistent, which made me suspicious as it made me confident. They said over and over they were not interested in Oswald because they had better information on the U-2. What is he, some kind of exotic dangle? they wondered. Did the CIA send him over here as just someone who they [CIA] could observe what's done to him? So we don't do anything to him, we won't debrief him overtly, we don't want to tip our hand."

I accepted that, when I got to know the KGB and how conservative they were, how terrified of making a mistake. The KGB is seen in America as a tremendous evil, adventurers. Yeah, they had a wing of 100 guys who were daredevils, like the CIA, but generally the outfit was exceptionally conservative. But reading Newman, I began to think they were afraid that the CIA was after a mole who was telling the KGB about the U-2. This is something I didn't think of while we were over there, I wish we had. We didn't see all the KGB files, no question. They didn't reveal a lot to us, saying they were protecting their sources, and there's no question we received an edited version of their files."

Taking up residence for three months in Russia, Mailer was granted access to much information gathered by the KGB during Oswald's tenure in the USSR, which his book quotes at length and proves that Soviet intelligence bugged Oswald's Minsk apartment and maintained constant surveillance of his activities. Mailer believes the KGB "never would have used Oswald. They had too much petty stuff on him. Once you've seen a man losing arguments and being stupid with his wife, it's very hard to pick him to go out and kill a President. In fact, their first fear was that the assassination was a provocation by the United States to start a nuclear war. But I used to quiz the KGB very hard about whether they didn't keep up with Oswald when he came back to the USA. Finally what they confessed was, they didn't have the resources. It was very difficult because their every move here was being watched."

This, of course, does not take into account whether the KGB could have utilized an American "double agent," like Nagell, to keep tabs on Oswald. On the US side, Mailer thinks the CIA/FBI cover-up was "to protect other things. They had a lot more relations with Oswald than they have allowed. This may have gone as far as [the FBI's] COINTELPRO, and even people inside the [CIA's anti-Castro] JM/WAVE operation knowing of his potential as a killer."

Mailer's book has been taken to task by conspiracy theorists as a sellout, as his research led him to offer a 75 percent conclusion that Oswald probably acted alone. "But I'm not totally convinced [of that]." Mailer says. "If somebody came along with exciting evidence, I'd be willing to chase down another direction. I don't feel the case is closed for me at all."

Mailer and Newman were scheduled for a debate at the Coalition for Political Assassinations conference in Washington last October, until certain preconditions set by Mailer were turned down by the coalition's chief organizer. This led Newman, a retired military-intelligence analyst, to take Mailer to task at the conference, especially over his failure to study the latest batches of CIA files. For his part, Mailer says he figured, "What's the point? We could only do a slipshod job on the new files and they'll be digestible for years to come."

As for Newman's work, Mailer adds: "I think the service he performed was to lay out what the intelligence agencies had not been wanting to give us. It's almost as if they were providing the outer husk of the onion, and we're going to have to keep fighting to get layer after layer after layer. But I'd have been much happier if Newman had used his knowledge of intelligence to give us a fighting chance at some idea of how the routing [of CIA/FBI internal information] really works."

While each of these latest books on the assassination unearths some new ground--particularly Newman's sometimes ponderous, but meticulous, scrutiny of the CIA's all-too-evident operational interest in Oswald long before November 22, 1963--the real breakthroughs are likely to follow in the coming months from the Assassination Records Review Board. The ARRB ran up against FBI stonewalling last August, after voting for full release of 15 records which the bureau then appealed directly to President Clinton to continue to withhold on "national security" grounds. The ARRB has come under fire from some assassination researchers for complying with FBI and CIA requests to keep back certain files "relating to sensitive intelligence sources and methods."

Still, what's been publicly released so far--with the promise of much more to come before the ARRB mandate expires late in 1997--has given additional fuel to conspiracy researchers. We now know, for example, that David Phillips, the CIA's covert-action chief in Mexico City, was in Washington on October 1, 1963, waiting to pick up "bulk materials." These probably included transcripts of conversations between Oswald and Moscow's Soviet Embassy, some of which appear to have involved an Oswald impostor.

We also know that, as early as February 1961, Phillips was supervising a CIA operation against the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, a one-man chapter of which Oswald established in New Orleans in the summer of 1963. Phillips was working in tandem with James McCord, a CIA agent later involved in the Watergate scandal. As far back as 1976, both Phillips and McCord were cited in cryptic comments by Richard Nagell as having played some role in the CIA's relationship with Oswald.

Until a CIA file release by the ARRB last September, the CIA had always refused to acknowledge its use of double agents against the Soviets. However, a November 29, 1963 cable relating to its Mexico City operations states that CIA "double agents have not had meetings with Sovs [Soviets] since assassination." This is further substantiation for the agency's utilization of operatives like Nagell.

According to Noel Twyman, a San Diego researcher who was able to speak to Nagell twice over the telephone in the months before his death, he expressed renewed fear for his life but said his private files were in safekeeping. Nagell added that there are individuals still alive who would be greatly "embarrassed" in the event his materials should come to light.

Two police officers entering Nagell's residence after his body was discovered found no evidence of anything having been disturbed. A number of weapons were inventoried and the house was sealed off by the L.A. Coroner's office, pending the arrival of an executor named by Nagell for his estate. An LAPD officer was said to be watching the house to make sure that nobody broke in. Meantime, a curious message went from the coroner's office to the L.A. Public Administrator, which is in charge of estate arrangements. "When entering the house, beware of traps or pitfalls, due to deceased's CIA background connections," it said. Clearly, L.A. officials realized this was no ordinary case.

Richard Case Nagell died as he lived, alone and holding his cards close to his vest. The Assassination Records Review Board did make contact with his executor, but what transpired next is being held closely by Washington. Will the world soon know the full story of "the man who knew too much?" For now, it is a waiting game.


 
From the November-December, 1995 issue (Vol. 3 No. 1)

The Private Correspondence of Richard Case Nagell

The following is the text of a letter from Richard Case Nagell to his friend Arturo Verdestein. It is one of several that CTKA now offers in our catalog along with other documents from our Richard Case Nagell file. All elipses below are from the original.


October 8, 1967

Dear Arturo:

I've received both of your letters, dated 9/26 and 10/4, respectively. Still haven't seen hide nor hair of the Equipment Times, though. Does it really advertise the likes of machines that nibble steel at the rate of three feet per minute? Now I know why E. T. wasn't delivered. Should have thought of the reason sooner, last week, when a recent issue of a popular magazine was withdrawn from circulation because it featured a bar-stretching device. Looks like the meticulous inspection-for-microdots-and-sophisticated-cable-arrangement theory will have to be shelved in favor of a more logical premise. Can you imagine the possibilities that E.T.'s next issue might provide to some innate-genius with a penchant for slapping together a facsimile of the Steel Eater, merely by studying the specifications set forth in E.T.? Wow! I can see it now. Built on the Q.T. in the prison library, cranked up and let loose after its christening, like some weird science-fiction monster, easily smashing past 20,000 volumes of Zane Grey, bursting out through the side of the library building, rumbling slowly across the west yard toward the nearest gun tower, bullets bouncing off its impenetrable armor, tear-gas bombs exploding all around it, sirens wailing, bedlam - National Guard called out, still rumbling onward, onward, not to be stopped, finally reaching THE WALL, angry now - completely out of control - spitting gooey blobs of black molten tar at the N.G. Commander running along the top of the wall, now rearing a gigantic head, flashing a single mamouth [sic], keenly-polished incisor, hesitating, momentarily, then suddenly lunging forward, chomping at the wall, bricks and chunks of concrete flying every which way . . . once . . . twice . . and . . through! Daylight on the other side! A gaping hole, 20' x 20', appears out of nowhere . . . . two thousand cons stampeding through, on their way to Sacramento.

After perusing your comments about the First Day's reporting of the Great Bank Robbery - random shots, 27 centavos, gambling activities, etc. - I am more convinced than ever that you should see the transcripts of the first and second trial record. As for myself, I've never read either transcript, though I would bet that I could give a fair account of both without much error. I wrote sis again, this time asking her to send everything.

Here's a more up-to-date lead on Abe Greenbaum: "Informant F-HC reports subject handed suspected courier forty pieces of silver on 10/21/62 at Laredo, Mexico, for delivery to nuclear physicist residing in house on 92nd Street, New York City. S/A B. O. Schernnn, Washington, D.C. Field Office, reports subject seen 11/28/62 walking east on Beacon Street, constantly checking for tail, suddenly dashing into parked limousine sporting U.S.S.R. Embassy license plates, which speeds away, runs red light, terminating surveillance as Agent Schernnn forced to brake bicycle to avoid breaking the law. Informant F-111-B reports subject and suspected courier observed at King's Tavern, Wilmington, Del. on 12/6/62, paying for drinks with strange-looking silver dollars taken from bulging briefcase carried by subject. Subject now suspected of being Mr. Big in Communist plot to disrupt U.S. economy by flooding country with hard cash. /s/ I.M. NEVERWRONG, SAIC, D.C. LAIR."

Or, we could furnish Mr. Xerox an even more up-to-date lead, of somewhat different vintage:

Abe Greenbaum, long suspected leftist is actually confirmed rightist, in deep cover, working plausible denial bit with one of nation's leading and best-financed foreign policy-making firms. He is driving along highway not far from Langley, Va., peering intently out of jagged hole in windshield of his Volkswagen, searching for sign bearing acronym "BPR". Date is November 21, 1963. BPR-Bureau of Public Roads-is innocuous designation used by Abe's firm. "Gee, the Chief must be upset about something," Abe mutters to self, "he used a rock this time instead of the ol' soap-the-windshield trick." Purposefully cruising past BPR sign, Abe makes U-turn in center of highway, barely missed by Fruehauf semi-trailer, then turns right onto road leading to firm's Main Office Building. "Must not be seen making left turn this close to headquarters," Abe mutters. Arriving at destination, Abe circles Main Office Building five times, finally enters parking lot abutting wooded area to right rear of building, drives to extreme right end of lot, parks Volkswagen on right side of firm's undercover utility truck, disguised with Bell Telephone Company markings. Sliding across right-hand seat, he exits from right door of auto, walking long distance to right rear entrance of Main Office Building which is draped with high Quonset-hut type roof. "Hello there," Abe mutters as he slips by uniformed guard he recognizes as Soviet defector, former KGB light colonel. Abe proceeds down mile-long, musty-smelling corridor, pauses under tiny, inconspicuous replica of firm's seal which is painted upside-down on right wall, notices that Bald Eagle's beak on seal is pointing to far left. "Must tell Chief Bald Eagle looking wrong way," mutters Abe. He then takes elevator to fourth floor, goes directly to Chief's office, raps out coded knock on unmarked door, enters. Chief is reclining in swivel-chair with feet on desk, arms folded, sleeping. On desk Abe sees torn-up typewritten letter addressed to CHIEF, DIVISION OF DIRTY TRICKS, signed by B. KNOWNOTHING. Chief is balding, slender man, oft referred to by underlings as "Dirty Dick", albeit behind back. "What's up, Chief?" asks Abe. Chief blinks eyes, opens them, snaps, "I see you got my message!" Chief smiles. "What's with this guy Osborne recruited for Fair Play Caper? XYZ man claims he's being used for wet affair by team we sold out at Cochina Bay." Abe shifts weight to left foot, uncomfortably. "Don't know, Chief," he mutters, "Ozzie seems like good man for penetration of target." Chief stands and yawns, grins slyly. . "Well, just the same you'd better contact Tidbit and have him execute alternate . . . plan." Abe stares at Chief with knowing-look. "Right, Chief, I'll get on it . . . first thing Monday morning." Abe picks up cloak and dagger conveniently lying on desk, turns to leave, stops dead in tracks. "Incidentally, Chief, Bald Eagle on firm's seal is pointing left." Chief grins, sits down in swivel chair, leans back, puts feet on desk, clasps hands behind head, closes eyes. "Really?" He says. Soon Chief is snoring. Abe departs, returns to Volkswagen, worried about jagged hole in windshield. Mutters to self, "Gee, I hope it doesn't rain tomorrow."

 


 
Richard Case Nagell
1930-1995
Of course, this lead is utter fiction too, a figment of the imagination . . . still, it may make interesting reading for somebody.

Are you aware that a Duesseldorf record company has come out with just the thing for any German who wants to relive the heady days of Nazi victory? It is two long-playing phonograph records called, "From the Fuehrer's Headquarters (Aus dem Fuehrerhauptquartier)." Billed as documentary records, they are comprised of victory announcements and special bulletins from the Nazi high command, military music and soldier's songs, Nazi songs and speeches. A booming voice discloses the Nazis are fighting for the German nation and the security of Europe "against the . . . plot of the Jewish-Anglo Saxon warmongers . . . and against the . . . Jewish rulers of the Bolshevik central in Moscow."

(Now where did he get that? What does all this gobbledygook mean, anyway? Could this be an important lead? . . . I mean there is this thing about doing business with the Military-Industrial Complex, you know.)

Seriously, Arturo, I had better give with a plausible lead on this Abe Greenbaum fella, in spite of this business about plausible denial, or "they" are liable to drop his name from my approved correspondents list. That would be catastrophic, considering that he is the only other person besides sis who is so approved. And the lead had best not sound too cryptic either, or "they" might ship #83286 [Nagell's prisoner number] back to the Funny Farm . . . you know, for more "treatment."

So let's try again:

Young Regent of Yanquis Land is visiting "Little D" to plug for assistant who is fast losing popularity amongst ultra-conservative proletariat of Friendship Province. Date is well-remembered date in fall of '63. Young Regent is hated by proponents of Secret War (and by director of large pharmaceutical combine specializing in manufacture of cyanide capsules) because word is out he intends to decree curtailment of clandestine operations of various Yanquis Land spook outfits, citing as reasons that regime's continued reliance on covert methods of achieving political goals widens faith-in-government gap, is corrosive to principles of democracy, etc., especially when spooks get caught in the act. Young Regent feels one spook outfit in particular is exceeding bounds of propriety, has expanded narrow function delegated it by International Security Act of '47 . . . is becoming TOO POWERFUL . . is unduly influencing both foreign and DOMESTIC policy by its shenanigans . . . thus, must have nefarious activities at home and abroad throttled, or at least have them restricted to endeavors which cannot be accomplished by other, more acceptable means. BANG! BANG! BANG! Young Regent no longer Regent of Yanquis land. Clandestine operations of spook outfits not curtailed. Cyanide capsule market flourishing. Too Powerful One getting MORE POWERFUL . . .

What has all this got to do with Abe Greenbaum? ANSWER: Nothing. Is it a plausible lead? ANSWER: Not very.

Wait!

Before visit to Little D, Young Regent also thinking of effecting rapprochement with Isle of Cuber, establishing nicer rapport with Isle of Cuber's Big Mother Busher. Strange! . . . Young Regent of Isle of Cuber also thinking of effecting rapprochement with Yanquis Land, establishing nicer rapport with Yanquis Land's Big Doctrine, Monroe.

How nice!

Feelers put out by both Young Regents through "private" channels in July '63, then quasi-official channels in August '63, through "official" channels in September '63.

Meanwhile, anti-Castor Oilers known as Bravo Club gets wind of feelers . . . doesn't like smell . . . nohow! There is huddle. There is chant: "Remember Cochina Bay! - Remember Cochina Bay! Soon there is talk (louder than '62 talk) of giving Young Regent of Yanquis Land Xmas present . . . yo! . . . gonna brow that out to keep situation status quo (at worst) . . . to change status quo for worse (at best).

Patsy is needed! She is pro-Castor Oiler well-known to Bravo Club. Two Bravo members speak to Patsy, convince her they are boyfriends, buy her Cuber Liber Cocktail (minus rum), get her drunk on glory, tell her they are special emissaries to Yanquis Land personally by Young Regent of Isle of Cuber to give Xmas present to Young Regent of Yanquis Land . . . have "chosen" Patsy to help deliver Xmas present. Will be furnished Safe Conduct Pass to Isle of Cuber by Embassy in Mexico City. Will be given proper treatment on arrival. Oh, joy! Will live happily ever after. Can Patsy join Xmas Present Committee now?

Uh-uh! Not yet. First must prove self deserving of great honor. Must set up Chapter of Foul Ploy for Isle of Cuber, must stand on street corner . . . pass out pro-Castor Oil tracts, must appear on TV . . . root for Castor Oil products, must rumble with anti-Castor Oil salesman. Above all, must not mention Xmas Present Caper to anybody, not even husband, Ivan.

Meanwhile, Single-Man named "Snerd" gets wind of Xmas Present Caper and going-on at Bravo Club. Snerd is Isle of Cuber's Big Mother Busher's illegitimate son. Snerd gets in touch with Double-Man Abe Greenbaum, working in deep cover at BPR, Division of Dirty Tricks, as Rightist. Actually, Abe is Leftist-turned Middlist. Middlist Abe contacts Triple-Man Zero, sitting on ice because has burned butt. Triple-Man Zero instructed to join Delta Club, which is affiliate of Bravo Club, find out if things real. Zero does just that, craftily, in guise of crossbow expert. Discovers Patsy undergoing hypnotherapy by ex-ferry pilot named Hairy De Fairy. Reports to Abe things are for real, yes siree! Abe passes info on to Dirty Dick (and Snerd). Snerd passes info on to Big Mother Busher. Somebody flashes word back for Zero to let go with well-aimed arrow in Patsy's rump . . . leave Yanquis Land, hubba hubba! Zero chickens out day he is to arrow Patsy, six days before Xmas present to be delivered. Pens Abe nasty note. Pens Snerd nastier note. Pens Dirty Dick even nastier note. Also pens note to Boss of Yanquis Land's Main Secret Police Bureau, tattles on Xmas Present Caper, tattles on Patsy, etc. Burns butt again. Searches in vain for cake of ice to sit on. Winds up in Friendship Province Halfway House.

End of lead? Not hardly.

Apparently something amiss. Xmas Present Caper does not come off per schedule. Delta Club disintegrates. Bravo Club Xmas Present Committee disintegrates. Abe drops out of sight. Dirty Dick is mum. Snerd crawls back inside Big Mother Busher's womb, dies. De Fairy puts on falseface, hides at 3330 Clubhouse, gets whipped. Director of large pharmaceutical combine gives order for increased production of cyanide capsules. Boss of Main Secret Police Bureau sits in office, drums fingers on desk, waits. Zero is still in Friendship Province Halfway House, getting older . . . if not wiser.

End of lead? . . . Not hardly.

Day of Infamy arrives! Patsy crouched at open window, armed with second-hand crossbow, quiver filled with curare-tipped arrows slung across shoulder. ZIP! ZIP! ZIP! BANG! ZIP! BANG! ZIP! BANG!

End of lead? . . . Not hardly.

Patsy awakens from hypnotic trance. Says, "What am I doing here?" Wonders what cyanide capsule is doing clenched between teeth? Wonders what cloak and dagger is doing on window sill? Wonders why floor of room is lettered with pro-Castor Oil pamphlets? Wonders how chicken bones got in lunch pail? Memory returns. Patsy flees. Refuses ride by former Bravo boyfriend driving by in utility truck bearing Bell Telephone Company markings. Catches bus instead.

End of lead? . . . Not hardly.

Patsy has gone her way. De Fairy has gone his way. One former Bravo boyfriend now living vicinity M. Cyanide capsule market still flourishing. Dirty Dick promoted within superstructure of BPR . . . is still mum. Snerd reborn as "Terd". Abe Greenbaum has changed name, retired, resides in mansion protected by pack of snarling German Shepherds, disappears for one hour each night in vault to count huge pile of American silver dollars. Boss of Yanquis Land Main Secret Police Bureau has four-year old secret . . . but is relaxed. Zero out of Friendship Province Halfway House . . . is now in Old Triple-Man's Home for Aged. More Powerful One now MOST POWERFUL (evidently). End of lead? . . . Not hardly. End of letter? . . . yes.

Most sincerely yours,

Richard C. Nagell 83286


 


 
From the November-December, 1995 issue (Vol. 3 No. 1)

The Private Correspondence of Richard Case Nagell

The following is the text of a letter from Richard Case Nagell to his friend Arturo Verdestein. It is one of several that CTKA now offers in our catalog along with other documents from our Richard Case Nagell file. All elipses below are from the original.


October 8, 1967

Dear Arturo:

I've received both of your letters, dated 9/26 and 10/4, respectively. Still haven't seen hide nor hair of the Equipment Times, though. Does it really advertise the likes of machines that nibble steel at the rate of three feet per minute? Now I know why E. T. wasn't delivered. Should have thought of the reason sooner, last week, when a recent issue of a popular magazine was withdrawn from circulation because it featured a bar-stretching device. Looks like the meticulous inspection-for-microdots-and-sophisticated-cable-arrangement theory will have to be shelved in favor of a more logical premise. Can you imagine the possibilities that E.T.'s next issue might provide to some innate-genius with a penchant for slapping together a facsimile of the Steel Eater, merely by studying the specifications set forth in E.T.? Wow! I can see it now. Built on the Q.T. in the prison library, cranked up and let loose after its christening, like some weird science-fiction monster, easily smashing past 20,000 volumes of Zane Grey, bursting out through the side of the library building, rumbling slowly across the west yard toward the nearest gun tower, bullets bouncing off its impenetrable armor, tear-gas bombs exploding all around it, sirens wailing, bedlam - National Guard called out, still rumbling onward, onward, not to be stopped, finally reaching THE WALL, angry now - completely out of control - spitting gooey blobs of black molten tar at the N.G. Commander running along the top of the wall, now rearing a gigantic head, flashing a single mamouth [sic], keenly-polished incisor, hesitating, momentarily, then suddenly lunging forward, chomping at the wall, bricks and chunks of concrete flying every which way . . . once . . . twice . . and . . through! Daylight on the other side! A gaping hole, 20' x 20', appears out of nowhere . . . . two thousand cons stampeding through, on their way to Sacramento.

After perusing your comments about the First Day's reporting of the Great Bank Robbery - random shots, 27 centavos, gambling activities, etc. - I am more convinced than ever that you should see the transcripts of the first and second trial record. As for myself, I've never read either transcript, though I would bet that I could give a fair account of both without much error. I wrote sis again, this time asking her to send everything.

Here's a more up-to-date lead on Abe Greenbaum: "Informant F-HC reports subject handed suspected courier forty pieces of silver on 10/21/62 at Laredo, Mexico, for delivery to nuclear physicist residing in house on 92nd Street, New York City. S/A B. O. Schernnn, Washington, D.C. Field Office, reports subject seen 11/28/62 walking east on Beacon Street, constantly checking for tail, suddenly dashing into parked limousine sporting U.S.S.R. Embassy license plates, which speeds away, runs red light, terminating surveillance as Agent Schernnn forced to brake bicycle to avoid breaking the law. Informant F-111-B reports subject and suspected courier observed at King's Tavern, Wilmington, Del. on 12/6/62, paying for drinks with strange-looking silver dollars taken from bulging briefcase carried by subject. Subject now suspected of being Mr. Big in Communist plot to disrupt U.S. economy by flooding country with hard cash. /s/ I.M. NEVERWRONG, SAIC, D.C. LAIR."

Or, we could furnish Mr. Xerox an even more up-to-date lead, of somewhat different vintage:

Abe Greenbaum, long suspected leftist is actually confirmed rightist, in deep cover, working plausible denial bit with one of nation's leading and best-financed foreign policy-making firms. He is driving along highway not far from Langley, Va., peering intently out of jagged hole in windshield of his Volkswagen, searching for sign bearing acronym "BPR". Date is November 21, 1963. BPR-Bureau of Public Roads-is innocuous designation used by Abe's firm. "Gee, the Chief must be upset about something," Abe mutters to self, "he used a rock this time instead of the ol' soap-the-windshield trick." Purposefully cruising past BPR sign, Abe makes U-turn in center of highway, barely missed by Fruehauf semi-trailer, then turns right onto road leading to firm's Main Office Building. "Must not be seen making left turn this close to headquarters," Abe mutters. Arriving at destination, Abe circles Main Office Building five times, finally enters parking lot abutting wooded area to right rear of building, drives to extreme right end of lot, parks Volkswagen on right side of firm's undercover utility truck, disguised with Bell Telephone Company markings. Sliding across right-hand seat, he exits from right door of auto, walking long distance to right rear entrance of Main Office Building which is draped with high Quonset-hut type roof. "Hello there," Abe mutters as he slips by uniformed guard he recognizes as Soviet defector, former KGB light colonel. Abe proceeds down mile-long, musty-smelling corridor, pauses under tiny, inconspicuous replica of firm's seal which is painted upside-down on right wall, notices that Bald Eagle's beak on seal is pointing to far left. "Must tell Chief Bald Eagle looking wrong way," mutters Abe. He then takes elevator to fourth floor, goes directly to Chief's office, raps out coded knock on unmarked door, enters. Chief is reclining in swivel-chair with feet on desk, arms folded, sleeping. On desk Abe sees torn-up typewritten letter addressed to CHIEF, DIVISION OF DIRTY TRICKS, signed by B. KNOWNOTHING. Chief is balding, slender man, oft referred to by underlings as "Dirty Dick", albeit behind back. "What's up, Chief?" asks Abe. Chief blinks eyes, opens them, snaps, "I see you got my message!" Chief smiles. "What's with this guy Osborne recruited for Fair Play Caper? XYZ man claims he's being used for wet affair by team we sold out at Cochina Bay." Abe shifts weight to left foot, uncomfortably. "Don't know, Chief," he mutters, "Ozzie seems like good man for penetration of target." Chief stands and yawns, grins slyly. . "Well, just the same you'd better contact Tidbit and have him execute alternate . . . plan." Abe stares at Chief with knowing-look. "Right, Chief, I'll get on it . . . first thing Monday morning." Abe picks up cloak and dagger conveniently lying on desk, turns to leave, stops dead in tracks. "Incidentally, Chief, Bald Eagle on firm's seal is pointing left." Chief grins, sits down in swivel chair, leans back, puts feet on desk, clasps hands behind head, closes eyes. "Really?" He says. Soon Chief is snoring. Abe departs, returns to Volkswagen, worried about jagged hole in windshield. Mutters to self, "Gee, I hope it doesn't rain tomorrow."

 


 
Richard Case Nagell
1930-1995
Of course, this lead is utter fiction too, a figment of the imagination . . . still, it may make interesting reading for somebody.

Are you aware that a Duesseldorf record company has come out with just the thing for any German who wants to relive the heady days of Nazi victory? It is two long-playing phonograph records called, "From the Fuehrer's Headquarters (Aus dem Fuehrerhauptquartier)." Billed as documentary records, they are comprised of victory announcements and special bulletins from the Nazi high command, military music and soldier's songs, Nazi songs and speeches. A booming voice discloses the Nazis are fighting for the German nation and the security of Europe "against the . . . plot of the Jewish-Anglo Saxon warmongers . . . and against the . . . Jewish rulers of the Bolshevik central in Moscow."

(Now where did he get that? What does all this gobbledygook mean, anyway? Could this be an important lead? . . . I mean there is this thing about doing business with the Military-Industrial Complex, you know.)

Seriously, Arturo, I had better give with a plausible lead on this Abe Greenbaum fella, in spite of this business about plausible denial, or "they" are liable to drop his name from my approved correspondents list. That would be catastrophic, considering that he is the only other person besides sis who is so approved. And the lead had best not sound too cryptic either, or "they" might ship #83286 [Nagell's prisoner number] back to the Funny Farm . . . you know, for more "treatment."

So let's try again:

Young Regent of Yanquis Land is visiting "Little D" to plug for assistant who is fast losing popularity amongst ultra-conservative proletariat of Friendship Province. Date is well-remembered date in fall of '63. Young Regent is hated by proponents of Secret War (and by director of large pharmaceutical combine specializing in manufacture of cyanide capsules) because word is out he intends to decree curtailment of clandestine operations of various Yanquis Land spook outfits, citing as reasons that regime's continued reliance on covert methods of achieving political goals widens faith-in-government gap, is corrosive to principles of democracy, etc., especially when spooks get caught in the act. Young Regent feels one spook outfit in particular is exceeding bounds of propriety, has expanded narrow function delegated it by International Security Act of '47 . . . is becoming TOO POWERFUL . . is unduly influencing both foreign and DOMESTIC policy by its shenanigans . . . thus, must have nefarious activities at home and abroad throttled, or at least have them restricted to endeavors which cannot be accomplished by other, more acceptable means. BANG! BANG! BANG! Young Regent no longer Regent of Yanquis land. Clandestine operations of spook outfits not curtailed. Cyanide capsule market flourishing. Too Powerful One getting MORE POWERFUL . . .

What has all this got to do with Abe Greenbaum? ANSWER: Nothing. Is it a plausible lead? ANSWER: Not very.

Wait!

Before visit to Little D, Young Regent also thinking of effecting rapprochement with Isle of Cuber, establishing nicer rapport with Isle of Cuber's Big Mother Busher. Strange! . . . Young Regent of Isle of Cuber also thinking of effecting rapprochement with Yanquis Land, establishing nicer rapport with Yanquis Land's Big Doctrine, Monroe.

How nice!

Feelers put out by both Young Regents through "private" channels in July '63, then quasi-official channels in August '63, through "official" channels in September '63.

Meanwhile, anti-Castor Oilers known as Bravo Club gets wind of feelers . . . doesn't like smell . . . nohow! There is huddle. There is chant: "Remember Cochina Bay! - Remember Cochina Bay! Soon there is talk (louder than '62 talk) of giving Young Regent of Yanquis Land Xmas present . . . yo! . . . gonna brow that out to keep situation status quo (at worst) . . . to change status quo for worse (at best).

Patsy is needed! She is pro-Castor Oiler well-known to Bravo Club. Two Bravo members speak to Patsy, convince her they are boyfriends, buy her Cuber Liber Cocktail (minus rum), get her drunk on glory, tell her they are special emissaries to Yanquis Land personally by Young Regent of Isle of Cuber to give Xmas present to Young Regent of Yanquis Land . . . have "chosen" Patsy to help deliver Xmas present. Will be furnished Safe Conduct Pass to Isle of Cuber by Embassy in Mexico City. Will be given proper treatment on arrival. Oh, joy! Will live happily ever after. Can Patsy join Xmas Present Committee now?

Uh-uh! Not yet. First must prove self deserving of great honor. Must set up Chapter of Foul Ploy for Isle of Cuber, must stand on street corner . . . pass out pro-Castor Oil tracts, must appear on TV . . . root for Castor Oil products, must rumble with anti-Castor Oil salesman. Above all, must not mention Xmas Present Caper to anybody, not even husband, Ivan.

Meanwhile, Single-Man named "Snerd" gets wind of Xmas Present Caper and going-on at Bravo Club. Snerd is Isle of Cuber's Big Mother Busher's illegitimate son. Snerd gets in touch with Double-Man Abe Greenbaum, working in deep cover at BPR, Division of Dirty Tricks, as Rightist. Actually, Abe is Leftist-turned Middlist. Middlist Abe contacts Triple-Man Zero, sitting on ice because has burned butt. Triple-Man Zero instructed to join Delta Club, which is affiliate of Bravo Club, find out if things real. Zero does just that, craftily, in guise of crossbow expert. Discovers Patsy undergoing hypnotherapy by ex-ferry pilot named Hairy De Fairy. Reports to Abe things are for real, yes siree! Abe passes info on to Dirty Dick (and Snerd). Snerd passes info on to Big Mother Busher. Somebody flashes word back for Zero to let go with well-aimed arrow in Patsy's rump . . . leave Yanquis Land, hubba hubba! Zero chickens out day he is to arrow Patsy, six days before Xmas present to be delivered. Pens Abe nasty note. Pens Snerd nastier note. Pens Dirty Dick even nastier note. Also pens note to Boss of Yanquis Land's Main Secret Police Bureau, tattles on Xmas Present Caper, tattles on Patsy, etc. Burns butt again. Searches in vain for cake of ice to sit on. Winds up in Friendship Province Halfway House.

End of lead? Not hardly.

Apparently something amiss. Xmas Present Caper does not come off per schedule. Delta Club disintegrates. Bravo Club Xmas Present Committee disintegrates. Abe drops out of sight. Dirty Dick is mum. Snerd crawls back inside Big Mother Busher's womb, dies. De Fairy puts on falseface, hides at 3330 Clubhouse, gets whipped. Director of large pharmaceutical combine gives order for increased production of cyanide capsules. Boss of Main Secret Police Bureau sits in office, drums fingers on desk, waits. Zero is still in Friendship Province Halfway House, getting older . . . if not wiser.

End of lead? . . . Not hardly.

Day of Infamy arrives! Patsy crouched at open window, armed with second-hand crossbow, quiver filled with curare-tipped arrows slung across shoulder. ZIP! ZIP! ZIP! BANG! ZIP! BANG! ZIP! BANG!

End of lead? . . . Not hardly.

Patsy awakens from hypnotic trance. Says, "What am I doing here?" Wonders what cyanide capsule is doing clenched between teeth? Wonders what cloak and dagger is doing on window sill? Wonders why floor of room is lettered with pro-Castor Oil pamphlets? Wonders how chicken bones got in lunch pail? Memory returns. Patsy flees. Refuses ride by former Bravo boyfriend driving by in utility truck bearing Bell Telephone Company markings. Catches bus instead.

End of lead? . . . Not hardly.

Patsy has gone her way. De Fairy has gone his way. One former Bravo boyfriend now living vicinity M. Cyanide capsule market still flourishing. Dirty Dick promoted within superstructure of BPR . . . is still mum. Snerd reborn as "Terd". Abe Greenbaum has changed name, retired, resides in mansion protected by pack of snarling German Shepherds, disappears for one hour each night in vault to count huge pile of American silver dollars. Boss of Yanquis Land Main Secret Police Bureau has four-year old secret . . . but is relaxed. Zero out of Friendship Province Halfway House . . . is now in Old Triple-Man's Home for Aged. More Powerful One now MOST POWERFUL (evidently). End of lead? . . . Not hardly. End of letter? . . . yes.

Most sincerely yours,

Richard C. Nagell 83286


 


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