The Tin Whistle

counterculture history, conspiracy theory & reviews

The Three Tramps

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Thanks to Lee Bowers, an alert railroad employee with an unobstructed view of Dealey Plaza during the JFK assassination, three men fleeing the scene and hiding in a boxcar in the train yards were picked up and escorted to the nearest police facility, where they were apparently released without being photographed or fingerprinted, an unexplained oversight that should have raised numerous red flags immediately. Bowers would later testify that he heard three shots, one coming from the grassy knoll and two from the mouth of the triple underpass. Bowers died a few years later, before public awareness of the three suspicious men emerged. The men are not mentioned anywhere in the Warren Commission Report, although seven pictures were taken of them by three different photographers.

Anyone with knowledge of law enforcement procedures recognizes something is amiss with these policemen, who seem little interested in the men they are escorting, one of whom carries a large paper sack, and all of whom must be considered suspects in just having murdered the President of the United States. Although wearing Dallas Police uniforms, no member of the Dallas Police would ever be able to identify either of them.

This shot clearly shows the three faces of the “Tramps.” Notice the woman in the background holds her hand over her mouth. Apparently, she believes JFK’s killers are being paraded before her, while one of them smiles with satisfaction.

In the late sixties, Richard Sprague and Bernard Fensterwald formed the Committee to Investigate Assassinations (CITA). Sprague was a photographic buff who’d assembled the largest private collection of JFK photos and became attached to just about every investigation, from Garrison to Congress. One of his more bizarre theories was that a dart had been fired out of an umbrella, and that was the source of Kennedy’s neck wound and real cause of death.

In Illinois, where I grew up, the most brilliant conspiracy researcher was Sherman Skolnick, who’d brought down a federal judge in Chicago before going off the deep end with paranoia. When CITA held their conference on the anniversary of the JFK assassination in 1973, Skolnick began verbally attacking Fensterwald, accusing him of being a CIA stooge and holding these conferences to find out what real researchers like him were uncovering. At the time, Fensterwald was defending Watergate burglar James McCord and Skolnick demanded an independent panel. He got it. But when Skolnick’s panel began, a kook named Amos Hickock began raving about assassination links to the KGB and he also announced the Three Tramps were Hunt, Barker and Sturgis of recent Watergate fame. The links from the Kennedy assassination to Watergate were just surfacing, and this was certainly an explosive allegation!

Here’s a little-known factoid: Four pictures of the Three Tramps were first published in Computers and Automation in an article by Richard Sprague on the same day the Watergate burglary appeared in print in the Washington Post.

Attending that conference in 1973 was A.J. Weberman, who would soon team up with a former McGovern staffer to write a book called Coup d’etat In America. Weberman was a real character. One of the original Zippies, he was also a huge pot dealer on New York’s Lower East Side, but he used his profits to fund a military training camp for potential Mossad agents in the Catskills. Weberman operated with near-impunity for decades before he got ratted out by a former associate who turned State’s evidence and gave up the info on his secret Dutch bank account. After serving his time, Weberman wanted to immigrate to Israel, but couldn’t take the theocracy and quickly moved back to New York, where he seems to be a dirty tricks operative for the Democratic Party these days. When asked about Mossad connections to 9/11, Weberman explodes and orders me to leave the country while accusing me of being “a self-hating Jew.” Real independent research does not seem to be in the forefront of his activity list these days. Chip Berlet is a close associate of Weberman’s. And when Weberman was researching his book on the JFK assassination in Washington DC, he often stayed at Berlet’s apartment. His real name, by the way, is John Foster Berlet, son of Reserve Army Lt. Col. George Numa Berlet, Jr.

Berlet was a staff member of the CIA-organized National Student Association, and his mentor, David Ifshin would go on to become general counsel for the American Israel Public Affairs Council (AIPAC) while Berlet evolved into the primary mainstream source for debunking conspiracy theories involving the Federal Reserve. Berlet invented the word “conspiracism,” a fake disease that one day may be enough to get us all locked up on psyche wards for not believing the official stories handed down by the major media to explain events like JFK assassination or 9/11. Berlet has helped construct the future modern inquisition, where independent researchers become excommunicated agents of the devil just for holding heretical beliefs.

The upshot of Weberman’s book was that two of the Three Tramps were Hunt and Sturgis.

Thus the Three Tramps photos became an opening salvo of disinfo on the CIA’s Watergate misdirection operations. Watergate was actually CIA-sponsored coup against Nixon, who had little clue of the forces rallied against him, just as JFK had little clue of the CIA-sponsored trap he drove into in Dealey Plaza that day.

Weberman claims to have solved the case in 1975, and in a way, he did, for the book speculated that the head of counterintelligence of the CIA headed the assassination, and it was run through an executive action program initially set-up with mostly Cuban exiles, and the reason they killed Kennedy was because he was working towards peace instead of war. Weberman didn’t mention anyone by name (except Hunt and Sturgis), which seems odd, especially since the head of counterintelligence was well-known at the time: James Angelton. However, Weberman’s basic outline of the facts in 1975 was completely correct. But by insisting Hunt and Sturgis were the shooters, and that the Tramps photo proved this, Weberman, in fact, created a rabbit hole that sucked up most of the research community. It would take years for the real Tramps identity to emerge. Meanwhile, the Silvio Odio incident (which proved a conspiracy beyond Oswald) was documented in the book, but never really picked up on and run with until Antony Summers came along many years later.

If anything, Hunt and Sturgis were used to deflect attention away from the real killers. They were fixers and experts in propaganda and disinfo. Sturgis was probably to the JFK assassination as Lt. Vreeland was to 9/11.

The identity of the Three Tramps was finally revealed when Chauncey Holt, a documents forger for the Lansky Syndicate, confessed as he was dying from cancer. He identified the other two in the photo as CIA agent Charles Rogers and CIA asset Charles Harrelson (father of Woody). Holt wrote a long manuscript that Trine Day plans to publish soon.

As to be expected, a disinfo story was soon trotted out to dismiss Holt’s confession when a government researcher would locate the names of three men taken into custody that same day. These men were actually booked, however, and their names were taken. They were identified as Gus Abrams, Harold Doyle and John Gedney. Two of the men were located alive and they supposedly “confessed” to being the Three Tramps. Case closed!

Only when Houston police photo expert Lois Gibson examined photos of all the people supposedly involved, she quickly dismissed Abrams, Doyle and Gedney, while stating with absolute certainty that the Three Tramps were, in fact, Holt, Rogers and Harrelson.

I cite all this just to give you an idea how deep the rabbit holes go when it comes to investigating deep political events. Whether they realize it or not, there are more writers working for the CIA’s disinfo system than there are working to uncover the truth.

(This blog is excerpted from my book Dirty Money, Secret Societies and Killing JFK, link below the videos.)

9 Responses

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  1. photos have been doctored to conceal and make identifying tramps very difficult. Sturgis has double chin and dark circles under eyes, blow up middle tramp , block out hairline and above- are of alteration.
    hands match, as do ears. his profile as a cia mafia operator fits. tall man in background with hat -face blotted out , woman with hand in front of face. notice hand blow up to see what looks like crop line on hand. she later appears at parkland , but not altered. the tie in to parkland is her coat she carries -she is a reporter? who is she? study the eyes of strugis the circles , the chin forget about the hair except to blow up and see pixels are messed up.

    larry wheeler

    December 9, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    • The tramps have all been identified, and the tall one is Charles Harrelson. Don’t make this more complicated that it is. Chauncey Holt is the tramp with the paper bag, which he said held a two-way radio. Chancey was a forger for Meyer Lansky and brought a number of fake Secret Service ID’s handed out to the entire mission crew, most of the crew knew little about what was going down until it happened. The biggest leak was Harvey trying to recruit a Corsican hit man for the job but he settled on three men of honor from the Chicago outfit.

      Steven Hager

      December 9, 2013 at 11:16 pm

      • Part of the ongoing CIA disinformation ploys (QK/ENCHANT ????) is to claim identification, because it misdirects away from the CIA, and especially their ZR/RIFLE, from whence the assassins came (Jean Souetre, OAS assassin, and known to have been involved in at least one failed attempt on the life of President De Gaulle of France, Moise Maschkivitzan, a Belgian of Russian-Jewish ancestry who also used the alias of Michel Mertz, Lazlo from Hungary, former French Legionnaire and member of the OAS, and Lucien Conein of the CIA, photographed in Dallas that day).

        Two-bit hoodlums were not the guys involved. Sorry, sir, but you are falling for the typical disinformation ploys.


        January 24, 2016 at 3:43 pm

        • Johnny Roselli was no “two-bit”hoodlum. And anyone who wears a “doom” handle is more likely an op than not. My research in this arena is amongst the most penetrating you’ll ever find. And your certainty is a badge of illusion. That you Chip?

          Steven Hager

          January 24, 2016 at 3:58 pm

  2. Reblogged this on Flying Tiger Comics and commented:
    the Three Tramps photos became an opening salvo of disinfo on the CIA’s Watergate misdirection operations. Watergate was actually CIA-sponsored coup against Nixon, who had little clue of the forces rallied against him, just as JFK had little clue of the CIA-sponsored trap he drove into in Dealey Plaza that day.


    June 26, 2014 at 7:39 am

  3. No, the so-called tramps pictured have never been identified, firstly because they were NEVER arrested, see the head of the Dallas County Sheriff’s Identification Division, James Kitching, and his statements to that effect, plus declaring that no match to those photos of anyone who was arrested in anything near that timeframe.

    Louis Gibson is a farce! The fellow with his collar up was most likely Moise Maschkivitzan, a Belgian of Russian-Jewish extraction who was born in Antwerp, while the blond fellow was Lazlo the Hungarian, formerly with the French Foreign Legion and then the OAS, and the third fellow was either a tramp or the CIA’s J.C. King who he bears a close resemblance to?

    The lead assassin was Jean Souetre, we know this now from declassified CIA documents (see and the one in the Dal-Tex Building most likely Lucien Conein.


    January 7, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    • Dallas was flooded with professional assassins for the hit, some first string, some bench, some clean-up, and some rabbit holes. Harvey was broadcasting the hit all over Europe to bring in potential killers, even though Chicago had plenty available. I paused before allowing your comment simply because your reckless certainty and your dark handle don’t inspire confidence as I’m constantly bombarded by spooks (that you again Chip?) trying to draw me into flame wars. This is one of the most penetrating blogs I’ve posted, and it peels layers off an onion few ever contemplate. A real researcher senses these truths and treats the information with more respect than thou hast accorded.

      Steven Hager

      January 7, 2016 at 7:02 pm

      • I’m sorry, and I do appreciate your site, as so many on this subject certainly appear to be time-wasting honeypots, censoring intelligent comments, but always allowing through anything by the usual suspects (McAdams, Photon, Davison, et al.) but I’m afraid you’ve fallen for yet another CIA disinformation spiel — biometrically there isn’t any match. (and if you Google my signon you’ll know I have posted thousands of progressive-oriented comments over the years and vote Green Party, etc.) It was professional hit all the way, with experienced assassins used — according to declassified CIA/FBI documents, the CIA met with Jean Souetre months prior to the murder, then Pfc. Eugene B. Dinkin (whom I wish some reporter in the LA area would attempt to interview before he passes on????) intercepts several cables between CIA station in Italy (Harvey) and an OAS site he has been tasked to monitor, then Dulles and Harvey travel to Dallas several weeks prior to 11/22/63, then the expulsion order generated by the CIA to pick up the assassin, Jean Souetre, just hours after the murder, in Dallas! (And that expulsion order doc. was FOIA’d in 1977, the year when many were being axed at the CIA thanks to Stansfield Turner, plus people were being called to testify before the HSCA, and too many would mysteriously disappear or turn up dead prior to testimony, thereby adding stress — another reason that might have slipped through.)


        January 24, 2016 at 3:38 pm

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