Had Howard Hughes not been so phobic he might have taken over the world. Hughes became a real threat to the Eastern Establishment after his companies began dominating CIA and defense department contracts. Hughes was stunned when the establishment moved to yank TWA airlines away from him, right after he’d transformed it into the greatest jet fleet in America. Maybe it was part of the oil companies desire for a monopoly on all phases of their industry, although the excuse given was Hughes was unfit to command such a sensitive national security position, and had squandered immense resources on his Spruce Goose boondoggle. There was also talk of England having superseded the USA in jet technology, intimating that Hughes had lost his technological edge. But the problems really started when Hughes announced TWA was going global and would soon commence transatlantic flights, competing against Pan Am.
The real power center of gravity in the United States appears to reside with those oil companies, the seven sisters, the monopoly that transformed into the energy cartel. Because his grandfather invented a drill-bit essential to oil drilling, Hughes maintained one of the few hick-ups in their dream of controlling all phases of the industry.
Hughes fought tooth and nail to keep TWA, even to the point of calling out the Rockefeller Trust as the true instigators of the plot against him in open session of Congress, but Hughes eventually lost this war. He responded by taking the half a billion dollars in buy-out in cash and moving to Las Vegas, where he intended to buy the state, a masterful plan well on its way to success. (Just as Onassis survived his assault by investing in Monte Carlo, Hughes wisely saw Vegas casinos as the most secure way to insure profits.) Hughes already maintained one of the largest private security forces in the world and picked Robert Maheu as his underboss.
Maheu had been recruited into intel ops while a law student at Georgetown University, the oldest Jesuit educational institution in America. You’d be surprised how many spooks are recruited right out of law school. During WWII Maheu posed as a German sympathizer and successfully infiltrated New York’s Nazi party, the German-American Bund. As the war drew to a close, the Vatican and CIA began conspiring on the transfer of important Nazi assets into new roles working for American intel, while also transferring the stolen Nazi and Japanese loot into the Vatican Bank where it could be washed beyond all recognition of its origins.
According to a member of his staff, Maheu was summoned to Vice President Nixon’s office in 1954 at the behest of the National Security Council and given a green light to destroy the relationship between the King of Saudi Arabia and Onassis, who had captured a monopoly on shipping Saudi oil. In 1960, Maheu approached his old Chicago acquaintance Johnny Roselli claiming a business interest was willing to fund a $150,000 contract on Castro. Roselli refused the money, but introduced Maheu to “Sam Gold” and “Joe,” who would later turn out to be Sam Giancana and Santos Traffacante. Roselli soon joined the CIA’s team at JM/Wave, the largest CIA station outside Langley at the time, a base run by “mad dog” Bill Harvey and Ted Shackley, a secret base shut down by JFK, which seems to have been a strategic disaster. You can fire spooks easily but disarming them is another matter. The good ones can easily shift into the private sector or even join the competition.
Hughes used Maheu as his go-two private spook, but after the bitter Rockefeller feud elevated him to run the Hughes gambling empire in Vegas. One day, however, Hughes disappeared in the middle of the night. In an elaborately scripted getaway, dual caravans departed simultaneously to two airports, one of which held a drugged Hughes, the other, a decoy. Both planes were flown out of the country, one eventually landing in the Bahamas, where the occupant took up residency in a hotel owned by Hughes’ business rival, Resorts International, a firm connected with both the CIA and the Sicilian men-of-honor. No one ever saw Hughes again.
He did appear by phone once in what many people believe was a staged impersonation by a skilled actor. Likely he was maintained somewhere as a near vegetable until he finally wasted away. There was never any attempt for any independent agency to investigate Hughes’ sudden midnight move, forsaking a hotel he owned, to eventually live inside a hotel owned by his principle rival in the casino business.
Maheu went to court convinced Hughes had been abducted by a conspiracy involving his Mormon staff, who had seized day-to-day operations away from Maheu and were rapidly replacing the entire top layer of all his corporations with Mormon controllers. Over the phone, the Hughes double accused Maheu of “stealing him blind,” as the excuse for his midnight move, but Maheu won a libel case after Hughes’s handlers failed to produce any evidence of theft. Despite never having met Hughes in person, Maheu had been drawing a salary of a half million dollars per year, the equivalent of several million today. And although Maheu won a large settlement, the judgment was overturned on appeal.
Unfortunately, like many other rich industrialists, Hughes was an intense racist, and that part of his bio seems to have been scrubbed from history along with the most relevant facts of the conspiracy to have him neutralized.