Gordon Campbell

Gorden Sunderland Campbell was born on 5th July 1905. After serving as a US Army colonel, he was a Central Intelligence Agency contract agent who was based at the CIA's Miami station, of JM/WAVE. According to Bradley E. Ayers, Campbell was a close associate of Theodore Shackley.

Rudy Enders, a retired CIA officer, claims that Campbell helped the agency ferry anti-Castro guerrillas across the straits of Florida.

Photograph that Shane O'Sullivan claims shows Gordon Campbell and George Joannides at the Ambassador Hotel on the night Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated. Journalist Jefferson Morley who uncovered the Joannides story - and the only known autheticated photos of Joannides - asserts emphatically and unequivocally that neither Gordon Campbell nor George Joannides are the men depicted in this photograph. Morley notes that Campbell died in 1962 and that there is no corroborated evidence that Joannides was in Los Angeles in June 1968.
Photograph that Shane O'Sullivan claims shows Gordon Campbell and George
Joannides at the Ambassador Hotel on the night Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated. Journalist Jefferson Morley who uncovered the Joannides story - and the only known autheticated photos of Joannides - asserts emphatically and unequivocally that neither Gordon Campbell nor George Joannides are the men depicted in this photograph. Morley notes that Campbell died in 1962 and that there is no corroborated evidence that Joannides was in Los Angeles in June 1968.

In a letter sent to John R. Tunheim in 1994, Bradley E. Ayers claimed that nine people based at JM/WAVE "have intimate operational knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the assassination" of John F. Kennedy. Ayers named Gorden Campbell, Grayston Lynch, Theodore Shackley, Felix Rodriguez, Thomas Clines, David Morales, Rip Robertson, Edward Roderick and Tony Sforza as the men who had this information.

Bradley E. Ayers was interviewed by Jeremy Gunn of the Assassination Records Review Board in May, 1995. According to Gunn: “Ayers claims to have found in the course of his private investigative work, a credible witness who can put David Morales inside the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on the night of June 5, 1968 (RFK’s assassination)."

While researching a documentary, Shane O'Sullivan discovered a news film of the Ambassador Hotel on the day Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated. Bradley E. Ayers and other people who knew them, identified David Sanchez Morales, Gordon Campbell and George Joannides as being three men in the hotel that day. An article about this story appeared in The Guardian and on BBC Newsnight on 20th November, 2006.

David Talbot and Jefferson Morley researched this story in 2007. They reported that: "Gordon Campbell, it turns out, was not the deputy station chief in the CIA's Miami operation, as O'Sullivan reported. He was a yachtsman and Army colonel who served as a contract agent helping the agency ferry anti-Castro guerrillas across the straits of Florida, according to Rudy Enders, a retired CIA officer, and two other people who knew him. He could not have been at the scene of Bobby's Kennedy's assassination on June 5, 1968 because he died in 1962.... Campbell's death certificate, which identified him as a "maritime adviser," states he passed away on Sept. 19, 1962."

© , September 1997 - April 2014

Primary Sources

(1) Bradley E. Ayers, letter to John R. Tunheim (23rd August, 1994)

I make reference to your letter of February 23d and my subsequent communications with your staff in preparation for our meeting which is scheduled for 10.00 CDT this morning. I appreciate the opportunity to visit with you concerning matters relating to the assassination of President Kennedy and your appointment as a member of the board that will oversee the release of documents pertaining thereto.

Over the past several months I have furnished your staff with details of my background and other materials which I trust have provided you with some perspective for the information I hope to personally convey. Assuming you have read or been briefed on the essence of this history, I will not dwell upon it here. However, I take this opportunity to convey copies of two documents which I recently received that relate directly to our discussion of this date. They are self-explanatory.

With the context of our meeting hopefully established, I wish to call your attention to the following specifics which I urge you and the Board to be alert for and to pursue within the framework of your mandate. These areas of interest and individual identifications are recommended as adf.rect result of my experience with the CIA/JMWAVE Miami station during the period immediately preceding and following the death of JFK and my synthesis of other information developed since that experience.

I believe the following living individuals have intimate operational knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the assassination and the possible role of the persons and/or operations listed in the paragraph which follows:

Theodore Shackley - Chief of Station, JMWAVE Robert Wall - Deputy Chief of Operations, JMWAVE

Grayson Lynch - Contract paramilitary trainer/agent, JMWAVE

Felix Rodriguez - Contract paramilitary agent (Cuban born), JMWAVE

Thomas Clines - CIA paramilitary case officer, JMWAVE

Above named persons with reference to:

Gordon Campbell (current status unknown) - Deputy Chief of Station, JMWAVE

David Morales (deceased) - Chief of Operations, JMWAVE

"Rip" Robertson (deceased) - Contract paramilitary agent JMWAVE

Edward Roderick (current status unknown) - U. S. Army Major, explosives expert/Corp of Engineers, attached to JMWAVE and later CIA employee upon retirement from Army

Tony Sforza (deceased) - Contract paramilitary agent, JMWAVE

Operation (code name) "Red Cross" - JMWAVE, Fall 1963

Further, I invite your attention to the forthcoming issue of Vanity Fair Magazine (October issue) which I am advised will contain an article by Tony Summers, a highly credible journalist/author (CONSPIRACY) that will offer certain revelations complimenting the recommendations made in this communication.

I know for a fact that Summers has been diligently pursuing lines of inquiry that may be relevant to the work of the Board and may be useful in unscrambling and evaluating the JFK related documents produced by the CIA and other government agencies.

I hope the information I've provided is helpful to the Board and I remain prepared to testify under oath to any aspect of my activities should that be desired.

(2) Memorandum from Christopher Barger to Tim Wray (undated)

The purpose of this memo is to give you background on who Brad Ayers is and the story he tells. His story is accepted to differing degrees, depending on who one talks to, but the basics of his story check out, according to our research.

Ayers was an infantry officer in the U.S. Army during the early 1960's, specializing in paramilitary training. In early 1963, (records checks indicate it was in early April) Ayers was "loaned" by the Army to the CIA, which assigned him to the JMWAVE station. Ayers' job was to train Cuban exiles and prepare them for an invasion of Cuba. This much of his story is borne out by checks of his military and CIA files.

From here, the veracity of Ayers' claims are less easy to discern. He claims to have seen many figures at JMWAVE who were not there, according to the official record; these include Johnny Roselli and William Harvey (former Task Force W /SAS chief for CIA, who was removed from that position by Kennedy after Harvey overstepped his authority after the Missile Crisis). Ayers also claims to have gone on several raiding missions with his proteges, and to have come under fire from Castro's forces in the summer of 1963. This is significant because according to the official record, all government sanctioned action against Castro had ceased by that point.

Ayers says that many of his colleagues at the JMWAVE station built up a strong resentment of President Kennedy, and says that he believes several of them to have played roles in the assassination. Foremost among these, he says, was David Morales, the operations officer for CIA in Miami.

The HSCA interviewed Ayers, and performed searches for his records. In doing so, they discovered five sealed envelopes in his file, which HSCA staff was not allowed access to. The envelopes have ben the source of some speculation among those in the research community who believe Ayers' story.

On May 12, I interviewed Ayers at his home outside of St. Paul, Minnesota. At that point, the questions were based on information obtained from open sources only, as few of the staff had their clearances yet.

(3) Bradley E. Ayers, proposal for the reissue of The War That Never Was (1995)

The role and activities of Deputy Chief of Station, Gordon Campbell: (this was stricken from the original manuscript) this individual played a major behind-the-scenes role at and outside the JMWAVE station. While he was Shackley's deputy, he also appeared to function with a good deal of independence and have his own agenda. He became the author's case officer for the Elliot Key refinery raid which seemed to evolve beyond the station's normal paramilitary/operational structure. Campbell was unique, physically impressive, polished, had extensive background and experience in CIA's history in anti-Castro operations, particularly maritime. It is believed he had an ONI-naval background, had a somewhat flamboyant lifestyle and was known as Mr Bishop by some of the station.

(4) Shane O'Sullivan, Did the CIA kill Bobby Kennedy?, The Guardian (20th November, 2006)

At first, it seems an open-and-shut case. On June 5 1968, Robert Kennedy wins the California Democratic primary and is set to challenge Richard Nixon for the White House. After midnight, he finishes his victory speech at the Ambassador hotel in Los Angeles and is shaking hands with kitchen staff in a crowded pantry when 24-year-old Palestinian Sirhan Sirhan steps down from a tray-stacker with a "sick, villainous smile" on his face and starts firing at Kennedy with an eight-shot revolver.

As Kennedy lies dying on the pantry floor, Sirhan is arrested as the lone assassin. He carries the motive in his shirt-pocket (a clipping about Kennedy's plans to sell bombers to Israel) and notebooks at his house seem to incriminate him. But the autopsy report suggests Sirhan could not have fired the shots that killed Kennedy. Witnesses place Sirhan's gun several feet in front of Kennedy, but the fatal bullet is fired from one inch behind. And more bullet-holes are found in the pantry than Sirhan's gun can hold, suggesting a second gunman is involved. Sirhan's notebooks show a bizarre series of "automatic writing" - "RFK must die RFK must be killed - Robert F Kennedy must be assassinated before 5 June 68" - and even under hypnosis, he has never been able to remember shooting Kennedy. He recalls "being led into a dark place by a girl who wanted coffee", then being choked by an angry mob. Defence psychiatrists conclude he was in a trance at the time of the shooting and leading psychiatrists suggest he may have be a hypnotically programmed assassin.

Three years ago, I started writing a screenplay about the assassination of Robert Kennedy, caught up in a strange tale of second guns and "Manchurian candidates" (as the movie termed brainwashed assassins). As I researched the case, I uncovered new video and photographic evidence suggesting that three senior CIA operatives were behind the killing. I did not buy the official ending that Sirhan acted alone, and started dipping into the nether-world of "assassination research", crossing paths with David Sanchez Morales, a fearsome Yaqui Indian.

Morales was a legendary figure in CIA covert operations. According to close associate Tom Clines, if you saw Morales walking down the street in a Latin American capital, you knew a coup was about to happen. When the subject of the Kennedys came up in a late-night session with friends in 1973, Morales launched into a tirade that finished: "I was in Dallas when we got the son of a bitch and I was in Los Angeles when we got the little bastard." From this line grew my odyssey into the spook world of the 60s and the secrets behind the death of Bobby Kennedy.

Working from a Cuban photograph of Morales from 1959, I viewed news coverage of the assassination to see if I could spot the man the Cubans called El Gordo - The Fat One. Fifteen minutes in, there he was, standing at the back of the ballroom, in the moments between the end of Kennedy's speech and the shooting. Thirty minutes later, there he was again, casually floating around the darkened ballroom while an associate with a pencil moustache took notes.

The source of early research on Morales was Bradley Ayers, a retired US army captain who had been seconded to JM-Wave, the CIA's Miami base in 1963, to work closely with chief of operations Morales on training Cuban exiles to run sabotage raids on Castro. I tracked Ayers down to a small town in Wisconsin and emailed him stills of Morales and another guy I found suspicious - a man who is pictured entering the ballroom from the direction of the pantry moments after the shooting, clutching a small container to his body, and being waved towards an exit by a Latin associate.

Ayers' response was instant. He was 95% sure that the first figure was Morales and equally sure that the other man was Gordon Campbell, who worked alongside Morales at JM-Wave in 1963 and was Ayers' case officer shortly before the JFK assassination.

I put my script aside and flew to the US to interview key witnesses for a documentary on the unfolding story. In person, Ayers positively identified Morales and Campbell and introduced me to David Rabern, a freelance operative who was part of the Bay of Pigs invasion force in 1961 and was at the Ambassador hotel that night. He did not know Morales and Campbell by name but saw them talking to each other out in the lobby before the shooting and assumed they were Kennedy's security people. He also saw Campbell around police stations three or four times in the year before Robert Kennedy was shot.

This was odd. The CIA had no domestic jurisdiction and Morales was stationed in Laos in 1968. With no secret service protection for presidential candidates in those days, Kennedy was guarded by unarmed Olympic decathlete champion Rafer Johnson and football tackler Rosey Grier - no match for an expert assassination team.

Trawling through microfilm of the police investigation, I found further photographs of Campbell with a third figure, standing centre-stage in the Ambassador hotel hours before the shooting. He looked Greek, and I suspected he might be George Joannides, chief of psychological warfare operations at JM-Wave. Joannides was called out of retirement in 1978 to act as the CIA liaison to the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) investigating the death of John F Kennedy.

Ed Lopez, now a respected lawyer at Cornell University, came into close contact with Joann-des when he was a young law student working for the committee. We visit him and show him the photograph and he is 99% sure it is Joannides. When I tell him where it was taken, he is not surprised: "If these guys decided you were bad, they acted on it.

We move to Washington to meet Wayne Smith, a state department official for 25 years who knew Morales well at the US embassy in Havana in 1959-60. When we show him the video in the ballroom, his response is instant: "That's him, that's Morales." He remembers Morales at a cocktail party in Buenos Aires in 1975, saying Kennedy got what was coming to him. Is there a benign explanation for his presence? For Kennedy's security, maybe? Smith laughs. Morales is the last person you would want to protect Bobby Kennedy, he says. He hated the Kennedys, blaming their lack of air support for the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961.

We meet Clines in a hotel room near CIA headquarters. He does not want to go on camera and brings a friend, which is a little unnerving. Clines remembers "Dave" fondly. The guy in the video looks like Morales but it is not him, he says: "This guy is fatter and Morales walked with more of a slouch and his tie down." To me, the guy in the video does walk with a slouch and his tie is down.

Clines says he knew Joannides and Campbell and it is not them either, but he fondly remembers Ayers bringing snakes into JM-Wave to scare the secretaries and seems disturbed at Smith's identification of Morales. He does not discourage our investigation and suggests others who might be able to help. A seasoned journalist cautions that he would expect Clines "to blow smoke", and yet it seems his honest opinion.

As we leave Los Angeles, I tell the immigration officer that I am doing a story on Bobby Kennedy. She has seen the advertisements for the new Emilio Estevez movie about the assassination, Bobby. "Who do you think did it? I think it was the Mob," she says before I can answer.

"I definitely think it was more than one man," I say, discreetly.

Morales died of a heart attack in 1978, weeks before he was to be called before the HSCA. Joannides died in 1990. Campbell may still be out there somewhere, in his early 80s. Given the positive identifications we have gathered on these three, the CIA and the Los Angeles Police Department need to explain what they were doing there. Lopez believes the CIA should call in and interview everybody who knew them, disclose whether they were on a CIA operation and, if not, why they were there that night.

Today would have been Robert Kennedy's 81st birthday. The world is crying out for a compassionate leader like him. If dark forces were behind his elimination, it needs to be investigated.

(5) David Talbot & Jefferson Morley, The BBC's Flawed RFK Story (July, 2007)

On November 20, 2006 - the day that would have been Robert Kennedy's eighty-first birthday -- the BBC program Newsnight aired a startling report alleging that three CIA operatives were caught on camera at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on the night of Kennedy's assassination. The story suggested that they were involved in his killing. The BBC broadcast, produced by filmmaker Shane O'Sullivan, identified the three CIA operatives as George Joannides, David Morales and Gordon Campbell. All three were known to have worked for the Agency in Miami in the early 1960s when the White House ordered up a massive, not-so-secret effort to overthrow Fidel Castro's communist government in Cuba...

We spent six weeks interviewing dozens of people from Washington DC to Florida to California and Arizona who knew Joannides, Morales and Campbell at different times in their lives. We spoke with former CIA colleagues, retired State Department officials, personal friends and family members.

Gordon Campbell, it turns out, was not the deputy station chief in the CIA's Miami operation, as O'Sullivan reported. He was a yachtsman and Army colonel who served as a contract agent helping the agency ferry anti-Castro guerrillas across the straits of Florida, according to Rudy Enders, a retired CIA officer, and two other people who knew him. He could not have been at the scene of Bobby's Kennedy's assassination on June 5, 1968 because he died in 1962.

"I was right there when he died," said Enders in a telephone interview. "He was getting a drink at the drinking fountain in Zenith Technical Services (the cover name for the CIA's offices) in Miami. He stood up and started shaking and he collapsed and we tried to revive him. We gave him mouth to mouth to resuscitation and it just didn't work. It was a real bad heart attack." Campbell's death certificate, which identified him as a "maritime adviser," states he passed away on Sept. 19, 1962.