As stated, on February 17, 1963, Marina Oswald wrote to the Soviet Embassy in Washington, D.C. and said that she wished to return to the Soviet Union. Her husband would remain in the United States. Directing her letter to Mr. Reznichenko, Marina requested his assistance in helping her return to her "homeland in the USSR where I will again feel myself a full-fledged citizen." She asked what steps she should take to achieve this end, and requested that the Embassy furnish her material aid, if possible, for the trip. She commented that her husband would remain in the United States, "as he is an American by nationality." Marina concluded the letter: "I beg you once more not to refuse my request." She was informed on March 8, 1963, that it would take from five to six months to process her visa application. This letter contained a visa application form and a list of prerequisite photographs and letters.[WR p309]
Marina Oswald told the Warren Commission: "It seems to me that it was at that time the LEE began to talk about his wanting to return to Russia. I did not want that and that is why we had quarrels." [WC V1 pg. 10 2.3.64] Marina Oswald also said: "I never wanted to return but LEE insisted and there is nothing else I can do." [WC V1 pg. 49 2.4.64]
There is a contradiction here. In her letter, Marina stated that her husband was not going to accompany her to the Soviet Union. In her testimony before the Warren Commission she said that it was his idea to return to the Soviet Union. Marina was unhappy with her life with OSWALD at this time, but it was unlikely that she wanted to return to the USSR. OSWALD probably suggested to her that she write this letter, because OSWALD wanted a Soviet visa for himself, so that he could enter Cuba in transit to Russia. Was OSWALD going to have his wife obtain a Soviet visa and then ask the Soviets for one for himself? That way, if the Soviets did not issue the visa, they would appear to be breaking up a family. If OSWALD made the suggestion, then the plot to frame him was already underway. OSWALD was in touch with Ruth Paine by this time.
FBI S.A. James Hosty had already put off interviewing Marina for six months. It was around this time, March 1963, that S.A. James P. Hosty was supposed to interview Marina Oswald, pursuant to a regular FBI practice of interviewing immigrants from Iron Curtain countries. S.A. Hosty received permission to handle OSWALD'S case as well. After reviewing OSWALD'S files, S.A. Hosty and his supervisor, Supervisor Kenneth C. Howe, reopened the OSWALD case, but S.A. Hosty did not interview Marina Oswald.
On March 25, 1963, Hosty wrote that on "March 4, 1963, Mr. Jeff Woosley, Supervisory Clerk, INS, Dallas, Texas, advised that Mrs. Marina Oswald was, as of January 1963, resided at apartment two, 602 Elsbeth Street, Dallas, Texas." Hosty would later state: "I determined on March 4, 1963, through Immigration and Naturalization Service records that she had moved from Fort Worth to the Dallas area."
Hosty: "On March 11, 1963, Mrs. M.F. Tobias, Apartment Manager, 602 Elsbeth, advised that on March 3, 1963, OSWALD and his wife Marina moved from that apartment building to another apartment building in Dallas, Texas. Mrs. Tobias advised that they had considerable difficulty with Mr. OSWALD, who apparently drank to excess and beat his wife on numerous occasions. Mrs. Tobias advised that they had a small child and that Mrs. Oswald apparently spoke little or no English and seldom associated with any other individuals. They had had numerous complaints from the other tenants due to OSWALD'S drinking an beating of his wife." Hosty would later state:"On March 11, 1963, I made inquiry at this Elsbeth address, and determined from the landlady, that she had evicted LEE and Marina Oswald on March 3, 1963. On that same date, I was able to determine from the postal authorities that they had changed their address to 214 Neely Street..."
There was no evidence that OSWALD drank to excess. Scott Malone: "The reason he beat her was because she was fucking other guys." Marguerite Oswald: "There may be time a woman needs to have a black eye."
Hosty: "On March 14, 1963, I verified that the OSWALDS were residing at this address when I found the mailbox with LEE and Marina Oswald at this address...Now, because of the alleged marital difficulties they were having, I, in my judgment, decided this was not the time to interview Mrs. Oswald, but to allow a certain cooling off period. So then I checked OSWALD'S file, at which time I determined that he had a contact with New York office of The Worker. I noticed it, and then because of the domestic difficulty and the fact that I knew I would be interviewing his wife in the near future, I requested that the case be reopened. I requested the Dallas supervisor reopen the case to me...So I set it up that I would go back and recheck in 45 days."
On March 17, 1963, Marina Oswald sent a signed request for an entry visa to the Soviet Embassy in Washington, D.C., a completed two-page questionnaire for persons desiring an entry visa and a one-page autobiography. No letter transmitting these documents was found.
On March 25, 1963, S.A. Hosty sent a letter to the FBI Headquarters stating that "conditions promising a successful interview did not exist as of that time, thus justifying a 'cooling-off' period prior to again making an effort to interview Marina Oswald." That same day, S.A. Hosty received a lead on Marina Oswald. Gordon Shanklin, the Dallas SAC, questioned S.A. Hosty about this lead after the assassination: "There has been no report concerning the lead on March 25, 1963, to interview Mrs. Oswald. Explain why not." Hosty: "Upon careful review of the Manual of Instructions, Section 105-E, it was noted that it would be necessary to utilize a friend or sponsor of Marina Oswald for interpreter and that the atmosphere of the interview would have to be conducted in such a manner as not to cause any undue emotional stress or strain on the person being interviewed. In view of the reported marital difficulties between the OSWALDS, it was decided to wait a suitable period to determine whether the domestic situation had been sufficiently clarified, so as to permit a proper interview as desired in Section 105-E of the manual." [FBI To SAC Dallas from Hosty 12.6.63] J. Edgar Hoover commented: "Certainly an asinine excuse." FBI Inspector J.H. Gale wrote: "Inspector feels this entire facet of investigation mishandled. OSWALD definitely should have been interviewed and Inspector feels best time to get information from her would be after she was beaten up by her husband as it is felt she would be far more likely to cooperate when angry at OSWALD than otherwise." J. Edgar Hoover commented: "This certainly makes sense."[FBI Memo Gale to Tolson 12.10.63]
FBI S.A. James P. Hosty had begun his 45-day cooling off period in relation to interviewing Marina Oswald on March 14, 1963. At the end of this period S.A. Hosty was to interview Marina Oswald. About 70 days later, on May 27, 1963, S.A. Hosty checked the OSWALDS last known Dallas residence and found they had moved three weeks ago. On May 28, 1963, Hosty sent this memo to SAC Gordon Shanklin. "On May 27, 1963, an attempt to interview subjects under pretext reflected that they had moved from their residence. A check with the former Postmaster reflects that the subjects have moved and left no forwrding address. The owner of subjects former residence at 214 Neely, Dallas, M.W. George, will be interviewed for information regarding subjects as well as subjects Brother in Fort Worth." [FBI 105-1435-4; FBI DFO 100-10461-35, 36, 37]
S.A. Hosty testified to the Warren Commission that after the 45-day freeze on interviewing Marina Oswald was over, "I went back to check again in May, the middle of May, I found they had moved from their Neely Street address and had left no forwarding address." This was untrue: He went back to the Neely Street address at the end of May - on May 27, 1963.
Hosty commented, "That's not ironclad. Remember I was working on the General Walker case. Anyway, it wasn't a freeze. It was still active. Where does it say freeze? 'Freeze' is their wording. The letter was written March 31, 1963, and that is when the cooling off period started. Not March 14, 1963. That would make it a 57-day cooling off period. What's the big deal? What's the point? I had 40 cases and his case was one of the lowest priorities at that time. Walker's case was the number one priority. It's not like in the movies or on the T.V., when you have one case and that's all you do. I had 40 cases at that time. The trouble is, you people don't understand our system."
S.A. Hosty had put "a freeze" on Marina Oswald's case on March 14, 1963, because that was when he stopped actively investigating her. When S.A. Hosty visited 602 Elsbeth Street, he missed OSWALD by about a week, and when he visited Neely Street, he missed OSWALD by two to three weeks. S.A. Hosty was deliberately avoiding OSWALD. He waited five months, until OSWALD'S arrest in New Orleans, before he added any new data to the OSWALD file. These reports concerned OSWALD'S employment and whereabouts; yet even then, S.A. Hosty never spoke to the Subject of his investigation, nor approached him for an interview. Hosty commented, "He'd been interviewed twice when he returned from the Soviet Union." HEMMING told this researcher: "The FBI should have been on him like flies on shit. ANGLETON convinced the Bureau not to go near this guy cause he's a fucking asset." James Hosty denied he even heard the name ANGLETON "until his name appeared when he got canned that time. Because I'm pretty far down the totem pole. I'm a field agent. I wouldn't know about top CIA people."
Most FBI reports contained the signatures of two Agents. James Hosty commented, "This was after the assassination. You don't know the system. You're jumping ahead and making up things." Bardwell Odum, contacted in July 1993, commented: "Agents used to work individually." HEMMING told this researcher: "They never interview Lone Ranger style. There are always two agents. Hoover was trying to keep the corruption down." James Hosty: "I was a staunch Kennedy supporter and I would have prevented it. If you were going to have a conspiracy, I'd be the last person you'd want to have involved. I'm a registered Democrat. A Mayor Daley Democrat. These records are public."
S.A. Hosty was not accused of being part of the conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy, however, the fact that S.A. Hosty worked the OSWALD security case alone, or in the company of an agent-in-training, suggested S.A. Hosty suspected or knew that there was more to LEE HARVEY OSWALD that first met the eye. The safest thing for Hosty to do was to stay away.
In 1963 HEMMING visited Washington, D.C., after which the FBI sent reports to the Director and Deputy Director for Plans of the CIA; and to the Attorney General and his Deputy; to Army, Navy, and Air Force Intelligence. [FBI 105-86406-10] HEMMING claimed they concerned "conversations, at the White House, during March 1963, with General Clifton, military aide to President Kennedy...briefing at the Pentagon with Victor Krulak, U.S.M.C...under-Secretary of State Sterling J. Cottrell." [HEMMING ONI FOIA/PA Req. 12.22.76] HEMMING complained about the lack of action against Fidel Castro. HEMMING told this researcher: "They wanted to know why CIA was not doing what we were doing, and why CIA was badmouthing us. Kennedy was enthusiastic. He went nuts about this crazy covert shit. I was there, book reader." On March 12, 1963, the FBI in Washington, D.C. generated a highly deleted Letterhead Memorandum about HEMMING, copies of which we sent to the Attorney General, Assistant Attorney General J. Walter Yeagley, State, CIA and the military agencies and Kenneth O'Donnell at White House. HEMMING'S case number was now 105-86406, which indicated he was being investigated for Internal Security. [FBI 105-86406-10] HEMMING told this researcher: "The FBI thought I was checking out JFK'S routine and all that shit. They would check the United States Secret Service logs." On March 30, 1963, HEMMING advised the FBI "that as a result of press publicity and letters received in July 1961, he devised a form letter. This form letter was to give general information concerning INTERPEN, dissuade persons from coming to Miami to join INTERPEN, and eliminate people without specialized training. (Deleted) advised that INTERPEN no longer exists. Members of the Cuban Revolutionary Council consider HEMMING a mercenary a maintain no contact with him."
"Dear Sir: Thank you for you letter requesting information concerning our organization. We have received many letters such as yours and we are pleased to find that there are thousands of young Americans that are anxious to actively participate in the fight against International Communism...As a self-supporting unit our present facilities are extremely limited, and we are accepting only those veterans that were in Special Forces trained as guerilla warfare instructors, survival, parachute qualified etc. Also we suggest that prior to an individual leaving his home he should have already purchased his own uniform, combat equipment, have a car and enough money to pay room and board until he can be placed with one of the units under our command Considering the aforementioned, should you still be interested in joining we suggest that prior to your departure to Miami you contact a local Sky Diver Club..."
On March 30, 1963, HEMMING advised the FBI he was unemployed and explained that he "did not consider the above letter in any way an instrument of recruiting or any attempt to defraud or use the mails to defraud."
On March 12, 1963, OSWALD ordered a Mannlicher-Carcano rifle with a scope sight from the Klein's Sporting Goods Company of Chicago, Illinois, under the name of A.J. Hidell. HEMMING told this researcher: "We had reason to find out about Klein's Sporting Goods, their delivery times and the whole fucking thing. Whenever we wanted to tell people about gear, we referred them to Klein's. I drafted a form. The FBI complained in 1961 that we were telling people to go Klein's for their gear.
"Let's presume that he's been guided to order the weapon. Why would he have a weapon? He's got to go to a fucking training camp. He's got to practice marksmanship. Any number of things. He had to show some skill with a weapon to the right people." HEMMING said he saw an FBI document about his connection to Klein's Sporting Goods while visiting the Miami FBI Field Office. HEMMING alleged that S.A. Robert Dwyer allowed him to go through the FBI's file on him. This researcher was unable to locate this document. Wallace Shanley: "Dwyer had constant letters of reprimand and was constantly on the edge of being fired. He was a renegade, but he was brilliant." As stated, on HEMMING'S CIA employment application he listed "Klein's 227 W. Washington St. Chicago, Ill." as a financial reference.
HEMMING was asked if this was the same Klein's Sporting Goods where OSWALD ordered his rifle. HEMMING told this researcher: "I don't know what you're looking at. How the fuck would I know? Maybe they're trying to set me up? I don't know. Send me a copy. I had nothing to do with Klein's. My brothers had a credit thing with Klein's. It's a catalogue that covers sporting goods, clothing, the whole thing. I had a fat brother that bought fat man's clothes from them. It's probably the same Klein's where OSWALD got his rifle from. I didn't put nothing down for references. They told me what the fuck was going to go on the son-of-a-bitch. There was no Klein's on there. I didn't put Simpson, Spiegel or Klein's. I don't see who the fuck put that in there. They might have put it in there last week, how the fuck would I know? Nobody's that fucking stupid. You're telling me honestly that somebody put that, linked with my name? That just tells me a story. Ain't nothing new to me. I can give you more damaging shit than that, that I know is in the fucking files. They're worried, because I know who put it in the fucking file, and I know where their fucking children live. And they're scared shitless. They'd like to call a truce with me. I know what credit references I gave. CIA proprietary Andrew Hamilton fund which I drew $2,500 out of when I came back from Cuba and a couple of others. Number one, Klein's ain't got a credit operation. They have a lay-away-plan like Sears. Spiegel's the same way. You don't give those as credit references because they're not in the credit business. That tells me somebody didn't do their research. Now somebody else put something else down that tells me a fucking story. I doubt it, but I'd like to see it. I can go out and print up my own CIA forms and rubber stamps. I can create better documents then they can. And because it's post-1982, they're looking at ten years for doing that shit. If it's worth ten years to link me to something, good. And I'll put their fuck ass away, and I'll know where their kids live."
After HEMMING was confronted with documentation of his connection to Klein's Sporting Goods he denied having told me that he had referred people there: "You transcribed the tape wrong. I had no dealings with Klein's. The FBI was after me for Neutrality Act violations. That's why I saw the inside of so many jails then. I was arrested half a dozen times. I would never tell people where to get weapons."
HEMMING goofed when he used Klein's Sporting Goods as a reference in his CIA employment application and then had OSWALD order his weapon from them. If you want to see HEMMING'S application for employment with the CIA and OSWALD'S invoice from Klein's Sporting Goods, double click here. [Hemapp.JPEG] After I brought this to HEMMING'S attention he lost his temper and threatened the children of CIA employees.
OSWALD had the weapon mailed to Post Office Box 2915, Dallas. After November 22, 1963, the FBI authenticated the signatures on OSWALD'S application for Post Office Box 2915, Dallas, and two forwarding orders. According to Postal Inspector Harry D. Holmes, in the event A.J. Hidell was unauthorized to receive mail at this box, OSWALD could have received any packages addressed to A.J. Hidell by bringing the package notice from his box to the appropriate window. The weapon, which in the future would be used in the assassination, would not be traceable to anyone else, except OSWALD, because OSWALD himself had procured it.
OSWALD was manipulated into further linking himself to A. J. Hidell. Among the identification cards found in OSWALD'S wallet after November 22, 1963, was a Selective Service Classification Notice, and a Selective Service Registration Card, in the name of A. J. Hidell. OSWALD'S photograph appeared on the classification notice. A U.S. Marine Corps Service Certificate in the name of Alex James Hidell was also found. These linked the rifle directly to OSWALD.
Government experts on questioned documents testified that OSWALD'S false ID was a counterfeit photographic reproduction made by photographing and retouching negatives to insert into blank spaces where it appeared information had been. A print was made from the retouched negative; new information was typed or written on the second print. This print was then photographed and printed. The Warren Commission admitted this was not a simple process: "The preparation of the negative, apart from retouching, would probably have required a very accurate camera, such as would be found in a photographic laboratory or printing plant." The Report stated that OSWALD "probably produced them at Jagger-Chiles-Stovall." Someone had taught OSWALD the trade craft necessary to produce these documents. One CIA intelligence analyst wrote: "Technical Services Division analysis of this document would undoubtedly help decide whether this card was a transparent phony made by OSWALD himself, or by some small-time operator, or whether it was professionally produced. The elaborate A.J. Hidell fabrication, complete with phony draft card, may be more than just the devious clandestinity of OSWALD himself." [CIA "Indications of Witting Intelligence Involvement by OSWALD"]
HEMMING told this researcher: "I had also put a photograph on a draft card. It was trade craft, and it was to accomplish a scheme. My associates didn't have any alias ID, so I built it on the spot. I had blank Selective Service Cards. There's no place there for a photograph, except for a little square where they stamp in your Selective Service address. Then, when I see OSWALD puts a photograph on a Selective Service card a few months later, he's doing this shit a few months later, I thought to myself, 'What the fuck is this?'"
On July 29, 1962, Clarence Archie Abbott, a male Caucasian, born June 24, 1926, at Warren's, Wisconsin, admitted to an FBI agent the theft of a 1958 or 1959 Mercury automobile at Monterey Park, California, and transportation thereof to Biloxi, Mississippi. In a signed statement to the FBI, Clarence Archie Abbott advised that GERRY PATRICK HEMMING JR. was aware of the manner he had obtained the Mercury in California and had accompanied him from California to Mobile, Alabama, and to Biloxi, Mississippi, where HEMMING received a portion of the money from the sale of the Mercury. On February 22, 1962, Clarence Archie Abbott also advised that HEMMING was in possession of blank United States Navy and United States Air Force identification cards and a United States Navy Identification Card filled out in another name. On September 18, 1962, Assistant United States Attorney Donald Strange advised that he did not feel the evidence in these matters was sufficient to obtain a conviction, and would therefore decline prosecution of HEMMING on both violations. [FBI 62-109060-5583] After the assassination, a group of retouched negatives was found in Ruth Paine's garage, among which were retouched negatives of the original identification cards. HEMMING denied having instructed OSWALD to make the draft card photo I.D.
OSWALD picked up both the Mannlicher-Carcano he had ordered on March 12, 1963, and the 38-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver he had ordered from George Rose and Company in Los Angeles on January 27, 1963, on March 25, 1963. Both had been shipped on March 20, 1963. The rifle was at the Post Office and the pistol was at the REA Express office. Had he been instructed to order these weapons by someone familiar with the shipping schedules of both companies? HEMMING told this researcher: "I am familiar with George Rose and Company. They are an Import-Export firm in Los Angeles, my home town." HEMMING also said he had owned two Mannlicher-Carcanos in 1962: "I had those guns since I was 13 years old. I bought them around 1950. Piece of shit fuckin' weapons. Strange isn't it, both of those were taken by Saul Sagué, the guy in Hugh C. McDonald's book, to Honduras in 1962. When he came back, I asked him for the rifles back. He may have given them to the niggers down there. I don't know." Hugh C. McDonald claimed that an assassin named "Saul" was responsible for the death of President John F. Kennedy. HEMMING claimed this was Saul Sagué. A Mario Tauler Sagué took part in an assassination attempt against Fidel Castro: "Summer 1960. Armando Cubria Ramos and Mario Tauler Sague, members of the counter-revolutionary organization La Cruz, were put ashore in the area of Punta Hicacos in Matanzas. CIA had instructed the two to assassinate Fidel Castro and at the same time commit other acts of terrorism and sabotage. When the two hired assassins were arrested they had on them a whole arsenal of equipment provided by the CIA." [Parakal, P. Secret Wars of CIA, 1984 p54 KGB Press]
OSWALD had Marina photograph him with the revolver, the rifle and a Communist paper. He was photographed holding the March 24, 1963, issue of the Worker, and the March 11, 1963, issue of The Militant.
It has been suggested that these photographs were created by splicing OSWALD'S head on someone else's body. This procedure was unnecessary. It was OSWALD'S idea to take these pictures. When questioned about the photographs after the murder, OSWALD realized he made a mistake, and he advised the Dallas Police Department they were doctored and his head had been spliced on. Michael Paine: "When I went over to pick him up for the first time we invited them over to supper with us, the first thing he showed me was that picture of himself taken outside the house there with a rifle and the two documents in his hands." HEMMING told this researcher: "The photographs are unusual. I go along with the proposition that the photos exist. He voluntarily had his picture taken. But it doesn't look like trade craft there. It looks like a fucking stupidity. It doesn't sound like somebody into trade craft...When you start talking guns, you start talking bombs. It's the kind of shit that can blow an operation. It was more of his idea, than someone else telling him to do it. But it kind of fell in. Taking those pictures helped cost him his life. If he connects himself up with a weapon, then he was through dealing." Marina Oswald: "I took the pictures. But the pictures had been tampered with. Guess whose body was on the picture? Roscoe White. [White was a Dallas Police Officer whose son claimed was involved in the assassination.] There was more to it, but it was quickly hushed up."
During World War II, General Edwin A. Walker, a West Point graduate, commanded the 1st Special Service Brigade. It was an elite formation of 900 Americans and 900 Canadians. Soldiers in the unit were demolition experts, parachutists and skiers. In Korea, he commanded the 24th Infantry Division, holding the center of the United Nations line, during some of the heaviest fighting of the Korean war. In 1957 he led federal troops to force school integration in the Little Rock, Arkansas, public schools. A racist, Walker did this only after General Eisenhower refused to accept his resignation from the Army. Walker cited "the fifth column conspiracy and its influences on the home front" as the reason for his resignation. In 1961 General Edwin Walker returned to the news, when it was learned he passed out John Birch Society literature which stated that President Kennedy was a traitor to troops under his command. General Edwin Walker was relieved of his post in Germany by President Kennedy in 1961.
On October 1, 1962, General Edwin Walker was arrested for assault and for resisting or otherwise opposing federal officers, for conspiracy to prevent a federal officer from discharging his duties, and for insurrection and conspiracy to overthrow the U.S. Government, after he led a riot at the University of Mississippi. The University had admitted James Meredith, an Afro-American student. It took 3,000 troops to put down this riot. When General Edwin Walker could not post $100,000 bail, he was committed to the mental ward of the Federal Medical Hospital, Springfield, Missouri, by the Chief Psychiatrist of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, who diagnosed Walker as having a paranoid mental disorder. United States Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy approved this unusual procedure. General Edwin Walker gave the authorities his name, rank and serial number, then issued a statement through his aid, Robert S. Surrey. Walker was soon released on $50,000 bail.
General Edwin Walker was represented by Dr. Robert Morris, a former Counsel with the McCarran Committee (the Internal Security Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee), who later became a prominent Republican and a member of the American Security Council. Dr. Robert Morris was also a former president of the University of Dallas and a unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination for Senator from New Jersey in 1960. Dr. Robert Morris was the candidate of the John Birch Society for U. S. Senate on the Republican ticket. Morris called Walker "America's first political prisoner."
General Edwin Walker became a legendary hero to the far right. In 1962 Walker ran for the Democratic nomination for governor of Texas against John Connally and others. He received nearly 150,000 votes.
General Edwin Walker knew HEMMING and raised funds for INTERPEN. He flew to Miami and met some of INTERPEN'S members. A letter HEMMING wrote to General Edwin Walker in the Spring of 1963 stated:
3350 N.W. 18 Terr.
Miami, 35, Fla.
General Edwin A. Walker June 28, 1963
4011 Turtle Creek Blvd.
Dallas, 19, Texas.
Dear General Walker:
Please convey my best wishes to your family and friends, and I hope this letter finds you enjoying good health and work.
On behalf of the men of that serve in our Instructor Teams, and many others that serve in supporting roles, I want to convey the sincere gratitude of the entire Para-Military Liaison Group (volunteer) for your rapid response to call for assistance.
I received the six hundred dollars via Western Union later in the evening of the same day of my telephone call. Yesterday I received your check of the same amount which I am enclosing for return.
Allow me to elaborate on last weeks happenings. Four of my instructors were arrested by federal agents Wednesday night (June 19, 1963) and subsequently have languished in the hot, humid and badly ventilated Country Jail. These young men were well aware of the risks involved when they volunteered for a difficult and distasteful job. All four have been serving as volunteer instructors and liaison operative for the past three years, without pay, and with great personal sacrifice and hazard.
Of these men, Richard Whatley, a veteran of the U.S. Special Forces (Airborne), was captured by Mexican authorities last year, while on a mission to the Yucatan Peninsula. He and one other instructor were destined to be starved, tortured and degraded for a period of seven months before they were finally released. The Mexicans handed them over to the FBI at the border and they were again jailed at San Antonio, Texas, on a trumped up charge of auto theft. This charge was finally dropped three weeks later because the FBI "discovered" that the legal owner of the alleged stolen car was Howard K. Davis, my colleague and fellow senior instructor. Davis is a former Airborne Ranger, Korean veteran, Paramedic and is a veteran of the Sierra Maestre fighting in Cuba (1957 - 1958).
The aforementioned ex-Special Forces operative was present the night of our detention by Customs agents at Marathon Key, Florida, (December 3, 1962). He held no desire to return to confinement after only two short months of freedom from a Mexican prison. He did successfully avoid capture, and accompanied by his partner from Mexico, made his way safely to another island and later traveled to our camp at No Name Key.
Two months later, during February this year, Dick Whatley and three other instructors were assigned a mission that again involved crossing Mexico to Honduras. None of these men hesitated for a moment in accepting this assignment, even though it meant that should the Mexicans intercept them, they would, without doubt, spend many more months inside a Mexican prison. During four months they moved all over Central America and Mexico. They established excellent new contacts and reaffirmed old ones, and thus will benefit our future operations in those areas.
That mission cost them greatly in personal health, and hard earned funds. One of them required hospitalization on return to Miami. They all required medical treatment for skin ulcers, malnutrition, dysentery and other intestinal disorders, but only one, James Lewis, required surgery to remove fissures aggravated by the dysentery.
You can image what our moral problems are here. A great percentage of the men that serve as volunteer instructors to the Cuban Freedom Fighters usually are forced to quit after two or three embittered months. These men are mostly former Special Forces G/W instructors or are veterans of the Army Airborne, Marine Corps Para-Recon and other branches of the service and have received equivalent instruction. Men of this caliber are hard to come by, and harder to keep on the job once they find what the situation is.
Most of these men leave their homes, jobs and benefits to serve as volunteers without pay, plus they must purchase their own arms and equipment, which very often is later confiscated by the U.S. authorities. A man can take just so much of that and then he disobeys his own conscience and decides that Cuba and the fight against Communists is not worth it. Many of the volunteer instructors bring their hard earned savings with them and donate their all to the cause.
It is hard enough to instruct, go hungry for days, live like an animal for weeks, without having the added discomfiture of knowing the monthly wages you could have earned, are gone down the drain forever. The instructor that underwent surgery, James A. Lewis, since has been on a mandatory rest leave for two months. Jim is a licensed sailing skipper and is at present earning $650 per month, enjoying himself at his favorite hobby. He is Captain of a windjammer that hauls tourists around the Bahamas on the delightful ten day cruises. He is a typical salary level for our men. We have six others that are on rest leave at present. Normal procedure dictates that we require all our instructors to acquire seaman's papers so that if they need a vacation, they don't have to leave the general area in order to earn a good salary. This means they can go to sea for a month or two and earn an average of $475 per month. The lowest-salary man in the group is a mechanic that earns $455 per month at Miami Airport. Quite routinely they donate their earnings towards maintaining the camp, arms, equipment, gasoline, and in many cases they aid a Cuban group...
Much of our personal equipment, arms, clothing, etc. has been sent or delivered by us to the guerillas inside Cuba. At Marathon we lost about $6000 worth of arms and equipment confiscated by the authorities, not including the value of two automobiles, medicine and drugs, gasoline, charts, tools, spare parts etc.
We, as a group, feel that it is for a good cause, Our Country. We plan to continue as before, a small group contributing a small effort towards a big cause. Some of our men, Americans and Cubans, have in the past been captured and executed by Castro. Some are still in Cuban prisons. We cannot forget them or turn our backs and ignore their great contribution, their loss of life or liberty. I expect we will be arrested and jailed many more times before Castro is overthrown. We undoubtedly will lose more men on future operations, but we know this; when the Cuban prisoners are freed, when the mothers of the dead are to be faced, the first question on their lips will be: "What did you do during the fight against Castro?" I feel that when that day arrives, our group can answer, "Very little, but we were there."
Once again I want to thank you and reiterate that your loan of assisting funds will be returned shortly. Must close now, but hoping to hear from you soon, and with best personal wishes, I am,
GERALD PATRICK HEMMING Jr.
On April 10, 1963, OSWALD witnessed, what he believed to be, an assassination attempt against General Walker by HEMMING. Actually HEMMING planned to deliberately miss his target. OSWALD had supplied HEMMING with information on Walker and HEMMING used OSWALD'S Mannlicher-Carcano rifle during the phony assassination attempt. OSWALD'S "homework" in regard to General Walker was to photograph the residence of General Edwin Walker and some nearby railroad tracks, check nearby buildings, bus schedules, etc. OSWALD hid the rifle in some railroad tracks later on.
The purpose of the Walker Incident from HEMMING'S point of view was two-fold. The first was to create a history of violent behavior for OSWALD that would be discovered after the Kennedy assassination. HEMMING had OSWALD create the evidence against himself in the Walker incident. The second was to pay back General Walker for the help he had given INTERPEN because having been shot at by OSWALD would make him into a hero after the Kennedy assassination. HEMMING convinced OSWALD that the assassination of Walker would somehow be advantageous to the right.
HEMMING'S method of operation often involved shots that missed. During my association with him in 1977, HEMMING told two members of his crew (in Spanish) to pull up alongside the car of a man who had arrived at Miami's International Airport, and shoot at him - but miss. About two hours later, a Latin American male entered HEMMING'S office, and told HEMMING, in Spanish, about the incident.
An FBI document confirmed that HEMMING was in Dallas in April 1963 just before someone took a pot shot at General Walker on April 10, 1963. On April 11, 1963, the FBI generated a document titled "FBI, Dallas, Texas. Subject: GERALD PATRICK HEMMING, Lorenzo Hall, Dallas, Texas 2-65 (field) 2-1693 (Bureau)." HEMMING denied being in Dallas at this time and said he wasn't there until July 1963.
In mid-April 1963, HEMMING wrote to President Miguel Ydigoras Fuentes and asked for permission to train anti-Castro fighters in Guatemala. HEMMING told this researcher: "BERNARDO De TORRES reviewed the memo. The letter was hand-delivered to Ydigoras at his home in Miami Beach." On March 10, 1963, Miguel Ydigoras Fuentes met with Miro Cardona: "Miro said that Ydigoras complained about President John F. Kennedy and the U.S. Government in general, saying that neither have conducted themselves well with Guatemala and with him. He was critical of U.S. weakness in dealing with the Communist problem, particularly in respect to Cuba...Ydigoras said that in his own country, Guatemala, only a strong position and continual vigilance has prevented the Communist from striking a successful blow and taking over his country." [CIA Report # TDCS DB-3/653,704 3.10.63]
The FBI reported that "(Deleted) on April 17, 1963, advised that HEMMING is presently working part time as a gardener and continues to reside in Miami and continues to maintain his training camp at No Name Key Florida. (Deleted) explained there are only about six Cuban Nationals presently training at the camp. (Deleted) said that HEMMING is losing his desire to go on a military expedition against Cuba and is now more interested in the political aspect of Cuban revolutionary activities."
Evidence that linked OSWALD to the Walker Incident included the fact that the name and telephone number of General Edwin Walker were found in OSWALD'S address book. OSWALD was aware of Walker and mentioned him frequently to Michael Paine. Like Philbrick, OSWALD idolized Edwin Walker. In an essay entitled "Speech Before..." OSWALD wrote: "Americans are apt to scoff at the Idea, that a military coup in the US, as far as often happans in Latin american countries, could ever relplace our goverment. but that is an idea that has grounds for consideration. which military organization had the potenitialities of executing such action? Is it the army? with its many constripes, its unwieldy size it score of bases scattered across the world? The case of Gen. Walker shows that the army, at least, is not fertail enough ground for a far right regime to go a very long way. for the same reasons of size and disposition - the navy and air force is also to be more or less disregarded. Which service than, can quilalify to launch a coup in the U.S.A. Small size, a permenent hard core of officers and a few bases is necscary only one outfit fits the description and the US Marine Corps a right wing infiltrated organization of dire potential consequences to the freedoms of the U.S. I agree with former President Truman when he said that the Marine Corps should be abolished." [FBI DL 100-10,461 WRH/gm] (Former President Truman never said the Marine Corps should be abolished. He said the CIA should be abolished; however, this was in December 1963: "The operational duties of the CIA should be terminated)." [Wash. Post 12.22.63]
"Before the incident with General Walker I know that LEE was preparing for something. He took photographs of that house and he told me not to enter his room. I didn't know about these photographs, but when I came into the room once in general he tried to make it so I would spend less time in that room. I noticed that quite accidentally one time when I was cleaning the room he tried to take care of it himself. I asked him what kind of photographs are these, but he didn't say anything to me." [WC Vol. 1 pg. 14 2.3.64]
"Marina stated that she had originally seen these photographs about two or three days after the Walker shooting. On this occasion, she smelled smoke in the house which they rented on Neeley Street. She investigated and found LEE HARVEY OSWALD in the bathroom burning pages from a loose leaf notebook. OSWALD identified the paper he was burning as being the plans for the shooting of General Walker. Marina stated these pages came from a loose leaf notebook with a blue cover. She has seen this loose leaf notebook about the house since the Walker incident and knows that OSWALD did not destroy the notebook also. She also recalls seeing a bus timetable in the notebook at the time he was burning the pages. At this time OSWALD had in his hand some photographs. She asked to see the photographs and then asked OSWALD what they were. He identified them as being photographs he had taken of the Walker home. Marina is of the opinion that OSWALD developed and printed the photograph himself as he had available material for such work at his place of employment, and because he did not trust anybody else to do the development and printing." [FBI 2.18.64; CE 1156]
Marina Oswald told S.A. Wallace Heitman that OSWALD showed her a notebook containing photographs of General Edwin Walker's home, and a map of the area where his house was located, three days after the Walker incident. She claimed she told LEE it was a bad idea to keep this book; subsequently she said she smelled smoke in their Neely Street home. When she investigated, she found "OSWALD burning pages from a loose-leaf notebook. OSWALD identified the paper he was burning as plans for General Edwin Walker's shooting. She also recalls seeing a bus timetable in the notebook, at the time he was burning the pages. At this time, OSWALD had in his hand some photographs. She asked to see the photographs, and then asked OSWALD what they were. He identified them as being photographs he had taken of the Walker home." [WCE 1156]
The Warren Commission asked Marina Oswald: "Did you ask LEE why he had not destroyed the book before he actually went to shoot General Edwin Walker?" She answered: "It never came to me myself, to ask him that question...I asked him what for he was making all these entries in the book and he answered that he wanted to leave a complete record, so that all the details would be in it."
From this testimony, the Warren Commission concluded: "OSWALD was not particularly concerned about his continued possession of the most incriminating sort of evidence," because he left it for historical purposes. OSWALD had turned his report over to HEMMING and HEMMING did not return it to him until after the Walker shooting.
On December 3, 1963, Marina Oswald identified five photographs of the Walker residence and some nearby railroad tracks, found among OSWALD'S possessions in Ruth Paine's home, to the FBI and United States Secret Service. The photographs depicted the wall through which the bullet aimed at General Edwin Walker passed, the spot where his assailant stood, and the fencepost upon which the shooter's rifle rested. (The Dallas Police Department found a chipped edge on this fencepost, which indicated something had been laid on it.). A fourth photograph that showed a stretch of railroad tracks was identified by Marina Oswald as having been taken by her husband in connection with the General Edwin Walker shooting. The FBI determined this photograph was taken approximately seven-tenths of a mile from General Edwin Walker's house. Another photograph of railroad tracks found among OSWALD'S possessions was taken from a point slightly less than one-half mile from the house of General Edwin Walker. The Bureau ascertained these photographs were taken with OSWALD'S Imperial Reflex camera.
OSWALD forgot to burn these photographs.
"She does recall she had asked OSWALD when he returned home and confessed he had attempted to assassinate General Walker that night what he had done with the rifle because she was afraid the rifle might be found and traced to OSWALD. In answer to her query, OSWALD told her he had buried the rifle in the ground or in the bushes far away from the actual spot of the shooting. She recalls OSWALD mentioned a field and also a railroad track and she has the impression OSWALD might have meant he hid the rifle in a field near a railroad track. Marina said she recalled OSWALD showing her photographs he had taken of the General Walker home. She also recalled OSWALD had shown her some photographs he had taken which depicted a railroad track. It is her recollection that these railroad tracks were near the Walker house...Marina was asked if OSWALD had mentioned being associated with any other person in connection with the attempted assassination of Walker. She said OSWALD had never mentioned another person in this connection. She said she was sure in her own mind he had planned and attempted the assassination completely alone. She said it was not like OSWALD to be associated with anyone else in such an endeavor...She does recall OSWALD mentioned on one occasion, when they were discussing the Walker incident, a gathering at a church near the Walker house. He told her he had postponed his assassination attempt until the evening of the gathering at this church." [WC CD 1124]
The fact that Marina knew that there was a church meeting on the night of the Walker Incident indicated that OSWALD had discussed this event with her.
On Friday, April 5, 1963, OSWALD was fired from his job at Jagger-Chiles-Stovall for reading a Russian-language Communist newspaper. Robert Surrey, an aide to General Edwin Walker, reported that on Saturday, April 6, 1963, at about 9:00 p.m., "two white men in a 1963 Ford [four door Sedan], dark purple or dark brown, parked in the alley directly behind the complainant's [General Edwin Walker] house. These persons were witnessed getting out of the car and walking up to the property line and smoking the place over." They were dressed in suits. Robert Surrey followed them for thirty minutes as they left the alley and stated: "There was no license plate on this car, either front or rear." On Monday April 8, 1963, Robert Surrey had seen "two men around the house peeking in windows" of the Walker residence. [WR p183; HSCA R p98] When Kennedy came to Dallas in November 1963, Surrey and Walker had "Wanted For Treason" leaflets printed. The Secret Service reported: "Mr. Robert A. Surrey is known to be associated with General Edwin Walker. Information at the (Deleted) indicates that Mr. Surrey is an aide to General Walker." Surrey was President of the American Eagle Publishing Company which was "believed to be controlled by Edwin Walker. Lt. Jack Revill, Criminal Intelligence Section, Dallas Police Department, reports that he has received numerous complaints that the American Eagle Publishing Company is anti-Jewish and anti-Negro. Lt. Revill reports that some organizations from the opposite end of the spectrum try to keep tabs on what the American Eagle Publishing Company is doing. For this reason, it is possible that Mr. Surrey did not want to print the 'Wanted For Treason' leaflets at the American Eagle Publishing Company. (Deleted)." [USSS CO-2-34,030-1505]
Scott Hansen, a Mormon, aged 15, advised that on the night of April 10, 1963, he was attending a Scout meeting at a church that was nearby the Walker residence. "Hansen stated that he recalls observing a 1958 black over white Chevrolet parked along the fence next to Major General Edwin A. Walker's property on the night of April 10, 1963. He stated that he recalled seeing the same automobile parked along this fence on a previous Wednesday, but has not seen the car in the church lot since April 10, 1963." [FBI DL 100-10461 6.4.64 Barrett and Lee]
A Dallas Police report stated: "A witness by ear, Kirk Coleman, w/m 14 states he was sitting in the back room of his home and heard what sounded like a shot. (Illegible) up over the backyard fence and he looked onto the church parking lot he saw some unknown white male speed down the driveway towards Turtle Creek, in either 1949 or 1950 Ford, light green. He then noticed what appeared to be (illegible) with the door open on a 1953 Chevrolet, black with white stripe side down, states this person (illegible) pushed up and was leaning over as if he was putting something into the floorboards. This person got inside the Chevrolet and sped away from the lot. (There was a meeting of some sort at the church and the lot of was full of cars but at the time the witness looked out there they were the only people on the lot)."
When Dallas policeman W.E. Chambers contacted Kirk Coleman, Coleman stated: "that he was in the back room and heard a noise. He thought it was a blowout. The boy who was with him, Ronald Andries said it was a gun shot. Kirk stated that he then ran out the back and climbed the back fence and saw a man getting into a 1949 or 1950 Ford, Light Green or Light Blue and take off. This was on the parking lot of the church next to General Walker's home. Also on further down the parking lot was another car, unknown make or model and a man was in it. He had the dome light on and Kirk could see him bend over the front seat as if he was putting something back in the floorboard. The only description Kirk could give on this car was the fact that it was black with a white stripe. The other boy, Ronald, did not climb the fence, so he did not see this. The only description the boy could give on the person who got into the Ford was that he was middle size and had long, black hair. There were several other cars on the parking lot because some function was in process at the church. The church has lights for the parking lot but Kirk stated the lights were not on. The person that was in the Ford took off in a hurry but the person in the other car did not seem to be in a hurry."
General Edwin Walker believed OSWALD had accomplices: "There were two people in the alley and they were seen by a 15-year-old boy, that was a-carpenterin' with his daddy. The kid saw them sitting in the church parking lot, the two men got into their cars and sped away." [FBI DL-100-10461-6.8.64 Barrett & Lee; 11WH404; WCD 1124]
The HSCA stated: "It is possible that OSWALD'S associates in the Kennedy assassination had been involved with him in earlier activities. The committee conducted a limited investigation to see if leads could be developed that might assist in identifying these possible associates. No leads were developed and this line of inquiry was abandoned." [HSCA R p61]
According to the Warren Commission: "At approximately 9:00 p.m. on April 10, 1963, Major General Edwin A. Walker...narrowly escaped death when a rifle bullet fired from outside his home passed near his head as he was seated at his desk." Marina Oswald related that on Wednesday April 10, 1963, OSWALD left their Neely Street apartment shortly after dinner. He said he was going to typing class at Crozier Technical High School; he last attended Crozier Technical High School on Monday April, 8, 1963. [FBI 62-109090-1859]
The Dallas Morning News reported:
Rifleman Takes Shot at Walker
by Eddie Hughes
A gunman with a high powered rifle tried to kill former Major General Edwin Walker at his home Wednesday night, police said, and missed the controversial crusader by less than an inch. Walker was working on his income tax at 9:30 p.m. when the bullet, identified as a 30.06 crashed through a rear window and slammed though a wall next to him. Police said a slight movement by Walker apparently saved his life. 'Some one had a perfect bead on him,'said Detective Ira Van Cleave, 'Whoever it was certainly wanted to kill him.'
"Walker dug out several fragments of the shell's jacket from his right sleeve and was still shaking glass and slivers of the bullet out of his hair when reporters arrived. Walker said he returned to his Dallas home Monday after an extensive coast-to-coast crusade which he called 'Midnight Alert.' It was on Monday night that one of his assistants noticed a late modeled unlicenced car parked without lights in the alley behind the Walker house at 4011 Turtle Creek. The car remained there for about 30 minutes while several occupants once walked up to the back door to look in, then left. Asked if he had any idea who shot at him, Walker replied: 'There are plenty of people on the other side. You don't have to go overseas to earn a Purple Heart. I've been saying the front was right here at home. When I saw the hole in the wall I went upstairs and got my gun, then went outside to take a look. I didn't see anybody so I went back in the house and notified police."
In May 1977 I questioned General Edwin Walker: "I don't think the Warren Commission would have found out if it was OSWALD unless they had to and were sure of that. He did not deliberately miss. He was dead on me with a telescopic sight. I didn't move. He hit the window framework and the bullet was deflected. There were two people in the alley and they were seen by a kid out in the alley 15 years old that was carpentering with his daddy and he told the police there were two men in the alley...there were two cars. The kid saw them sitting in the church parking lot, the two men got in the cars and drove away. I never heard of OSWALD or knew he was at a DRE meeting."
In 1970 General Edwin Walker recalled, "In my home window today there is a perfect bullet hole through a copper strip." [ltr. Walker/Russell 3.11.70] Dallas Police photographs revealed the bullet nicked the window frame. The trajectory of the high powered bullet would have been changed as a result of this. No tests were ever conducted by the Warren Commission on General Edwin Walker's windows, so it was difficult to determine precisely what role they played. Double click here to see a photo of Walker's window. [Walker.JPEG] The bullet whizzed by General Edwin Walker's arm (he said he had been hit in the right arm by wood, glass or bullet fragments), passed through a wall, then landed on a stack of packages of papers in an adjoining room. The gunman rested his rifle on a wooden fence, slightly chipping it in the process, and had a clear downhill shot at General Edwin Walker. General Edwin Walker could have been easily killed, but only one shot was fired.
On June 6, 1963, S.A. Hosty was informed by an ex-employee of General Walker, William MacEwan Duff, that he was involved in an arrangement to kill General Edwin Walker, with two other men. William MacEwan Duff had received an Undesirable Discharge from the Army on June 2, 1964, by reason of unfitness due to Fraudulent Entry in the Army (concealment of other service). His record contained a letter entitled: "Fraudulent Entry" that stated: "During the entire period of time EM has been assigned he continually cause trouble because of his refusal to tell the truth." Duff came to Dallas where he married Frances Barnard. The marriage was annulled after two weeks.
In June 1963 two private investigators hired by General Edwin Walker told the Dallas Police Department that Duff was planning to kill Walker. These were the two men named by Duff as plotting to kill Walker. Duff was arrested and polygraphed. The polygraph test indicated he had no knowledge of the Walker Incident.
The FBI reported: "Dallas report of S.A. WARREN C. DeBRUEYS dated December 8, 1963, on pages 284 and 285 set out interviews of Marina Oswald on December 3, 1963, and December 4, 1963. She advised during the Spring of 1963 they resided on Neeley Street. One evening in the Spring of 1963 her husband indicated he was going to typing class at the Dallas evening school (Crozier Technical High School where OSWALD last attended on April 8, 1963) where he normally attended two or three times a week. On this particular evening he was very late and arrived home about midnight, very pale, agitated and excited at which time he admitted trying to kill General Walker by shooting at Walker with a rifle. Marina Oswald stated her husband normally would depart the Neeley Street address sometime between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. returning home about 9:00 p.m."
In 1964 Marina told the Bureau: "When he came back, I asked him what happened. He was very pale. I don't remember the exact time, but it was very late. And he told me not to ask him any questions. He only told me he had shot at General Edwin Walker." OSWALD went on that he did not know if he had hit General Edwin Walker; when he learned from the newspapers the next day that he had missed, he told her he was "sorry that he had not hit him." Marina Oswald told the HSCA: "[When he returned late that evening] he turned the radio on and he was very pale and he was listening to the news, changing from station to station. I ask him what it was all about, and he said that he tried to shoot General Edwin Walker. I told him, how dare you take somebody's life and you should not do things like that, I mean you have no right to do it. He said well if somebody shot Hitler at the right time you will do justice to humanity so since I do not know anything about the man I should not talk about it." [Marina's HSCA Test. pg. 383] In 1994 Marina Oswald told this researcher: "All I can tell you is what he told me when he came home. And people have pointed out how nervous he was after that, and he was cool as cucumber after Kennedy? Are you asking me, did I make this up? No. He came home from work, it was late, I found the note in one of the little closets. I confront him when he came what it was all about? Then he turned the radio on. He told me he shot at Walker."
If OSWALD shot at General Edwin Walker he would have known immediately if he hit him or missed him. Marina Oswald pointed out to this interviewer that all she had was her husband's word he shot at General Edwin Walker. She was not a witness to the event. HEMMING was the shooter and knew the outcome of the Walker incident. OSWALD was exaggerating his importance in the event to his wife. He had not done the shooting. If he had, he would have known that he missed.
DeMohrenschildt told the Warren Commission that while he and his wife were visiting the OSWALDS one evening at Neely Street, Marina Oswald remarked that LEE bought a gun and showed it to Mrs. DeMohrenschildt. George DeMohrenschildt told the FBI that this visit occurred on Saturday, April 13, 1963. That year Easter Sunday fell on April 14, 1963. The purpose of the visit was to deliver an Easter present to OSWALD'S daughter. In 1964 Marina Oswald stated "when she had asked her husband what he had done with the rifle, he replied that he had buried it in the ground or had hidden it in some bushes. He also mentioned a railroad track in this connection. She testified that several days later, OSWALD recovered his rifle, and brought it back to the apartment." Marina Oswald stated that OSWALD did not retrieve his rifle until April 14, 1963.
Nonetheless, George DeMohrenschildt claimed he and OSWALD stood in the front room talking, and Marina Oswald opened a closet to show Mrs. DeMohrenschildt the gun; Mrs. DeMohrenschildt called out to her husband in the next room. He did not get a look at it, but remembered a telescopic sight. Marina Oswald told them LEE used it for target shooting. George DeMohrenschildt noted he then "jokingly" asked LEE if he had taken the shot at General Edwin Walker. LEE became tense, "sort of shriveled," and made a face in answer to the question without specifically answering it.
In a State Department interview at the American Embassy, Haiti, on December 1963 the DeMohrenschildts claimed they had seen the rifle in the Fall of 1962, and not the following Spring. In that interview, they claimed the last time they had seen the OSWALDS was in January 1963, not April 1963; they were too busy preparing for their forthcoming trip to Haiti to see LEE and Marina Oswald after that. [HSCA V12 p52] The HSCA asked Marina Oswald whether she exhibited the rifle to the DeMohrenschildts: "I cannot tell you that, not because I am hiding, but because I cannot recall." [HSCA V12 p301]
In George DeMohrenschildt's unpublished manuscript, he blamed the Walker incident on a Jew: "There is another thing which makes me believe that LEE possibly tried to shoot General Edwin Walker. A man, whose name I do not recall, a Jewish man, whom LEE met at Ford's Christmas party, described General Edwin Walker as the most dangerous man in the United States, a potential neo-fascilst [sic] leader. I noticed that LEE kept on asking why. And the other fellow explained clearly his reasons. LEE might have been influenced by this statement." Marina Oswald told this interviewer in 1994: "I think he waited two days before recovering the rifle. They did come and bring that. If it was Easter it had to be Sunday. I liked DeMohrenschildt very much."
OSWALD left a note for Marina Oswald in Russian with practical instructions in case the Walker mission ended in failure. Marina Oswald testified she became agitated the night of the Walker incident when she found the note in OSWALD'S room; she entered the room contrary to his instructions when she began to worry about his absence. She allegedly kept the note, to turn over to the authorities "if something like that should be repeated again." When asked whether LEE requested she return the note, she claimed: "He forgot about it." Marina Oswald did not bring the note to the attention of the Dallas Police Department, but kept the note in a Russian book entitled Useful Advice. Ruth Paine accidentally turned the note over to the Dallas Police Department on December 2, 1963. Michael Paine: "I accept that he took a shot at Walker and nothing came of it. I think he probably meant to kill him, but Walker had the good fortune to duck at the right moment. He wrote a letter and left it with Marina Oswald just before he went out that night. My wife was raked over the coals by the FBI when she quite unwittingly sent that letter to Marina Oswald. Ruth was sending Marina things she thought Marina would like, and this was a book written by Doctor Spock on babies. The FBI came back thinking she was trying to smuggle important information to Marina. So they grilled her, brought her to tears, and she was totally ignorant of that letter being in the book. She had never seen it. And she was very angry at Marina for keeping from her that LEE had done that. Later on, I remember discussing with Ruth why she had done that: Marina Oswald was afraid of being deported back to Russia." Ruth Paine: "This was a book that Marina had read to me from. It was child raising manual. After she left on November 23, 1963, I expected her to come back, but she didn't. So every day or so I would send something the baby that might need - a change of clothing, etc. Mail began to come for her. I would give it to the police. The FBI had overlooked it. Later, I understood Marina had hidden a note in a book. First I heard about it, two guys from the Secret Service came and asked if I knew anything about it. They presented it as if I did know something about it. I said, 'I just sent a book to her.'" The text of the note:
(1) This is the key to the mailbox which is located in the main post office in the city on Ervay Street. This is the same street where the drugstore, in which you always waited is located. You will find the mailbox in the post office which is located 4 blocks from the drugstore on that street. I paid for the box last month so don't worry about it.
(2) Send the information as to what has happened to me to the Embassy and include newspaper clippings (should there be anything about me in the newspapers). I believe that the Embassy will come quickly to your assistance upon learning everything.
(3) I paid the house rent on the second so don't worry about it.
(4) Recently I also paid for water and gas.
(5) The money from work will possibly be coming. The money will be sent to our post office box. Go to the bank and cash the check.
(6) You can either throw out or give my clothing etc. away Do not keep these. However I prefer you hold on to my personal papers (military, civil etc.)
(7) Certain of my documents are in the small blue valise.
(8) The address book can be found on my table in the study should you need same.
(9) We have friends here. The Red Cross also will help you. (Red Cross in English). [sic]
(10) I left you as much money as I could, $60 on the second of the month. You and the baby (apparently) can live for another two months using $10 per week.
(11) If I am alive and taken prisoner, the city jail is located at the end of the bridge though which we always passed on going to the city (right in the beginning of the city after crossing the bridge).
The note referred to the Walker Incident.
1. "This is the key to the mailbox which is located in the main post office in the city on Ervay Street. This is the same street where the drugstore, in which you always waited is located. You will find the mailbox in the post office which is located 4 blocks from the drugstore on that street. I paid for the box last month so don't worry about it."
OSWALD gave Marina Oswald the key to his post office box for the first time. He had previously withheld it from her. OSWALD had Marina Oswald wait in a drugstore rather than accompany him into the main post office on Ervay Street, where OSWALD rented Box 2915 from October 9, 1962, to May 14, 1963. What was he up to at the Post Office?
The Warren Commission: "Although the possibilities of investigation in this area are limited, there is no evidence that any of [OSWALD'S three boxes] were ever used for the surreptitious receipt of messages...The single outstanding key was recovered from OSWALD immediately after he was taken in custody." [WR p312] In 1994 Marina Oswald did not recall having been told to wait in the drugstore while her husband went to the post office: "It was just to remind me where it was."
2. "Send the information as to what has happened to me to the Embassy and include newspaper clippings (should there be anything about me in the newspapers). I believe that the Embassy will come quickly to your assistance upon learning everything."
OSWALD feared his action might escape notice not only by the Washington newspapers, where the Soviet Embassy was located, but by the local media in Dallas. General Edwin Walker was headline news in 1963; even the anonymous pot shot made the front page of the Dallas Morning News. OSWALD was incredibly stupid.
OSWALD was about to commit a political act which would be viewed sympathetically by the Soviets. According to Marina Oswald: "LEE said he was a very bad man, that he was a fascist, that he was the leader of a fascist organization...if someone had killed Hitler in time it would have saved many lives." [WR p406]
3. "I paid the house rent on the second so don't worry about it. Recently I also paid for water and gas. The money from work will possibly be coming. The money will be sent to our post office box. Go to the bank and cash the check." The reference to OSWALD'S check having been mailed to his Post Office Box meant the letter was written sometime after April 5, 1963, when he lost his job at Jagger-Chiles-Stoval.
4. "You can either throw out or give my clothing etc. away Do not keep these. However I prefer you hold on to my personal papers (military, civil etc.) Certain of my documents are in the small blue valise. The address book can be found on my table in the study should you need same." OSWALD was about to commit a crime that could result in a stiff prison sentence.
5. "We have friends here. The Red Cross also will help you. (Red Cross in English). [sic] I left you as much money as I could, $60 on the second of the month. You and the baby (apparently) can live for another two months using $10 per week. If I am alive and taken prisoner, the city jail is located at the end of the bridge though which we always passed on going to the city (right in the beginning of the city after crossing the bridge)." OSWALD was going after a former General , a tough customer. He could have been killed or taken prisoner. [DeMohrenschildt/W WR p282; WR pp. 416, 738, 592; HSCA R pp. 98, 60, 62]
Marina Oswald told this researcher 1994: "If he was apprehended as you said, but something more will be printed, then identify people who tried to shoot at Walker as it was in newspapers, you follow me? Maybe the Embassy would help me to go back to Russia? He was giving instructions where to go if he doesn't come home. Maybe he was with a group and maybe they would kill him. It's unlikely Walker would have killed him. The police aren't going to kill him. The message of the thing was that he had a mission or had another second life. He did not indulge in a explanation to me. I knew nothing about it. So, if something happened to me, he was just giving directions to go to get help. Maybe somehow also he betrays himself by saying it. That's a giveaway without him realizing that. The note did not say he was going to kill Walker. He came home without that rifle. What was all that about? If HEMMING put my husband up to this, the main thing was to show LEE was a killer."
The Warren Commission Report stated: "Specimen Q188 was fired from a barrel rifled with four lands and grooves, right twist. Mannlicher-Carcano rifles of the type used in the Kennedy assassination are among those which produce general rifling impressions such as were found on specimen Q188." FBI ballistics expert Robert Frazier apprised the Commission that relatively few types of rifles could produce the characteristics found on the bullet. [WR p186]
The FBI's tests did not prove conclusively the bullet was fired from a Mannlicher-Carcano or was fired from OSWALD'S Mannlicher-Carcano rifle to the exclusion of all others: "The FBI was unable to reach a conclusion as to whether or not the bullet recovered from the house of General Edwin Walker had been fired from the rifle found in the Texas School Book Depository." The FBI reported: "Bullet submitted as recovered from Walker's home has same physical characteristics as the bullet and bullet fragments recovered in connection with the assassination of President Kennedy. Walker bullet is 6.5 MM caliber bullet fired from a four land and groove, right twist barrel Mannlicher-Carcano rifles of type used in the assassination are among those which produce rifling characteristics such as on Walker bullet. Not possible to determine whether or not Walker fired from rifle used in assassination due to extreme distortion and mutilation and because individual microscopic marks produced by barrel may have changed subsequent to time Walker bullet fired." [Memo R.H. Jevons to Conrad 12.4.63] The FBI Lab Report that this document was based on stated: "The copper jacket and the lead core of the Q188 bullet were determined to be slightly different in compositions from the copper jackets and lead cores of the Q1 and Q2 bullets. Although the differences in composition between the Q-188 and the Q-1 and Q-2 bullets were small and do not indicate that these bullets came from the same box. It is to be noted that there is no assurance in the fabrication of ammunition that all the ammunition ending up in one box possesses bullets from the same batch of metal, that is, with the same composition." [NARA HSCA 180-10100-10288]
The HSCA: "The firearms panel of the committee examined the bullet fragment that was removed from the wall in the home of General Edwin Walker and found that it had characteristics similar to bullets fired from OSWALD'S Mannlicher-Carcano rifle. In addition, neutron activation analysis of this fragment confirmed that it was probably a Mannlicher-Carcano [6.5 millimeter] bullet."
HEMMING used OSWALD'S Mannlicher-Carcano rifle to shoot at Walker. Any tests conducted on the bullet would show that it was fired from a rifle whose barrel had the same or similar rifling characteristics to OSWALD'S.
In the original story about the Walker shooting in the Dallas Morning News, Q188 was identified as a 30.06: "Walker was working on his income tax at 9:30 p.m. when the bullet, identified as a 30.06 crashed through a rear window and slammed though a wall next to him."
An early police report described the bullet as "of unknown caliber, steel jacketed." [Supp. Offense Report 4.10.63]
General Edwin Walker did not believe that the bullet fired at him was in the possession of the HSCA and he sent this Mailgram to Robert Blakey: "The bullet before your Select Committee called the Walker bullet is not the Walker bullet. It is not the bullet that was fired at me and taken out of my house by the Dallas City Police on April 10, 1963. The bullet you have was never gotten from me, or taken out of my house, by anyone at any time."
The FBI investigated General Edwin Walker's contention. Billy Gene Norvell discovered the bullet in the home of General Edwin Walker. On June 3, 1964, Norvell advised an FBI agent that "...he then picked up the bullet and scratched his initials 'B.N.' or his initial 'N' on the base of it." Norvell gave the bullet to B.G. Brown of the Crime Scene Search Section of the Dallas Police Department. Brown stated that he marked the bullet. On April 25, 1963, J.C. Day transported the bullet to the City/County Criminal Investigation Laboratory, where he turned it over to F.T. Alexander and Louie L. Anderson: "Lieutenant Day advised that he retrieved the Walker bullet from the CCCIL on December 2, 1963, and gave it to FBI S.A. Bardwell Odum on that date...S.A. Odum forwarded the Walker bullet to the FBI Laboratory."There, it was initialed JH and RF.
In June 1979 the FBI examined the bullet for the officers initials who were links in the chain of evidence: "Identifiable marks were found inscribed on varying portions of the bullet itself. It must be understood that certain markings are clearly discernible, others admit of more than one interpretation, while others may be obscured by oxidation or otherwise." The markings found were, "Q 188," and letters which appeared to be as follows: "HJ," "RF," "N," "B," "J," "D," "A," "O" or "D." The bullet was contained in an original Dallas Police evidence box: "The cover (top) of the box bears 'HJ, RF, April 10, 1963, 4011 Turtle. CK Burg by F.A. BGB Q 188. The inside bottom of the box bears 'Day 7640' and the outside bottom bears '7640 Day' as well as 'Q 188' and 'Rm.'" [FBI Director to Keuch 62-117290-144 7.3.79]
HEMMING owned a 30.06 rifle at this time, however, it was unlikely that he would have utilized it in the Walker attack, when he had OSWALD'S Mannlicher-Carcano rifle at his disposal. The rationale behind the Walker attack was to create a history of violence for OSWALD by linking him to the Walker incident. Firing at Walker with OSWALD'S Mannlicher-Carcano would further this end. The newspaper reporter who stated that the bullet was a 30.06 may have gotten his information from Walker. Walker was convinced the bullet the FBI had was not the one taken from his wall, however, Walker was a crackpot. The initials on the bullet matched those of the police officers who handled it.
An FBI document dated December 4, 1963, to the SAC, Dallas, from SA (Deleted), Subject, Edwin A. Walker, Information Concerning, stated: "Assistant Director William C. Sullivan called at 3:10 a.m. and instructed he receive a return telephone call and be filled in on the details relating to the alleged bullet being shot into the home of Edwin Walker. I returned the call and advised Mr. Sullivan that the General Walker shooting details are not contained within the Dallas files. However, I mentioned that a slug obtained from the Dallas Police Department had been sent to the Laboratory for examination, and the transmittal letter reflects the slug was recovered from Walker's home through a window and that no one has been identified as firing the bullet. Mr. Sullivan then instructed that Agents review Dallas newspaper morgues first thing Wednesday morning, November 4, 1963, and the details be obtained and furnished him by teletype. Mr. Sullivan cautioned this be done discreetly since no one knows of OSWALD'S possible involvement in the shooting. Lead (AM, November 4, 1963) Immediately review morgues for new articles on or about April 10, 1963 relating to General Walker shooting. Prepare detailed teletype, attention: Assistant Director Sullivan. Addendum: In connection with the Walker case, FBI S.A. Kenneth Howe advised that (deleted) called him (Howe) on evening of December 3, 1963, and said an unidentified (deleted) mentioned 'I suppose you (deleted) know about it - OSWALD taking a shot at Walker - he admitted to it in a letter to his wife. 2- Dallas (Deleted)'" [FBI 157-218-45 re. 1983]
OSWALD allegedly chose an enemy of President John F. Kennedy as his first target before assassinating President John F. Kennedy. The HSCA: "Kennedy and Walker hardly shared a common political ideology. As seen in terms of American political thinking, Walker was a staunch conservative, while the President was a liberal...It can be argued, however, that from a Marxist's perspective, they could be regarded as occupying similar positions." Most Communist Party-oriented Marxists believed that certain capitalist forces were more progressive than others and should be encouraged.
The Warren Report stated that OSWALD'S attack on General Edwin Walker betrayed a predisposition to take human life. Once the Warren Commission established this, the Walker attack became probative evidence OSWALD killed President John F. Kennedy. [WR p187] HEMMING told this researcher: "OSWALD didn't do the Walker shooting. The whole clownish story of the Walker shooting: he's gonna ride a bus with a rifle. Oh, he breaks it down, and rides the bus. Then he hides it somewhere in the railroad tracks and picks it up. Jesus Christ.
"Marina had the battered wife syndrome, as they call it today. Let me tell you, if he was doing that kind of shit, she would have blown the whistle in a heartbeat to keep her kids. Why should her kids suffer for this kind of activity? In the Soviet Union, whatever you do - your family is going to pay for it. You talk about deterrence of crime, police states have got it. She's gonna come over here, from that kind of society, and she's gonna look around and think this country's any goddamn different? How the fuck would she know? What would she have done in the Soviet Union if he started talking about hitting the Kremlin? She would have snitched him out. What was the difference in her frame of mind between living in Minsk and living in Dallas, Texas. No difference. Whatever she would have done there, she would have done in Dallas. So all this bullshit about her being aware, this was to dirty her up, to get her to admit that kind of shit.
"We got suspicious of Walker when he went out there just a short time after somebody took a shot at him, yet we were sitting in Walker's study with the curtains open, the lights on, bullshitting with Walker until 5:00 a.m. in the morning. We're thinking, 'What's gonna keep the rig from coming back?' And we're sitting there with him. He took no security precautions at all after the shooting. Either this guy's a total fucking nut or he knows something we don't know. Me and Howard Davis are kinda wondering if he must have had something to do with setting it up himself. This was May 1963. We were out there again in July and we were wondering, 'Maybe Walker's people set it up to promote Walker?' Or maybe some of the right wing people in Dallas, to promote Walker, conned OSWALD into you know, all speculation. Walker had already met with some of our Texas financial backers. The backers were backing Walker. We hadn't elected Walker our leader."
On April 18, 1963, the Soviet Embassy, Washington, sent Marina Oswald a letter requesting that she come in for an interview. If this was impossible, it suggested she furnish her reasons for beginning proceedings for permission to enter the Soviet Union for permanent residence in writing. Marina Oswald did not follow up on her request until June 1963. Then she informed the Soviets that her husband would be accompanying her back to the Soviet Union. Marina Oswald and LEE OSWALD had planned to separate, now they were back together again. HEMMING told this researcher: "It could have been a homesick thing, Cubans, Russians, everybody goes through this shit. But when it comes down to the nitty-gritty, where she's got to make the decision voluntarily - and he's talking about going back? We are led to believe that he's trying to convince her to go back because she's supposedly writing these letters for him to the Soviet Embassy in D.C. And he's going back? Bullshit. Did you get what I just said?" Marina Oswald told this researcher: "He made me to write letters to Embassy. Go away. He cannot tell me why."
The Warren Commission stated "Some time between April 12, 1963, and April 18, 1963, OSWALD distributed Fair Play for Cuba Committee materials in Dallas apparently uneventfully." OSWALD wrote a letter on April 19, 1963, to the Fair Play for Cuba Committee in New York, requesting literature and announcing he had already distributed Fair Play for Cuba Committee pamphlets in Dallas:
P.O. Box 2915
Dear Sirs: I do not like to ask for something for nothing but I am unemployed. Since I am unemployed, I stood yesterday for the first time in my life, with a placare around my neck, passing out fair play for cuba pamplets, ect. I only had 15 or so. In 40 minutes they were all gone. I was cursed as well as praised by some. My homemake placard said: 'HANDS OFF CUBA! VIVA Fidel. I now ask for 40 or (50) more of the fine, basic pamplets - 14."
HEMMING told this researcher: "Never happened. The White Russians wouldn't have stood for it. He never gave out the leaflets. There were no pro-Castro demonstrations in Dallas. He would have got his ass kicked.
The FBI had several informants in the Fair Play for Cuba Committee and had burglarized the offices of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. On April 21, 1963, the FBI in New York City became aware of OSWALD'S letter.
The news about OSWALD'S contact with the Fair Play for Cuba Committee did not reach S.A. Hosty until early June 1963. The FBI: "A Special Agent in New York was censured for failing to promptly disseminate information on the Fair Play for Cuba to Dallas concerning OSWALD. Another Special Agent in New York was censured for failing to insure that Fair Play for Cuba information concerning OSWALD was more promptly disseminated to Dallas." S.A. Hosty had been instructed to be on the alert for Fair Play for Cuba Committee activities in Dallas, yet when he received the telex about OSWALD'S leafleting, he claimed the information was "stale." He made no attempt to verify OSWALD'S claim of having distributed leaflets: "When I got it, it was approximately six or seven weeks old, past the date it allegedly took place..."
S.A. Hosty refused to investigate OSWALD despite his contacts with the notorious and highly subversive Fair Play for Cuba Committee.
When the Fair Play for Cuba Committee was first formed, the CIA commented: "We bet this one winds up on the Attorney General's list." The announcement of the formation of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee was made on April 5, 1960, at a cocktail party given by Cuban Consulate. On April 6, 1960, a full-page advertisement in The New York Times listed Richard Gibson, authors James Baldwin, Truman Capote, Norman Mailer, Jean Paul Sartre, Robert Taber (a Robert Taber born May 10, 1919; died in September 1981) and others as sponsors.
Robert Taber's CIA file reflected allegations that he served a term in the penitentiary in the 1930's for armed robbery. It was reported in 1950 he was a Communist. He became interested in Fidel Castro's revolutionary movement in 1957, when he served in the mountains with the Castro forces. A Passport Record check in 1962 noted that he may have lost his U.S. citizenship because of this. A 1960 Domestic Contacts Division report categorized him as a resentful, frustrated foreign correspondent. He received extensive publicity in 1961 when he defected to Cuba because he was facing a perjury charge in the United States: he had testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee that the full-page advertisement in The New York Times was paid through voluntary contributions, but the FBI developed evidence that Cuba's delegation to the United Nations advanced the money. [CIA F82-0489] Fifteen months later Robert Taber returned to the United States and was questioned in closed session by the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee. In March 1964 Robert Taber applied for employment with the CIA. The CIA's Office of Security rejected him because "In view of Subject's notorious background, which raises serious questions on his honesty, loyalty, integrity and (deleted) trustworthiness, (deleted). Leo J. Dunn." [CIA Memo 3.13.64 Chief, Personnel Security Division] HEMMING told this researcher: "Taber went up in the mountains for the Agency. He put out money for a hit on Fidel. St. George went up there. He was a stalking horse to take out Fidel. He had a price on his head."
The CIA believed the Fair Play for Cuba Committee was controlled and financed by Cuba. It uncovered evidence that a U.S. national in the Fair Play for Cuba Committee had been given the monopoly on the distribution of Cuban cigars. [CIA F82-0489/3] The Fair Play for Cuba Committee immediately came under intensive FBI investigation. [CIA F82-0489/28; F82-0489/2] By January 1961 the Justice Department solicited its registration as a Cuban Government agency. However, the organization advised through an attorney that it would not register. The Justice Department had already forced the 26th of July Movement to register, listing its foreign principal as the 26th of July Movement, Havana, Cuba. In April 1961 the Fair Play for Cuba Committee charged that the CIA organized troops to invade Cuba, and were training in Louisiana, Florida, and Guatemala, in violation of the Charter of the United Nations. [NYT 4.18.61] The CIA penetrated the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. According to the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Richard Helms, to "monitor" a group was merely to attend its public meetings and hear what any citizen present would hear; to "infiltrate" a group was to join it as a member and appear to support its purposes in general; to "penetrate" a group was to gain a leadership position, and influence or direct its policies and actions. [RR fn p152] In 1979 Richard Helms was asked if he was familiar with the Fair Play for Cuba Committee: "I recall the name Fair Play for Cuba Committee, but I can't, for the life of me, remember whether it was pro-Castro or anti-Castro at this stage."
A member of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee National Office was recruited as a CIA asset during the CIA's investigation of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. When Richard Gibson was questioned at the American Embassy, Paris, he explained his motivation for working in an organization like the Fair Play for Cuba Committee was purely economic. In 1994 the CIA released a document that indicated Richard T. Gibson had been indirectly hired by the Agency. [CIA Memo 10.7.76 Joel Keys to Rod Brooks; CIA ltr. 10.20.76] Richard Gibson headed the New York Office of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee before he was replaced by V.T. Lee. This researcher met V.T. Lee circa 1977. V.T. Lee was a violent individual who believed the Jews had exaggerated the holocaust. [CIA F82-0489/9; FBI 105-82555-124, 355; CIA 637-799, 416-755, 387-738, 102, 375-155; WCE 799; WCD 137, 6; WCE 1154; WR pp.729, 407, 14, 435] HEMMING told this researcher: "OSWALD got the name of V.T. Lee from Senator Eastland's publication, Castro's Network in the U. S. V.T. Lee's testimony had been taken in 1961 and kept secret until April 1963. In there he's got a guide manual and addresses of people targeted by Eastland. He's given this shit before it's made public. They give it in the galley format and he's reading this stuff before it's available to the public. He focused on Lee because of the hearings. Who ever heard of V.T. Lee in our circles? I never heard of the son-of-a-bitch. The highest priority was to nail V.T. Lee, the insolent son-of-a-bitch, who, while giving testimony, snitched out Eastland for taking bribes from Trujillo and Somoza. So OSWALD gets recruited in the fucking deal. 'Pro-Castro' people with guns taking a shot at Walker. 'Pro-Castro' people with guns taking a shot at the President. Get the picture. This is what OSWALD'S going along with. Somebody's gonna pop a couple of caps. They are going to be labeled pro-Commie. There going to have pamphlets and histories, they're going to be connected with V.T. Lee and they are going to bust V.T. Lee for running an armed group of pro-Castro Cuban agents. That's where the whole assassination thing got fucked up. Too many fucking people trying to do crazy shit for their own fucking agenda. That's why the cover up was so sloppy. Because there was so much to cover up. Everybody was stumbling over everybody else."
After the assassination Marina Oswald was instructed to say that NIXON was one of OSWALD'S targets in April 1963, when NIXON was scheduled to travel to Dallas.
During an interview with the FBI Robert Edward Oswald advised that on January 13, 1964, James Herbert Martin had told him that Marina Oswald said that when RICHARD NIXON visited Dallas, date not indicated, OSWALD intended to shoot him. Robert Edward Oswald said that Marina Oswald related the same story to him on January 13, 1964, when they visited OSWALD'S grave. Marina Oswald told this researcher: "What did I know about NIXON matter? Don't forget I'm only 23 years old. My husband is an accused assassin. You think I'm going to tell everything about him when he's in hot water? You defend your husband. I told them all eventually, but I did not tell them immediately."
In January 1964 Marina told the FBI:"Approximately two weeks after the Walker incident, and while they resided on Neely Street, [between April 10, 1963 and April 22, 1963] some time between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. OSWALD dressed himself in a suit and tie and put a pistol under his jacket. OSWALD was unemployed. Marina Oswald asked where he was going and OSWALD replied, 'NIXON is coming, and I'm going to take a look.'"
A. I was scared because he was going with the gun and he said, "Mr. NIXON is coming to town and I am just going to look around." I said, "Well, I said, how can you look around? Why do you need a gun just to look around?" So we were having a big argument and fight.
Q. Did you know who Mr. NIXON was?
A. Yes, I heard of him in Russia, yes.
Q. And you knew that was the same Mr. NIXON that you heard of?
Q. What started the fight between you and LEE?
A. Well, I didn't want him to leave the house with a gun.
Q. What happened?
A. Well he stayed home all day, he didn't go out.
Q. Did he just voluntarily stay home?
A. Well I already told you before that everybody asked him the same silly question, how does a small woman lock him in the bathroom and things like that. I did not know. He wanted to provoke me. I just now can speculate about his state of mind, what the reasons were for it. Maybe just to punish me.
Q. How did he get into the bathroom?
A. Well we fought and I cannot give you the details right now. First there was a struggle and I guess I pushed him in, so somehow he went there, and I held the door for a long time, but I could not go on holding the door, so I finally begged and pleaded with him and he said he would not go and I believed him. So then I told him to take the clothes off. I know that he cannot go without the clothes, so he sat and read the books then.
Q. Was he trying as hard as he could?
A. Before I said I didn't hold the gun. Well, if I asked him to give me the gun then, for example, during the fight, I could have held it and hidden it somewhere so he would not leave.
Q. How did he give you the gun? Was he still in the bathroom?
A. Could be. It was a second floor and there were stairs. There was a little like a platform there or a small hall. I don't know if he gave it to me or I took it, I don't remember.
Q. Was he trying as hard as he could, do you think, to get out of the bathroom.
A. Well, at the beginning he would have probably have tried but, well, it was quite loud and I was embarrassed that the neighbors that lived below would hear us fighting and fussing...LEE took off his shoes, pants, and shirt, gave me his pistol, remained in the bathroom for three hours, then came out and sat around the apartment in his underwear the rest of the day.
Marina Oswald told the Warren Commission that she went into the bathroom and called her husband. When he was in the bathroom, she jumped outside and held the door shut behind her, holding onto the doorknob and bracing her feet against the wall so her husband could not push the door open. The Warren Commission did not believe Marina Oswald. First, the bathroom door opened from the inside, so OSWALD would be pulling the door open, not pushing it as Marina Oswald described. Secondly, there was no lock on the outside of the door. OSWALD could have pulled on the doorknob and gotten out.
Even the FBI did not believe this tale: "The Director had indicated it seemed a little incongruous that she had been able to lock her husband in a bathroom for all, or part of, a day when he was supposed to be a man of violent temper and one would think he would have broken down the door..." J. Edgar Hoover: "I stated why she did not tell us about this NIXON matter, I did not know, as she told us about the General Edwin Walker matter. I stated my reaction about this business of locking LEE in the bathroom is that there is something fishy here because she would not be able to do this because he beat her up on occasion...I stated it was a fact NIXON was there the day before the assassination and it will be a sensational story because he is former Vice President and very anti-communist." [FBI Hoover to Tolson 2.24.64]
HEMMING told this researcher: "OSWALD was a macho guy. Arguing with people. Slapping his old lady around. He ain't gonna kick the door down, then beat the shit out her, then fuck her? In our group you're talking about heavy testosterone Rambo types. There ain't no fucking wimps in our group. He had the Marine Corps razz-a-matazz behind him too. The killing machine shit." Marina Oswald said "No one could dominate [my husband]." [CIA 673-280]
HEMMING told this researcher: "I don't think he said anything to her about NIXON and she wouldn't remember anyway who the fuck NIXON was. Where would she get a picture of him or an article or anything to lock into her memory banks who the son-of-a-bitch was? Everybody carried a gun in Texas. 'Take a look' don't mean shit. Most of it would be to show a psychological profile of a guy who was down on anybody in a leadership capacity, regardless of his political party. The whole gist of the psychological profile is 'This guy kills leaders.' That's the profile they want to push. He didn't say anything about Kennedy to her, when he says something about NIXON? If it is true, someone must have told him NIXON'S coming. Only NIXON'S friends would know. How does OSWALD get to one of his friends? Anyone who's friendly to RICHARD NIXON, what the fuck are they doing talking to OSWALD? With his reputation as a defector? She was programmed. When you've been threatened by government people, you think it ever goes away? When you've been raised in a police state? It could be someone told her to make up that story."
The FBI reported Marina Oswald did not know who NIXON was when this incident occurred, and did not recall OSWALD ever mentioning NIXON'S name prior to the incident. During and after the incident, NIXON was not discussed. Marina Oswald told the Warren Commission, she knew NIXON once ran for the Presidency, but still claimed to know little about him. When Marina Oswald testified before the HSCA in 1978 she changed her story: "I had heard of him [NIXON] in Russia." She was then asked, "You knew that that was the same Mr. NIXON that you had heard of?" She answered, "Yes."
James Hosty said, "Some people think OSWALD was talking about Johnson and that she didn't know the difference between Johnson and NIXON. Vice President Johnson, Vice President NIXON." In 1994 Marina Oswald told this researcher that she knew who NIXON was at the time: "I am from Russia and I am not idiot. He was a political figure in America."
The FBI checked with a close associate of NIXON in Dallas, Maurice Carlson, President, Reliance Life and Accident Insurance Company, who advised the Bureau that NIXON had been invited to Dallas in April 1963, by the Southeast Dallas Chamber of Commerce, to receive its annual "Good American" award. At the last minute NIXON was unable to attend.
Maurice Carlson later advised the FBI: "He was previously confused as to the South and East Dallas Chamber of Commerce inviting RICHARD NIXON to speak in April 1963 to their annual banquet. He stated efforts were made to get Barry Goldwater but they did not work out...Carlson stated to his knowledge NIXON was not in Dallas in 1962 and was here only once in 1963, on November 21, 1963." Maurice Carlson, 75, died on December 28, 1989.
The FBI questioned Robert R. Parks who was a member of the South and East Dallas Chamber of Commerce. Robert R. Parks was in charge of finding a speaker for the annual banquet. Robert R. Parks said to his knowledge, "at no time was NIXON ever invited to speak before the South and East Dallas Chamber of Commerce and particularly he was not invited to do so in April 1963. Check at newspaper morgue at Dallas Morning News for period March 16, 1963 to May 16, 1963 last negative regarding NIXON visit to Dallas." [NARA 124-10169-10365] Peter O'Donnell, Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas knew of no invitation or publicity concerning Mr. NIXON in 1963 other than the time he was in Dallas in November 1963. [FBI 105-82555-2652]
The FBI checked all the Dallas media but there was no publicity anywhere about NIXON'S Dallas trip.
February 26, 1964.
TO: Mr. Sullivan
FROM: Mr. Branigan
On a teletype from the Dallas Office which reported the results of the interview of Marina Oswald concerning the alleged threat of OSWALD to shoot former Vice President Richard Nixon, the Director inquired, "Approximately what date would NIXON incident be?"
The Dallas office reported that Marina Oswald put the date at approximately two weeks after the Walker incident. Since the Walker incident occurred April 10, 1963, the date of the NIXON incident would be approximately April 24, 1963.
Information developed by the Dallas Office casts considerable doubt on the validity of the story related by Marina Oswald. It will be noted that Mr. Maurice Carlson, President of the Reliance Life and Accident Company, had previously indicated that former Vice President RICHARD NIXON was scheduled to appear in Dallas, April 1963, to receive an award from the Chamber of Commerce. On recontact Carlson admits he was mistaken in furnishing his first information. A check at the newspaper morgue of the Dallas Morning News for the period of March 16, 1963, to May 16, 1963, was negative as to any publicity concerning a visit of former Vice President NIXON to Dallas. It is inconceivable that a person of the public stature of former Vice President NIXON could visit Dallas without some public notification. We have furnished the available information on the NIXON incident to the President's Commission and we will have to completely run this out until we are satisfied we have arrived at the truth. Action: The quickest and most satisfactory way to resolve whether former Vice President NIXON visited or intended to visit in Dallas in 1963 is to ask him. Attached is a teletype to the New York Office instructing that former Vice President NIXON be interrogated to determine if during 1963 he had any invitation or any intention to visit Dallas and whether, in fact, he did so visit in that city. [Hoover's handwritten note] He was in Dallas the day before the assassination of Pres. Kennedy. H." [NARA FBI 124-10021-10303]
The FBI also reported: "We located no articles indicating Mr. NIXON planned a trip to Dallas during the aforementioned period (May 15, 1963 to October 1, 1963)...We contacted Mr. NIXON'S office and ascertained that Miss Rosemary Woods did not have the article in question, but she believed such article did appear in a Dallas newspaper..."
The FBI interrogated NIXON on February 28, 1964: "On February 28, 1964, the Honorable RICHARD M. NIXON, former Vice President of the U.S., was contacted by Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Office, John F. Malone, and furnished the following information: Mr. NIXON advised that the only time he was in Dallas, Texas, during 1963 was two days prior to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He vaguely thought there was some invitation extended during the early part of 1963, probably in April, for him to come to Dallas, but that it never materialized, nor did he give any consideration to going there. Mr. NIXON could not even recall the circumstances surrounding the invitation, but did observe that conceivably there could have been some publicity indicating that he had been invited to come to Dallas. Mr. NIXON said that if anything more concrete comes to his mind or after his secretary checks his records, which would indicate the circumstances surrounding this, he would immediately notify the FBI. He did say positively that he had no intention of visiting Dallas during April 1963. [WCE 1973]
Isaac Don Levine, an associate of RICHARD NIXON, collaborated with General Walter Krivitsky, a Soviet defector, on a book titled, I Was in Stalin's Secret Service. In 1939 General Walter Krivitsky was found mysteriously dead in a hotel room.
In 1939 Isaac Don Levine met with Whitaker Chambers, who worked for the Department of State, and Adolf Berle, the head State Department's Office of Security. Whitaker Chambers alerted Adolf Berle to the existence of Communist espionage at the State Department. Isaac Don Levine helped persuade Whitaker Chambers to testify against Alger Hiss, a State Department official, during Alger Hiss' espionage trial in 1948. Isaac Don Levine testified at this trial: he said that Whitaker Chambers had told him in 1939 that Alger Hiss had destroyed all evidence linking him to the Soviets, except for some typewritten pages (typed on a 'Woodstock' typewriter) and microfilm (later found in a pumpkin).
NIXON told White House Counsel John Dean, "We built the typewriter in the Hiss case." Author Tony Summers reported that in 1960 the FBI considered using forgery to neutralize a member of the Communist Party by "exposing" him to his colleagues as an FBI informant. The scheme involved typewriter forgery. J. Edgar Hoover remarked: "To alter a typewriter to match a known model would take a large amount of typewriter specimens and weeks of laboratory work." [Summers Secret Life Hoover p167] Alger Hiss insisted the incriminating documents produced by the prosecution had been typed on a fake model Woodstock typewriter deliberately constructed by his enemies to match his own. Alger Hiss was convicted of perjury, not espionage. Author David Leigh reported that BRIDE, an National Security Administration code-breaking program, "gave clues which led to the prosecution of Hiss." [Wilson Plot p6] In 1992 the head of Russian Military Intelligence was advised that a search had been completed of the now-defunct KGB records for traces on Alger Hiss. There were none, although written records may have not been kept.
RICHARD NIXON attempted to frame Alger Hiss for espionage.
Isaac Don Levine was tied to Eastern European exile groups and was a trustee of the American Committee for Liberation from Bolshevism. This committee, under the guiding hand of Frank Wisner, funded numerous émigré research institutes that employed ex-Nazi intelligence officers. [Loftus CAIB Winter 1986; Ziger Memo To: Rankin Fm: Slawson 9.6.64; Levine WC Test pp.14-16] Levine was an associate of Cuban exile Mario Kohly.
In 1964, during the Warren Commission Hearings, Isaac Don Levine told Allen Dulles: "I ascribe utmost importance to the whole matter of these Argentines. The two girls [the daughters of Alexander Ziger]. They were in Minsk, but Marina has address of relative in the United States. Marina and LLE OSWALD smuggled out a letter or a manuscript for the Argentine family with them when they came...It was not clear whether it was he or she who smuggled it. I was surprised and asked her how did LEE take out something like that? Well, the implication was rather nice -- that he was warm-hearted -- that he was kind. They were stuck and it had to do with a communication to one relative in the United States and others in Argentina. To try to get those two girls out and never had a word. The old folks had given up their Argentine citizenship, but the girls were born in Argentina and claimed that by right as their citizenship. Mr. Dulles, if their [emigration] could be arranged, it would be worthwhile. The Soviet Union is not going to hold two Argentine citizens even though they were friends of OSWALD'S. They are not quite that smart" Allen Dulles replied it was a matter of finding the right contacts, possibly the Argentine Ambassador to the Soviet Union, and having him intervene. Isaac Don Levine wanted Allen Dulles to have the CIA contact the Argentines "to set the machinery in motion." Isaac Don Levine became a director of the CIA proprietary, Radio Liberty, in 1970.
Isaac Don Levine contacted Marina Oswald regarding their collaborating on a book. The FBI reported: "James Hunt, CIA, furnished the following information to the Liaison Agent on March 27, 1964. Isaac Don Levine has been collecting material for a book concerning OSWALD. This book is scheduled to be published in April 1964. Levine allegedly has spent considerable time with the widow of the Subject. Hunt explained that the CIA's source for this information was Hede Massing, who is known to the Bureau. Massing has been in contact with Levine." [FBI 105-82555-2184]
There were widespread deletions in a CIA document describing the relationship between Isaac Don Levine and the NIXON incident. William Branigan commented, "Levine was pursuing Marina as a source of information. That would be the only reason. Because Marina was involved in the Walker shooting. At any rate, it didn't amount to anything. To me it was something. You don't try to shoot somebody and then try to keep it all quiet. Marina was a little bit involved in that. She had to be. I don't know much about the OSWALD/NIXON thing." [Tel. Interview w/Branigan] In February 1964 William Branigan wrote: "Information developed by the Dallas office casts considerable doubt on the validity of the story related by Marina Oswald." [FBI 105-82555-2177]
Ruth Paine commented, "Levine was a semi-retired journalist. He and his wife traveled across the country twice a year, then returned to the Washington area. He stopped by occasionally. He was one of the most interesting people I met. He came to the States as a teenager from Russia. He explained to me the various branches and fractions and factions of communism. I had a feeling that he would understand some of the gyrations of OSWALD'S thinking - he never had a chance to talk directly to OSWALD. I didn't know of his connection with the Hiss case."
Warren Commission Counsel David Slawson questioned Isaac Don Levine about the NIXON incident. Isaac Don Levine: "The NIXON story. I suppose that you know that I went to see Rose Mary Woods since I saw you and NIXON'S papers are now brought from San Francisco to the New York office. The first I heard of it was from Jim Martin [the business manager of Marina Oswald] during the last week in January. He told me about it and said that of course this is something that Marina herself would not want to talk about, but he wanted me to know about it. He didn't say at the time [when he got the information]. Before I left Dallas he said he got it from his wife Wanda, whereupon when he was in Oklahoma I drove out with my wife and we visited Wanda alone. She told us the story as it happened that Marina one evening in conversation opened up and told her that a week or so after the attempt on the life of General Edwin Walker, he came home disgusted. He had been out hunting for NIXON who had been reported as due to attend some sort of Dallas affair. She naturally tried to quiet him and do what she could...He had been out with the rifle...He dressed neatly, put on his best suit, necktie, shirt and was going out with the rifle, and he went into a tirade saying he was going to get that so and so. When I finally got to Miss Rosemary Woods and she told me the girl was out in California bringing the NIXON papers, she gave me the following information. She believed that a certain Tad or Ted Smith, an influential Republican, maybe Treasurer - had sent an invitation some time before for NIXON to attend a Republican fund raising dinner; she thought there was one piece in the press announcing NIXON'S invitation and acceptance. There may have been a radio announcement, maybe a Walter Winchell column. I looked for straight news from April 10, 1963, onwards."
Levine continued: "Last week I spoke on the phone to Rose Mary Woods and she said that they are short staffed, and there are many immense cartons, and she doesn't know whether they can get into it and check on the invitation dates and who it came from."
Evidence suggested Isaac Don Levine coached Marina Oswald into saying that NIXON had been another potential victim of OSWALD. At first, Maurice Carlson remembered the NIXON was asked to visit Dallas in late April 1963. No invitation or clipping that indicated NIXON was to be in Dallas surfaced. How could OSWALD have known that NIXON had been asked to visit Dallas? He did not know Maurice Carlson. Levine claimed that Marina told Wanda Martin about the NIXON Incident. Recently released Warren Commission documents indicated Marina Oswald was having sexual intercourse with James Martin, and that Marina Oswald told his wife about it. This would not have made Wanda Martin someone who Marina Oswald was likely to confide in. The HSCA asked Marina Oswald how the information about the NIXON incident got into the press:
A. Well, to tell you the truth, right now I don't remember how this information about the NIXON incident got to the Secret Service or I told him [Martin] my own or somebody. I really do not recall right now how it got into the press or knowledgeable to you and everybody else.
Q. Well, you must have -
A. I do not remember who was the first one that I told that.
Q. But you told somebody.
A. Of course I did, nobody cooked this up.
Marina Oswald "cooked up" this story. The HSCA conceded that "Marina Oswald, because of her testimony, played a central but troubling role in the investigation of the Warren Commission. A great deal of what the Commission sought to show about OSWALD rested on her testimony, yet she gave incomplete and inconsistent statements at various times to the Secret Service, FBI and the Commission..." [HSCA R p55]
The Warren Commission concluded: "Regardless of what OSWALD may have said to his wife, he was not actually planning to shoot Mr. NIXON that time in Dallas...and the incident was of no probative value."
Marina Oswald told this researcher in 1994: "But why would I make one more thing against him if it didn't happen? He took his clothes off and sat in the bathroom. I do not know if he was testing me or not. You can check it out if NIXON was coming there. There was no publicity? That's fine and dandy. He said he go by newspaper. How stupid or dumb that incident is, it happened. What was behind it, I do not know. He never went that day. But he mentioned NIXON that day. I would tell you by now if that was a lie or this or that. What the motives were, I had no idea. It happened after the Walker incident and I was terrified. It had nothing to do with Levine. He never suggested I say this. I met him for hour. He never coached me. He came under the pretense that he wanted to write about me. Somebody suggest that he wasn't the right one to do the book. He never tutor me. Nobody tutored me. Only trouble with NIXON is I volunteered that information. Just to prove to them I have nothing more to hide, I said it all. It's not because to put more blame on me. But to figure out for myself what in the world was going through his head. How could I have gone to the Feds? In what language? How did I know the Feds spoke Russian. Ask your wife if she would snitch you out? She'd call the doctor. She not going to FBI. Especially she don't know the number."
The FBI reported that in May 1963 HEMMING and Loran Hall traveled to Dallas, where they considered setting up a training camp. Wiley G. Yates stated: "In May or June of 1963 Wally Welch once more called me at work. This time he told me that Loran Hall was in Dallas and that he wanted me to meet Hall. I agreed to meet Hall outside my place of employment when I finished work for the day and I did so...Hall did not have a place to stay in Dallas so I suggested that he stay at my house which he decided to do. He told me and my wife that he was in Dallas to help raise money to finance the purchase of arms and equipment for a proposed invasion of Cuba by a group of exiles who were then training in Cuba, namely Big Pine Key and No Name Key. PATRICK, who was mentioned to me before by Mr. Welch, was assisting in training of this group...Hall spoke fluent Spanish and was supposed to be a personal friend of the Cuban leader Manolo Reyes. During the time he stayed in our home Hall made a great show of writing Ray about activities then underway in Dallas, but he never made any attempt to mail this letter, and still had it in his possession when he left two or three weeks later...My wife and I began to be suspicious of Hall because he made so little effort to carry through on the things that he said he was going to do. He seemed to be more interested in watching T.V. and getting free meals than in securing financial backing for the Cubans. Finally I told him I wanted some proof of his activities or else I wanted him to leave. He offered no proof and without the least argument, packed his few belongings and left." [ltr. Yates to Garrison 4.28.67] On May 10, 1963 the FBI in Miami generated a report on INTERPEN.
FBI Agent Robert Dwyer reported that in June 1963 HEMMING met Michael Roland Marino, "an American who has dealt with the Cubans before on arms sales. Mike Marino had a small quantity of arms and HEMMING planned to rob them. HEMMING devised a plan, and on June 19, 1963, met with Marino at diner in Miami and negotiated an arms purchase. Mike Marino took four of HEMMING'S men to a Cuban's residence to show a .50 caliber machine gun offered for sale. HEMMING and another man later arrived at the residence, where HEMMING and his men drew their guns on Mike Marino and the Cuban living there and robbed them of uniforms, ammunition magazines, miscellaneous types of guns and the .50 caliber machine gun. Then HEMMING changed his mind and gave all this equipment back to the Cuban, Carlos Zarraca. HEMMING'S men took Mike Morino to Mike Morino's house to rob him, and HEMMING was to meet them there later. HEMMING lost contact with his group, and then found out that U.S. Customs agents had just raided Carlos Zarracha's house, confiscated all the arms, and had arrested Mike Morino and four of his abductors. On June 20, 1963, United States Customs Agents advised they confiscated a .37 mm anti-tank gun, a .20 mm cannon, a rifle, 300 rounds of ammunition and miscellaneous military equipment. Incidental to this raid, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Unit that day seized a 1963 Ford Falcon automobile, seven rifles, a .20 mm gun mount, some pistols, miscellaneous equipment and several hundred rounds of ammunition. Mr. Wallace Shanley, advised ROY HARGRAVES, Joe Garman, Justin Wilson, Michael Morino and Richard Whatley were arrested for possession of a machine gun." The defendants were represented by Charles Ashmann and Robert Rust. [FBI 2-1693-95; USDC Miami 63-404-Cr-CF]
On September 30, 1963, the SAC of the Miami FBI office sent a LHM, which was highly deleted, to FBI Headquarters regarding HEMMING: "On September 13, 1963, Wallace Shanley, U.S. Customs, Miami, advised that Richard Watley was one of the five arrested on June 20, 1963, by U.S. Customs, and charged with being in possession of a machine gun. This incident was a matter involving HEMMING'S plans to rob Mike Marino of weapons reportedly stored (deleted). At the time of his arrest, (deleted) but his fingerprints reflected his true identity and that he was also wanted as a parole violator from some other state. He was unable to make bond and the judge ordered a sanity hearing being given to Watley. On September 9, 1963, he went to trial at U.S. District Court, Miami, and on September 10, 1963, he was found not guilty. (Deleted) advised that the other four individuals are scheduled for trial on October 22, 1963. These individuals are presently out on bond." HEMMING told this researcher: "That's the Mike Marino caper. Customs and ATF snitches had conned Richard Lauchli out of a bunch of arms." HEMMING stated that Steve Justin Wilson died in 1986. The prosecution dropped the charges against Richard Whatley, and in October 1963, the case against the other members was also dropped. On June 6, 1963, Carlos Prio Soccarras said that he would sponsor a military camp, and that HEMMING would head it. Final arrangements were to be made 20 days hence. [HSCA OCR 6.21.78 Martin J. Daly]
"HSCA Outside Contact Report June 21, 1978. Identifying Information: Name Whatley, Richard (FBI File Review). Summary of contact: "The file on the above Subject, listed under the following numbers: 109-584; Section 61, serials 3739-3781, 3742 ep 23 was reviewed by the undersigned. The report dated September 30, 1963, and is titled INTERPEN. A confidential source MMT-1 indicates that HEMMING visited on June 6, 1963, Carlos Prio Soccarras at 5070 Alton Road, Miami Beach, Florida. Prio stated that he would sponsor a military training camp and that HEMMING would head it. Final details of the arrangements were to be made 20 days hence. On July 11, 1963, MM T-1 advised that HEMMING left Miami on July 3, 1963, and arrived in Dallas on July 4, 1963, where he conferred with General Edwin A. Walker who would not back any specific cause as he wanted to remain free to fight communism all over the United States. Following this meeting HEMMING then met with Lester Logue, geologist and oil man at the firm's office, 628 Meadows Building, Dallas, Texas. Logue told him that he had a (6-8) six to eight man group which is interested in fighting against communism but that he, Logue, could not participate as he couldn't afford to offend U.S. Government officials. Logue further states that he was working with a major in the United States Army Reserve, both of whom were do for future promotion and that shortly they would be attending an intelligence briefing in Washington, D.C. and that when they returned and briefed Logue they would then be in a position to help HEMMING in some way. Logue said that he would visit Miami, Florida, in about 10 days and set up an intelligence unit, send some men to handle the funds and also personally see some people about donating boats to HEMMING'S anti-Castro movement in Miami. Martin J. Daly." On January 26, 1996, HEMMING was asked by this researcher, "Who was with you when you visited Prio, General Walker and Lester Logue?" He answered, "Howard Kenneth Davis."Howard K. Davis related: "I think I probably talked to O'Conner once or twice, or maybe three times. Now Ed Kolby knew him very well."
Loran Hall described a meeting he witnessed between General Walker and HEMMING: "They talked about INTERPEN. And he gave Walker a book, about this thick, that had the background of INTERPEN and how it would be set up and what their functions would be and it would be like the SOP and MOP and the whole bit for the INTERPEN. And he gave that to Walker and they talked about what it would take to set up an organization like this, that it couldn't be done in this country, but that it could be done in Latin America. And Walker says, 'You're doing a good job, keep it up, but the government is going to try to nail your butt' and all this stuff. And we left." [Garrison interview with Hall 5.8.68] Loran Hall stated that when he visited Niko Crespi in July 1963, in Dallas, he was told that OSWALD was going to give a pro-Castro talk. Niko Crespi was one of the first rebels from the Sierra Maestre to defect to the United States. HEMMING knew him in Cuba. HEMMING told this researcher: "Is there any indication that OSWALD ever did anything pro-Castro in Dallas? You think the fucking White Russians would have put up with that bullshit?"
HEMMING visited Dallas again in July 1963. He wrote Lester Logue on August 13, 1963, that "Luis Somoza visited Miami three weeks ago...Davy and I were in Dallas at the time of Somoza's visit to Miami." That would place HEMMING in Dallas on or about July 21, 1963.
When HEMMING visited Dallas in July 1963, he "met with individuals threatening Kennedy's life." HEMMING elaborated, "We'd begun to encounter more and more organizations of people in different cities with one thing on their mind, initially taking care of Castro, then doing something about the other 'problem' - that guy in the White House. These offers were made by organized elements that had financial backing within the United States." In July 1963 federal and county officers invaded the No Name Key training camp in answer to a complaint from local residents, but HEMMING and the INTERPEN crew were not to be found. HEMMING told this researcher: "We did not use No Name Key in 1963. LARRY HOWARD took Loran Hall and William Seymour down there in 1963. That's the only time any one was on the Key. It was shut down after the bust."
Circa August 1963 Loran Hall visited Frank Bartes and Lawrence J. LaBorde in New Orleans. [Interview with Loran Hall 12.67 trans. by Lifton; Loran Hall/Weisberg interview NYT 4.22.59; Baltimore Sun 6.77; Village Voice 10.30.77; L.A. Free Press 1.12.68; Citizen Comm. Of Inq. Steve Burton Report on LAWRENCE JOHN HOWARD; National Enq. 9.1.68; Ltr. Yates to Garrison 6.28.68; Ltr. Duncan to Winslow 9.13.74; WCD 1546 p211]
Soldier-of-fortune Robert K. Brown was a close friend of HEMMING. In August 1963 Stanley Drennen, a member of the National States Rights Party, discussed killing President John F. Kennedy with Robert K. Brown and Steve Justin Wilson. One week later, Robert K. Brown told University of California graduate student Jerry Craddock about this conversation. Robert K. Brown: "I told him you would not believe this guy, he wanted to kill the President and hundreds of people." After the events of November 22, 1963 Jerry Craddock told the FBI that Robert K. Brown told him Stanley Drennen suggested recruiting an assassin to kill the President, his staff and Congressmen who belonged to Americans for Democratic Action.
Jerry Craddock was contacted in April 1993. He said he had been a graduate student at the University of California from 1961 to 1967. In the Summer of 1963 he "heard somebody say they had heard something about the assassination. I regret that I don't remember just what it was, but it was something about the assassination. I don't recall what context it was in." When asked if he had overheard this conversation, he responded: "No it was reported to me by Hugo Hartenstein. I think Steve Justin Wilson and Robert K. Brown were involved." Jerry Craddock was asked: "Were they talking about an already existent plot or were they going to do it themselves?" He responded: "They were not involved. They were just reporting that they heard of one."
Hugo Hartenstein was contacted in April 1993, and asked if he had overheard Brown and others discussing an already existent plot to kill President John F. Kennedy. He stated: "I didn't overhear anything like that, no. I heard a rumor, a long time ago, about this conversation taking place, but I never overheard the actual conversation. I don't know where I got this information. This was 30 years ago. I didn't overhear it. I remotely knew Robert K. Brown at the time. The university needed a translator back in 1959. He was doing a thesis and wanted me to translate some Spanish into English for him. So he employed me to do that, way back then. I have no idea [when this was]. Obviously it was before the Kennedy assassination. But I remember few details on the subject, because I've pretty well dismissed it from my mind, as it was of no concern of mine."
Robert K. Brown stated: "In 1963 I went out with Steve Justin Wilson to try and raise funds for the Cuban exiles. We ended up talking with Stanley Drennen. He made a proposal to us. He said somebody needs to take care of Kennedy, the Cabinet and all the members of Americans for Democratic Action. I said, 'Yes, sir, thank-you very much.' I thought to myself, woo, woo, woo, this guy is screwy, and I left. This was so bizarre that I told this story at cocktail parties. The line of transmission that I recollect was that some Ukrainian or Eastern European refugee heard this story at a cocktail party, and when Kennedy was assassinated, he went to the FBI. I was interviewed by the FBI in 1964 concerning the matter. I explained to them exactly what happened and that was pretty much the end of it." HEMMING told this researcher: "Brown got to know a lot of National States Rights Party people, and he put them in touch with us. John Bloomer, then through them came Ed Butler, the crisis management asshole, the one that debated OSWALD. All these people approached us to use our instructors in their operations. This was 1962 and 1963. Drennen was part of the American Volunteers." Loran Hall told described Stanley Drennen: "He was so committed that he knew that there was a hospital, a mental hospital in Alaska that had a million acres of ground and this is where they were going to take all the Conservatives for pre-frontal lobotomies, and I mean he was firmly convinced that this was what was going to happen to him, and that it was just a matter of time before they took him to a mental hospital and did this to him." [Garrison interview with Hall 5.6.68]
The CIA reported: "Robert K. Brown attended the Infantry Officers Associate Career Course at Fort Benning, Georgia, beginning in October 1963 and appeared to his classmates and faculty members as being irrational in his outlook on anything connected with Communism. This change of opinion on Brown's part concerning Castro resulted in his active participation in the affairs of Cuban exiles and attempts to raise funds for weapons to be used against Castro. These anti-Castro efforts on Subject's part was believed to demonstrate a lack of discretion incompatible with the standards of members of the Counter-Intelligence Corps. On September 25, 1964, Subject's Intelligence MOS was revoked and he was declared ineligible for any intelligence assignment. It was noted that most of Subject's overt activities, both pro and anti-Castro, took place after his release from active duty with the CIC MOS and during a period when he still had a Reserve Obligation." Robert K. Brown was asked about his whereabouts on November 22. "That's one you can't pin on me, Weberman. I was in the training battalion at Fort Benning, Georgia."
A recently released FBI document revealed that Dr. Stanley Drennan discussed his mass assassination plan with his patient, Al Raheb. "LHM contains information from Al Raheb who reported that Dr. Drennan had been his family physician since 1951. On April 17, 1963, Drennan told Raheb 'We are going to do something about it' and went to Poor Richard's Bookshop owned by Francis X. Ranuzzi, to discuss with others the plan for assassinating President John F. Kennedy, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, and 20 or 30 members of Congress including Senator Jacob Javitts of New York. Drennan said they would select a member of the military with a neutral political reputation and no connection with the John Birch Society to perform the assassination, so as not to cast reflection upon the John Birch Society. Raheb attended meetings of John Birch Society at residences of Drennan and Ranuzzi. Drennan, born 1916 in Iowa, graduated Oklahoma University in 1946. Licensed to practice medicine in California 1946. Interview of Drennan in July 1963 negative."
Although Stanley Drennan's plot was unrelated to Dallas, it none-the-less gave an idea of thinking of the people around Robert K. Brown and HEMMING at the time. [FBI 62-109060-1505]
Before he went into private practice in Miami, HEMMING'S Attorney, Charles Ashmann was an Assistant to the Florida State Attorney General. HEMMING reported: "He was prominent in politics. A power broker." The CIA reported: "Subject does not have a security file, but limited information concerning him appears in reference files. He is described as a 33 year old attorney with the law firm of Guilmartin, Schneiderman and Ashmann of Miami, Florida. In September 1960, Ashmann, representing the Harris Advertising Agency of Miami, attached planes belonging to Cubana Airlines and garnished funds belonging to the Cuban Government, because the Cuban Government refused to pay $429,000 which it owed the Harris Agency. At the time, Fidel Castro was attending a 1960 United Nations meeting. When Ashmann confiscated the Cuban airliner which had taken Castro to New York, Castro was forced to obtain a ride back to Havana in Premier Khrushchev's plane. [National crime syndicate associate Sam Benton also was instrumental in seizing four planes on behalf of the same company, to satisfy a debt owed by the Castro Government to a client].
"Most of Ashmann's clients were Cuban exiles and anti-Castro commandos. He had stirred up speculation in the press that he was employed by the CIA, but Ashmann denied any affiliation with the Agency and in fact stated that most of his clients were outspoken in their hostility to the Agency.
"In January 1963, a cable describing Ashman as 'publicity seeking Miami attorney' who was representing JERRY PATRICK HEMMING who had been arrested on charges of violating U.S. Neutrality laws by an attempt to form an expedition to invade a foreign country."
Charles Ashmann may have encountered OSWALD that summer, or heard about the upcoming assassination. He wrote a series of bad checks beginning in November 1963. By September 1964, he had been convicted of three felonies; disbarred; adjudged insane; and committed to Florida State Mental Hospital for an indeterminate period. He told a psychiatrist the reason he wrote dozens of worthless checks was because, "he had found his cause as coordinator of the anti-Castro forces, and that since he had a worthwhile cause, anything was justified..." HEMMING told this researcher: "In 1964, Gene Marshall, Ashmann's roommate, was busted and sent to the funny farm. The bad checks started catching up with Ashmann in the Spring of 1964. I don't think he made the connection at the time, but maybe he did, he was pretty smart. The Warren Commission was sniffing around." On April 21, 1965, Eugene Marshall, 38 years old, head of the Southern Florida Narcotics Bureau since 1958, and Detective Frank Fountaine and Detective Roosevelt Tremble, both of the Miami Vice Squad, were arrested for taking bribes from drug dealers. In September 1966, Charles Ashmann was discharged from Florida State Hospital, and received a pardon from the Governor of Florida. [Criminal Court Dade County #63-9016; CIA 63-9088, 64-280] He moved to Los Angeles, wrote for the Los Angeles Free Press, and then became an investigative reporter for a television station. Charles Ashmann's associate, Robert Rust, went on to become a Federal prosecutor in Miami. He told a reporter that Coup D'Etat in America was the work of "a Castro double-agent." The CIA's Office of Security traces on Charles Ashmann were heavily deleted from a report on him dated December 26, 1967. [CIA 40463 Allen v. DOD; Ashmann CIA-Mafia Link Manor 1975; Miami Herald 8.30.63 p30A, 12.5.62; #63-404-Cr-Cf USDC Miami; #63-451-Cr-Cf USDC Miami; 62-588Cr USDC Miami; Memo Duncan/Billings 6.4.67 - No Name Base]
In July 1963 the FBI believed HEMMING was "involved in a plot to exfiltrate several alleged Soviet missile technicians from Cuba" which was directed by JOHN V. MARTINO.
On July 15, 1959, FBI Headquarters sent a memorandum to the Legal Attache in Havana that advised him to keep track of JOHN MARTINO'S "criminal or revolutionary activities."
TO: Director, FBI
FROM: Legal Attache, Havana
SUBJECT: JOHN MARTINO PC-FM
The above captioned individual was arrested on July 23, 1959, by the Cuban Revolutionary Police. His twelve-year-old son Edward was detained at the same time. Police accused him of having entered Cuba in a private plane without permission.
The following information was received from Hugh D. Kessler, Welfare Officer, U.S. Embassy, Havana, Cuba.
MARTINO actually entered Cuba, according to Pan American Airways records, via Pan American Flight from Miami, Florida, at 5:45 p.m. on July 23, 1959. He was accompanied by his son, Edward. MARTINO stated he went to a private home to deliver a personal message to a friend and there met a woman named Sofia. He was later arrested at his hotel. The woman "Sofia" was identified as Mrs. Sofia Ventura, wife of the notorious Batista, Major Estaban Ventura Pro, who was one of the police accused of various heinous crimes during the Batista regime.
Mr. Kessler stated he was furnished the following information by a Dr. Estevez of Havana, Cuba. Dr. Estevez first met MARTINO about ten months ago when MARTINO was staying at the hotel Deauville, Havana, where Dr. Estavez is the hotel physician. At that time he treated MARTINO for a kidney ailment. After treating him, Dr. Estavez became friendly with MARTINO and saw him quite frequently. MARTINO has made 12 to 14 visits to Cuba since January 1, 1959. According to Dr. Estevez MARTINO was a close friend of many former members of the Batista Government, such as Estaban Ventura, Rolando Masferrer (ex-Cuban Senator and political gangster) Irenaldo Garcia Baez (ex-Head of Cuban Army Intelligence) and many American gamblers such as SANTOS TRAFFICANTE, Top Hoodlum from Tampa, Florida.
According to Dr. Esteveze, MARTINO originally came to Cuba to establish a branch of his Radio-Page Corporation as he was in trouble in the United States regarding income tax matters. MARTINO was also engaged in a smuggling venture with Masferrer involving the movementof autos and eggs through the Cuban Port of Mariel, about 20 miles from Havana.
MARTINO approached Dr. Estevez regarding being the house physician for a house of prostitution which MARTINO planned to open near the Deauville Hotel. MARTINO'S close friend and business associate I the United States was Mr. Allen Roth.
Dr. Estevez volunteered the information that his family, including his two brothers, were strong supporters of Prime Minister Castro and that his two brothers are presently in the revolutionary army. Dr. Estevez added that his conversations with police officials led him to believe that MARTINO was being held only to obtain information, and that he would be released if he desired to tell the government officials concerning his contacts. MARTINO is presently confined to the Chief of Police Headquarters. [FBI 64-44828-1]
On October 15, 1959, Hugh D. Kessler, Protection Officer of American Embassy, advised on September 24, 1959, that "he is aware of MARTINO'S condition; his principal trouble appears to stem from the fact that he is a dope addict." [FBI 64-44828-2]
MARTINO was unaware that the Estevez family had been in the 26th of July Movement, and that in January 1959, Gustavo Estevez joined the G-2. On February 15, 1964, MARTINO told FBI S.A. John J. O'Conner:
"How, in October 1959, he was being transferred from Vivac Prison to Principe Prison at Havana and the military guard, a Lieutenant Jose Medina, brought him to the American Embassy in Havana. At the Embassy, according to MARTINO, he was hopeful of either taking asylum or of being admitted to a hospital because of a bleeding ulcer condition. He said the American Consuls, however, naming Hugh Kessler and (FNU) Brown, both now deceased, refused to help him and asked him not to cause any trouble for the United States Embassy, but to be a good American citizen and proceed to the Cuban prison. MARTINO possessed considerable correspondence by U.S. Senators directed to the State Department relative to the aforementioned incident of MARTINO'S visit to the Embassy in Havana in October 1959. MARTINO advised that his book I Was Castro's Prisoner contained a chapter which he said pertained to this cowardice in the U.S. Embassy.
"During the interview at MARTINO's residence, MARTINO introduced to the interviewing agents Cuban exile Felipe Vidal Santiago, who the Subject of Bufile 105-85523, Miami file 105-6466. Vidal has been active in anti-Castro activities and may be one of the 'unidentified sources' of information on Cuban matters.
"MARTINO revealed that he is a close friend of Jim Buchanan, reporter for the Pompano Beach Sun-Sentinel. Miami report, dated January 25, 1964, in this case is devoted to an article by Buchanan, which sets forth irresponsible statements concerning the FBI and activities of LEE HARVEY OSWALD. MARTINO stated that he is sure that LEE HARVEY OSWALD had been in Miami because Jim Buchanan had told him that his brother, Jerry Buchanan, had been in a fight with OSWALD at Miami when OSWALD tried to join a group of anti-Castro 'Freedom Fighters.' MARTINO said Buchanan told him this was a true fact and that MARTINO could use it in his lectures.
"The Miami Office does not contemplate efforts to locate Jerry Buchanan for interview concerning the foregoing claim in view of the fact there has been no evidence developed that OSWALD was ever in Miami and also in view of the fact the unreliability of Jim Buchanan has been self evident in the past.
"With respect to the alleged prostitute in Mexico City, whom MARTINO stated was kept under wraps because of her knowledge of the activities of LEE HARVEY OSWALD, this is an apparent reference to Sylvia Duran." [NARA 124-10169-10417]
On November 20, 1959, the FBI prepared a Letter Head Memorandum about MARTINO much of which was withheld. [FBI 64-44828-4] MARTINO was put on trial in December 1959. "I am a good man," MARTINO said, "I'm not the type that gets involved in this sort of thing." MARTINO was convicted and sentenced to 13 years in prison.
MARTINO was released from prison on October 9, 1962, having served 40 months. He weighed 93 pounds. Upon his return to the U.S. he told the FBI: "I might have been released much sooner from prison, possibly in 1959, if I hadn't talked with Dr. Gustavo Estevez. Estevez, who is now one of the heads of the biggest hospitals in Havana and is one of the leading Communists of the Cuban Government. I thought he was anti-Communist, I was wrong. He came to see me in prison and tried to make a deal with me. MARTINO stated he is not a drug addict, but that he did need a certain prescription containing narcotics for a long existing kidney ailment. He was most generally without this medicine, even when the United States Embassy was still in Havana, and at Principe Prison, where he was held 14 months in a very small room with 12 to 17 other men. He stated his normal weight was 150 pounds, and when he was finally released he weighed 93 pounds.
"In January 1961 MARTINO was moved to La Cabana Fortress prison and following the Bay of Pigs invasion, he was placed into the death cells. A new man placed in charge there said since he was an American, he should die a slow and painful death. This individual was (Deleted). MARTINO said he received absolutely no medicine for his kidney disease from that point forward.
"Subsequently, (Deleted) who is supposed to head of all the Cuban doctors in Cuban prisons, had MARTINO transferred to a military hospital. He stated there were two guards at his door with machine guns and one beside his bed. No transfer was made of the case file of his medical history, and when he complained that he was receiving no attention at all, a (deleted) whom MARTINO described as a 'Big black hater of North Americans' told MARTINO he had been sent there on the express orders of (Deleted) is former head of Cuban G-2, now Minister of the Interior and head of all police and security forces.
"MARTINO was removed from La Cabana Fortress, and went to G-2 headquarters for two days. These were then located at the infamous quarters on Fifth Avenue and 14th Street. After two days of abuse and constant interrogation, MARTINO was transferred back to La Cabana Fortress. At La Cabana Fortress a (deleted) stated he was sent as a direct representative of (Deleted) stated that everybody makes mistakes, and they had made a mistake in the case of MARTINO, and were endeavoring to help correct these mistakes. (Deleted) told MARTINO he was going to be sent back to his family. MARTINO stated he was held overnight in the Cuban immigration lock up and on the following morning he was rushed out to Rancho Boyeros Airport [then flown back to the United States]. MARTINO stated he saw 294 men shot during the time he was in Principe Prison and La Cabana Fortress. He stated 51 of these were executed during the last part of September 1962. MARTINO stated he saw the Cubans execute William Morgan and Humberto Sori Marin, as they were shot immediately behind his cell in La Cabana Fortress. He stated William Morgan bore up very well to the very time of execution, but he was first shot in the legs to make him kneel, and then executed by automatic gunfire fired into his chest and head. He stated Fidel Castro was present with two brothers of Humberto Sori Marin to witness the execution of Humberto Sori Marin.
"MARTINO stated he had seen young women, very old women, pregnant women, nuns and priests sleeping in the rain in the patio of the prison. He stated all those who were not enthusiastically with the Cuban Government were treated as if they were inanimate objects.
"A normal routine occurred about 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. almost every night in the prison. Guards would enter with bayonets fixed and run everybody out of the cells, alleging that the cells had to be searched to find contraband weapons and articles for escape. These searches were frequently made when it was raining, and the prisoners were then left out in the patio in their shorts for the remainder of the night, and were further left there to bake in the tropical sun until 4:00 or 5:00 p.m. the next afternoon...MARTINO stated there were a number of small stalls in the prison similar to a telephone booth, about 3' x 3' square and about 7' tall. Prisoners are put into these stalls and are unable to sit down. Air conditioning is then turned into the stall, and the place is made frigid. The air conditioners are then removed, and 500 watt bulbs are installed, and the place becomes an almost unbearable sweat box. Prisoners are sometimes ordered executed, and a guard points a machine gun loaded with blanks into the box or stall and fires a whole clip. For several hours afterward the prisoner is unable to hear." [FBI 64-44828-7]
HEMMING was asked if he was tortured when he was a prisoner in Cuba: "They would stand you [up against the wall] with three or four people and leave you standing alive a couple of minutes later. Now that's trauma and that could fuck you up and people could think you're a nut after that. You were deprived of water because its abandoned stables or garages the secret police used at the time for cells. There's 47 fucking people in there, we can't even lay down, it's hotter than shit, the windows are fucking closed up with welded steel plates. No ventilation, there's sweat pouring off of us. The floor has constantly got an inch of goddamn water, sweat, it stinks. There's one little faucet which you got to put a handkerchief over 'cause visible worms come out of the water and you have to ask the guards to turn the water on. They're rotating guards because in a matter of a couple of days they get sympathetic to you. Because they find out you're a rebel and all that kind of stuff."
The FBI reported MARTINO was reluctant to talk about his connection with American gamblers in Cuba. He was questioned about "the details of his confinement, including treatment received, identities of other Americans incarcerated and identities of pro-Castro Americans assisting the Castro regime in Cuba in the economic and military fields would also be of interest..." On November 21, 1962, the FBI's liaison to the CIA, Sam J. Papich, prepared a Secret memorandum on MARTINO which was withheld.
In early 1963 MARTINO began work with Nathaniel Weyl on I Was Castro's Prisoner, which was published in June 1963. This book accused Fidel Castro of heroin trafficking. Nathaniel Weyl and his wife had been Communists during the Depression. In 1939 they broke with the Party: Nathaniel Weyl joined the OSS during World War II. In February 1952 Nathaniel Weyl testified before the McCarran Committee that in 1933 he and Alger Hiss were in a Communist unit that operated within the Agricultural Adjustment Administration. The testimony of Nathaniel Weyl supported that of Whittaker Chambers. Alger Hiss pointed out that when Nathaniel Weyl testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee in April 1943, he claimed Alger Hiss had ended his communist career in 1933: "He was asked in 1952 why he had not told his 1952 story in 1943, and his answer was that he had assumed that a man like Hiss 'would not have remained in the Communist organization after the Hitler/Stalin pact.'" [Hiss, In The Court of Public Opinion, Knopf, 1957] In 1953 Mrs. Weyl applied for a job with the Pan American Union, Washington, D.C., which was listed on Julius Mader's CIA 500 List. In 1959 Nathaniel Weyl worked with Issac Don Levine. Nathaniel Weyl became a member of William Buckley's coterie of writers.
The associates of Nathaniel Weyl included Victor Lasky. Lasky began his career in journalism as a copy boy for The New York Journal American. After Army service in World War II, Victor Lasky became a journalist who "exposed" Communist infiltration of American institutions. In 1955 he wrote for WRKO radio. He covered the Alger Hiss trial, and co-wrote a book about the case entitled Seeds of Treason. From 1956 to 1960, he was a public relations executive with Radio Liberty, a well-known CIA proprietary. From 1962 to 1980 Victor Lasky was a news columnist for the North American Newspaper Alliance. The North American Newspaper Alliance published Victor Lasky's columns attacking the critics of the Warren Commission. In the early 1960's Nelson Rockefeller protested against an alleged investigation of Victor Lasky by the Justice Department. Rockefeller claimed a Justice Department official had made inquires regarding Lasky at the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee. [FBI 62-72612-84; FBI 62-7261 NR October 18, (?) 1963] In 1963 Lasky wrote JFK, The Man and the Myth. In 1968 he wrote Robert F. Kennedy, The Myth and the Man. He was the recipient of a $20,000 cash payment from the NIXON White House in the early 1970's. [WFO FBI 139-166, Hdqrs.. 139-4089-2312 - 6.18.73] Around this time Victor Lasky wrote, It Didn't Start with Watergate, a defense of RICHARD NIXON.
In 1978 Lasky became a principal in Accuracy In Media, an ultraconservative media watchdog group whose directors included Claire Boothe Luce. Accuracy In Media sent a letter of protest to The National Enquirer when it published an article in April 1977 by this author on OSWALD'S 201 file. DAVID PHILLIPS, who retired from the CIA and headed the Association of Retired Intelligence Agents, was quoted extensively in this letter. Claire Boothe Luce was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Retired Intelligence Agents. Victor Lasky died of cancer on February 22, 1990. He was 72. [FBI 64-44828. 8.18.64; Wash. Evening Star 12.19.59; FBI 64-44828 File on MARTINO; New York Journal American 12.28.63; Nathan Weyl Red Star Over Cuba Devin Adair 1960 NY; MARTINO I Was Castro's Prisoner Devon Adair 1963; WCD 662; Wash. Post 2.23.90]
Millionaire William Pawley (SF 078 435) was part of OPERATION Red Cross. Pawley was born in Florence, South Carolina, in 1896. From 1928 to 1943 he was president of the National Aviation Company of Havana, which he later sold to Pan American Airlines. He became President of the China National Aviation Corporation in 1933, and in 1934 organized, and became President of the Central Aircraft Manufacturing Company, which pioneered in the field of aircraft construction in China. In 1940 he organized, recruited and maintained the American Volunteer Group (Flying Tigers) for the Chinese Air Force. The Flying Tigers were a volunteer group of American pilots who fought for General Chiang Kai-shek before becoming part of the regular U.S. Army. HEMMING called the Flying Tigers "America's first clandestine endeavor. They were only recently given veterans status. They were considered mercenaries." After the war, Pawley purchased the Havana Bus System. William Pawley was appointed Ambassador to Peru (1945) and Ambassador to Brazil (1946), then served as Special Assistant to the Secretary of State. In 1951 he became the Special Representative of the Secretary of Defense. He was an outside advisor to the State Department during the planning of PB SUCCESS. In May 1954 the FBI investigated William Pawley. The CIA asked the FBI to send the White House copies of its investigation because William Pawley was part of the Doolittle Committee. Sheffield Edwards, Director of Security, generated this report on July 13, 1954:
1. Forwarded herewith are the Security Office files concerning the captioned individual.
2. In January 1952, the Subject (deleted) information to be given information classified up to and including Secret provided discretion were exercised in his development as a source. At that time National Agency name checks were conducted which disclosed no unfavorable information regarding the Subject's loyalty, although some allegations were disclosed regarding his honesty. The Subject's investigative file at the State Department was not available for review at that time.
3. In July 1952 (deleted) which request was then canceled on December 30, 1952. At that time the Subject's State Department Security File was made available and contained derogatory information alleging black market activities, income tax difficulties, possible misuse of lend lease material, and questionable money transactions. It was also shown the Subject's wife had written the President of the United States questioning the legality of Subject's Cuban divorce from her, after which he married his secretary.
4. In March 1953, the Subject's Treasury Department file was reviewed and reflected the Subject was investigated for income tax evasion for the years 1934 to 1944 and found to have been a non-resident citizen during that period and not guilty of tax evasion. The Secret Service had conducted an investigation of Subject's first wife, following her letter of complaint to the President, and found her sane, although suffering from severe mental strain. Considerable derogatory information was contained in this file relative to Subject's business reputation and ethics." [CIA Sheffield Edward to D/CI 7.13.54]
On December 9, 1958, William Pawley went to Cuba as Washington's secret emissary, in an unsuccessful attempt to persuade Batista to establish a junta, relinquish his power, and leave Cuba altogether. This would have forced Fidel Castro into the political arena as a Presidential candidate. William Pawley became the unofficial spokesman for the old-line Cuban conservatives. He had the ear of Vice President NIXON, and spoke often with Allen Dulles. In October 1959, with his consent, the CIA installed a recording device in William Pawley's Miami office due to his connection with the Director of GOLIATH:
"Headquarters Field Office is requested to dispatch an agent to Miami, Florida, so as to arrive during the afternoon or early evening of October 6, 1959, for the purpose (deleted) in certain matters of interest to GOLIATH. Upon the arrival of your agent at Miami, he should contact Mr. (Deleted) a staff employee of GOLIATH who shares (deleted) will make all the necessary arrangements for your representative to gain access to Subject's office over the weekend of October 16, 1959 to October 18, 1959. It should be noted that this is being done with the full consent and approval of the Subject. The necessary equipment to be used in this assignment will be made available to your representative. On October 14, 1959, Pawley was granted a POA. In 1960 Allen Dulles and General Robert E. Cushman, Jr., NIXON'S Executive Assistant for National Security Affairs, met with William Pawley in Miami. They discussed a scheme to print up Cuban bonds to jar the Castro economy. [Wyden Bay Of Pigs p29] HUNT wrote that William Pawley and CIA Western Hemisphere Chief J.C. King spent long hours talking with Cuban exiles who, because of their ties to Batista, were out of favor with the Kennedy Administration. HUNT described them as Cubans who were "dead but did not know it." [HUNT Day p29] On November 18, 1960, the CIA reported: "For (deleted CIA component) [CI] You should be aware and somewhat interested in the fact that Pawley has established a new (and according to him productive) channel to President Elect Kennedy through George Smathers. According to Pawley, Smathers conversations with Kennedy have led now to take the position that he should not go along with the DOS and have the dictator step down. It appears that Mr. Kennedy may take a considerably more conservative position than many people in the Department and 'fun house.'"
William Pawley was a supporter of the Cuban Revolutionary Front. During his HUNT v. WEBERMAN deposition, BARKER stated: "Pawley was involved with the Cuban Revolutionary Front. Indirectly, William Pawley, at that time, helped Cubans. He was very active in the beginning, remembering as a matter of fact, the people who later came in, they were people he had organized."
In 1964 MARTINO told the FBI that during the Spring and Summer of 1963 he "personally led a mission which infiltrated Cuba and returned to Florida...he said the purpose of the mission was to bring Russians out..." Robert K. Brown asserted a group of anti-Castro Cubans and Americans planned to spirit two Soviet colonels out of Cuba, to testify that Soviet offensive missiles were still on Cuban soil. Robert K. Brown wrote about this operation in Soldier-of-Fortune magazine: "Five months before he was shot to death in Dallas, a group of conspirators attempted to destroy John F. Kennedy by political means. The group, which included officials of Time Inc., William Pawley, disgruntled CIA agents and anti-Castro Cubans, proposed to spirit two Russian colonels out of Cuba to testify that Soviet ballistic missiles were still based on Cuban soil. Their testimony, if true and if it could be proved, would have meant the end of John Kennedy's political career, for it would have shown that the Cuban Missile Crisis had ended, not in a qualified U.S. victory, but in a monumental bungle eclipsing the Bay of Pigs disaster." The leader of Operation Red Cross was "Colonel Alberto Bayo." The Soldier-of-Fortune article continued: "HEMMING first met "Colonel Alberto Bayo" (Eduardo Perez Gonzalez) in early 1960. He and Howard Kenneth Davis introduced Bayo to Johnny Abbes who had lost his lucrative job upon Trujillo's death, and was plotting with a group of Haitian exiles to put together one of their periodic attempts to overthrow Duvalier. Realizing that the Haitians involved were short on military training, not to mention combat experience, Abbes was looking for some kind of commando group to bolster the eager but amateur Haitians. Bayo met with Abbes several times and Abbes was impressed. HEMMING related: 'In fact the two of them signed a formal agreement in Abbes living room that stated in return for helping overthrow Duvalier, the new Haitian regime would grant the Cubans bases from which they could operate against Castro.'"
HEMMING named JOHN MARTINO, William Pawley, Joe Garman, FRANK STURGIS, Jerry Buchanan and Howard K. Davis as plotters. After MARTINO'S death in the late 1970's, Gaeton Fonzi found the telephone number of Howard K. Davis in his address book. Howard K. Davis was asked about this: "JOHN MARTINO and I got to be pretty good friends. The CIA tried to recruit him. He told them to stuff it, he wouldn't have anything to do with them because he didn't trust...Maybe he didn't have confidence in the people he was in touch with in Cuba." Fonzi also found a letter from Robert K. Brown addressed to MARTINO. In The Fish Is Red, Warren Hinckle and William Turner reported that Howard K. Davis contacted New York financier Theodore Racoosin, who was well connected with the White House. A week later Rascoosin came to Miami and told Davis there was a high level interest in bringing out the Russian defectors. A week later Rascoosin called Davis and informed him that his contacts in Washington could not locate any reports about Russian defectors in Cuba. Hinckle and Turner reported that Howard K. Davis organized meetings to effectuate this operation in the offices of Bill Boggs, the editor of the Miami News. They reported that Rascoosin was there, as was Hal Hendrix, Jay Mallin and a cross section of Cuban leaders. Marita Lorenz testified that STURGIS and MARTINO were good friends; when STURGIS was questioned about MARTINO, he said: "I met him."
MARTINO had Nathaniel Weyl contact Senate Internal Security Subcommittee investigator James Sourwine. James Sourwine contacted William Pawley, who contacted MARTINO. On May 22, 1963, William Pawley discussed the legality of OPERATION CRYPT with the JMWAVE Station Chief, Ted Shackley:
2. Pawley stated that he had been approached on April 16, 1963, by Mr. Jay Sourwine of the Senate Internal Security Committee, who had asked that Pawley participate in an operation which was designed to bring several Soviet military defectors into the United States. Mr. Sourwine indicated that the main reason behind his involvement in this operation was his desire to obtain the testimony of the Soviets before the Senate Internal Security Committee as soon after their arrival in the United States as possible. In view of this objective, Mr. Sourwine was prepared to give Pawley several blank subpoenas from the Senate Internal Security Committee, which could be filled out by Pawley and served on the defectors as soon as they came within the United States three mile limit. Pawley claims that he told Mr. Sourwine that he would be interested in helping in the defection operation, as he thought that the surfacing of Soviet military defectors from Cuba in the United States before an open public forum would contribute to the national security of the United States. Armed with this commitment from Pawley, Mr. Sourwine indicated that he would arrange for the author, Nathaniel Weyl, to visit Pawley within the next few days in order to discuss the operation in detail. Mr. Weyl subsequently contacted Pawley on April 17, 1963, and stated that he and his unidentified associates had an opportunity to bring four Soviet military defectors to the United States. Mr. Weyl described the Soviet defectors as being a captain and three lieutenants from a Soviet SAM site. It was Mr. Weyl's contention that these Soviets had pictures of underground missile storage sites in Cuba. Pawley indicated that he would be glad to participate in this operation and would put the full facilities of his organization at the disposal of the operation. Armed with this response, Mr. Weyl suggested that Pawley contact JOHN MARTINO of Alton Road, Florida, for further details of the operation. At this point Pawley stated that he was becoming quickly immersed in a complex operation. As a result Pawley decided to call COS in order to discuss the operation with a CIA representative. Pawley then asked COS's advice as to how the Soviet defectors could be brought into the United States and turned over to the Senate Internal Security Committee...The point was made that...facilitating the 'black' entry of aliens into the United States would put Pawley in violation of existing U.S. laws. COS ventured the opinion that Pawley could not obtain immunity from prosecution for the violation of these laws through any intercession on the part of the Senate Internal Security Committee. At this point Pawley stated it was obvious that his only course of action was to cooperate fully with the COS as CIA's official representative.
3. Once Pawley reached the decision that he had no alternative except to cooperate with the CIA he asked if COS could make a commitment to the effect that once the Soviets were brought into the U.S. they would be turned over to the Internal Security Committee within 36 hours. COS stated he was not in a position to make this kind of commitment on CIA's behalf. Pawley the suggested that he call Mr. Sourwine and indicate that while Pawley was prepared to participate in the operation he had ascertained that the only way to legally bring the defectors into the United States under secure conditions was to cooperate with the CIA. Pawley then indicated that if Mr. Sourwine would agree to cooperate with the CIA then Pawley would continue to pursue the operation. If Mr. Sourwine would not agree to cooperate with the CIA Pawley would withdraw from the venture.
4. After obtaining Mr. Sourwine's permission to cooperate with the CIA, Pawley asked how he should proceed with the implementation of the operation. COS suggested that the best way of handling the operation would be for COS to outline the information currently at hand to his Headquarters. Once this was done Pawley would probably be well-advised to personally contact officer or D/DCI in order to obtain firm commitments relative to the period of time which would elapse between the Soviets entry into the U.S. and their referral to the Internal Security Committee. Pawley thought this over for several minutes and then stated that he would prefer to contact D/CI directly and not have any record of this transaction in normal CIA cable channels.
5. Once it was clear that Pawley could not reach D/DCI by telephone, COS attempted to press for additional details relative to the defection operation. In this connection, COS asked what Pawley knew about JOHN MARTINO. Pawley stated that he knew nothing about him but was under the impression that MARTINO was in some way involved in acting as the middleman between the Cuban underground in Cuba and Weyl, who was the U.S. frontman for the transaction. COS then suggested that Pawley contact MARTINO and obtain all of the available information on the operation from MARTINO. In this connection COS stated that MARTINO was known to the CIA and that available information indicated that MARTINO had spent some time in Cuban prisons and could at best be described as an unsavory character. In this same context COS pointed out that MARTINO had previously claimed to have leads, but none of these had ever been substantiated once they were put to the test of producing results. Pawley then agreed to contact MARTINO.
6. On April 18, 1963, Pawley contacted COS by telephone and stated that he had just finished a meeting with MARTINO. Pawley stated that he was impressed with COS's accurate characterization of MARTINO, i.e. he was an unsavory lowlife. Pawley then went on to say that as things now stood MARTINO claimed that the three Soviets could be delivered to a point three miles off Mangrove Key, which was located north of Grand Bahama. MARTINO indicated that the four Soviets had been AWOL for some time and they were currently in hiding in Oriente Province. MARTINO stated that two men from the Cuban underground would bring the defectors to the Mangrove Key area. MARTINO indicated that he had a secure means of communications with Cuba, but he would not identify this system. MARTINO did claim that it would take about a week or ten days for the exfiltration to be competed.
9. In a telephone conversation with COS on April 19, 1963, Pawley stated he had received a telephone call from Mr. Weyl. In this conversation Pawley advised Mr. Weyl of Pawley's discussions with Sourwine and the D/DCI. Initially, this infuriated Mr. Weyl as he claimed that he did not want to cooperate with CIA and, as this was his operation, he was incensed that Sourwine had made a decision on this operation without consulting Weyl. After discussing the relative merits of the case for some time, Pawley claims he convinced Weyl the operation was now on a sound footing and there was no alternative but to cooperate with the CIA. Weyl apparently ultimately accepted this position and promised to keep Pawley informed on all developments in the operation. Pawley in return, advised COS that he would keep COA informed on all developments. (Deleted) Chief of Station. Ted Shackley
MARTINO was unable to supply the names of the defectors, nor had the CIA received reports of desertions by Soviets within Cuba. In 1976 William Pawley recalled his role in OPERATION RED CROSS: "Through the CIA, I arranged to bring my boat to Sunset Island without having to go through Customs or Immigration should we be successful in bringing out the defectors...CIA could not do anything directly. They did supply three good men, an armaments expert, a navigator and a radio operator. I was in constant touch with the Miami CIA office. In June 1963, at about 6:00 p.m., the team took off on a flying boat I had chartered, to a tiny uninhabited island that was a rendezvous point with my yacht, The Flying Tiger, which dropped them off ten miles off the coast of Cuba where they boarded a smaller CIA-supplied landing craft and headed for the 'sugar cane curtain.'" The CIA reported: "Pawley's 65 foot yacht Flying Tiger will depart Miami at 6:00 p.m. on June 5, 1963. Aboard yacht will be Pawley's Captain Luis Paez Guerra who Cuban national but long time trusted employee. CIA will have (Staff Employee) alias (deleted) and (Staff Employee) alias (deleted) on board Pawley yacht. This yacht due to arrive Hogsty reef 6:00 a.m. on June 8, 1963. Yacht will anchor reef area.
"CIA vessel Leda [a heavily armed 140 foot minesweeper] with intermediate craft aboard which furnished by Perez will arrive Hogsty reef 4:00 a.m. on June 8, 1963. Cuban craft which 21 foot Chris Craft will be anchored one quarter mile east northwest cay light Hogsty reef. Craft will be loaded with arms and exfil/infil equipment, water, etc. Cubans will not know Leda carried their craft Hogsty reef but will believe it towed there by Pawley yacht. Once craft anchored Leda withdraws and surveils Hogsty reef with radar to insure no other vessel picks up craft. Leda will radar watch Pawley yacht come into Hogsty reef at 6:00 a.m. Thus as of 6:00 a.m. June 8, 1963, Pawley yacht and Cuban craft will be Hogsty reef.
"CIA PBY, under dry lease to Pawley, will arrive Hogsty Reef at 6:30 a.m. June 8, 1963 and land in protected area. PBY will contain Pawley, MARTINO, Spencer from Life, Staff Employee alias (Deleted) Staff Employee alias (Deleted) and eight Cubans. Party will be transferred by RB-12 from PBY to Pawley yacht. Entire party will board Pawley yacht, take Cuban craft in tow, and head for launch point. PBY leaves area. Pawley yacht, surveilled by Leda Radar at ten mile distance, goes from reef to launch point which 20 miles off Cuba in commercial sea lanes. Here Cubans loaded into their craft. Once they in the craft they pass ammo in boxes and while being covered by arms on Pawley yacht Cubans are then cut loose at 10:00 p.m. June 8, 1963, for trip to Cuba...While above is skeleton presentation will assure headquarters all known safe guards have been taken minimize possibilities any type flap, compromise, hijacking etc. CIA involvement, while extensive, is not visible per se and fits into pattern those assets which Pawley able to acquire due his wealth, and or contacts. Pawley has played tough game with Cubans and indicated that while he desires to help, he will not risk his life, the lives of his employees, or loss of his property."
The men of OPERATION RED CROSS were never heard from again. The CIA attempted to find out what had happened to them by questioning their wives. The CIA reported: "On September 21, 1963, JOHN MARTINO contacted Staff Employee in order to report that MARTINO had received a letter from a Victor Garcia who was employed at Cuba. The Garcia letter was dated August 28, 1963, and it stated that Eduarda Perez, aka Bayo, and his men had recently caused the death of a number of militiamen and some Russian officers in a fire-fight which took place at Mayari in Oriente Province. (Field Comment: JMWAVE has no information which would confirm such a firefight). According to the Garcia letter, Perez lost two men in this firefight... After the action, Perez retreated to the Moa area of Oriente. The Garcia letter also stated that Perez was awaiting reinforcements and he expected that these reinforcements would be brought to him in Cuba by Angel Luis Castillo Cabrera. MARTINO asked employee if his organization would infiltrate Castillo and his men if MARTINO determined they were ready to go to Cuba to help Perez. Employee told MARTINO that he doubted he could obtain any help for the infiltration of additional people into Cuba. MARTINO then stated that Victor Garcia had originally written his letter to one Andre Venegas, who was residing in Miami. This Venegas wanted to infiltrate into Cuba, and he passed the letter to Castillo who passed the letter to MARTINO. Once MARTINO determined that the employee was not interested in facilitating the infiltration or additional men into Cuba to aid Perez, MARTINO broke off the conversation with employee. The information obtained from MARTINO, though not hard intelligence, does indicate that if a letter from Garcia to Venegas is bona fide, and not a fabrication prepared by MARTINO, then there was an indication the Perez was still alive and active in Cuba as of August 23, 1963...Traces: Angel Luis Castillo Cabrera, ACSI Source #670, DPOB October 2, 1924, Santiago de Cuba, Oriente Provence. Under Angel Luis Castillo (Deleted) September 27, 1961; (Deleted) 5807, September 18, 1962; WAVE-2592 September 18, 1962; Agent Report September 9, 1961, states Subject ex-Rebel Army Lieutenant. Witting informant of Agent. Report, December 19, 1962, states Subject fought clandestinely in Santiago de Cuba during Batista regime, joined 26th of July Movement, advanced and was a lieutenant under order of Com. Hubert Matos. Has been on Cuba since 1961. Has left and entered Cuba several times. Has complete confidence of Agent RED CROSS Report AA-1402, February 1, 1963, states he among first leaders of Cuban National Junta. Has been in Miami since January 15, 1963. RED CROSS report DD-368, August 26, 1963, states that according to Mr. Venegas, Subject was the person who put Perez (head of the group of Cuban exiles who left Miami for Cuba on a clandestine operation) in contact with JOHN MARTINO, the man who helped them. When Subject was a rebel officer in Cuba, he gave very good treatment to MARTINO when the latter was in prison. Subject disappeared from Miami and Venegas claims that he had gone to Cuba through the same via as Perez and his men.
"Andres Venegas, JMWAVE Personality File, A 12 143 273, DPOB December 25, 1923, Cuba, Occupation: Mechanic. Subject was stowaway on SS Transcaribbean from Cuba to Charleston, South Carolina. Supplied information regarding Communists worked at Cuba. Agent Memo May 3, 1962, recommended Subject for infiltration in region of Montanosa of Oriente Province.[CIA FOIA 18458, 18456, 18462, 18355, 18348]
The CIA could not verify any of MARTINO'S information and concluded the Soviet defector story was a fake: "Comment: A review of the information above leads to the conclusion that in the period June 1963 to January 1964, JMWAVE has not obtained any hard information on the current status of those individuals who infiltrated into Cuba on Operation RED CROSS. This review does reveal, however, that the circumstantial evidence does indicate that these infiltrees are still operating in Oriente in the Sagua de Tanamo area. This conclusion is based primary on the fact that none of the infiltrees have returned to Miami and we have not received any information from any reporting sources which would indicate that the infiltrees have been captured, killed or imprisoned. As a result of this negative reporting, JMWAVE can only conclude that the analysis which was previously reported in Reference A was correct i.e. the individuals who participated in Operation RED CROSS did not have any Soviet contacts but they developed a story about notional Soviet contacts in order to develop an operational proposal which was designed to obtain for them transportation, arms and infiltration into Cuba via the good offices of Pawley." [CIA FOIA 18462 To Chief, Special Affairs Staff, from COS JMWAVE] Robert K. Brown told this researcher: "This might have just been ploy to get the CIA to transport MARTINO to Cuba so he could do his own Rambo type operation."
On July 25, 1963, the CIA reported on Pawley's activities with JMWAVE.
1. As a result of the initial meeting between Pawley and COS [Ted Shackely] a relationship has developed in which Pawley as a well-informed businessman with excellent connections in the Miami community has been used as a special contact for the development of certain background data, operational intelligence, and the conduct of operational support tasks. In the period August 28, 1962 to July 25, 1963, Pawley has shown himself to be a discreet loyal American who is interested in helping his country solve those problems which it faces in the Western Hemisphere...
2. Operational Support. On occasion, it has been possible to use Pawley's background knowledge on Cuba as a reference point for the acquisition of operational intelligence and or/personality assessments. In addition, Pawley has, in some instances, been used to carry out operational support tasks for JMWAVE. These tasks are recorded in the comments which follow:
c. Crypt Cargo. After the Crypt corporation was established and in the initial period when JMWAVE was attempting to build a solid (deleted) cover for the Crypt Pawley was instrumental in obtaining (deleted) cargo for the Crypt (deleted) METHODS. (deleted)
3. OPERATION RED CROSS: On April 18, 1963, Pawley started a series of discussions with COS which ultimately led to the mounting of Operation RED CROSS. This operation is described in detail in WAVE 9342, dated June 5, 1963. In summary, this operation involved the infiltration into the Northern Coast of Oriente of ten Cuban exiles who claimed that they could go into Cuba and exfiltrate four Soviet Officers who were knowledgeable of Soviet missile activities in Oriente. This operation involved an odd assortment of bedfellows, such as Mr. Jay Sourwine of the Senate Internal Security Committee, Nathaniel Weyl, author, JOHN MARTINO, small time gangster, Life Magazine and Pawley. Operation RED CROSS was launched on June 9, 1963, with a large amount of assistance from JMWAVE. The infiltrees did not return from the infiltration operation as scheduled on June 10, 1963, June 11, 1963, or June 12, 1963. Subsequent developments revealed that the ten-man team which was infiltrated was part of the invasion force which the rump Cuban Revolutionary Council announced on June 20, 1963 that they had infiltrated into Cuba. It would appear, in retrospect, that the ten Cubans who went into Cuba on Operation RED CROSS did not have any Soviet contacts, but they dreamed those contacts up in order to find an angel who would facilitate their infiltration into Cuba. Their plan worked and they did find an angel i.e. Pawley, Life Magazine, Sourwine and a firm helping hand from the CIA. Despite this, Operation RED CROSS has to be viewed as a long shot target of opportunity which neither JMWAVE nor the CIA could refuse to pursue because, had their been an exfiltration of four Soviets, we would have had a veritable gold mine of current intelligence on Cuba. JMWAVE's analysis of Operation RED CROSS is contained in WAVE 0438, dated June 28, 1963.
5. Pawley's PW Efforts: Pawley is not in agreement with the Administration of President Kennedy on matters effecting the U.S. position relative to Cuba and the Caribbean. As a result, Pawley occasionally engages in propaganda activities of his own which are designed to bring the Cuban issue and Pawley's disagreement with President Kennedy's Administration to the attention of the U.S. public. [CIA 18460]
MARTINO made up the story about the Russian Generals who wanted to defect and told the story to Nathaniel Weyl. Weyl told the story to CIA informant Hede Massing and Massing told the CIA, which passed her report to the FBI. This gave the story a degree of authenticity within the government.
MARTINO had Weyl contact Sourwine with the story. Weyl contacted Sourwine and told him that MARTINO was the source of this story. Sourwine contacted Pawley and referred him to MARTINO. Pawley contacted Ted Shackley of the CIA.
Operation RED CROSS was a plan to get the CIA to infiltrate a commando team into Cuba despite the reluctance of the Kennedy Administration to have the CIA violate the territorial integrity of Cuba.
Loran Hall told the HSCA that in 1963 HEMMING had introduced him to MARTINO: "We went over to JOHN MARTINO'S house and he took us to a beach hotel. We went up to the hotel room and in the hotel room was Sam Giancana, Johnny Rosselli and TRAFFICANTE." HEMMING 1994: "Never happened. His big plan was to see TRAFFICANTE in Tampa and remind him of the favors he did him while he was in jail. That type of meeting went down in 1961, after the Bay of Pigs." MARTINO appeared on Allen Courtney's radio show. HEMMING told this researcher: "MARTINO had a pipeline directly to very important people. I spent a lot of time with him, I practically lived in his house. I know his kids, his son and daughter. When I talked to him I felt like I was talking to George Raft. He looked like him. In 1972 he was in Guatemala, he had a death squad thing going there, attempted assassination on President Pepe Figueres of Costa Rica. I worked with him up until 1974, handling some rice deals in Latin America." HEMMING elaborated on the plot against President Figueres, which was known as OPERATION CACTUS: "Figueres had allowed the Soviets to open an embassy in San Jose. He entered into trade agreements with them. His previous followers wanted him hit."
When JOHN MARTINO returned to the United States, he spoke and wrote about his friendship with his fellow prisoner in Cuba, DANIEL LESTER CARSWELL. [Long Island Press Edith K. Roosevelt 7.21.62] In I Was Castro's Prisoner, MARTINO recalled his first conversation with CARSWELL: "He told me, 'We had drilled through the floor, which is the ceiling of the Chinese News Agency, and we were about to lower a microphone into the next room so that we could put everything that was said there on tape.'" CARSWELL shared the special food he received from the American Embassy with MARTINO, although the Embassy closed in January 1961. Both men shared a common lawyer, Dr. Fernando Colomar Lluch, Doctor of Law of the School of Havana. When CARSWELL was released, he gave MARTINO his personal possessions. Mrs. Martino explained: "In speaking of her husband's release from Cuban prison she said she was directed to an attorney named Dr. Fernando Colomar after the original attorney she hired 'became afraid' and dropped the case. She said she was directed to Colomar by a friend, Gustavo Aleman, who knew Hugh Kessler in the American Embassy in Havana. Mrs. Martino said that Colomar later told her she didn't have to pay him because he was being paid by Kessler to also defend four other Americans, the group involved Daniel Carswell, the CIA Agent who had been arrested for bugging the Red Chinese News Service. Mrs. Martino said Colomar came to Miami and worked for the State Department after the Bay of Pigs." [HSCA Memo From Fonzi and Gonzales to Cliff Fenton 10.7.77]
The true name of DANIEL L. CARSWELL was first revealed in a CIA interview with John Mertz: "The team's leader was DAVID CRIST." [CIA OGC 77-6457 10.11.77] In January 1994 the CIA released the Biographic Profile of DAVID LEMAR CHRIST. HEMMING 1994: "I thought it was spelled Crist. I've seen the fucking name somewhere before. I've seen the name in an unpublished report, a biography. I've never seen it spelled CHRIST."
In September 1960 the Republic of Cuba opened diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China. In September 1960 DAVID CHRIST was assigned to an audio mission in Havana. The target of this mission was the New China News Agency, located in apartment No. 162, on the 17th floor of the Edificio de Retiro Medico. He approached a member of the Foreign Intelligence /Directorate /Operations staff on September 20, 1960 "to state that he would soon be going to Havana to redo an audio installation in the (deleted) and possibly to mount other audio operations, unspecified by CHRIST. CHRIST requested that Mr. (Deleted) and possibly some of the (deleted)'s accompany him on the Havana assignment. In response to the query by the undersigned as to why (deleted)'s services were desired, CHRIST stated that (deleted) might be needed for entry into the target area. When the undersigned pointed out that there was apparently no entry problem with regard to the (deleted) target room, CHRIST changed the basis for his request in that he mentioned the possible need for protection while in Havana. He went on the explain that (deleted) and his people could be used to determine whether he, Mr. CHRIST, was under surveillance. At this junction (deleted) entered the undersigned's office, and CHRIST repeated his request. After a review of the pros and cons, and particularly in view of (deleted)'s duties, it was decided there was no concrete purpose which could justify the assignment of (deleted) as requested by CHRIST. CHRIST proceeded to Havana on August 17, 1959, returned to Washington o/a August 31, 1959, and departed again for Havana for the (deleted) task O/a September 7, 1963." [CIA Memo Chief, FI/D]
The Technical Services Division supplied CHRIST with false Identification that consisted of a New York Driver's License, Pennsylvania Birth Certificate, Social Security Card, a United States Air Force Reserve Officers Association Membership Card, an American Association of Engineers Membership Card, and a International Vaccination Certificate. According to a New York CIA Field Office CIA document, the New York Field Office backstopped CHRIST'S Identification with the help of S.M. Horton. Later S.M. Horton's name was removed from this document and the name of John Mertz was substituted. [CIA Memo To Victor White from Byron B. Burnes 3.28.62] John Mertz stated in November 1994: "Horton was ANGLETON'S deputy. Burnes was the adman officer for ANGLETON. Horton was transferred. He went to Australia. He left, so they put me down as the guy who was the contact."
Former CIA agent Melvin Beck reported that when he was stationed in Cuba in 1960: "Two technicians from the Clandestine Services Technical Services Division were dispatched to Havana. They arrived as ordinary tourists (on September 8, 1960), with their personal belongings. Many of the tools of their trade were on hand, stored in the station, and whatever else they needed would be sent by pouch...The plan was to plant a microphone transmitter in the ceiling of the penthouse room expected to be occupied by the Soviet Ambassador [in the Hotel Rosita]."
This operation was a success. Soon, "Bryan reappeared at our suburban retreat in the company of three technicians from Headquarters, one of whom had worked with me earlier on the ROSITA OPERATION...I gathered that the technicians were about to plant a listening device in the floor of an apartment directly above the office of the New China News Agency."
Melvin Beck stated that a few days later, "a frantic telephone call from the station related that evidently something had gone wrong with Bob's [Robert Neet] operation: the technicians had reportedly been taken into custody by Cuban G-2; Bob's whereabouts were unknown...How would the technicians hold up if they were tortured? What information had G-2 extracted from them?" [Beck, Melvin Secret Contenders p74] The CIA:
DATE: September 15, 1960.
1. (Deleted) blown and CARSWELL, Taransky and Danbrunt under detention. Following are facts at present time:
A. Contact made with (2) who reported he left 6:00 p.m. September 14, 1960, and made an agent contact which went well. Returned to his apartment at 8:00 p.m. and found two men outside his door. (2) sneaked out and destroyed agent report and spent night in bar. Returned to apartment 7:00 a.m. and found two men outside. Later contact with A-1 [Mrs. Nordio] wife who was in apartment. She reported nothing unusual.
B. (Deleted) one of three techs in (deleted) failed make contact 12:00 p.m. September 14, 1960. Case Officer waited until 1:30 p.m. then attempted to go (deleted) apartment. Watchman intercepted Case Officer and Case Officer detoured to another apartment, which he knew was not occupied. Returned, asked watchman for phone number rental where he could get change of address since occupant had moved. While waiting for watchman to get number, noted three militiamen, policemen, who appeared to be Prensa Latina reporters in front which was more people than usual that time night, but on entering noticed large group of couples waiting for cars at adjoining garage apparently leaving from party in building.
C. At 1:00 a.m. September 15, 1960, apartment on 23rd floor occupied by Mrs. Marjorie Lennox, Embassy Staff employee, was entered into and searched by DIER agents. Mrs. Lennox was detained without explanation and at approximately 11:00 a.m. taken to DIER Headquarters. Ambassador has lodged energetic protest with foreign office demanding her release.
D. On the afternoon of September 14, 1960, Station borrowed key Mrs. Lennox apartment under pretext to need to observe Prensa Latina personnel from apartment. Duplicate of key was made and given to CARSWELL for use in extreme emergency if evasive action required in building. Can be surmised men were apprehended and key found and through process of elimination Lennox apartment located.
A CIA cable advised Havana to exfiltrate or move to diplomatic area everyone who was involved in the operation. Jake Esterline noted these events. Double click here to see a photo of CHRIST supplied to Gaeton Fonzi by the Government of Cuba and a photo of CHRIST taken from a Cuban newspaper. [ ChristCuba.JPEG] [ChristCuba2.JPEG]
The CIA agents in the New China News Agency bugging operation used these names: CHRIST used the name DANIEL LESTER CARSWELL, 45, born 1918, Ashland, Pennsylvania, Engineer, East Chester, New York. Thorton J. Anderson, Jr. used the name "Eustace H. Danbrunt" 38, born 1925, Cleveland, Mechanical Engineer, 3915 Deerfield Blvd., Baltimore, Maryland. Walter Szuminski used the name "Edmund Konrad Taransky," 33, born 1930, Boston, Technician, New York City. Others involved included Mario Nordio (an Italian-born naturalized American dance teacher), Marjorie Lennox, 26, the Secretary of the Commercial Attache at the U.S. Embassy who sublet an apartment from Mario Nordio, an unnamed individual (Mr. Lennox?), and CIA Agent Robert Neet, the Embassy employee who ran the operation. Everyone except for CHRIST, Thorton J. Anderson and Walter Szuminski were deported. The United States Ambassador was restricted to a ten-block area.
Thorton J. Anderson, Walter Szuminski and CHRIST had been caught in an apartment borrowed by Robert Neet from Marjorie Lennox. They had electronic listening devices, as well as a tape of a conversation between the Red Chinese in San Juan, Puerto Rico and the New China News Agency. CHRIST told the G-2 agents who questioned him that he was on his way back to the United States, when someone in the American Embassy asked him to do a small favor and fix some electronic equipment in their apartment.
John Mertz: "By that time Castro assigned all living quarters. You registered. They went down and rented this apartment and stored their audio equipment in the closet, and then came back to the States. They went back two or three weeks later, and then were going to set it up. They went to work and they were greeted by the Cuban Police. Apartments weren't vacant at that time, there was no possible way to be undetected. It was a dumb-assed trick. They should have known the conditions in Cuba before they ever went down there the first time. Hell, I never had any admiration for CHRIST at all. They were in Havana foolishly to begin with. CHRIST decided to go down himself. They shouldn't have been down there doing what they were doing, knowing what Castro was doing. There was a mix-up of signals there somewhere. I don't know what it was. When they were captured we saved them from going to the wall. We later brought their lawyer to the States. It became my job to get 'em out alive, if possible. At least I would know what damage had been done. We were afraid the Russians would take 'em over. Which they didn't. Castro never found out who they were." CHRIST was witting of:
All audio operations worldwide since December 1957 to present date.
Complete knowledge of all R & D aspects of audio equipment research.
Had knowledge of certain Staff D and FI equipment and operations for use overseas.
Clearance through Top Secret Special Intelligence Clearance and "Q" Clearance.
World wide knowledge of location of all CIA audio technicians.
Having previously been with the Applied Physics Branch of TSD he was also aware of many of our other R. & D. activities.
He has been to (deleted) many times.
On December 18, 1960, CHRIST, Thorton J. Anderson Jr. Walter Szuminski and Mario Nordio underwent a military trial. They were charged with "Crimes Against the Powers of the State." The trial was held in a small schoolroom located on the second floor of the Jefatura (Guard's Office) building at La Cabana Fortress Prison. Little public interest was shown. Members of the Military Tribunal were all from the Cuban Army, except for one member from the Cuban Navy. The prosecutor was an Army Officer. The President of the Tribunal devoted part of his time during the trial to talking with other members, one of whom spent his time carving on the table with a pocket knife, cleaning his fingernails and dropping nose drops in his nose. CHRIST'S defense attorney, Dr. Fernando Colomar, said that Robert Neet, who was neither a Consular Officer, nor a diplomatic officer, had been expelled from Cuba by the Cuban Government. This, Colomar pointed out, was a error on the part of the Cuban Government. Robert Neet, he said, was the guilty party and should be facing trial: "CARSWELL, Taransky and Danbrunt are technical engineers, who specialized in electrical, mechanical and electronic engineering, and were instigated and induced to come to Havana, during their vacation in the month of September, by the actual author of this fact by direct participation, instigator and inducer, Mr. Robert L. Neet...the invitation was to arrange and adapt different audio and sound recording devices. Before their arrival to Habana as tourists such devices were already connected to a microphone previously installed..."
Yet, he said, the Cuban Government expelled the guilty person from Cuba and left three innocent tools - "men who were employed by Robert Neet, men who were paid by Robert Neet and men whose transportation was paid for by Robert Neet" - to stay and face trial for a crime they did not commit. Robert Neet was contacted in June 1993. He declined to be interviewed. [ telephone 703-532-5285] On January 11, 1960, CHRIST was sentenced to 10 years in La Cabana. His co-defendants received identical sentences. Mario Nordio was deported.
Following their arrest, CHRIST, Thorton J. Anderson and Walter Szuminski were first detained at G-2 Headquarters then moved to La Cabana prison. They were kept supplied with food, vitamins, reading material, an electric frying pan etc. On January 23, 1961, the three men were moved to the Isle of Pines prison where living and sanitary conditions were intolerable. Prisoners were required to perform hard manual labor and there was an insufficiency of food.
Journalist Jack Anderson reported that the CIA was determined to get CHRIST out of Cuba, and to do this, it contacted Charles Siragusa. In 1978 Charles Siragusa told Jack Anderson that he had met with a CIA agent in Washington, D.C., in 1960: "Three Spanish-speaking CIA operatives had been arrested while pulling a Watergate-style break-in at the Chinese Communist News Agency in Havana. Cuban police thought they had caught three small fry burglars and locked them up on an island off Cuba. The CIA was desperate to get them back before their cover was blown. One knew the names of numerous CIA contacts in Cuba. The CIA turned to Charles Siragusa, suggesting that he enlist Mafia types for a rescue raid. This proved impractical; instead, Charles Siragusa began dealings with a Chicago lawyer supposedly close to Fidel Castro's brother, Raoul. The CIA authorized Charles Siragusa to spend up to $1 million to effect the rescue of the imprisoned agents. The Chicagoan received $10,000 from CIA funds, but his efforts failed. Eventually the three won their freedom through the legal efforts of a Havana attorney retained by the CIA without Castro's knowledge." [Wash. Post 1.4.78 B13]
The Chicago attorney was Constantine Kangles. Counter-Intelligence Staff told (deleted) of "one effort of a prominent Chicago lawyer who supposedly had some influential contacts both in the U.S. and Mexico. The Counter-Intelligence collective opinion at the time was that 'this guy took us for a ride.'" Another document read: "The Chicago attorney, who is unwitting of Government interest visited Havana in May / June 1962 and as of November 22, 1962, received word that as soon as possible he will be invited back to Cuba to negotiate with Fidel Castro on this case. Kangles expects the release of the three men not later than the first week in January 1963." Wilma Christ, the wife of David Christ, stated that Constantine Kangles would have gotten $100,000 if he succeeded in getting the technicians out of prison.
John Mertz related that in 1960 Richard Helms charged him with developing a project to free CHRIST and his two associates from La Cabana Prison. John Mertz: "I was functioning in the thing as a lawyer for their notional families. Up in New England somewhere. I represented the legal interest of the notional families. I operated as a supposed member of a Washington law firm."
A CIA document stated: "Mertz, identifying himself as CIA affiliated, contacted Siragusa and told him in general terms what was required. Siragusa put Mertz in contact with several people e.g. Batista's chauffeur and wife, who had the desired connections. The project did not succeed in freeing the Agency employees...Mertz considers Siragusa a friend. The above Project was well documented and Counter-Intelligence Staff or Security should be able to locate the records. He cannot remember the project crypt."
John Mertz: "Well, how to get them out? Prior to that time the mafia had been runnin' the whorehouses and the gamblin' joints in Havana. SANTO TRAFFICANTE. I went to Charlie Siragusa and said, 'You got any connections with the mafia?' He said he did. 'Well, find out what they can do to help get these guys out.' I don't know who he contacted. They laughed at him. They said, 'Hell, we're on the wanted list down there too.' We abandoned that, but he did come up with a guy who had been Batista's driver. We met with him and his wife in Miami and he came back said, 'We'll get them out easy. We know one or more guards down there. And for $200,000 upfront, we'll have the guards take him out on a work detail and let them escape and they've got a ten mile walk due south to the shore and we'll meet them there with a boat. We called Headquarters. 'What's between the prison and the south shore?' 'Ten miles of mangrove swamp.'"
Either Thorton J. Anderson or Walter Szuminski wrote this Memorandum for the Record:
1. After being released from the Isle of Pines, Cuba, in the summer of 1963, several debriefing sessions were held with members of Counter-Intelligence Staff and Office of Security after my official return to duty. Of several ops, two were the subject of discussion, since they involved efforts to obtain our release from the Isle of Pines by escape, bribes or whatever...
2. The second effort mentioned in the (deleted) trip reports was travel to Miami by the Counter-Intelligence case officer, John Mertz, with a suitcase full of large bills to impress the local hoods. Specific details are difficult to recall, but in essence it seemed with the right contacts and enough money anything was possible in Cuba at that time (1960 to 1961). From the reports the 'hoods' were impressed with that amount of money, but nothing more ever happened. In any case, during our imprisonment in Cuba nothing more happened to indicate anything was going on.
3. During all this conversation back and forth, mafia may have been mentioned, but after ten years it is difficult to say with any accuracy if this was the case. Only a review of the (deleted) files could confirm or deny this.
4. The timing of these various operations on our behalf would seem to coincide with the recent publicity about Mr. Maheu and his efforts with the mafia. For that reason, and to forestall any misconception about our mission in Cuba which was (deleted) have related the facts as best I can recall. (Deleted )OTS/APB [Thorton J. Anderson and Walter Szuminski]
John Mertz: "You had one memo there that I was running around with a bushel basket full of money. That's a lot of bullshit. I don't think anyone in the government could get a hold of a bushel basket full of cash, running around, giving it out. Anyway, the Chief of Station in Mexico City, Winston Scott, found a Mexican lawyer down there that was doing business with Castro. We went down and talked to him and paid him a small retainer to see what he could do with Castro. Nothing ever came of it. They got out before he had much of a chance. He was a member of a big law firm down there."
The CIA: "Mertz assumed a cover as a lawyer for the prisoner's relatives. JIM ANGLETON, who was Siragusa's supervisor in the OSS in Italy, during World War II, suggested to Mertz that Siragusa might have U.S. underworld connections with connections in Cuba who could be utilized to free the prisoners." A document released in 1994 read: "Mr. Mertz is off for the afternoon with Murphy. (Deleted) of Technical Service Division called and left word with Jean that General Carter might be calling Mr. ANGLETON about the Techs case. When I asked (deleted) how he knew this, he said it came about this way: Wilma Christ had been needling him all day about when she was going to get to see the Attorney General. (Deleted) called Carter's secretary to see if an appointment had been set up, and while he was talking to her, General Carter cut in and asked what was going on and who was in charge of the case. (Deleted) told him Mr. Mertz was. Carter asked about 'this thing up in New York' and (deleted) told him he knew we were on top of it. Carter asked if anybody had discussed it with the Attorney General or anyone on that level: (Deleted) said he knew it had been discussed with the Bureau. Carter then said he would be calling you regarding the case...Mr. Mertz called to say he had talked to (deleted) and had placed a call to General Carter who was out but would be calling Mertz back (at Mertz's home) at any moment. The point Carter indicated he planned to you about was the possibility of a trade, our boys for the saboteurs the FBI arrested in NY."When ANGLETON was questioned about CHRIST during HUNT v. WEBERMAN, he testified that the name "CARSWELL" and photograph of CARSWELL were unknown to him.
When DAVID PHILLIPS was asked about him, he responded: "I'm afraid, Counselor, that on the long list of names, that I now realize I must stick by my feeling that I have to have CIA permission to discuss whether I did, or did not, have connection with these people."
Wilma Christ was often unhappy with the inability of the Agency to secure the release of her husband. The Christ family had six children and Mr. CHRIST'S absence caused innumerable problems. Wilma Christ was contacted by a Technical Services Division employee on an almost daily basis. She met with Allen Dulles on March 28, 1961: "Mrs. Christ meets with Allen Dulles, Director, CIA, who reports that the best hope of obtaining husband's freedom lies in revolution in Cuba. Mrs. Christ appreciated the Director's candor but disappointed that more active efforts were not being undertaken."
On May 24, 1961, "Mrs. Christ arranges for (deleted) for self and for eldest son, who is (deleted). On July 7, 1961, "Mrs. Christ meets with General Cabell, DDCI, with reference to her demand to see the President." On August 16, 1961, Mrs. Christ met with "General Maxwell Taylor in lieu of President. Mrs. Christ again disappointed by lack of action to free her husband."
In August 1962, Larry Christ, the brother of DAVID CHRIST, presented an ultimatum: "Either we arrange for a meeting with Attorney General or he will move to see him independently." Lawrence Christ was "of the opinion that Mrs. Christ is it the early stages of a nervous breakdown. Her health and cooperation are vital to the operational security aspects of this case. He is embittered because of the lack of cognizance of Wilma Christ by the Executive Branch of the Government. As he stated it, 'They have time to greet astronauts, foreign dignitaries and the like, yet they cannot even call her on the telephone. Just five minutes is all it would take.' The security implications involved in a meeting with the Attorney General or a telephone call from the White House has been repeated to the Christ family many times. Their present attitude can been summed up in a few words, 'Security be damned! If we don't do something in a hurry he may never come back.'" (Wilma: "That is entirely erroneous.") [CIA Memo DD/P 10.16.62 Seymour Russell c/DD/P/TSD]
Wilma Christ was losing it. She was fed up with the lack of response that she received from the Kennedy Administration. She would tell her husband how she was treated after he returned.
In July 1962 Sidney Gottlieb established a scholarship fund for Thomas Christ, the son of David Christ. John Mertz: "Gottlieb was the head of the division where those guys worked." Dr. Gottlieb: "Although this request is in part motivated by compassion for the Tech's families and a strong desire to lighten their burden, the overriding consideration is the need for continued operational security and control, which will be aided by your approval of our request." [Memo DD/Support 7.23.62 Sidney Gottlieb AC/DD/P/TSD]
Sidney Gottlieb stated:
1. That DAVE CHRIST was not knowledgeable of Sid's specialties, beyond knowing he was in charge of the chemical division of Technical Services Division and had something vague to do with debilitant drugs.
2. Among the contacts in Cuba of (deleted)(Air Force medico in Sid's hypnosis project) is a lawyer who is also an accomplished hypnotist. He has reportedly had some success in his cases by hypnotizing the judge at parties beforehand, and making the judge susceptible to his suggestions in the courtroom. (Deleted) has the poop on the lawyer. (Deleted) and I yesterday agreed there might be some merit in sending (deleted) to Cuba to snoop through the lawyer. We can get (deleted) down here on a day's notice through Gittinger, who is acting for Sid during the next few weeks. [CIA Memo Havana Flap 9.21.60]
John Marks, in his 1979 book The Search for the "Manchurian Candidate" wrote: "In June 1960 [Gottlieb's] TSS [Technical Services Support -Technical Services Division] officials launched an expanded program of operational experiments in hypnosis in cooperation with the Agency's Counter-Intelligence staff. Counter-Intelligence officials wrote that the hypnosis program could provide a 'potential breakthrough in clandestine technology.' Their arrangement with [Technical Services Division] was that the MK-ULTRA men would develop the technique in the laboratory, while they took care of 'field experimentation.' The Counter-Intelligence program had three goals:
(1) to induce hypnosis very rapidly in unwitting Subjects;
(2) to create durable amnesia; and
(3) to implant durable and operationally useful posthypnotic suggestion."
Mexico City was a primary locale for the new experiments. Melvin Beck told about it in Secret Contenders: "[ANGLETON'S] Counter-Intelligence staff had in tow a young psychiatrist who claimed that he could produce a hypnotic state in an instant of shock to the Subject. He had evidently convinced the staff of its feasibility. Such a feat opened up wide vistas of utilization by the staff, particularly in the area of its prime concern-the bona fides of Clandestine Services agents. Under hypnosis, the agent was compelled to reveal the truth, thus putting to rest the doubts that always remained after studying the scattered and elusive evidence contained in a dossier or a file. Best of all, the method of putting the Subject under instantaneous hypnosis was practical and adaptable to the agent situation, with the significant added factor that the agent would remember nothing of the experience."
In December 1962, the Chief, Technical Services Division/ Liaison Services Section set up a meeting between Wilma Christ, Deputy Director /CIA General Carter and United States Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. John Mertz had Wilma Christ meet with General Carter before the meeting. She told him she wanted to meet with the Attorney General. It was unclear if the meeting occurred.
On December 26, 1962, Wilma Christ threatened to make contact with a member of a delegation headed for Havana that was led by James Donovan. James Donovan was involved in sensitive negotiations with the Cubans. On December 28, 1962, Wilma Christ was assured by James Donovan and Robert Hurwich of the State Department that the release of her husband would be secured, in return for supplies: "She was extremely happy with these assurances and there was no reason for the Attorney General to call her at that time." [MFR 3.22.63 Report of Meeting between Mrs. Christ and Mr. James Donovan in New York City on 3.20.63 from C/TSD/LSS] In January 1963 Wilma Christ met with a CIA representative: "During conversation with Mrs. Christ and her daughter, Elaine, on January 2, 1963, I attempted to bring them up to date on the latest efforts in the (Deleted) Project. Their only significant comments were continual requests that they be guaranteed that every effort is being made to effect the release of the Techs. At this time they do not feel that we are doing everything possible and voiced the opinion that the government is not forceful enough. Mrs. Christ again agreed not to take any unilateral action at this time, but commented that this whole episode is a very black page in American History." On March 6, 1963, the CIA reported: "Occasionally, Mrs. Christ becomes temperamental, somewhat abusive, and highly excitable. She continues to severely criticize the Administration, as well as the Agency's previous operations to free her husband. Her brother-in-law, Larry, continually threatens unilateral action unless 'something is done very soon.'" On March 22, 1963, Wilma Christ met with James Donovan: "This preliminary meeting lasted about 45 minutes and gave Wilma Christ an opportunity to vent much of her anger and resentment." Other CIA reports noted: "Wilma Christ becomes temperamental, somewhat abusive, and highly excitable. She continues to severely criticize the Administration, as well as the Agency's previous operations designed to free her husband." Robert Hurwich of the State Department was present at some of these meetings. After the meeting, Mrs. Christ confided that "she often feels embarrassed and ashamed for saying many of the nasty things she has in the past, and for doubting the Agency's efforts to gain her husband's release." Wilma Christ was contacted in February 1994: "I am still under the secrecy business. I didn't know they had released anything. Why didn't they tell me? Because of how heavily my husband guarded the secrets, I have been indoctrinated that way, so I am fearful of saying anything. I am engulfed in this secrecy business. I have to talk to someone at the Agency. I wasn't privy to the details of the attempts made to release him. Alan, I have to make some calls to check on you." Wilma Christ was told, "I need some checking out, that's for sure. I'll send you a book so you'll know what I'm really about." Wilma Christ was recontacted in March 1994: "I haven't contacted the CIA about you, but I decided I'm not going to discuss it. Thanks for the book. The whole thing you read about my attempting to secure my husband's release is ridiculous. Not a shred of truth. I met with Robert Kennedy. I didn't demand it, it was suggested. I'm not going to talk about it. It's a bunch of garbage. I don't even want to hear it."
John Mertz: "Mrs. Christ was Security's problem, not mine. People from the Office of Security were holding CHRIST'S wife's hand during the time he was in jail there. I didn't have anything to do with that. I was trying to get him out. I never heard of a meeting between RFK and Mrs. Christ. She was not my baby. She could have gotten him killed by blowing her stack." HEMMING told this researcher: "CHRIST'S wife was lucky that he was a career officer. If he had been a contract employee, she would have been threatened, and told to keep her mouth shut. They wanted to get his ass out before there was an invasion or execution or anything else. They weren't hurting for money."
McCORD allegedly retired from the CIA in 1970, but remained in the CIA Civilian Reserve Program. [CIA MFF 8.25.70 Louis F. Mazza, Chief, Employee Activity Branch] The following statement by McCORD was found in his CIA retirement application under CIARDS: "During the latter part of 1955 to 1962 period the writer was case officer for three agents for DD/P whose task was to gain entry to prisons in Cuba and obtain data and photographs concerning their layout and operation. These were prisons where three agency staffers were being held. Two of the agents successfully gained entry into such prisons and returned to the U.S. with data acquired; the third acquired additional data from a foreign embassy in Cuba of interest and relevance. The transcript of the CIA retirement board on June 11, 1970, shows McCORD being credited with being an 'actual case officer for Cuban agents for 24 months from 1960 to 1962. The minutes of the meeting summarized the point with less detail." [NARA 1993.08.11.18: 17:58:620028 - Breckinridge]
After the Watergate affair, the FBI asked the CIA to determine if McCORD had been familiar with the anti-Castro exile community in the early 1960's. The CIA replied on June 21, 1972: "...a review of the duties and assignments or Mr. McCORD provided no indication that he was involved in Cuban matters and that he was not assigned to the Bay of Pigs operation. This does not preclude the possibility, however, that he might have developed personal acquaintances which are not recorded in official personal and security records. We have no information regarding McCORD'S activities with Cuban exiles since his retirement."[Vernon Walters Memo for FBI 7.6.72] Another CIA document stated: "This is to advise that the duties and area assignments of Mr. McCORD as an Agency employee (deleted)." [CIA Memo 6.21.72 Osborne to Parman]
In a Memorandum dated July 6, 1972, the CIA stated that there was "no indication that he was involved in Cuban matters and that he was not assigned to the BAY OF PIGS OPERATION." [CIA FOIA 2132-2] Less than a month later, the CIA modified its position: "Reference is made to memoranda from this Agency dated June 21, 1972, and July 6, 1972, which stated that a review of McCORD'S duties and assignments provided no indication that he was involved (deleted). However, a recent review has revealed that from late 1960 to mid-1961 Mr. McCORD was involved in planning activities in Washington concerning (deleted), and that from Washington he directed as many as three Agency operational assets." [CIA FOIA #2795-1]
On June 29, 1974, Scott Breckinridge noted: "As I left I asked Barbara Pindar for a copy of the letter to Senator Baker, and she made one for me. She called my attention to the Director's note on our memo about McCORD'S Cuban involvement, emphasizing his statement that we should find out rapidly. I told her that two Office of Security people are reviewing files and looking for leads on who might remember McCORD'S activities, and that the Office of Finance was mounting an effort on past travel records that might show McCORD'S travel to Miami or elsewhere. I told her we would be unlikely to have full answers for a while. She said I'd best speak to the Director. I carried a copy of the McCORD memo and told the Director essentially the same story. He discussed possible results, and we agreed that it may well turn out that McCORD had limited involvement, along the line that the Office of Security feels may be the case. He said we should draft a memo to the FBI, as a correction to the June 21, 1972 memo, saying simply that in a recent review of McCORD'S files, we had found in his retirement file a statement to the effect that in the 1960 to 1962 period he handled agents targeted against Cuba, and that we had been unable to refine the information. It is sensitive so the details cannot be passed, but it has nothing to do with anything after that period." [NARA 1993.08.11.18:16:27:590028]
A CIA document stated: On July 3, 1974, "(deleted) phoned to say one of the fellows in jail is still around, and after he got out, he inquired around, and got no indication that McCORD was ever involved. None of the other OTS people had any recollection of McCORD'S involvement. I said I was sure that the man who was rolled up might not have any idea of McCORD'S involvement, if indeed he was involved. If McCORD'S involvement was merely headquarters planning and no releasing operation was ever undertaken, his role might never surface. However, we had been told that planning did involve Technical Services Division people at the time, along with Security. For instance, I knew that the Security man with Technical Services Division at the time had a job of hand-holding with the families of the three men; there may be some Technical Services Division record that would lead to someone who would know." [CIA Memo SDB to MFF 7.3.74]
The operation to free CHRIST was run out of the East Asia Division. This Division made plans for black air transport for the three Technical Services Division detainees in the event of their release:
Air Support Division, DD/P
July 11, 1962
RELEASE CONTINGENCY PLAN 62-2
TASK ORGANIZATION: (Deleted) Major Commander.
1. SITUATION:...efforts are being made to secure their release. Since their release may occur without advance notice and at a variety of places, i.e. Havana, Miami, Mexico City, Switzerland, Brazil etc. it is imperative that a contingency plan be formulated to ensure the secure reception of these employees...
2. MISSION: (Deleted) provide black air transportation from port of entry CONUS to the designated safe area.
3. EXECUTION: A. Black air transport will be provided under this plan at the request of TFW, (deleted) or Operational Support Division/OS/DDS depending on the release point and port of entry. [CIA Air Support Division DD/P 7.11.62]
Theodore Shackley, the Chief of the East Asia Division of the CIA, was asked by the CIA's Deputy Director for Operations to search for any record of McCORD'S involvement in the rescue operation: "The files of both operations have been recalled from the archives and searched. They contain no reference to McCORD. The (deleted) file contained Attachment B, which indicates that a further file of 'sensitive non-CS record material' pertaining to (deleted) exists but is not accessible to the EA Division... Mr. (Deleted) name appears frequently in the (deleted) file as a WH officer; thus as a current member of the East Asia Division he was consulted with negative results. He said he had no memory of McCORD involvement, however, it seems plausible to him that the Office of Security and the TSD might have tried to work something out in terms of a rescue operation..."
WH/RMO stated: "There is a folder of sensitive non-OS record material pertaining to this operation, retired under Black Tape wrapping, Job #67-86/78, restricted to Office of DCI, DDCI, DDP, C/WH, C/WH/PL, C/WH/C, C/CI, C/TSD, Director of Security and General Counsel. CHINA OPERATIONS is not cited as an originator, addressee or recipient of any of this sensitive material." [CIA Memo WH/RMO 9.20.66 - NARA 1993.08.11.18:13:34:590028; Shackley Memo C/EAD 7.6.74]
The November 15, 1974, CIA Handbook stated: "To retain the P&L, RYBAT, or KAPOK sensitivity of a document remaining in a 201-dossier being retired to Central Files, place that document in an envelope sealed with black tape. Any RYBAT, P&L, or KAPOK document sent to Central Files not in blacktaped envelope will automatically be handled as desensitized. A blacktaped envelope may contain only one document and must be filed in chronological order within the file. If there are numerous documents of this type, the desk officer may blacktape the entire dossier rather than the individual documents. Blacktaped dossiers or dossiers with blacktaped documents will be handled as restricted dossiers."
Acting Inspector General Scott Breckinridge wrote that "the findings may only result in an innocuous rewording of the original statements, to the effect that McCORD did have a headquarters planning responsibility for certain Cuban Operations." [NARA 1993.08.11.18:17:58:620028]
John Mertz had no knowledge of McCORD'S involvement in the plan to free CHRIST: "He didn't have a damn thing to do with it. But there were a couple of security officers who worked for McCORD. I don't remember their names. One of their names was Morris. They were gophers for me on that thing." HEMMING told this researcher: "This makes McCORD a player, not a book reader." Marina Oswald told this researcher: "It could be, or simply guilty by association."
McCORD was contacted in December 1993. When he determined I was doing research into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, he hung-up the telephone. A message was left on McCORD'S answering machine linking him with CHRIST. When his number was re-dialed he stated: "What is your name? What is your address? You're a writer with who? Let me tell you something Mr. Weberman, I will not be talking with you any further, my friend. I never heard of the man you talked about CARSWELL, CHRIST, whatever. This is the last I am going to tell you. My lawyer's going to be in touch with you by letter. I never heard of the fellow you talked about. I never tried to break anyone out of anywhere and I had no connection with the JFK assassination. My lawyer will write you a letter affirming this and warning you of libel." He was told, "McCORD, you're guilty, man."
According to Cuban exile Enriqué Williams, HOWARD HUNT and McCORD worked together in the early 1960's: "'I was confused,' Williams remembered. Both of them said to call me Don Eduardo. Both HUNT and McCORD." [Hinckle Deadly Secrets p171] HUNT stated: "I had not known McCORD from the CIA." [HUNT v. SPOTLIGHT HUNT Depo 11.4.81]
CHRIST'S release was secured by the CIA in April 1963 when James Donovan arranged a prisoner exchange. Double click here to see a photo of CHRIST deplaning at Homestead Air Force Base, Homestead, Florida. [ChristCuba3. JPEG] The United States agreed to release four G-2 agents, including Francisco "the hook" Molina, a Castro agent with a missing hand, who was serving a 20-year sentence for the accidental murder of a nine-year-old child. Governor Nelson Rockefeller agreed to sign the pardon that freed Francisco Molina from Attica prison on April 22, 1963. Simultaneously, Attorney General Robert Kennedy announced that charges had been dropped against three Cubans who had been arrested for plotting to blow up defense installations around New York City. The three, plus Francisco Molina were deported from Florida to Havana as Donovan brought back the Americans from Cuba in a straight swamp.
John Mertz disagreed: "Donovan didn't know anything about our three guys who were in the Isle of Pines. But we prevailed upon him, to prevail on Castro, to let the 40 Americans out that were in the Isle of Pines, following the release of the Bay of Pigs prisoners. Fidel Castro agreed in exchange for 40 million dollars worth of medical supplies. And those 40 Americans were flown into Homestead. They weren't traded for anybody. They were a follow-up on the Bay of Pigs thing."
Desmond FitzGerald suggested James Donovan be given contaminated scuba diving gear which James Donovan was to present to Fidel Castro as a gift. According to the Senate Intelligence Committee, James Donovan, on his own initiative, gave Fidel Castro a different diving suit. [Hinckle Deadly Secrets p214]
When Richard Helms was appointed the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency in April 1965 he was succeeded as DD/P by Desmond FitzGerald. Desmond FitzGerald attended Harvard Law School where he received his degree in 1935. He enlisted as a private in the infantry during World War II, and rose to the rank of major. He joined the OSS, where he worked as an Operations Officer in Southeast Asia . He entered the CIA in 1951 and soon became its Far East Operations Division Chief. Desmond FitzGerald was appointed CIA Cuban Operations Chief in 1962, and Chief, Special Activities Staff, in November 1963. [CIA 181-73] Desmond FitzGerald, 57, died of a heart attack on a tennis court on July 23, 1967, and Thomas Karamessines, Richard Helms' Assistant DD/P, became DD/P.
On April 23, 1963, CHRIST landed at Homestead Air Force Base in Florida. In New York City, The World-Telegram and Sun ran this headline: "CIA Trio Slips Past Castro In Swap." The article stated that the trio's connection to the CIA had been confirmed with reliable Government sources. John Mertz: "At Homestead, our three guys were separated from the others and flown to Washington. They weren't on the ground more than five minutes. They all marched into a building, he went out a back door into another building, and on to another plane. He was in the air ten minutes later. Hell, they had the greatest collection of thieves, hoodlums and murderers in that 40 guys that came out of Cuba. They had to get them all, to prevent the three from being identified. Even Donovan didn't know we had some people in that group." William C. Sullivan was notified of CHRIST'S return. [FBI 64-47305-93] David Wise and Thomas Ross reported: "When they landed in Miami CARSWELL, Danbrunt and Taransky vanished. They declined to talk to reporters. And for some reason, unlike the other returnees, they would not tell the American Red Cross their destination." [Inv. Gov. p260]
An FBI case was opened on the three men entitled, "Cuban Sabotage Efforts in the United States." [FBI 105-115667-172] Much of this document was withheld. John Mertz commented: "When he came back, he was in the Science and Technology Directorate. I don't know what he did when he came back. He was spending all his time trying to get decorated with a medal. My vote was no. Someone told me he got a medal. I don't know what he did in S & D. I don't think he was assigned to the Scientific Division until about a year after he returned. He was on ice, and we were carefully preserving his identity. They were under medical surveillance for a few months. He was being debriefed. I debriefed him. That was 30 years ago, pal. Everybody's dead but me."
CHRIST was transferred to another Agency component. Melvin Beck reported: "After their release they were brought back to the Agency, although, as was common talk, they were excluded from active assignment." The CIA reported that upon his return from Cuba, CHRIST joined the Office of Research and Development, where he worked on the over-the-horizon radar program. CHRIST was also responsible for pioneering efforts in the area of Audio Surveillance Countermeasures, first proposing the application of computers to the problem. On August 9, 1963, J. Edgar Hoover had an interest in CHRIST and sent a telex to Richard Helms about him. [FBI NI 105-38509-13]
In 1964 John Mertz wrote this memorandum to the Chief, OPSER.
3. The details of the cover story were perfected at Headquarters and were conveyed to the prisoners in Cuba by Mr. Hugh Kessler, who at that time was an American Consul in Cuba. The subsequent unrelenting and expensive efforts to save the lives and secure the release of the prisoners were carried out within the framework of that cover story which to this day has protected the true identities of the three employees. Our success in this case is attributable to a major effort on the part of the CIA and the U.S. Government.
4. Mr. CHRIST'S inference in Para. 6 of his memorandum that the cover story was developed by Mr. Anderson and Mr. Szuminski is not accurate. Neither is he accurate in Para. 13C when he infers that "neither CIA or the U.S. Government" tried "to get them out."
5. Upon their return to the United States on April 22, 1963, the Counter-Intelligence Staff, assisted by representatives of the Office of Security, upon direction of the DD/P, initiated further investigation to determine the reasons for the arrest. (Deleted) roll-up and the loyalty of the three employees while in the hands of the enemy.
6. The investigation disclosed that they were loyal and that the roll up and arrest were the direct result of Mr. CHRIST and certain members of the Havana Station. The matter was complicated by the refusal or inability of Mr. CHRIST to tell the whole truth to the investigating officers regarding certain portions of his conversations with the Cuban arresting officers on matters relating to his judgment, but not related to his loyalty." [CIA Memo, Chief, OPSER Mertz undated]
In early September 1963 CHRIST visited Review Committee member John Mertz "for the purpose of informing himself from the files regarding the nature and extent of Headquarters effort to secure the release of the (deleted) from the Isle of Pines.
2. At the time of his first visit, which was shortly after the Chairman of the DD/P Review Committee had informed him of the approval of the Committee's recommendations, Mr. CHRIST expressed concern that no time limit had been placed on the restriction that he could not travel outside the U.S. either TDY or PCS; whereas in the case of the other two Subjects a specific period of time was mentioned in connection with the restrictions upon foreign travel.
4. Speaking as an informed officer, and not for the review committee, undersigned pointed out to Mr. CHRIST that the investigation established that he, as the senior officer in the group, had been under more pressure than the other two men. Also, that this pressure was further evidenced by his lack of objectivity in the discussion of certain matters during his debriefing that he might have been mistaken in his recollection of certain events in Cuba. Undersigned corrected Mr. CHRIST by stating that the record shows that Mr. CHRIST admitted he might have lied.
5...Mr. CHRIST is not too pleased with the debriefing officers who crowded him into this corner. John Mertz SA/C/CI.
On August 15, 1975, the Deputy Director for Science and Technology sent the following memorandum to the Office of the Inspector General, Subject: Disclosures by (deleted).
1. Recently (deleted) reported some events to me which may have relevance to the assassination plots against Fidel Castro. These events relate to a time (deleted) was in a Cuban jail from September 1960 to April 1963 and shortly after his release. (Deleted) were arrested when they were attempting to make an audio installation. CHRIST resigned some years ago [CHRIST was at CIA from 1956 to 1970] but Thorton J. Anderson and Walter Szuminski are still OTS employees.
2. Briefly, the first part of (deleted - Thorton J. Anderson or Walter Szuminski) story is that while in prison, (deleted) identified a weapon pictured in a Cuban newspaper, and described as having been confiscated from would-be assassins, as CIA equipment. The second part of his story is that after his release and return to duty, members of the Counter-Intelligence Staff showed him (deleted) files tending to prove that the Counter-Intelligence Staff had tried to negotiate with their contacts in the underworld in an attempt to buy his release. I asked (deleted) to write these matters up, which he did in two memos attached.
3. I conducted a limited investigation of the assassination weapon story, in that I cabled some questions to (deleted) who is now (deleted). Reply does not corroborate the essential point of (deleted) story. My questions and (deleted) response are attached. Also I checked with (deleted) who has a long background in the particular branch of OTS which would have been involved in the preparation of the assassination weapon. He was familiar with the weapon, but could not recollect every obtaining one for use in Cuba, nor could anyone else in the branch.[CIA OTS Brandwein Memo 8.15.75]
The memos stated: "During the period September 1960 through April 1963, while a prisoner of Cuban G-2 at Isle of Pines, there were occasional newspapers and magazines that were smuggled into prison that had headlined stories about alleged CIA assassination teams that had landed in Cuba, and how certain Cuban G-2, through its superior intelligence, had apprehended these teams, seized their equipment, shot the leaders of the group, and sent the rest of the team to jail for long prison terms. One of these reports had particular significance for myself and the two other Agency employees who were at the time being held at the Isle of Pines. An article in the Cuban Army Magazine Verde Oliva was being distributed through the prison by local authorities. This was an unusual happening since no books, newspapers, or other reading material was permitted to the prisoners. In any case, the magazine featured the story of a group eight to 12 men that had been apprehended by the Cuban G-2, after landing on the north coast of Cuba in a rubber boat. The mission of the group, according to the article, was to assassinate Fidel. At first glance this was not unusual since everyone landing on the coast was usually charged with this. The thing that made this particular effort stand out in my mind was the detailed interview of the leader of the group. The weapons were U.S. military hardware - Springfield rifles with spotting scopes, I.R. sniperscopes, ammo, plus a modified hi-standard .22 caliber silenced pistol. Among our group was one engineer who had an intimate knowledge of special weapons produced for the Agency and there was no doubt in his mind that the hi-standard .22 was Agency equipment. Years later I had the opportunity to handle similar equipment, and this confirmed in my mind what I saw in Cuba was the same equipment." [NARA 1993.08.11.17:52:17:680028] John Mertz commented, "No, none of them knew about guns. They didn't come into contact with that. They were audio technicians, electronics guys. The two other guys worked for CHRIST. They worked for Technical Services in the audio division. They were wiretappers. They were clerks. CHRIST was Chief of Technical Service's Audio Division. The Cubans thought he was a private operator." Either Thorton J. Anderson or Walter Szuminski was questioned about "so-called CIA assassination weapons." The outcome of the interview was withheld. [NARA 1993.08.11.17:55:17:870028]
HEMMING 1994: "CHRIST was in the same cell with me in Havana when I got busted on September 27, 1960. He thought I was being tortured. I was laying on the spring, it was like steel wool, a finely woven mesh. I was laying on it without my shirt. When I rolled over, I heard this English voice: 'Jesus Christ, he's one of them, and look what the fuck they did to him.' My back looked like hamburger. They were scared shitless. We ended up in the same cell together. A cell that would normally be for four people had 40 people in it. Standing room only."
When interviewed in 1977 and 1994 HEMMING maintained that the true nature of CHRIST'S mission was to bomb the Chinese Communist News Agency: "CHRIST knows too much to be sent down to a hostile environment unless he's the only guy they can trust because he has done other operations. When you say audio devices, it's total bullshit. Audio expert was his cover. All the other steamy shit they're not going to publicize. He was an inventor, an expert in remote controlled explosives. That's his main job. When you got a hot mission like that, then they had to decide, we've got to risk putting this guy in. CHRIST got arrested in Cuba in September 1960 running an operation located in an apartment above the Chinese Communist News Agency. They had a transmitter and code book there. CHRIST was going to get the book out without the Chinese even knowing they had it. Hey, he might have to take a few guys out to do it, but so what? It would look like a goddamned accident anyway. See, they were going to pump kitchen gas into the place, blow the fuckin' place up, enter, grab the book, and then set a big goddamned fire. The chinks would think the code books had been burned, and not change the fucking codes. The Agency supplied them with some outdated bugging equipment and told them to say, if they were caught, that they were bugging the place on behalf of the U.S. Embassy." HEMMING'S story about CHRIST and explosives did not check out, however, CHRIST was an explosives expert and The New York Times reported that during the overthrow of Khwame Nkrumah, the left-wing leader of Ghana, the CIA Chief of Station, Accra, requested a group of paramilitarists storm the Chinese Communist Embassy, kill everyone there, then steal the code books and the records of the installation. The group was instructed to blow up the building before leaving so that it would look like Embassy personnel had been killed in an explosion.
A Walter E. Szuminski was contacted in March 1994 in suburban Virginia and asked: "Did you ever use the name Taransky in Cuba?"
A. You must have the wrong guy.
Q. You were never in CIA?
A. Who is this speaking?
Q. I came across your name in a document about DAVID CHRIST.
A. Am I related to somebody like that?
Q. Did you ever work for him?
A. Where are you getting this information?
Q. CIA documents.
A. Hey, go back and talk to those guys. Maybe they can enlighten you. I can't.
Q. What about the Cuban bugging operation?
A. Well, I'm sure they do that.
Q. Were you ever incarcerated in Cuba?
A. (Sighs) You've got the wrong person here.
On September 19, 1963, CHRIST received a form that indicated "Reassignment, Change of SD, and Transfer to Vouchered Funds." On September 27, 1963, CHRIST requested Form 1322 [requesting cover], From the Chief, Records and Services Division, and Chief, Operating Component, Office of Research and Development, DD/S & T. He returned it to these components. On a "Notification Of Establishment Of (deleted)" these boxes were marked: "Submit form (deleted) to change limitation category to 3. Ascertain that (deleted) being issued. Submit form (deleted) or any change affecting this (deleted). Submit form (deleted) or transferring (deleted) responsibility." A highly deleted CIA Office of Security document dated September 27, 1963, read, "Request For Entry or Change. Inclusion of Subject on the (deleted) requested as noted below."
On February 23, 1962 the in the course of a report on MMRC, a breakaway organization that once included Pedro Diaz Lanz, the FBI reported that STURGIS, Sergio Diaz Bruel and Carlos Garcia had formed Hampton Roads Salvage and had purchased three boats. [FBI 105-108646] In 1962 [the FBI w/h the exact date of this document] the FBI reported that Jose Ignasio Lasaga prepared a document which accused the United States government of President John F. Kennedy for following a policy of peaceful coexistence with Cuba. "This policy is the same as that expounded by the government of the USSR and that this policy should be severely criticized by Americans and Cuban exiles alike. (Deleted) said such a document, if accepted and approved by the Revolutionary Council, would cause the United States government to withdraw its support from the Revolutionary Council and cease to recognize the Council as the voice of the Cuban exiles in the United States... (Deleted) advised that they attended a meeting of the Cuban Revolutionary Council on the previous day, where Jose Lasaga, Nino Diaz and Cesar Baro, three leading members of the MRR, introduced a document for acceptance by the Revolutionary Council. This document claimed that Richard N. Goodwin of the United States State Department and certain other officials in the State Department had accepted a Communist policy of peaceful coexistence with Communist Cuba. This document was voted against acceptance by all members of the Council except Lasaga, Diaz and Baro. [FBI 94-4133-45] Lasaga resigned from the Cuban Revolutionary Council on April 29, 1962. In December 1962 Manuel Artime was released from prison in Cuba. In January 1963 Artime met with President John F. Kennedy and United States Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and he asked them for six American Army Divisions for an attack on Cuba. The Kennedys refused because the United States was not planning military intervention in Cuba. [FBI 105-8544 NR 7.31.63] Manuel Artime told the FBI in June 1963, that he participated in CIA-authorized anti-Castro missions ever since his release. Soon, the Kennedy Administration ordered pay cuts for the Bay of Pigs veterans. In response, Manuel Artime formed a Bay of Pigs Brigade Veterans Association at the same time actively recruiting in Miami for MRR. The recruits were to be sent to a training camp located in Louisiana. From there, they would go to a base in Nicaragua sponsored by Anastasio Somoza. In July 1963 the CIA bugged Manuel Artime's safehouse. [CIA 210838 Folder 7] The coverage was requested by the Chief, Special Affairs Staff, DDO, Desmond FitzGerald. Results of coverage: Office of Security files do not contain reference to coverage results. The FBI reported in November 1963: "Artime had been offered aid by the Somoza regime...an American at Fort Benning, Captain Robert K. Brown, was reported as a possible acquaintance of Artime."
Manuel Artime told the FBI that the CIA supported his anti-Castro efforts. The FBI never disputed this: "For Bureau's information it is public knowledge among the Cuban colony in Miami...that MRR members themselves claim to have United States backing. Artime travels all over Central America, has no problem obtaining reentry permits from the U.S. Government, and neither Artime or the MRR have any financial problems." At this time, Manuel Artime attempted to undercut the efforts of the Kennedy Administration to train Cuban exiles at Fort Benning, Georgia, by persuading a group of Cuban officers to resign and join MRR. [RG I, 112th Intell. Group, San Antonio, Texas 1963 Army Rep Re: Cuban Officer Training Program 12.5.63, 12.28.63]
The FBI reported that on July 16, 1963, Artime held a press conference and stated that the MRR was going to move out of the United States and establish bases in Central America. "He refused to identify the country or countries where the bases would be established. Artime accused the United States government of impeding Cuban exile efforts against the government of Cuba, and said that although the United States government is sympathetic with Cuban exiles, the Fidel Castro government in Cuba cannot be overthrown by sympathy. Artime said his group would continue to infiltrate arms and men into Cuba, and help the underground in Cuba, but MRR does not plan to conduct any raids against Cuban shipping." [FBI 97-4133-69]
The 30th of November Movement was named for an anti-Batista uprising on November 30, 1956. It was composed primarily of labor union members and leaned politically toward socialism and nationalization. The group began anti-Castro activities, including guerrilla actions, sabotage and exfiltration of members from Cuba. The 30th of November Movement was an effective Cuban underground organization until infiltration by Castro agents and Cuban Government repression following the Bay of Pigs invasion crippled its activities.
The leader of the 30th of November Movement, Carlos Rodriguez Quesada, escaped to the United States. The 30th of November Movement joined the Cuban Revolutionary Council, but was expelled for having helped organize the hunger strike in Bayfront Park in Miami. [FBI 105-107224-A NR 3.19.62] The strike was planned as a peaceful demonstration during President Kennedy's visit to Miami from March 10, 1962 to March 12, 1962. The CIA reported: "Carlos Rodriguez Quesada commenced by stating that the Cubans are united at Bayfront Park to seek a solution to Cuba. The solution to Cuba is war. The Consejo members are traitors to that cause." [CIA 201-286,382] This caused a split within the 30th of November Movement. By May 1962 there were two factions: one, led by Carolos Quesada, refused to associate with the Cuban Revolutionary Council; the other faction, the November 30th Revolutionary Movement, still associated itself with the Cuban Revolutionary Council. In July 1962 the FBI reported that the 30th of November Movement and the November 30th Revolutionary Movement were both inactive. By 1963 Carlos Quesada and the 30th of November Movement had joined Junta Del Gobierno de Cuba en Exilio which was headed by Paulino Sierra. Several reports reviewed by the HSCA raised questions about Quesada's motivation for joining Junta. One report indicated Quesada was seeking respectability to cover illicit dealings. Another report called him unreliable and untrustworthy, "a man who surrounds himself with thieves, drug addicts and homosexuals."
In late February 1963 eight members of the 30th of November Movement tried to land in Cuba in pirated Cuban fishing boats that had been hijacked to Elbow Cay, Bahamas, then sent back to Cuba with exile crews. This operation may have been funded by Paulino Sierra.
The FBI reported: "On about February 20, 1963, Cuban newspapers published in Havana reported that the three persons left on Elbow Key along with five other persons, not known to the 30th of November Movement, were captured by the Cuban Government. Cuban newspapers stated that these individuals had a large quantity of money including money from Nicaragua. However, none of the three individuals left on Elbow Key had any money when they were left there. About 15 days ago, (Deleted) ascertained that the eight captured individuals were still in jail and had not been executed. She made a telephone call to Miami notifying (Deleted) who then notified the 30th of November organization. With the exception of the three individuals who were left on the island, the 30th of November considers the other five persons captured as being fishermen and as having nothing to do with the infiltration plan nor any knowledge of it...ROY EMORY HARGRAVES. HARGRAVES is s close friend of Eleno Oviedo Alvarez [one of the men arrested by the Government of Cuba]. After news came of the capture of the eight individuals, HARGRAVES came to the offices of the 30th of November Movement and wanted the details of the capture along with pictures of the individuals and other evidence so he could facilitate a large amount of press publicity which would enable them to collect enough donations to be used to free the captured eight persons. The 30th of November Movement planned to handle the matter through the Organization of American States and the Cuban Revolutionary Council and declined HARGRAVE'S offer. They put him out of the office and when he later returned they threatened to call the police if he came back. Neither HARGRAVES nor his associates, soldier-of-fortune and mercenary GERALD PATRICK HEMMING, or Miami attorney Charles R. Ashmann, had any previous knowledge of the infiltration plan, did not participate, and had no connection with it." [FBI 105-92196-50]
On February 28, 1963, Charles Ashmann called a press conference and charged that Cuba violated the sovereignty of the British Government by going ashore at Elbow Cay and capturing eight Cubans there. The FBI reported: "Ashmann produced, in front of the press, a false statement from an unnamed Cuban anti-Communist organization which stated that the eight arrested were innocent fisherman and were in no way responsible for the capturing of the two Cuban fishing boats. Ashmann also produced false receipts which he obtained from the owner of the East Coast Fisheries Company, Miami, Florida, showing that the eight were innocent fisherman whose only activity was fishing. (Deleted) On February 28, 1963, Ashmann made a number of telephone calls to the British Ambassador in Washington, D.C., concerning this matter, and stated he was going to bring pressure on the British Government to force the Cuban Government to release the eight captured individuals to British authorities, and then Ashmann would obtain their release from the British. On March 1, 1963, at 2:30 a.m. Ashmann and GERALD PATRICK HEMMING left for Washington, D.C. to confer with the British Ambassador to the United States. On March 1, 1963, inquiry was made at the residence of William Fuller, 1870 S.W. 12th Street, reflected that ROY EMORY HARGRAVES had been previously staying there, but his present whereabouts is unknown." [FBI 2-1693 NR 3.18.63; FBI 105-92196-45 pp.7,8 - pages 5 and 6 w/h] Carlos Quesada was expelled from the 30th of November Movement in January 1964.
Evidence suggested that Cuban exile Homer Samuel Valdivia Echevarria (CIA #201-767,409; born September 3, 1931), who was connected with the DRE and the 30th of November Movement, learned from Paulino Sierra that President Kennedy was going to be assassinated.
Prior to November 22, 1963, Homer Echevarria told a Secret Service Confidential informant:
"For the information of all offices concerned, 2-1-266 advised on November 26, 1963, that he had heard that one Tom Moseley, allegedly had been attempting to negotiate a sale of machine guns to one Homer S. Echevarria, and that Echevarria allegedly made a comment the day before the assassination of President John F. Kennedy that 'we now have plenty of money -- our new backers are Jews -- as soon as 'we' (or 'they') take care of Kennedy'...The informant was unable to continue this conversation with the suspect because of the presence of other bus drivers...On November 26, 1963, 2-1-266 advised that he believed that Thomas Moseley and Homer Echevarria, described below, were going to attend a meeting in order to negotiate for the sale of automatic weapons to Echevarria's group.
"On the evening of November 26, 1963, 2-1-266 met with United States Secret Service Agents Joseph E. Noonan and Edward Z. Tucker and FBI Special Agents Robert A. Baker and Walter C. Rogers. 2-1-266 stated that Moseley allegedly had approached Echevarria some time in September 1963 on the possibility of Echevarria's being able to use some machine guns which Moseley could supply, in order that Echevarria's group of Cubans could invade Cuba. 2-1-266 advised that the day before President Kennedy was assassinated Moseley again had approached Echevarria about the purchase of these machine guns, at which time Echevarria stated 'we now have plenty of money -- our new backers are Jews -- as soon as 'we' (or 'they') take care of Kennedy...' 2-1-266 also alleged that Echevarria advised Moseley that before any deals could be consummated, Echevarria's superiors would have to approve Moseley and satisfy themselves that he was not a CIA agent."
"2-1-266," who was apparently supplying information on Thomas Moseley, was Thomas Moseley. The United States Secret Service spelled it Mosley to further shield his identify. Tom Moseley "reported that he had knowledge of a group of Chicago Cubans, allegedly anti-Castro, who were bitterly opposed to President Kennedy." This was the 30th of November Movement.
When interviewed in 1993 by this researcher Homer Echevarria denied he had foreknowledge of the Kennedy assassination: "Who invented that? You bet it's not true." Homer Echevarria denied having been a part of the 30th of November Movement: "Nah, not at all. Not at all. You apparently want to impress somebody. No. That is not true."
Thomas Moseley was Homer Echevarria's co-worker at the Chicago Bus Company. Thomas Moseley had smuggled arms for Carlos Prio Soccarras in the early 1950's, by bribing Customs officials. He was arrested by Batista for this activity. Homer Echevarria 1994: "Oh gee, I don't know that. I talked casually with Moseley when we meet at the bus depot. He told me he was in the bureau of narcotics and firearms, whatever. That he used to work for them. I don't know if that was the truth, or not. The only thing I knew is that he used to carry arms, you know. I never carry arms or anything, but he showed me, and he said, 'If you need something, I will have it for you.' I said 'No, no, no, no. That is problems. I don't want that.'"
The United States Secret Service investigated the background of Homer Echevarria Jr. After he left Cuba on July 6, 1960, Homer Echevarria went to Miami and then to Dallas, Texas, where he worked for the C.J. Simpson Oil Drilling Company. When the company moved to Michigan, Homer Echevarria moved there. The United States Secret Service examined the home and business telephone records of C.J. Simpson. The results of this investigation were withheld. A few months later, Homer Echevarria moved to another city in Michigan, where he worked for an oil driller whom he had known in Batista's Cuba. He told a neighbor he was "very bitter toward Fidel Castro since his parents were wealthy Cuban plantation owners when Fidel Castro took over and they lost everything, including their prize breeding bull, which was worth $7000, which Fidel Castro used for an ox roast. The family was trying to raise money in this country for a possible Cuban invasion."
In 1994 Homer Echevarria commented, "I was not that bitter like you said because number one, they took over properties and so on, but you don't care about properties. What you care about is life, my friend. And life is precious. One of things, and I thank god for that, is that I have not really so-called 'hate' Castro because of anything material that he took from us. Because, after all, we were poor people and my father was the pioneer of the oil industry in Cuba really, Echevarria Oil. He was called the crazy man of the town because he said there was oil there. Kerr-McGee drilled and found oil. We went from rags to riches. We were well to do. No wanting. When Castro took over I came over with Mr. Wagstaff, from the Simpson Drilling Company. My father only had ten grand when he got here. We started a drilling company. When a few dry holes came up we got out of the business. I lost a couple of thousand."
Within a few months Homer Echevarria moved to Alabama, where he lived with Ben Nodel (born October 25, 1892; died May 1974). Ben Nodel and Homer Echevarria had worked for the same company in pre-Castro Cuba and were good friends. When the United States Secret Service questioned Ben Nodel he claimed the Echevarria family was not especially bitter because "they had been able to salvage their fortune when they fled Castro's Cuba." [USSS CO-2-340030 #621, #1223; USSS CO-2-2034030, #1225; USSS CO-2-34,030 #523]
In July 1961, Homer Echevarria was living in Chicago, Illinois: "For a considerable time Echevarria has been condemning the United States and has spoken extensively on forceful recovery of Cuba by anti-Castro groups...Investigation has established that Echevarria's telephone, No. 278-2922, was installed on September 24, 1963. No toll calls have been made from the phone. On November 27, 1963, Special Agents Noonan and Tucker proceeded to the Chicago office of the FBI and conferred with FBI Agent Walt Rogers. A copy of the photograph of Echevarria, appearing in the files of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, was given to Agent Rogers."
"During this interview Agent Rogers advised that he knew Evelio Echevarria Martin (CIA 201-767,410; born March 21, 1905) prior to this date, and that that very morning he had been introduced to Homer Echevarria. This meeting took place at a grocery store located at 2351 West North Avenue, Chicago, and was a favorite meeting place for these people.
"He stated that the meeting with Homer Echevarria was by chance, and that he was introduced as an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Agent Rogers believed that since he had met Homer Echevarria that very morning, he, Rogers, should probably stay in the background of the investigation.
"Special Agent Rogers stated that from the information provided by the interview with 2-1-266 on the previous night, it was his belief that the organization to which Echevarria belonged was the 30th of November Movement and that this group was primarily interested, at least in the Chicago area, in obtaining money and disseminating propaganda of an anti-Castro nature. From his conversation it appeared that the Bureau had reliable information regarding the activities of this group. It was also felt by S.A. Walter C. Rogers that it was highly unlikely that this 30th of November group would be involved in illegal activities."
S.A. Robert A. Baker said he met Homer Echevarria at a Cuban grocery store. S.A. Robert A. Baker claimed this was coincidence. The morning after having interviewed Thomas Moseley about Homer Echevarria S.A. Robert A. Baker happened to met Homer Echevarria? Unlikely. S.A. Robert A. Baker was there to instruct Homer Echevarria "keep his mouth shut" and not discuss the assassination of President John F. Kennedy with Secret Service snitch Thomas Moseley. S.A. Robert A. Baker burned Thomas Moseley, who caused the FBI problems because the official policy of the FBI was to blame the assassination solely on OSWALD.
Homer Echevarria: "No. No. They'd never do that. S.A. Walter C. Rogers, that name I remember. My father came out of Cuba in 1962. He was asking for somebody to tell what he knows from the anti-Castro activities in the island. That he has seen some missiles. My father in Cuba was active in counter-revolution, you know what I mean? He was supporting a group that was in the middle of the island. I don't remember the name. It was somebody that have a lot of balls and fight against Castro. They don't really belong to any group definitively. They have not lost the spirit, like the Cuban people now, let me put it that way. I sympathize with any anti-Castro activity right now. I remember maybe speaking with Rogers one time in my house. But from that to the other activities is a lot of...I don't recall Baker or a meeting in a grocery store. I remember Rogers."
S.A. Robert A. Baker also knew Thomas Moseley. Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Maurice Martineau reported: "In this regard the informant had previously told me that shortly after the robbery of a Brink's truck in Chicago he had gone to the FBI with what he thought would be pertinent information relating to that robbery. It appears that it was on that occasion that Special Agent Baker had interviewed the informant."
The United States Secret Service determined: "Inasmuch as this investigation reflected a threat to President Johnson, the United States Secret Service would have primary jurisdiction...Subsequently on the evening of November 26, 1963, 2-1-266 advised that Thomas Moseley had telephoned Echevarria, and that Echevarria had directed Moseley to meet him at Echevarria's house at 12:00 o'clock on November 28, 1963, at which time Moseley and Echevarria were going to meet Echevarria's superiors, who would confer with Moseley...About noon November 28, 1963, source went to home of Echevarria... at which time Moseley and Echevarria discussed the policies of President Johnson. Echevarria allegedly described President Johnson as a common person who would get things done. Echevarria stated that President Kennedy was an intellectual, a rich man's son who 'did not give a damn about people,' while President Johnson would work with people. In any case, President Johnson would not stand in their way."
Another document stated that Homer Echevarria was reported by the source "to say that President Kennedy was a rich, well-educated man who lacked interest in the common man so the unnamed group could not deal with him. President Johnson on the other hand was described by Homer Echevarria as a friendly, cowboy type, one with whom they deal without difficulty."
"After this discussion Echevarria made a telephone call which he could not complete. He allegedly then asked his wife for the correct number. When this was provided Echevarria supposedly said, 'Oh I must have been calling the Beauty Shop.' After completing the second call, Echevarria and Moseley departed in Moseley's car.
"Near the intersection of Milwaukee and Logan Square, Chicago, Echevarria told Moseley to pull over and park. After parking, an unnamed Cuban, described below, entered the car. This party dominated the conversation from this point." Moseley told the Cuban that he could provide him with 100 machine guns, ten machine pistols and seven anti-tank rifles. "The Cuban then asked Moseley if he could obtain material for sabotage and Moseley told him to write down what he wanted and he would attempt to obtain it...2-1-266 obtained this list from Moseley's person and it was turned over to the Secret Service, to be processed for whatever fingerprints might be contained thereon.
"The unknown Cuban then told Moseley that he was going to ask him two questions, the answers to which would determine whether or not his organization would do business with him. The first question was 'How do you feel about the assassination of President Kennedy?' to which Moseley shrugged his shoulders and said, 'It's no skin off my nose either way.' The second question was, 'Who do you know from Cuba and how can we check up on you?' to which Moseley replied that he knew Michael Ponce (phonetic) and that he, Moseley, had been arrested by the Chicago Police Department for this very same activity in which he was now engaged, and that to verify this all that had to be done was to check the records of the Chicago Police Department. The unknown Cuban stated that he knew Michael Ponce and that the organization to which he belongs would check the records of the Chicago Police Department.
"2-1-266 stated that Michael Ponce had formerly been a regular Naval officer in the Cuban Navy under the Dictator Batista and that he knew that Tom Moseley had been involved in gun running activities with Ponce in the early 1950's."
Another document stated: Moseley and Echevarria "acting upon the latter's direction, drove to the vicinity of Logan Square to pick up a second Cuban male. The purpose of the meeting was to arrange a possible sale of guns by the source to the second Cuban and his organization. Echevarria never introduced, but said he belonged to quote Student Federation Revolutionaries unquote possible DRE. The second Cuban was given list of guns the source could furnish and in turn listed the items that he wanted, including explosives and detonators allegedly for sabotage purposes. The second Cuban said he had two questions to ask the source the answers to which would determine whether or not they could do business. Question one. How do you feel about the assassination of President Kennedy? The source replied quote I have not been hurt thereby so it does not matter one way or another unquote. Question two. How can we check on you. The source replied that he had been arrested by Chicago Police Department in 1952 for activities similar to those in which he was now negotiating.
2-1-266 stated that the meeting produced the following results. Moseley informed Echevarria and the unknown Cuban that he was a member of a group of six persons and that they had one 'banker.' Two of the members of this group owned a small screw factory (It should be noted at this point that automatic weapons can readily be obtained as souvenirs if the barrels have been plugged, and that it is the practice of gun-runners to obtain these plugged weapons, take them to an unscrupulous screw machine operator, and have the barrels reamed out, since the plugging is mainly lead.)
"Moseley informed the two Cubans that since the assassination of President Kennedy a great deal of 'heat' had been created and that his party was willing to provide the guns to the Cubans for a nominal down payment if the Cuban group could provide them with the responsible party in the Chicago area who would vouch that the remainder of the money would be paid to them after the deal had been consummated. Moseley informed the Cubans that his group was saving six guns and should there be a double-cross they intended to take retribution.
"The unnamed Cuban stated that this sounded acceptable and that if Moseley checked out at the Police Department their organization would get in touch with him through an attorney. This attorney would provide Moseley with a list of equipment which they desired, and all dealings from this point on between Moseley and the organization, would be handled through the attorney. The unnamed Cuban also stated that the list of equipment would be written in a code which would be taught to Moseley by Homer Echevarria.
"Moseley was asked how he could be contacted. He stated that in the past it had been his practice to enter an ad in the personal column of a lock newspaper using the code name 'Black Foot.' It was agreed that should this group at any time in the future wish to contact Moseley they would run an ad in the personal column of the Chicago Tribune...The unnamed Cuban said the telephone number would be a pay phone, which would be covered by either him or a member of his organization for one half hour before and one half hour after the time stated in this ad..."
"Also discussed at the time was the subject of the backers. It is the feeling of 2-1-266 that at least some of the backers of this group are hoodlum elements, and that the backers are not restricted to Chicago. 2-1-266 stated that the unnamed Cuban is a member of the DRE.
"On November 29, 1963, Special Agent Noonan was interviewed by Special Agent Walter Rogers...Rogers stated that the unnamed Cuban fit the description of one Francisco Blanco, a representative of the DRE who he met at the grocery store located at 2351 West North Avenue, Chicago, shortly after his introduction to Homer Echevarria on November 27, 1963.
"It was learned from Agent Rogers that OSWALD had attempted to join the DRE in New Orleans and that while OSWALD was under consideration by that group, he was discovered by members of the group distributing literature for the Fair Play for Cuba Committee ..."
"Agent Rogers stated, in regard to an attorney who might be working with the DRE, that one Paulino Sierra, an attorney in the Chicago area who became interested in the anti-Castro movement, could possibly be the contact for Tom Moseley. Agent Rogers stated that Paulino Sierra has claimed to have a great deal of financial backing and has attempted to organize the great number of anti-Castro movements in this country. There are allegations that the financial backers of Sierra is hoodlum money, but that Sierra has denied this and states that his backers are American businessmen." [WCD 81]
Although the initial meeting between Thomas Moseley and Homer Echevarria occurred sometime before November 22, 1963, a United States Secret Service report dated December 3, 1963, on the Homer Echevarria incident in the Hearings and Exhibits of the Warren Commission began: "In December 1963 a white American male of unknown reliability had been attempting to negotiate a sale of machine guns to a Cuban Revolutionary whose name is known."
Despite the fact that Moseley had been burned, the meetings between Moseley and the Cuban exiles continued, however, no mention was made of any foreknowledge of the Kennedy assassination. The United States Secret Service concluded: "At no time did any of the conversation between the American and the Cuban reflect that the activities in which the Cubans were engaged in any way had any connection with the Kennedy assassination. None of the persons involved in this investigation had any connection with the assassination, nor was there any indication that any of the persons involved had any information concerning the Kennedy assassination. The investigation is continuing along lines other than that involved in the assassination." [WCE 2959]
"United States Secret Service Agent Noonan not certain of the reliability of the source although he has been utilized as informant in counterfeiting operations. Noonan plans to give source a lie detector test probably December 3, 1963."
On November 26, 1963, Maurice G. Martineau, Acting Special Agent in Charge, United States Secret Service, Chicago, stated "Informant 2-1-266 had proved reliable in a recent counterfeiting case handled by this office." [WCD 498]
The FBI: "Two FBI agents together with two United States Secret Service agents interviewed Moseley tonight. Moseley previously known to one of the participating Bureau agents [S.A. Robert Baker] as being of questionable accuracy, in that Moseley previously furnished to Bureau agent information which proved to be non-pertinent to a pending criminal case, although this information had been originally described by Moseley as of great importance."
Maurice Martineau of the United States Secret Service reported: "On November 27, 1963, I interviewed the informant, at which time he assured me that he had not gone to any other agency with this information prior to coming to this office...It will be noted from above that the FBI agents apparently had information as to the identity of our informant prior to their meeting him, as described above. On November 27, 1963, Deputy Chief Paterni verified that the identity of the informant had not been given to the FBI at the Washington level. On November 27, 1963, after my telephone call to Deputy Chief Paterni, Agents Tucker and Noonan again interviewed Special Agent Walter Rogers, FBI, at his office. Rogers was asked if he or Baker knew the identity of our informant prior to their meeting with him, and he stated that they did not. He further stated that the reason he was accompanied by Special Agent Baker when he interviewed the informant was because Baker, being attached to the major theft section of the FBI, has had extensive experience in interviewing informants. On further discussion of this matter with Agents Tucker and Noonan, I am informed that at the time of this meeting Agent Tucker joined the FBI agents in the latter's car prior to taking them to the automobile in which the informant was waiting. It is now Agent Tucker's recollection that he mentioned the informant's name to the FBI agents prior to taking them to the automobile where they were introduced to the informant. However, after the interview and out of the presence of the informant and Agent Tucker, Special Agent Noonan was discussing this matter with FBI Agents Rogers and Baker, at which time Agent Baker made the comment 'I'm along because I knew Moseley.' From this it would appear that the identity of the informant was known to the FBI prior to this meeting, which explains why a special agent of the FBI assigned to the major theft section was present for this interview." [WCD 498]
On December 28, 1970, J. Edgar Hoover wrote: "A review of this material indicates it pertained to a matter investigated by the Secret Service. No investigation was conducted by the FBI with respect to the allegations concerning Echevarria. Review of FBI records indicates the source who furnished the information concerning Echevarria had been contacted previously by the FBI in an unrelated matter. Our records do not indicate, however, that Special Agent Walter Rogers on November 27, 1963, advised Special Agents of the United States Secret Service the identity of the informant was not known to the FBI nor does Special Agent Rogers presently recall making such a statement. Under the circumstances, it would appear the decision as to whether this material should be made available to the public should rest with the United States Secret Service." [Hoover to Rhoads FBI 62-109060-6979]
The FBI: "Interview tonight reflected that the Secret Service source has been in contact with one Homer Echevarria, a Cuban co-employee of the source in Chicago. Chicago indices negative regarding Echevarria. Echevarria family in Chicago have reputation as stable members of the Cuban community. Moseley, for several weeks, has indicated to Secret Service his hope of meeting higher up person in anti Castro movement, through Echevarria, in order to find out more regarding plans for purchase of guns. This meeting has not materialized...Secret Service concern based entirely on statement allegedly made by Echevarria to Moseley regarding Kennedy." [FBI 62-109060-532]
The United States Secret Service report stated that Homer Echevarria was a member of the 30th of November Movement. The HSCA: "By December 3, 1963, a fuller picture of Homer Echevarria was obtained. By that date it appeared that Homer Echevarria was a member of the 30th of November Movement." In another section the HSCA stated: "[The United States Secret Service] learned that Homer Echevarria might have been a member of the 30th of November Movement."
In 1994 Homer Echevarria told this author: "Exactly I was not in any group. I was not in the 30th of November Movement group or the DRE. I knew people in the 30th of November, but I was not active in any group at all. But with the people in Chicago, I used to know them, yes. I knew Prado. [Prado was the Chicago delegate of the 30th of November Movement] I was never at a meeting with Juan Francisco Blanco-Fernandez, no. My brother came out of Cuba at the end of 1960 because he was in the, how you call, in the students that was in Santa Clara, with his student group, I don't know what was the name of it, or whatever. He came over in hurry. Because my father had some connection with the American Embassy, with the Military Attache at the time, Sam Kail, who knows? He was over here in 36 hours. I never tried to buy arms for the 30th of November, I didn't know Quesada. I will be glad if the FBI and United States Secret Service check on me. I am an open book, my friend."
Homer Echevarria's statement was supported by an FBI report that stated: "Echevarria is known anti-Castro person who regularly attends meetings of various anti-Castro organizations in Chicago. He is not a leading figure in any organization. He came to Chicago from Cuba about two years ago with his father, Ebelia Echevarria, and has maintained steady employment as Chicago Transit Authority bus driver. He is married and has one child. (Deleted) reliable Cuban source of information (deleted) advised S.A. Walter C. Rogers on November 29, 1963, he had spoken to both Homerio and Ebelia Echevarria. (Deleted) quoted Homerio as stating that because of the assassination of President Kennedy quote democracy has lost a great champion unquote." [FBI 62-109060-1581]
Although this case was under the jurisdiction of the United States Secret Service, S.A. Walter C. Rogers played an active role. After having questioned Thomas Moseley about his second meeting, S.A. Walter C. Rogers informed Thomas Moseley the other Cuban he met with was DRE Miami representative Juan Francisco Blanco-Fernandez. Juan Francisco Blanco-Fernandez [CIA 201-332,676] had entered the United States illegally in October 1961. He was detained and given an indefinite parole. Juan Francisco Blanco-Fernandez became Chief of the Military Section of the DRE in Miami. On August 17, 1962, he and 17 other DRE members participated in a raid on Miramar section of Havana. On August 30, 1962, the Chief of the Investigations Division sent a memo to the Assistant Deputy Director of Security (Investigations and Operational Support) Subject, Blanco, (Fernandez) Juan Francisco #280 757 [Deleted] ID/3. "CI/OA has requested the results of Subject's FBI check be returned to their office no later than September 11, 1962. On September 21, 1962, this document was generated:
Deputy Director of Security (IOS)
2. The OS indices were searched in the Subject's name and revealed no record. The FBI has conducted no investigation on Subject.
3. No further action is contemplated by this office unless otherwise requested by you. For the Director of Security. Victor R. White.
In November 1962, Juan Francisco Blanco-Fernandez was sent to Fort Jackson, South Carolina, for a special six-month training program. [USSS CO-2-34,030, #626] S.A. Walter C. Rogers also spoke to Juan Francisco Blanco-Fernandez in advance of this meeting and again burned Thomas Moseley. Homer Echevarria 1994: "That is fiction. I don't even recall Juan Francisco Blanco-Fernandez's name. I don't remember the second meeting. If you think about Kennedy, that was a bad deal. All the poor guy did was to be concerned that something big will happen. And so on. And he don't deserve what they did to him. That was real bad, real bad. What I hear about that is what everyone else hears. One says Castro, one says Cuban exiles did it."
Homer Echevarria had heard "We have plenty of money now, our new backers are Jews. As soon as they (or we) take care of Kennedy" from Paulino Sierra.
When Paulino Sierra was approached by Burton M. Mold and John R. Lechner Cesar Blanco said that Paulino Sierra told him that the syndicate "bragged about the money they had at their disposal, stating, 'We have millions behind us' and we are offering you a chance to become of the prominent Cuban leaders on the U.S." Cesar Blanco also stated "Paulino Sierra...had been approached by some gamblers 'from the West' to work with them. They mentioned they had 'plenty of money behind them." Jews meant Jewish gambling interests in Las Vegas. Homer Echevarria: "I don't recall anybody by the name Paulino Sierra. Never heard of him."
On July 18, 1963, Ernest I. Aragon, a United States Secret Service Agent based in Miami, submitted a report on Paulino Sierra. This report was never given to the Warren Commission. When it was sought under the Freedom of Information Act, the United States Secret Service stated it had been destroyed in 1968. Ernest I. Aragon conducted the investigation of Juan Francisco Blanco-Fernandez for the United States Secret Service, and met with a confidential source. Ernest I. Aragon learned that Juan Francisco Blanco-Fernandez was in Chicago in late November 1963. [USSS CO-2-34,030 Dir. 397 Thacker 12.9.63; WCE 2959] HEMMING told this researcher: "Aragon was a Miami guy. He was the one trying to nail Bob Brown by posing as a postal inspector. I knew him personally."
From 1964 to 1966 Paulino Sierra worked for the Government of Guatemala "on matters pertaining to the Central American Common Market." From 1968 to January 26, 1968, Paulino Sierra worked at the Cook Country Law Library as an International and Foreign Librarian. On February 28, 1968, the Chief, Security Records Division, sent SCS/OS the results of a search of the FBI's records for information on Sierra.
February 3, 1964: Sierra was mentioned in a report captioned Anti-Castro Activities.
February 11, 1964: Second National Front of Escambray. Alpha 66.
February 28, 1964: FBI document concerned Sierra and was sent to the CIA.
March 17, 1964: Comie Omnibus Aliados (COA - Allied Bus Committee)
July 25, 1964: FBI document captioned Legion Baragua.
September 8, 1964: Fuerzas Armadas De Cuba En El Exilio (FACE).
May 14, 1965: captioned Jose Luis Aquilar DeLeon, NP for OS use.
June 30, 1965: captioned Elado Del Valle Guiterrez.
July 19, 1965: Plot to assassinate Premier Fidel Castro during October Holidays 1965.
On January 26, 1968, Paulino Sierra filled out a CIA Biographic Data Employment Form. On February 23, 1968, Paulino Sierra was denied an ad hoc clearance on the basis of derogatory information. [Memo for Chicago Field Office From Thorne to Watkins 2.23.68] In January 1968 Paulino Sierra filled out a CIA Biographic Data sheet. The FBI stamped "Refer to Data Re: Eladio Del Valle Guiterrez which was sent your Agency dated June, 30 1965, p.1. Refer to Date Regarding: Plot to Assassinate Castro During October Holidays, 1965." [CIA 80T01357A Box 45 Folder 31 w/h]
Secret Service Agent Joseph Noonan advised December 2, 1963, that Thomas Moseley contacted "Homer Echevarria on December 1, 1963 in furtherance of plan to sell arms to as yet unnamed anti-Castro group. No additional comment made by Echevarria concerning death of President Kennedy. Thomas Moseley and Homer Echevarria agreed to try to bring together the Cuban male who talked to source on November 28, 1963 and source's superior, Robert Motto, for further talks relative to the financing of the proposed sale of explosives and guns. If materializes, Motto, a Secret Service agent, will carry recorder. Moseley has agreed to take lie test, but this will not be given if Moseley can arrange the proposed meet between Cuban and Motto." [FBI 124-10164-10063 - NARA 124-10164-10063]
The Warren Commission regarded all of the preceding with suspicion and Warren Commission Counsel David Slawson believed Juan Francisco Blanco-Fernandez and the DRE should have been investigated because of tie-ins with other leads. When the Homer Echevarria investigation was dropped by the United States Secret Service, for reasons which remained classified, David Slawson gave up his investigation. [USSS CO-2-34,060-397, #1222 -1225 #874, #973, #626, #523, #336, #193; WCE 2959; FBI 62-109060-6979, 1581] The HSCA criticized how the United States Secret Service handled the Homer Echevarria incident: "The Secret Service did in fact possess information that was not properly analyzed and put to use..." [HSCA R 236,134] The Homer Echevarria incident could ultimately be traced back from Homer Echevarria to Paulino Sierra to HEMMING. [Miami Police Dept. Report Lt. Ford Unit 12 R.J. Burns/mlh; FBI 105-121010-3]
HEMMING told this researcher: "I worked with the 30th of November Movement. Frank Pais's organization. I knew Homer Echevarria. Never heard of Francisco-Blanco. Quesada was the interim military coordinator of November 30th when we found the organization. Carlos got a lecture from us right off the goddamn bat. We set you people up with a training camp. We're training your fucking people. We delivered them a load of explosives. By the end of 1961 the organization started coming apart. The guys who had gone to the training camp started their own organization. They had been conducting operations. If they weren't conducting operations, we wanted nothing to do with them. We found that the CIA had been supporting them, and cut them off, and it was very clear what the policy was. Now the excuse could be that they were cut off because they were cowards. Once we were satisfied that they were operational, that they weren't bullshit artists, we dealt with them. Quesada made a fairly simple decision. They had been cut off from CIA funds, they had nothing going for themselves, and they made a brave decision. 'Fuck the CIA, we're gonna do something.' They were put back on the payroll in return for not doing any more operations. They took the money and screwed the CIA. I was surprised when HUNT walked into the 30th of November Movement headquarters, which was a private residence converted into offices. But he was in some kind of an uproar at the time, having to deliver money and put these people on the payroll. They'd pulled the case officers off of 30th of November, so he had to personally show up. Quesada became a politician. He has run for Mayor of Miami time and time again. I ran into Homer Echevarria when I went to Chicago. When we were picking up some arms from Lauchli in Collinsville in the Summer of 1963 we stopped in Chicago to check on Paulino Sierra and Kangles. While there, among a large number of people, I met Echevarria. I never heard anyone I dealt with saying that kind of shit. Paulino Sierra or Echevarria never said that kind of shit. The reports are lying."
On December 3, 1964, the CIA contacted the Echevarria family: "(Deleted) explained the need for contacts in Cuba. Neither Subject nor his father had any contacts worthy of KUBARK'S purpose. However, they felt that they knew many people in the United States who had good contacts. They said that they would devote considerable thought to people who might have contacts. On January 6, 1965, WH/SA/EDE generated a document about the Echevarria family for WH/SA/IOS. On January 14, 1965, the Deputy Chief, WH/SA directed an Operational Trace Request to the Chief of Station, JMWAVE. On January 25, 1965, the Chief of Station at JMWAVE reported: "The only Station trace on the individuals listed in UFGW 4732 is a carded reference based on (deleted) 6588, dated January 24, 1964, pertaining to Subject E (Deleted)." On February 5, 1965, the CIA telephoned Homer Echevarria about the same Subject. On February 8, 1965, Edward P. Brown generated a memorandum about Echevarria for WH/SA/IOS. On February 8, 1965, the CIA notified the FBI that it intended to contact Echevarria in regard to "Operation Stateside #381." On February 8, 1965, Deputy Chief, WH(SA) , John L. Hart, requested a Provisional Operational Approval for Homer Echevarria: "For contact, assessment and possible use as an FI asset in Headquarters S/W program." In 1969 John L. Hart was HUNT'S immediate supervisor. The Provisional Operational Approval was granted on February 25, 1965, then canceled on August 26, 1965, because of "Failure to submit PRQ-II as required under CSI No. 10-5 or to indicate any further interest in obtaining approval for the operational use of Subject." On August 23, 1967, the CIA checked with the Immigration and Naturalization Service in regard to Echevarria. [CIA 201-767,409 - 1994 CIA Release]
Homer Echevarria commented, "Everything you are telling me is a big lie or somebody is manufacturing something. That is a lie. Could somebody else be using my identity? I will take a lie detector test. I never worked for CIA. It is a bunch of lies. I never filled out a biographic data sheet. Mail me a copy." Homer Echevarria was mailed the relevant documents. He responded: "All you send me is a check that everybody gets when they want to be citizen besides the fact that when my father's name came up, he tried to give some information to the U.S. Government. Really, I stand by what I told you before." He was asked if he knew HEMMING: "Not really. No. That don't ring my memory bank. Let me put it this way. If I can be of any help, I would to be. But that name don't ring any memories in me. I might have met him, but I don't recall that. It was so many years ago my friend." In 1995 the CIA released 16 heavily deleted pages from Homer Echevarria's CIA file all generated in 1965. A Top Secret document SSS-53-265 on Homer Echevarria was filed in the Top Secret Safe in SR/OSR/BIO. [NARA 1994.04.26.09:23:43:250005]
Richard Albert Lauchli of Collinsville, Illinois, was an arms
dealer who had supplied Fidel in the late 1950's. Richard
Lauchli was co-founder of the Minutemen in the St. Louis, Missouri, area until
September 1962, when he parted company with Minutemen
co-founder Robert DePugh. CIA Office of Security traces on him were heavily
deleted. [Allen v. DOD CIA] The Minutemen was organized in June 1960 by
right-wing paramilitarists whose goal was to become a partisan guerrilla force
after the Soviets took over the United States. Minutemen literature furnished
instructions in the use of explosives and also gave details for the making of
explosive compounds from such readily accessible ingredients as a common
fertilizer, ammonium nitrate. OSWALD wrote: "There have already been a few
organizations who have declosed that they shall become effective only
after conflict between the two world systems leaves the world
country without defense or foundation of government,
organizations such as the minutemen for instance...The armed groups will
represent the remaining hard core of feninatical american capitalist
suportors...there will allso be anarchist pacifist and quit probably fasist
grou splinter groups however all these unlike the minute men
and communite partesin groups, will be unarmed." [WCE 25 p14] He also wrote:
"There are organizations already formed in the United States, who have declared
they shall become effective only after the military debacle of the United
States. Organizations such as the Minutemen...are simply preparing to redefend
in their own back yards, a system which they take for granted will be defeated
militarily elsewhere, a strange thing to hear from 'patriots.' These armed
groups represent hard core American Capitalist supporter's. There will also be a
small armed communist and probably fascist groups. There will also be anarchist
and religious groups at work."
Richard Lauchli was a paratrooper in World War II, was fined $100 in 1957 for possessing firearms unlawfully transferred or made. In 1960 he was fined $500 for burglary of 23 bazookas. He was arrested at the Minutemen training session at Shiloh, Illinois, in 1961 but charges of illegal possession of weapons were dropped.
Richard Lauchli and Donald Sturgis were arrested after on May 19, 1964, after a high speed chase over country roads near Clinton, Illinois. Treasury agents who made the arrest set up a trap to buy a large supply of weapons in the name of South American revolutionaries. Posing as buyers, agents set up the sale and arranged to close the deal at a farm house near Clinton. Richard Lauchli and Donald Sturgis received $17,000 in marked bills.
A federal grand jury in Springfield, Illinois, indicted Richard Lauchli and Charles M. Von Kriegsfeld of Cicero, Illinois, on September 23, 1964, in connection with the seizure of a cache of weapons. Richard Lauchli pleaded guilty of transferring a machine gun without having a federal tax stamp and was sentenced to two and one half years in prison. Charges against Richard Lauchli included illegal manufacture of firearms, interstate transportation and receipt of firearms and conspiracy to sell firearms. Charles M. Von Kriegsfeld, a weapons dealer, was indicted for his part in the conspiracy. Named as a co-conspirator, but not indicted was Donald Sturgis. Thomas Moseley testified against Richard Lauchli. In The Minutemen, Harry Jones reported "Thomas Moseley, a Chicago bus driver who did part time work as an undercover for Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and other federal investigative agencies, testified that as he and 'General Joe Camillo,' actually an Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Agent, were collaborating with Richard Lauchli over the purchase of numerous weapons, Lauchli tried to impress the General that he was no amateur as an arms supplier. Moseley quoted Lauchli as saying: 'Well, I've supplied in the past guns to Castro...I know the personal pilot of Raoul Castro in Cuba [Howard K. Davis].' [Jones, J. Harry, The Minutemen, Doubleday 1968 p83] Richard Lauchli said, "I'm not in it for the money, I just wanted to pull some hairs from Castro's beard." HEMMING 1994: "Lauchli went to prison four fucking times serving his country. You know. Making special munitions and shit. He had an arsenal. Lauchli hated Bobby Kennedy. Thomas Moseley was a snitch to the Chicago P.D. who brought the United States Secret Service in. He was actually an undercover cop, they later found out. A narcotics detective."
On January 31, 1968, the CIA generated this document:
SUBJECT: Lauchli, Richard J. (See also Pederoso, (Amores) Acelo)
ALLEGATION: Richard Lauchli "one of the founders of the Minutemen," was allegedly caught by the FBI in a raid on an arms cache at Lake Ponchartrain in August 1963.
CIA CONNECTION: None.
SOURCE: January 1968 Ramparts article by William Turner.
OFFICE OF SECURITY INDICES RESULTS:
Negative except for a reference to his name in an Air Force Intelligence Report dated December 9, 1964. The report stated that Richard Albert Lauchli, who claimed he is a former paratrooper, was Minuteman leader in the St. Louis, Missouri area until September 1962 when he claimed he parted with Robert DePugh (Minuteman Leader); was arrested by United States Treasury agents in 1964 in connection with the non-registration of a large number of automatic weapons purchased from U.S. Army surplus and allegedly restored to operating condition by Lauchli. Lauchli reportedly organized his own group patterned after the Minutemen called Counterinsurgency Council. No significant following was noted for this group.
FBI reports concerning the seizure of dynamite on July 31, 1963, at LaCombe, Louisiana were found in the Agency 201 files of Acelo (Amores) Pedroso and Dominador Espinosa Hernandez. These reports revealed that the purchase of the dynamite was traced to Richard Lauchli of Collinsville, Illinois, on July 10, 1963, from the American Cyanamid Company, St. Louis, Missouri. It was a cash purchase and Lauchli arranged for immediate delivery by picking up the items in his own delivery truck from the company's magazine at Millstadt, Illinois. Lauchli had made other purchases of ammunition from the American Cyanamid Company through his own company, LOXCO, Inc. 2010 Keebler Street, Collinsville, Ill."
Richard Lauchli was paroled on February 20, 1969, from a 10-year term in the federal penitentiary at Terre Haute, Indiana. He was arrested April 27, 1969, by federal agents who said they had seized a cache of about 750 submachine guns and a large quantity of arms and ammunition at his nearby farm. He was sentenced in 1970 to 12 years in prison for violations of the National Firearms Act, to be served concurrently with an earlier 8 year sentence. Richard Lauchli was paroled on May 1, 1972. In June 1976 Richard Lauchli told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that federal law enforcement agencies know more than they are telling about the assassination of President Kennedy "but I don't want to say which ones because I'm friendly with them. Some day it will all come out but now just isn't the time." [St. L Post-Dis. 7.7.76]
On November 27, 1963, CG 657-C* reported: "(page deleted except for time and word 'Pause.') If I'm going to -- I understand they gave a story to OSWALD and they wouldn't print it. (Evidently referring to a story on him). (more deletions marked 'Non Assassination Related') (Deleted) Oh, they're on (JACK) RUBY here.
(Deleted) I heard something about the Cubans here.
(Deleted) I don't know anything about that, but - Cuba, what?
(Deleted) put in some information that this thing was plotted out here in February by dissident Cuban groups, supposedly on the West Side, that Cubans supported (LEE HARVEY) OSWALD and gave him the money.
(Deleted) hat other kid's got a plate in his head, RUBY.
(Deleted) He has?
(Deleted) Yeah, from some athletic event, trying to sneak in. When he was a kid. Some copper whacked him across the head with a club.
(Deleted) Who's that?
(Deleted) That Ruby. [NARA RIF 124-10155-10277]
On January 10, 1967, William Blanton Acker, Jr., furnished the FBI with the following information. "In 1963 he was in Miami, Florida, employed at the Royal Castle, Number 2, Flagler and Second, and met one Art Silva. Art Silva at that time was living with one Phyliss (LNU) at a small hotel across the street from Royal Castle Number Two. They later moved to an apartment in a court near LaJune Road and Eighth Street which was behind a fruit stand. One of their neighbors in the court (consisting of about ten units) was one ROY (LNU) who was living with some woman, name unrecalled, in the court next door to Art Silva. ROY, according to Art Silva, had several telescopic sight rifles, grenades, mortars, dynamite etc. in his room. Also ROY had made a trip to Dallas, Texas, in late 1963 and was reported by Art Silva to have Secret Service credentials. ROY was also associated with various Cuban resistance movements and was an ex-Marine. William Blanton Acker notes that instant article he read says a policeman stopped a man in Dallas who showed Secret Service credentials. Acker says at a Christmas party in 1963 he was arguing with ROY and almost came to blows as ROY blamed former President Kennedy personally for the death of one of his close friends who was in the invasion at the Bay of Pigs. Acker says that in late 1963 he met Art Silva in an open air sandwich shop in Miami to have a beer and Art Silva talked of his next door neighbor ROY and said ROY was working with the Cubans and would help William Blanton Acker get into the movement if he wanted to help out in winning back Cuba from Castro. Art Silva also said, 'Somebody is going to die. Somebody who hasn't hurt anybody. He doesn't know it but he is going to die.' Acker says he asked Art ,'Who?' and Art Silva said he couldn't say. Art Silva also said "ROY is in something big, the biggest thing this country has seen.' Acker says he thought Art Silva was talking about a robbery or something of that nature as he suspected Art Silva of being mixed up with various underworld characters. At this time Acker believes it was the assassination of President Kennedy after reading the article in the Post of January 14. Acker advised as follows Art Silva, age 25, 5'10" or 11" about 175 pounds, dark complexion, brown eyes, black hair, white male, a former Marine, tattoos on both forearms, one 'Penny' and one 'Mother' and one maybe a heart with 'Art and Penny' also Social Security number or serial number on upper right arm, build muscular, possibly Portuguese descent, probably a transvestite, employed as Assistant Manage of Royal Castle Number Eight in 1963 and was fired. Phyliss (LNU) had blonde hair, blue eyes white female, probably a transvestite, pregnant at time, former residence, New Haven, Connecticut, had been adopted as child by a couple in New Haven from an orphanage, worked as a bar maid or possibly call girl in New York, not married to Art. She claimed to have a husband in prison and a 'Sugar Daddy' who was a pawn or money broker in Miami. She had scars on her throat and wrist. She reads and writes poetry. ROY (LNU) as 25 years old, 6'1", 170-175 pounds, brown blonde hair, parted on the side, blue or grey eyes, fair complexion, white male, strong build, college type, was stopped by Coast Guard in late 1963 beyond three mile limit in a boat headed for Cuba and was turned back."
In 1963 HARGRAVES was 23 years old, 5' 10", 165 pounds, brown hair, hazel eyes.
William Blanton Acker (born: April 17, 1921, in Jefferson County, Alabama) graduated from Brighton High School, Brighton, Alabama and later attended Auburn University but failed to graduate and left in 1940 to enter the United States Army. He was in the field artillery. He received an honorable discharge in 1945. The records of the Merchants Credit Association, Birmingham, Alabama, were made available to the FBI on January 18, 1967. These records indicated that William Blanton Acker and his wife Henrietta, were buying a residence in Bessemer, Alabama, in 1953 and 1954, and in about 1954 moved to Huntsville, Alabama. He was employed as an insurance agent. William Blanton Acker was voluntarily admitted to the Veterans Administration Hospital, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, on September 14, 1958. He went home on a trial visit on November 7, 1958, and had not been returned to the hospital after that time. He was discharged from the trial visit on July 1, 1959. William Blanton Acker was in the Veterans Administration Hospital for three weeks. When admitted to the hospital, his admission diagnosis was as follows: 'Persecution complex.' His discharge diagnosis was 'Schizophrenic reaction, paranoid type. Manifested by circumstantiality, flight of ideas, etc. moderate.' He was considered competent upon discharge." The registrar of the Veterans Administration Hospital advised that in layman's terms, "Acker had a split personality. Mr. Bennett stated further that Acker has a psychosis characterized by complete withdrawal from close and rewarding relationships with other people. He noted from a review of his file that Acker had a history disclosing that he was unable to hold a job for any length of time. He had previously been confined to the Alabama State Hospital where he had been committed by his wife. The file disclosed that he had never been injured in military service but had suffered from malaria fever." [FBI Alabama 89-45-145] There was a notation on the credit files of William Blanton Acker that as of February 14, 1959, he was residing in Huntsville, Alabama, and his wife was employed by the Board of Education, Huntsville, as a teacher. William Blanton Acker told the FBI that he is separated from his wife, who resided in Bessemer, Alabama and "was advised by his doctor, after separation, to leave the area and go to Miami and get a new start on life."
When the FBI interviewed William Blanton Acker, Jr., 45, in 1967 he "admitted he was in Veterans Administration Hospital, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for a mental condition, is a veteran of World War II, having served in North Africa, Italy, Austria, France and Germany. Reliability of Acker's statements are unknown by Mobile. Acker claims to have furnished information of a confidential nature regarding Gilgreen to Birmingham Office in 1950's. He states he resided in Bessemer, Alabama, 1949 to 1950 and later was contacted by Agent Leonard Hern of Huntsville Resident Agency regarding testifying as a witness at trials in Washington, D.C. which he declined. Acker states he is separated from his wife who resided in Bessemer, Alabama." [62-109060-4402 NARA FBI 124-10058-10083 2.21.67 Date of Last Review 11.22.93] The files of the Birmingham Office of the FBI indicated Acker telephoned the Birmingham Office "and claimed that on April 15, 1957, he had observed FBI fugitive Gilbert Green at a cafe in Huntsville. Green had surrendered in New York City on February 27, 1956, and was not being sought as a fugitive at the time of Acker's call." [NARA FBI 124-10258-10202]
The FBI found that the tax records of Royal Castle indicated that A.A. Silva, SS # 047-28-2333, had worked at Royal Castle until September 1963, and at that time resided at 207 N.E. 2nd Ave, Miami, a fictitious address. William Blanton Acker, Jr. was employed there until December 1963. When the FBI checked the apartment in a court, Mrs. Katherine W. Drobet related that a "ROY E. HARGRAVES managed the place when she owned the cottages and also when Mrs. Neos had them. She advised that HARGRAVES was a petty thief and was mixed up in gun running and also in Cuban activities. She advised that she recalled Mrs. Neos saying that HARGRAVES was stopped by either United States Customs or the Coast Guard, trying to go to Cuba. Mrs. Drobet advised that she had no records at all as to the tenants and the names William Blanton Acker and Art Silva meant nothing to her. She related that a woman was staying with HARGRAVES at the cottages; however, she could furnish no information relative to her...Eventually HARGRAVES was fired as he did not turn over some rents to Mrs. Drobot."
The information checked out, but the FBI discontinued the investigation: "Investigation in this matter was conducted at Miami, Florida, by S.A. John F. Hanlon, Jr. MM T-1 is (Deleted) [Howard Kenneth Davis]. For the information of the Bureau, complete facts surrounding the involvement of ROY EMORY HARGRAVES in Cuban affairs can be found in cases captioned 'ROY HARGRAVES; ROLANDO MASFERRER; ET AL. IS -CUBA, NM,' Bufile 105-118615 Miami File 105-7313, and 'UNITED NATIONAL FRONT AGAINST CASTRO IS - CUBA,' Bufile 105-138074. Miami File 105-9794. In view of the fact that this investigation is predicated upon information furnished by William Blanton Acker, an individual with a diseased mind, and also because a reliable source advised that ROY HARGRAVES was in Miami from November 1963, to March 1964, engaged in Cuban activities, no further action is being taken at Miami, UACB." [NARA FBI 124-10058-10056] The FBI cited "MM T-1, who has been active in Cuban revolutionary matters for the past seven years, on February 10, 1965, advised he personally knew and was formerly associated with HARGRAVES, a mercenary, adventurer and soldier of fortune. From November 1963, through March 1964 HARGRAVES was closely associated with and worked for Felipe Vidal Santiago. HARGRAVES helped Felipe Vidal Santiago to obtain arms, ammunition and a boat. He transported the boat and military equipment between Miami and the Florida Keys. When HARGRAVES was stopped by US Customs agents, Felipe Vidal Santiago clandestinely left the United States and infiltrated Cuba. Felipe Vidal Santiago was captured and executed by a firing squad in Cuba in April 1964." [FBI 62-109060-4450]
William Blanton Aker told the truth, however, the FBI took the word of Howard K. Davis, and determined Aker was lying. Howard K. Davis snitched on HEMMING, at HEMMING'S behest, in order to provide a toned down profile of HEMMING'S activities at this time to the FBI. The two men have remained close friends over the years. When HEMMING had a heart attack recently, it was Davis who called me to tell me about it. HEMMING knew the FBI wanted at least one snitch in this group, so he let Davis play that role.
On February 25, 1963, STURGIS was the Subject of an FBI Report at Miami titled (Deleted). [FBI Filed 105-1598] On February 26, 1963, STURGIS put three exiles and an arms cache ashore in Cuba. [CIA TDCSDB 3/653, 545 3.6.63]
The FBI: "In connection with the investigation of the case entitled 'LEE HARVEY OSWALD' (105-82555), Zacarias Acosta, Los Pinos Nuevos leader, advised as follows: In March 1963 Jerry Buchanan had engaged in anti-Castro operations together with 16 members of Los Pinos Nuevos. Acosta was one of the 16 Cubans who, in the latter part of March 1963, had departed in the boat, The Violyn III, with a load of arms and munitions. At a point off Key West Jerry Buchanan was put aboard the Violyn III from a small launch that was also occupied by Alexander Rorke and FRANK FIORINI." [FBI 105-82555-3787 p19 - Acosta DOB 9.6.1894 died 10.80] The Violyn III was stopped in the Bahamas, heavily armed, and on its way to attack a Soviet freighter. The British seized the boat. Jerry Buchanan, the only United States citizen aboard, told the press he had "Presidential authorization" for the mission; as his superiors he named his brother James, as well as STURGIS and Alexander Rorke. HEMMING reported Richard Lauchli sold dynamite to Los Pinos Nuevos.
The CIA reported that "As of March 24, 1963, FRANK FIORINI with Bill Johnson and Alex Rorke were planning a strike against Cuba. The operation includes a combined boat and aerial attack, in the latter phase a Beechcraft aircraft will be used as a bomber. During the week of March 18, 1963, FIORINI and Johnson cached three one hundred pound bombs at a base in the Caribbean. FIORINI stated there are seven such bombs available and they will be dropped out of the side door of the Beechcraft. Bill Johnson* previously stated that he participated in a leaflet raid on Matanzas Province which involved a twin-engine Beechcraft. He operates from a landing strip on Norman Cay. This Cay has a cove for handling boats and supplies are stored on this Cay. *Bill Johnson in full control of all MIRR ops." [CIA CSCI 3/771,919] On March 27, 1963, "(Deleted) U.S. Customs, advised that about one month ago (Deleted) contacted him concerning alleged plan under discussion by unidentified persons to drop bombs by plane over Cuba. (Deleted) [HEMMING] told (Deleted) [Shanley] he considered this plan ridiculous and would immediately notify (Deleted) if any attempt was made to put plan into action. (Deleted) has not since heard from (Deleted), both of whom are regarded as professional adventurers of questionable reliability." [FBI 2-1803-4] On March 30, 1962, the Coast Guard raided Norman's Key, searching for the Violyn III. The FBI: "Following the Interagency Conference which was held in Miami on March 30, 1963, Sterling J. Cottrell, Coordinator of Cuban Affairs, Bureau of Inter-American Affairs, Department of State, received a telephone call from his headquarters in Washington, D.C. Following this conversation, Cottrell remarked to Harvey (Illegible), State Department representative in Miami, and a representative of our Miami Office, that the United States Coast Guard had dispatched a Patrol plane to Norman Key on the basis of information which had been furnished by the (Deleted) indicating that the Subject and others were proceeding (deleted) in connection with some anti-Castro undertaking which was to take place in the immediate future. Cottrell remarked that his headquarters had just been notified that the United States Coast Guard had not found the Subject or any of his associates on the Key, and that only one boat was there, which was occupied by United States Senator George Smathers of Florida. Later, when advised that Cottrell had received another telephone call from Washington and had been instructed to treat the information concerning Norman Key and Senator Smathers as confidential to avoid embarrassment concerning this matter, he asked the representative of our Miami office to also treat the matter in this fashion. It is not known what, if any, connection there might be between Senator Smathers' alleged presence and that of the Subject and his associates at Norman Key at or about the same time." William Johnson reported: "I was there the whole trip. Smathers was FRANK'S buddy. It was funny how we were able to leave and everything else. FRANK may have turned it in. There's a lot of funny things about FRANK. I have some of the blackouts, and I filled them in and it shows that FRANK was the one that did the snitching. His name fit right in. There's only two left. Me and him. And I don't know why he left me to hang around. If he could have thought of a way to get rid of me, he would have done it."
On April 1, 1963, the United States Coast Guard advised the British authorities captured the Violyn III that morning in the vicinity of Norman Key, Bahamas. The boat contained 16 Cuban nationals, and one American adventurer, (Deleted) [Jerry Buchanan] who has a known criminal record. The British authorities escorted this boat to Nassau, Bahamas, and turned the Violyn III over to the United States Coast Guard for escort back to the United States. [also see Szulc NYT 4.3.63] On April 3, 1963, JMWAVE sent this message to the Director of the CIA: "Supdata (Deleted) from FRANK FIORINI. It is believed that FIORINI knows that when he gives information to BARKER it does get to U.S. Government and probably FIORINI wishes alert U.S. Government agencies to pick up raiders at Anguilla." On April 3, 1963, William Sullivan of the FBI sent this Memo to W.R. Wannall, also of the FBI: "Mr. Evans' memorandum earlier today regarding Cuban matter pointed out that Mr. Guthman of the Department requested information for the President's press conference this afternoon concerning an alleged television or radio broadcast by someone named who claimed that certain students from New England colleges have engaged in week end missions to Cuba." The FBI determined that when the Violyn III was taken into tow by the Coast Guard, there were several college students aboard. [FBI 12-1499 NR 184 4.10.63] "It is noted that Rorke and two of his close associates, Bill Johnson and FRANK STURGIS have been under investigation by the Customs Service for repeated attempts on their part to engage in forays against Cuba. No information has been received by the FBI specifically showing that students from the New England area have actually participated in raids against Cuba but the Customs Service may have additional data with regard to this matter as a result of its investigations." [FBI 2-1449 Enc.]
The FBI reported: "On April 4, 1963, the press reported that the Violyn III had departed from Nassau and was en route to Miami with a U.S. Coast Guard escort. Miami Attorney Charles Ashmann told the press that the crew of the Violyn III would not be return to the United States. (However, the yacht was forced to put out a distress signal en route to Cuba. (Deleted) On April 5, 1963, (Deleted), a representative of another Government Agency, advised that on the afternoon of April 4, 1963, the Violyn III left Nassau, Bahamas, on a general course for the United States, and at that date was on the north tip of Andros Island in the Bahamas. Because the Violyn III was in shallow water, the U.S. Coast Guard discontinued its surveillance of the Violyn III by boat, and surveillance was taken over by U.S. Coast Guard aircraft. At about 8:20 p.m. the Violyn III turned off its running lights and had not been seen by the coast guard since that time...On April 5, 1963, (Deleted) Immigration and Naturalization Service, Miami, advised that the Violyn III had just arrived at the seawall, Key Biscayne, Miami. The Cubans aboard were to be taken by INS authorities to the INS detention facility at Opa Locka, Florida, where interviews were to be conducted, and any United States citizens on board were to be taken by INS authorities to INS Headquarters in Miami, where these individuals would be interviewed for any possible violations of Federal law concerning U.S. passport regulations."
The Coast Guard seized the Violyn III. Rorke told The New York Times "that the United States Government, through the CIA, had advance knowledge of the trips. He classified the operations as re-supply missions or trips to land agents in Cuba and said the only shots fired from the Violyn III had been defensive, after the boat had been fired upon. Mr. Rorke contended that the CIA had financed trips of the Violyn III. These were leaflet raids in October and December 1961. However, Mr. Rorke said the CIA had not backed any excursions of the boat in recent months." [NYT 4.3.63]
The FBI reported: "On April 5, 1963, U.S. Customs Service, Miami, seized an American motor vessel, the Violyn III, on grounds there was probable cause to believe that arms and munitions of war had been exported or removed from the United States in violation of law, aboard this boat. This vessel had been purchased by Alexander Rorke, a United States citizen, newspaper photographer and adventurer who had been closely associated with STURGIS in anti-Castro activities. (Rorke disappeared in 1963 after departing South Florida by plane on a trip to Mexico and is presumed to be dead.)
"(Deleted) advised U.S. Customs that due to arrangements made with Rorke, they had committed this boat to the use of an anti-Castro organization known as Los Pinos Nuevos. They admitted that they had loaded the vessel with three one hundred pound bombs, and proceeded to Norman Key in the Bahama Islands, where the bombs were hidden, pursuant to a plan for a later attack against Cuba. However, these plans went awry after the Violin III was seized by the British in April 1963 in the Bahamas with 17 Cuban-bound anti-Castro exile raiders aboard." [FBI 2-1499-134]
On April 10, 1963, the FBI generated a report about STURGIS at Miami that linked him with the Second National Front of Escambray entitled "Ejereito Cubano Anticomunista (Frente Escambray) (Cuban Anti-Communist Army) (Escambray Front) Registration Act, Neutrality Matter." No file number for this document was shown on the CIA's list of FBI documents about STURGIS. On April 25, 1963, the FBI at Miami generated a document about STURGIS entitled "Anti-Castro Strike Against Cuba Scheduled for the week of March 25, 1963." Again, no file number was provided.
On April 26, 1963, Alexander Rorke announced that on April 25, 1963, he and several other men had flown over Havana and dropped napalm and penolite bombs on the Nico Lopez Oil Refinery, however the refinery tanks failed to explode. The Miami Herald carried an account of the attack. Laureano Batista of Christian Democratic Movement, Geoffrey Francis Sullivan, and Steve Justin Wilson tossed homemade bombs out of a twin-engine plane Alexander Rorke piloted, only 50 feet above Cuban oil refineries. Alexander Rorke described how the men lit napalm bombs with their cigars and dropped them on installations formerly owned by Shell and ESSO, which refined most of Cuba's Soviet oil. Alexander Rorke stated: "The bombs went off but the tanks didn't blow." Rorke said the photographs he took of the raid did not develop.
On April 27, 1963, the FBI interviewed Geoffrey Sullivan. He told them that on the night in question he had flown Alexander Rorke to Washington, D.C., then continued to Meridan, Connecticut, where he landed at 9:00 a.m., April 26, 1963. The FBI verified this.
The FBI persuaded the Kennedy Administration that the bombing was a hoax: "As a matter of fact, there are indications that this whole operation as related by Rorke may have been a hoax. Persons who know Rorke believe this to be possible. Many of the circumstances of the case are inconsistent with the premise that a bombing took place. Although Rorke said the bombs exploded, a Cuban exile advised that people living in the refinery area did not hear any explosions. Cuban newspapers contained pictures of the bombs supposedly dropped on the refinery; however the bomb casings were not dented or damaged as necessarily should have been the result if dropped from an airplane. Moreover, the Cuban radio stations apparently did not report any bombing until after the news releases in the United States. Also, the text of the Cuban Government's protest of the 'bombing' to the United States generally followed the United States news reports in describing the alleged incident.
"With regard to possible grand jury action in this matter, it is the conclusion of this Division that such action is not warranted. Subject (Deleted) has refused, on the advice of counsel, to furnish pertinent information unless he is granted immunity from prosecution. We do not believe such immunity is justified in this instance. In view of the generally uncooperative attitude of subjects Sullivan and (Deleted) it is most likely they would invoke the provisions of the Fifth Amendment and refuse to furnish testimony which might incriminate them. As to Rorke, he no doubt would repeat the story he has already given or would invoke the Fifth Amendment. Should he testify along the lines of his public statements and deny that he took an airplane from the United States in connection with the alleged bombing raid, we would not only still lack a prosecutable case but, moreover, we would not be in a position to proceed against Rorke for violation of the perjury statute. It should also be noted that the evidence is not sufficient to invoke the neutrality statutes. For the foregoing reasons criminal prosecution in this case is not contemplated." [FBI 79-29181-3, 97-4623-148]
The FBI: "(Deleted) [Shanley] said that today he interviewed (Deleted) both of whom are close associates of Rorke and were formerly affiliated with him. They expressed the opinion also that the raid is a fabrication by Rorke and that he is out of his mind. With respect for the motivation for Rorke fabricating this story (Deleted) pointed out that he knows Rorke is in financial distress at the present time. He observed that at the meeting in Washington today, Rorke introduced a young Cuban named Laureano Batista Falla and implied that this person participated on this raid. Batista Falla comes from a wealthy Cuban family and has a large personal allowance. (Deleted) expressed the opinion that Rorke, by creating favorable publicity for Batista Falla, hopes to ingratiate himself with Falla and obtain money from him." [FBI 97-4623-35 also FBI 97-4623-151 8.26.63 w/h] Documents about Rorke and Batista were highly deleted or withheld. [FBI 97-4623-107, 35]
The HSCA reported: "In April 1963, FRANK STURGIS supplied information that Laureano Batista Falla, Orlando Bosch, Manuel Artime and Alex Rorke were jointly planning an air strike over Havana on April 25, 1963. According to STURGIS, the strike was to originate from an airstrip in Puerto Rico and the target was a sugar refinery. The bombs were homemade, assembled by Batista. Rorke announced publically that the strike had taken place as scheduled, which took the other planners by surprise. STURGIS claimed the strike was still in the planning stage and financial backing had not been completed." STURGIS told the FBI that the raid never took place and was just a publicity stunt.
Additionally, the FBI reported Alexander Rorke's airplane had been under surveillance by the Border Patrol. At 7:01 p.m. (on the evening of April 25, 1963), these two men, plus an additional individual believed to be (Deleted) a Swiss alien, took off in this aircraft without filing a flight plan. After becoming airborne, they asked for permission to head south. Four hours later, at 11:01 p.m., they asked permission of the control tower at Vero Beach to proceed to Washington, D.C. The Border Patrol further advised that some time prior to the take off from Palm Beach Airport, Sullivan, the pilot, purchased two navigation charts at the airport. One of these charts was described as being for Cuba and the other one Havana... Washington Field Office has further learned from the Federal Aviation Agency at Washington National Airport that the twin engine Beechcraft airplane arrived in Washington, D.C. at the National Airport at 8:00 a.m. on April 26, 1963, having left Vero Beach Florida at 11:00 p.m. on the night of April 25, 1963. The Federal Aviation Agency noted that possibly the plane had stopped en route since it would not require this amount of time to fly from Vero Beach to Washington. The plane departed from Washington National Airport, destination unknown, at 8:37 a.m. The plane filed no flight plan." [FBI: Note for Ray Wannall 4.29.63] The Border Patrol observed nothing loaded onto the plane before take-off. The Border Patrol advised that a check with radar station at Key West Naval Air Station reflected there were no outgoing or incoming unidentified tracks on radar on April 25, 1963, between 7:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. however, a plane, by low level flying could possibly escape detection on radar screen. Rorke's plane had 5 gasoline tanks and had a speed of 124 knots and was believed by the FAA to be capable of making a flight from Palm Beach to Havana and return non-stop.
The FBI conducted interviews with other Cuban refugees who had been in Havana when the raid occurred. They heard gunfire and a low-flying plane during the period in question. "(Deleted) stated she had resided at (Deleted) which is a suburb of Havana, Cuba. Her home is located (Deleted) from the Shell Oil refineries. She recalled that about three or four nights prior to her departure on April 25, 1963, at about 8:30 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. she heard gunfire. Four or five minutes later, she heard an airplane flying overhead. She said it did not appear that the plane was flying directly over the refinery, however, she was unable to state the direction or the altitude at which this plane was flying." [FBI Miami 2-346 5.9.63] On April 27, 1963, Cuban press and television announced the April 25, 1963, bombing attack against the Nico Lopez Oil Refinery. Cuban newspapers showed pictures of a 100 pound practice bomb which did not explode, and a quantity of one-pound Trojan Pentolite primers, which did not explode, and a container allegedly filled with Napalm, which also did not explode. There were also photographs of material appearing to be Primacord and an detonating cap. The Cuban media reported: "About 10:00 p.m. on April, 25 1963, a twin engine plane coming from the north, flew low over the Nico Lopez Refinery and dropped a 100-pound bomb and several cans of inflammable material of the napalm type that did not explode. The plane then flew off in the direction from which it had come. Later, the North American news agencies disseminated a report that one Alexander Rorke said in the city of Washington some hours after the incident took place, that he was in the twin-engine plane that bombed the refinery." Havana media explained that the attack failed due to a faulty fuse. On May 2, 1963, Cuban Deputy Prime Minister Raoul Castro complained: "If the United States wasn't in cahoots with the raiders who bombed a Havana oil refinery, it has at least shown tolerance toward the attack [since] the criminals received great publicity without any action being taken against them."
The FBI questioned Deleted about the raid: "On March 7, 1963, (Deleted) he could state that this alleged raid was not sponsored by the Christian Democratic Movement, although the official press release on April 26, 1963, was issued by the Christian Democratic Movement in Caracas, Venezuela. (Deleted) refused to answer any questions concerning his involvement in this matter, and called Rorke an imbecile for making a premature press announcement from Washington, D.C., April 26, 1963. (Deleted) said the raids against Cuba would continue by Cuban exiles from the United States until either the United States jailed these Cuban exiles or deported them from the United States." [FBI 97-4110-51]
On June 8, 1965, the FBI stated: "Investigation reflected that he [Rorke] did undoubtedly participate in a bombing raid against oil refineries in Havana on the night of April 25, 1963, in company with Geoffrey Sullivan and two other individuals, with Sullivan serving as the pilot of their twin engine Beechcraft. [FBI 105-139922-3]
The Nico Lopez raid was widely reported in the press. The New York Times called it the first air strike over Cuba since the Bay of Pigs. Alexander Rorke's actions made the Kennedy Administration appear as if it was unable live up to its agreement to curtail raids on Cuba. Rorke also made it appear that Cuba's air defenses were easily penetrated and if America gave the exiles a free hand, they could overthrow Castro. Rorke had to be stopped. On May 17, 1963, J. Walter Yeagley, Assistant Attorney General, Internal Security Division, noted this to J. Edgar Hoover, in relation to the Nico Lopez raid, "This Division has under consideration the possibility of instituting grand jury action in this matter...It will also be appreciated if you will attempt to ascertain whether any incendiary, explosive or other material suitable for making bombs was purchased or otherwise obtained by any of the persons reportedly connected with this matter. In this regard it is noted that (deleted). You may also wish to investigate the possibility that such purchases were made by Rorke, Sullivan or (deleted) prior to their arrival in Florida on April 23, 1963." [FBI 97-4623-114] The FBI: "Facts were submitted to the Justice Department and prosecution was not authorized, whereupon FBI investigation was terminated."
On May 2, 1963, STURGIS told an American source he was again working with the Diaz Lanz brothers: "FRANK FIORINI, American adventurer involved in anti-Castro activities for some years, told an American source on May 2, 1963, that he had been approached by Marcos Diaz Lanz to patch up differences and cooperate in an "anti-Castro activity" with Marcos and his brother Pedro Diaz Lanz. Marcos said he had received a telegram from Pedro in Washington on May 1, 1963, saying that financial assistance has been received. Macos supposes that the money came from a Cuban in Washington who had supported the Diaz brothers in the past." The FBI reported that on (Deleted) a source furnished a "three page leaflet in the Spanish language entitled, Open Letter to the People of Cuba and to the Exiles in General from Commander Pedro Diaz Lanz. This leaflet consisted of a vitriolic attack upon Manuel Artime, Cuban exile leader of MRR, and upon the administration of President John F. Kennedy, which he claimed was supporting Artime as the leader of the anti-Castro movement at that time. He repeatedly referred to Artime as 'pre-fabricated' by the Administration.".
According to the FBI, in June 1963 "FRANK STURGIS" was a prime suspect in the murder of a Virginia casino operator. Was the FBI was referring to another "Frank Sturgis?" Gaeton Fonzi reported that on June 13, 1963, STURGIS prepared for a raid on Cuba with Marcos and Pedro Diaz Lanz. On June 21, 1963, the FBI in Washington, D.C. generated a report on STURGIS entitled "INTERPEN." On June 21, 1963, the FBI in Miami generated a report on STURGIS entitled (Deleted) Classification: SECRET. That same day the FBI in Miami generated a report on STURGIS entitled INTERPEN. [FBI Field 2-318]
1. On June 23, 1963, STURGIS said that he had met with Manuel Artime Buesa on June 22, 1963, and that, as a result, he was going to Dallas to inspect airplanes and other equipment available there which might be purchased by Artime.
2. STURGIS also said that within the next two weeks he would be involved in an air strike against Cuba. He said that the strike would originate outside the United States and that it was not connected with his proposed activities in Dallas for Artime. [CIA F810351D01872]
On June 26, 1963, JMWAVE sent a Classified Message to the Director of the CIA that was highly deleted. "Dir Info (Deleted) cite WAVE 0246 (Deleted) Supdata: (Deleted) from FRANK STURGIS. Para 3 based on (Deleted) RID: Index. Filed 25235IT Report Classified Confidential Controlled Dissemination, Country Cuba ,Subject: Current Activities of FRANK STURGIS DOI June 23, 1963 (deleted) Ref (deleted) Appr. 3 Source: American Observer (c) from FRANK STURGIS. Releasing IWO (Deleted). Based on (deleted) NP/ (Deleted)."
During his deposition in HUNT V. WEBERMAN, STURGIS was asked:
Q. In November of 1963, did you visit Dallas, Texas?
A. Possibly. You must understand that I was doing a series of operations in the Caribbean area and I went numerous times to Mexico, so there is a good possibility.
Q. Do you remember how many times you visited Dallas in November 1963?
A. I don't recall offhand.
Q. Do you remember the reason for the visit specifically to Dallas, other than this --
A. I was just passing through, because I went through Dallas, I went through Nuevo Laredo, I went through many different cities.
Q. Do you remember any motels that you may have stayed at in the Dallas area?
A. No. Anytime I went to Dallas, I went through Dallas. I never stayed anyplace in Dallas.
Q. Did you ever leave the airport when you were traveling?
A. I went through, I drove through, because most of the time that I went to Mexico, I drove through Texas.
Q. But you never stayed overnight in Dallas or Fort Worth?
A. Never stayed overnight in Dallas, Texas.
Q. Does the name Town and Country [ ring a bell]?
A. In New Orleans?
Q. In New Orleans.
A. I stayed at the Town and Country at one time when I went through New Orleans. I was headed to Central America.
The CIA reported that Pedro Diaz Lanz and STURGIS planned a raid on the night of either July 31, 1963, or August 1, 1963. [CIA Daily News Summary 8.1.63]
STURGIS admitted he might have been in Dallas in November 1963. CIA documents indicated STURGIS planned to go to Dallas in June 1963. The documents did not indicate whether or not STURGIS actually made this trip. Was his trip to Dallas for Artime an excuse to go there to arrange the details of the Kennedy assassination? OSWALD was in New Orleans at this time. Did STURGIS meet with Jack Ruby?
BARKER'S CIA Monthly Operational Report for January 1963 indicated he supplied information on "The operations conducted by Alex Rorke and FRANK FIORINI, after forays into Cuba. Both reports give information on private initiative methods of U.S. nationals involved in the Cuban revolutionary effort. Report Number 38 gives advanced information on a projected air strike against Cuba during the early part of February by Alex Rorke." [TO C/SAS from JMWAVE 2.15.63]
A CIA document titled "BARKER" stated:
"1. In January 1963 BARKER gave his case officer a report on one of FRANK FIORINI'S forays into Cuba. No other details given (deleted) (deleted) February 15, 1963.
2. In February 1963 BARKER reported on a caching op into Cuba by FIORINI. No further details. WAVE 5400 (deleted) March 13, 1963:
TO: Chief, Special Affairs Staff [Desmond FitzGerald]
FROM: Chief of Station, JM WAVE
SUBJECT: BERNARD BARKER, Operational Monthly Report February 1, 1963, to February 28, 1963.
1. Subject was contacted on February 6, 1963, February 14, 1963, February 20, 1962, February 21, 1963 and February 28, 1963. He was paid $500 salary for the month.
2. Although no dissemination was credit to Subject during the month, several of his reports were of sufficient interest as operational information to merit special attention. Forecast of an air raid on Cuba being planned by Alex Rorke was cabled in WAVE 5400 with news of an infiltration and caching operation completed in late February by FRANK FIORINI and Bill Johnson." [CIA FOIA # D002278]
3. In April 1963 BARKER reported information regarding an exile raid on Cuba. The information came from FIORINI. Per the subdata on the intel cable, FIORINI knew that when he gave information to (deleted) it would reach CIA. WAVE 6695.
4. BARKER provided information re FIORINI raids in June 1963 (deleted) July 19, 1963.
5. BARKER recruited a number of valuable assets for the Station (Havana) including (Deleted)."
The CIA commented: "FIORINI has previously offered information in the knowledge that this information would become available to the U.S. Government. It is believed that FRANK FIORINI wished this information to get into official channels so that American authorities would be on the look out for this second raider boat. On April 2, 1963 in the general area off the northern coast of Cuba ranged from three to seven feet, and wind was reported in gusts up to 30 knots. The probability that FIORINI is concerned about the welfare of the raiders in possibly a small craft should not be discounted. The possibility that this might be a 'smoke screen' should also not be discounted." [CIA Report No. TDCSDB 3/654,021 4.3.63] A CIA Index Card dated April 2, 1963, stated: "Subject stated that he has spent the better part of the weekend of March 30, 1963, and March 31, 1963, flying in the Bahama Island area in light plane looking for Violin III." [TDCSB-3/653,986 4.2.63]
On June 23, 1963, BARKER'S progress report for May indicated he had filed two reports based on information from STURGIS.
a. (Deleted)-2781 (cable) from FRANK FIORINI and Pepin Bosch, FRANK FIORINI'S Agreement to Participate in Air Strike Against Cuba
b. (Deleted)-2901 (cable) from FRANK FIORINI. Request by Venezuelan National that FRANK FIORINI Purchase Arms for Him.
c. (Deleted)-2922 (cable) from Pedro Martinez Fraga, Possible Cooperation Between Manuel A. de Varona and Manuel Artime.
2. One item of information which Subject received from FRANK FIORINI on May 28, 1963, was considered possibly of interest to Headquarters, but probably best not forwarded in reports format. FIORINI said he had spoken twice during the month with General Claire Chenault, Jr., who phoned from California. Chenault indicated his desire to participate in the anti-Castro effort, and asked FIORINI about the different organizations in the Miami area and their leaders. FIORINI'S reply put Manuel Artime at the head of the list, and noted that lack of financial backing was Artime's most pressing problem. In the second phone call, Chenault recommended that Artime solicit aid from representatives of the Chinese Nationalists in Washington, and urged that his (Chenault's) name be used. FIORINI promised to pass this on to Artime when the latter returned to the U.S. from a tour of Latin American countries."
On July 26, 1963, BARKER'S Operational Monthly Report indicated that three disseminable reports were credited to BARKER during June 1963: "(Deleted)-2006 (cable) from FRANK FIORINI, "Planned Raid on Cuba by Diaz Lanz Brothers." (Deleted)-3108 (cable) from FRANK FIORINI, "Current Activities of FRANK FIORINI." A CIA document stated: "The Diaz Lanz brothers and FRANK FIORINI, frustrated in their plans for a bomb-and-leaflet raid over Havana on July 28, 1963, reportedly had planned a new raid on the night of either July 31, 1963, or August 1, 1963. According to a trained observer who talked with FIORINI, the latter will leave his house at about 7:00 p.m. on July 31, 1963, and head for Marathon Key in the Florida Keys. FIORINI'S trip is to be a decoy to dray off any FBI surveillance team. Pedro Diaz and Marcos Diaz Lanz plan to leave their cars parked in front of their homes to make it appear that they are inside and their wives are under instruction to say they are asleep. However, on the night of either July 31, 1963, or August 1, 1963, the Diaz Lanz brothers will attempt to reach clandestinely the Weir Williams Ranch where the plane to be used in the raid is located. The Source reports that FIORINI said the plane will carry several bombs made from 100-pound practice bombs cut down to a smaller size and filled with nuts and bolts for shrapnel. [CIA TDCS-DB-3/655.833] On September 17, 1963, the CIA reported:
TO: Chief, Special Affairs Staff
FROM: Chief, JMWAVE
SUBJECT: BERNARD BARKER Operational Progress Report August 1, 1963, to August 30, 1963. Ref. (Deleted) August 19, 1963.
1. Subject continued his wide and varied contacts among Cuban exiles and with Americans involved in anti-Cuban activities. There was no appreciable change in his operational pattern.
2. Subject responded to several requests for local investigations on individuals and groups, and produced eight formal reports of which five were disseminated.
a. (Deleted)-3359 (cable ) Rescheduling of Air Strike and Leaflet Raid on Havana, August 8, 1963.
b. (Deleted)-3403 (cable) Creation of Junta de Gobierno de Cuba en el Exileo.
c. (Deleted)-3414 (cable) Air Strike over Santa Clara, Las Villas on August 15, 1963.
d. (Deleted)-3443 (cable) Plan to Bomb a Soviet-Make PT Boat in the Service of the GOC.
e. (Deleted)-3462 (cable) Possible Raid on Cuba by Eddie Arthur
3. With the cooperation of FRANK FIORINI, Subject was able to keep JMWAVE informed of the activities of the Diaz Lanz brothers in their attempts to mount an air raid over Cuba. JMWAVE in turn, was able to pass this information to local security agencies in time for them to thwart the plans.
5. Subject also turned up a possible operational lead toward the penetration of Julio Lobo's activities. [CIA FOIA D002250- Date typed 9. 17. 63. also CIA FOIA 00073] Another CIA report stated: "There was no particular change in his operational pattern. Subject also turned up a possible operational lead toward the penetration of Julio Lobo's activities." [CIA FOIA 002250 201-251,689]
On October 25, 1963, STURGIS' relationship to Paulino Sierra was the Subject of a CIA report: "Re to relationships between Pauline Sierra and other Amer. Nationals." [Deleted 06553] On October 30, 1963, STURGIS furnished the CIA with information on the Anti-Communist Crusade Foundation. [Deleted-03962]
In July 1964 Julio Lobo was involved with Teofilo Babun in a plan to kill Fidel Castro.
June 10, 1964
Memorandum For: The Director of Central Intelligence
Subject: Plans of Cuban Exiles to Assassinate Selected Cuban Government Leaders
1. The following report was compiled from information obtained by Agency officers from persons who were parties to the actions described. Agency officers made clear to each of the sources that the United States Government would not, under any circumstances, condone the planned actions. Presumably, the sources of the report, in submitting this information, were motivated, in part, by the belief that by disclosing the information they would obtain immunity against legal action should they succeed in implementing the plan.
2. A Cuban exile was approached on March 2, 1964, by an acquaintance who wished to discuss a plan, which was still in the embryonic state, to assassinate Fidel Castro. The acquaintance was described as a businessman and a shipowner who owns at least one ship which sails under the British flag, and who also has a legally sanctioned interest in distributing and placing slot machines in gambling houses. The involvement of the acquaintance in the slot machine business brings the man in contact with elements in the underworld, primarily through his partner, who is a former police officer from St. Louis, and through whom there is a tie-in with elements of the Cosa Nostra. The Cosa Nostra elements are alleged to have numerous contacts still available to them in Cuba and they have offered to assassinate Castro for $150,000 no advance funds were requested. If the mission can not be accomplished, or if the plan is unsuccessful, an amount not to exceed $10,000 would be paid for the travel and living expenses of five men involved in the mission. The Cuban exile commented that he believed he had been approached with this plan because of his family's great wealth. He told his acquaintance that he was not interested and suggested an approach might be made to someone who has much more money.
3. Another Cuban exile reported that Byron Cameron, owner and operator of the M/V Cayman Hope, whose address is Caribe Trading Company, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, met persons attending the meeting were Teofilo Babun Franco, co-owner of the Antillean Marine Shipping Corporation, Miami, and two of Babun's employees, Oscar Fernandez Viego and Eliseo Gomez Fernandez. Babun and Cameron are friendly shipping business competitors in the Caribbean area. During the course of conversation at this meeting, Cameron mentioned that he was in contact with an unidentified group which would be willing to assassinate selected Cuban officials for cash; specifically the Cameron group is interested in assassinating Fidel Castro, Raul Castro and Che Guevara.
5...The contract for payment would be honored only upon the presentation of evidence that the three Cuban officials died at the hands of the assassins connected with Cameron's contacts.
6. In early April 1964, Eliseo Gomez Fernandez met with Jose "Pepin" Bosch. Bosch agreed to advance $100,000 and Babun and his associates would advance $2,500 for expenses. Julio Lobo Olavarri, a wealthy Cuban exile in New York, subsequently agreed to the terms, provided that his name was not involved. Accordingly, Babun gave Cameron $2,500 on April 24, 1964. Cameron then advised his group, and on April 25, 1964, he reported that his group had already called its man in Cuba and told him to proceed as planned and that "their other man" would be heading for Cuba shortly. The final comment was 'we hope to have some good news for you between May 20, 1964 and May 25, 1964.' Lobo planned to fly to Miami on May 19, 1964 to arrange for the transfer of $100,000 to a safety deposit box, the keys to which are to be held jointly by Cameron and a confident of Lobo.
7. The identities of the persons in the Cameron group and how they plan to proceed with this mission are not known. Babun's associates are reluctant to make any unnecessary inquiries because they have invested $2,500 and because Cameron made it fairly clear at the beginning that the Mafia was involved. Cameron revealed during the negotiations that his contact was a police officer in the St. Louis, Missouri, Vice Squad, who was about to retire and who had numerous connections in the Mafia. Cameron implied that the other man in question was in Spain. Cameron knows that he could be indicted for conspiracy and if there is any treachery on his part, Babun and his associates would not hesitate to sink his ship, the MV Cayman Hope.
8. In late May 1964, a prominent Cuban exile who spoke with Jose "Pepin" Bosch reported that Teofilo Babun and Eliseo Gomez had a plan underway to assassinate Fidel Castro for the payment of $150,000. Bosch claimed that he had committed himself to furnish $50,000 and that he was hoping he could get the balance of the money from the United States Government or from other sources. Bosch indicated that he believes that a quick change for the better in the Cuban situation can be brought about only by the physical elimination of Fidel Castro and that his elimination is well worth $150,000. In pursuing his attempts to raise and additional $100,000, Bosch is planning to ask Julio Lobo to contribute at least $50,000. Richard Helms. Note: It is requested that this agency be informed of any action contemplated in regard to the persons mentioned in this report before such action is initiated. [FBI 105-131629-5].
The Attorney General
Plans of Cuban Exiles to Assassinate
Selected Cuban Government Leaders
Reference is made to previous information concerning the alleged existence of plans involving organized crime elements in the United States and Cuban exiles to assassinate Fidel Castro, Prime Minister of Cuba, and other Cuban leaders. On July 16, 1964, you were advised, in part, that Teofilo Babun Solman, a Cuban exile who allegedly is involved in this matter, maintained upon re-interview that Eduardo Garcia, another Cuban exile, was present during a discussion he had with Julio Lobo of New York City and that Garcia could verify that he made no requests of Lobo for funds to carry out the above-mentioned assassination plan.
On July 17, 1964, Eduardo Garcia Molina of New York City advised that when he first learned of the plan in late January or early February 1964, he telephonically contacted the CIA at Washington, D.C. from Miami, Florida, and was told at that the CIA wanted no part of the plan. He stated that the plan was explained to him by Babun and that the details were known to Babun's employees, Eliseo Gomez Fernandez and Oscar Fernandez Veiga.
According to Garcia, Babun has close business ties with Byron Cameron of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, who is very sympathetic to the Cuban cause. In discussions with Babun, Gomez, Fernandez and Cameron all agreed not to disclose information concerning the plan if questioned by U.S. authorities. Garcia stated that the details as he knew them were as follows: The assassins, not Americans, would be of Spanish nationality who would go into Cuba with the proper documents and under a legitimate cover of doing business with Cuba. Cameron had an unknown contact with an unknown St. Louis, Missouri, police officer who had indirect contact with the would-be assassins. Babun was very anxious to see this plan carried out and contacted Cubans for money to pay the assassins. Garcia stated he did not recall the exact amount of money involved but it was about $100,000 to $150,000.
In May 1964, Babun and his wife were in New York City on a personal matter and while there Babun and Garcia went to see Lobo. During the discussions with Lobo, Babun told of the plan to eliminate the Cuban leaders. Lobo stated he would give serious thought to the plan. Garcia stated that Babun misinterpreted Lobo's statement and asked Lobo to contribute the entire amount or one third in the name of Babun who would pay Lobo after they returned from Cuba. Garcia stated there was a discussion between Lobo and Babun about a contract at the placing of money in escrow but to his recollection these matters were brought up by Lobo and not Babun.
Garcia stated that the name Jose 'Pepin' Bosch never came to his attention in this matter and the pertinent results will be made available to you. [SSCIA 157-10002-10208; FBI 105-131629-19] Copies of this report were also sent to Walter Yeagley and Herbert J. Miller."
On July 31, 1964, W.O. Cregar furnished D.J. Brennan with the following information: "Plans of Cuban Exiles to Assassinate Selected Cuban Government Leaders IS- CUBA. The Nationalities Intelligence Section has requested Liaison to determine if the sources mentioned in CIA Memorandum, dated April 8, 1964, (disseminated locally to our Miami Office by CIA's Miami Office) and the sources referred to in the CIA's letter, dated June 10, 1964, (CSDB 3/661,353) could be made available to the Bureau for interview. On July 30, 1964, (Deleted) CIA, advised the Liaison Agent of the following: The sources of the CIA's memorandum of April 8, 1964, and CIA's letter of June 19, 1964, (Deleted) As a result of the above, CIA has asked that we (Deleted) (1) (Deleted) (2) (Deleted) (3) (Deleted) (Deleted) advised that CIA considers the above sources valuable (deleted)." [NARA SSCIA 157-10002-10226] The Director of the FBI sent an airtel to the Miami FBI Field Office entitled "Plans of Cuban Exiles to Assassinate Selected Cuban Government Leaders IS- CUBA" that stated: "Reurairtel July 14, 1964. On July 30, 1964, CIA furnished following information: The sources of CIA memorandum of April 8, 1964, and CIA's letter of June 10, 1964, (deleted) and (deleted) (1) (deleted) (2) (deleted) (3) (deleted) CIA considers the above mentioned sources as valuable (deleted). Bufile in this matter indicates (deleted). Immediately submit your recommendations (deleted) bearing in mind results of investigation already conducted. In addition suairtel whether Byron Cameron who allegedly is involved in this matter has returned to Miami from Mexico and whether the interview with him has been conducted...NOTE: We have been conducting investigation at request of Attorney General of alleged plans to assassinate Cuban Government leaders. Allegedly, U.S. hoodlum element and Cuban exiles are involved. We have furnished all pertinent information developed to date to the Attorney General, and other interested agencies. Investigation to date has failed to disclose any connection between hoodlum element in the United States and Cuban exiles. Miami office requested we determine CIA sources of information contained in CIA communications dated April 8, 1964, and June 10, 1964. We contacted in this connection and information set forth above is the result." [NARA SSCIA 157-10002-10227] In July 1964, the FBI reported it had been "conducting investigation at request of the Attorney General of alleged plans to assassinate Cuban Government leaders. Allegedly U.S. hoodlum element and Cuban exiles involved...Investigation to date has failed to disclose any connection between hoodlum element in U.S. and Cuban exiles." [SSCIA 157-10002-10227] END OF NODULE.CLICK HERE TO GO ON TO THE NEXT NODULE. CLICK HERE TO COMMENT ON THE NODULE.