[ Main Site Menu ] [ Back to JFK Menu ] [ Index to Site Documents ]

A League of Their Own:
A Look Inside the Christian Defense League

D. Boylan*

[Updated 2004]
The United States during the 1950s experienced an unparalleled growth of extremist organizations from the John Birch Society on the right to the Fair Play for Cuba Committee on the left.  The heating up of the Cold War, the Supreme Court's decision to end segregation in 1954, and the establishment of a Communist Cuba in 1959 spurred this growth.  One of the lesser known but more influential right wing fringe organizations that were formed during this period was the Christian Defense League (CDL).  The CDL managed to meld anti-communism, anti-Semitism, anti-Castro activities, and a hatred of the "liberal" policies of the Kennedy Administration into a cohesive whole.  It is in this context that the CDL will be examined.
    The driving forces behind the rise of the CDL were Reverend Wesley A. Swift and Colonel William Potter Gale.  It seemed inevitable that they would gravitate toward each other. Their religious beliefs were similar:  both were adherents of what is now called Christian Identity, an updated version of the earlier British Israelite Movement that originated in the late nineteenth century.  Christian Identity adherents believe that those of Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, Nordic, or Aryan origin were the true Israelites, "the sons of Adam", and that those of Jewish origin were "the sons of Satan." 
    The origin of the Christian Defense League is clouded.  Some accounts credit its founding to the Reverend Swift, while Colonel Gale gives credit to Reverend San Jacinto Capt.  Capt, a Baptist minister, was one of the early pioneers in the Identity Movement.  Gale says "the idea of the Christian Defense League was entirely that of Reverend San Jacinto Capt. He proposed it to me [Col. Gale] who prepared the initial material in the form of a letter entitled, "The NAACP represents the negro; the ADL represents the Jews; who represents YOU — the white Christian?"
    Gale, again speaking in the third person, claims, "...others were brought to Dr. Swift's [Identity Churches] by Colonel Gale, it was decided that the time was appropriate for reactivation of the Christian Defense League [CDL], which had been in ‘limbo' these past years."  In early 1964, the CDL was officially incorporated with Richard G. Butler as President; attorney Bertrand L. Comparet, Vice President; Steve Foote, Western Regional Director; and Rear Admiral, USN (Ret) John G. Crommelin, Eastern Regional Director.
    Swift began as a "Ku Klux Klan organizer and Klan rifle-team instructor."  In 1946, Swift formed the Church of Jesus Christ-Christian whose fundamental ideology was that Jesus Christ was not Jewish but Christian and that "pure blooded whites are the lost children of Israel."  By 1953, Swift had become Reverend Gerald L. K. Smith's West Coast representative of the Christian Nationalist Crusade.  Smith, a former member of William Pelley's Silver Shirts and friend of Henry Ford, was a "godfather" to many on the far right.  By the early 1960s, Swift's string of "Identity" churches spread throughout California.
    In contrast to the somewhat uneducated Swift was the more impressive William Potter Gale.  Under General MacArthur, Gale became the youngest Lt. Col. in the U. S. Army, where he trained Filipino guerrillas to fight the Japanese.  After retiring from the Army in June of 1950, Gale, like many retired military officers, found employment in the aircraft industry, specifically Hughes Aircraft.  This became what he described as his "Jekyll and Hyde" period; leading the Hollywood life by entertaining actors and singers, but hiding his growing involvement in the Identity movement.  At this same time, he became a member of the Republican Party and later the Constitution Party.  He ran for Governor of California on the Constitution Party ticket in 1958 and 1966, and the Republican ticket in 1962.
    Gale's association with Wesley Swift came about through San Jacinto Capt. Capt, a former Klansman like Swift, introduced Swift to Gale after a meeting in Los Angeles in the early 1960s.  Gale in turn introduced Richard Butler to Swift initiating their long-term relationship.  Butler is the founder and current leader of Aryans Nations.
    William Gale managed to land the CDL a financial "angel" in the person of James Oviatt.  Oviatt, owner of Oviatt Clothiers, donated money and office space at 617 S. Olive St. in Los Angeles for the CDL headquarters.  It was Gale's success that eventually brought about the demise of the CDL.  Swift claimed that the financial success of the CDL was hurting his church offerings.  Gale and Capt agreed to take a backseat to Butler, Comparet, Crommelin and Foote in order to avoid a conflict with Swift.
    The Reverend Oren Potito represented Swift's church on the East Coast.  Potito, a one-time organizer for the National States Rights Party (NSRP), was the 1962 campaign manager for Admiral John Crommelin.  Potito and Gale joined with other members of the NSRP in journeying to Oxford, Mississippi to protest against the enrollment of James Meredith.  Potito was arrested for possession of firearms that were found in the trunk of his car.
        One of Swift and Gale's more notorious associates was Charles Conley "Connie" Lynch.  Lynch was simultaneously a minister in the Church of Jesus Christ-Christian, state organizer for the NSRP, a member of the Minutemen, and a member of the CDL.  He became one of Swift's first ministers after he left the church of the General Assembly of Jesus Christ where he cut his teeth as a self-taught minister.  Lynch became politically active during the early 1960s when he became the California State organizer for the NSRP (1962) and a member of the CDL in fall of 1963.  The FBI considered him sufficiently dangerous to conduct an investigation to determine his whereabouts on November 22, 1963. It was determined that Lynch was in "Jacksonville, Florida, speaking at Ku Klux Klan rallies during the last two months."  His extremism became too much for even the NSRP. Dr. Edward Fields, NSRP information director said, "He raised more money than any other man we had.  But he was too extreme.  He scared away the more substantial elements of the community."
    Lynch's notoriety reached its peak in June of 1964 when he joined local Klansmen and NSRP leader J. B. Stoner in what has been termed St. Augustine's [Fla.] worst racial violence in a century.  Lynch was arrested the following month along with J. B. Stoner, Barton Griffin, Bill Coleman, and Jacksonville Klan leader Paul Cochran for illegal cross burning. Stoner later became James Earl Ray's attorney. He was also a suspect in the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King and was investigated by the House Select Committee on Assassinations.
    The paramilitary side of the CDL/CJCC was the California Rangers, sometimes referred to as the U.S. Rangers.  Formed in 1959 by William Gale, it never grew as large as its better-known cousin, the Minutemen.  Robert DePugh, founder of the Minutemen, knew William Gale and structured his organization after Gale's Rangers.  The purpose of the Rangers was to build an underground network to conduct guerrilla warfare.  Gale's recruiting efforts were directed toward former military servicemen.  He transferred his American Legion membership to the Signal Hill post where he and George King, Jr., also a member of the CDL, converted the post into a front for the Rangers.
    Much like their Minutemen cousins, the CDL believed in hoarding a large supply of arms and weaponry. A police raid on William Garland's house in Cucamonga, California turned up eight machine guns, and one hundred rifles, shotguns and pistols. When they searched his barn they found an ammunition dump for heavy caliber rockets, bombs, and thousands of rounds of ammunition.
    The first indication that the Swift/Gale complex was interested in more than preaching religion came from George Harding in April 1963 when he informed the FBI that he was being recruited to become part of an eight man team to assassinate three hundred public officials in high positions of government.  According to WCD 39 and WCD 1107 "Harding claimed that the leaders in the group were Dr. Wesley Swift, James Shoup and others.... The second in command was a Colonel William Gale...who was supposed to have been the youngest intelligence officer under MCARTHUR (sic)."
    A related incident also occurred that April. Los Angeles physician Dr. Stanley Drennan approached Captain Robert K. Brown, who was also involved in anti-Castro activities during this period, stated that "while at Drennan's home, Drennan stated in general conversation that he could not do it, but what the organization needed was a group of young men to get rid of Kennedy and the Cabinet…Brown stated that he considered the remark crackpot; however …he gained the impression that Drennan had been propositioning him on this matter.  Drennan, a member of the National States Rights Party and associate of William Gale." Drennan complained in a letter to Dean Clarence Manion, a prominent member of the John Birch Society, that on June 10, 1963 two Secret Service agents visited two of his friends at 7:30 am to inquire about his "patriotism, integrity, dependability, and emotional and mental stability. These people were twenty miles East of my dwelling while I was only two miles from where the President was riding in an open convertible sitting high on the back of the seat."
    The Secret Service and FBI generated another report in August 1963 by the arrest of Gale's associate George King, Jr.  King was overheard discussing the possibility of assassinating the president and was later arrested that month for the sale of illegal firearms.  A later FBI field report, CO2-26104  #6419, stated "King is extreme right wing, hates Jews, was arrested by ATF O'Neil for illegal possession of firearms.  Emotionally unstable.  Arrested 2-29-68 again.  This time for CCU, John Bircher, Christian Def. League (sic), Am Nazi Party, Christian Defense League."
    There was yet another pre-assassination report (November 15, 1963) of a plot to assassinate "the President and other high-level officials" by a "militant group of the National States Rights Party."  The FBI dismissed the report because they felt the subject was trying to make a deal because of pending criminal charges. This was not the well-documented November 9, 1963 report of Joseph A. Milteer's accurate prediction that Kennedy would be shot  "from an office building with a high powered rifle."  Milteer was also a member of the NSRP and ran for governor of Georgia on the Constitution Party ticket the same year that William Gale switched from the Constitution Party to the Republican Party to run for governor of California.
    Evidence suggests that Gale and Milteer were acquainted.  Both attended the gathering of the Constitution Party in Indianapolis, Indiana during October 18-20, 1963. Also in attendance were notable right wing extremists General Pedro Del Valle, Curtis Dall of the Liberty Lobby, Colonel Arch Roberts who was the architect of General Edwin Walker's "Pro Blue" program in the military, Richard Cotten, editor of The Conservative Viewpoint, Jack Brown, Klan leader James Venable, and Kenneth Goff, Constitution Party Committee member and leader of the paramilitary group Soldiers of the Cross, a Minutemen affiliate. Goff wrote an article for The White Sentinel, that Oswald "called me, before a meeting in a Dallas hotel about a year ago (December 1962) he poured out his pro-Communist venom….His Red record was no secret to those fighting Communism in the Texas area."
    In a document that the FBI sent to the Miami Police Department titled Re: CONSTITUTIONAL AMERICAN PARTIES OF THE UNITED STATES, an unnamed source stated that Milteer had been to the West Coast where he was in contact [name redacted] believed to be in the vicinity of Los Angeles. Milteer stated that the meeting was very profitable. The source then went on to describe a speech given by William Gale on December 22, 1963 where Gale says, "I know some of you out there are FBI Agents, so get out your pads and make notes so that I'll not be misquoted."
     Another incident where Gale and Milteer's paths may have crossed was the now infamous Birmingham church bombing where four young African-American girls where killed. According to the House Select Committee on Assassinations Final Report (p. 377):
    Information from a Mobile, Ala., FBI report indicated an informant had told the Bureau that Sidney Barnes and several others had gone to Birmingham, Ala., in the fall of 1963 to kill Dr. King. The FBI also learned that a secret meeting had been held in Birmingham before the September 15, 1963, bombing of a Birmingham church that left four young Black girls dead. Barnes, William Potter Gale, Noah Jefferson Carden and John C. Crommelin attended this meeting. The FBI had attempted to determine the whereabouts of the participants in the 1963 Birmingham meeting during the week following Dr. King's assassination. The Bureau files reflected that the FBI ended its investigation of Barnes after it found no indication he was away from his home before or after the assassination.
     An FBI report out of Miami said that Gale and Governor George Wallace had a close relationship and that "Gale is responsible for the church bombing in Birmingham on September 15, 1963."  Circuit Judge Seymour Gelber, former assistant to Florida State Attorney Richard Gerstein, diary reveals that "before they parted, Milteer confided to Somersett he was certain that Dixie Klan Imperial Wizard Jack Brown either placed the bomb, or engineered the act, which caused the death of four children in the Birmingham church bombing." The FBI later determined that Jack Brown was in Tennessee when the church was bombed.
    The Miami FBI office reported that an informant furnished information on October 27, 1963 that Gale "is on the east Coast in the Southern part, exact location not given on important business." A report filed by the Miami police department's intelligence unit stated "On Monday 28 October 1963, I contacted informant known to us as "88" (William Somersett), and information obtained from him is as follows: "88" attended a CONSTITUTIONAL PARTY OF AMERICA in Indianapolis, Indiana, last week.  While there at this convention he met numerous persons known to this office as extremists and troublemakers.  Information obtained by "88" is that KENNETH GULF [sic] Goff, and COLONEL GALE are coming to Florida in an attempt to stir up the people down here; probably on the lower east coast.  His information is that they want to train and recruit men for physical action. This is going to be a "Hate Campaign" according to "88".
    Another FBI airtel dated November 18, 1963 "Miami advised that on November 17, 1963 [deleted] (Racial) had been advised by [deleted] the whereabouts of GALE, but indicated that GALE is ‘working underground', and that he was not in position to disclose GALE's whereabouts."  An FBI informant wrote Jim Garrison on May 10, 1968 that in 1963, three top members went to Montgomery, Alabama where one of them met George Wallace. Another wanted to meet with the top four groups of the Ku Klux Klan to unite them through the membership of the CDL. FBI informant Willie Somersett provided additional evidence of this meeting. He again met with Joseph Milteer on February 17, 1964. Milteer described a secret meeting in Alabama prior to September 15, 1963 where discussions where made about "getting things done." Milteer told Somersett that he agreed with the plan to bomb the church but did not participate. Milteer further stated that [Swift and Gale] are moving fast in California. He stated, "they have formed a group known as the Christian Defense League with the main purpose of raising funds for the use of Patriots."
    The Garrison investigation also produced a wealth of information about the same California anti-JFK crowd.  Gerry Patrick Hemming, who got to know many of these people in his efforts to fight Castro in the 1960s, stopped by Garrison's office on July 7, 1967.  He gave Garrison a list of names "as being of possible interest to [Garrison's] investigation."  The first was Dennis Harber "who was connected to both [Loran] Hall and [Lawrence] Howard in Miami in an attempt to blow up ships in Vera Cruz.  Apparently a ‘Mexican Minuteman', tutor to someone, a homosexual, and recently visited Nebraska."  The second was Colonel Gale.  Described as "active in the local Minutemen army in Southern California.  Has offices in downtown Los Angeles.  Friendly with General Walker and Lincoln Rockwell and stayed at Walker's house in July 1963.  Patrick mentioned a Eugene Lyons in connection with Colonel Gale, and that one BOB WELLS is also associated with Gale."  Rockwell, the founder of the American Nazi Party, was assassinated in 1967 by former party member John Patler.  Longtime researcher Mary Ferrell noted that Rockwell's name and address is contained in Lee Harvey Oswald's address book.  Eugene Lyons was a member of the American Committee to Free Cuba  (ACFC) and a member of the Citizens Committee to Free Cuba.
     There was an overlap in membership between the CDL and the ACFC.  Steven Foote, Western Regional Director of the CDL, was a board member of the ACFC.  Curiously enough, so was Dr. John Lechner.  Lechner, Executive Director of the Americanism Educational League, a political arm of the California American Legion, is listed in Richard Case Nagell's notebook.  Lechner and Burt Mold met with Cuban exiles Cesar Blanco and Paulino Sierra in Chicago during the month of February 1963 to discuss writing a document on uniting the different Cuban exile factions. Sierra did more than write a document. Mold and Lechner were the founders of a subcommittee of the Americanism Educational League called Americans for Cuban Freedom formed in 1961 after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion. Noted members were the previously mentioned Steve Foote, Guy Gabaldon, associate of Hall and Howard, Dr. Tirse Del Junco and W. Cleon Skousen.
    Also of interest to Garrison was G. Clinton Wheat of Los Angeles.  Wheat has been identified as an ex-Klansman that hosted meetings at his house of the Church of Jesus Christ-Christian, the Christian Defense League and the American Nazi Party.  An FBI informant described the speakers at Wheat's house as giving "classic examples of the hate-mongers sermons."  He also goes on to describe William Gale as saying, "...I can show you top-secret documents that prove that the six million Jews Hitler was supposed to kill are right here in America...." Garrison had information that in September of 1963, Wheat had meetings at his house where discussions were held on assassinating the President, and according to a former neighbor, traveled to Dallas that same fall (1963) in a hurry after borrowing four hundred dollars from him.  Lawrence Howard further identified Wheat's house at Lafayette Terrace in Los Angeles as a place "where paramilitary organizations held meetings and prepared ammunition."  Wheat disappeared shortly after Garrison attempted to have him subpoenaed, reportedly on orders "from headquarters." [Gale?]  He was reported to be hiding out at Fred Lee Crisman's ranch in Oregon before moving to Burney, California from where he disappeared altogether.
    Crisman is another intriguing character that became a subject of interest by both Jim Garrison and the House Select Committee on Assassinations.  He first came to Garrison's attention after an anonymous letter was sent from Orlando, Florida linking him to Clay Shaw, Sergio Arcacha Smith, and Thomas Beckham.  The anonymous writer further tried to implicate Crisman as a courier of funds between certain individuals and "Cuban factions" imploring Garrison to place him under a lie detector and ask him "certain questions."
    There was enough information on Crisman that the House Select Committee on Assassinations made him a subject of their investigation.  The Committee sent investigators Robert Buras and L. J. Delsa to Jackson, Mississippi to question Thomas Beckham about his association with the now deceased Fred Crisman on October 9, 1977.  Beckham had quite an interesting tale to tell.  He claimed that Crisman belonged to a group called "The Organization" and that it had connections all over the country.  Beckham credited Crisman's connections to "The Organization" in helping locate Beckham in Lincoln, Nebraska where he "took off after the assassination of the President."  Crisman suggested that he relocate to Omaha where Garrison couldn't reach him.   This may be the reason for Dennis Harber's "recent visit to Nebraska" as previously noted by Gerry Hemming during his July 7, 1967 visit to Garrison.
    Two other figures that were heavily investigated by the Warren Commission, District Attorney James Garrison and the HSCA also had ties to Wheat, Gale, Swift, and Butler.  They are the previously mentioned Loran Hall and Lawrence Howard.  Howard told Steve Burton, investigator for Garrison, that Richard Butler introduced him and Steven Justin Wilson to Gale and Swift after a meeting in which Wesley Swift spoke.  Butler also introduced Howard to Hall in the spring of 1963.  This was possibly the "talk" that Hall referred to during an interview with Bill Triplett of the HSCA.  Jose Norman, another board member of the American Committee to Free Cuba and member of the John Birch Society's Speaker's Bureau, brought Howard and his wife Rose to a doctor's house in Whittier, California to hear Hall give one of his fund raising speeches. Norman also admitted to being a guest at Clint Wheat's house.
    It was at Clint Wheat's house that Hall, Howard, and "Juarito" a.k.a. Celio Castro Alba, picked up a trailer of weapons and a large supply of medical supplies to bring to Miami for anti-Castro activities. According to Howard the weapons consisted of a ". 30 caliber, there was a scope weapon,  and there was M-1s, standard M-1 Girands an M-14, modified, strictly semi..." Some of these weapons were supplied by Ergiaga Arms Company owned by Juan Ergiaga, the former top arms ordinance man for Fidel Castro.  The trailer carrying these weapons was left at Lester Logue's house in Dallas on October 10, 1963.  Logue, an oil geologist, was a friend of Hall's. Hall admitted that it was in Logue's office that he was offered fifty thousand dollars to assassinate JFK but he declined. He added that Lester Logue had nothing to do with the offer and left the room after the offer was made.
    This was not the only offer made to assassinate Kennedy or Fidel Castro by "Lester Logue's people." Gerry Hemming and Howard Davis, who were in Dallas at the Texas Club to raise funds for anti-Castro activities, were approached to assassinate Kennedy after initial discussions on the feasibility to assassinate Fidel Castro. Hemming was asked " Why go to Havana when the whole thing could be resolved by going to Washington?"  After Hemming and Davis declined, "a group from that same origin" traveled from Dallas to Miami where they met with Tony Cuesta and made the same proposal to Cuesta and Alpha 66.
    Hall and William Seymour traveled from Miami the following week to retrieve the trailer of weapons and medical supplies.  It was on this return trip that Hall and Seymour were arrested for drug possession — a bottle of Dexedrine.  While in custody, Hall was questioned by an FBI agent whom he identified as "Hostel or something", a Military Intelligence agent, and a "CIA guy." The "CIA guy" was probably ATF Agent Frank Ellsworth who was working closely with FBI agent James Hosty and Military Intelligence agent Ed Coyle on a gun smuggling case. He claimed that the MI Agent attempted to recruit him. Hall remained in jail for two days before being released.  Hall had called Dr. Robert Morris who in turn called Lester Logue.  Logue secured an attorney for Hall.
    A close look at Hall and Howard's associates explains why the various investigations took such an interest in them.  Hall testified to receiving money from Mafioso Sam Giancana ($20,000 - 30,000), went on a mission with ex-CIA paramilitarist William "Rip" Robertson, just missed going on the now infamous Bayo-Pawley raid on Cuba, went with Rip Robertson to John Martino's house in Miami, visited General Edwin Walker with Gerry Hemming, admitted to having heard of Lee Oswald in June of 1963 and testified that he was offered $50,000 to kill Kennedy but that he declined the offer.
    Howard's associations are just as interesting as Hall's.  Howard was second in command to Gerry Hemming at No Name Key before assuming full command with William Seymour as his second. Howard, Seymour and friends, along with fifty of Rolando Masferrer's men from New York spent the summer of 1963 preparing to overthrow "Papa Doc" Duvalier in Haiti in the hope that they could establish a base close to Cuba for anti-Castro operations.
    Howard's connections were wide reaching.  Some of the people that he claimed to know and who's names appeared in his address book were: Pedro Diaz Lanz; Frank Fiorini [Sturgis] of Watergate fame; Frank Fernandez of Dallas; oilman Lester Logue; Clint Wheat; William Gale; Larry Laborde; Enrique Molina Rivera who Hemming and Howard claimed was a Castro agent; Alexander Rorke, who disappeared along with Geoffrey Sullivan in Rorke's airplane September 25, 1963; Richard Butler; former Batista official Rolando Masferrer Rojas and his brother Kiki; Captain Robert K. Brown, Dr. Grennan [Dr. Stanley Drennan]; Eddie Field, "right winger" was also a  friend of John Lechner; Roy Hargraves; Nico Crespi; Dr. Robert Morris whom he was very reluctant to admit knowing; Cuban exile leader Tony Varona who thought Howard was double-crossing him because of Howard's relationship with former Batista henchman Rolando Masferrer; Renee Valdez, Los Angeles representative of the Cuban exile group Alpha 66; and Edgar Eugene Bradley whom he described as "a man who believed in action."  Bradley was described by Carol Aydlotte as an associate of Col. William Gale and that she was certain that she saw him at Clint Wheat's house with Loran Hall and Gordon Novel.  Peter Noyes suggests in his book Legacy of Doubt that she may have had an ulterior motive in linking Bradley to Gale although Bradley admitted that he once gave a speech at Clint Wheat's house.
    In October of 1963, Gale and Swift presided over a meeting of the Christian Knights of the Invisible Empire in which thirty-eight members were inducted into the Klan.  The CKIE was the "Third Front" in a four front structure. The "First Front" was the Church of Jesus Christ, Christian.  Faithful members of the CJCC were recruited for the "Second Front" was the AWAKE movement.  The more militant members were then recruited in to the "Third Front" which was the Christian Knights of the Invisible Empire "which will have the outward impression of a political-religious group not interested in violence." It was from this group that the most militant members were recruited for the "Inner Den."  These recruits were the ones that committed acts of violence.  Gale stated that "leaders in our country might have to be eliminated to further the goals of the CKIE" and that "God will take care of those who must be eliminated."
    Swift and Gale soon struggled for control of the organization.  It came to a head on December 26, 1963 when they had a "violent argument and decided to split."  Gale was left in charge of the Christian Knights and Swift assumed leadership of the Christian Defense League until it went inactive again. Gale told his biographer Cheri Seymour a conflicting account of the split. He claimed that Swift "took some money from some widows...two elderly ladies.  That's the official version.  Nothing to do with the Church." 
    After the split, Gale put all his efforts into his ministry.  He began publishing a magazine called "Racial and National Identity" in 1965, at the request of "a bunch of military officers...Colonel Ben Von Stahl, Admiral Crommelin and General Pedro del Valle."  He continued to be active in the Identity Movement by forming his own group called the Ministry of Christ Church.  In 1969-70, he joined forces with former Silver Shirt Henry Beach to launch the Posse Commitatus movement.  Colonel Gale died in April 1988 of complications brought about by emphysema.
    Wesley Swift died in 1970, leaving Richard G. Butler to lead the Church of Jesus Christ-Christian.  Butler moved the headquarters to Hayden Lake, Idaho and renamed the organization to Aryan Nations-Church of Jesus Christ, Christian.  Butler, although now in his early eighties, is still a leading figure in the Identity Movement.
    James K. Warner reformed the Christian Defense League in the early 1977.  Warner is a former member of Rockwell's American Nazi Party, the National States Rights Party, Sons of Liberty, and current publisher of Christian Vanguard.  He moved from California to Metarie, Louisiana in the middle 1970s after he met David Duke who was then a member of the Klan.  Duke became an unsuccessful presidential candidate in 1988.  In 1983, Dr. John Coleman joined the CDL as its "intelligence expert."  Coleman produced a series of audiotapes on the "secrets of the Kennedy assassination."  The CDL is no longer the force it was in the early 1960s, although its influence can still be seen in today's extreme right wing movement in both its "Identity" teachings and the continued formation of small paramilitary groups and militias.

[1] Gale, “Children of God vs. Children of Satan,” in Identity, June 1973, p. 3.

[1]Michael and Judy Newton, The Ku Klux Klan  (New York: Garland Publications,. c1991), p. 109.

[1] Author? , “A Reply to the National Chronicle,” in Identity, November 1975, p. 5

[1] Cheri Seymour, Committee of the States: Inside the Radical Right (Mariposa, CA: Camden Communications 1991) 87.  Most of Gale’s history has been derived from this book.

[1] Identity, p. 3.

[1] Ibid.

[1] Foote was the California State Chairman of the American Legion and a friend of Dr. John Lechner.

[1] Shasta County Chronicle, 13, no. 10, April 9, 1964. This paper would soon change its name to the National Chronicle. The editor, Hal Hunt, followed Richard Butler up to Hayden Lake, Idaho where it continued publication.

[1] William Turner, Power on the Right (Ramparts Press. Berkeley CA. 1971), p 100.

[1] Newton, p. 113.

[1] Newton,  p. 167.


[1] Oviatt attempted to sue the Anti-Defamation League for $10 million in January 1966. Oviatt’s attorney was Senator Jack Tenney. Richard Cotten’s Conservative Viewpoint, February 10, 1966 p. 2.

[1] Turner, p. 101

[1] Seymour, p. 68.

[1] WCD 1107. According to WCD 42, the information on Lynch’s whereabouts was furnished by Gene Fallow, officer of the Ku Klux Klan, Oceanway, Florida. Documents courtesy of Larry Haapanen.

[1]Trevor Armbrister,  “Portrait of an Extremist,” in Saturday Evening Post, August 22, 1964

[1] See Jerry Rose’s article on Stoner, The Fourth Decade, 3,  no.1, November 1995, p. 26.

[1] Armbrister,  “Portrait of an Extremist”,

[1] John George and Laird Wilcox, Nazis, Communists, Klansmen and Others on the Fringe (Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Book, 1992).

[1] Thomas C. Lynch, 1965 California Attorney General’s Report on Private Armies in California.

[1] George Thayer, The Farther Shore of Politics (Simon and Schuster, New York, 1967) p. 145.

[1] Letter from Drennan to Clarence Manion dated July 20, 1963.

[1] This is extracted from RIF 180-10118-10033. This document courtesy of Joe Backes.

[1] Warren Commission Document 762

[1] FBI informant Willie Somersett told the Miami police on November 26, 1963 that “I am satisfied that this man beyond doubt knew that this was going to happen, and from the impression that I got from him this conspiracy originated in New Orleans, probably some in Miami, and different parts of the Country, probably in

 California. And I am pretty sure California had a lot to do with it, because he mentioned Dr. Swift very often, in his conversations, what a great man he was and that he had already predicted that Kennedy would be killed, before he got out of office.  So, that is about the story as to the important information that I got from him.

[1] Gale’s name and address were found in Milteer’s home after Milteer died.

[1] This list was from William Holden’s fine article in the November 1996 issue of The Fourth Decade, “New Evidence Regarding Oswald’s Activities in Clinton, Louisiana”. I often refer to this group as “The National Chronicle crowd.” Most of them have appeared in the paper as either authors or subjects of articles. Other regular authors during the 1960’s were Wesley Swift, Edwin Walker, Gerald Smith, Korean Kilsoo Han of the anti-communist underground and friend of John Lechner, Reverend Oren Potito, James K. Warner, H.S. Riecke leader of a “Minutemen” affiliate called the Paul Revere Associated Yeoman, AKA P.R.A.Y., and editor Hal Hunt.

[1] Goff appeared with John Martino as guest speakers for the kickoff of Robert DePugh’s Patriotic Party on July 4, 1966. DePugh was the founder of the paramilitary Minutemen.

[1] The White Sentinel. December 1963. Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

[1] FBI document, undated.

[1] Interoffice memo from Kay to Sapp dated October 29, 1963. “88” was Somersett.

[1] LA 157-571 cover page.  This was also a request by the Secret Service to the FBI to grant permission to interview Gale. This document was acquired by Dr. Jeffrey Caufield FOIA request 906722. 

[1] Letter from Chester Warman to Garrison.

[1] FBI files MM 157-896 and MM 157-918

[1] Dennis Lynn Harber had a boat, identified as a “two man sub”, confiscated by the Coast Guard in October 1963. This boat was to be used for anti-Castro operations and was owned by Paulino Sierra.

[1] Tom Dunkin in his June 4, 1967 letter to Richard Billings said “Harber, who has a Columbia University Master's degree in Education, also had a bit of an educational experience in Colombia, where he was employed as a private tutor for about a year for the family of ex-Presidente Gustavo Rojas Pinilla.  Harber also says he has lived at various times for several months duration, in the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Mexico.”

[1] Richard Cotten described Wells as “the pastor of the marvelous church in Anaheim which just happens to be near Knotts Berry Farm…. Reverend Wells’ church is the church where Dr. McIntire and Dr. Hargis and Major Bundy and all of those other fine men speak whenever they are in the area.” Wells formed his own “league” - the Christian Anti-Defamation League. Richard Cotten’s Conservative Viewpoint, February 10, 1966 p. 2.

[1] HSCA 002176, RIF 180-10105-10097.

[1] Dick Russell, The Man Who Knew Too Much. (Carroll and Graf Publishers, Inc. 1992) Nagell claimed that he was sent by U.S. intelligence to infiltrate a “domestically formulated” plot to assassinate JFK.

[1] Edward Edell, An American with Guts (Los Angeles:  Coleman-Holmquist Press, 1961). This was a biography of Lechner.

[1] Letter from Warman to Garrison, May 10, 1968. This document was obtained from the AARC.

[1] FBI 124-10178-10206, Agency File Number 89-75-907.

[1] HSCA RIF 180-10085-10197. Interview of Howard by Garrison investigator Steve Burton.

[1] Edd Jeffords to James Alcock. July 18, 1968, (AARC).

[1] Klamath Falls Herald and News, May 5, 1968. The article describes Wheat as a “former Klamath County resident wanted for questioning by New Orleans authorities in connection with alleged Kennedy assassination probes, failed to show for a Shasta County, California Superior Court hearing this morning.... Wheat was last seen in Klamath County when he moved from a residence in Poe Valley May 6. The building burned to the ground that night.” Coincidentally, when the FBI questioned Harold Doyle, one of the newly identified “tramps,” he was found in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Crisman became a subject of investigation by Garrison in his probe. Crisman’s name and address appeared in Clay Shaw’s address book. Shaw was tried by Garrison and subsequently found not guilty.

[1] Letter from Orlando, Fla to Garrison. This document was acquired from the AARC.

[1] Beckham interview by Delsa and Buras. HSCA 014888. RIF 180-10121-10016. Dated October 9, 1977.

[1]Memo from Burton to Garrison, May 8, 1968.

[1] HSCA 006058. RIF 180-10085-10191.

[1] HSCA 006058. RIF 180-10085-10194. These are notes from an interview on August 20, 1977 with Loran Hall.

[1] His revelation was in response to a reporter’s question during the question and answer period after Norman’s presentation in Klamath Falls, Oregon.

[1] According to Harry Dean, Hall and Howard were given the medical supplies by Harry from Guy Gabaldon’s supply.  Dean is a former Minuteman that was active in Southern California. (Email from Harry Dean August 8, 2001.)

[1] This was Gerry Hemming’s rifle that was hocked by Hemming and taken out of hock by Hall. The check was issued by the American Committee to Free Cuba.  The check was supplied by Jose Norman. Norman wanted to go with Hall, Howard and Celio Castro Alba on a raid to Cuba but his speaking schedule precluded him from doing so. For a complete account of the rifle saga see Hathcock’s interview: HSCA 001041 RIF 180-10086-10375.

[1] Howard Interview by Garrison. HSCA 008269 (pt. 9) RIF 180-10076-10015. This was copied by Anna-Marie Kuhns-Walko at the National Archives, June 1994.

[1] Hall interview by Harold Weisberg. Acquired from the AARC.

[1] Deposition of Gerald Hemming taken 3/21/78 by William Triplett of the HSCA. RIF 180-10086-10250.

[1] Morris is the former Chief Counsel for the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, lawyer for General Edwin Walker, and the force behind Larrie Schmidt’s attempt to take over Young Americans for Freedom and General Edwin Walker’s organization. Morris would later join forces with friends Julien Sourwine and Otto Otepka in an organization called “The National Committee to Restore Internal Security.”

[1] HSCA 014660. RIF 180-10117-10026, p. 97. This was Hall’s HSCA testimony.

[1] This was a disguised attempt to assassinate Fidel Castro. The original plan was sold to the CIA as an extraction of two Russian defectors that had knowledge of missiles in Cuba.

[1] Ibid.

[1] HSCA 8269 (pt. 9) RIF 180-10076-10015.

[1] Brown is the founder of Paladin Press and Soldier of Fortune magazine.

[1] CDL Vice President Bertrand Comparet represented Dr. Stanley Drennan in his efforts to fight Garrison’s extradition efforts. The judge ruled in favor of Drennan.

[1] HSCA 006058 RIF 180-10085-10197

[1] Memo from Boxley to Garrison, March 19, 1968. Aydlotte had a falling out with Bradley after he allegedly got her kicked out of the John Birch Society. This may have been her way of getting back at him. For a full description of this incident, see Peter Noyes’ Legacy of Doubt. The memo covers quite a few interesting subjects. Aydlotte claims that her mother heard Bradley propose the use of the storm drain system as a location for the prospective assassination of JFK.  A Reverend Brice, acquaintance of Bradley, told Garrison investigators that Bradley was supposed to meet with Ned Touchstone in Louisiana before proceeding to Dallas. Touchstone was the editor of The Councilor, a White Citizen’s Council newsletter based in Louisiana.

[1] AWAKE was the Army of White American Kingdom Evangelists. According to FBI 157-282-8, AWAKE was disbanded in early 1964 along with the Christian Knights of the Invisible Empire.

[1] FBI report LA 157-571.

[1] The split seemed to include Gale, Edgar Eugene Bradley, and Dr. Stanley Drennan as one faction and Swift, Butler and Mower as the other. William Turner also noted this in Power on the Right.

[1] Gale claimed that he was the originator of the term Identity. In fact, Rev. John Lovell of Dallas, Texas, another member of the British Israelite Movement, used this term in the February 1957 newsletter of Kingdom Digest.

[1] Newton, p. 220.

End of Page

Copyright 1998-2014 Cuban Information Archives. All Rights Reserved.