Thursday, July 7, 2022

The Assassination and Mrs. Paine-The Strange Beliefs of Vincent Salandria

One of Max Good's "featured" experts on the conspiracy side in his film The Assassination and Mrs. Paine was a long time critic of Ruth and her husband Michael. The late Philadelphia attorney Vincent Salandria was a first generation Warren Commission critic who had strong opinions. Consider the following quotes from his appearance in the film:

If you wanted to have a conspiracy, you’ve got to complete the circle. In this case you’ve got to get the Oswalds into the Dallas area. You’ve got to get Oswald into the Texas Book Depository in time. People with a garage where the so-called murder weapon can be stored. Suppose it's a conspiracy that says we’ll just wait, somebody will get Oswald and his family into Dallas, we’ll just wait--maybe he’ll happen to find a job in the Texas Book Depository. Once you see a conspiracy, its over for the Paines. You can’t close the circle without the Paines! There’s no way they can be innocent! No way!

His [Michael's] father was George Lyman Paine, a leading Trotskyan of the West Coast. Michael Paine works for Bell Helicopter. That’s secret clearance! You don’t get that without a quid pro quo! He’s an agent! You know that immediately.

There’s no mystery here! It's all self-evident! It was a coup. It was designed to be a false mystery, and the debate would be eternal. And then to focus on why it was done—forgotten.

Salandria's dubious opinions on the Paines and the assassination are one thing and not that different from many of his conspiracy colleagues. But Salandria, who died in 2020, held other beliefs that are unique to say the least.

One example of these unusual beliefs is provided by Salandria's interpretation of events that occurred during an August 1965 road trip. According to an account he authored, Salandria traveled to Texas to interview the Paines. Accompanying him was Shirley Martin, another student of the assassination from Oklahoma. Salandria told Martin, who knew the Paines well, that it would be best if she did not inform them that he was coming along. Salandria notes that on the way Martin was pulled over by a "local" police officer for an unstated reason. The officer supposedly said "Ms. Martin, we see that you are on your way on a trip. Please drive carefully.”

Upon reaching Texas, Salandria and Martin first stopped in Dealey Plaza. Salandria was approached by a man wearing sandals who asked "How is Mark Lane?" After Salandria didn't answer the man gestured to the surrounding area and said "Do you know what this is?" Salandria responded "Dealey Plaza". “No, do you know what it is?” the man persisted. Salandria said he didn't. “This is a WPA project, a socialist project where a socialist president was killed" the man allegedly told Salandria. "The next time you write an article, mention that" he added. After delivering an anti-Semitic lecture on the holocaust, the man advised Salandria that he knew who he was and why he was in Dealey Plaza. Then, the mysterious man "slowly and calmly" walked away.

Upon arriving in Irving and being introduced to Michael Paine, he allegedly asked Salandria "Why are you working on the assassination? Why don’t you stick to your work in civil liberties and civil rights? "I wondered how he had learned about my work in civil liberties and civil rights" Salandria, who was an ACLU member, mused. He concluded that the Paines "had apparently been informed about my identity" before his visit to interview them.

On the way back from Dallas, Martin was again stopped by the police and this time was given a ticket for speeding even though she was "well within the speed limit" according to Salandria.

From Salandria's perspective, perhaps the most significant occurrence related to the trip came after he returned to Philadelphia. Salandria received a phone call from Spencer Coxe who was the local head of the ACLU and a good friend of Salandria's. Coxe told Salandria that he had been contacted by the National Office of the ACLU who wanted him to stop writing about the JFK case. Salandria immediately "resigned" both his ACLU membership and his friendship with Coxe.

What is most fascinating is Salandria's reaction to the events he had just experienced:

"Through this visit to the Paines I was grimly force-fed certain facts by the conspirators. They were informing me of their extensive power of surveillance. Rather than being secretive about their tracking me, they were informing me that they were so powerful that they were willing to have me know that they had instructed the Paines on how to toy with me. I was being advised that the Paines did not see themselves as having any need to conceal their foreknowledge of me. The killers were informing me that the Paines did not see that it was necessary for them to conceal from me their connections with the power that was tracking me. The conspirators were telling me that their operatives, the Paines, were absolutely and transparently loyal to them."

Having absorbed this, Salandria's reaction to the ACLU incident should not be surprising:

Michael Paine had informed me, although indirectly, that the assassins, to which he was transparently closely connected, were quite formidable. They were so powerful that they had prevailed upon the ACLU to seek to discourage me from writing about the Kennedy assassination.

But the ACLU complaining about Salandria's JFK writings sounds more like a matter of internal politics. In any case, it makes no sense that Salandria would not have questioned Coxe about this. Who exactly was this directive coming from? What specifically were the complaints? Yet none of these things are mentioned in Salandria's article nor does he provide any proof that Michael, who had no special position within the ACLU, was behind it.

Note that Michael Paine could have learned about Salandria's ACLU membership from the latter's January 1965 article in the monthly journal Liberation. The periodical reported on page 2 that "VINCENT J. SALANDRIA serves as legal consultant in the Philadelphia (Pennsylvania) area for the American Civil Liberties Union, Women Strike for Peace and SANE."

Additionally, Salandria had given a copy of the article to Martin who was "eagerly awaiting its arrival." This suggests that Martin could have provided the article to Michael Paine well before Salandria's admonition about not warning the Paines of his visit. Or the Paines, who are often described as "well read" and "students" of the assassination could have simply obtained the issue on their own. In any case, there is nothing ominous about Michael's knowledge of Salandria's ACLU membership.

Similarly, Dealey Plaza is a gathering place for kooks of all kinds and the fact that Salandria came across one is not surprising. Recently, QAnon members gathered there to await the return of JFK Jr. And getting caught in a speed trap during a road trip is not necessarily indicative of a warning from the deep state.

Salandria's general opinions about the JFK assassination are likewise unconventional as even Max Good admits. "For over fifty years," Good notes, "his analysis of the case has been considered to be the most cutting edge, or the most extreme, depending on your persuasion." According to his book, False Mystery, among other things Salandria believed:

  • The "silence of the Kennedys [rather than being a tacit agreement with the lone assassin theory] is plainly their mute acknowledgement that the assassination was perpetrated by our new rulers who possess awesome power which dwarfs the power of the Kennedy family."
  • [JFK advisor McGeorge Bundy was effectively telling LBJ] “Now, hear this! Oswald is the assassin, the sole assassin. Evidence is not available yet. Evidence will be obtained, or in lieu thereof evidence will be created. This is a crucial matter of state that cannot await evidence. The new rulers have spoken. You, there, Mr. New President, and therefore dispatchable stuff, and you the underlings of a deposed President, heed the message well.”
  • "[after the killing of JFK] Our cities have been turned into tense and neglected seas of metastasizing blight. Our economy, buffeted by push-and-pull war-induced inflation, has become unbalanced. Our international trade position has deteriorated, so that now we find ourselves with not only an unfavorable balance of payments, but also an unfavorable balance of trade. Our urban public schools are relegated to bare custodial functions. The standard of living of our workers and the middle class has dipped along with the quality of their lives."
  • The CIA is a "secret elitist police organization."
  • "The purpose for the transparent conspiracy to kill Kennedy, in my judgment, was to attain for the Eastern establishment, through the use of the intelligence community as its executive and executing arm, power over American politics and ultimately preeminent power over the minds of the American citizenry."

As Gary Aguilar noted in the film "If you’re a believer in America’s good faith, the integrity of its fundamental institutions, you're liable to try to filter your understanding of the Kennedy case and much else through that prism."

Salandria's documented beliefs demonstrate that the inverse is also true.

See also Fred Litwin's blog posts on Salandria:

Is Josiah Thompson a CIA Agent?

Is Josiah Thompson a CIA agent? Part Two


  1. When you are studying the assassination, ask yourself only: What are the facts and what is the truth that facts bear out? Never let yourself be diverted either by what you wish to believe or by what you think could have beneficial social effects if it were believed. But look only and solely at "What are the facts!" - Watch this video, the facts are described. Conspiracy means only one thing. This was a political assassination and Oswald had to be placed at the TSBD.

    1. You seem to have contradicted your warning about not getting diverted by what you wish by writing that "Oswald *had* to be placed at the TSBD." Had to be? If you start with that insistence you then, consciously or not, reverse engineer matters to find evidence for that act of placement.
      So the coffee meeting between Ruth Paine and Marina and Linnie Mae Randle is where this act began. It was in that meeting where the job *possibility* was mentioned. Again: possibility. Oswald still had to get the job. Go to the interview. Make a good impression. Accept the job. Keep the job until 11/22. And further down the line, JFK's visit had to follow through. He had to not change plans; the parade route had to go through Dealey Plaza. Et cetera, et cetera.
      So your insistence that he had to be placed there mean that wasn't an innocent coffee klatch; no, it was where the plot began. Began. Because as I said, lot of other acts had to follow. Who controlled all of that? Sorry, it's not there for me.


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