We’ve analyzed 007 in the past, as well as Howard Hughes in light of Scorcese’s The Aviator, but could there be a connection between the two? What if Ian Fleming was encoding an explosive, real-world conspiracy involving Howard Hughes, JFK, Aristotle Onassis and a legendary kidnapping? Not only is there evidence to suggest this, but the film version of his 1954 novel Diamonds Are Forever subtly suggests much more. We know Fleming was a high-level Royal Navy psychological warfare specialist and involved in numerous covert operations, and as I’ve argued many times, Fleming’s novels and the film versions, in their own respective ways, elucidate these clandestine activities, touching on everything from black-market smuggling networks to actual espionage and assassinations.
Fleming’s inspiration for the novel stemmed from meetings and discussions with former MI5 chief Sir Percy Stillitoe, then working for the DeBeers diamond empire. Combined with these tips, as well as information he received from wealthy socialite William Woodward and Los Angeles police intelligence on organized crime and smuggling operations, Fleming composed the fourth Bond novel in 1954 as a literary means of detailing the dark world of precious gem and jewel markets. To add intrigue to this already intriguing tale, Fleming was also approached by Aristotle Onassis for a film version of either Casino Royale or Dr. No, with Onassis desiring to be a part of the funding (Ian Fleming by Andrew Lycett, pgs. 336-7). No stranger to Hollywood, Onassis was also a friend of numerous tinsel-town heavyweights, including the Greek film executive Spyros Skouras.
With these connections, my thesis here, in concert with the fascinating insight of Basil Valentine, is that Diamonds Are Forever the film provides a crucial insight into the coded reference of Willard Whyte as a stand in for Howard Hughes. As I argued in my Scorcese analysis, Hughes was intimately tied to the CIA through Robert Maheu, an intelligence-establishment figure who emerged from the CIA-dominated advertising world. It is possible Maheu was involved in the reported kidnapping escapade of Hughes, which The Gemstone Files allege was orchestrated by Onassis, leading to Hughes being spirited away to the magnate’s lavish island, Skorpios.
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