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Disinformant # 3: Oswald LeWinter
FBI lied about the CIA agent who did most damage
to the Palme murder investigation; he was active as
a disinformant on both sides of the Atlantic
(Leopold Report 100521) Oswald LeWinter is the disinformant who did most damage in the Palme murder investigation. He kept the Police Investigation Group (PU) working for four years. LeWinter led an incredible double life. Behind the scenes, he was a professional disinformant, intelligence agent, and infiltrator, operating under cover names like "Y", "Razin", Razine", "Racine", "Wamma", and "Ibrahim Razin". The face he showed the world, however, was as a sophisticated and respected literature professor who had authored the book "Shakespeare in Europe ', a politician, and a poet.
LeWinter was extremely forthcoming for Swedish and international media that gullibly reported his startling stories that mixed facts and lies together in a disinformation campaign against PU.
In parallel, he carried out another extensive disinformation campaign directed against the journalists and authors who tried to investigate the alleged scandal surrounding the hostage crisis in Iran and the US presidential elections in 1980, which was known as October Surprise (see Part 2). When he first took on the Palme investigators, he had for many years been a professional disinformant, infiltrator, and provocateur.
Oswald LeWinter was a
But Oswald LeWinter, which eventually turned out to be his real name, was also a moderately well known literature professor, poet and writer who had taken part in high-level politics.
US Intelligence Agent
This is, however, primarily a story about LeWinter's life as a US Intelligence agent. LeWinter operated under several aliases, making it virtually impossible for others to connect with him. His style was to take his own contacts with American media, writers and others who wrote about October Surprise, directly or through intermediaries. This was also his operational modus in Europe in connection with the investigation into the murder of Olof Palme. He collaborated with media in many countries, including Sweden, Germany, the UK, Portugal, and Austria, and at one point he also made a much-publicized appearance in Italian television, where he wearing a mask alleged that the CIA and the Italian P2 Lodge were responsible for the Palme assassination (more about this below).
His tales were normally so well founded in facts around the Palme investigation that media considered him credible. Most probably, his supervisors were able in several ways to obtain information on the murder investigation that was passed on to LeWinter. He must have been given clear orders about which media to contact, who to talk to, and what they had written previously. Based on this, he and his supervisors could design the kind of disinformation to be presented.
A lot of LeWinter's activities are recounted in the report from the Swedish Government's Palme Commission (GK) (see timeline). Although he operated under several different aliases, PU was after two years (in the autumn of 1990) able to obtain information that his full name (probably) was Oswald LeWinter.
Disinformation from the FBI
LeWinter claimed in various contexts that he was a senior CIA officer and second-in-command for the CIA in Europe (e. g. Willan 1991:81). In the autumn of 1991, a year after PU from various sources had learned about his identity as Oswald LeWinter, the FBI responded to a series of requests about him with a long and falsified list of his criminal activities that would prove him not credible. This would implicitly prove that he did not belong to the CIA, hence that his allegations of CIA involvement in the assassination of Olof Palme could not possibly be true.
Earlier, the FBI had provided PU with only very brief comments about the various "unknown" cover names, never mentioning the name Oswald LeWinter. At one point, PU asked the FBI about the name George Cave, which according to an anonymous tip was LeWinter's real name. In its answer, the FBI lied to the Swedish investigators by claiming that "information about George Cave was missing". Not a word was mentioned about George Cave as one of Oliver North's closest associates in the Iran-Contra affair with frequent television appearances during the Congress hearings in the late 80's.
It was in this answer the FBI suddenly branded Oswald LeWinter as a criminal, who i. a. had been sentenced to six years imprisonment for involvement in one of Europe's biggest drug deals, while he actually had infiltrated and helped to collar the drug gang as an undercover agent (see more on this below).
FBI's apparently forthcoming cooperation had solidified its relations with PU. The Swedish investigators had no reason to doubt a word of the FBI's statements and were therefore an easy target for disinformation. In Sweden, authorities were so impressed with the FBI's efforts that the then Interior Minister Bengt K. A. Johansson in a solemn letter thanked the US Attorney General for help given to the investigators (GK p. 439). In reality, the "help" consisted of short answers with little real content, and sometimes lies mixed with half truths.
Of course we can not trust what either the FBI or LeWinter himself claimed about his background. But who, then, were his true superiors? Who provided him with information about the Palme murder? Who paid for all his travels? What was his source of income? Why didn't US authorities launch an American investigation when LeWinter claimed that the CIA was responsible for the assassination of PM Olof Palme, who also was the UN peace broker in the Iran-Iraq war?
German Police: LeWinter Worked for the CIA
It will appear from this article that LeWinter indeed worked for the CIA. This is not a paradox, since one very sophisticated kind of disinformation is to start by having the disinformant telling much of the true story that is supposed to be repudiated later, for example by revealing that the story-teller is a non-credible person, for other reasons than the contents of the story told - just like in this case.
One of the journalists who hunted LeWinter in connection with the October Surprise allegations was Martin Killian, the Washington correspondent of the German news magazine Der Spiegel. In the autumn of 1988, he was told by German police officials that LeWinter was a CIA contract agent (that is, he was working on specific CIA assignments, but not formally employed). In addition, he probably also worked for the Israeli intelligence service Mossad. (Parry 1993:72).German police had some years earlier cooperated with the FBI in the drug operation where LeWinter had been used as an undercover agent (see below) and knew who he was very well.
LeWinter and October Surprise
At 17 September, 1988, LeWinter appeared in the popular US radio program Bill Moran Show. Listeners were invited to call in their comments during the live broadcast. The topic at that day was the October Surprise allegations. One caller presented himself as "Y", claiming that he personally had taken part in connection with "the cleaning up" after October Surprise meetings in Europe. Present in the studio was also Barbara Honegger, who for three years had been a research and policy analyst in the White House after having participated in President Ronald Reagan's election campaign and transition team. She was working on a book to reveal the October Surprise scandal (causing a lot of attention when it appeared in 1989 with the same title). "Y" was one of her primary sources. Later, LeWinter continued to call around to American journalists about October Surprise, always under different aliases.
Robert Parry was one of those journalists. He worked for the Associated Press and Newsweek in the eighties, and published many breaking news stories related to the Iran-Contra affair in various media. Later, he also authored several books (see list of sources). He discovered that there was much misinformation related to the October Surprise allegations, but also that they had some substance that he wanted to clarify.
To start with, he wanted to identify "Y" or "Razine" and to determine which of his claims that were true and which that were lies. He also wanted to know whether he had any superiors. With his extensive knowledge about the Iran-Contra affair and all lawful and unlawful US covert operations through official and unofficial networks, Parry had the qualifications required to understand the possible serious implications. However, he focused entirely at LeWinter's October Surprise allegations, and did not pay any attention to his claims about the Palme murder.
Recognized from his Voice
In the autumn of 1988, an audiotape from the Bill Moran Show circulated among American journalists. As a result, he was already at that time recognized from his voice (Parry 1993:70):
"Tapes of the performance circulated among reporters on the West Coast in fall 1988, and one columnist in San Francisco recognized the lightly disguised voice of Mr. Razine as the real voice of a New York literature professor named Oswald LeWinter."
The German journalist Martin Killian traced LeWinter to the War and Peace Foundation in New York, where he worked on a television program about the United Nations. There is reason to believe that he had taken this job to prepare for his operation against the Palme murder investigation, since there were few other places in the US that he could obtain so much information on Palme's activities. Hence, we can already see a similarity to Disinformant #1, Robert Harkavy, who probably used the Swedish peace research institute SIPRI for the same purpose.
Jean-Baptiste Racine was a Shakespeare's contemporary,
and of much professional interest for Oswald LeWinter. It is likely that
Racine inspired him to use cover names like "Razine" and "Racine".
Unmasked by Killian
When Killian contacted LeWinter in the autumn of 1988, he panicked over
having been unmasked as "Razine" and "Y". Later, he
told Killian that he had worked for the CIA for 20 years.
"'So why did you lie?' I asked, as an opening question.
LeWinter further claimed:
"..that he had been recruited by several American intelligence figures to spread a version of the October Surprise allegations that was skewed enough from the truth to be debunked."
The journalists were uncertain about whether he now was telling the truth, but left it at that for the time being.
New Meeting in Germany in 1990
Two years later, at 28 October, 1990, Parry travelled to Germany where he again interviewed LeWinter. Parry was now working for the PBS television program Frontline, and had received new information from an Israeli source (Parry 1993:74).
According to Parry, LeWinter now edited a small Jewish magazine (the same that is discussed as SEMIT in GK p. 439). LeWinter was now afraid that Killian & Co. would disclose his role as a secret agent in Der Spiegel, but decided that among the two evils, Frontline was the lesser.
Parry asked LeWinter why he had contacted journalists to - as he claimed - expose October Surprise, when he had submitted so much obviously false information. One of these was that he claimed that one of Reagan's advisers had been in Paris and negotiated with the Iranian leadership, when it was easy to prove that the same person at that time was in the US - as a participant in a live television program (Parry 1993:67ff).
Admits Being a Professional Disinformant
"I was asked by some people to mount a disinformation campaign". [..] "Barbara Honegger [..] had started enough interest in the newspaper community and the media to throw a negative light on George Bush's candidacy, potentially a negative light. The people who asked me to intervene felt that the country could not stand another Watergate, another major political scandal and upheaval, and also worried that the Democratic party's candidate might have hurt the intelligence community, which was just in the process of recovering from the damage that had been done to it during the Carter administration."
His next statement is important:
"I contacted Barbara Honegger through another person. [..] I managed to pass on some information to her which had factual elements in it, but also elements that with a little bit of digging could be discovered to be questionable. The story would lead some investigators to spend time and effort running into blind alleys, with the result that eventually the whole story would be discredited."
LeWinter also admitted to having received USD 100,000 in payment for his disinformation campaign.
Highly relevant for the Palme investigation, we now get first-hand information from a professional disinformant about the purpose for and use of disinformation.
Parry remained uncertain about the truth or falsehood of LeWinter's statements.
Was this just a new disinformation campaign to lure him onto thin ice? Was it really true that LeWinter in 1988, as he claimed, had been commissioned to destroy the entire October Surprise story that was on its way to be confirmed, in which case it would become a new Watergate? Or was he commissioned to revive the story to lure the critics down the slippery slope to set them up for the fall?
Then, when Parry in October, 1990, was together with LeWinter in Germany, he wondered for himself if it was possible that there never had been any real October Surprise. Could it rather have been other operations that had been converted to something else, which later could be denied and used to attack the critics for staging a malicious campaign against Reagan and Bush? Was LeWinter's intention this time to discredit critical journalists and Democrats in front of the upcoming presidential election? If they revitalized the October Surprise allegations, they could very well be accused of using dirty methods to hurt President Bush in his bid for re-election.
Nothing was certain about LeWinter, except that he was a very sophisticated professional disinformation agent, and that his behaviour led back to groups that wanted to reinforce Reagan's position and ensure that Bush was elected his successor.
And that is sufficient for our purpose.
"The CIA's Second-in-Command in Europe!"
The P2 lodge was headed by Licio Gelli. It had an incredible roster of members from the Italian power elite. P2 was investigated from 1981 because of suspected links to various financial scandals and terrorist attacks. The big scandal didn't come until 1990, when also P2's connection with Gladio (the Italian Stay Behind - see below) was revealed, and thereby both organizations' relationship to the CIA as well as Italian secret services. This triggered a judicial and political earthquake in Italy (Willan 1991, Christie 1984, and others). Licio Gelli's name was involved in the Palme case by LeWinter in connection with the alleged telegram that "the Swedish tree is to be felled - regards to our good friend Bush". (See Part 2: William Herrmann's disinformation).
LeWinter's alleged knowledge that the CIA transferred money to the P2 lodge may have contributed to the belief that he for a period was the CIA's Second-in-Command in Europe, published in various connections (e. g. Willan 1991:81). He also claimed that a NATO body had decided that Palme was to be removed. Of course, none of this was actually true, but it illustrates once again the incredible lies and myths LeWinter created around himself, and not least his eminent and detailed knowledge of the intelligence services in the US and Europe.
Professor, Politician and Psychologist
LeWinter had in the 60's taught English, Humanities and Comparative Literature at university level. He had been awarded prizes for his poetry, and published a book on Shakespeare. He was a friend of several American writers, including Saul Bellow. In 1968, he worked in Hubert Humphrey's presidential campaign. In 1976, he worked for a conservative Democrat in Indiana to dig up dirt on the Republican rival candidate. Until the early 80's, he worked for military intelligence in Germany, mainly as a psychologist with clients from the US forces. German intelligence service even confirmed that he appeared in a Brigadier-General's uniform (i. a. Sick 1991:150, 260, Parry 1993:72ff, and LeWinter 1963).
As we begin to see who LeWinter really was in the 20-year period from the early sixties, we see a solid pillar of society with broad commitment and extensive skills, who obviously was met with respect wherever he went. Also in this regard, he is very similar to Disinformant #1 Robert Harkavy.
Undercover Agent in Anti-Drug Operation in Germany
In 1985, we find LeWinter on a new special assignment when he took part in a German-American joint venture where the FBI and German Police trapped a gang exporting chemicals for production of drugs to the United States. Then, LeWinter used the cover name "Wamma." The gang leaders were sentenced to 20 years in prison, while LeWinter was extradited to the US to be handled by the US authorities.
Spying on Italian Rogue Agent
After a very mild sentence - as the official story went - LeWinter was placed in a cell together with the Italian Francesco Pazienza. Pazienza had been arrested in the US, and Italian authorities wanted to have him extradited to Italy where investigations were proceeding about his role in the P2 Lodge, Gladio, and a number of terrorist acts, including the 1980 bombing of the railway station in Bologna, where 85 people were killed. Pazienza had detailed knowledge of Italian and American intelligence operations and activities of the Republican Party, and represented a serious security risk for these. We assume that LeWinter's mission was to keep Pazienza under surveillance and extract information from him.
Pazienza was an agent for the Italian secret service (SISMI). He was in a period Licio Gellis right-hand man and Second-in-Command for Gellis secret operations. This is particularly interesting, since Gelli's name later was involved in the Palme case by LeWinter with the alleged telegram that "the Swedish tree is to be felled ... regards to our friend President Bush" (see Part 2: William Herrmann's disinformation).
The Rome Court found that Pazienza was an important agent for the French intelligence service where he had close contact with its head Alexandre de Marenches. It also found it proved that he had good relations with foreign centres of power, including to the then US Secretary of State Alexander Haig (Herman and Brodhead 1986:95-96).
Pazienza was also indicted for his participation in the so-called Billygate operation in 1979, in which President Carter's brother Billy was more or less tricked into shady dealings with members of the family of Libyan dictator Muammar Gadaffi (Herman and Brodhead 1986:96). Billy Carter's dealings with Libya may have influenced the outcome of the 1980 Presidential Election in which Carter lost to Reagan.
In these operations, Pazienza's partner was Michael Ledeen, who had prominent roles in several organizations close to the Israeli intelligence service Mossad (CAIB 1987 # 27:68-70). Ledeen's relationship with Pazienza was very close during the Reagan administration. In an article in L'Espresso, it was claimed that all bilateral contacts between the US and Italy during the Reagan administration was handled unofficially by these two (Herman and Brodhead 1986:94-96). Ledeen was close to the White House when he served as an adviser on the National Security Council (NSC), and this made Pazienza an even greater security risk.
LeWinter was perfectly fit to spy on Pazienza, win his trust, and try to find out how he thought and what he wanted to do. Later (1990), LeWinter himself admitted that he had been commissioned by the authorities to spy on other detainees (Sick 1991:221).
A person convicted of serious drug offenses as LeWinter was, will usually find it very difficult to get a job. But immediately after LeWinter had "served his sentence", he was appointed to a trusted mission at the War and Peace Foundation in New York, from where he could operate as disinformant in the October Surprise matter - and against the Palme murder investigation.
LeWinter and Resistance International
Resistance International (RI) was a mobilization campaign against global communism founded by a group of exiled Russian writers (Nilsson 2001:183). RI had its international headquarters in Paris, and was considered to be funded by the CIA and private right-wing groups (Hermansson and Wenander 1987:172, 185).
The author Saul Bellow was in 1986 a board member of the American Chamber of the RI (Barry et al 1986:46). He was also a board member of the Committee on the Present Danger (Sanders 1983, p. 155ff), a right-wing pressure group that had as its purpose to get the Carter Administration to open its eyes to the growing global Soviet threat and thereby to convince Carter to increase defence spending. Bellow was also a good friend of the literature professor Oswald LeWinter, whom he supported in various ways.
For example, Bellow pleaded for LeWinter in a letter to the judge, when LeWinter in New Jersey in June, 1985, was awaiting his sentence for his participation in the attempt to smuggle chemicals for production of drugs into the United States. It ended with what probably was a plea bargain about a very short sentence (Sick 1991:260, footnote 14).
That LeWinter escaped a severe punishment, while others were sentenced to 20 years in prison, indicates that LeWinter acted as a provocateur and undercover agent for the FBI and the German police. This, as well as the convenient internment together with Pazienza, also shows that it was a straight FBI/CIA operation.
The controversial Swedish teacher Curt Bergström was a prominent RI representative in Sweden. 46 days after the Palme murder, at 15 April, 1986, he lectured at a RI seminar in Switzerland where he launched the theory that the Soviet Union/KGB was behind the assassination of Olof Palme through the Kurdish organization PKK. This was the first time the PKK lead was mentioned internationally, and it was four months before the Swedish Government was informed by Investigation Leader Hans Holmér that the PKK was the main lead. It was also the first time it was suggested anywhere that the PKK had murdered Palme on behalf of the KGB. However, the KGB and Russian diplomats in Stockholm had already from day one been accused of the murder - by the CIA in Stockholm, resulting in a secret and illegal bugging of a suspected diplomat, undertaken by CIA surveillance experts, conveniently in Stockholm at the time.
We will later in this series of articles show that the PKK lead was based on disinformation. What's interesting is that the RI already two years earlier, in 1984, had hosted an international seminar on precisely the subject of disinformation, showing that it considered this an important part of the business (Hermansson and Wenander 1997: 191-192). That Bergström so soon after the murder launched the PKK lead internationally also indicates that he was involved in the disinformation operation against PU.
The Swedish RI branch was founded at 21 March, 1985 (a long time after the main organisation was founded), and withered away in September, 1987. This was shortly after the Turkish magazine Hürriet at 2 September, 1987, published a large front page article claiming that a group of five PKK members were behind the Palme murder. Some time later, the article's author Ali Yula admitted that the tip came from a person easily identified as the Swede Bertil Wedin. Earlier, Wedin had from his residence in Turkish Cyprus twice attempted to plant the PKK lead, without success.
Wedin had for many years worked for South African security (BOSS), as well as the Swedish security police, SÄPO.
He also worked for the CIA (CAIB 1983 #18).
Hence, Saul Bellow was linked to a CIA-funded organization that just like LeWinter was engaged in disinformation in connection with the Palme murder. Interestingly, RI and LeWinter came up with two directly opposite versions about who was guilty of murdering Palme: The Soviet Union/PKK, and the CIA, respectively. Their supervisors had probably not foreseen that anybody would even think about connecting Bellow and LeWinter, and then connect the disinformation from Bergström to the disinformation from LeWinter, with the CIA directing both campaigns.
This also serves to illustrate how demanding cases like this are for
the investigators' proficiency to process and analyse information. After
PU had revealed the identity of LeWinter and his false information, it should
have proceeded by using the disinformation as a lead in its own right. It
would then have found all LeWinter's connections to US intelligence, and
it could have combined this with other knowledge. This would have provided
clear evidence that the murder of Olof Palme was an American state-controlled
operation. It would have enabled the investigators to leave aside the red
herring theories about "a lone madman" and PKK, and instead to
focus at the search for a perpetrator who either was just a tool or also
an important part of the conspiracy.
Zoom (1996) is an Austrian anthology about Stay Behind/Gladio. It includes a chapter on the organization's activities in Sweden, starting with the first group Sveaborg that was established in 1941 at the initiative of the Swedish Nazi Otto Hallberg (LeMay 1996).
In this chapter, the author uses LeWinter as one of its sources:
"Seine (Hallberg's) Organisation soll aber noch 1989 intakt gewesen sein. Fragen im Zusammenhang mit dem Mord am schwedischen Minister-Präsidenten Olof Palme drängen sich auf. Soll der zweite Mann der CIA in Europa und Chef des Intelligence Tactical Assessment Center (ITAC), ein gewisser Oswald LeWinter, Papiere vorgelegt haben, die beweisen sollen, das Palme im Zuge einer ´Operation Tree´ ermordet werden sollte." [..] ".. und der ehemalige Stay Behind-Chef und frühere Skandia-Versicherungs-Direktor Alvar Lindencrona teilgenommen haben. Das Skandia-Haus in Stockholm - früher Thule-Haus - soll die Zentrale der Stay-Behind-Netze gewesen sein. Vor diesem Haus wurde Olof Palme am 28.2.1986 mit einem Smith & Wesson erschossen."
In English translation:
"His (Hallberg's) organization, however, is assumed to have been operational in 1989. This raises questions about a connection to the murder of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme. The Second-in-Command for the CIA in Europe and Head of the Intelligence Tactical Assessment Centre (ITAC), a certain Oswald LeWinter, has submitted documents that are supposed to show that Palme was to be murdered as the target of 'Operation Tree'." [..] "..and Alvar Lindencrona, former Head of Stay Behind and former Director of the Skandia insurance company, was supposed to have participated. The Skandia House in Stockholm - formerly the Thule house - was believed to have been the headquarters for the Stay Behind network. Palme was at 28.02.1986 shot with a Smith & Wesson in front of this house."
This was an obvious reference to the telegram saying that "the Swedish tree is to be felled". The story about this telegram had originated from LeWinter. The Skandia House and the people visiting there at the night of the murder have always been of interest to the Palme investigation, since it for a period indeed was the Stay Behind headquarters. But the information quoted must of course be seen in light of the fact that it comes from a notorious liar and disinformant.
Of course LeWinter was not the Second-in-Command for the CIA in Europe, nor the Head of ITAC. This is therefore a good example of the influence he gained as disinformant about the Palme murder in various places in Europe.
The really interesting point is that we in an Austrian book on Stay Behind, in a chapter on its network in Sweden, find information from the Austrian-born disinformant Oswald LeWinter leading us down to the Sveavägen murder scene and to the Skandia House.
The FBI's Sabotage against PU
Oswald LeWinter is the man's true identity. He has in recent years been active in Portugal and Austria, and is reportedly now in the United States. He is alive, and therefore available to the Swedish Government, the Swedish Government's Palme Murder Investigation (PU), and the Obama Administration, and is one among many excellent starting points for solving the Palme murder.
LeWinter is a reasonably well-known literature professor, poet and writer. He has worked as a psychologist and been involved in top-level politics. For a few decades from 1970, he was hired by the CIA and the FBI as an agent for intelligence, disinformation, provocation, and infiltration, in a wide range of operations. In addition, he had assignments for the Army. (Sick 1991:150).
In these roles, it was his mission to cause as much confusion as possible about who he really was and what he was doing, by making use of many different aliases as well as spreading disinformation about himself.
In this respect, he was in his Palme operations provided from start to finish with excellent help from the FBI - to the extent that the FBI directly sabotaged the murder investigation - see the Timeline summarizing the communication between the Swedish murder investigators and the FBI.
Next article - coming soon: The US Conspiracy - making the Connections.
Avvenimenti (1990), 5 September: As quoted in Willan (1991:81).
Barry, Tom, Deb Preusch, and Beth Sims (1986): The New Humanitarian Right. The Inter-Hemispheric Education Resource Center.
Bellant, Russ (1988): Old Nazis, the New Right, and the Republican Party. South End Press.
CAIB (1983 #18): Covert Action Information Bulletin. Winter.
CAIB (1987 #27): Covert Action Information Bulletin. Spring.
Christie, Stuart (1984): Stefano Delle Chiaie. Refract Publications.
Corn, David (1994): Blond Ghost. Ted Shackley and the CIA Crusade. Simon & Shuster.
Encyclopaedia Britannica (1985): Jean Baptiste Racine. Micropedia Vol 9, page 879.
Herman, Edward S. and Frank Brodhead (1986): The Rise and Fall of the Bulgarian Connection. Square Sheridan Publications.
Hermansson, Håkan and Lars Wenander (1987): Uppdrag Olof Palme. (Mission Olof Palme.) Tiden.
Honegger, Barbara (1989): October Surprise. Tudor Publishing Company.
Igel, Regine (1977): Andriotti. Politik zwischen Geheimdienst und Mafia. (Politics between Intelligence Services and Mafia.) Herbig.
KTOK Radio (1988): Jerry Bohnen's interview with Richard Brenneke, KTOK Radio, Oklahoma City, 6 October, as quoted in Honegger (1989:277ff).
Landis, Fred (1981): Spies and the Reagan Victory. Covert Action Information Bulletin # 12, April.
LeMay, John Foster (1996): Stay Behind the NATO.
LeWinter, Oswald (1970): Shakespeare in Europe. Penguin Books. Originally published by the World Publishing Company in 1963.
Lyxell, Sune (1988): Sanningen bedrar. (The Truth is Deceiving.) Own
Nilsson, Karl Alvar N (2001): Ondskan Hatet Mordet. (The Evil, the Hate, the Murder.) Hjalmarson & Högberg.
Parry, Robert (1992): Fooling America. William Morrow & Co. Inc.
Parry, Robert (1993): Trick or Treason. The October Surprise Mystery. Sheridan Square Press.
Parry, Robert (1996): The October Surprise X-files. The Media Consortium, Inc.
Parry, Robert (2004): Secrecy & Privilege. Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq. The Media Consortium, Inc.
Parry, Robert, Sam Parry and Nat Parry (2007): Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush. The Media Consortium, Inc.
US Senate (1987): Senate Report #216, Iran-Contra Investigation, Appendix B, Volume 3, Depositions. 100th Congress, 1st Session. Pages 563-1076.
Zoom (1996): Es muss nicht immer Gladio sein. Attentate - Waffenlager - Erinnerungslücken - Stay Behind. (It must not always be Gladio. Attacks - Arms Depots - Memory Glitches - Stay Behind.) # 4-5/96. Anthology.
The FBI Cover-Up of Oswald
In November 1989, PU sent its first inquiry to the FBI about "Mr. Razin", who had appeared in a radio interview in the US the year before, alleging that he was a CIA agent with knowledge that the CIA was responsible for the assassination of Olof Palme.
May, 1990: FBI's response six months later
The FBI didn't hurry to answer. The brief reply did not come until May 1990, six months later. It was confirmed that the program had been aired at 17 September, 1988. The FBI listed the participants in the program, including the former White House journalist Barbara Honegger, and enclosed her book "October Surprise" that by then could be bought in almost any bookshop. That was all.
Obviously, the FBI left the impression that it had no idea that "Y" or "Razin" in fact was Oswald LeWinter, and could not deduct his identity from his statements in the program, nor from his cover name. That's far from credible.
Two years earlier, there had been numerous articles about the mysterious "Y", or "Mr. Razine" as he called himself in the program, where he pointed to CIA as responsible for the murder of Olof Palme. Several journalists had exposed him as identical with Oswald LeWinter, primarily based on his voice. In addition, the journalists Killian and Parry had already interviewed LeWinter, as recounted in the main article.
However, the definitive proof that the FBI was keeping information from the investigators in Stockholm is that Oswald LeWinter as FBI agent in 1985 infiltrated a major drug band in Germany in collaboration with the German police. In addition, it was the FBI who had him extradited to the United States in 1985 where he served the "punishment" he was sentenced to after a trial in New Jersey (Sick 1991:221). Finally, it was also the FBI that on behalf of the CIA handled the intelligence agent LeWinter when he was placed in the same cell as Italy's Francesco Pazienza to spy on him (see main article).
Hence, LeWinter was deeply involved in FBI's activities, and the FBI had extensive knowledge about him, when it had nothing to tell about him in its reply to PU in May 1990.
Albeit we can't expect all FBI agents to be Shakespeare-lovers, it would also have been odd if no one had searched in dictionaries and encyclopaedias for hints about the origin of his cover name in different variations. If so, they would in the Encyclopaedia Britannica's 1985 edition have found a two-page article on the French poet and playwright Jean Baptiste Racine (see scan). Racine had been involved in extensive discussions with Shakespeare. Their relationship, personal as well as literary, has been discussed in several books by literary scholars. One of them was Oswald LeWinter, in his book "Shakespeare in Europe". It is reasonable to assume that this was the origin of LeWinter's choice of one of his cover names that he used in several varieties.
Even for an otherwise uninformed FBI analyst, the road would have been very short from the cover name, to Racine, to Shakespeare, and to the Shakespeare biographer Oswald LeWinter.
It is almost incredible that the literature professor, the poet, the politician, and the pillar of society Oswald LeWinter was the same as the FBI agent, the undercover agent, and the disinformant who worked for the CIA. But it is a fact that was well known to the FBI.
July and August, 1990: Reminder from PU
In July and August, 1990, PU sent reminders to the FBI about its promises to provide more information on "Rasine", "Rosine", or "Razin". In addition, PU added an inquiry about someone referred to by GK as "Dick B".
According to Honegger (1989:277), Richard "Dick" Brenneke had previously claimed that he i. a. was a CIA contract agent and pilot. In an interview with the journalist Jerry Bohnen in Oklahoma City Radio, he had claimed that he in March, 1981, had flown to Tehran with the first arms shipment to Iran after the US hostages had been released. (KTOK Radio 1988).
The reason he was involved in PU's inquiries about "Razin" was that the Italian President Francesco Cossiga, in a letter to the Swedish Foreign Ministry, wrote that he had been very upset over the information given in an interview on Italian TV "by former CIA agents Razin and Dick Brenneke". They had explained that the CIA and the Italian P2 Lodge had carried out the assassination of Olof Palme (GK p. 438). The interview had taken on a somewhat ridiculous character when LeWinter appeared masked and under a cover name, while Brenneke appeared unmasked and under his own name. Cossiga promised in media that he immediately would initiate an investigation.
Swedish newspapers had by now virtually been teeming with interviews with LeWinter, who appeared under different versions of the cover name "Razin". He claimed that Olof Palme - who was the UN's peace broker in the Iran-Iraq war - had been murdered because of his knowledge of the Iran-Contra affair.
The newspaper Dagens Nyheter came in the end of July, 1990, far enough in its investigations to report that Razin's real name probably was Oscar LeWinter. Hence, PU must have included that name at the latest in its August reminder to the FBI.
September, 1990: Not much of value, says the FBI
Now, PU had provided the FBI with a name. That the forename was slightly wrong should normally not have sidetracked the FBI. Given the extensive material on LeWinter in the FBI's files, about the drug operation in Germany, the trial in the United States, LeWinter's imprisonment with Pazienza, etc, it now should have been a piece of cake for the agents to find the connection.
But still nothing came up! In a new brief response from the FBI a month later it promised to get back with more information "soon", but added that it would be of little value.
October, 1990: Swedes Contact US Attorney General
In September, 1990, PU contacted German police that now readily came up with Oswald LeWinter's correct name. A month later, PU sent a "summary of the case" to the US Attorney General. Obviously, this must have contained the correct name.
Still, no help from the FBI:
December, 1990: "Final Report" from the FBI
In December, 1990, the Swedish investigators received a
"final report" from the FBI, in which it briefly denied that "Mr.
Rosine" or "Mr. Y" had been employed by the CIA. GK (page
439) further quotes from the report that "the FBI, having analyzed
both name and voice, had not found any match to any person engaged by the
Let's recall that the German police in 1988 told Der Spiegel that LeWinter worked as a contract agent for the CIA, hence that he was not actually employed, but assigned to specific missions (he also worked for Mossad). Clearly the FBI knew the same in 1990 that the German police knew in 1988.
The original English text of the FBI's "final report" has not been published. We have to rely on GK's quotes, translated into Swedish. In this text, GK uses the term "anställd", which clearly means "employed", about the FBI's first line of denial about "Mr. Rosine" or "Mr. Y". In the second line, about not having found any match to name or voice, GK uses the word "anlitad", which means "engaged", "hired" or "contracted", and is often used when one firm uses the services of another.
Hence, it was true that Oswald LeWinter was not employed by the CIA, but if we assume that the translation into Swedish is correct, the information that he was not engaged was a pure lie.
The distinction is anyway mute. The FBI knew very well that the Swedes wanted to know who LeWinter was, and in particular whether he worked for the CIA - in some way or other. At the very least, the FBI held back vital information and covered this up by using ambiguous language - very close to lying anyway. This did not only contribute to the investigators' failure to solve the murder, it also cost Swedish tax-payers millions of dollars.
More disinformation to PU
Let's recall that in September, 1988, LeWinter admitted
to the journalists Parry and Killian that he had given Barbara Honegger
information that was a mixture of truth and falsehoods.
What happened was that the Palme murder investigators received new and confusing disinformation about LeWinter, probably from an anonymously source, since no information about its origin is provided by GK. According to the tip, the man behind the many cover names was actually Brigadier General George Cave. "Oswald LeWinter" was suddenly another of Cave's many aliases.
George Cave was not only one of Colonel Oliver North's closest men in the Iran-Contra matter, but he was also among the few who spent the last two weeks of February and the first weeks of March, 1986, together with North, in the same meetings, hotels, and so on - from Frankfurt to Tehran. Palme was murdered at 28 February, 1986.
February, 1991: Question from PU about Cave
The new and startling tip again created work for the Swedish investigators. By February, 1991, they had put together a new set of questions for the FBI, this time about George Cave.
If the FBI didn't have anything to do with the "anonymous" tip, it would have been easy to answer the questions. Of course the FBI had broad and extensive files on the very real George Cave, who could not possibly be confused with the also very real LeWinter. For example, Cave was heard in Congress on the Iran-Contra scandal as early 17 April, 1987 (US Senate 1987:563-1076).
A truly cooperative FBI would therefore immediately have told the Swedes to forget about Cave as LeWinter. But it did not. It kept its silence for a half year.
Autumn, 1991: October Surprise revived
In the autumn, the October Surprise matter, which disinformants like Oswald LeWinter and William Herrmann (see Part 2) had done so much to keep under the lid, was revived with hearings in Congress.
Oswald LeWinter was again in focus, and this time under his own name, frequently featured in media. For example, Washington Times at 8 May, 1991, listed LeWinter as one of five named prominent people who promoted the allegations about October Surprise. He was presented as a CIA agent and arms dealer who had been sent to Paris in connection with the arms-for-hostages negotiations shortly before the presidential election of 1980. Another name on the list was Richard Brenneke, who had appeared with LeWinter on Italian television.
LeWinter had also been discussed in books by Philip Willan and Gary Sick because of his close contacts with Licio Gelli and Francesco Pazienza in connection with the Italian P2/Gladio scandal.
Hence, Oswald LeWinter was becoming a quite well-known public person in the US, now not only as a literary scholar, but also as a CIA agent. This must have made his superiors worry even more about the possible reactions in Sweden, if and when the Palme murder investigators realized that Oswald LeWinter not only was a real person, but that he also was a professional secret agent, disinformant, provocateur and infiltrator, and above all if they discovered his connections to the CIA and FBI.
Autumn, 1991: The FBI converts LeWinter to a criminal
It must have been to avoid this development that the FBI finally broke its silence about Oswald LeWinter as well as the Swedes' request regarding George Cave.
This is a direct translation from GK's summary of the FBI's new letter to PU in the autumn of 1991 (GK, p. 440):
"The FBI had managed to obtain relatively detailed information about Oswald W. He had in 1953 been arrested for falsely impersonating an officer. In 1971, an informant had stated that Oswald W made a living of providing criminals with false identification documents, etc. During the criminal investigation, a person with close knowledge of him had described him as 'a self-admitted compulsive liar'. The same year, in 1971, he had been arrested by Scotland Yard for extortion. In 1984, he had been suspected of drug offenses. At one occasion, he had masqueraded as a 'Special Deputy Sheriff'. In 1985, he had been convicted of drug offenses and sentenced to six years in prison."
Hence, when the FBI finally submitted any information about LeWinter, it described him as a not credible person, a criminal and a liar.
The FBI entirely concealed LeWinter's until then public personae as a university teacher, a professor of literature, a poet, a writer, a politician, and in general a pillar of society.
The FBI also entirely concealed that LeWinter at that time was the talk of the town in Washington for his allegations about October Surprise.
It also continued to conceal that LeWinter behind his public façade for decades had been a professional intelligence agent, disinformant, etc for the CIA as well as the FBI, that is, seen from his own and his superiors' point of view, a hero for the American cause.
Some of the information actually provided may have been cover stories in connection with LeWinter's missions for the FBI or the CIA. Some may have been made up, and some are obviously unsubstantiated hearsay. Compared to the truth, what the FBI told the Swedes represented a total conversion of LeWinter from a pillar of society and a patriot to a petty criminal and liar.
The obvious reason was to terminate the Swedish investigators' interest in LeWinter as well as the entire CIA lead. By portraying him as a criminal, they could show that he could not possibly belong to the CIA, that he was notoriously unreliable, and that his claims that the CIA was involved in the murder of Olof Palme, the alleged Gelli telegram about "the Swedish tree is to be felled" and so on, all were pure fantasy. This would also help making the Swedes "understand" that what he said about October Surprise in the US was just as much garbage.
LeWinter had been very useful for a while - now was the time for the pull-out.
This takes us to the core of this kind of disinformation strategy: Providing information that at first seems credible, in order to take the investigators down a lead that seems promising and keeps them busy for a while; and then discrediting the informant and thereby the entire lead, making the investigators less inclined to follow similar leads later.
The FBI denies knowledge about George Cave
That was not the only piece of disinformation from the FBI to PU in this letter in the autumn of 1991. The next piece was if possible even more amazing.
Here is the translation from GK (page 440):
"During the autumn of 1999, the FBI returned to PU several times. The information about George Cave could not be confirmed, since information about this person was missing".
This was a lie. This is Cave's background, readily available in the transcript of the hearings with him in the Senate in 1987 (US Senate 1987:563ff, see scans of the front page of the Senate report and the first of the 513 pages making up the transcript of Cave's deposition):
"[..] after getting out of the Hershey Industrial School in 1947, I spent five years in the military, all of which was either with the Army security agency, [sic] and then assigned to the Armed Forces Security Agency; and then when the National Security Agency was formed, I was one of the first military detailees to it in 1951.
I got out in May of 1952 and went to college the following fall. Graduated from college in '56 and joined the Agency. Entered on duty I think October 1956. [One and a half page deleted.] And then decided to retire in February of 1980.
I retired [some words deleted] and I have been a consultant to the Agency ever since on Iran [some words deleted]."
Hence, George Cave worked for US security and intelligence
for almost forty years, and when the FBI denied any knowledge about him,
he had for years been one of the central figures in the Iran-Contra scandal
and given much attention in the congressional hearings.
It is reasonable to assume that the intention with the original Cave tip in late 1990 was to divert PU from its efforts to identity LeWinter by converting him to a cover name for another person only, and to spend PU's resources on a hopeless effort to connect Cave to the enigmatic informant.
One can say that LeWinter's operation to sabotage the investigation had been successfully completed by wasting a lot of the investigators' resources. The time had come to introduce a new red herring that also would take them nowhere and that already early in 1991 appeared less risky than LeWinter.
In late 1991, it had become even more vital to keep the investigators away from LeWinter. Now, the FBI converted him back to a real person, but to an outright criminal. It must have seemed safest to underpin this impression by letting the theory about Cave using this name as a cover name live on. Also, it was obviously risky to provide details about Cave, since this would draw the Swedes' attention to the Iran-Contra affair that now was becoming intertwined with the October Surprise affair; hence Cave as the original red herring could ironically take them back to the real LeWinter. It could also draw the Swedes' attention to the secret Iran-Contra operations in the weeks preceding and succeeding the date of the Palme murder.
We are not saying that this necessarily was the smartest strategy, but also disinformation planners have to adjust to changing and unexpected circumstances, and may sometimes have to choose within a limited range of options, in particular when you are pushed into a narrow corner.
And, in fact, it worked. The investigators indeed lost themselves in the Cave lead for a short while, before abandoning everything.
The final conversion and discrediting of LeWinter was also a discrediting of other CIA leads. Put together, this shows that PU was an easy victim for the headquarters of "Operation Palme", hereunder the combined and intensive efforts of the disinformants Harkavy, Herrmann, and LeWinter. PU had no knowledge and ability to analyze the information and proceed on its own. It had no competence to investigate a state directed murder. It is very likely that those who planned the disinformation operation knew this, and that they were able to monitor the work of the Swedish investigators and could make use of this information in their risk assessments.
The FBI guilty of state crime
If the FBI really had been interested in helping the Swedish murder investigators, they would not only have sent PU the Honegger book (where LeWinter was not named), but also the books by Willan, Sick and Parry (see source list) as they were published. They would also have provided PU with a good selection of press cuttings and selected parts of the Congressional hearings that reasonably would be of interest to PU.
But the FBI did not do any of this. It volunteered nothing, it held back information from its own files, it lied, and it misguided PU. The list of misconduct is so long and remarkable that we can exclude excusable human error and bureaucratic ineptitude, and it is unthinkable that the FBI would consider the murder of a European Prime Minister and a UN peace broker a trivial matter not worth paying attention to.
The only possible conclusion is that the FBI did not want the Palme murder to be solved. Hence, it did its best to sabotage the investigation. This is criminal behaviour by a government institution.
The FBI must have had good reasons to sabotage the investigation. The only likely reason is that it wanted to protect the true principals behind the assassination.
Because of this, we will in part 4 return to the FBI's role - command and control - at the time of the murder and the following years.
In our three articles on the three professional disinformants Harkavy, Herrmann and LeWinter, we have by combining evidence from the Swedish Government's Palme Commission with evidence from the US shown that the murder of Olof Palme cannot have been the work of a single perpetrator (why would anybody protect such a murderer?), but rather a state-controlled operation.
As we proceed with this series, we will discuss the question of where within the total community consisting of the FBI, the CIA, the Republican Party, the Reagan administration, and various secret networks that the assassination of Olof Palme in fact was planned, implemented, and covered up.