Mae Brussell was a broadcaster and influential figure in the conspiracy research community that began to emerge after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. She was born in Beverly Hills in 1922, the daughter of a prominent Los Angeles rabbi and granddaughter of the founder of the I. Magnin department stores.
Brussell lived as an affluent housewife with five children, until the shooting of alleged Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald live on television prompted her into investigating the assassination. She quickly became dissatisfied with the official government conclusion that the murder had been the work of a lone assassin.
She began reading and crossreferencing the complete 26-volume report of the Warren Commission, and started amassing a large collection of newspaper clippings, articles, and books relating to what she came to believe was a vast conspiracy that since World War II has been turning the United States into a fascist regime.
Her argument was partly based on information that was emerging at the time about “Operation Paperclip,” the U.S. government’s wartime plan to rescue Nazi rocket scientists after World War II, but its conclusions went well beyond the commonly established facts. Brussell presented her ideas on a weekly radio show, Dialogue: Conspiracy (later called World Watchers International), on KLRB, a local station in Carmel, California, her new home.
During the 1970s and 1980s she wrote much-discussed articles outlining her thesis in, for example, Paul Krassner’s countercultural magazine, The Realist, and Hustler editor Larry Flynt’s new venture, Rebel magazine (“The Nazi Connection to the John F. Kennedy Assassination”).
In 1983 Brussell’s radio show moved to KAZU in Pacific Grove, California, where she continued until her death from cancer in 1988. In keeping with her theory of a wide-reaching conspiracy within the U.S. establishment, Brussell speculated that her cancer had been induced by the CIA, but no evidence ever emerged.
After her death various factions within the assassination research community sought to establish a permanent archive of Brussell’s writings, notes, and clippings (which began to take on a legendary status), but to date there is only a limited website.