On July 1, 1963, OSWALD sent a letter to the Soviet Embassy asking the Embassy to rush an entrance visa for his wife; additionally, he requested his visa be considered separately: "Please rush the entrance visa for the return of Soviet citizen, Marina Oswald. She is going to have a baby in October, therefore you must grant the entrance visa and make transportation arrangements before then. As for my return entrance visa please consider it separtally." On July 1, 1963, OSWALD borrowed Portrait of a President, by John F. Kennedy, from the New Orleans Public Library. He returned this book on July 15, 1963. On July 6, 1963, OSWALD borrowed One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and The Hornblower and The Hotspur, by C.S. Forester. According to the records of the Soviet Embassy, Marina Oswald wrote the Embassy on July 8, 1963, seeking the "results of the replies to my appeals with regard to the departure of our family to the USSR..." She asked the Embassy to "hurry the expediting" of this matter.
Possession of a Soviet visa meant the Cuban Government would automatically issue its holder a transit visa, and you could stop in Cuba en route to the USSR. Marina Oswald believed this was why OSWALD wanted the visa. [WCD 2, 294, 427; DOS Ex. 12f (File j), file 2943, Ex. 12g; WR 436] On July 10, 1963 OSWALD checked out Russia Under Khrushchev, by Alexander Werth. Werth was the author of Russia At War 1941 to 1945, Countess Tolstoy's Later Diary and Nataji in Germany, an eyewitness account of freedom struggle in Europe during World War II. OSWALD also checked out Hugo Winners, edited by Isaac Asimov, from the Napolean Branch of the New Orleans public library. These were returned on July 24, 1963. On July 15, 1963, OSWALD borrowed The Blue Nile, by Alan Morehead, an Australian war correspondent who wrote for Reader's Digest, and Profiles in Courage, by John Kennedy. On July 18, 1963, OSWALD borrowed Five Spy Novels, selected by Howard Haycraft. He returned it on August 1, 1963.
Emmett Barbe, OSWALD'S supervisor the William B. Reilly Coffee Company was contacted in July 1993 in regard to why he fired OSWALD. He stated: "OSWALD was an oiler and he wasn't doing his job. He always had some lame excuse of where he was when I was looking for him, but I knew the plant. It seemed like he was leaving the premises. He was supposed to clean the roasters each night. He would tend the front row and not even do the back row, then stand and wait for the elevator. When I tried to talk with him, he gave me a lot of bullshit. So I said 'Fire him.'"
During OSWALD'S period of intense activity on behalf of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, OSWALD lectured at the Jesuit House of Studies in Mobile, Alabama on July 27, 1963, at the request of his cousin, Eugene Murret, who was studying there. From 1969 to 1971 Eugene Murret was Executive Counsel to Louisiana Governor McKeithen. By 1977 he was Chief Administrator of the Louisiana Judicial System. [WR p728; tel. con. with E. Murret 1.77] He was contacted in 1993 but declined comment. OSWALD's speech:
"The Commumist Party of the United States has betrayed itself! It has turned itself into the traditional lever of a foreign power to overthrow the Government of the United States; not in the name of freedom of high ideals, but in the servile conformity to the wishes of the Soviet Union and in anticipation of Soviet Russia's complete domination of the American Continent."
"The Forster's and the Flynn's of the subsidized communist party of the United States have shown themselves to be willing, gullible messengers of the Kremlin's International-List Propaganda.
"There can be no international solidarity with the arch-betrayers of that most sublime ideal.
"There can be no sympathy for those who have turned the idea of communism into a vill curse for western man.
"The Soviets have committed crimes unsurpassed by their early day capitalist counterparts. The imprisonment of their own peoples, with the mass extermination so typical of Stalin
"The individual suppression and regimentation under Khrushchev.
"The deportations, the purposefull curtailment of diet in the consumer slighted population of russia, the murder of history, the prostitution of art and culture.
"The communist movement in the U.S., personalized by the Communist Party U.S.A. has turned itself into a 'valuble gold coin' of the Kremlin. It has failed to denounce any actions of the Soviet Government when similar actions on the part of the U.S. Government bring pious protest.
Denounced Not Denounced
United States Russia
Atom. Bomb Test Atom Bomb Test
NATO Manuvers Warsaw Pact Manuvers
Congo Eastern Germany
Negro Lynching Genocide
"Through the refusal of the Communist Party U.S.A. to give a clear cut condemnation of Soviet piratical acts, progressives have been weakened into a stale class of fifth columnist of the Russians.
"In order to free the hesitating and justifiably uncertain future activist for the work ahead we must remove that obstacle which has so efficently retarded him, namely the devotion of Communist Party, U.S.A. to the Soviet Union, Soviet Government, and Soviet Communist International Movement.
"It is readily foreseeable that a coming economic, political and military crisis, internal or external, will bring about the final destrution of the Capitalist system, assuming this, we can see how preparation in a special party could safeguard an independent course of action after the debacle, an American course steadfastly opposed to intervention by outside, relatively stable foreign powers, no matter from where they come, but in particular, and if necessary, violently opposed to Soviet intervention.
"No Party of this type can attract into its ranks more than a nominal number of Fundemental radicals.
"It is not the nature of such an organization to attract such a membership, as lets say, the Republicans or even the Socialist Party, but it is possible to enlist the aid of disenchanted members of the Socialist Party and even some from more "respected" (from a capitalist viewpoint) parties.
"But whereas our political enemies talk loudly now, they have no concept of what total crisis means.
"The faction which has the greater basis in spirit and the most far-sighted and ready membership of the radical futurist, will be the decisive factor.
"We have no interest in violently opposing the United States Government, why should we manifest opposition when there are far greater forces at work, to bring about the fall of the United States Government, than we could ever possibly muster.
"We do not have any interest in directly assuming the head of government in the event of such an all-finishing crisis. As dissentent Americans we are merely interested in opposing foreign intervention which is a easily drawn conclusion if one believes in the theory of crisis.
"The emplacement of a separate, democratic pure Communist sociaty is our goal, but one with Union-communes, democratic socializing of production and without regard to the apart of Marxist Communism by other powers.
"The right of the private personal property, religious tolerance and Freedom of Travel (which have all been violated under Russian "Communist" rule) must be strictly observed.
"Resoufuyllniss and patient working towards the aforesaid goal's are preferred rather than loud and useless manifestations of protest. Silent observance of our priciples is of primary importance.
"But these preferred tactics now, may prove to be too limited in the near future, they should not be confussed with slowness, indesision or fear, only the intellectually fearless could even be remotely attracted too our doctrine and yet this doctrine requires the utmost restraint, a state of being in itself majustic in power.
"This is stoicism and yet stoicism has not been effected for many years, and never for such a purpose.
"There are organization 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 Minutemen or the opposite of a stoical organization but these performers 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 the hard core of American capitalist supporters. There will also be a small armed Communist and probably Fascist groups. There will also be anarchist and religious groups at work.
"However, the bulk of the population will not adhere to any of these groups because they will not be inclined to join any of the old factions with which we are all so familiar.
"But the people will never except a new order presented by presented by politicians or opportunist. Logically they will deem it necessary to oppose those system of government against whom they have been educated, but they will be against anything resembling their former Capitalist master also.
"Steadfastly opposed to the reviveal of the old forces, the will seek a new fore. This will be the sentiment of the masses.
"But any organization clearly manipulating words may sway the masses.
"This is where a safeguard is necessary. And not only a safe guard but a safetly valve, to shut off opportunist forces from within, and foreign powers from without. There can be no subsitute for organization and procurement work towards the aforestated ideals and goals. Work is the key to the future door, but failure to apply that key because of possible armed opposition in our hypothetical, but very probable crisis, is as useless as trying to use force now to knock down the door.
"Armed defense of our ideals must be accepted doctrine after the crisis just as refraining from any demonstration of force must be our doctrine in the meantime.
"No man, having known, having lived, under the Russian Communist and American Capitalist system, could possibly make a choice between them, there is no choice. One offers oppression, the other poverty. Both offer imperialistic injustice, tinted with two brands of slavery.
"But no rational man can take the attitude of "a curse on both your houses". There are two world systems, one twisted beyond recognition by its misuse, the other decadent and dying in tis final evolution.
"A truely democratic system would combine the better qualities of the two upon an American Foundation opposed to both world systems as they are now. This than is our ideal.
"Membership in this organization implies adherence to the principle of simple distribution of information about this movement to others and acceptance of the idea of stoical readiness in regards to practical measures once instituted in the crisis.
"In another version of this speech OSWALD stated: "a symbol of the American way, our liberal concisons, is the existence in our midst of a minority group whose influence and membership is very limited and whose dangerous tendencies are sufficently controlled by special government agencies. The Communist Party, U.S.A., bears little resemblance to their Russian counterparts, but by allowing them to operate and even supporting their right to speak, we maintain a tremendous sign of our strength and liberalism. Harasment of their party newspapers, their leaders, and advocates, is treachery to our basic principles of freedom of speech and press. Their views, no matter how misguided, no matter how much the Russians take advantage of them, must be allowed to be aired. after all communist [Party] U.S.A. have existed for 40 years and they are still a pitiful group of radicals.
"Our two conoutries have too much too offer to each other to be tearing at each other's throats in an endless cold war. Both are conoutries have major short comings and advantages. But only in ours is the voice of dissent all allowed opportunity of expression, in returning to the U.S., I hope I have awoken a few who were sleeping, and other who are indifferent. I have done a lot of critizing of our system I hope you will take it in the spirit it was given. In going to Russia I followed the old priciple "Thou shalt seek the truth, and the Truth shall make you free." In returning to the U.S. I have done nothing more or less than select the lesser of two evils."
Eugene Murret testified before the HSCA. He recalled that OSWALD'S speech dealt with his "Marxist philosophy, the communist philosophy, since he, I think, was sympathetic to that viewpoint." A student at the Seminary reported that OSWALD said that the Russian peasants "were very poor, often close to starvation...in each hut there was a radio speaker, even in huts where there was no running water or electricity. The speaker was attached to a cord that ran back to a common receiver. Thus, the inhabitants of the hut could never change stations or turn off the radio. They had to listen to everything that came through it, day or night."
OSWALD denounced the Communist Party in his speech to the Jesuits as a tool of Soviet imperialism, yet he subscribed to The Worker, the organ of the Communist Party of the United States, and two months later, he offered his services to the Communist Party. He attacked Soviet Communism at the same time he applied for a Soviet visa. OSWALD wrote that he hated "the USSR and the socialist system." [WR 397-400, 712] He called the Communist Party of the United States "subsidized," "messenger of the Kremlin's Internationalist propaganda," "fifth columnist of the Russians," and "arch betrayers." He called the Soviets: "criminals" guilty of "mass extermination" "supression" "murderers of history." OSWALD'S ideal activist had to throw off the shackles of Soviet Communism.
OSWALD'S activist would emerge after a economic crisis, just as Hitler did in Nazi Germany, and become part of a "special party" of those "violently opposed to Soviet intervention." OSWALD was willing to enlist disenchanted members of the Socialist Party. The National Socialist Party in Germany attracted many former Socialists. OSWALD cited the Minutemen as a group that would be active after the "military debacle of the United States." OSWALD portrayed the Minutemen as "redefending their own backyards," a noble purpose. OSWALD wrote: "This is where a safeguard is necessary. And not only a safe guard but a safetly valve, to shut off opportunist forces from within, and foreign powers from without. There can be no subsitute for organization and procurement work towards the aforestated ideals and goals." Was OSWALD proposing to shut off the lives of members of the Communist Party after his revolution? Was that why it was necessary to penetrate the Communist Party and procure membership information? Essentially, OSWALD was proposing the formation of death squad, similar to OPERATION 40, to take out CP members during a time of crisis since they were agents of a foreign power. This group would remain underground - "stoic" - until the crisis came. The "practical measures" OSWALD made reference to was assassinations. This translated to "The only good Communist is a dead Communist." In another version of this speech, he said Americans should be tolerant of the views of American Communists.
OSWALD'S politics made little sense. OSWALD said he was alarmed about Soviet "domination of the American continent," yet he supported Fidel Castro's Cuba, which had been widely regarded as Moscow's "stepping stone" to the American continent since 1961. OSWALD was aware of the close relationship between Russia and Cuba and, in an anti-Communist essay, had described Cuba as a "fellow traveler" of the Soviet Union. OSWALD wrote: "The third part is filled with foreign news items. Often covered and credited to A.P. or Reuters news agencies, they usually concern strikes and clashes with police, crime and race incidents in capitalist countries as well as other "News" slanted to give a bad (illegible) about all countries except those who are members of the Socialist camp or their fellow travelers such as Cuba who are painted as properous democracies fighting against imperialism from without and and capitalist says and agents from within." [HSCA V8 p362; WCE 92] OSWALD attempted to explain this contradiction when he appeared on radio in New Orleans in August 1963: "Castro is an independent leader of an independent country. He has ties with the Soviet Union, with the eastern bloc...you cannot point at Castro and say he is a Russian puppet."
OSWALD mentioned Cuba only once in his speech. This made no sense in light of his intensive Fair Play for Cuba activity at the time. In one version of this speech OSWALD wrote "In returning to the U.S. I have done nothing more or less than select the lesser of two evils." In another version of the same speech he wrote, "No man, having known, having lived, under the Russian Communist and American Capitalist system, could possibly make a choice between them, there is no choice. One offers oppression, the other poverty. Both offer imperialistic injustice, tinted with two brands of slavery." OSWALD wrote: "But no rational man can take the attitude of "a curse on both your houses". There are two world systems, one twisted beyond recognition by its misuse, the other decadent and dying in tis final evolution." Earlier he wrote: "...it is imature to take the sort of attitude which says "a curse on both your houses!" their are two great represative of power in the world, simply expressed, the left and the right, and their offspring factions and concers."
On July 30, 1963, OSWALD borrowed The Hittite by Noel Gerson. Other books by Gerson included Kit Carson, The Folk Hero and the Man. Gerson wrote was reprinted in Reader's Digest. OSWALD borrowed the science fiction book Mind Partner edited by H.L. Gould. He returned these on August 13, 1963. On July 31, 1963, he borrowed Everyday Life in Ancient Rome by F.R. Cowell, who was a very serious scholar. He returned this book on August 14, 1963.
In a letter dated August 1, 1963, postmarked August 4, 1963, OSWALD wrote this to V.T. Lee of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee: "In regards to my efforts to start a branch of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee in New Orleans. I rented an office as planned and was promply closed 3 days later for some obsure reasons by the renters, they said something about remodeling, ect. I'm sure you understand after that I worked out of a post office box and by useing street demonstrations and some circular work have substained a great deal of interest but no new members. Through the efforts of some cuban-exial "gusanos" a street demonstration was attacked and we were oficialy cautioned by the police. This incident robbed me of what support I had leaving me alone. never-the-less thousands of circular were distrubed and many, many pamplet which your office supplied. We also manged to picket the fleet when it came in and I was surprised at the number of officers who were interested in our literature. I continue to recive through my post office box inquires and questions which I shall endeavor to keep ansewering to the best of my ability."
OSWALD wrote the Fair Play for Cuba Committee about an incident that had not yet occurred. (He had not been attacked by exiles, or questioned by the police, before he wrote this letter.) The Warren Commission: "In his letter to V.T. Lee, he stated that he was then alone in his efforts on behalf of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, but he attributed his lack of support to an attack by Cuban exiles in a street demonstration and being 'officialy cautioned' by the police, events which 'robbed me of what support I had leaving me alone. In spite of those claims, the Commission has been unable to uncover any evidence that anyone ever attacked any street demonstration in which OSWALD was involved, except for the incident which occurred eight days after OSWALD wrote the above letter to V.T. Lee. BRINGUIER, who seemed to be familiar with many anti-Castro activities in New Orleans, was not aware of any such incident. Police reports also fail to reflect any activity on OSWALD'S part prior to August 9, 1963, except for the uneventful distribution of literature at the Dumaine Street wharf in June 1963. Furthermore, the general tenor of OSWALD'S next letter to V.T. Lee, in which he supported his report on the BRINGUIER incident with a copy of the charges made against him and a newspaper clipping reporting the event, suggested that his previous story of an attack by Cuban exiles was at least greatly exaggerated."
OSWALD was not exaggerating, nor was he clairvoyant. OSWALD wrote about his fight with Cuban exiles before it took place because the fight had been planned before it took place. The brawl was the work of collusion between Cuban exile CARLOS BRINGUIER and OSWALD. Its purpose was to attract media, police, and FBI attention, to OSWALD and the New Orleans Chapter of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, in order to establish bona fides with the Cubans which would allow OSWALD to travel to Cuba. [WR p408]
BRINGUIER was asked, in April 1993, how OSWALD had knowledge of "the brawl" before it happened. He responded, "You said that he wrote the letter, I don't know. I found two possible explanations. First OSWALD was, what you can say, he make a lot of mistakes, like him transferring dates and things like that, and I believe he made a mistake. He left a zero out. The date was the 10th." BRINGUIER was asked why the letter was postmarked August 4, 1963: "Sir I didn't finish yet. I believe that you have a preconceived idea. Then there would be no possible way for me to change your idea. Most of the people who have those preconceived ideas are communists...My idea is this. Since the Fair Play for Cuba Committee was involved in the whole thing, because I am sure that the Fair Play for Cuba Committee and Castro were involved in the assassination, and OSWALD didn't write to the Fair Play for Cuba Committee just one letter. And OSWALD wrote several letters to the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. When the Fair Play for Cuba Committee presented that to the FBI, they transposed the envelopes. That is very simple. You get one letter that was dated on the tenth the guy missed and sealed [or misconcealed?] and he did that several times in his life. Not for the first time that he did that. And then you use another envelope. I have envelopes here that were written to me in 1962...The only two reasons that I see is that because first, OSWALD could not have been a psychic, and foresee that there was to be that incident. Because if my friend would not have seen him on Canal Street when he walked out of the bus, I wouldn't have known that, because I didn't know about the second time, because I was working, and on August 16, 1963, he held the other demonstration, I didn't know about that until it was too late for me to arrive over there, and I didn't know about the previous demonstration when he did the thing about the Navy ship that was here in New Orleans and he went over to one of the piers and he did a demonstration over there."
On May 4, 1960, BRINGUIER left Cuba for Guatemala, and then Argentina. He entered the United States on February 8, 1961, and arrived in New Orleans on February 18, 1961, where he became associated with the Cuban Revolutionary Front. BRINGUIER's stated that his first job in New Orleans was with the California Redwood Produce Company. BRINGUIER lasted two days. BRINGUIER then worked at Mac's Discount House for about one year, beginning April 1, 1961. BRINGUIER became a self-employed peddler in April 1962, with his brother-in-law, Rolando Pelaez. They bought clothing and radios at wholesale prices and went aboard ships to sell the same. BRINGUIER stated that he had a Port Security Card. BRINGUIER stated that on October 1, 1962, he opened the Casa Roca clothing store and has been working there since. BRINGUIER Jack Anderson wrote about a CIA Office of Security document wherein BRINGUIER was named as a CIA informant. Several CIA documents generated by the Domestic Contacts Division indicated a close relationship between BRINGUIER and the CIA. BRINGUIER was contacted in 1978, then he was mailed the CIA Office of Security documents about him. He stated: "I got them. As far as I remember, because I did not pay that much attention to them, I don't see anything worthwhile in them. The best thing to find out is if the CIA is now working for Castro, or how deep is Communist infiltration in the U.S. at this moment? I never met any CIA people until after the assassination. I wish I would have known [the Watergate burglars]. Your line of questioning suggests you are trying to make some kind of wild link...the Communists are trying to bring something about in that regard." He enlarged upon this in April 1993: "I was with the Cuban Revolutionary Front until the beginning of 1962. I was just for a few months with the Cuban Revolutionary Council. I have never met HOWARD HUNT or "EDUARDO." I was here in New Orleans and the only one I met here that was with the Cuban Revolutionary Council was Mr. Arcacha. Then the person who was appointed chairman of the Cuban Revolutionary Council here was Mr. Rabel, and I was working with Mr. Rabel as secretary of press of propaganda just for a few months. I also was trying to find out who were the communists that were helping Castro from here."
HUNT and BRINGUIER were both connected to the Cuban Revolutionary Front and Cuban Revolutionary Council. HUNT described himself as involved in the propaganda efforts of the Cuban Revolutionary Council. BRINGUIER described himself as secretary of press of propaganda of the Cuban Revolutionary Council. BRINGUIER'S brother, Juan Felipe Bringuier, was a member of Brigade 2506 and was captured during the Bay of Pigs. The CIA had a 201 file on Juan Felipe BRINGUIER. HUNT and BRINGUIER held many common ideas. Both felt President John F. Kennedy was going to replace Fidel Castro with leftist Manolo Ray. BRINGUIER termed this Operation Judas. Both men had connections to the upper echelons of the Republican Party. HUNT worked for NIXON. On November 27, 1963, Dr. William Prendergast, Republican National Committee, Washington, D.C., told the FBI that he had received information from a source available to him that OSWALD had "approached CARLOS BRINGUIER, Head of the New Orleans Student Directorate, DRE, New Orleans, during approximately early August 1963, and had offered a $10 contribution toward the furtherance of the anti-Castro causes of that organization. Since he was a former United States Marine, he also offered to assist in the military training of members of this group. The DRE was suspicious of OSWALD, suspecting possibly he was a member of the CIA or FBI who was attempting to penetrate their organization. They forwarded his offer to DRE Headquarters, Miami, Florida, for consideration. In the meantime they placed OSWALD under surveillance." [NARA FBI 124-10272-10128] William Prendergast suggested that the FBI contact BRINGUIER and Jose Antonio Lanusa about this matter. In 1972 BRINGUIER was head of Cubans for NIXON in New Orleans. "We had a committee here Cubans for NIXON and Breen in New Orleans. Yes, sir. We had." [FBI WFO 89-35-131]
In April 1993 BRINGUIER received the references to him in this investigation. When recontacted he commented: "I saw the amount of lies you put about me there. Listen, I don't want to discuss them one by one with you because there are only two reasons: you are either a communist, or you are an idiot. And I don't have time for either one of them."
Pedro Diaz Lanz told Gaeton Fonzi he "knows a young man in New Orleans, one CARLOS BRINGUIER, who had a fight with OSWALD in the street. Lanz states that he was with BARKER many times...met Bender at a safehouse..." [HSCA Gonzales and Fonzi 9.23.77]
The conspirators endorsed BRINGUIER by having OSWALD stage an incident with him. BRINGUIER, like General Walker, would become an anti-Communist hero after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy because OSWALD had attacked him. [16WH67; 10WH32; HUNT Day pp45, 62, 95-105; Firman, Peraza Cuba En El Exilo Gainesville, FL X13, V26; WCD 1214; Miami Herald 5.5.76; CIA 1236-520, 1326-1042]
OSWALD wrote V.T. Lee that the Fair Play for Cuba Committee had been evicted from its office for political reasons, when it never had an office. Nor did OSWALD receive Fair Play for Cuba Committee correspondence at his post office box. OSWALD had leaflets printed, but they had not been widely distributed.
In the late Spring of 1960, three DRE leaders escaped from Cuba and arrived in Miami, where they immediately offered the Cuban Revolutionary Front their services. The DRE was rendered an affiliate of the Cuban Revolutionary Front and Cuban Revolutionary Council. DRE leaders, and members, were supplied with weapons and money: "Although there is no record of the DRE in Office of Security indices, Western Hemisphere/COG files reflect the DRE was conceived, created, and funded, by the CIA in September 1960, and terminated in December 1966. It was an outgrowth of an activist student group in Cuba which fought against Batista and later against Castro. After many of the leaders came into exile in the United States, they were trained and infiltrated back into Cuba for intelligence duties. After the Bay of Pigs, from 1962 to 1966, members were used as political action groups throughout the Western Hemisphere. During the organization's six year period of existence many DRE personnel were in contact with JMWAVE staffers but from 1965 to 1966 contact was limited to (Deleted) Juan Manuel Salvat, the current DRE Secretary General (Deleted) and Fernando Garcia Chacon (deleted). OS indices checks were negative on Juan Manuel Salvat except for a New York Times article of August 27, 1962, which identified Salvat as the leader of the DRE. Salvat headed a raid on Havana, Cuba, in August 1962, which proved embarrassing to United States authorities. Fernando Thomas Garcia Chacon was (deleted) identified as a member of the DRE in 1963 but no Agency affiliation was indicated." [CIA Memo 11.9.67] Jack Caufield, a former New York City Police Department Detective in the Intelligence Division who worked for NIXON in the early 1970's, was in charge of monitoring DRE activities in New York City. The first DRE infiltration team landed in Cuba in November 1960.
On April 2, 1961, the DRE called a special meeting of its military section. "The speaker was (deleted). He told military section relations with KUBARK have come to an impasse and no alternative for [words DRE written in] but break relations and continue without aid. Citing one of reasons (deleted) aid KUBARK wanted military section dismantled, a condition (Deleted) could not accept. He said DRE will go it alone and cannot give up anti-Castro struggle. Explained this difficult because mobility of leaders limited, but he promised that DRE would continue making 'strikes' against Castro whenever possible...FBI reps arrived at (deleted) Hqs. and took (deleted) to FBI offices allegedly 'to have private talk.'" By November 1961, Castro had driven the DRE group operating inside Cuba underground. The DRE withdrew from the Cuban Revolutionary Council in March 1962. [FBI 105-107224-NR 3.29.62, NR 3.19.62] The Miami-based DRE was shelling Havana from boats in August 1962, which brought it to the attention of United States Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. After a warning from the Justice Department, the DRE distributed leaflets that accused President John F. Kennedy of abandoning it. It warned it would continue to attack Cuba, since the Bay of Pigs had "culminated in treachery." The military operations chief of the DRE, who infiltrated Cuba before the Bay of Pigs, told the HSCA the Cuban underground mistakenly believed it had the total endorsement of the United States. On August 25, 1962, the DRE almost assassinated Fidel Castro when it attacked the Sierra Maestre Hotel in Havana. Two speedboats fired 30 rounds of 20-millimeter cannon shells, of which 28 hit the hotel. Two rounds went wild and hit the Blanquita Theater, where Fidel Castro was watching a Chaplin film. Fidel Castro was enraged and claimed it was a CIA attempt on his life. The DRE leaders were brought to Washington, and were congratulated by DD/P Richard Helms. Despite political differences, the DRE began working closely with Alpha-66 at this time. [CIA F82-0430/24] The CIA's DRE file covering the periods of August 1962, through December 1962, contained an uncontrolled Top Secret document. In October 1962 a DRE member was arrested in Havana and sentenced to 30 years in prison. The CIA: "We had our first contact with him in September 1961, in the U.S., and provided him with some material assistance for paramilitary operations. His Provisional Operational Approval for use in paramilitary activities was granted January 3, 1962, and cancelled November 8, 1962. The date of his return to Cuba has not been established." After the October 1962 Cuban missile crisis, the Kennedy Administration curtailed the activities of the DRE, although it was apparently moving closer to assassinating Fidel Castro. [NYT 7.1.59; Agee CIA Diary p618] In December 1962 the DRE and Alpha-66 planned joint raids against Cuba. [CIA F82-0430/126] On January 23, 1963, MM T-1 advised the FBI that Esiero Borja, the military chief of the DRE, "recently contacted a representative of GERALD PATRICK HEMMING'S INTERPEN group, and said that the DRE desired to receive military training at INTERPEN training camp at No Name Key, Florida. HEMMING agreed to accept a certain number of DRE members and provide them with military training, which will start at some time in the near future." [SCCIA 157-10003-10483] In March 1962 the DRE announced that it was quitting the Cuban Revolutionary Council. [FBI 105-107224-A N.R. 3.19.62] Gaeton Fonzi wrote: "In April 1963, President John F. Kennedy prohibited DRE and Cuban Revolutionary Council exile leaders from leaving the United States. In New Orleans, CARLOS BRINGUIER, the DRE leader, proclaimed his group 'would continue efforts to liberate Cuba despite United States action to stop raids originating from U.S. soil.'"
On November 15, 1963, Desmond FitzGerald, Chief, Special Activities Section sent this message to JM WAVE: "Per discussion Headquarters Station authorized to proceed as outlined paragraphs 11 and 12 reference with understanding that (deleted) will be given appropriate time to phase out Kubark support to military section, and that they be encouraged to seek support of an organization which has the means and facilities outside continental limits of U.S. to conduct operations against (deleted). no mention (deleted) or (deleted) this context, since (deleted) will obviously understand what you intend to convey.
2. "Headquarters proposes advise (deleted) if learned that military section of (deleted) 'cast adrift' and may be seeking some form of association with (deleted)." [CIA cite 82832]
BRINGUIER was in Dallas in 1963. A withheld CIA document "contains a detailed report about an intelligence source who normally reported on matters of intelligence interest concerning Cuba. This particular document became part of the OSWALD CIA file, apparently on the basis of several sentences indicating the source had met a well-known, anti-Castro emigre in Dallas, Texas. That individual was CARLOS BRINGUIER." [CIA 1323-1040-5.23.67]
On August 5, 1963, Marina OSWALD received word from the Soviet Embassy, Washington, that her request for a visa had been forwarded to Moscow for processing. Vitaly Alekseevich Gerasimov, who signed the letter, advised her that as soon as the Embassy received a reply she would be advised. On August 5, 1963, the New Orleans FBI investigated and located OSWALD, learning his address and that of his former employer. Oleg Nechiporenko wrote that Vitaly Alekseevich Gerasimov was a member of the KGB.
On August 5, 1963, OSWALD borrowed The Expert Dreamers edited by Frederick Pohl. He returned this book on August 19, 1963. On August 5, 1963, OSWALD initiated contact with BRINGUIER at the Casa Roca retail clothing store at 107 Decatur Street, New Orleans. He had the words "Cuban Student Derectorate, 107 Decatur St, New Orleans, La, CARLOS BRINGUIER" in his address book. Where had OSWALD obtained this information?
The OSWALD / BRINGUIER meeting was witnessed by two young anti-Castro Americans, Vance Douglas Blalock and Philip Geraci, who were collecting money for the DRE. Vance Douglas Blalock told the Warren Commission:
Liebler: Tell us, to the best of your recollection, the things that happened as far as OSWALD was concerned.
Blalock: He walked up to us and leaned against the desk and listened to the conversation. Then he started asking questions about the organization, and we were talking about guerrilla warfare, just in case the country got in war, how young students could help - something in that nature and then OSWALD asked CARLOS BRINGUIER all about the organization and what part it played in the main movement in Florida...and he explained that he took training in guerilla warfare, and he told me how to blow up bridges, derail trains, make zip guns, make homemade gunpowder...He told us to put powder charges at each end of the bridge from the foundation to where the foundation meets the suspension part, and to blow that part up and the center part of the bridge would collapse. ...He told us how to derail a train without gunpowder. He said put a chain around a railroad track and lock it to the track with a lock.
Liebler: Did he talk to BRINGUIER about helping BRINGUIER in this organization, or just what was the general context of this conversation?
Blalock: He just asked him about the anti-Castro organization and asked him to explain it to him, and said he was interested in finding out how it operated. He didn't say he wanted to join it. He just said he was interested in it. Oh, and BRINGUIER gave him literature, a Cuban newspaper and leaflets or booklets.
Liebler: Did he say anything about Florida?
Blalock: Just mentioned the Cuban anti-Castro organization there.
Liebler: What did he say about that?
Blalock: I don't remember exactly, but I think he said he had been there and he had looked into it. I couldn't say for sure on that...I don't recall any name..."
Liebler: Do you remember talking to the FBI agent about OSWALD'S remark concerning having been to Florida?
Blalock: I think he said that he had been there.
Liebler: Well, the report I have here says that you seemed to remember something about having recently visited something called Casa Nostre, C-a-s-a N-o-s-t-r-a. Do you remember saying anything about that to the FBI man?
Blalock: I remember mentioning that organization, it was mentioned in the conversation with CARLOS BRINGUIER and HARVEY OSWALD.
Liebler: It was?
Blalock: I believe so.
Liebler: Do you remember that it was OSWALD who mentioned it?
Blalock: I don't remember which one mentioned it first.
Liebler: And it was mentioned as being a Cuban organization in Florida?
Blalock: Yes sir, I think that is the name they mentioned. It could be something similar. I know I got this mafia name mixed up with a Cuban organization name.
Liebler: Well you know that that name I just mentioned Case Nostre, is very similar to the Cosa Nostra. Do you think you may have been confused at the time you talked with him?
Blalock: Well, I meant the Cuban organization. I may have said the Mafia, the Cosa Nostra.
Liebler: You may have used that name?
Blalock: But I meant the Cuban-
Liebler: You meant some anti-Castro organization?
Blalock: Yes sir.
Liebler: So, the best you can recall, OSWALD didn't say that he had recently visited some one in the Cosa Nostra?
Blalock: No Sir. Yes Sir.
Liebler: But you do recall sort of vaguely that OSWALD did say that he had been in Florida and that he had visited an anti-Castro Cuban organization there?
Blalock: Yes sir, I do.
Philip Geraci, (born February 21, 1948; died of accidental electrocution, 1968) was a mentally unbalanced guerilla warfare buff. While he was raising money for CARLOS BRINGUIER in the Summer of 1963 he informed the FBI of BRINGUIER'S activities. Philip Geraci testified: "Well CARLOS and me and Vance were kind of talking among ourselves and he came in...and he asked 'Is this the Cuban exile headquarters?' And, 'Are you a Cuban exile?'...CARLOS said yes. He asked him some questions like was he connected with the Cosa Nostra...and CARLOS said no, he wasn't."
On May 6, 1965, Philip Geraci was declared a missing person. The Deputy Sheriff of Jefferson Parish alerted the FBI that it had come to his attention that "Geraci had an interest in guerilla warfare, explosives and the organizing of groups...Geraci is a mentally disturbed youth who received psychiatric treatments...His investigation reflected Geraci had offered to join Alpha-66, a group of Cuban refugees...Geraci's services were refused. Geraci also offered to join the Morgan Brigade, a group of Americans who wished to go back to Cuba and overthrow Castro, and was also refused." Philip Geraci's interview with the United States Secret Service was missing from the National Archives, as was the FBI's interview with his mother. [WCD 72 #2; National Archives Sec. Class. Prob. Inv. WC Comm. on Gov. Ops. 11.11.75]
BRINGUIER said that OSWALD reportedly told him that he wanted to join the DRE and, according to BRINGUIER, "OSWALD asked me for some literature against Castro, explained that he had experience in guerrilla warfare, and expressed that he was willing to help train anti-Castro Cubans in guerrilla activities. When I explained to OSWALD that I didn't have anything to do with military activities, he put his hand in his pocket and offered to contribute some money to our cause. I refused because Geraci [who was present] had informed me that he was stopped from selling 'bonds' by the police because we did not have a City of New Orleans permit to collect money." [BRINGUIER Red Friday p25] OSWALD wrote: "I infiltraled the Cuban Student directorite and than harresed them with information I gained including having the N. O. city atterny general call them in and put a retraining order pending a hearing on some so-called bonds for invasion they were selling in the New Orleans area."
BRINGUIER indicated that OSWALD immediately aroused his suspicions and he told OSWALD to deal directly with the Military Section of the DRE in Miami. Juan Francisco Blanco-Fernandez was the head of the Military Section of the DRE in Miami. BRINGUIER later commented he was concerned that OSWALD knew of the LaCombe, Louisiana, training camp, because OSWALD had mentioned that he wanted to help train anti-Castro guerrillas. BRINGUIER explained: "As there was a Castro's spy infiltrated in an anti-Castro training camp in existence at that moment across the Lake Pontchartrain, and the Castro's spy, Fernando Fernandez, was sending his information to the Cuban Ambassador in Mexico City, it is possible and logical that the Cuban Government could have put that situation in the acknowledgment of any of the pro-Castro organizations in the country." BRINGUIER said he was worried about infiltrators, because one of his brothers-in-laws was a Castro double-agent. [WCD 1085d9; WCE 1413 p4] The DRE'S operations in Cuba were effectively destroyed in 1962 when Jorge Medina BRINGUIER, born in 1941, in Cuba, infiltrated the DRE underground in February 1962 for the Cuban Intelligence Service. He rose to the position of National Coordinator of the DRE in Cuba, and systematically furnished information to the Cuban Government which resulted in numerous arrests and a complete breakdown of the DRE. [FBI Interview with Luis Fernandez Rocha WCD 1085d4] On December 17, 1963, BRINGUIER told the FBI that he "knew of no connection that OSWALD had with any Cubans, and that OSWALD made no mention of any Cuban training camp, and gave no indication of knowing about a training camp, or of being acquainted with any Cubans." [FBI NO 100-16601 SA John T. Reynolds]
Gaeton Fonzi reported: "Edward Martino said that his father did mention to him that he saw OSWALD handing out Fair Play for Cuba Committee pamphlets in New Orleans. He said it was a coincidence his father was in New Orleans that day [Friday August 9, 1963] on his on his lecture circuit. Edward said he did not know whether or not his father saw the incident involving OSWALD and CARLOS BRINGUIER, but the latters name was not familiar to him." [HSCA Memo From Fonzi and Gonzales to Cliff Fenton 10.7.77] MARTINO was also in New Orleans and Lake Charles, Louisiana, on September 27, 1963, and he was in Dallas on October 27, 1963. HEMMING told this researcher: "MARTINO was acquainted with OSWALD. There was weird shit going on. If you wanted a guy that could play George Raft, and come on sinister, and lay a line on a punk like fucking OSWALD, he was the guy to do it. Talkin' about the mob and all that kind of stuff. He knew CHRIST. He knew JACK RUBY. And he's the old time guy that takes care of everybody. He makes sure the food that is delivered from the family, gets to the cell. MARTINO was behind the scenes manipulating a few things. Now that don't mean shit. I don't know what they sat down and discussed. He had a hand in a lot of Cuban deals."
OSWALD returned to BRINGUIER'S store on August 6, 1963, and left his Marine training manual with BRINGUIER'S brother-in-law.
On August 8, 1963, OSWALD borrowed The Worlds of Clifford Simak from the New Orleans Public Library. On Friday August 9, 1963, BRINGUIER said he was informed that an unidentified man was carrying a pro-Castro sign and handing out literature on Canal Street. Major Presley J. Trosclair, Intelligence Unit Commander of the New Orleans Police Department, was of the opinion that OSWALD, prior to arrest his arrest in New Orleans on August 9, 1963, contacted him by phone to secure a picketing permit. OSWALD was told to consult with his attorney concerning this matter. The Traffic Division Unit of the New Orleans Police Department advised that is was not necessary to secure a permit in order to picket. [FBI NO 89-69-566]
BRINGUIER, and two of his friends, confronted the unidentified male. BRINGUIER stated that when he recognized him as the man who had offered the DRE help, and realized that OSWALD had evidently tried to infiltrate his group, he "cursed OSWALD in English...The incited people started calling names at OSWALD. Celso could not contain himself. He moved near OSWALD, grabbed the literature that he had and threw it up in the air. I lost my temper and moved close to OSWALD with the intention to hit him, and when OSWALD sensed this he put his arms down and told me: 'O.K. CARLOS, if you want to hit me, hit me.' Immediately I realized OSWALD would like to appear as a martyr, and for that reason I decided not to hit him." HEMMING 1994: "I may have met BRINGUIER through Luis Rabel. OSWALD staged this because he wanted to impress Castro's intelligence operatives how good he was at penetrating, and he could go down and get on T.V. and expose all the anti-Castro thugs. Someone was giving him guidance on this shit. A dangerous fucking game. OSWALD was not thinking of JFK at the point in time that he was doing his thing in New Orleans. There was a plan to put him in Cuba as a spotter for a hit on Fidel." BRINGUIER: "I read about him in some books, or something like that, but I personally never met HEMMING. Never met FIORINI either. I met Pedro Diaz Lanz in 1964. New Orleans was very isolated. I was not making continuously trips to Miami. When I was going to Miami I was going on vacation." During testimony in HUNT v. WEBERMAN, STURGIS testified he may have known BRINGUIER.
On August 9, 1963, the police came and arrested all participants. OSWALD spoke with Officers Horace J. Austin and Warren Roberts. This was their report:
"He is a member of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, whose address is 799 Broadway, New York 3, N.Y. telephone OR-4-8295. OSWALD had in his possession a National Membership card issued on May 28, 1963, and the president's name on this card was V.T. Lee. OSWALD also had a local membership card dated June 6, 1963, and the president of the local chapter, whose name was on the card was A. Hidell. OSWALD presented his Social Security Card, which did not bear his signature, and the number of this card was 433-54-3937. OSWALD presented his U.S. Marine Discharge Card (Honorable) bearing service number 1653230 and date of active duty from October 24, 1956, to September 11, 1959.
OSWALD stated he was born in New Orleans on October 18, 1939, that he is about 5' 9" tall, about 140 pounds, and is a mechanic by trade. He stated he did mechanic work in the Marine Corps, and that he is presently unemployed, and has been so about three weeks. Before he was laid off, OSWALD stated, he worked at the Louisiana Coffee Company for about three months, and before that he had worked at Fort Worth, Texas, at a sheet metal place. OSWALD stated he worked at the sheet metal place in Fort Worth for several months, but was very evasive in answering any further questions of employment prior to that time.
"OSWALD stated that he lives with his wife, whose maiden name was Marina Pross, WF, age 21. They were married in Fort Worth, have one child 17 months of age, and presently reside at 4907 Magazine Street, lower center, New Orleans.
"OSWALD stated that he has two brothers who reside like his mother in Fort Worth, Texas. He stated his father, John Lee Oswald, is deceased.
"OSWALD stated he had talked to Major Trosclair about getting a permit for the Fair Play for Cuba Committee and the major advised him to consult his attorney. OSWALD said he never did go and see about a permit at city hall.
"OSWALD further stated the Cubans came up to him where he was giving out the leaflets and began to tear them up and throw them in the street. OSWALD stated that they started to yell that he was a communist, and about that time, the officers from the first district came up and a crowd gathered. OSWALD stated he joined the Fair Play for Cuba Committee when he found a leaflet on the street one day and read what was on it, and sent $5.00 to the address which was in New York City, and, after a brief period of time, he was sent material through the mail and contacted locally, and he started to attend meetings, which he stated were held in each others homes. OSWALD stated they, the members, get together and talk about how it would be to visit Cuba, life in Cuba, etc.
"OSWALD denied the organization was communist, or a communist front, when asked by Captain James Arnold, Commanding Officer of the First Police District, who came in during the interview, but OSWALD had in his possession and was carrying a piece of cardboard with VIVA Fidel painted on it and the paraphernalia he was handing out was pasted on this cardboard also. OSWALD stated he has never been to Cuba, and it appeared as though he is being used by these people and is very uninformed and knows very little about this organization he belongs to and its ultimate purpose or goal. OSWALD stated that the people that attend these informal meetings are working class people, such as clerical trades, etc."
The police discovered a small piece of paper with Russian writing in OSWALD'S wallet:
Marina at work
Hotel Minsk Rose 92 463
Domicile Registry Office (?)
Moscow (?) D78545
Domicile Registry Office (?) Minsk
25994 Ex. 39
Radio Factory, Ex(perimental)
Hotel Soboy (Savoy?) Moscow
K(?) 42980 [No such number. CIA: "probably garble." K41980 was correct number.]
Roman Detkov 20244217. [Detkov's number was 20244 The CIA commented: "The significance of the last three digits is not known."]
Comrade Dyadev 279
Kon. Na Rokhsov (?)
Comrade Sharapov 20525 [This number appears to be a garble of 20575.
Leo Setyaev, Radio Moscow,
Maria (?) 33853
The CIA reported: "The address book lists a 'Maria, tele 3-38-53, with the incomplete address 'Kv. 20 Dom - ' [Apt 20 house -], and a paper found in OSWALD'S possession by the New Orleans police in 1963 contains the note 'Maria [?] 33853."
OSWALD inadvertently left the piece of paper in his wallet. The police reported the existence of this document to the FBI. OSWALD might have been a Russian spy disguised as an organizer for the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. Despite this, DeBRUEYS did not step-up the FBI investigation of OSWALD and the New Orleans Chapter of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee.
Before the New Orleans police could alert the FBI about OSWALD, OSWALD requested a meeting with the FBI. OSWALD was interviewed by S.A. John Lester Quigley on Saturday, August 10, 1963. OSWALD claimed he received an honorable discharge from the Marines and, about four months ago, he and his wife Marina Prossa, who he married in Fort Worth, moved to New Orleans: "After coming to New Orleans he said he began reading various pieces of literature distributed by the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, and it was his understanding from reading this material that the (illegible) and theme of the Committee is to prevent the United States from invading or attacking Cuba or interfering in the political affairs of that country. Further, that the people of that country should be given an opportunity to go and visit Cuba, and in this way they could make up their own minds as to what the internal conditions of Cuba are like at the present time. He says he does not consider the Fair Play for Cuba Committee to be communist, or a communist-controlled, group. OSWALD said that inquiry in New Orleans developed the fact that there apparently was a New Orleans Fair Play for Cuba Committee chapter, but he did not know any of the members or where their offices were located. He said he sent a letter to Fair Play for Cuba Committee headquarters...and told them he wished to join this committee...During the latter part of May of this year he received a membership card which bore a date of May 28, 1963, and was made out in the name of LEE HARVEY OSWALD and was signed by V.T. Lee. He described this card as being grey in color and signifying membership in the national organization. A short time thereafter, he said, he received in the mail a white card which showed that he was made a member of the New Orleans chapter of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. This card was dated June 6, 1963. It was signed A.J. Hidell and it bore in the lower right hand corner the number 33 which he said indicated membership number. OSWALD had in his possession both cards and exhibited both of them. Since becoming a member of the national committee, OSWALD said he has been receiving the monthly circular of the committee which is about seven pages in length. He claimed that he could not recall the name of this publication.
"Since receiving his membership card in the New Orleans chapter of the committee he said that he had spoken with Hidell on the telephone on several occasions. On these occasions, Hidell would discuss general matters of mutual interest in connection with committee business and on other occasions he would inform him of a scheduled meeting. He said he never personally met Hidell, and he knows Hidell did have a telephone, but it has now been discontinued. He claimed that he could not recall what the number was.
"OSWALD said that the committee did not have any offices in New Orleans, and whenever meetings were held, they were held in the residences of various members. OSWALD maintained that he had attended only two committee meetings, and at each of the meetings there were about five different individuals. At each of these meetings the persons present were different. He did not know the last name of any of these individuals, and claimed he was only introduced to them by first name. He maintained that he could not recall any of the first names. From what he understands, there are no regularly scheduled times for meetings, and the only way he knows about them is when somebody gives him a call and tells him there will be a meeting. At these meetings he said the general conversation deals with Cuba, and the latest news on the internal affairs of Cuba. OSWALD admitted that on one occasion he held a committee meeting at his home, but he declined to elaborate on how he got word to the various members that it would be held.
"Last Wednesday, August 7, 1963, OSWALD said he had received a note through the mail from Hidell. The note asked him if he had time would he mind distributing some Fair Play for Cuba Committee literature in the downtown area of New Orleans. He said that Hidell knew he was not working and probably had time. Hidell also knew that he had considerable literature on the committee which had been furnished to him by the national committee in New York. Since he did not have anything to do, OSWALD said decided he would go down to Canal Street and distribute some literature. He denied that he was being paid for his services, but that he was doing it as a patriotic duty...About 1:00 p.m. on August 9, 1963, OSWALD said he went down on Canal Street by himself and started distributing committee literature."
OSWALD told S.A. John Quigley that he made up a sandwich-board sign reading VIVA FIDEL and had leaflets, membership applications and several pamphlets entitled, "The Crime Against Cuba," with him that day. S.A. John Quigley's copy of The Crime Against Cuba did not carry the 544 Camp Street stamp - unlike the copy seized by the New Orleans Police. OSWALD'S application for membership in the Fair Play for Cuba Committee was very professionally laid out and contained no spelling errors: "OSWALD had in his possession at the time of the interview a copy of the three described documents and made available a copy of each to the Agent."
OSWALD'S story was filled with lies. He omitted any mention of his defection, claimed his wife was American, said his membership number in the New Orleans Chapter of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee was 33, which implied that the Chapter had at least 33 members. He said he was contacted by telephone - OSWALD didn't have a telephone. Jessie James Garner "advised [S.A. Warren DeBRUEYS] on October 7, 1963, that LEE OSWALD and his wife did not have any meeting to her knowledge when he was residing at 4907 Magazine Street. She advised that they did have some friends, approximately three or four people, who used to visit them on occasions. She had no information as to the identity of these persons..."
S.A. Warren C. DeBRUEYS was in charge of investigating the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. S.A. Quigley's report was turned over to him. The FBI had been unable to locate a chapter of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee in New Orleans, yet OSWALD could readily join this shadowy organization, which sporadically met in cells of five, where no one knew anyone else's name. The organizer, A.J. Hidell, did not appear at meetings, and could be reached only by telephone. OSWALD had given S.A. John Quigley his true date of birth and the address - 4907 Magazine Street. A check of FBI records would immediately have indicated to S.A. DeBRUEYS that OSWALD was a defector, with a dishonorable discharge from the Marines, who married a Russian woman. This would have rendered him more suspicious of OSWALD and the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. A shadowy organization of this nature had to be infiltrated by the FBI. Moreover, OSWALD said he was born in Cuba. None-the-less, the FBI investigation of A.J. Hidell, the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, and OSWALD, was not stepped up because S.A. DeBRUEYS knew that OSWALD'S Fair Play for Cuba Committee was an Operation. Additionally, S.A. DeBRUEYS had covert contact with OSWALD. In 1978 S.A. DeBRUEYS was asked why OSWALD would ask to be interviewed by FBI agents. He responded: "I mentioned that he may have been concerned about being in custody of the local police and perhaps thought it would be safer if the 'Feds' were aware of his being incarcerated." [FBI 62-117290-996X5] OSWALD had not been contacted by the FBI since August 1962, and he needed its attention to strengthen his bona fides, so he could enter Cuba like other leaders of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee had. He was determined to spark an investigation of the New Orleans Chapter of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, hoping word of it would reach the Headquarters of the New York Fair Play for Cuba Committee, where it would be covertly transmitted to the Cuban Government.
When OSWALD wrote a résumé of his left-wing activities for the Russians several weeks later, he omitted this conversation with the FBI. He wrote: "I am experianced in Street agitation having done it in New Orleans in connection with the F.P.C.C. On August 9, 1963 I was accousted by three anti-Castro Cubans and was arrested for 'causing a disturbance' I was interorgated by the intelligence section of the New Orleans Police Dept. and held overnight being bailed out the next morning by relatives I subsenly was fined 10.$ charges against the three cubans were droped by the judge."
OSWALD spent the night in jail. On August 10, 1963, he telephoned the Murrets and asked them for help in arranging bail. OSWALD was released after Charles Murret got his business partner, Emile Bruneau, to intervene. Emile Bruneau had close ties to CARLOS MARCELLO and Nofio Pecora. In 1978 he was the Chairman of the State Boxing Commission. As an elected official, Emile Bruneau had parole power. OSWALD pleaded guilty to disturbing the peace and was fined $10 on August 12, 1963. The anti-Castro Cubans had not been charged. [Summers Conspiracy p449] On August 12, 1963, OSWALD wrote another letter to V.T. Lee: "Continuing my efforts on behalf of the F.P.C.C. in New Orleans I find that I have incured its displeasure of the cuban exile 'worms' here. I was attacked by three of them as the copy of the enclosed summons indicates I was fined ten dollors and the three cubans were not fined because of 'lack of evidence' as the judge said. I am very glad I am stirring things up and shall continue to do so. The incident was given considerable coverage in the press and local T.V. news broadcast. I'm sure it will all be to the good of the Fair Play for cuba committee." On August 12, 1963, OSWALD borrowed The Treasury of Science Fiction Classics, edited by Harold Kuebler, from the New Orleans Public Library.
Frank Bartes made a speech in May 1963 in which he accused the American Government of selling out the Cubans. On June 14, 1963, Bartes told the FBI in New Orleans that "local Cuban exiles in New Orleans all feel frustrated in their desire to effectively oppose the Cuban Government of Castro. While they in no way want to engage in any activity against Castro contrary to the laws of the United States, they feel that ultimately decisive action against Castro will, of necessity, have to be taken by the United States Government." [FBI LHM New Orleans Bartes: Info. Concerning. 6.14.63] Frank Bartes wrote to President Kennedy in October 1963 communicating that, "Cubans have been restrained in their fight for freedom." [WCD 86; CIA 1221-513] During the incident with BRINGUIER, OSWALD encountered Frank Bartes. After BRINGUIER and OSWALD were arrested in the street scuffle, Frank Bartes appeared in court with BRINGUIER on August 12, 1963. During the hearing, OSWALD sat in the section of the courtroom reserved for "Negroes." According to Frank Bartes, the news media surrounded OSWALD hoping for a statement after the bail hearing. Frank Bartes then engaged in an argument with OSWALD and the news media. Frank Bartes claimed he also spoke to an FBI agent that day and warned that OSWALD was potentially dangerous. [Fonzi HSCA]
"Confidential Informant NO T-1, who is familiar with Cuban activities in the New Orleans area, advised on September 9, 1963, that OSWALD was unknown to informant." Confidential Informant NO T-1 had supplied information on Banister to the FBI. On October 7, 1963, NO T-1 advised that there is no such Post Office Box as 30016 in the New Orleans area. [WCD 692]
When Frank Bartes was questioned by S.A. Lester Quigley on September 10, 1963, he responded that OSWALD was unknown to him: "Frank Bartes, 1608 Mason Smith Avenue, New Orleans, who is a delegate of the Cuban Revolutionary Council in New Orleans advised on September 10, 1963, that OSWALD was unknown to him." [FBI NO 100-16601/cv p12] On September 23, 1963, the CIA received a copy of this FBI report. The Routing and Record Sheet indicated that these components were sent the document:
1. CI/LS Forwarded September 23, 1963, (Initials JAN)
3. CI/OPS (Deleted) Received it on September 25, 1963, (Initials P)
4. CI/IC (Initials CT)
5. SR/CI (Initials illegible)
7. Annette 2003
9. SR/CI/K/TR (Initials W)
11. 2BO3 Annette.
When BRINGUIER was asked whether Frank Bartes was at OSWALD'S trial, he stated: "I believe that Frank Bartes was at the trial. I'm not sure." BRINGUIER was asked why Frank Bartes had lied to S.A. Quigley about OSWALD: "Sir, you have to ask that to Mr. Frank Bartes. But I told you I am used to people misquoting my words, and now you will probably do the same thing. I am used to that. But I didn't say to you that Bartes met OSWALD. I have never said that to you. If you are taping this conversation, I want that to be very clear. I have never said that, and I am not giving you authorization to tape this, but if Bartes met OSWALD or not I don't know. I don't remember if Bartes was at the trial." I asked WARREN DeBRUEYS if he had spoken to Frank Bartes about OSWALD. He responded, "I don't recall having questioned Frank Bartes. I remember talking to him on numerous occasions, but I just don't specifically remember talking to him about that."
On November 22, 1963, Frank Bartes prepared a one-page statement on behalf of the New Orleans Cuban Revolutionary Council which began: "We have felt the death of your President as if it had been ours, even if in its political aspect we had difference of opinion caused by soft hand policy and indecision, wether [sic] or not apparent, by U.S. Government...the Kennedy assassination, at the hands of a man whose background was Marxist and pro-Castro is the unquestionable proof that a 'second Pearl Harbor' had been committed in a cunning and infamous way on American soil..." When Frank Bartes suggested to a local television station that they read his statement over the air, the management refused.
Because the name "Bardes" appeared in OSWALD'S address book the FBI interviewed Frank Bartes on December 10, 1963. On April 10, 1964, Frank Bartes advised the FBI that the New Orleans Chapter of the Cuban Revolutionary Council was inactive. [FBI 109-584-39; Memo Martin/Garrison 7.29.67; FBI 100-16601/cv, 62-109060-6267, 62-109060-5583] Frank Bartes knew OSWALD and HEMMING.
This researcher interviewed Frank Bartes by telephone in 1977:
Q. Did you know HEMMING?
A. This one in particular I did because he came in advance and visited me in Cuba - JERRY PATRICK. Whenever we talked it was related to things we were going to do to help the Cubans...but I have never been involved in any landing in Cuba with him.
Q. HEMMING said this had to do with a plot against John Kennedy.
A. No sir. Don't quote me because I will deny it. Nobody has talked to me about nothing in reference to President Kennedy, until after he was shot.
Gaeton Fonzi concluded: "The evidence would seem to indicate that the New Orleans Chapter of the Cuban Revolutionary Council had no relationship with OSWALD other than a brief encounter with Cuban Revolutionary Council delegate Frank Bartes." [HSCA V10 p62; WCE 18 p69 of doc.]
Frank Bartes signed up as a mercenary in the CIA-funded Congolese air force in 1965. He served for two and a half months. Frank Bartes told New Orleans Domestic Contacts Division Chief, Lloyd A. Ray, he was sponsored by "Colonel (deleted) and a Mr. (deleted). I strongly suspect of course, that this was a Agency operation." [CIA 12.28.66 NO-380-66]
(1) Prior references: Memorandum Subject: Garrison Investigation of Kennedy Assassination: (Deleted) November 20, 1967.
(2) Involvement in Garrison's investigation: None to date. His former position as head of the Cuban Revolutionary Council in New Orleans and his earlier tie to Lawrence LaBorde and others in respect to guerilla training for anti-Castro Cubans has already been drawn to Garrison's attention.
(3) DDP and DCS relationships:
(a) DDP. Although a Provisional Operational Approval for use in (deleted) was requested on December 29, 1960, and granted January 30, 1961, the request was canceled on August 30, 1961, and Bartes was not used during this interval. (Per JMWAVE 0483 December 4, 1967). On May 27, 1965, SOD/AB/OPS/3 requested a Provisional Operating Approval to permit the use of Bartes as a (deleted). The Provisional Operational Approval was granted on July 20, 1965, and an Operational Approval was granted on September 9, 1965. Testing of the Subjects skill as a (deleted) revealed, however, that he was not qualified for the intended assignment. He was returned to the U.S. on February 11, 1966, without having been used operationally."
A CIA document stated: "Mr. Frank Bartes, former President of Consolidated Railways of Cuba (deleted). Bartes (deleted) cousin, a Cuban ballerina named Alicia Cruz Bustillo, who traveled with her group to many Communist countries, including China. (Deleted)." On December 20, 1966, Frank Bartes called the New Orleans Domestic Contacts Division office to inform that office that his mother had arrived from Cuba (deleted). He also stated that a cousin, a 29 year old Cuban ballerina, Alicia Cruz Bustillo, not a communist, and residing in Cuba (deleted). There is no record of Bustillo in Office of Security indices (deleted)." [CIA OS 12.28.67]
On December 23, 1966, the New Orleans Domestic Contacts Division sent the Director, Domestic Contacts Division, a memorandum titled "Possible Opportunity to Recruit Agent in Place in Cuba" from which the following was quoted: "On Tuesday, December 20, 1966, I received a call from Mr. Frank Bartes. He is an alien but have FBI approval to contact dated April 14, 1961." [CIA Pratt Memo 11.20.67] A memo of March 1, 1967, to Chief RI/DS from Director, Domestic Contacts Division, Subject: "Alien Interview: Frank Bartes" included the following: "This office has requested FBI approval to contact Frank Bartes as alien national..." [CIA 11.20.67 Memo on Bartes] In 1967 Frank Bartes applied for a State Department position as an escort-interpreter. What connection did this have to his offer to recruit an agent in place? An CIA Office of Security memorandum on Frank Bartes stated: "CIA Connection: Subject, an alien, former President of Cuban Railways, (deleted)." [CIA OS Memo 12.28.67]
On March 15, 1968, Frank Bartes advised the FBI that his life was in danger as a result of the Garrison investigation. [FBI 62-109060-6267] During the Garrison investigation the CIA requested "JMWAVE review Frank Bartes file to determine if Subject used operationally subsequent to January 1961, POA requested, Havana. Subject granted OA September 1965 for use by another WOMACE component but OA canceled February 1964, since Subject found unsuitable for proposed (deleted) assignment. In March 1967 (deleted) requested (deleted) approval to use Subject as FI source. In view of Subject's (deleted) contacts, his former CRC position in New Orleans and his contact with certain individuals involved in both Brown/Slafter and Garrison investigations, (deleted) interested in all phases of Subject's WOMACE activity." [CIA 11.28.67 cite 55281]
Claire Booth Luce, the wife of Time-Life publishing boss Henry Luce, was born in New York City on April 10, 1903. She was a socialite, playwright, author, and war correspondent, who was elected to the House of Representatives in 1943. Despite her own brief infatuation with Communism in the 1930's, Claire Booth Luce emerged as hard line anti-communist. She was appointed Ambassador to Italy in 1952 and embarrassed the Agency when she publicly insinuated that Italians would face unpleasant consequences if they voted for the Communists in an upcoming election. [Winks Cloak & Gown p388] In Italy, she contracted a mysterious illness, finally diagnosed as arsenic poisoning. The CIA was consulted, and determined the cause was paint dust from her bedroom ceiling. In 1959 she was nominated Ambassador to Brazil. Claire Booth Luce campaigned for Barry Goldwater in 1964 and, in due course, acted as an advisor to the Defense Intelligence Agency and was a member of the National Intelligence Study Center Advisory Board. She was also a member of the International Rescue Committee. In July 1973 NIXON appointed Claire Booth Luce to his Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (Ronald Reagan appointed Luce to an identical position in 1982.) She was granted numerous security clearances. Henry Luce died in 1967 and Claire Booth Luce, 84, died of cancer in October 1987.
On May 17, 1975, the FBI "received information that during the years 1960 to 1961 former Congresswoman Clare Booth Luce financed operations of a fishing boat to transport Cuban citizens from Cuba to Miami, Florida. The Captain of the ship allegedly advised Luce that LEE HARVEY OSWALD and others were involved in the infiltration of a Communist cell group in that area and had discussed assassination plans. The proposed target of the assassination has not been identified. Luce instructed the Captain to notify the FBI. He later told Luce he had contacted the FBI and that he was immediately leaving the country. It is alleged this same group plotted to use dart guns which fired darts containing fluid intended to cause an individual to act in a peculiar manner. These darts were to be used against American tourists in France to create the impression that it was caused by some strange malady. The purpose was to discourage tourism and upset the international balance of payments. There is no information concerning names of individuals involved or time period. There is also the possibility that a dart of this nature was to be used against former French President DeGaulle. Note: On May 16, 1975, Deputy Attorney General Harold Tyler advised that he had received the above information from Roderick Hills, Assistant Counsel to the President."
This information indicated that OSWALD was working with, not against, an unnamed anti-Castro group.
Claire Booth Luce told journalist Veda Glasser: "I am a great friend of Bill Pawley. Pawley had been the Ambassador to several countries including Brazil. I got to know him well in China and India before we were in the war, because he had put together a thing called Flying Tigers which was a mercenary air force which for some time was the only air force fighting the Japanese in the orient. Bill Pawley was an American born in Cuba. Bilingual. He was used by the CIA before the Bay of Pigs to recruit Cubans for the operation.
"When the Bay of Pigs flopped, and before the nuclear showdown, Bill came to see me, and I suppose a number of others, and said 'Let's have a Cuban Flying Tigers,' but we used motorboats. Bill gathered a fleet of motor boats that took off from Key West to Miami, manned by these young Cubans, three to a boat, at least my boat had three. They would go into Cuba and bring back information about what was going on after Bay of Pigs.
"They brought back the first news of the missiles. We fed this to Ken Keating. On the basis of the news they bought back I wrote an article for Life in which I said this is going to happen and it will come to force. This was a month or two before the nuclear showdown in 1962.
"Anyhow, every now and then, maybe three times, my crew came to New York. Wonderful young Cubans determined to liberate their country. I got to know them fairly well. Then came the nuclear showdown and the President made his deal with Khrushchev.
"Bill Pawley was notified and word went down the line that the United States has now invoked the Neutrality Act, been on the books since 1923, and no one may leave the United States for any kind of mission in Cuba. Okay, that was it and the operation was off. No more free Cuba. That was in 1962 (year of the missile crisis). I never saw my young Cubans again.
"[On the night of November 22, 1963] my maid came and said Julio Fernandez (one of the young Cubans, can't remember if that was his name) called, very urgent. He had to talk to you about the assassination of the President. He was calling from New Orleans. He said, 'I was with your boat crew.' Said, 'Mrs. Luce, I must tell you something of tremendous importance. When the Bay of Pigs was over, government people came down to Miami and told us all we had had it as far as liberating Cuba. That we must disperse (you know they tried to break the Free Cuba Units in Miami).'
"He said 'I and these two fellows who were his pals, one a lawyer, one a doctor, came to New Orleans and opened a Free Cuba cell. We recruited, looked for people who would still work with us. Still determined to free Cuba although told to get out of Miami.'
"He said 'This fellow OSWALD came into our cell, and said he wanted to join. Said he had tried to be a communist, had become disillusioned. Said he could shoot Castro for us. Claimed to be the greatest shot in the world with a telescopic lens. We looked into him. He didn't have a dime. No money at all.
"We thought he was a crackpot. We thought also he might be a Soviet agent. So we just babied him along, and dropped him. Then we decided to follow him. He had the communist cell. We penetrated his cell, and took a tape recorder with us. He would get up there and say he could shoot anyone, including the Navy Secretary. We thought he was a little mad.
"Then he suddenly seemed to have a little money. We were interested because we thought his communist cell was getting some money. He kept going to Mexico City. He came back from Mexico City and went to Dallas.
"He said 'We have a tape recording of the things he said in that cell. We also have some photographs of him passing out communist handbills on the street. I'm telling you all things, because I think he is a Cuban agent, and he shot the President at Castro's instigation. What shall I do with the information?'
"I said 'What you do is call the FBI at once. Don't waste a minute. Go right in and call up the FBI.
"Then in San Francisco with my husband, when Garrison in New Orleans suddenly hits the headlines by saying there was a conspiracy to assassinate Kennedy. But didn't say who. Then I began for the first time to recall that night and things told to me.
"I thought I wonder if Garrison knows anything about the cell OSWALD ran in New Orleans. I got Garrison on the phone. No I didn't get Garrison because right away I knew I didn't have the boys names. So I called Bill Pawley. He tracked one of them down for me and gave me his telephone number and address. I called up Garrison. Told him just what I have told you. Hadn't been talking to him more than ten minutes when I said that fellow isn't serious, a phony, disorientated, as if he was making some sort of political pitch.
"Then I called up my young Cuban, reminding him of the conversation. This was about 3 or 4 years after. Said 'What happened that night?' He said, 'Mrs. Luce, we did just what you said. We got it all to the FBI. They came, took our tape recordings, took our photographs. Told us to damn well keep our mouths shut until the FBI sent for us. When the Warren Commission came on I was enormously interested thinking they would send for us, or ask us for a deposition. We never heard a thing.'
"He said, 'Mrs. Luce, I am married. I am a lawyer with a very successful practice in Miami. I have two children. The two other chaps, one was suddenly deported and one was murdered - stabbed to death in front of a shop window in Miami. I don't want any part of the Kennedy assassination. You couldn't torture it out of me.'
"What do I make of all that? I do not make of it what these wretches on T.V. make of it. My impression is that OSWALD was hired by the Cubans to assassinate Kennedy and that makes sense because the Castro Government must have known - in fact he said so - that he thought the Americans were trying to assassinate him."
This was different than the initial report, since it characterized OSWALD as pro-Castro.
"During those early morning hours she received a telephone call from one of her boys in New Orleans. He was wildly excited. He told her all the crew had been told by the authorities to get out of Miami. He and the other two crew members transferred their efforts to New Orleans where they had a Free Cuba cell. OSWALD penetrated their cell a few months prior to the assassination, bragged about his marksmanship and that he had recently returned from Russia and wanted to work for their Free Cuba Committee and join their cell.
"The young caller told Luce that his group did not 'like the cut of his jib.' They resented OSWALD'S assumption that they would hire someone to kill anyone. OSWALD said he could shoot the Secretary of the Navy. They kidded him along for a while. OSWALD wanted money and they told him they did not have enough for him.
"The boys then infiltrated the Fair Play for Cuba Committee in New Orleans. OSWALD spoke at a meeting and repeated that he could shoot anybody but added that he was a Communist. The Cubans then began to follow him around." [NARA HSCA 180-10099-10300]
Senator Richard Schweiker's subcommittee subpoenaed Claire Booth Luce. She called CIA Director William Colby on October 25, 1975, seeking advice about her testimony. William Colby recorded two telephone conversations between himself and Claire Booth Luce. Clare Booth Luce first met William Colby in the early 1950's, when she was Ambassador to Italy. William Colby reportedly said of Clare Booth Luce: "Clare Booth Luce took an intimate interest - and hand - in the CIA operations run out of her embassy..." [Syrokomsky, International Terr. & CIA KGB Press 1983] He also recorded a telephone conversation between himself and Justin McCarthy. He gave the tape to CIA OS. The CIA gave the FBI transcripts of the conversation. The transcript of a telephone conversation between William Colby and Claire Booth Luce at 12:40 on Saturday, October 25, 1975, as transcribed by Barbara Pindar follows:
Luce: I have a big problem, a case in conscience. I got rather deeply involved during and after the Bay of Pigs, and up to the time of the missile crisis, with a group called the Directorate Revolutionario Estudiante, the DRE. Whether you know this or not, it was me who fed the missile stuff to Keating. I knew a number of these leaders well; they were going in and out of Cuba, and I paid for one of the motor boats. Bill Pawley did too. The missile crisis came, and I got a call from Allen Dulles telling that the Secrets Act had gone into effect and that henceforth there would be no voluntary American efforts. That ended that, and I don't know what I was doing - maybe I went back to Arizona. Then came the assassination. The night of the assassination, right after OSWALD was caught, one of my boys telephoned me from New Orleans. Didn't I ever tell you this?
Luce: It was my boat captain. It seems that after the missile crisis - a period of about a year had gone by - he said that all the young Cubans involved profoundly in all of this had to scatter and scram, that he and two of my other lads -
Colby: When, after the crisis?
Luce: [Yes. Were told] to leave Miami.
Colby: In 1962?
Luce: Yes. They were to stop efforts to free Cuba: and if they did not, they would be deported. It has a very interesting end, involving you. In any event, this one had been told to leave Miami after the missile crisis was over, and he had opened a New Orleans cell. He telephoned me to tell that OSWALD was - I am telling you what his view was - was a hired gun; OSWALD had tried to penetrate their little cell; all of this was done several months before the assassination. He said, - telling me on the phone, he was terribly excited - he said, "You see he had no money, all of a sudden he began to get money, so we checked him and he had a little 'Communists Be Free' or 'Be Fair to Cuba' group going in New Orleans." He said, "We had tape recordings of what he was telling his group." It was counter penetration that went on. He said, "We have photographs of OSWALD, passing out handbills on the street, 'Be Fair to Cuba.' He said, "We are absolutely certain that OSWALD was simply one of three assassination teams, that they were working out of Mexico City (or funded in Mexico City) by Fidel Castro." Then he said, "We have these recordings, these tapes, and we have these photographs, what should we do?" These fellows always trusted me. I said, "The first thing you do, the minute you hang up this phone, you telephone the FBI, give them everything you have got." Working in New York with these Cubans is an extraordinary fellow, one of the most puzzling characters I have ever met; he is a devout Catholic, Justin McCarthy. Justin is the American patron - although he has no money, never had any money. He never worked at CIA, although CIA tried to pick his brains. He tried to help the FBI. I knew Justin McCarthy, and he used to send me bulletins; he said he had been sending them to me for the past six months, I had never received one of them. Out comes the Warren Report. I have many other things to do, and I assume my lads had reported what they knew, and maybe it had been discounted, but I had taken the Warren Report at face value without poring over it - and I forgot the whole darn thing. Then, this must be nine years ago, up turns a guy named Garrison. And he hit the headlines that the assassination had been a conspiracy. Then it all flooded back into my mind that I had never been quite satisfied with what the Warren Report had brought out. Basically, I was troubled by the whole thing, so I said I thought I would call Garrison. In order to call him, I had to have the Cuban's names, which had gone out of my bean. So I called Justin McCarthy. He said my lad was in Miami. I got him on the phone, my fellow, and I said, "You remember your midnight call to me about the President's assassination, I want to know what happened after that." He said, "We went at once to the FBI, they took all the tapes and photographs, and all our information, and told us to keep our mouths shut. Shortly after that they informed us that if any of us talked to the press or anyone, dire things would happen." He said one of the fellows on the boat was deported to Guatemala or Chile, and one of them was murdered. He said, "I am a lawyer, have two children, I am making my way in Miami, and I never want to hear a damn word about the Kennedy assassination because you Americans really do not want to know the truth." He said, "We waited, expecting the Warren Commission would want to have us, and we never heard a word." He said, "I want no part of it." Then the Garrison thing died down, and I am a busy woman, and I forgot about it. Three days ago, a reporter was in here - a gal - asking about my life style and said, in passing, "What do you think of the investigation of the President's assassination?" I am afraid I hit the roof. I said, "I think everyone must be absolutely off their rockers. What possible motive would the CIA have for murdering their own President?" I said, "Even to assume such a thing is beyond belief, because where there is a murder assassination, there is a motive, and there could be no motive." I said, "Who had the motive was Castro, possibly just a bunch of Communists Cubans or plain Communists." Schweiker called me up yesterday - when the reporter said to me, "What is the name of the young Cuban?" I said "Well, lets call him Julio Fernandez." The Senator said to me "that is a fascinating story."
Colby: You told the story to Schweiker?
Luce: He read it in the Knight paper.
Colby: You told the story to the Knight people?
Luce: Not in the detail I told you. Schweiker asked if I could locate any of these men involved for him, and I said I would try. That was yesterday. I used that opportunity to say, "I do not know what you are doing on the Hill." I said, "You are in it for headlines and destroying the country's security." He said, "If you have this information and you can get your hands on it, it would be a good thing to lay this story to rest." He said, "If you can find me these people, I assure you they will be listened to in closed session." Now comes the big thing. Justin McCarthy runs a Nyack animal farm. I have known him to be a man of complete integrity. He is a devout Catholic. He may or may not be a fanatic. What makes one think he is, what he tells you is just terribly alarming; as he was the one, along with Bill Pawley, who involved me with these Cubans, I tracked him down and had a two-hour conversation on the phone with him this morning that was really staggering. When I said to him, "Would you tell these things in the closed session in the Senate?" he said, "I would find it more expedient to shorten the process and hire loud speakers and put them on top of the Empire State Building." He said, "You don't know, Claire, the Cubans have not lost their desire to free their country, and there are plenty of them working at it, and they trust me, and I trust them." He said "All these fellows on the hill give a damn about is a big headline and political attention, and if this should involve my testifying and some of my fellows got bumped off, or their apparat shut down, I could not live with myself, no I will not testify." I said, "You know, Justin, if they send for you, you might have to." He said, "They are not likely to send for me unless you tell them." He told me a story about working once with CIA. He said, "We did this - DRE did one operation with CIA, as a result of which all the Cubans involved were caught and killed, and I do not want any part with the CIA." He said, "It too can be a sieve." I said, "You have me really over a barrel." I said, "Justin, I have to tell someone, is there anyone you trust?" He said, "There is only one man in this whole country whose word at this point I would take." I said, "Who is that?" and he said, "Bill Colby." He said, "He is a daily communicant" -
Colby: No, no.
Luce: I did not disillusion him. In any event, if only to put my mind at rest since - he always says, which is fascinating if true, that my lads in New Orleans, yes, they did turn over the tapes to the FBI but they kept copies.
Luce: So he says. If so, you are possibly, if - I think you should get hold of Justin and give him a couple of hours because he has plenty to say.
Colby: I will report back to you by all means. Let me do a little homework on just where this (looks). You do not remember the name of the Cubans in Miami?
Luce: There are so many names; he talked to me so fast. He kept saying "Chilo." I asked who "Chilo" is, and he said that was his code name. Jose Antonio Lanusa; Luis Fernandez Rocha. One of those fellows was a Director of the DRE. Then he also reminded me a guy who used to come to see me - Cardona. (He had been told by the American Government to get out of Miami) and he died, having become the President of a university in Puerto Rico. These fellows were scattered all over the place. As I mentioned that to Justin, he said "I know where they all are."
Colby: Schweiker does not know about McCarthy?
Luce: He only knows this - I said there is one man I know who might be able to tell you where these Cubans are, and that is a fellow named Justin McCarthy. He said, "Where is he?" and I said, "I do not know, I have lost track of him." He said, "If you find him, let me know." After talking with Justin McCarthy, I do not want him to talk to Schweiker. I do not know what to say if he calls again. Knowing the Senator, I may never hear from him. I leave it with you. [NARA 1993.08.11.11:24:15:960060]
McCarthy: I am glad to know you, even if it is over the phone.
Colby: Mrs. Luce talked to me. She gave me a capsule version of some chat with you...I wondered if maybe we should chat about it sometime, or, quite frankly, you might want to go to the Senate Committee looking into this.
McCarthy: No. There are several reasons why not. I am sure we do not have to discuss them, but there are many reasons. I am sure we don't to discuss them, but there are many reasons. Over the period of time there have been so many things. We were the only ones who had the information about the missiles in Cuba for many months, and we beat our brains out trying to get someone to do something and regrettably in Washington there are too many political opportunists but there are too many lives at stake. We risked our neck for all these years. We are interested in doing the right thing.
Colby: I wondered if you could (slice?) off that New Orleans thing (and not go any further on that?)
McCarthy: As I said to her - (can't read the next few words) For me to be seen in Washington I do not want to blow my cover, but I would like very much to chat with you and tell you. (can't read the next few words). We do not trust anyone. We did so many operations for so long and we were entirely successful and never lost a man, and then one day we did an operation for the government and lost 22 men. Lives depend on it. Someone sent a Top Secret memo, and the one he sent it to left it on his desk and someone came in and read it and the men were arrested. She asked, "Would you talk to Bill?' I said I would. We think it would be a good idea -- for me to go down -- I do not want to blow my cover, but I would like very much to chat with you and tell you.
Colby: My problem is then I get the information and what are my obligations.
McCarthy: From the point of view of seeing how to do it through persons other than me -- to get the end result.
Colby: It might be that one of your fellows aware of some of the things (would not mind telling Schweiker?) under some protection and assurances of anonymity. That would be enough of a (can't read this next word) to get started.
McCarthy: There is plenty to get started on.
Mr. Colby: Then he could cut your people out as source?
McCarthy: She said it would be a closed door hearing. I said there would still be someone come out of the meeting and (can't read the next few words) their names in the press. You see Jack Anderson's column on Monday. It is vitally important and it is true evidence. It is not conjecture. I am concerned about what it ties into -- it is all the same ball of wax. We sat on the information about the missiles.
Colby: The only thing that bothers me is the story of the existence of some records (you?) still hold. The important part of that is that indicates some (part?) of a failure, or possibly even worse - that is the kind of thing that does need investigation or (correction?) - protecting you people that are in on it. The other possibility would be to ask Schweiker or one of his men, to go and talk to you or one of your people who would have factual knowledge of it. Let me talk with Clare again as to how to handle this. The main thing is not so much the overall stuff about Cuba - the main thing is the story about records, about OSWALD. That comes at a time when that is a serious subject of study here by the Congress. If we could in some way shake the information loose without putting the finger on any of your friends, I think we are sort of obliged to do this in terms of clarifying the record against the facts -- this is a very key aspect of it and a very serious problem that if it was suppressed at the time.
McCarthy: That's not all that was suppressed.
Colby: That is the thing. They are looking into it. Let me talk to Clare again and see if I can figure out some way in which we could talk to you maybe and if you could in the meantime think of a way of (can't read the next few words) out or (can't read the next few words) out this (feature?) of it so that you give the final results but not the sourcing and let the investigators find out their own source later on we would have done our duty. My problem is that I really can't sit on it with my obligations. I can be reasonable about protecting other people, but I also have to have the responsibility for responding to proper investigations of things that really should be looked into. [NARA 1993.08.11.11:30:35:620060]
Colby: I called Justin McCarthy. We had a long chat. He does not want me to do anything about it, but I said you put me in an awful position. I understand what you mean about his strong manner of talking. I think both of us are hung with a rather tantalizing story.
Luce: If I had not known the guy for 25 years, I would take him much less seriously.
Colby: The only real point is the thing about the tapes and the photographs and the allegation about the FBI. I tried to (argue?) him into figuring out some way of getting rid of those but keeping himself out of the act.
Luce: He called me back and said he talked with you and that you left him in a box, and I think he feels now there is some kind of a question of conscience involved. He said, "I am going to let you and Bill Colby decide what is best to do.
Colby: I said I would be in touch with you and try to figure out something sensible.
Luce: Why don't we suggest that he bring you or me - perhaps he feels safer with me - the tapes and photographs if he has copies of them.
Colby: And then you pass them over to Schweiker.
Luce: And let them decide and I will maintain his cover -- he keeps saying it is not worth it after all these years to blow that.
Colby: I think that is a good idea. You say that you and I have talked, and we are in kind of a box at this point, and we really in conscience cannot sit on this stuff -- all the charges there is remaining evidence (can't read the next word) was held back and disappeared into the FBI, and maybe the way to do it is for him to provide it to you, and you to Schweiker, and then I would just as soon drop out -- it does not really have much to do with me -- and in that way you would protect him from Schweiker, and you would say you got it from a friend -- and the source is whatever he and you agree on.
Luce: I will do that.
Colby: I think that is the best thing to do. If he does not buy that, I don't know what we do about Schweiker.
Luce: (I am going to ignore it if Schweiker comes to me.)
Justin McCarthy was on parole in November 1961 for armed holdup. The New York Parole Board suspected him of being a con man and contacted the CIA. It was told that Justin McCarthy had voluntarily approached the Agency in April 1961, and had several meetings with its representatives. [FBI 62-109060-7654; CIA Memo for Files 11.15.61 Harry A. Real]
The CIA was concerned about this flap, and put together a 1977 Task Force Report on Luce's reported contact with the DRE. Note William Colby's request: "I wondered if you could (slice?) off that New Orleans thing (and not go any further on that?)." Note that whoever called Clare Booth Luce knew about OSWALD'S trip to Mexico City before it appeared in the media.
The FBI checked its files in 1975 and found that in 1967, Claire Booth Luce had told New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison that Jose Antonio Lanusa [201-339,258], a leader of the DRE, knew about OSWALD'S activities before the assassination. Jose Antonio Lanusa denied this to New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, and stated that all he knew about OSWALD prior to the assassination had been furnished by CARLOS BRINGUIER. HEMMING knew Jose Antonio Lanusa. Jose Antonio Lanusa, interviewed by the HSCA in 1978, recalled that on November 22, 1963, he and a small group of DRE members were at a Miami Beach hotel when they heard the news of the assassination. When OSWALD'S name was broadcast, he recalled the name as that of someone who had something to do with a delegate of the DRE. They went to their office and found BRINGUIER'S report from New Orleans, detailing his encounter with OSWALD. With it was a sample Fair Play for Cuba Committee leaflet, and a tape of OSWALD'S radio broadcast. One of them telephoned the CIA. FBI S.A. James J. O'Conner, who handled DRE matters in Miami, and conducted 16 interviews with Cuban exiles after the assassination, visited DRE headquarters the next day and was given all the material on OSWALD the DRE possessed. S.A. James O'Conner refused to give them a receipt for the material, nor was it ever returned. Jose Antonio Lanusa also related he had been introduced to Claire Booth Luce in 1962 by Justin McCarthy, the public relations contact for the DRE with the major New York media. Luce later wanted to publish a story about the DRE for remuneration of $600. According to Jose Antonio Lanusa, that was the only contact the DRE had with Claire Booth Luce. He found it doubtful she had paid for the speedboats. Jose Antonio Lanusa was the Subject of Inter-Source Registry No. 9518. A note dated October 29, 1962, in Jose Antonio Lanusa's CIA file, said there was no present contact with Subject. [FBI Miami 87-8756 George Davis 2.23.62] According to a document dated November 1, 1968: "SD 10658 is terminated without prejudice by the Department of the Army and additional information should be referred to the Army Source Registry." When Senator Richard Schweiker contacted the FBI about BRINGUIER/Luce he was informed: "CARLOS BRINGUIER, a DRE leader, appeared before the Warren Commission. He provided information relative to his group's contact with OSWALD during the Summer of 1963." [FBI 62-109060-7654 EBF enclosure w/h]
Jose Antonio Lanusa circulated the same story as Salvador Diaz Verson that linked Castro to OSWALD. [CIA 457-772] FBI S.A. James O'Conner questioned Jose Antonio Lanusa. The CIA insisted that his reports could not be declassified. [FBI 62-109090 NR 8.29.64] On November 23, 1963, Jose Antonio Lanusa, told FBI S.A. James O'Conner that on the evening of November 22, 1963, he had been in telephonic conversation with Paul Bethel. The two men discussed the possibility of Fidel Castro having ordered President Kennedy's assassination. The CIA reported that the attempts of the local FBI to determine the source of Jose Antonio Lanusa's information was "thwarted by Lanusa who used series pretexts when contacted to avoid naming sources and ultimately stated he had to check matter out with JMWAVE before divulging information. Local FBI called JMWAVE for assistance...JMWAVE had instructed the DRE not to dramatize facts, or attempt to slant news, but DRE continues pursue course of action...hope FBI query may inhibit future DRE spokesmen from making slanted or dramatic statements." [CIA D:200-5-41] Dr. Guillermo Belt, the former Cuban Ambassador to the United States from 1945 to 1947 advised the Washington Field Office of the FBI on November 26, 1963, that he had received a call from Jose Antonio Lanusa November 25, 1963 last, in connection Subject. Lanusa advised Subject appeared in Miami one or two months ago and attempted to infiltrate anti-Castro organization DRE. Subject stated he could train DRE members in guerrilla warfare to be used against Castro. Subject later observed in New Orleans passing out Communist literature and therefore labeled Communist and Castro supporter. DRE had nothing further to do with Subject." [FBI DL 89-43-699 NARA FBI 124-10159-10416] Jose Antonio Lanusa later retracted his statement that linked OSWALD to Castro.
DRE leader Luis Fernandez-Rocha Rodriguez (born May 3, 1939; 201-316,766), was formerly a pre-medical student at the University of Havana. He was granted a Provisional Operational Approval on April 18, 1962. He quit his job as Secretary of the DRE in July 1964 to pursue his medical studies: "(Deleted) September 1, 1964, under (deleted). He was to do some unwitting work for (deleted). There was no further indication in file that he was terminated, no quit claim, no OA or ROA cancellation."
Was "Julio Fernandez," referred to by Claire Booth Luce, Luis Fernandez-Rocha or Jose Antonio Lanusa? Or was he Juan Francisco Blanco-Fernandez?
BRINGUIER told the HSCA he never engaged in any paramilitary activities, knew Clare Booth Luce only by reputation, had never contacted her personally, and never told her anything about his experiences with OSWALD. During a follow-up telephone call he added that no one in the DRE had contact with Clare Booth Luce and that "the Committee would go down the drain like the rest of the country." [Outside Contact Report 12.2.78 Johnathan Blackmer; BRINGUIER telephone 504-523-5605] The HSCA concluded: "The evidence indicates that the Luce allegations, although related to certain facts, cannot be substantiated in the absence of corroboration by other individuals."
On February 20, 1964, the Chief, SAS, (Special Affairs Staff) requested that Pawley be granted a POA for use by JM WAVE on a continuing basis. In May 1964, Victor R. White granted the POA. On April 30, 1975, William Pawley became of interest to the CIA's Western Hemisphere Division:
MEMORANDUM FOR THE RECORD
SUBJECT: WILLIAM DOUGLAS PAWLEY
SF # 078 435
1. Subject, a U.S. citizen and former U.S. Ambassador to two Latin American countries, was of interest to the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency circa 1952 to 1954, apparently in connection with Agency (deleted) requirements. In 1959 Subject again became of (deleted) interest to the Western Hemisphere Division in connection with the Agency's activities directed against Cuba. At that time Subject was an executive with a private corporation in Miami, Florida. Subject was (deleted) in connection with WH Division's interest circa December 1959.
2. (Deleted) "making available to WH Division representatives in Miami (deleted) with his numerous contacts among Caribbean revolutionary groups, especially anti-Castro Cuban exile leaders." Cited request from the Chief, WH Division, indicated that Subject is a personal friend of the then DCI and that he had cooperated with the Agency in the past. Subject's file also indicates that the then DCI was made aware of the planned (deleted).
5. Subject's file does not reflect the results (deleted) given to WH Division representatives. Subject appears to have remained of interest to the WH Division and to the DCI until as late as 1964. [CIA D-00780]
On January 8, 1977, William Pawley shot himself in the chest at the age of 80. The bullet passed through his lungs, but he was still alive when the ambulance reached his home on Sunset Island, Miami. He died in the emergency ward of Mount Sinai Hospital after suffering excruciating pain. Pawley left a suicide note asked the forgiveness of his wife. Anita Pawley, his niece and secretary, said he had been suffering from shingles, a painful disease of the nerve endings. Pawley was not questioned by the HSCA as to the identities of his crew. HEMMING told this researcher: "Pawley was hit. People thought the cocksucker was going to come around and admit to having thrown some money into a fucking pot. Pawley had been blackmailed. People were shaking him down. I found one of the groups that blackmailed his ass. They were pseudo-assassins, and he had already paid them a chunk of money. You want me to come forth and make a clean breast of the affair? Look at how many people paid for it, got fucked, and got killed." HEMMING was asked if this blackmail related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. HEMMING: "It wasn't being put that way to him. It was being put that he had helped finance an operation like OPERATION CRYPT and that these people were demanding some satisfaction for loss of family members. A couple of them hinted it had something to do with Dallas. I talked to him when I came back from Peru in 1970. Nathaniel Weyl was there. There was nothing happening on Kennedy in 1970 at all." [HSCA V10 p87; Miami Herald 1.9.77, 1.8.77; Wash. Post 1.9.77; Office of Med. Exam. Dade County Case #77-62; CIA 12-14-75 p23; BARKER Depo. 76-1252-Civ-SMA USDC Miami; SOF 1975 issue #2; FBI 105-82555-5730, 5731, 5732]
Circa July 21, 1963, Anastasio Somoza (Tachito Jr.) visited Miami and spoke to Pedro Diaz Lanz and others. Anastasio Somoza told the Cuban exiles he wanted to support and direct them and he "planned something big." According to Anastasio Somoza, the Central American countries would fall to communism within five years. [Miami Herald 7.14.63] HEMMING told this researcher: "Somoza opened conversations with all of the nine action groups and their leaders and also held meetings with a limited number of exiled political leaders. Somoza offered the use of Nicaragua as a sanctuary, site for training camps, and a jumping off point for future raids and other operations against Cuba. Miami newspaper headlines announced that ex-Bay of Pigs Brigade leader, Manuel Artime, has decided to move his headquarters to Central America, ostensibly Nicaragua." [Ltr. To Lester Logue, 628 Meadows Building Dallas 6, Texas for HEMMING 2450 N.W. North River Drive, Miami 35, Florida 8.13.63] The FBI reported: "(Deleted) said when Somoza first went to Washington in July 1963, he claimed he had presented a plan for the liberation of Cuba to President John F. Kennedy, who seemed interested and sent Somoza to confer with officials at the Pentagon, CIA, and State Department. Then President Kennedy left on a trip to Europe. Military officials at the Pentagon and civilian officials at the CIA allegedly approved Somoza's plan but the State Department rejected it. When President Kennedy returned to the United States from his European trip, Somoza again visited Washington, but President Kennedy refused to see him. (Deleted) was told by Somoza that the United States government was interested in his plan with some modifications and conditions, one condition being that Artime would be the military leader. (Deleted) since President Kennedy refused to see Somoza, his plan never materialized." [FBI 97-4133-78 11.5.63]
OSWALD was again observed distributing pro-Castro literature on August 16, 1963. He hired two men from a local employment agency to help him pass out his leaflets: "I hired persons to distribute literature. I then organized persons who displayed receptive attitudes towards Cuba to distribute pamphlets...I caused the formation of a small, active, Fair Play for Cuba Committee organization of members and sympathizers where before there was none...I sought response from Latin American consuls of which there are many here in New Orleans..." One of these men was Charles Hall Steele, Jr., born November 5, 1943. On November 24, 1963, Charles Hall Steele, appeared at the New Orleans FBI Office in the company of his father, who is a Civil Deputy Sheriff in New Orleans, a Major in the Louisiana National Guard, and a candidate of Central Democratic Committee. "Charles Steele Jr. stated that on Friday August 16, 1963, he went to the Louisiana Employment Service, a State Agency, with his girl friend who was to take a typing examination. While waiting in the reception room for her to take the examination Steele was approached by an individual who Steele believed told Steele, his name was OSWALD. OSWALD asked Steele if Steele would be interested in making two dollars for about fifteen to twenty minutes work distributing leaflets. Steele stated he agreed, and met OSWALD at noon in front of the International Trade Mart Building, at which time OSWALD handed Steele some leaflets to distribute. Steele Jr. stated he did not look at the leaflets, but began handing them out to passerbys, and when he had distributed all of the leaflets he returned to OSWALD who was also passing out leaflets and OSWALD gave Steele a few more to distribute. Steele stated he then looked at the leaflets and discovered there was some wording to the effect "Hands Off Cuba." Steele stated he believed the leaflets to be communist in nature, threw them in a trash can and told OSWALD he wanted to talk with him. Steele stated that he and OSWALD then went into the foyer of the International Trade Mart Building where he asked OSWALD if these were not communist leaflets and was advised by OSWALD that it was a group connected with Tulane University. Steele stated he told OSWALD he wanted nothing further to do with the leaflets, was paid two dollars by OSWALD and departed.
Steele Jr. stated when OSWALD met him in front of the International Trade Mart Building, OSWALD was accompanied by another person described as white male, 19 to 20 years of age, about six feet, slender build, dark hair, olive complexion. Steele stated this individual was distributing some of the leaflets but did not appear to have any conversation with OSWALD, and it was Steele's impression that this person had also been hired in the same manner as Steele. Steele stated he could not identify this individual should he see him again. Steele stated he has had no prior contact with OSWALD nor any subsequent contact with him and knows nothing further concerning him. Steele, Jr. identified photograph of OSWALD as person for whom he distributed leaflets. Indices concerning Steele, Jr. his father, and his girl friend, Charline Stouff, negative. " [FBI NARA 124-10248-10130; FBI NO 89-69-70 11.24.63] On August 20, 1963, the New Orleans FBI Office received a letter from Jesse Core, the FBI contact at the International Trade Mart. The letter contained one of OSWALD'S "The Crime Against Cuba" leaflets that was stamped FPCC 544 CAMP STREET NEW ORLEANS LA." [FBI File No. 97-74-1A-1 A 5 181-10315] S.A. DeBRUEYS, who was in charge investigating the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, conducted no investigation. Mrs. M.D. Stevens of the CIA'S Security Research Section reported that one SRS Card existed on Jesse Core.
Carlos Quiroga (born January 27, 1936), was a member of the Cuban Revolutionary Front. His father was imprisoned in Cuba. His mother still lived there. Carlos Quiroga, who resided at 3134 Derby Place, New Orleans, Louisiana, was FBI New Orleans informant NO T-5. On November 27, 1963, Carlos Quiroga told the FBI that he "is acquainted with CARLOS BRINGUIER, DRE, New Orleans, and was aware of the arrest of BRINGUIER and two other Cubans along with LEE HARVEY OSWALD on August 9, 1963...Approximately a week later, August 16, 1963, he was seated in Thompson's Restaurant when the representative of Puerto Rico, who has an office in the International Trade Mart showed him Fair Play for Cuba Committee handbill telling Quiroga these handbills were being passed out in front of International Trade Mart. Quiroga notified police, but police arrived too late, and person passing out handbills had gone."
Carlos Quiroga drove to the address listed on the handbill. When OSWALD saw Carlos Quiroga was Cuban, he allegedly said: "Don't hit me. If you are coming as a friend come in." He said he met with OSWALD for about an hour. OSWALD told him Castro was not a dictator; all Cuban exiles were criminals; he hated Anastasio Somoza and believed that he should be eliminated; if the United States invaded Cuba, he would fight with Fidel Castro. "OSWALD claimed to be a student of language at Tulane University and to be the delegate for the Fair Play for Cuba Committee in New Orleans. He claimed that he was conducting private meetings, and would be proud to have Quiroga join them. He did not identify the place of the meeting or any other alleged members of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. Carlos Quiroga learned that OSWALD had a Russian wife, and he spoke Russian. Carlos Quiroga was given a membership application to the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. Following this conversation, Carlos Quiroga contacted Lt. Branch Martello of the New Orleans Police Department and offered to infiltrate the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, but he received no encouragement from him, and so took no further action. [FBI 62-109060-466,5263,5218, 105-82555-5263A, LHM 2.21.67] Marina Oswald told the FBI that " after the conversation, OSWALD told her that he strongly suspected that the man who had come was an anti-Castro Cuban pretending he was pro-Castro." Carlos Quiroga, contacted in 1994, stated: "He was a pro-Castroite, a Communist and a Marxist, that's a fact. I want to find out who in the hell was with him? I don't want to get into anything that hasn't appeared elsewhere unless I know...Talk to CARLOS BRINGUIER. I talked to Carlos about a month ago about Posner. He wrote a very damn good book. I try to stay away from people who put a bunch of lies in their books."
The CIA reported that Carlos Quiroga was possibly identifiable with Carlos Quiroga, a former student at Louisiana State University "who was a candidate for the Agency Student Recruitment Program. (deleted) JMWAVE traces reflect an individual of the same name was an electrical engineer, residing at 3134 Derby Place, New Orleans, in December 1964. Subject reportedly had homosexual tendencies, low morals, and until the middle of 1961, was an ardent Castro supporter and made anti-US statements. There is no indication that he was ever employed by the Agency in any capacity." A CIA document stated: "On the basis of the foregoing, the possibility is suggested that Quiroga may be, or may have been, a penetration of the Cuban Revolutionary Front on behalf of Cuban intelligence." The CIA Office of Security Indices Results: "Subject's security file contains FBI reports on internal security investigation on Subject in 1960. Allegations that he was a plant by Castro in anti-Castro groups in U.S. were explored. (Deleted) Subject's file reflects that he was covertly investigated in 1964. (Deleted)"
A document signed by James Hunt for JAMES ANGLETON elaborated on the double agent theory. This document concerned Carlos Quiroga's interview on July 20, 1967, with New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison and pointed to these statements: "At the same time, the only reason I did not -- of course I was with the other group too..." "Quiroga refers to his 'fight against the Warren Commission' and makes an obscure reference to trying to 'infiltrate this organization.'" "Quiroga gave someone named Juan, not further identified, the same name of one Panque, who seems to have been in charge of the military training camp in LaCombe, Louisiana, in 1963. Quiroga also gave Juan 'the names of all the people I have been carrying in my pocket for last four years..." "Quiroga: 'I'm a Cuban and don't want to betray my country.'" [CSCI 316/03521-67] Carlos Quiroga stated during a telephone interview with this researcher: "All this is false. I was never in the Recruitment Program, and was never employed by the CIA. Somebody wrote some bullshit. I never been a homosexual in my life." He was asked if he had been a Castro supporter. "When I was at Louisiana State University, when I finish up in 1960, in 1961 I could not be - my father was in prison against Castro. In 1961, before Batista was overthrown, I was not really pro-Castro, I was against Batista. I never was a Castro agent."
Jim Garrison arranged for Quiroga to undergo a polygraph examination. "Results: Subject was given five test. Test #1. After careful analysis of this Subject's first polygram it is the opinion of the examiner that he has specific reactions indicative of deception to the relevant question under examination. Question #4. Do you have any first hand knowledge of the conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy? Answer No. Test #2. After careful analysis of this Subject's second polygram it is the opinion of the examiner that he gave specific reactions indicative of deception to the relevant questions under examination: Question #2. In the Summer of 1963 did you see OSWALD with any Latin decent Subject? Question #3. Isn't it a fact that you knew that the Fair Play for Cuba Committee was in reality part of an anti-Castro operation?" [NARA 180-10088-10483]
Another CIA document stated: "In 1961 Carlos Quiroga, then a student, met David Ferrie through Sergio Arcacha Smith, who was often with Ferrie. Ferrie lent Sergio Arcacha Smith money." Carlos Quiroga felt Sergio Arcacha Smith had "made sacrifices for the anti-Castro cause" and gave the family of Sergio Arcacha Smith "food money." [RYBAT SECRET Unmarked CIA document] Carlos Quiroga: "I don't want to discuss this with anyone for a book unless I know who is writing, and what they are writing for. I was unhappy with the Garrison investigation, I know that whole thing was a fraud. I tried to get the Justice Department to go after Garrison for what he did. I don't want to discuss this time in my life over the telephone." Carlos Quiroga told the HSCA that: "When I had finished up school in August 1961, I had gone to see an FBI Agent. I went to the FBI office to find out which Cubans were active at that time in New Orleans. And I had an interview with Agent DeBRUEYS, and he referred me to an office which was right across the street from the FBI Office, by the Balter Building. And that's how I got in touch with Smith, which, at that time, was the Delegate of the Cuban Revolutionary Front in New Orleans." HEMMING told this researcher: "Quiroga's cousin was one of the top aviation guys in Miami. He had the same name. A top CIA operator."
The SAC of the New Orleans FBI Office sent this memo to file: "On November 27, 1963, at 11:21 p.m. Supervisor Bill Branigan called and stated he was calling for Assistant Director William C. Sullivan. Branigan stated that (Deleted) who is acquainted with Assistant Director Sullivan has advised that Carolos Quiroga of New Orleans (no address available) had allegedly penetrated OSWALD'S organization. According to (Deleted) Quiroga can be located through CARLOS BRINGUIER." [FBI NO 89-69-323]
Jenner: How did you learn about the Fair Play for Cuba Committee?
Stuckey: Most of the organizations that I had contact with were refugee organizations, very violently anti-Castro groups, and there were a number of them in New Orleans. These people were news sources for me also. I used them quite frequently. One day, I think it was [August 9, 1963] I was in the bank and I ran across a refugee friend of mine by the name of BRINGUIER. BRINGUIER told me-
Jenner: Excuse me. Identify Mr. BRINGUIER.
Stuckey: Mr. BRINGUIER at that time was the New Orleans delegate to the Revolutionary Student Directorate which was an anti-Castro group with headquarters in Miami. He also ran a clothing store called Casa Roca. He was an attorney in Havana before the revolution, the Cuban Revolution of 1958, and had been very active ever since I have known him in New Orleans in anti-Castro activity. I had interviewed him on a number of occasions in connection with Cuban current events. Mr. BRINGUIER ran into me in the bank, and I spoke to him, and he said that a representative of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee had appeared in New Orleans, and that he had an encounter with him shortly before.
Jenner: That interested you?
Stuckey: Yes, very, very much because I knew something of the reputation of this group. I regarded them as being about the leading pro-Castro organization in this country, a propaganda organ for Castro forces, and I had done a considerable amount of reading Congressional testimony, articles and this sort of thing about their activities. BRINGUIER said he had an encounter with a young man who was representing the Fair Play for Cuba Committee in New Orleans.
Jenner: You had known BRINGUIER and had contact with him; had he ever been on your program up to this moment that you spoke of?
Stuckey: No; he had never been on my program, but, as a newspaperman, I had contacted him quite frequently for information.
Stuckey: He told me that - this was in the bank - a few days before - I don't recall exactly -
Jenner: This was a chance meeting?
Stuckey: This was a chance meeting with Mr. BRINGUIER. I was cashing my paycheck and BRINGUIER told me a few days before he had run into this fellow in his store, this Casa Roca - this young man had approached him.
Jenner: A young man had come in?
Stuckey: A young man. At the time he had mentioned no name. If he had, it wouldn't have made any difference to me because the name meant nothing. He said a young man came in, introduced himself and said he was a veteran of the Marine Corps, he had just gotten out, and that he was very disturbed by the Cuban situation and wanted to do something about hurting Castro, or trying to change the regime...Now this young man said somehow he knew BRINGUIER was connected with the Revolutionary Student Directorate, how, I don't know. But, at any rate, as I said, he offered his services. Then he presented a Marine Corps Handbook to BRINGUIER. He said "This might help you in your guerilla activities and such. This is my own personal Marine Corps Handbook" which BRINGUIER accepted. BRINGUIER told me that sometime after that, I don't recall exactly how long it was, he was walking on Canal Street, the main street of New Orleans, about a block away from his store, and he ran into this young man again. This time he was distributing literature, handbills, and the handbills said, "Hands Off Cuba."...It was this same young man. BRINGUIER, who was a rather excitable fellow, and he couldn't understand why this fellow was now distributing pro-Castro literature, whereas a short time before he had posed as an anti-Castro man. So BRINGUIER got in a shouting match with him on the street corner, and I think some blows were exchanged, I'm not sure...So I mentioned to BRINGUIER that I was interested in locating this fellow and talking to him. BRINGUIER gave me his address.
BRINGUIER and Stuckey's meeting did not happen by chance. BRINGUIER made sure it happened so that he could help OSWALD promote himself as a pro-Castro figure. BRINGUIER aroused Stuckey's curiosity in OSWALD and gave Stuckey OSWALD'S name and address. Why was BRINGUIER promoting the ideology he abhorred?
On August 17, 1963, William Stuckey visited OSWALD at his apartment on Magazine Street to invite OSWALD to appear on his radio program. William Stuckey told the Warren Commission: "I didn't meet him until August 17, 1963, at which time I went by his house on Magazine Street to ask him to appear on my program. This was early in the morning, about 8:00 a.m. I went early because I wanted to get him before he left. It was a Saturday. I knocked on the door and this young fellow came out, without a shirt. He had a pair of Marine Corps fatigue trousers on. I asked him 'Are you LEE OSWALD?' And he said, 'Yes.' I introduced myself and told him I would like to have him on my program that night. So he asked me in on the porch. This was a screened porch and I had a very brief chat. He said he would ask me inside for some coffee but his wife and his baby were sleeping so we had better talk out on the porch...So we had a few cursory remarks there about the organization. He showed me his membership card to the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, and it was signed by A. Hidell, president...OSWALD was identified on the card as secretary...he showed me the Fair Play for Cuba membership card. I asked him about the membership of this organization, and he said there were quite few, quite a few members. The figure 12 or 13 sticks in my head. There were that many officers or something like that, 12 or 13 people he mentioned that he was responsible to, or active workers, something like that, although I guess I shouldn't mention it until I have a more coherent idea of why he used that. Also, as I recall, he was very vehement, insisting he was not the President, but was the secretary, and that was the occasion in which he pulled out his card showing that he was secretary, not the president, and that this other gentleman, Hidell, was the president...the name meant nothing to me at all, the name never occurred to me again, I never thought of the name again, until after the assassination when Mr. Henry Wade of Dallas on television on a Sunday mentioned that OSWALD purchased a rifle from a Chicago mail order house and used the name A. Hidell in purchasing the rifle. When he said 'A. Hidell' it hit me like it was a light bulb over my head. I recalled the name. Otherwise I would never have remembered the name." Warren Commission Counsel Albert Jenner asked Stuckey: "Did that strike you in any special way that he was apparently careful to point out to you that he was secretary instead of President?" Stuckey responded "No it made no impression on me, none whatsoever. It seemed logical. He appeared to be a very logical, intelligent fellow, and the only strange thing about him was his organization. This was, seemed incongruous to me, that he should associate with this type of group, because he did not seem the type at all, or at least what I have in my mind as the type or he should associate with a group of this type, because he did not seem to fit the type at all or at least what I have gotten in my mind as the type. I would like to mention this. I was arrested by his cleancutness. I expected a folk-singer type, something of that kind, somebody with a beard and sandals, and he said - I found this fellow who was neat and clean and watched himself pretty well. He seemed to be very conscious about all of his words, all of his movements, sort of very deliberate. He was very deliberate with his words and struck me as being rather articulate. He was the type of person you would say would inspire confidence. This was the incongruity that struck me, the fact that this type of person should be with this organization. That is the gist of the first meeting. I asked him to meet me at the radio station that afternoon about 5:00 p.m. for the interview and he agreed. This was to be a recorded interview prior to the broadcast [done] to avoid the possibility of errors. It is a risky business going on live." Stuckey's preliminary interview last 32 minutes. He condensed it down to five minutes. The condensed tape of OSWALD was broadcast on William Stuckey's radio program, Latin American Listening Post on August 17, 1963.
It was interesting to note that Stuckey was suspicious of OSWALD because OSWALD did not look the part. OSWALD looked more like an INTERPEN member in his Marine fatigues, than a member of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. OSWALD insisted he was the secretary, not the president, of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, to divert Stuckey's attention from other issues, such as whether the organization had charter from the national office, if it had members, meetings, and demonstrations.
Stuckey: This is the first of a series of Latin Listening Post interviews of persons more or less directly concerned with the conflict between the United States and Cuba. In subsequent programs, we will present talks with people who are connected with the Cuban Refugee Organizations, people who are connected with President Batista, and United States citizens with direct stakes in the outcome of the Cuban situation. Tonight we have with us a representative of probably the most contraversial organization connected with Cuba in this country. The organization is the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. The person, LEE OSWALD, Secretary of the New Orleans Chapter for the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. This organization has long been on the Justice Department's blacklist and is a group generally considered to be the leading pro-Castro body in the nation. As a reporter for Latin American affairs in this city for several years now, your columnist has kept a lookout for local representatives of this pro-Castro group. None appeared in public until this week when young LEE OSWALD was arrested and convicted for disturbing the peace. He was arrested passing out pro-Castro literature to a crowd which included several violently anti-Castro Cuban refugees. When we finally tracked Mr. OSWALD down today and asked him to participate in Latin Listening Post, he told us frankly that he would, because it may help his organization to attract more members in this area. With that in mind, and knowing that Mr. OSWALD must have had to demonstrate a great skill in dialectics before he was entrusted with his present post, we now proceed on the course of random questioning of Mr. OSWALD. Mr. OSWALD, if I may, how long has the Fair Play for Cuba Committee had an organization in New Orleans?
OSWALD: We have had members in this area for several months now up until about two months ago, however, we have not organized our members into any sort of active group, until, as you say, we had decided to feel out the public, what they think of our organization, our aims and for what purpose we have been as you said, distributing literature on the street for the purpose of trying to attract new members and feel out the public.
Stuckey: Do you have any other activities other than distributing literature at the present time?
OSWALD: Well, I assume you mean do I have any organizational duties myself?
OSWALD: Yes, as secretary I am responsible for the keeping of the records and the protection of the member's names so that undue publicity or attention will not be drawn to them, as they do not desire it. My duties are the duties of a secretary of any organization. However, our organization has a president, a secretary and a treasurer. The duties of those people would be more or less self evident than those that are my duties. I do not however belong to any other organizations at all.
Stuckey: Are you at liberty to reveal the membership of your organization?
OSWALD: No, I am not.
Stuckey: For what reason?
OSWALD: Well, as secretary, I believe it is standard operating procedure that our organization, consisting of a political minority, protect the names and addresses of its members and I have every, uh, that is my duty and that is my reason to do that.
Stuckey: Mr. OSWALD, there are many commentators in the journalistic field in this country that equate the Fair Play for Cuba Committee with the American Communist Party. What is your feeling about this and are you a member of the American Communist Party?
OSWALD: Well, the Fair Play for Cuba Committee with its headquarters at 799 Broadway in New York, has been investigated by the Senate Sub-Committee who are occupied with this sort of thing. They have investigated our organization from the viewpoint of taxes, subversion, allegiance and in general, where and how and why we exist. They have found absolutely nothing to connect us with the Communist Party of the United States. In regards to your question about whether, I, myself, am a Communist, as I said I do not belong to any other organization.
Stuckey: I notice from your pamphlets, one bears the title "Hands Off Cuba." I am curious as to whether this applies to the Soviet Union as well as to the United States.
OSWALD: This organization is not occupied at all with the problems of the Soviet Union or the problem of International Communism. 'Hands Off Cuba' is the main slogan of this committee. It means, it follows our first principle, which has to do with non-intervention, in other words keeping your hands off a foreign state which is supported by the Constitution and so forth and so on. We have our own non-intervention laws, that is what 'Hands Off Cuba' means. And as I say, we are not occupied with the problems of the Soviet Union.
Stuckey: Does your group believe that the Castro regime in Cuba is not actually a front for a Soviet Colony in the Western Hemisphere?
OSWALD: Very definitely. Castro is an independent leader of an independent country. He has ties with the Soviet Union, with the Eastern Bloc, however I think it is rather obvious as to why and when they are because of the fact that we certainly don't have any trade with them. We are discouraging trade with that country, with our allies and so forth, so of course he has to turn to Russia. That does not however mean that he is dependent upon Russia. He receives trade from many countries including Great Britain to a certain extent, France, certain other powers in the Western Hemisphere. He is even trading with several of the more independent African states so that you cannot point at Castro and say that he is a Russian puppet. He is not. He is an independent person. An independent leader in his country and I believe that was pointed out very well during the October crisis when Castro very definitely said that although Premier Khrushchev had urged him to have on-site inspection at his rocket bases in Cuba, that Fidel Castro refused.
Stuckey: Do you feel that the Fair Play for Cuba Committee would maintain its present line as far a supporting Premier Castro if the Soviet Union broke relations with the Castro regime in Cuba?
OSWALD: We do not support the man. We do not support the individual. We support the idea of an independent revolution in the Western Hemisphere, free from American intervention. We do not support, as I say, the individual. If the Cuban people destroy Castro, or if he is otherwise proven to have betrayed his own revolution, that will not have any bearing upon this committee. We are a committee who do believe that Castro has not, so far, betrayed his country.
1. When OSWALD said that the allegiance of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee had been investigated, he implied that the Fair Play for Cuba Committee had been accused of being part of Moscow's international spy network: "They have investigated our organization from the viewpoint of taxes, subversion, allegiance and in general, where and how and why we exist. They have found absolutely nothing to connect us with the Communist Party of the United States." OSWALD stated that no evidence of a tie to the Communist Party had been discovered, however, that did not mean that one did not exist.
2. OSWALD stated that America had its own non-intervention law supported by the Constitution: "We have our own non-intervention laws, that is what 'Hands Off Cuba' means." America had the Monroe Doctrine. The non-intervention law OSWALD referred to was the Neutrality Act Statutes which made it a crime for American citizens to involve themselves in a foreign conflict while under Federal jurisdiction. This law, which dated back to the 1800's, was used against STURGIS and Alexander Rorke.
3. OSWALD characterized the Fair Play for Cuba Committee in a way that better described the America First Committee. The America First Committee claimed it was not pro-German, but anti-interventionist. OSWALD claimed the Fair Play for Cuba Committee was not pro-Castro, but non-interventionist. OSWALD stated that the Fair Play for Cuba Committee did not support Fidel Castro. "We do not support the man. We do not support the individual." Why then did OSWALD ask V.T. Lee to send him a picture of Fidel Castro "suitable for framing?"
4. OSWALD never denied being a communist, he just denied being a member of the Communist Party: "In regards to your question about whether, I, myself, am a Communist, as I said I do not belong to any other organization."
5. Stuckey stated that OSWALD had to have demonstrated " a great skill in dialectics before he was entrusted with his present post." OSWALD was a rank and file member of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. He had no post. Stuckey never bothered to call the Fair Play for Cuba Committee in New York City and asked about OSWALD. He took OSWALD at his word.
Note that OSWALD stated that he did not wish undue publicity or attention will not be drawn to the other members of the New Orleans Chapter of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, as they did not desire it. What other members? There were none. This was why OSWALD could not name them, not because of privacy considerations.
Stuckey: Do you believe that the Castro regime is a communist regime?
OSWALD: They have not, well they have said that they are a Marxist country, on the other hand so is Ghana, so is (sic) several other countries in Africa. Every country which emerges from a sort of a futile state as Cuba did, experiments, usually in socialism, in Marxism. For that matter, Great Britain has socialized medicine. You cannot say that Castro is a communist at this time, because he has not developed his country, his system, so far. He has not had the chance to become a communist. He is an experimenter, a person who is trying to find out the best way for his country. If he chooses a socialist or a Marxist or a communist way of life, that is something upon which only the Cuban people can pass. We do not have the right to pass on that. We have our own opinions, naturally, but we cannot exploit that system and say it is a bad one, it is a threat to our existence and go and try to destroy it. That would be against our principles of democracy.
Stuckey: As a representative of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, do you feel that capitalism in any form, or at least capitalism as we know it, has any place in the future of Cuba?
OSWALD: Well, so far the situation has developed where they, Cuba is irrevocably lost as far as capitalism goes and there will never be a capitalist regime again in Cuba. Cuba may go the way of Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia or it may go to the other extreme. It may go the way of China, in other words, a dogmatic communist system, that depends on how we handle the matter here in the United States.
Stuckey: Does the Fair Play for Cuba Committee have any particular position in the Cuban, or rather the Chinese and Russian conflict? Has it taken sides as opposed to China's position in the conflict as opposed to Russia's position?
OSWALD: Well, no, we do not believe in international situations of that sort. As the name implies, Fair Play for Cuba Committee, we are occupied only with the narrow point of Cuba, the problem of Cuba and what it is to us. We are not occupied at all with the problems of the Chinese and Russians or the Yugoslavian Russian problems whatsoever.
Stuckey: I have here with me tonight, various pieces of literature that Mr. OSWALD has been distributing on street corners here in the last week. I would like to read to you some of the titles. The first is a yellow handbill entitled Hands Off Cuba. Join the Fair Play for Cuba Committee in New Orleans Charter Member Branch. There is another pamphlet by the name of "The Revolution must be a school on unfettered thought -- Fidel Castro. There is still another pamphlet entitled Fidel Castro Denounces Bureaucracy and Sectarianism. And a fourth pamphlet entitled Ideology and Revolution by Jean Paul Sartre. I am curious about the fifth pamphlet I have, Mr. OSWALD. This, to me, was most interesting. It is entitled "The Crime Against Cuba" by Corliss Lamont. The theme of this pamphlet is that the United States committed a grave injustice when it backed the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961. Now it has probably a complete ideology here for the National Liberation Movement type of philosophy that we know of in the new countries. Picking among the paragraphs I see one here that I'd like to hear Mr. OSWALD'S comment on and I'd like to quote, "It is well to recall that the national emergency proclaimed by President Truman in 1950 during the Korean War is still in effect in the United States and has been utilized constantly for the curtailment of civil liberty." What is your comment about the veracity of this statement?
OSWALD: Well of course, that is the last paragraph of a very long page. That has to do with the fact that propaganda in the United States has slanted and shown Cuba and Castro to me to be in a very bad light. Now they have mentioned, the United States Government, has mentioned that Castro has declared an emergency in Cuba. He has not held elections for instance, because of the fact that there is an emergency situation in Cuba. Now the Castro Government is declaring that it is doing just what this points out. It is doing what we did in 1950 and you recall what happened in 1950. That was during the beginning of the Korean war when we felt that we were going to be in a very very dangerous situation. We adopted an emergency law which restricted newspapers, broadcasters, radio and TV from giving any opinions, any comments which were not already checked out by certain administrative Bureaus of the United States Government. That was under our emergency. At this time Fidel Castro has his emergency. It is because of us and our attitude and because the attitude of certain other people, certain other countries in Latin America, certain other countries. This is the parallel, the parallel which this is talking about. An emergency in our country at that time and an emergency in their country at this time.
Stuckey: Mr. OSWALD this is very interesting to me to find out about the restriction on newspapers in 1950 because I was in the newspaper business at that time and I do not recall seeing any such government bureau established in my office to tell us what to print. Exactly what do you have reference to?
OSWALD: Well, I have reference to the obvious fact that during war time haphazard guesses and information are not given by anyone. In regards to military strategical comments such as comments or leaks about new fronts or movements and so forth. News was controlled at that time to that extent as it is always controlled during a war or a national emergency, always.
Stuckey: Do you feel that news is controlled in the United States today regarding Cuba?
OSWALD: It is a self control, yes, imposed by most newspapers. Of course I don't know whether I am being fair but of course I would have to point to the Times Picayune-States Item syndicated, since it is the only paper we have in New Orleans and a very restricted paper it is. The Fair Play for Cuba Committee has often approached this paper with information or comments and this paper has consistently refused, because of the fact that it is sympathetic to the anti-Castro regime. It has systematically refused to print any objective matter, giving the other man's viewpoint about Cuba.
Stuckey: Would you care to list the dates and the persons who you talked to at the paper that refused to print your material?
OSWALD: I do not know the name of the reporter. I did speak to the City Editor. I spoke to him one week ago and I spoke with him yesterday, Friday, which was immediately after our demonstration when I and several other of my members had a demonstration in front of the International Trade Mart which was filmed by WDSU-TV and shown last night on the news. At that time, 2:00 I went to the Times Picayune, informed them of our demonstration, which was very well covered by WDSU-TV and they told me at that time that due to the fact that they were not sympathetic to this organization or to the aims and ideals of this organization that they would not print any information that I gave them. They did say that if I would care to write a letter to the editor they might put that in the letter to the editor column.
Stuckey: Mr. OSWALD, does it make any difference to you if any of the activities of the local branch of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee benefit the Communist Party or the goals of international Communism?
OSWALD: Well, that is what I believe you would term a loaded question. However, I will attempt to answer it. It is inconsistent with my ideals to support communism, my personal ideals. It is inconsistent with the ideals of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee to support the ideals of international communism. We are not occupied with that problem. We are occupied with the problem of Cuba. We do not believe under any circumstances that in supporting our ideals about Cuba, our pro-Castro ideals, we do not believe that it is inconsistent with believing in democracy. Quite the contrary. We believe that it is a necessity in supporting democracy to support Fidel Castro and his right to make his country anyway he wants to. No so much the right to destroy us of our rights about defense. In other words, we do not feel that we are supporting international communism or communism, in supporting Fidel Castro.
Stuckey: What other political leaders in Latin America do you feel fulfill the Fair Play for Cuba Committee's requirements for a democratic political leader?
OSWALD: Well, you know there's a funny story about Latin America. It goes something like this. Coffee, bananas, sugar and a few other products. In other words that refers to the so called banana countries which, like Cuba up to this time, had a one crop agriculture, a one crop economy and where did those crops go? They went to the United States. Now the attitude of those countries who are controlled by the United States, whose economy depends almost 100% upon how much money the United States pours into them, those countries cannot be expected to give an independent viewpoint on Cuba or Castro. The few countries which abstained at certain international inter-American meetings during the last year, are those countries which are big enough to support themselves. Those countries being only Brazil, Argentina and perhaps on some occasion the democratic republic of Costa Rica, which is, by the way, the only democratic republic in all of Central America.
Stuckey: What is your definition of democracy?
OSWALD: Well the definition of democracy, that's a very good one. That's a very controversial viewpoint. You know, it used to be very clear, but now its not. You know when our forefathers drew up the Constitution, they considered that democracy was creating an atmosphere of freedom of discussion of argument, or finding the truth. The rights, well the classic right of having life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In Latin America they have none of those rights, none of them at all. And that is my definition of democracy, the right to be in a minority and not be suppressed. The right to see for yourself without government restrictions such countries as Cuba and we are restricted from going to Cuba.
Stuckey: When was the last time you were in Latin America?
OSWALD: I have been only to Mexico in my life, sir. I am not fully acquainted with Latin America personally but then I am not the President of this organization either, I am only a volunteer, a secretary of this local chapter. I do not claim to be an expert on Latin America, but then very few people do. Certainly it is obvious to me, having been educated here in New Orleans and having been instilled with the ideas of democracy and objectiveness, that Cuba and the right of the Cubans to self-determination is more or less self evident and one does not have to travel through Central and South America. One does not have to travel through these countries to see the poverty in Chile or Peru or the supression of democratic liberties between the Somoza brothers in Nicaragua in order to draw one's conclusion about Cuba.
Stuckey: Does the Fair Play for Cuba Committee have any opinion about the supression of democratic liberties in Hungary in 1956 or the poverty in any of the Eastern Bloc countries today?
OSWALD: Officially no, but of course we have our own opinions about such situations. We consider that Russian imperialism is a very bad thing. It was a bad thing in Hungary. We certainly do not support dictatorship or the supression of any peoples anywhere, but as I say and as I must stress, we are preoccupied only with the problem of Cuba, officially.
Stuckey: Mr. OSWALD, you have the title of Secretary of the New Orleans Chapter of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, however you have just said that you have never been to Latin America except for a few ventures into Mexico. In that case, just exactly how do you get your information concerning Latin American affairs or Latin American conditions?
OSWALD: Well, as I say we are preoccupied with the problems of Cuba. There are correspondents that correspond with the headquarters in New York, directly from Cuba, that is where we get the information about Cuba. Now in regards to Latin and Central America, you do not have your own correspondent there. The AP and the UP cover it very well and they certainly give a very clear picture of the situation in certain countries, Nicaragua etc., as I mentioned, which have very undemocratic regimes, dictatorships, and as I say these things are well known by everyone and they are accepted as truth. For instance, who will be able to find any official or any person who knows about Latin America who will say that Nicaragua does not have a dictatorship?
Stuckey: Very interesting that you should mention dictatorships in Nicaragua, because we, naturally familiar with the place, have heard about these dictatorships for many years but it is curious to me as to why no Nicaraguans fled to the United States last year, whereas we had possibly 50 to 60,000 fleeing from Cuba to the United States. What is the Fair Play for Cuba Committee's official reply to this?
OSWALD: Well, a good question. The Nicaraguan situation is considerably different from Castro's Cuba. People are inclined not to flee their countries unless some new system, new factor, enters their lives. I must say that very surely no new factors have entered into Nicaragua for about 300 years, in fact the people live exactly as they have always lived in Nicaragua. I am referring to the overwhelming majority of people in Nicaragua which is a futile dictatorship with 90% of the people engaged in agriculture. These peasants are uneducated. They have one of the lowest living standards in all the Western Hemisphere and so because of the fact that no new factor, no liberating factor, has entered into their lives, they remain in Nicaragua. Now the people who have fled Cuba, that is an interesting situation. Needless to say, there are classes of criminals; there are classes of people who are wanted in Cuba for crimes against humanity and most of those people are the same people who are in New Orleans and have set themselves up in stores with blood money and who engage in day to day trade with New Orleanians. Those are the people who would certainly not want to go back to Cuba and who would certainly want to flee Cuba. There are other classes. There are peasants who do not like the collectivization in Cuban agriculture. There are others who have one reason or the other in their legitimate reasons, reasons of opinion for fleeing Cuba. Most of these people flee by legal means. They are allowed to leave after requesting the Cuban Government for exit visas. Some of these people for some reasons or another. Most of these people flee by legal means. They are allowed to leave after requesting the Cuban government for exit visas. Some of these people for some reasons or another do not like to apply for these visas or they feel that they cannot get them; they flee, they flee Cuba in boats, they flee any way they can go and I think that the opinion and the attitude of the Cuban government to this is good riddance.
Stuckey: I have been interviewing refugees now for about three years and I'd say that the last Batista man, officially, that I talked to left Cuba about two and a half years ago and the rest of them I've talked to have been taxicab drivers, laborers, cane cutters, and that sort of thing. I thought this revolution was supposed to benefit these people. What is the Fair Play for Cuba Committee's position on this?
OSWALD: Well, as I say there are different classes. A minority of these people are, as I say, people who were Batista criminals and so forth. It may not be true that the people fleeing nowadays are completely cleansed of Batista elements, certainly some of these Batistaites have been hiding or have been engaged in counter-revolutionary activities ever since the Bay of Pigs invasion and even before that, just after the revolution. In other words, they have remained underground. Undoubtedly the overwhelming majority of people during the last year for instance who have fled Cuba have been non-Batistaites, rather peasants class. You say the revolution is supposed to benefit these people. You know it's very funny about revolutions. Revolutions require work, revolutions require sacrifice, revolutions, and our own included, require a certain amount of rationing, certain amount of calluses, a certain amount of sacrifice. Sacrificing ones own personal ideas about countries, citizenship, work, indicates people who have fled Cuba have not been able to adapt themselves to these new factors which have entered these people's lives. These people are uneducated. These people are the people who do not remain in Cuba to be educated by young people who are afraid of the alphabet, who are afraid of these new things which are occurring, who are afraid that they would lose something by collectivization. They were afraid that they would lose something by seeing their sugar crops taken away and in place of sugar crops, some other vegetable, some other product, planted, because Cuba has always been a one product country, more or less. These are people who have not been able to adapt.
Stuckey: You say their sugar crops. Most of the Cubans I have talked to that have had anything to do with agriculture in the last year and half have not owned one single acre of ground, they were cane cutters.
OSWALD: That is correct sir. That is very, very true and I am glad you brought up that point. You know it used to be that these people worked for the United Fruit Company or American companies engaged in sugar refining, oil refining in Cuba. They worked a few months every year during the cane-cutting or sugar-refining season. They never owned anything, and they feel now that that little bit of right, the right to work for five months a year, has been taken away from them. They feel that now they have to work all year round to plant new crops, to make a new economy and so they feel that they have been robbed, they feel that they have been robbed of the right to do as they please because of the fact that the government now depends upon its people to build its economy, to industrialize itself, so they figure they have been robbed. What they do not realize is that they have been robbed of the right to be exploited, robbed of the right to be cheated, robbed of the right of the New Orleanian companies to take away what was rightfully theirs. Of course they have to share now. Everybody gets an equal portion. This is collectivization and this is very hard on some people. On people preferring the dog eat dog economy.
Stuckey: What do you refer to as the dog eat dog economy? Is that capitalism in your definition?
OSWALD: No that is an economy where the people do not depend on each other, they have no feelings of nationality, they have no feelings of culture, they have no feelings of any ties whatsoever on a high level. It is every man for himself. That is what I refer to by dog eat dog.
Stuckey: Are you familiar with the existence of a Black Market in Soviet Russia or in Red China, whereas the majority of the populace get their food, their truck crops and vegetables and such from this market. Do you know of such a market?
OSWALD: Well I know about the fact that there is a market in the Soviet Union only for western apparel, and certain other items. There is no black market in the Soviet Union for food, none whatever. By black market, I assume that you mean a situation where food is either stolen or grown in one area and taken to another area and sold covertly, under cover. No such system exists in Russia.
Stuckey: Mr. OSWALD, I am curious about your personal background. If you could tell something about where you came from, your education and your career to date, it would be interesting.
OSWALD: I would be happy to. I was born in New Orleans in 1939. For a short length of time during my childhood I lived in Texas and New York. During my Junior High School days, I attended Beauregard Junior High School. I attended that school for two years. Then I went to Warren Easton High School and I attended that school for over a year. Then my family and I moved to Texas where we have many relatives and I continued my schooling there. I entered the United States Marine Corps in 1956. I spent three years in the United States Marine Corps, starting out as a Private, working my way up though the ranks to the position of Buck Sergeant and I served honorably, having been discharged. Then I went back to work in Texas and have recently arrived in New Orleans with my family, with my wife and child.
Stuckey: What particular event in your life made you decide that the Fair Play for Cuba Committee had the correct answers about Cuban-United States relations?
OSWALD: Well of course, I have only begun to notice Cuba since the Cuban Revolution, that is true of everyone I think. I became acquainted with it about the same time as everybody else, in 1960. In the beginning of 1960. I always felt that the Cubans were being pushed into the Soviet Bloc by American policy. I still feel that way. Our policy, if it had been handled differently and many others much more informed than I have said the same thing, if that situation would have been handled differently we would not have the big problem of Castro's Cuba now, the big international political problem. Although I feel that it is a just and right development in Cuba, still we could be on much friendlier relations with them had the Government of the United States, its Government Agencies, particularly certain covert, under cover agencies like the now defunct CIA.
Stuckey: Now defunct?
OSWALD: Well it's leadership is now defunct. Allen Dulles is now defunct. I believe that without all that meddling, with a little bit different humanitarian handling of the situation, Cuba would not be the problem it is today.
Stuckey: Is there any particular action of the United States Government do you feel that pushed Castro into Soviet arms?
OSWALD: Well, as I say, Castro's Cuba, even after the revolution, was still a one crop economy, basing its economy on sugar. When we slashed the Cuban sugar quota, of course we cut their throats. They had to turn to some other country. They had to turn to some other hemisphere in which to sell this one product. They did so and they have sold it to Russia and because of that Russian sugar is now down quite a bit, whereas ours is going up and up and up and I believe that was the big factor, the cutting of the sugar quota.
Stuckey: Do you think the United States Government, under President Eisenhower, ever wanted to help the Castro regime? Ever offered or shown any help to it?
OSWALD: True to our democratic policies, certain policies were adopted very late, but adopted, but the Government helped Fidel Castro while he was still in the mountains, that is very true. We cut off aid to Batista just before the revolution, just before it. That was too late. We had already done more harm than we could have done before. We were just rats leaving a sinking ship, you see. That was not the thing to do. We have, however, as I say, helped him. We have now cut off all that help.
Stuckey: There is one point of view which I have heard to the effect that Castro turned left because he could not get any aid for industrialization in Cuba from the United States. Does the Fair Play for Cuba Committee believe that?
OSWALD: Not entirely, no. We feel that was a factor, certainly. We feel that the current of history is now running to that extreme, in other words countries emerging from [capitalist] domination are definitely adopting socialistic, (?) Marxist even on occasion what will be in the future, communist, regimes and communist inclinations. You see, this is something which is apparently a world trend.
Stuckey: Does the Fair Play for Cuba Committee believe that this trend should also be copied in the United States?
OSWALD: No, the Fair Play for Cuba Committee is occupied only with the Cuban problem. I do not think that they feel that way, no.
OSWALD did a credible imitation of a Communist who saw the Fair Play for Cuba Committee as vehicle to further the Communist goals under the pretext of American non-intervention. OSWALD denied being ideological, although OSWALD'S reference to a dog-eat-dog economy, as opposed to one of cooperation, put him in the leftist ideological camp. He called Communism the wave of the future. Yet he claimed he was motivated by non-interventionist, democratic, feelings. He came off as some turkey with a hidden agenda. There were numerous anomalies in OSWALD'S interview:
1. OSWALD stated that Castro was something upon which only the Cuban people could pass. How could the Cuban people "pass" on Fidel Castro when there were no elections in Cuba? They would have had to assassinate Castro.
2. OSWALD stated: "We have our own opinions, naturally, but we cannot exploit that system and say it is a bad one, it is a threat to our existence and go and try to destroy it." If America felt that Cuba was a threat to its own existence, then of course America had the right to destroy it. OSWALD stated: "Not so much the right to destroy us of our rights about defense." This was a reference to the Cuban Missile Crisis, during which America felt its existence was in jeopardy, due to Cuba.
3. OSWALD stated: "The right to see for yourself without government restrictions such countries as Cuba and we are restricted from going to Cuba." OSWALD was laying the groundwork for his trip to Cuba.
4. OSWALD stated that he had been in Mexico. Oswald already knew he was going to go to Cuba via Mexico.
5. OSWALD stated he had approached newspaper people about the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. After the assassination of President John Kennedy, no one from the Times Picayune or the States Item reported that they had been approached by OSWALD in this fashion. If they had, they might have investigated OSWALD'S committee and found that it did not exist.
6. In the first part of his speech, OSWALD theorized that because no "new liberating factor" had entered Nicaragua, no one had fled to the United States. Why flee from liberation?
7. OSWALD had a stereotypical views of Latinos and suggested that the peasants, who only worked five months out of the year under Batista, were also leaving Cuba, because under Castro they had to work all year round.
8. OSWALD said that the Cuban Government freely provided exit visas, in addition to the statement that many people chose to flee in boats, any way they can go. Why would they have risked their lives in rickety boats if exit visas were freely available?
9. OSWALD said he attended Warren Eastern for one year, actually it was about six weeks or two months. He attended Beauregard High School for one year instead of two years. OSWALD said he worked his way up though the ranks of the Marine Corps to Buck Sergeant. This was untrue. OSWALD implied he had received an Honorable Discharge. Untrue. OSWALD said "I became acquainted with Cuba about the same time as everybody else, in 1960. In the beginning of 1960." Untrue, OSWALD first showed an interest in Cuba in 1959. OSWALD stated that we cut off aid to Batista just before the revolution. To this researcher's knowledge, this never happened. Note how OSWALD characterized the CIA: "covert, under cover agencies like the now defunct CIA" then he back tracked on this statement. This was INTERPEN'S line that the CIA was not doing its job in regard to Cuba. OSWALD said that "the Government helped Fidel Castro while he was still in the mountains." FRANK STURGIS said the same thing.
On August 17, 1963, OSWALD wrote his last letter to V.T. Lee: "Since I last wrote you (aug 13.) about my arrest and fine in New Orleans for distributing literature for the F.P.C.C., things have been moving pretty fast. On August 16, 1963 I organzied a F.P.C.C. demonstration of three people. This demonstration was given considerable coverage by WDSU-TV channel 6, and also by our channel 4 T.V. station. Due to that I was invited by Bill Stucke to appear on his T.V. show called "Latin american Focus" at 7:30 P.M. Saturday's on WDSU-channel 6. after this 15 minute interview, which was filmed on magnetic type at 4:00 P.M. for rebroadcast at 7:30 I was flooded with callers and invitations to debate's ect. as well as people interested in joining the F.P.C.C. New Orleans branch. That than is what has happened up to this day and hour. You can I think be happy with the developing situation here in New Orleans...I would however, like to ask you to rush some more literature particularly the white sheet 'Truth about cuba' regarding government restrictions on Travel, as I am quickly runing out."
OSWALD characterized himself as a highly successful political activist who had received television coverage. He had been on the radio. OSWALD'S tape was condensed and he was heard for less than five minutes on August 17, 1963. OSWALD had only one caller, an agent of BRINGUIER'S. [WR p408]
William Stuckey told the Warren Commission that he wanted to air the OSWALD tape in its entirety, and suggested this to the station manager. The station manager asked Stuckey to arrange a debate during which OSWALD'S pro-Castro views could be countered by others. OSWALD'S second appearance on William Stuckey's radio show took place on August 21, 1963. He was part of a debate. It was OSWALD versus BRINGUIER and Edward Scannell Butler, who headed the Information Council of the Americas. [CIA 476] Edward Butler was a public relations man with the Army from 1957 to 1959. The former employer of Edward Butler, William Klein, stated: "We learned that he either withdrew or flunked out of two schools; (Loyola University and a private school in Mississippi); that he was an ex-male model for Maison Blanche; and a Fuller Brush-man." Edward Butler worked for Radio Free Cuba, but was fired for right-wing extremism. The former president of Radio Free Cuba, William Klein, stated: "This young man's ultra right-wing ideas were not only embarrassing but, in my opinion, dangerous. After assuming office as Executive Director, this ex-John Bircher metamorphosed into a kind of leashed Robespierre. He could think of nothing but the danger of a globe-encircling communist conspiracy. Butler apparently made a tremendous impression on Hale Boggs...he was lauded by Congressman Boggs before the U.S. House of Representatives (Cong. Record 1965)...I understand that he is now sending messages to Latin American radio stations called 'truth tapes.'"
When Edward Butler left Radio Free Cuba, he took Dr. Alton Ochsner, its major sponsor, with him, and formed the Information Council of the Americas. William Stuckey described the Information Council of the Americas as an "anti-communist propaganda organization. Its principal activity is to take tape-recorded interviews with Cuban refugees and distribute these tapes...to radio stations throughout Latin America." In September 1961, Edward Butler worked with Sergio Arcacha Smith. An FBI source reported: "Butler had requested to assist Smith in any way he could, as Smith was working on plans to overthrow Fidel Castro in Cuba." [FBI 62-109060-4707]
The CIA: "The Information Council of the Americas is an anti-Communist propaganda organization with headquarters in New Orleans that disseminates English and foreign language propaganda tapes and films on a worldwide basis. The organizational impetus and funds come from New Orleans figures including Alton Ochsner of the Ochsner Clinic and Willard E. Robertson. In recent years, funds have been supplied by the Schick Safety Razor Company. An Information Council of the America's letterhead, listing all the officers and officials, has been requested from JMWAVE, which has had some casual correspondence with the organization concerning Juanita Castro. There is no indication of any Agency relationship with the Information Council of the Americas prior to January 1965, when the Information Council of the Americas sponsored the appearance of Miss Juanita Castro in New Orleans. At that time, an Agency asset who functioned as (deleted) was involved with Information Council of the Americas officials in planning the New Orleans visit where Miss Castro was given an award at a dinner sponsored by the Information Council of the Americas. The diner, which was attended by civic leaders and representatives of all the news media, took place shortly after Miss Castro's defection, and there was considerable interest in her appearance...In October 1966, the Information Council of the Americas again requested Juanita Castro appear as a guest speaker in major American cities in connection with the release of the Information Council of the Americas motion picture production, Hitler In Havana. Following various reviews of the film, JMWAVE decided the film would probably become controversial and it would be inadvisable to permit Miss Juanita Castro to accept this invitation. Because of the extremist political orientation of the Information Council of the Americas, JMWAVE has wanted to avoid anymore involvement between Miss Castro and the Information Council of the Americas and the Station asset, in his capacity as (deleted), has managed to prevent this. There has only been one casual contact between our asset and Edward Butler since Miss Castro's 1965 New Orleans trip. This took place recently when Butler was in the area promoting his Hitler In Havana film. According to JMWAVE, Information Council of the Americas officials have never indicated in any way that they are aware (Deleted) of Miss Castro or her (deleted) and there is no indication that Information Council of the Americas officials have had any official contact with Agency officers." [CIA ATTACH 2 to WH (deleted) 67-194] [CIA WH/COG 67-194 AC/WH/COG to Rocca] Herbert Philbrick became a Director of the Information Council of the Americas in 1966. Manuel Gil was production manager of the Information Council of the Americas.
Edward Butler was also youth editor of the Washington Radio Report of the American Security Council. The American Security Council was funded by individual donors and blue chip corporations, such as Lockheed, Standard Oil and General Dynamics. It promoted a hard-line anti-Communist defense policy and had ties to the intelligence community.
For example, Stefan Possony, the former Strategy and Military Affairs advisor of the National Security Council worked for Naval and Air Force Intelligence and, along with Christopher Bird, was a staff member of Mankind Research Unlimited, a Washington, D.C., CIA-funded, Psychic Warfare Think Tank. Mankind Research Unlimited was headed by Karl Schleicher. Stefan Possony believed OSWALD was connected to the KGB. [FBI 105-82555-1489] See Nodule 28 for the complete story of Mankind Research Unlimited.
NIXON appointed many advisors to the American Security Council to his Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. [FBI NO-62-109060-5777, LHM 4.24.68 N.O.; 1966 INCA Brochure; CIA 741-319B, 196; WC Stuckey Exhibit No. 3]
In 1965 Edward Butler visited the New Orleans Domestic Contacts Division office at least once a month. Dorothy A. Brandao wrote: "While I was screening INCA foreign correspondence files, I called on Mr. Butler about once a month. Since that potential has been exhausted there is no reason to see him. I have never had occasion to brief Mr. Butler except on the mission of the Domestic Contacts Division. Mr. Butler is a very cooperative source, and seems to understand the intelligence collection function, and to welcome any opportunity to assist the CIA. He is an intelligent, animated, articulate outgoing individual. His only fault which may hinder my association, but which can of course be circumvented, is his laziness and tendency to procrastinate. He is aware of the sensitivity of agency activities and is appropriately discreet. (Deleted) the Office of Security checked with that component and determined that there was no objection to Domestic Contacts Service use of Mr. Butler on a continuing basis in the future. The Information Council of the Americas is primarily concerned with the preparation and dissemination of taped recordings of anti-Communist material, written or edited by Mr. Butler to a selected group of broadcasting stations in Latin America and North America, for use as a weapon against Communist penetration in the Americas. These tapes are called 'Truth Tapes.' I have found Mr. Butler to be discreet in our dealings. I have never had occasion to discuss operational matters with him; my educated guess is that he would welcome such requirements...When he does produce intelligence information the quality is uniformly good." [DCD Source Information Sheet 8.1.66]
In the late 1960's, Edward Butler moved to Los Angeles, where he started a public relations firm called Scannell Associates. Scannell Associates opposed the hippie movement. Edward Butler characterized OSWALD as an early hippie: "Well, when I knew OSWALD he was a propaganda addict, and I think this is a point I believe most Americans can't understand. But OSWALD traveled with his own surroundings of propaganda, his own underground newspapers...and since then I've been in many confrontations with kids around the country - many of whom belong to Students for a Democratic Society...By early 1966 scores of new underground publications, launching pads in America's midst for mental missiles, have been put into operation, recruiting new adherents, and converting them into carbon copies of LEE HARVEY OSWALD...Communists focused all the publicity they could muster upon the incipient Beatnik movement."
Edward Butler published Revolution Is My Profession in 1968. In it he suggested that "square" Americans become "conflict managers" who would "penetrate the Party." According to Donald Freed, in 1969 Edward Butler worked with NIXON aide Charles Colson, and helped organize violent "hard hat" counter-demonstrations at Vietnam peace rallies. [Big Brother and the Holding Company, Ramparts Press, 1974] Charles Colson mailed out American Security Council material under cover of White House stationery. In 1970, Richard Warren, the man running the Information Council of the Americas in the absence of Edward Butler, appeared in New Orleans with BRINGUIER and Dr. Alton Ochsner. BRINGUIER stated: "This country is slowly being taken over by communists." [FBI 105-1095-299] Edward Butler was dropped by the Domestic Contacts Division in 1970: "After he took up residence in Los Angeles he subsequently created, edited and published the magazine, The Westwood Village Square. He currently has a weekly TV program entitled 'The Square World of Ed Butler.' It is believed that his current business activities in California offer little opportunity to obtain positive foreign intelligence information." A CIA document revealed that Edward Butler's Office of Security files were "inadvertently destroyed in 1979 after moratorium lifted on destruction of files."
Edward Butler was interviewed in May 1993.
Q. Did it ever cross your mind that OSWALD might have been an operation, that he might not have been for real?
A. No. I think OSWALD was very definitely what he proposed to be or presented himself to be.
Q. How do you account for the fact OSWALD was the only member of the New Orleans Chapter of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee?
A. I don't think he was the only member.
Q. He had to hire people from an employment agency to give out his leaflets.
A. Where are you getting that information?
Q. From the Warren Commission.
A. How can you rely on that evidence from the Warren Commission Report if you don't believe it?
Q. I checked the FBI interviews that Warren Commission based its conclusions on. Interviews with Charles Steele [born November 5, 1943], one of the kids hired by OSWALD. He had no left-wing connections. Got the job at an employment agency - the whole thing was a scam.
A. Well, okay.
Q. Did you ever wonder if OSWALD was a sting operation being run by anti-Castro Cubans?
A. It wasn't happening that way. There wasn't...When OSWALD did what he did he was a rara avis. There just wasn't a whole panoply of options for him to take, much less a regiment of people for him to join. It just wasn't available. He was a very different type of a character for that time, and I think that was his great strength. He was an avatar. The first New Leftist, really. A political ideologue. He was in touch with lots of people.
Q. He was not in personal contact with any American leftists.
A. He was in touch with the top leadership of the Communist Party of the U.S.A. including Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, who was the chairman, and Arnold Johnson, who was the publicity director. The point is, when you say he wasn't in touch with any leading leftists, you are totally off base there.
Q. Joe McCarthy could have written Johnson a letter to the public relations department of the Communist Party, and Johnson would have written him back. Would that have made Joe McCarthy a commie? What about OSWALD'S best friend in Dallas, DeMohrenschildt? He was a Nazi.
A. DeMohrenschildt was a very murky figure in the whole thing.
Q. Murky figure? His parents lost their oil fields to the Bolsheviks and he hoped the Nazis would invade Russia and get him his oil fields back.
A. No one knows which side George DeMohrenschildt was really on. He's a murky figure, but if you believe precisely what he said he was, then to be consistent, you have to also believe that OSWALD was what he claimed to be, that is, a Marxist and a Castroite. I am totally convinced that OSWALD was a sincere, dedicated political ideologue and his sympathies were with Fidel Castro and the Castro movement in the United States.
Q. Why did he have the address 544 Camp Street on his leaflets, Guy Banister's headquarters.
A. All of those buildings at that time were filled with people who came and went. The odds are that you would never know who else was in the building.
Q. If OSWALD had set up shop at 544 Camp Street, Banister and his associates would have assaulted him.
A. That's not the way things were back then, and I assure you it wouldn't have happened that way. I didn't know Guy Banister very well, I think I may have met him a couple of times.
Q. Where is your evidence, independent of OSWALD'S self-serving statements, that proves he was a leftist?
A. OSWALD renounced his American citizenship, or tried to, at the American Embassy. He lived in the Soviet Union for two or three years, so there's no question as to where his sympathies lay.
Q. Have you ever heard of a dispatched defector?
A. No, tell me what that means.
Q. A dispatched defector pretends to defect although he still works with the government he claims to be defecting from. All defectors are suspect.
A. I'm telling you that OSWALD was a Communist. It was one of the most courageous acts anybody could make at that time. OSWALD was probably the most unpopular kind of guy, he was doing it with virtually no support, as you yourself pointed out. He subjected himself to a lot of verbal abuse and, according to your own testimony, physical abuse. The guy was a revolutionary. [Turner, W. Power On the Right p188; Freed, Don Big Brother and the Holding Company Ramparts Press 1974 p95 Colson /Butler; Russ Trunzo v. Ed Butler Jim Conway Show WGN-TV Chicago 1.22.69; Butler Rev. Is My Prof. p75]
The debate that took place in August 21, 1963, began when William Stuckey related, "Recently attempts have been made to organize a [Fair Play for Cuba Committee] chapter here in New Orleans. The only member of the group to have revealed himself publicly so far is 23-year-old LEE HARVEY OSWALD, who is the secretary of the local chapter of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee." William Stuckey stated that when OSWALD was on his show last week, he had questioned him about his background. OSWALD said he attended high school in New Orleans, joined the Marines and had lived in Fort Worth, Texas, before he returned to New Orleans.
On August 21, 1963, William Stuckey discovered that OSWALD omitted the fact that he had defected to the Soviet Union. William Stuckey told the Warren Commission that "a source" gave him clippings from the Washington Post dated 1959 and 1962, about OSWALD:
Stuckey: I mention this because with this in mind, this is why it was so interesting to me to find out on that day, August 21, 1963, that he had lied to me, and that he, had, in fact, lived in Russia for about three years, and had just recently returned, and this individual who called me and gave me this information gave me dates of Washington newspaper clippings that I could check, which were stories about his leaving for Russia, or rather his appearance in Moscow in 1959.
Jenner: Now this information came to you between the time of your interview transcribed as Stuckey exhibit No. 2 and August 21, 1963, when you were about to put on your debate program, the discussion program.
Stuckey: That is correct.
Jenner: Did this come to you sufficiently in advance to enable you to do some checking vis-a-vis newspapers or article?
Jenner: And was he unaware when he came in at 5:30 p.m. on the afternoon of Wednesday that you had done this, had received this information and done some research.
Stuckey: He was unaware of that fact. During that day Mr. Butler called, after I had already been tipped off about his Russian residence, Mr. Butler called and said he too had found out the same thing, I think later; his source was apparantly the House Un-American Activities Committee or something like that. At any rate, we thought this was very interesting and we agreed together to produce this information on the program that night.
Jenner: You were going to face him on the program with this?
Jenner: You thought it might be a bombshell and be unaware to him.
Stuckey: Exactly. And we decided it would be me who would do it as the introducing participant.
On another occasion Stuckey stated: "One of my news sources called me up and said, 'I hear you are going to have OSWALD on...we have some information about Mr. OSWALD, the fact that he lived in Russia for three years...and this individual, who called me and gave me this information, gave me dates of Washington newspaper clippings that I could check.'" [?]
Stuckey stated: "Mr. Edward Butler brought some newspaper clippings to my attention, and I also found some through an independent investigation - a Washington newspaper clipping to the effect that Mr. OSWALD had attempted to renounce his American citizenship in 1959, and become a Soviet citizen. There was another clipping dated 1962, saying Mr. OSWALD had returned from the Soviet Union with his wife and child after having lived there for three years."
Who was Stuckey's source for this information? The Warren Commission never pressed him on the issue. Stuckey had been in contact with HEMMING, BRINGUIER, STURGIS and other principals of the conspiracy.
Stuckey: So at about 5:30 p.m. that afternoon I arrived at the studio alone. OSWALD appeared in a very heavy grey flannel suit, and this is August in New Orleans, it is extremely hot, that he appears in a heavy grey flannel suit, very bulky, badly cut suit, and looking very hot and uncomfortable. He had a blue shirt on and a black tie, and a black looseleaf notebook. [The others] arrived a little bit later.
Jenner: Did BRINGUIER and OSWALD recognize each other?
Stuckey: Oh, yes.
Jenner: And was it apparent to you they were acquainted?
Stuckey: Oh yes, indeed.
Jenner: And that OSWALD was acquainted with BRINGUIER and visa versa?
Stuckey: Right...So it was a somewhat touchy exchange there between BRINGUIER and OSWALD in the studio. BRINGUIER, as well as I recall, started out with a remark like this, saying, "You know, I thought you were a very nice boy. You really made a good impression on me when I first met you...I don't think you know what you are doing." OSWALD said something to the effect that "I don't think you know what you are doing," and back and forth such as this. BRINGUIER said "Any time you want to get out of your organization and join mine there is a place for you" and he says "I hope one day you will see the light. And again OSWALD says, "I hope one day you will see the light" and that was about all there was to that...
Jenner: What impression did you obtain of this man with respect to his volatility, that is, did you get any impression that he was quick to anger?
Stuckey: No; very well disciplined as a matter of fact. After all, he had been provoked on several occasions that afternoon by BRINGUIER, and Butler on the show.
Jenner: Or that evening?
Stuckey: That evening, yes. And, of course, BRINGUIER'S attempt to convert him to the cause of the Revolutionary Student Directorate was presented in a rather biting way, and OSWALD just took it and just more or less told him that he wasn't interested, whereas other people might have gotten a little mad. After all you have to recognize that OSWALD - they were ganging up on him. There were a bunch of us around there. There were three people who disagreed with him, and he was only one man, and the fact he kept his composure with this type of environment indicates discipline.
As described by Stuckey, OSWALD and BRINGUIER'S dialogue was unreal. BRINGUIER is an obnoxious, loudmouth who would have been hostile to OSWALD. Assuming OSWALD and BRINGUIER were not in collusion, BRINGUIER would not have been willing to let OSWALD anywhere near the DRE, no matter how vehemently OSWALD denounced the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. OSWALD had proven untrustworthy. He would probably prove untrustworthy again. This is why background investigations are conducted. The reason for the lack of animosity between OSWALD and BRINGUIER was a result of the fact that both men deeply admired each other and no real hostility existed.
William Stuckey confronted OSWALD with the clippings:
Q. Mr. OSWALD, are these correct?
A. That is correct, yes.
Q. You did live in Russia for three years?
A. That is correct and I think those - the fact that I did live in the Soviet Union for a while gives me excellent qualifications to repudiate charges that Cuba and Fair Play for Cuba Committee is Communist-controlled.
BRINGUIER: Well I want to know exactly the name of the organization that you represent here in the city because I have some confusion. It's Fair Play for Cuba Committee, or Fair Play for Russia Committee?
A. Well, that is of course very provocative and a question - I don't think it requires an answer.
Q. How many people do you have in your committee here in New Orleans?
A. I cannot reveal that as secretary for the Fair Play for Cuba Committee.
Q. Is it a secret society?
A. No Mr. Butler, it is not. However, it is a standard operating procedure for a political organization consisting of a political minority to safeguard the names and the number of its members.
Q. Well, the Republicans are in the minority. I don't see them hiding their membership.
A. The Republicans are not a - well, the Republicans are a established political party representing a great many people. They represent no radical point of view; they do not have a very violent and sometimes emotional opposition as we do.
Q. Well, would you say that the Fair Play for Cuba Committee is not a Communist front organization?
A. The Senate Subcommittee, who have occupied themselves with investigating the Fair Play for Cuba Committee have found that there is nothing to connect the two committees. We have been investigated from several points of view, that is points of view of taxes, allegiance, subversion, etc. The findings have been, as I say, absolutely zero.
Q. Who is the Honorary Chairman of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee?
A. The honorary chairman of this Committee - the name of that person I certainly don't know.
Q. Well, let me tell you in case you don't know about your own organization.
A. No, I don't know about it.
Q. His name is Waldo Frank. [A self-admitted Communist] Who is the National Secretary of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee?
A. Well, we have a national director who is Mr. B. T. Lee, who has recently returned from Cuba and because of the fact that the United States Government has imposed restrictions on travel to Cuba, he is now under indictment for his traveling to Cuba. This, however, it's very convenient for a rightist organization to drag out this or that literature proporting to show a fact which has not been established in law. I have said the Fair Play for Cuba Committee has definitely been investigated. That is very true. I have also said that the total result of that investigation was zero, that is, the Fair Play for Cuba Committee is not now on the Attorney General's Subversive List. Any other material you may have is superfluous. [He pronounces it superfluitous]
Q. Mr. OSWALD, if I may break in a moment, I believe it was mentioned that you at one time asked to renounce your American citizenship and become a citizen of the Soviet Union?
A. Well, I don't think that has a particular import to this discussion. We are addressing Cuban-American relations -
Q. Well, I think it has a bearing to this extent, Mr. OSWALD, you say Cuba is not dominated by Russia and yet you apparently, by your past actions, have show you have an affinity for Russia and perhaps Communism...Are you or have you been a Communist?
A. Well, I had answered that prior to this program, on another radio program.
Q. Are you a Marxist?
A. Yes, I am a Marxist.
Q. What's the difference?
A. Well the difference is primarily the difference between a country like Ghana, Guiana, Yugoslavia, China, or Russia - very, very great differences. Differences which we appreciate by giving aid, let's say to Yugoslavia, in the sum of a hundred million or so dollars every year.
Q. That's extraneous. What's the difference?
A. The difference is, as I said, a very great difference. Many parties, many countries are based on Marxism. Many countries, such as Great Britain, display very socialistic aspects and characteristics. I might point to the socialized medicine of Britain.
Q. Did you have a government subsidy in the Soviet Union?
A. Well, as I - Well, I will answer that question directly then, since you will not rest until you get your answer. I worked in Russia. I was under the protection of the - of the - that is to say I was under the protection of the American Government but that is I was at all times considered an American citizen. I did not lose my American citizenship...I am back in the United States. A person who renounces his citizenship becomes legally disqualified for returning to the United States.
Q. Were you ever in Building 11 Kuznetskow (?) Street in Moscow?
A. Kuzetskow? Well, that would probably be the Foreign Ministry, I assume. No, I was never in that place...
Q. How do you hope to bring about what you call fair play for Cuba, knowing the sentiment?
A. The principles of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee consist of the restoration of diplomatic trade and tourist relations with Cuba. That is one of our main points. We are for that. I disagree that this situation regarding American-Cuban relations is very unpopular. We are a minority, surely. We are, however, not particularly interested in what Cuban exiles or rightist members of rightist organizations have to say. We are primarily interested in the attitude of the United States Government toward Cuba and in a way that we are striving to get the United States to adopt measures which would be more friendly toward the Cuban people and the new Cuban regime in their country. We are not at all Communist-controlled, regardless of the fact that I had the experience of living in Russia; regardless of the fact that we have been investigated; regardless of any of those facts, the Fair Play for Cuba is an independent organization not affiliated with any other organization. Our aims and our ideals are very clear and in the best keeping with American traditions of democracy.
BRINGUIER: Do you agree with Fidel Castro when he gave his latter speech of July 26 this year - he qualified President John Fitzgerald Kennedy of the United States as a ruffian and a thief. Do you agree with Mr. Castro?
A. I would not agree with that particular wording. However, I and the Fair Play for Cuba Committee does think that the United States Government through certain agencies, namely the State Department and the CIA, has made monumental mistakes in its relations with Cuba. Mistakes which are pushing Cuba into the sphere of activity of - let's say a very dogmatic Communist country, as China is.
Q. Mr. OSWALD, would you agree that when Castro first took power, would you agree the United States was very friendly with Castro, that the people of this country had nothing but admiration for him, that they were glad to see Batista thrown out?
A. I would say that the activities of the United States Government in regard to Batista were a manifestation of not so much support for Fidel Castro but rather a withdrawal of support from Batista. What we should have done was to take those armaments and drop them into the Sierra Maestre where Fidel Castro could have used them. As for public sentiment at that time, I think even at that time, even before the revolution, there were rumblings of official comment etc. from Government officials against Fidel Castro.
Q. You have never been to Cuba, of course, but why are people in Cuba starving today?
A. Well, in any country emerging from a semi-colonial state and embarking upon reform which require a diversification of agriculture you are going to have shortages. After all, 80% of imports into the United States from Cuba were two products: tobacco and sugar. Nowadays, while Cuba is reducing its products as far as sugarcane goes, it is striving to grow unlimited - and unheard of for Cuba - quantities of certain vegetables: sweet potatoes, lima beans, cotton etc. so that they can become agriculturally independent.
BRINGUIER knew that the purpose of the debate was to further establish OSWALD as the leader of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee in New Orleans. BRINGUIER also knew that OSWALD could not have possibly furthered the case of Cuba, because he was a former defector to the Soviet Union. No other leaders of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee had similar backgrounds. When asked if the Fair Play for Cuba Committee was controlled by the Communist Party, OSWALD never responded; instead he said the Senate Subcommittee that had investigated the Fair Play for Cuba Committee found no connection "between the two committees." What other committee that supported Cuba was he referring to? OSWALD was unfamiliar with the leadership of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, although he claimed to be the Secretary of the New Orleans Chapter. The only name he knew was V.T. Lee, who he called B.T. Lee, with whom he corresponded. OSWALD linked the British democratic socialists who sponsored socialized medicine with Marxism. This was a right-wing opinion. When OSWALD was accused of being a KGB agent, he merely confirmed his opponent's beliefs by saying he was aware of the building at 11 Kuznetskow Street. In OSWALD'S summation, he repeated "regardless of the fact." He was arguing against himself by doing this.
BRINGUIER brought up President John F. Kennedy, and got OSWALD to admit he was against him and the CIA. This was the second and last time OSWALD mentioned the initials C-I-A. When OSWALD first mentioned it, he called it, "the now-defunct CIA." The Cuban and Fair Play for Cuba Committee leadership were convinced that despite the replacement of Allen Dulles by John McCone as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, the CIA continued to conspire against them. A right-winger who believed the CIA had been hamstrung by President John F. Kennedy, would have called it "now-defunct." Marina Oswald told this researcher: "I'll tell you one thing, LEE HARVEY OSWALD loved Kennedy. I know it. You can tell something. He would defend him. He loved his country, not in a twisted way. I'm talking to you just because I love this country."
In a handwritten statement dated November 25, 1963, William Stuckey wrote: "OSWALD admitted to me in our private conversation following the Conversation Carte Blanche program that 'In Russia they never would permit something like the Fair Play for Cuba Committee to exist. Life is very bland there. They have eliminated all dissidents.'"
A report filed by New Orleans FBI S.A. Quigley on October 31, 1963, stated that on August 22, 1963, radio station WDSU made available a transcript of this broadcast. S.A. DeBRUEYS report of October 25, 1963, noted that on September 12, 1963, a confidential informant made a broadcast transcript available. The explanation for this by the FBI was withheld. On August 21, 1963, the Director of the FBI advised the SAC of the New Orleans office to "ascertain facts concerning Subject's [OSWALD] distribution of above mentioned pamplet, including the nature of pamphlet following which contact should be made with established sources familiar with Cuban activities in the New Orleans area to determine whether Subject involved in activities inimical to the internal security of the U.S. Submit results in LHM form suitable for dissemination, with appropriate recommendation as to further action." [FBI 105-1435-7]
OSWALD'S address book contained the following notations:
117 Camp Cuban
107 Decatur exile
1032 Canal store
117 Camp Street was the address of a clothing-rental store owned by Orlando Piedra. [1963 N.O. X-Cross Directory] 107 Decatur was BRINGUIER'S store. If these numbers were interchanged, they became 107 Camp Street, the office of Ronnie Caire, and 117 Decatur, the Habana Bar owned by Orestes Farnicio Pena (born August 15, 1923). [FBI 105-82555-813; WCD 227 p14] There was no such number as 1032 Canal. [FBI NO 100-16601 12.16.63 Richard Logan]
Researcher Harold Weisberg cracked this code. The FBI stated: "A complete review of a photograph of OSWALD'S address book available at Dallas fails to reflect any information indicating Ronnie Caire's office address is in this address book. It would appear that Weisberg's claim that OSWALD'S office address is 'masked' in this address book is a statement that only Weisberg can clarify. In the event Weisberg can relate how such address is 'masked,' it is possible that some pertinent observations could then be made." [FBI 105-82555-5649] The FBI listed Caire's address in 1963 as 704 Cigali Building, New Orleans 12, Louisiana. The Cigali building was located at 107 Camp Street. [FBI 105-82555-5647]
The FBI fingerprint record of Orestes Pena, a naturalized United States citizen, indicated that he joined the U.S. Army in 1949 and was honorably discharged, then went into the Coast Guard in 1954 and 1955. In July 1958, Orestes Pena was arrested by the New Orleans Police Department and charged with assault on officers, using obscene language and resisting arrest. Disposition: Dismissed. In 1959 he was arrested for operating a hotel without a permit. On August 23, 1961, Orestes Pena was arrested for vagrancy and investigation of pandering. Disposition: Dismissed. On October 9, 1962, Orestes Pena was arrested for having a lascivious and immoral person employed in a bar holding a liquor permit. On November 12, 1963, he was arrested for assault. Disposition: Dismissed. Orestes Pena, an amateur boxer, was the bouncer at his own bar.
Orestes Pena told the Warren Commission:
Pena: Before [the FBI] would just come around and tell me that they are asking me many things about people that was for Castro. When you got a bar room, especially in Spanish like I got, most of my customers are Spanish seamen, foreign seamen, you hear the way they talk, and before, as I was against Batista, most of the people here for Castro, really for Castro, they was going to my place. So when I joined the organization against Castro in New Orleans [the Cuban Revolutionary Front], one of the agents of the FBI, DeBRUEYS, started going to my place very, very often asking me about many different people, Spanish people, what I knew, what I thought. I told him what I knew; that some people was for Castro and some people was against. I told him what I saw. I never did ask him what he found out about those people.
Liebler: Do you remember who you talked to at the FBI?
Pena: I don't know exactly. See, I used to call DeBRUEYS. You are from Washington, huh?
Pena: I am going to talk to you about DeBRUEYS and the FBI agency in New Orleans, in Louisiana. Liebler: Do you think you talked to DeBRUEYS...
Pena: I don't know exactly. Sometimes you call there and they tell you he is not in there and you talk to somebody else if you want to give the message in the FBI see, because DeBRUEYS isn't there.
Pena: Then DeBRUEYS came to the organization. Maybe - I don't know if he was sent by the government or how.
Liebler: He join it?
Pena: No he didn't join it but he was sticking with the organization very, very close.
Liebler: They knew he was an FBI Agent.
Pena: Yes, we knew he was an FBI agent. So from time to time he called me at my place. He went to my place and was asking me about this guy and that guy, different people here in New Orleans. So I told him what I thought about the men. I tell you that and then you find out if I am right or I am wrong. I never did ask if I was right or wrong. I told him about that I am for sure they are for Castro here in New Orleans. So one way of the other, he was interfering with me somehow, Mr. DeBRUEYS, so -
Liebler: DeBRUEYS was interfering with you?
Pena: Yes. Somehow. So one day I went to the FBI. They called me to the FBI. I don't remember exactly what for they called me. So I told DeBRUEYS, - I told DeBRUEYS or somebody else that I talked to - DeBRUEYS' boss - I didn't ask them who it was. They was the FBI. They was in the FBI Office - I told the agency there I don't talk to DeBRUEYS. I don't trust him as an American.
Leibler: Did you tell them any reasons why you didn't?
Pena: Because he was interfering very close with the organization against Castro. So since that day - we got into a little bit of an argument there. We was talking about somebody. The FBI asked me about a man that had been in the group before, about somebody, if I knew somebody - if I knew his way of signing. So I asked DeBRUEYS, 'Did I told you about this man?' He said, 'No.' I got mad I said 'If you said I didn't told you about that man, I don't trust you as an American, to be for an American. So two days later he went to my place of business. He said to me at the table 'I want to talk to you. I said, 'Okay, let's go.' He said not to talk about him anymore because what he could do is get me in big trouble. He said, 'I am an FBI man, I can get you in big trouble.' But he made a big mistake. I had a girl that was with me that was here when he was discussing me.
Liebler: Somebody else was there and heard it?
Pena: Yes. He was discussing me not to talk about it. He was an FBI man and he could get me in big trouble. So I talked to my girlfriend and said 'Look, I better pull out of this thing. What the FBI wants me is to pull away pull away and I never did heard from the FBI until Mr. Kennedy got assassinated. They left me alone completely. They never asked me after I pulled out of the organization. After that, I never listened to anybody talking about politics in the place. I tried to keep out of it the most I could. They never did call me anymore until OSWALD got - and then they started coming here talking to me because we was talking about the incident.
Liebler: So your complaints about the FBI here in New Orleans relate basically to the anti-Castro proposition and not to the investigation of the assassination, is that correct?
Pena: No, no. That was way before.
S.A. DeBRUEYS denied that Orestes Pena had been his informant. FBI records indicated that Orestes Pena had, "during the years 1961 and 1962, furnished information to the FBI Office New Orleans, concerning persons he claimed were pro-Castro in his opinion." [FBI 105-82555-NR 8.12.64 #199]
During the early 1960's Orestes Pena was a delegate of the Cuban Revolutionary Front. When the Cuban Revolutionary Front opened its offices in the Balter Building The New Orleans States Item did a story on it that included a photograph of Orestes Pena, Sergio Arcacha Smith, Carlos Marquez, Manuel E. Quesada, Francisco U. Uriatre, Luis Menendez, Ramon Noda and Jorge Tarafa. [FBI 105-87912-P NR 1.4.61 #117] Orestes Pena told the Warren Commission:
Pena: You see - I started - like I told you when the organization moved to New Orleans -
Liebler: This is the anti-Castro organization?
Pena: Yes. So I went down there and joined the organization. In 1959 when I went to Cuba my mother told me how everything was going; so she says 'Castro is even worse than Batista.' So when I came back I joined the organization a little bit after that, the organization here in New Orleans [the Cuban Revolutionary Front]. So I went and joined them and started working for the organization collecting money at my place of business and giving my own money for many things to the organization, you know a dollar, two dollars...The FBI know very well because a person from the FBI was there all the time. I don't remember exactly the name of the organization right now, but the organization was in the Balter Building, I think, in the second floor.
Liebler: Whatever the organizations name was, was it an anti-Castro organization?
Pena: It was in the Balter Building, the only one there.
Liebler: Is that the organization sometimes known as JURE, J-U-R-E?
Pena: I don't know.
Liebler: Junta Revolutonario Cubana?
Pena: The chief or the boss of that organization, who was in Miami was Barrona [Varona]. He was the boss of the organization.
Pena: Yes. He was the boss of that organization.
Liebler: When did you leave Cuba?
Pena: I left Cuba in September 1946...many times I went to Cuba. My last time I went to Cuba was about eight months, I believe, after Castro took over, but before I used to go very often because all my family is in Cuba...
Liebler: Were you in Cuba in April or May of 1959.
Pena: I think that's the last time I was in Cuba.
Liebler: What was the purpose of your trip to Cuba at that time?
Pena: I went to Cuba - I don't know, I went to have an operation. Yes.
Liebler: While you were in Cuba [in 1959] did you have any contact with officials of the Castro Government?
Pena: No; not any.
Liebler: Have you ever expressed a favorable attitude toward the Castro regime?
Pena: No, I was never for, I was against Batista, but I was never even, I didn't even know Castro.
Liebler: You had nothing to do with Castro?
When HUNT was asked if he knew Orestes Pena, he replied: "Not to the best of my knowledge. They may have known me in the 1960 to 1961 period under different names, but those names are not familiar to me." HUNT was unfamiliar with Cuban Revolutionary Front delegates Arcacha Smith, Luis Rabel, and Frank Bartes, nor had he heard of the Cuban Revolutionary Front support group, Friends of Democratic Cuba.
Tony Varona denied that he visited the New Orleans office of the Cuban Revolutionary Front [HSCA Exec. Session 3.10.78 p15] although he knew a Dr. Guitart in Cuba, and subsequently visited him in New Orleans. On September 12, 1960, the FBI reported that Tony Varona, using the name "Varone" visited New Orleans. A FBI document about his visit was highly deleted: "To SAC New Orleans From Director FBI (Deleted) Varone appears identical with Manuel Antonio De Varona Y Loredo (deleted) one of the leaders of the Cuban Revolutionary Front. (Deleted)." [FBI 105-76461 NR 9.12.60]
Orestes Pena resigned from the Cuban Revolutionary Front because of a dispute involving Sergio Arcacha Smith. According to Orestes Pena, S.A. DeBRUEYS accused him of complicity in Sergio Arcacha Smith's theft of the funds of the Crusade to Free Cuba, and the FBI questioned him about this: "The FBI asked me about a man that had been in the group before, if I knew his way of signing." [FBI 105-87912-P] Orestes Pena participated in an anti-Castro operation in Cuba: "I went to Cuba - I don't know, I went to have an operation. Yes." As far as HUNT was concerned, the New Orleans Chapter of the Cuban Revolutionary Front did not exist since if HUNT linked himself to any of its members, he would have been linking himself to OSWALD.
On December 5, 1963, BRINGUIER informed the FBI that Orestes Pena had seen OSWALD in his bar. Pena allegedly told BRINGUIER that OSWALD was with a Cuban (BRINGUIER later identified him as a Mexican Communist the FBI wanted to question) and said OSWALD'S conversation was pro-Castro. When the waiter charged him 15 cents for a glass of lemonade, OSWALD remarked: "This man must be a former Cuban capitalist." Orestes Pena confirmed to the FBI that OSWALD was in his bar and added he became so intoxicated, he vomited.
The brother of Orestes Pena, Ruperto Pena, said that two men entered his bar and had a pro-Castro discussion. He turned over this information to CARLOS BRINGUIER, and to the FBI, and was later able to get the license plate numbers of these men. Although Ruperto could not make a positive identification, Evaristo Gilberto Rodriguez, a waiter at the Habana Bar, said one was OSWALD. [WCD 984B] When Ruperto Pena testified before the Warren Commission, he stated that his brother was not in New Orleans when this incident occurred, and that the man was not OSWALD.
The Warren Commission noted the testimony of Habana Bar bartender, and informant for S.A. DeBRUEYS, Evaristo Rodriguez, that he saw OSWALD in the Habana Bar sometime about August 9, 1963, in the company of a Latin-appearing man. [Testimony to Liebler 7.21.64] Rodriguez told the FBI that around 3:00 a.m. or 4:00 a.m. that two men, one OSWALD, came into the Havana Bar. [WCD 1389A]
Orestes Pena was asked by the Warren Commission:
Liebler: Is this the story that you told to the FBI after the assassination, that you had seen OSWALD in the bar and Rodriguez has seen him in the bar?
Pena: More or less.
Liebler: When you talked to the FBI two weeks ago, did they ask you about this again?
Pena: Yes; they asked me about this more than a dozen times.
Liebler: They asked you more than a dozen times about this?
Liebler: And did they come to your bar to ask you about this?
Pena: They come to my bar. They been calling me to come to the FBI office. That's why sometimes - one time I went down and got a lawyer. I don't need a lawyer about for this. I just tell you the truth.
Liebler: Did you tell Mr. BRINGUIER about having seen OSWALD in the bar?
Pena: Yes; we was talking about it. You see I did like very very much Mr. Kennedy...So I was hurt when he got killed. So when I saw the man there - I saw the man - so I went around and told most of my customers that I saw OSWALD came to my place.
Liebler: When you talked to the FBI on June 9, 1964, you told them, did you not, that you had never told anybody that OSWALD had been in the bar?
Pena: That I never told anybody?
Pena: That's not true.
Liebler: Didn't you tell that to the FBI?
Pena: I don't think that so. That I never told anybody?
Pena: I didn't told anybody before?
Liebler: I have a report before me, Mr. Pena, of an interview with you in the presence of your attorney, Mr. Tamberella, which was made by Mr. DeBRUEYS and Mr. Wall. That was in the FBI office on June 9, 1964, and on page two of this particular report, it says, and I quote: "Orest Pena specifically stated that he never told anyone, including CARLOS BRINGUIER, that OSWALD had been in the Habana Bar with a Mexican prior to the assassination of President Kennedy. He also said he never heard his brother, Ruperto Pena, say that OSWALD had been in the bar with the Mexican. He also stated that he had no information that the FBI was ever looking for a Mexican who had ever patronized the bar." Did you tell the FBI that?
Pena: I don't think so.
Liebler: In fact, you did tell BRINGUIER that you saw OSWALD in the bar?
Pena: When we were talking after the assassination, we were talking about it...After the assassination, they came and asked me so many times about the same thing, lemonade, it just looked silly to me.
The FBI reported: "Investigation in this case was instituted on the basis of information received from a source who related that Pena had stated he was going to Europe on May 1, 1964, and would visit Moscow. Through investigation, it was later determined that the person who had originally been told by Pena that Pena was going to Europe and would also visit Moscow was Guillermo Fiallo, 2003 Laurel Street, New Orleans, who admits his past connection with the Batista regime in Cuba and who is openly anti-Castro. Fiallo, upon interview has advised that the statement made by Pena was obviously made in jest and expressed the firm conviction that Pena is definitely anti-Castro...Fiallo related that he is a very close acquaintance of Orestes Pen, however, he added that he is very definitely anti-Castro and a follower of Orlando Piedra, who had been Chief Investigator of Fulgencio Batista before Castro defeated Batista...In addition to the foregoing, investigation has failed to reveal any activity on the part of Pena that would substantiate that he has performed or is performing any services on behalf of Fidel Castro or the present Cuban Government. In view of the foregoing, Subject is not being recommended for inclusion in the Security Index." [WCD 1539c; FBI SAC N.O. 105-1926-11.6.64; FBI 8.11.64 From Legat, Rome to Director withheld 1994] S.A. DeBRUEYS conducted an intensive investigation of Orestes Pena from April 1964 to July 1964. Everyone contacted said the Orestes Pena was anti-Castro, even CARLOS BRINGUIER: "On June 22, 1964, CARLOS BRINGUIER, who runs a clothing business at 107 Decatur Street, just two doors from the Habana Bar, advised that Pena is a complicated individual who has all sorts of complexes, however, BRINGUIER claims that Pena is definitely anti-Castro and has never defended Castro. He stated Pena would argue with BRINGUIER in defense of President Kennedy, but would never argue in favor of Castro."
Initially, Orestes Pena's story about OSWALD having a meeting in the Habana Bar was part of BRINGUIER'S disinformation campaign to link OSWALD with a Castro double-agent in New Orleans. The FBI was intent on proving that OSWALD had no associates in New Orleans and pressured Orestes Pena to change his testimony by accusing him of being a Communist. S.A. DeBRUEYS started a rumor based on a report Guillermo Fiallo that Orestes Pena was a Communist. S.A. DeBRUEYS recommended that Orestes Pena be put on the security index. On June 9, 1964, Orestes Pena went to the New Orleans FBI with his attorney, and said he was on vacation when the alleged OSWALD incident occurred. [WCD 1203] When he testified before the Warren Commission he went back to his story that OSWALD was at the Habana bar. This displeased the Warren Commission.
Orestes Pena was questioned by Warren Commission Counsel Wesley Liebler. Before Orestes Pena testified, Wesley Liebler had warned him that he might have to reveal that Mrs. Pena was involved with drugs in the Fall of 1963. As it was, Wesley Liebler never brought this up. Wesley Liebler was interested in Orestes Pena's trip to Mexico in May 1963, and the fact that he applied for a passport on the same day OSWALD did. He requested Orestes Pena let the Warren Commission photograph his passport, so it could be sure he did not visit Moscow.
Pena: I talked to the Agency about if that propaganda, where they was printing that propaganda, and I said, 'Why can't you find that place?' He said, 'Because the United States is a big country.' I said, 'It doesn't matter. Each printing has their own type or letter that can be found somehow.'
Liebler: So you told this FBI agent that they should find where the propaganda literature had been printed?
Pena: The propaganda that OSWALD was giving away. They put that on television four or five days after the assassination - OSWALD giving that propaganda. They knew that OSWALD was giving that propaganda away before Mr. Kennedy was killed. They got all of that propaganda and all that from taken of OSWALD.
Liebler: You think they should find out where those leaflets were printed? This is what you told them?
Pena: The little bit I know about the investigation,, they even - let me see how to say it. Let me see - they even keep OSWALD from killing Mr. Kennedy. From my point of view as an investigator, if they went all the way from that propaganda, from where it was printed, maybe they can put OSWALD in jail. Maybe the President not be killed. That was before Mr. Kennedy was killed.
Liebler: Let me ask you this: Do you have any evidence or do you know of any evidence that would link OSWALD to anyone else in a conspiracy to assassinate the President?
Liebler: Do you have any information or knowledge that OSWALD was involved with pro-Castro people in connection with the assassination.
Pena: No; I can't say that.
Liebler: Do you have any information that this was a pro-Castro or a Castro plot to assassinate President Kennedy?
Pena: No; I can't say that.
Liebler: Do you know if anyone else in New Orleans has information like that?
Pena: No; I can't say that.
Liebler: What about BRINGUIER?
Pena: What I think about BRINGUIER? He is just trying to get big name, collecting big name to make himself big when he come back to Cuba. Be one of the bosses. That's my point of view. I told you he don't like the United States and what I told you about; you can bring him here and tell him that Orest Pena told you that. I will stand a lie-detector test and I invite him to take one, and I invite DeBRUEYS too, to ask DeBRUEYS if that's true or not true he went to my place and tried to intimidate me. If he say no, I take a lie-detector test and he take a lie detector test and maybe you find one Communist in the FBI.
Liebler: You think that BRINGUIER is using his association with OSWALD to give himself a big name in connection with that?
Pena: That's what it is.
Liebler: As far as I know, BRINGUIER doesn't have any evidence that there was a pro-Castro plot to assassinate the President.
Pena: No, I don't know. See, BRINGUIER know OSWALD very well. He told me one time - I don't know if that is true or not - he said that OSWALD brought him some kind of manual or book. I believe he still have the book. And BRINGUIER has his own organization here. They call it -
Pena: He said OSWALD came to infiltrate his organization. That's what he told me. Before I used to talk to him, go there or he came to my place.
Liebler: You and Mr. BRINGUIER are not good friends any more; is that right?
Pena: We was quite close until - when they started the blockade in Cuba, the way he spoke about President Kennedy. And I pulled a little bit out. I even used to give him sometimes more than $2. I don't know. He collected to send to Miami, if he don't send it somewhere else. That's what he said. I tell you, BRINGUIER don't do many things that he will tell you. He don't like America. Time will tell. He is one of the guys that - do you remember when they were saying 'Yankee go home' in Cuba? He was in Cuba at that time. He was calling, 'Yankee go home!'
Leibler: Has he ever favored Castro that you know of?
Pena: Of course.
Liebler: You don't think that BRINGUIER is in favor of Castro at this current time?
Pena: He? No. He hate Castro and he hate Russia, but he hates America as much too. He just want to go back to Cuba and be one of the bosses. I want you to know something. I love the United States more than many people who were born in this country and I got a place of business and I hear - they don't talk much now. They are very scared but before, when Castro was started, I learn many people, how much they was against this country, people that was born in this country. I love this country, believe me. Maybe you don't believe me or have a bad report about me, but nobody make me a Communist. Believe that. Believe or not.
Orestes Pena believed the assassination could have been prevented if the FBI had tracked down the printer who ran off OSWALD'S Fair Play for Cuba Committee leaflets. This did not make sense unless BRINGUIER, who hated America more than he hated Russia, was behind their being printed. Pena was trying to tell the Warren Commission that BRINGUIER was part of the conspiracy: "BRINGUIER know OSWALD very well."
Orestes Pena told the Warren Commission that when BRINGUIER was arrested for attacking OSWALD, it was he, Pena, who put up his bail. All the Cubans involved in that fracas were released.
Pena: When I finish with him - you are from Washington. I tell you BRINGUIER hates the United States as much as he hates Russia.
Liebler: BRINGUIER does?
Pena: The day Mr. Kennedy put a blockade in Cuba - you remember about a year and a half more or less - Mr. CARLOS BRINGUIER was telling me - excuse me - (obscenity) in Spanish more than a dozen times, and I couldn't stand that. I have never done anything against the United States. I said, "No." Anyway, anything you want to ask me and you can asked Mr. BRINGUIER is that true or not, and let him and me take a lie detector test to see who is right on it.
Liebler: You say you have never done anything against the interests of the United States?
Pena: No; I have not ever.
Liebler: Well, I have no reason whatsoever not to believe that statement, Mr. Pena.
Liebler: Why do you say that Mr. BRINGUIER hates the United States more than he does Russia?
Pena: Because he does as much.
Liebler: As much?
Liebler: Why does he dislike the United States? Has he ever told you?
Pena: No; but the way he talks the United States didn't help to overthrow Castro, and he can't go over there and take over.
Liebler: Is that the basis for Mr. BRINGUIER'S bad feelings toward the United States, that we haven't done anything to overcome the Castro regime?
Pena: Well the way he talks to me he hates the United States as much as he hates Russia. That's what I told you, that's what he said more than a dozen times. And if that is not true let him take a lie detector test and find out whether that is true or not.
Pena parted ways with BRINGUIER because of BRINGUIER'S involvement in the Kennedy assassination: "BRINGUIER don't do many things that he will tell you. He don't like America."
Orestes Pena told the FBI that BRINGUIER called President Kennedy "a motherfucker, son of bitch and no good because he didn't send planes to bomb Cuba. This was during the Cuban Missile Crisis...Mr. DeBRUEYS came to me one morning and called me very early and we got into a talk. This time he came all by himself. He told me that if I ever have anything to talk about him that he would get my ass and he will see that I got hurt so I got very mad and I told him if he wanted to get my behind, come inside the bar..."
Orestes Pena told Dan Rather of CBS-TV News in 1975 that he had seen OSWALD and S.A. DeBRUEYS together in the summer of 1963. This explained why DeBRUEYS threatened Orestes Pena.
OSWALD'S notebook provided evidence S.A. DeBRUEYS was in contact with him. As stated the name "Warrin DeBryuelu" appeared there, disguised as two Russian words. DeBRUEYS was sent a copy of this entry in July 1993. He stated: "I find it interesting, but I think obviously he put my name in his notebook because I had investigated him prior to the assassination. I talked to the landlord, I guess, I assume, I have no idea, there was a multitude of ways he could have gotten my name. I talked to his landlady on Magazine Street. The idea was to confirm if he had any employment that placed him in contact with sensitive material, as far as national security was concerned. And, of course, I gave her my name, and showed her identification."
The HSCA questioned Mrs. Jesse Garner, OSWALD'S landlady at Magazine Street. She said that an FBI agent came to her home and questioned her about OSWALD.
Q. Do you remember the name of this FBI agent?
A. His name was Milton Cage.
Q. Could that have been Milton Kaack?
A. Could have been...It was about a month after Lee moved in.
Mrs. Jesse Garner checked her address book and found she had spelled the word Kasch. Mrs. Jesse Garner told the United States Secret Service that "an FBI Agent, believed to be Milton Kooch or Koach, was investigating OSWALD during the time he lived at 4907 Magazine Street, that he had interviewed her four or five times about OSWALD." She also that a Cuban male had visited OSWALD. She also stated that "OSWALD had been visited on about three occasions, always late in the evening or about dark, by a middle aged grey haired man who was rather thin, not very tall and had a receding hairline, very fair complexioned and a neat dresser. She stated that on one occasion this man was accompanied by a woman." [USSS CO-2, 34,030-988] DeBRUEYS was asked why OSWALD disguised his name as two Russian words. He responded, "I have no idea. I got the impression he fancied himself as a spook. I have no idea. I never met him ever, and to my knowledge, I never spoke to him."
DeBRUEYS claimed he came face to face with OSWALD for the first time on November 23, 1963. [WCE 2003 p161] S.A. DeBRUEYS told Senator Schweiker's Subcommittee on the Assassination of President Kennedy: "I was asked if I personally met LEE HARVEY OSWALD and my answer to that question was a categoric 'No.' I stated that I had not knowingly spoken to LEE HARVEY OSWALD by phone. I was then asked how many times I had contact with Orestes Pena and I responded by a rough guess of a minimum six to a probable maximum for 12 times. I was asked if Orestes Pena had been an Informant or Potential Security Informant of the New Orleans Office of the FBI. My response again was a definite 'No.'...My recollection of him is that he was not the type of person I would have been inclined to develop as an informant simply because he was not inclined to furnish data freely or voluntarily...It was then asked why would Orestes Pena have made a statement that he had seen me with OSWALD. I reminded the Committee that it was my belief that such a statement by Pena was not supplied by him to the Warren Commission. In fact, I suspect that the first time he made such a statement was not more than a year or two ago. I then said that the accusation was an unmitigated and bare-faced lie...Orestes Pena was an undesirable individual; a pervert who allegedly engaged in unnatural acts with females, and who had the reputation of often bullying some seamen who patronized his bar. These same sources, whose identities I can no longer recall, had also commented that he had beaten some of his clientele with a pool stick, and that he felt that he could get away with almost any activity, as he had contacts within the New Orleans Police Department...he was trying to gain an aura of importance and respectability by becoming an officer in one or more of the anti-Castro organizations in the New Orleans area."" On December 8, 1975, S.A. DeBRUEYS cited: "the outright lie uttered by Orestes Pena on the CBS documentary that he saw me in company with OSWALD, form, in my opinion, the basis for the growing suspicion that OSWALD was an FBI informant...If such allegations are permitted to persist without strong refutation, they will in time acquire an aura of truth and, as such, grossly and adversely affect that Bureau's reputation and provide a false basis for historical evaluation of various Government institutions. In short, it could seriously damage our national prestige. It would be well for the Bureau to insure that CBS provides, as promised by their representative Bruce Hull [Bruce Hall] a full copy of the transcript of Hull's interview of me for the CBS Documentary." [FBI 62-19060-7456] When DeBRUEYS testified before the HSCA, he was less certain about the FBI connection to OSWALD: "OSWALD was never an asset. We did not use that term, at the time. It would have been tantamount to saying he was an informant. He was never an informant. I am disinclined to believe he was ever recorded as a source, but that possibility exists, because a source of information can be almost anybody. I would reiterate that he was not the type of person that would initiate information flowing to us. He would be somebody who would be in the area, somebody else who could tell us about what went on in the bar. We may have talked to him." [HSCA Test. 5.3.78]
Additional corroboration for Orestes Pena's report was supplied by Adrian Alba. Adrian Alba was proprietor of the Crescent City Garage, which was located next door to the Reilly Coffee Company, and which was a block away from 544 Camp Street. The Warren Commission stated that OSWALD frequented his garage, and read gun magazines. [WR p726]
The HSCA interviewed Alba on January 24, 1978:
"Adrian Alba states that he is 28 years in the business. In 1963, being a gun buff, he maintained three stacks of magazines within the office of his garage on Hunting, Fishing, Guns, etc.
"The first time that he saw LEE HARVEY OSWALD was in the early part of the summer of 1963 when the Subject was seated on the couch, in the office, drinking a Coke and reading a magazine. When Mr. Alba entered the office, he stood up and asked permission to sit there and read the magazine.
"Over a period of time he knew OSWALD worked next door in the Reilly Coffee Company, aka Louisiana Coffee Company, which is alleged to be a subsidiary of the United Fruit Company. He states that OSWALD would come into his office almost daily, spending as much as 30 or 40 minutes at a time drinking an awful lot of Coca Colas. Mr. Alba states that he cannot recall the dates that well at this time, but to the best of his recollection it was one week, to two months, prior to the assassination that he last saw OSWALD. Just prior to his leaving, about one week to ten days, he told Alba he would be leaving for 'a pot of gold' in Gentilly. When the day arrived (it might have been as long as two weeks) OSWALD waved to Alba from the street and informed him he was going to his pot of gold in Gentilly and he left. According to Mr. Alba he and OSWALD would hold many conversations, usually about guns. They would never discuss religion or politics. Alba further states that over at the garage OSWALD was very talkative, while at the coffee company he was very quiet and mouey-like. Mr. Alba refers to him as something akin to a whipped puppy dog and, being the type of individual he is, he was trying to bring him out of his shell. The only type of weapon that OSWALD talked about obtaining was an M1...
"One time while OSWALD was in the garage office, Alba was seated at his desk a car pulled halfway into the garage and OSWALD said his child was in the car. Alba paid him the courtesy of going to the office doorway and waving to the car. He states that there was two women in it with the older of the two driving and he did not recall seeing OSWALD in it. OSWALD went out, held a short conversation; the car left and he returned to the office for a brief time before he returned to work...Shortly after this, perhaps the next day, OSWALD asked if he could borrow his car. Alba informed him that he had a brother and brother-in-law and he would not loan them his car due to insurance reasons.
"One time OSWALD came into the garage with a rifle sling and asked if he could put a rivet in a piece of leather. Alba did, using a small anvil from his shop which he still has in his possession. The piece that he put in was a light tan color and slightly wider, but not as thick as the original which, according to him, was black leather. OSWALD told him it was from his Italian rifle. Alba always ate his lunch at Jack Mancuso's Restaurant and he saw OSWALD there many times, but usually alone because he cannot remember anyone with him. [Mancuso's Restaurant was located on the first floor of 544 Camp Street and Guy Banister frequented it.]
"During this period of time, the Secret Service stored their cars, as well as vehicles that were seized by them, at Alba's garage. One particular day, he remembers it because it was rather unusual and his memory was jogged by a TV commercial begin shown just a couple of years ago, a FBI man came down, showed him his credentials and also showed him a pass issued by the Secret Service allowing this FBI man to take out what he recalls as a light greenish Plymouth. The car was kept out, apparently by this agent, for two or three days. During this time he was standing outside of his garage and he saw, as he referred to it, 'my car' coming down the street. He saw the plate number so it was the same one. The car stopped at the corner just outside of the Reilly Coffee Company, and he saw OSWALD come out of the building, go over to the car, not to hold a conversation of any duration, but take a legal sized envelope, hold it to his stomach under his T-shirt, turn around in a crouched position, and go back into the building, straightening up as he went. The thing that jogged his memory was the commercial of a businessman (Rosenberg) showing a similar action. He states he has not mentioned this in the past.
"Alba has a record of books going back to that time, and an attempt was made to ascertain the license plate number and the agent assigned to the vehicle. The records that were checked by Daly and Buras only showed three of the five or six that were stored there, and none was the vehicle in question. Further efforts will be made in this direction.
"Alba was the only patron who had seen OSWALD in Mancuso's restaurant. Mancuso did not remember him. [HSCA interview with Mancuso 1.26.78 Daly/Buras]
Why did OSWALD associate with Alba, 'a good ole boy,' rather than with other left wingers? Adrian Alba was contacted in April 1993. He said he was "not interested in talking." He spoke with Gerald Posner who dismissed him as a kook. [HSCA R p146; Case Closed p131]
The HSCA called Orestes Pena to testify. He reiterated to the Committee that he had seen OSWALD and S.A. DeBRUEYS together several times: "Pena maintained that a few days before he went to testify before the Warren Commission, S.A. DeBRUEYS threatened him physically and warned him not to make any accusations against him. Orestes Pena stated that Wesley Liebler did not cooperate with him, and did not let him talk freely, so he decided to keep his mouth shut." [HSCA R p193] The HSCA found that Orestes Pena was not a credible witness. The CIA claimed to have no "pertinent identifiable information" on Orestes Pena. [DOJ LHM 7.6.64] As of 1993 Orestes Pena, who recently suffered a stroke, lived in Florida.
Orlando Piedra, whose address was in OSWALD'S address book, was associated with Enrique Fernandez Parajon, the former Chief of Batista's Secret Police, and he was a friend of BRINGUIER. Ronnie Caire stated he had been introduced to "the man who had been head of Batista's Secret Police" by Sergio Arcacha Smith. FBI SAC James J. O'Conner questioned Piedra about his connection to OSWALD on December 20, 1963.
"Mr. Orlando Piedra, former Chief of the Bureau of Investigations of the Cuban National Police until the overthrow of the Batista regime was located at Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He stated he was visiting relatives and would return to his residence in New Orleans about January 1, 1964.
"It was explained to Mr. Piedra that OSWALD'S personal effects contained a listing of Cuban exile stores at various addresses in New Orleans, Louisiana, including one such store at 117 Camp Street in New Orleans.
"Mr. Piedra stated that he had been a partner in a store at that address called the Hispanic American Discount House, Inc. which was opened in January 1963. He said that in April or May 1963, he sold his interest to his partner, Joseph B. Namer, who he stated is a United States citizen who had been born in Cuba. He said that Mr. Namer subsequently closed down the store about October 1963.
"Mr. Piedra stated that he himself had never had any personal contact with OSWALD. He suggested OSWALD probably listed the locations of various Cuban exile stores in New Orleans as part of his activity directed against anti-Castro Cuban exiles.
"Orlando Piedra related that in his contacts with other Cuban exiles in New Orleans, he had been advised that the wife of a Cuban attorney named (FNU) Cusco, received information that OSWALD had attempted to buy trucks for the Government of Fidel Castro. According to Orlando Piedra, the wife of Cusco was employed in an office in New Orleans where the boss stated that a friend, who is a truck dealer, had refused to do business with OSWALD when the latter attempted to buy trucks for the Cuban Government. [FBI Miami 105-8342]
BRINGUIER told the New Orleans Secret Service office the same story. The FBI checked with Mrs. Cusco's employer and found that he was a friend of Oscar W. Deslatte of Bolton Ford. [FBI Miami 105-8342 12.18.63 O'Conner Ft. Lauderdale] HEMMING said he knew Orlando Piedra in the early 1960's. HEMMING told this researcher: "He was a Godfather kind of guy who, like Ventura, had a private detective agency. Very personable. He belonged to the Junta of National Liberation. William K. Harvey's people supported it. William K. Harvey was setting up this team of people, which a lot of people call OPERATION FORTY, which is an erroneous name. They were setting up this team of people to eliminate Fidelista without Fidel, like Manuel Ray. They were to eliminate everybody in place, if accidentally the former Castro people got into power militarily, or civilly, during the anarchy that would follow a victory over Castro. FRANK was kept on tap to blow a few fucking people away. It was an extension of ZR RIFLE. Ethnic cleansing of the new government after the Bay of Pigs.
"It would be impossible for him to get Piedra's address. Ventura and Piedra did not advertise where the fuck they were. They were in business but they didn't advertise where the fuck they were. If you wanted to see them, you had to make an appointment, and be escorted there. There was kidnap money out on them. Juan Orta set up a couple of operations to snatch all these people. These people were fucking war criminals. So how would an OSWALD come up with this? Somebody in the government had to give it to him."
During the radio debate with William Stuckey and BRINGUIER, OSWALD observed that "criminals," who are wanted in Cuba for crimes against humanity, are now engaged in day-to-day trade with the people of New Orleans. Was he referring to Orlando Piedra? Had they really been criminals in Cuba, or did OSWALD mean 'war criminal'? On June 25, 1962, the Department of the Army reported: "Ex-Dictator of Cuba Batista is sponsoring and financing the military training of Cubans in exile in the U.S...Recruiters for this pro-Batista armed force are offering a bounty of $200 upon enlistment. The trainees are fed, housed and provided with a khaki uniform. Recruiters are: Orlando Piedra, New Orleans. Eladio Del Valle recruiter in Miami." [Army Report ID 2205713]
In 1967, Arnesto N. Rodriguez Sr. suggested that the District Attorneys office in New Orleans contact Orlando Piedra about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, since Orlando Piedra possessed files on exiles suspected of being double-agents. [Dubois Castro Bobbs Merrill 1959 p130; WCD 1203a; Memo: Sciambra /Garrison 2.14.67; Interview with R 1.23.67 ARA files]
On May 8, 1973, the name of Orlando Piedra appeared on a document titled "Memo from DDO from James Flannery, Subject; Media Inquiry to Cuban Exile Journalist in Miami regarding: Cuban Involvement in Watergate Case and Attitudes in Miami Area w/bio summaries." This CIA Index Card read "Rene Viera Gonzalez, S. Gottlieb, Renaldo Pico, Orlando Piedra, Rolando Masferrer, ITT, Joaquin Pedromo Sanjenis, Juan A. Paula, Edgardo Buttari, Charles 'Bebe' Reboso, Anthony Felix Corzo Genova, Ernesto Betencourt, Mr. Kercher, Avany, John Dean, James Flannery, Marvin L. Evans." [IG File 15, Tab 26]
JAMES E. FLANNERY
James E. Flannery was in Bolivia from 1961 to 1964, Mexico from 1964 to 1965, where he served under Winston Scott. Flannery served in the Dominican Republic from 1965 to 1969. He was a colleague of Desmond FitzGerald, Richard Bissell and DAVID PHILLIPS. He served as an assistant to Ted Shackley.
Juan Paula was in Cuba in 1961 and was mentioned in HUNT'S book, Give Us This Day as an accountant who served as treasurer of the FRD. HUNT recalled: "A Headquarters finance officer escorted by two guards flew to Miami and met me at my Brickell Point apartment. He was the same finance officer with whom I had worked during the Guatemalan operation and we had a complete understanding of the problems that lay ahead. He gave me a briefcase containing $115,000 in cash, and I signed a receipt for the money. Then I drove across Miami and delivered the money to Juan Paula, the FRD treasurer, a serious an nonpolitical young Cuban who had been a successful CPA in Havana before the revolution...My first meeting that day was held with Juan Paula. I received from him a number of accountings, approved them, and remarked on the increasing number of supernumeraries on the FRD payroll...After breakfast Juan Paula arrived. We went over the Frente's books together."
Another card contained these additional names: "Ruben Mediola, (Deleted) E. Hernandez DD/WH File Review 74 IG File 30 Tab 9 (Deleted) 3041 to C/WH from COS/WH/Miami. Subject: Inquiries by Gotlieb, a Journalist, on ITT and Cubans in Miami area." This handwritten notation appeared: "Could not find actual cable in file - circled in red is only mention of reference."
On June 15, 1963, Sam Benton and Victor Espinosa were arrested in Miami while preparing for an air strike on the Shell Oil Refinery in Havana. Sam Benton claimed he "was acting in a consultant capacity," and was there to photograph the raid for the news media. A few days later, the Justice Department dropped charges against Sam Benton and Espinosa. On July 5, 1963, MM T-1, a Cuban exile pilot, advised that several days prior to June 15, 1963, he was contacted by Victor Espinosa and asked to do a bombing run over Havana. An FBI report dated July 22, 1963, revealed that several days prior to June 15, 1963, a Cuban exile pilot (not identified in the report but known to be reliable to the FBI) was contacted by Victor Hernandez and propositioned to pilot a twin Beechcraft plane on a bombing mission against Havana, Cuba. During this conversation, Espinosa disclosed that one Mike McLaney had supplied the money and the Beechcraft plane to stage this proposed raid. The FBI informant said he was personally acquainted with both Espinosa and McLaney, and that he declined the proposition, and had no part in the operation. The informant said that Mike McLaney formerly operated a gambling concession in the Hotel National, Havana, Cuba, during the Batista regime and the informant was of the opinion that McLaney was investing in this raid in order to earn some credit for future business opportunities in Cuba should the Castro regime ever be overthrown. McLaney was reported to be a well-known figure among gambling circles in Havana, Cuba, and South Florida." When questioned by the FBI, Victor Espinosa denied that Michael J. McLaney had donated funds or assisted in plans for the raid. [FBI from SSCIA 157-10007-10104; NARA 124-10236-10075]
Victor Espinosa arrived in the United States on May 2, 1960. He was granted a CIA Provisional Operational Approval on October 18, 1960, and April 18, 1961, for participation in Project Zenith. Before Bay of Pigs, Victor Espinosa participated in several CIA missions within Cuba. Victor Espinosa, a former member of OPERATION 40, had been trained in Panama. One CIA document stated he was terminated on March 20, 1961, as a malcontent. Another stated: "Interest was cancelled on October 30, 1961, and Subject's Immigration and Naturalization Service status was changed from parolee to refugee. Cancellation of clearance is dated May 15, 1963." The CIA claimed: "At the time of the FBI raid on the LaCombe arms cache, in July 1963, Victor Espinosa was not employed by the CIA." [CIA OS Memo 2.19.68] After the raid on the home of William McLaney, Wallace Shanley put Victor Espinosa under surveillance. HEMMING commented: "Espinosa lived with McLaney until the Bay of Pigs."
Richard Lauchli sold the dynamite to Sam Benton and Victor Espinosa for the June 15, 1963 raid. MM T-3 advised on June 14, 1963 "Rich Albert Lauchli arrived in Miami, Florida, in a Ford Station wagon with a load of arms for sale. American adventurers and mercenaries HEMMING and STURGIS took Lauchli around to meet the different Cuban exile leaders in Miami. Lauchli subsequently sold a .57 mm recoilless rifle to the Second National Front of Escambray, a Japanese machine gun to American mercenary Bill Garman, two automatic rifles and two French guns to Ramon Font of Commandos L, and miscellaneous other equipment to other organizations. MM T-3 explained that when Lauchli arrived in Miami in June 1963 his station wagon contained .50 caliber machine guns, nine sub-machine guns, automatic rifles and a number of foreign made weapons. Lauchli sold nearly all of these arms, and at reasonable prices. MM T-3 explained that Lauchli is more interested in arms sales as a gun dealer, and he has no emotional feeling about the Cuban exile cause of trying to overthrow the present government in Cuba." [FBI Miami MM 105-1742] HEMMING introduced Richard Lauchli to Sam Benton and Victor Espinosa. [FBI 62-109060-7543] HEMMING claimed it was not him, but someone in "the Bureau or Customs."
In early July 1963, a FBI informant in the DRE advised that Sam Benton had 2,500 pounds of dynamite hidden in Mississippi, and wanted to obtain B-24 aircraft for a new strategy against the oil refineries that involved the DRE. This joint Christian Democratic Movement-DRE operation was scheduled to take place in August 1963. The FBI released a document in 1984 that described the DRE airstrip near the camp. Two aircraft were scheduled to take off from this strip, then bomb Havana's oil refineries. The document noted that the only other "group in New Orleans which appears to have sufficient organization to attempt such an adventure is the Cuban Revolutionary Council headed by Frank Bartes." [FBI 2-1821-10]
A house in LaCombe, Louisiana, stored dynamite to be used on a bombing raid against the Shell oil refineries in Havana. HEMMING told this researcher: "Richard Lauchli was supposed to prepare the fucking fuses. He hadn't even started working the deal." On July 31, 1963, FBI agents raided the house in LaCombe. The search warrant had been based on the affidavit of S.A. DeBRUEYS. The FBI reported: "It is noted that we received information from Miami, Florida, source on July 18, 1963, that Acelo Pedroso, former Cuban pilot, had gone to New Orleans about July 16, 1963, to check some bombs allegedly to be used on bombing raid over Cuba. Pedroso, upon interview July 19, 1963, admitted traveling to New Orleans with two Cubans and being taken to a house in the New Orleans area where some bombs, fuses and dynamite were located. The bombs were not suitable for use on bombing mission. Pedroso voluntarily accompanied Miami Agent to New Orleans on July 30, 1963, and identified house which had been pin-pointed by New Orleans Office agents, as house where munitions were stored. On July 31, 1963, representative of our New Orleans office, which authorized search warrant, searched residence located in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, owned by William Julius McLaney, 4213 Encampment Street, New Orleans, Louisiana...There are no references in the OSWALD case to any of the Subjects of the seizure matter. We have no indication that OSWALD had any connection with it." [FBI 62-109060-4760] The FBI also reported that Pedrosa stated that "Two B-26 airplanes were located some distance from New Orleans, possibly in the Houston area, although Pedrosa was not certain of this. After Pedrosa approved the equipment to be used in this raid, he was to call his pilot friend in Miami, who would arrange for the plane to be flown to an airstrip located about ten miles from the house where the bombs are located. After the bombs were loaded, the planes would take off for the bombing mission to Cuba. It was indicated to Pedrosa this operation would be a one time deal, and to avoid any problems with the U.S. authorities, the planes would not be returned to the U.S. but proceed to an unknown destination or be ditched in the ocean. (Deleted), whose identity should be protected, confidentially advised the Miami Division that he believed one of the pilots on this mission to be Antonio Soto Vasquez, a Cuban exile and former Air Force pilot, who had participated in the Bay of Pigs invasion, and who is a good friend of Pedrosa." HEMMING told this researcher: "They didn't have B-25's. They had a Twin-Beech. They were going to roll the bombs out of the fucking door. Show me the fucking document." The FBI reported: "(Deleted), whose identity should be protected, advised the Miami Division on July 5, 1963, that several days prior to June 15, 1963, he was contacted by Victor Espinosa in connection with a proposition that (Deleted) pilot a twin engine Beechcraft airplane on a bombing mission against Cuba. Espinosa disclosed at that time that Mike McLaney had supplied the money and Beechcraft airplane to be used in the raid...Frank Bartes, advised on September 26, 1963, he met Rene and Victor Espinosa in Coral Gables, Florida, in June 1963. They told Bartes they had previously been picked-up by Federal authorities for attempting to bomb an oil refinery in Cuba. Bartes advised that neither Rene, nor Victor Espinosa, mentioned having any explosives in Louisiana. Bartes denied any knowledge of a cache of explosives at the residence of William J. McLaney and denied knowing William McLaney or his brother Mike. Bartes also denied knowledge of any plans by anyone to bomb Cuba...By letter dated January 3, 1964, the Internal Security Division, U.S. Department of Justice, advised that since the plan of the Subjects to undertake an aerial attack on Cuba was effectively thwarted by the seizure of the material criminal action in this matter was not being contemplated at that time." [NARA FBI 124-10236-10075]
In a memorandum to his FBI superiors, S.A. DeBRUEYS recalled that Senator Richard Schweiker "seemed to be interested in an anti-Castro training camp which was alleged to have been located in a rural area across a lake in New Orleans. He requested if I was involved in, or knew about, a raid of such a camp. I replied that rumors were rife in approximately 1963 that such a camp existed, but I had no corroborative information that one did exist...I did state that there was a case in which a search warrant was effected by me and other Special Agents of a residence located on the other side of the Lake from New Orleans some time in the Summer of 1963...the owner of the property was a man named McLany (ph.) who I recall may have had some prior gambling connections in Cuba..."
The house in LaCombe belonged to William J. McLaney. With his brother Mike McLaney, he had purchased Nacional Hotel and Casino in Havana from the syndicate in December 1958. Mike McLaney was arrested in Cuba on March 13, 1959, and charged with the illegal importation of Cuban currency. Tourists coming into Cuba were searched to see if they were smuggling pesos. The Cuban Government ordered the search in an effort to halt any covert returned of money cached outside Cuba by ousted President Batista and his associates. Meyer Lansky's brother, Jake Lansky, was also arrested in Cuba on March 13, 1959. They were freed seven days later. The Castro Government issued an apology to McLaney. Jake Lansky left the country, but Mike McLaney continued to operate. In late 1960 Fidel Castro nationalized Mike McLaney's casino and deported him. During testimony before a Bahamian Gaming Board in 1967 Mike McLaney was asked:
Q. When did you operate the Hotel Nacional?
A. I was unfortunate in buying it about seven months before the bearded, mongrel, Communist dog took it over. He stole it from me about a year later, in addition to other lands and businesses I had in Cuba.
Q. I wonder, McLaney whether you can confine your evidence to the facts. Your description of Mr. Castro may be interesting but it is not language appropriate for use in court.
A. I will take the dog part out of it.
When Life Magazine printed a story that linked Mike McLaney with Meyer Lansky, he filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Life Magazine. Life Magazine produced newspaper clippings that confirmed that no casino operated in Havana without the consent of Meyer Lansky. Since Mike McLaney owned a casino in Havana, he had to have been some connection with Meyer Lansky.
Life Magazine had Robert Peloquin, a specialist in organized crime with the Department of Justice, testify on its behalf. After his departure from the Department of Justice, Robert Peloquin was hired by INTERTEL. Mike McLaney lost the lawsuit. The Internal Revenue Service filed income tax evasion charges against McLaney and he was convicted of evading $118,000 in taxes and sentenced to three months in Federal prison. The agent from the Internal Revenue Service who initially questioned Mike McLaney, (FNU) Mann, was also hired by INTERTEL, as was IRS agent Michael Zier, who was hired in June 1972.
Mike McLaney denied he had been associated with Meyer Lansky during testimony before the Bahamian Gaming Board in 1967:
Q. Did you have at any time an association with Meyer Lansky?
A. Never, I don't even know Mr. Lansky. If he was in the room, I would not even recognize him unless he was pointed out to me.
Q. You were at some time a resident in New Orleans?
A. Yes, I was in the construction business there, the sporting goods business. I have lived only two places all my life. For the first 32 years of my life in New Orleans and in Miami Beach from that period until now. I am 52 years of age.
Q. Did you ever gamble at the Colonial Inn in Hallandale?
Q. Do you know who operated it?
A. No I think it was closed before I came to Florida.
Q. Mr. McLaney, in relation to this last statement, you were asked whether you knew Meyer Lansky, and you said you had never met him.
A. I don't to my memory, ever remember meeting Meyer Lansky.
Q. He was in Cuba when you were in Cuba. Is that right?
A. If Meyer Lansky was in Cuba when I was, I never met him, never discussed business with him of any type.
Q. If you didn't know him, did you know Jake, the brother?
A. Jake Lansky was one of the employees or owners of the casino I purchased. I was a customer and you establish when you play you have a line of credit. I would see Mr. Lansky, who has prominent eyebrows, that would be the extent of my knowledge of Mr. Lansky. He would nod his head - my credit would be okay.
Q. Was he the credit manager?
A. I don't know - he was one of the bosses, I assume, whether he was the credit manager or not he had the authority.
Q. Would you have known him quite well?
A. Not quite well. He would know me as a customer.
Q. Was he never associated with you in business?
A. Positively not.
Because of the Life Magazine story, the Miami Police Department began an investigation of McLaney. The report of this interview stated: "In the course of the conversation Mr. McLaney named some of his close friends. To the best of my recollection those named were J. Edgar Hoover, John S. Knight, publisher of the Miami Herald and Rocky Pomerantz, Chief of the Miami Beach Police Department. He stated that he could use these people as references, along with the Chief of Police and Mayor of New Orleans. Upon departure it was noted that his next door neighbor is alleged crime figure Tony Salerno." [Inter-office Memo, City of Miami, McCracken/Swilley 2.9.67]
^ Jack Anderson reported that after the Bay of Pigs invasion, Mike McLaney sent the Agency a detailed plan for destroying Cuba's oil refineries. The refineries were owned by American multi-national oil companies and for that reason the CIA opposed the plan. [Messick Syndicate Abroad p32, 137; Miami Herald James Buchanan 10.2.61]
The brother of Mike McLaney, William Julius McLaney, told the FBI he knew nothing about the dynamite and merely permitted a Cuban exile named "José Marti" to store some personal belongings in the house. Mike McLaney told the FBI he knew nothing about the dynamite. In the course of the Garrison investigation in 1967 M.D. Stevens of the Security Research Service of the CIA's Office of Security found no traces on "Molaney, William Julius."
HEMMING told this researcher: "McLaney never dealt with STURGIS. When STURGIS came into his casino, and STURGIS was the casino police? McLaney never dealt with STURGIS after that. He helped out people that STURGIS was associated with. If McLaney hadn't been a stubborn son-of-a bitch, he'd just given me a brand new pair of Italian shoes. He thought we were looking for handouts. We set his ass straight, but he'd already started this goddamned project. If he had gone with us, he would not have had any problems. He wanted to part of our team. He said he could raise funds. I was in touch with him long before this. We did a number of interviews in New Orleans. McLaney puts the word out that he wants to see us. He was in with Papooch [Espinosa] and some of William K. Harvey's people and JMWAVE type assholes. McLaney set up a meeting with Sam Giancana in the Boom Boom room. He wanted us to wear our uniforms."
William Dalzell told the HSCA that a "Mr. Popich," (Papooch - Espinosa?), who owned large gambling operations in pre-Castro Cuba, owned land across Lake Pontchartrain: "Mr. Popich knows the MARCELLO family well, and unconfirmed reports from some sources state that this land might have been used to train Cubans. On one occasion Dalzell drove Sergio Arcacha Smith to the Slidell area to a training camp." [HSCA Buras and Delsa interview 12.9.77] HEMMING 1994: "The men at the LaCombe training camp were the top terrorists in the Cuban community."Jorge Soto Martinez was one of 11 men who the FBI interrogated about the camp.
FBI investigation indicated the LaCombe dynamite was "ordered from the American Cyanamid at Collinsville, Illinois, by Richard Lauchli of 2012 Keebler Street, Collinsville, Illinois. The dynamite was picked up by Richard Lauchli and an unidentified man at the magazine in Millstadt, Illinois on July 10, 1963. The dynamite was paid for in cash in the amount of $642.09." [ARA file cites St. Louis Globe Democrat 5.21.64; Kansas City Times 11.30.65; St. Louis Post Dispatch 10.7.65 - not located.] The toll records of Sam Benton indicated he was in touch with "Victor, Collinsville, Illinois, DI 4-3195.""The FBI in their investigation into the purchase of 2400 pounds of dynamite by Richard Lauchli from the American Cyanamid Company in St. Louis checked into the rental of a 1963 Chevrolet station wagon from Avis-Rent-A-Car in St. Louis. The supposition is that this car was used in the transportation of the dynamite from St. Louis to New Orleans on July 11, 1963. Avis Rent-A-Car records show that the station wagon was rented to Victor Espinosa...50 Sutton Place, New York."
John Koch Gene, Sam Benton, Richard Lauchli, Earl J. Wassem Jr. Ralph Folkerts, Victor Espinosa, Carlos Eduardo Hernandez Sanchez, Acela Pedros Amores, Miguel Alvarez Jimenez, Antontio Soto Vasquez, Victor Panque. In response to FBI queries, Carlos Hernandez took the Fifth Amendment about the dynamite, and said he was associated with Manuel Artime.
The FBI questioned Victor Panque about the explosives. Carlos Quiroga told the New Orleans District Attorney's Office that Victor Panque was in charge of training at this camp. The CIA reported: "His file contains no information to indicate connection in the LaCombe, Louisiana, area."
On September 26, 1963, the FBI questioned Frank Bartes, who denied knowledge of either the dynamite or the McLaney brothers. He did, however, admit acquaintance with two of the men who were picked up in the raid. [FBI NO 89-69 ECW: sab] Sam Benton was questioned about the dynamite seizure that took place on July 31, 1963, in LaCombe. Benton admitted knowledge of the dynamite, but denied he furnished the Cubans with the money for it.
Sam Benton was accused of selling fraudulent securities in the late 1960's. In 1971 Sam Benton was indicted with John Lombardozzi, a target of the Justice Department Organized Crime Strike Force, who had a criminal record for sale and transportation of stolen securities. When he was arrested for tax fraud in 1978, John Lombardozzi protested that he had testified to a Grand Jury about NIXON associates Robert Vesco and B.B. Rebozo, and said he furnished the Justice Department information which "aborted a Cuban invasion." Sam Benton pleaded guilty to income tax fraud in August 1974. He died of a heart attack on March 11, 1975. Sam Benton never testified before the HSCA. He was 55.
HEMMING told this researcher: "Sam Benton ran scams. He gave us stolen American Express money orders, and told us to use them out of the country. He was the conduit for a lot of bad paper used in Latin America. Benton wanted us to do a couple of operations for him." [City of Miami/Interoffice Memo 3.4.63, 3.7.63, Zenoz/Sapp; Miami Herald 6.17.63, 11.4.71, 8.10.74; Miami News 2.1.63; 71Cr780 USDC-SDNY; FBI 2-1810-1, 4, 5, 6, 7; FBI 2-1821-23, 48, 52, 57, 59; FBI 63-16117-7; FBI rap sheet #4-156-095]
The Louisiana training camp referred to by BRINGUIER in relation to OSWALD was organized by the Christian Democratic Movement in June 1963. Victor Panque of the Christian Democratic Movement was also in the International Anti-Communist Brigade. The Christian Democratic Movement and the DRE worked together. In August 1963, the FBI issued a Letter Head Memorandum about the Christian Democratic Movement, most of which was withheld. The only undeleted paragraph stated: "It is noted that the Cuban Revolutionary Council is a unity group...Artime is head of MRR and Laureano Batista Falla is the military head of one of the Christian Democratic Movement factions." [FBI 109-584-3681] In August 1963, Laureano Batista charged that Fernando Jose Fernandez Barcena was engaged in espionage activities on behalf of Fidel Castro. Batista advised the FBI that "Fernandez had voluntarily confessed to him and other MDC members that he was a member of an espionage net operating in the Caribbean area, in behalf of Cuba. Subsequently, Batista, accompanied by other members of the MDC, brought Fernandez to the Miami Office, at which time Fernandez advised of his activities in connection with anti-Castro matters. Fernandez stated that he had confessed to being a Cuban intelligence agent under duress and threats of murder by MDC members. The Miami Office believed that Fernandez was not a Cuban agent, but had attempted to set up his return to Cuba under favorable circumstances." On August 6, 1963, the CIA generated a document about Alexander Rorke, Laureano Batista and the MRP. [FBI 97-4623-149 pages w/h] The CIA withheld information on the connection of Laureano Batista to the CIA: "Laureano Batista, Secretary of Military Affairs, Executive Committee, Movimento Democratica Cristiano (Christian Democratic Movement) Miami, (deleted)." [CIA OS Memo 12.13.67]
Rudolph Richard Davis organized the LaCombe, Louisiana training camp. Rudolph Richard Davis Jr., aka Ricardo Davis, was born September 9, 1936, Manhattan, N.Y. His father Rudolph Richard Davis Sr. was Cuban. His mother, Lorraine Elizabeth Blair, was a U.S. citizen, born in New Jersey. The family of Rudolph Richard Davis had owned the Cuban/American Sugar Company. Rudolph Richard Davis left Cuba in January 1961, after Fidel Castro seized the property of his family. He settled in New York City, where he worked at the branch office of the Cuban/American Sugar Company. According to Rudolph Richard Davis, the CIA contacted his company before the Bay of Pigs to secure its help. Rudolph Richard Davis served as a coordinator between the Christian Democratic Movement and the New York City Police Department. He moved to New Orleans in August 1961. On October 31, 1961 Rudolph Richard Davis went to the New Orleans FBI Office and offered his services to the agents there.
In June 1963 Rudolph Richard Davis moved Cuban exiles into the LaCombe camp by automobile from Miami. When two of these cars broke down, the driver and passengers went to the Catholic Cuban Center, where they spoke with Elsie Cerniglia. [FBI MM 105-1095 p20] Elsie Cerniglia advised S.A. DeBRUEYS on June 30, 1963, that 10 refugees arrived in New Orleans on the night of June 24, 1963, for the purpose of attending a training camp some two hours from New Orleans. The refugees stated that Rudolph Richard Davis was in charge of the training camp. Rudolph Richard Davis was interviewed by S.A. WARREN DeBRUEYS.
On October 1, 1963, the FBI interrogated Rudolph Richard Davis about the training camp: "Rudolph Richard Davis advised that in early 1963 he contacted Laureano Batista of the Christian Democratic Movement in Miami, in regard to sending men to work for him in the Guatemala Lumber and Mineral Corporation. Laureano Batista sent some 19 men from Miami to New Orleans in response to Davis' request. [Rudolph Richard Davis claimed] these refugees came to New Orleans with the understanding they were going to be sent to a military training camp in New Orleans for a military operation and sent to Guatemala for additional training. The men were disappointed when Davis advised them of the real purpose of their trip, and they later returned to Miami within a two week period. [Five pages deleted.] Davis claims that these people were dressed in khaki military-type clothing and it was necessary to buy them regular clothes...Davis stated that during the last days of July, the FBI had seized some dynamite and other explosives stored in a LaCombe, Louisiana, residence which material, according to the newspaper, was to be used against Cuba. He stated this action disturbed these Cuban refugees and was probably partially responsible for the decision to return to Miami. Since they had come to New Orleans with the idea of receiving military training in Guatemala, they were not willing to proceed to Guatemala to be employed in mahogany lumber cutting." [FBI NO 109-584 rel. 8.1.85] Rudolph Davis told DeBRUEYS that Laureano Batista, of the Christian Democratic Movement in Miami, had sent the men to New Orleans. In a follow-up report dated September 18, 1963, the SAC of the New Orleans FBI Office informed the Director, that in view of the interview with Rudolph Richard Davis, "New Orleans will limit its inquiries to the possible existence in Mississippi of a training camp where 12 men were allegedly being trained on a ranch." [FBI NO 97-4110-65 rel. 8.1.85] S.A. WARREN DeBRUEYS prepared a report on October 3, 1963, which concerned Rudolph Richard Davis, most of which was withheld. [FBI 97-4110 10.3.63]
On November 23, 1963, S.A. Reed Jensen reported that "At about 3:30 p.m. a Richard Davis, 1570 Westbrook Drive, phone 288-9986, Business, House of David, 531 Decatur Street, phone 532-5482, phoned saying he was calling in regard to LEE OSWALD. He said he had come to the U.S. 25 years ago going to New York, coming to New Orleans about 2 years ago. He said while in New York he aided the New York P.D. in providing information about the Fair Play for Cuba Committee and has always been a fighter against Communism. He stated he had not known OSWALD at any time, and did not know specifically what OSWALD'S activity was in New Orleans or anywhere else in connection with OSWALD'S communist activity. He said he assumed OSWALD had been a member of the Fair Play for Cuba organization. Davis said what he wanted to do was to talk to an agent who was familiar with Cuban matters and explain to the agent the workings of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, and go on the record as saying that in his opinion such action by OSWALD was not a lone wolf operation, and such activity was ordered by higher authority, and that OSWALD must have had some help. He said he had no information that this had taken place in this regard...Davis said he wished to be contacted in this matter as soon as possible. He said the only person he knew who might have known OSWALD was Carlos Quiroga, who he said had been in contact with the FBI." [NARA 124-10248-10147] S.A. Jensen suggested that Rudolph Richard Davis be interviewed immediately. The SAC of the New Orleans Office stated in a memorandum dated November 23, 1963, that "It does not appear that Davis' information is of any value in connection with captioned case but it is possible he might be a potential security informant. It is suggested a copy of this memo be routed to S.A. DeBRUEYS and consideration be given to contacting Davis in regard to Cuban matters." [NARA 124-10248-10110] On November 25, 1963, the FBI contacted Rudolph Richard Davis at his request. "Davis said that he had been raised in Cuba and was sure that OSWALD was being directed and backed by the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. He says he has no actual proof, but knows Carlos Quiroga and although Quiroga is an anti-Castro and loyal American, he had met OSWALD as a result of OSWALD'S appearance on T.V. Through discussions with Quiroga, Davis had concluded OSWALD was associated with the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. Davis informed that he has not actual information about OSWALD." [FBI NO 89-69-204]
On April 20, 1964, Rudolph Richard Davis was by DeBRUEYS. "Davis stated that in the past three years he has worked closely with various security branches: the New York City Police Department; Secret Service in New York City; Immigration Department; and the FBI in New Orleans...Davis stated at no time did he ever represent himself as an Agent of the FBI or tell anyone that he was employed by this agency. He did state that he had cooperated with agents of the FBI. He told agents of the FBI what he knew regarding Cuban matters. He further advised that at no time did he ever tell anyone that he was an agent of the CIA." Rudolph Richard Davis listed Kenneth O'Donnell, Appointment Secretary to the President of the United States, as some he had been associated with in the past three years. The United States Attorney at New Orleans "declined prosecution of Davis in view of the fact that he did not receive anything from having made statements that he was an agent of the FBI or CIA." [NARA 124-10248-10110]
In February 1967, Rudolph Richard Davis became of interest to New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison. On February 20, 1967, an FBI teletype indicated that a security informant from the New Orleans Office of the FBI "has been contacted by investigators from D.A. Garrison's staff who, from the questions asked, it was indicated they had information that Sergio Arcacha Smith, Carlos Quiroga and Richard Davis, had an office at 544 Camp Street." Rudolph Richard Davis told Jim Garrison on March 22, 1967, that he knew David Ferrie, Sergio Arcacha Smith, Guy Banister, Ronnie Caire etc. He said he had been a member of the Crusade to Free Cuba. Rudolph Richard Davis stated "that he was standing on a corner near where OSWALD was distributing pamphlets and witnessed the scuffle between OSWALD and BRINGUIER. Davis said he was introduced to OSWALD by Carlos Quiroga. Davis said he wanted to infiltrate OSWALD'S group and went to OSWALD'S house with Quiroga about 8:00 p.m. one night shortly after the BRINGUIER debate on television. Davis did not actually enter the house as OSWALD came out on the sidewalk and conversed with them there. According to Davis, prior to this, OSWALD had wanted to join Davis' group and spoke of his Marine training..."
On June 30, 1967, C.P.H. Bell, Supervisor, Travelers Insurance Company of Hartford, Connecticut, with offices in Houston, Texas, informed the FBI that "one Rudolph Richard Davis applied to his company for employment, approximately one week previously. While his application was being processed, another employee in Bell's office informed Bell he was acquainted with Davis. This employee related that...Davis allegedly stated while living in New Orleans his living expenses were paid for by an anti-Castro organization known as the Minutemen. Davis allegedly stated that LEE HARVEY OSWALD was connected in some manner with the Minutemen organization." [NARA 124-10244-10213]
Interviewed on July 17, 1967, Rudolph Richard Davis said that he never had been associated with the Minutemen, and knew nothing of any such association on the part of OSWALD: "Davis, in the Fall of 1963, met OSWALD on two occasions in New Orleans, in connection with anti-Castro activities in which Davis was active at the time in the New Orleans area. In connection with these meetings with LEE HARVEY OSWALD, Davis stated he met OSWALD at the time that OSWALD was passing out pro-Castro handbills on Canal Street, New Orleans. Shortly thereafter, Davis contacted OSWALD at OSWALD'S apartment in New Orleans in an effort to obtain any information concerning OSWALD'S pro-Castro activities. OSWALD refused to have anything to do with Davis...Through his business connections and his anti-Castro activities, Davis became acquainted with members of the John Birch Society at New Orleans. With the assistance of John Birch Society members, Davis set up a training site for exiled Cubans on the DeLeBarre estate, LaCombe, Louisiana, which is near New Orleans...Davis emphatically denied any association between the cache of bombs and his training camp. It is Davis' understanding, a gambler who formerly had ties in Cuba and Las Vegas, was responsible for the bomb cache...Rudolph Richard Davis said he refused to talk to Garrison." [Rudolph Richard Davis Enclosure 7 to Garrison Trace Reports of Rocca; NARA 124-10244-10256] The CIA ran a check on Rudolph Richard Davis as a result of the Garrison investigation: "Source Document 00/C D CS [illegible] March 23, 1967, Overt Result." [Stevens SRS NARA 1993.08.20.16.00:46:000028]
HEMMING told this researcher: "Who gives a fuck? What is the significance of it? OSWALD was around these people, so he was around Davis. What the fuck does that mean?" HUNT was asked if he knew Panque or Davis:
A. I have heard of them.
Q. Rudolph Richard Davis, Jr.
In 1967 the CIA denied having had knowledge of the training camp at LaCombe, Louisiana: "Old hands at station confirm JMWAVE was the only Agency-sponsored training camp. To the best of Station knowledge there was no station or agency support or funding of the [Christian Democratic Movement] training camp. The only information we can dig up which may relate to the Christian Democratic Movement is AMOT Report DD 293, July 25, 1963, which states that the camp was located about 15 miles from New Orleans, right after crossing very long bridge right at entrance to the State of Louisiana. Source of report did not know the name of ranch which belonged to some American millionaires who were defraying expenses for maintenance of men in training and providing equipment. Approximately 30 men were training there. Source also stated that on July 24, 1963, two automobiles left for Louisiana with Commandante Diego. (Victor Panque)" The New Orleans CIA station ignored the Christian Democratic Movement camp, since it had Agency backing. In June 1975 the CIA's Jerrold G. Brown stated that "an unknown group" had backed INTERPEN/IACB. [CIA 1315-1059b, 1228-513] The FBI ignored the existence of the camp. S.A. DeBRUEYS explained: "I was then asked [by the Senator Schweiker Subcommittee on the Kennedy assassination] whether I knew about the Cuban training camps in the New Orleans area. I commented that there were numerous rumors that the Federal Government had such camps in the New Orleans area, but I never really confirmed their actual existence. I added that I had not conducted any investigation concerning the alleged establishment of the U.S. Government of camps in the area as I felt that one Federal Government agency should not investigate the alleged official activities of another [CIA] unless specifically instructed to do so for suitable reasons by higher authority." [FBI 62-117290-996X5] S.A. DeBRUEYS told the SSCIA: "It was pointed out that although anti-Castro individuals investigated professed to be pro-United States and anti-Castro, they were admonished on numerous occasions in a most objective manner that were they to engage in any activities in violation of Federal law, they would run the risk of arrest and prosecution. (Paragraph deleted Exemption b7c,d) On several instances during the interrogation, inquiry was made whether I knew OSWALD or had ever talked to him. My response was an empathic 'no.' (Paragraph deleted exemption b1)." [Interview of DeBRUEYS, San Juan, P.R. 1.20.76]
Miami, Florida, December 13, 1963.
MEMO SAC: RE: Assassination of President John Kennedy
At 4:20 P.M. instant date, Mrs. Kenneth Basthome, 6020 SW 102 St, telephone MO-1-4728, telephonically contacted this office to relate the following information on a confidential basis.
Caller stated that she was told a story by her girlfriend, Mrs. Lillian Springler, 6350 SW 102 St. an employee of Parrot Jungle gift shop.
Springler told her that about the first week of November 1963, while working at the gift shop, a Cuban male entered the shop. In the ensuing conversation the Cuban stated that he was extremely ambidextrous and also a very good shot. He then said he was going to shoot Kennedy right between the eyes, pointing to that location on himself, when he came to Miami. He then said that if I do not get him, I have a friend, an American Marine in Texas who will. Springler said he then left the shop, and she discounted the story as some crank.
On December 10, 1963, Springler said the same Cuban was in front of the gift shop. Both parties recognized each other and the Cuban began to run. Springler ran after him but he finally drove off in a white over blue Chevy. She states she would remember him anywhere.
Basthome stated she was passing this information on to this office for any action we deem necessary.
Robert John Schamay I.C.
Lillian Springler told the FBI that an unidentified Spanish-looking male made some remarks on November 1, 1963, which led her to believe he had been acquainted with OSWALD. The man had told her he hated President Kennedy, and would like to shoot him between the eyes, and he had a friend named LEE who was also a sharp-shooter, spoke Russian and German, who was either in Texas or Mexico. FBI S.A. James O'Conner interviewed her:
"On March 6, 1964, Mrs. Lillian Springler, the Parrot Jungle employee who previously furnished the information concerning the aforementioned unidentified male, contacted the Miami Office of the FBI to advise that the unidentified individual had returned to Parrot Jungle on that date, and was observed by her to drive a blue and white Chevrolet bearing 1964 Florida license 1-143874. Mrs. Springler said that Mrs. Mary Tyson, who operates the ticket booth at the Parrot Jungle and speaks Spanish, ascertained that the unidentified male's name was Martinez.
"Records of the Dade County, Florida, Automobile Registration Office, reflect that 1964 Florida License was issued to Jorge Soto Martinez, 464 N.E. 31 Street, Miami, for a 1954 Chevrolet four-door.
"On March 16, 1964, Mrs. Anna Fisher, 464 N.E. 31st Street, Miami, stated she recalled Jorge Soto Martinez as a tenant in one of her apartments for a period of about a year, until approximately 1963. She said she did not know his current residence, but recalled that he worked at the Fontainbleu Hotel in Miami Beach. She said she did not know any of his associates, and that he resided alone, although she understood he had been married.
"On March 17, 1964, Miss Kaye Bourbeau, Personnel Office, Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami Beach, advised that Jorge Martinez was currently employed as a bell boy at the hotel, and had begun employment with the hotel on July 14, 1961. His record indicated that he had worked for the Cuban Customs Service in Cuba during the period October 1949 to March 1959. She stated that Martinez's address was 711 S.W. 5th Street, and that his Social Security number was 262-70-6632. His employment references were reflected as Michael J. McLaney, casino owner, known three years; Jim Byres, Transportation Manager, place not identified, Emilio Garcia, property owner, place not indicated, and Miguel A. Garcia, Manager of the Light Company in Cuba.
"Inquiry conducted at 711 S.W. 5th Street, resulted in learning that Jorge Martinez was not known at that address.
"On March 18, 1964, Miss Kaye Bourbeau advised that the inquiry made of Jorge Martinez resulted in obtaining his current address as 301 N.E. 62nd Street, Miami, Florida.
"On March 17, 1964, record at the office of U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, Miami, Florida, Number A11 873 416, pertaining to Jorge Antonio Martinez Soto reflected that he was born on February 15, 1928, in Havana, Cuba. He had been granted a U.S. resident visa at the U.S. Embassy, Havana, on June 28, 1960, and arrived at Miami via Pan American Airways on July 21, 1960. His sponsor for immigration into the United States, who furnished an affidavit promising employment and keep of Martinez, was indicated at Michael J. McLaney.
On March 22, 1964, Jorge Martinez voluntarily appeared at the Miami Office of the FBI in answer to a telephone call placed to him at the Fontainbleu Hotel on March 22, 1964. Martinez said he is known as Jorge Martinez, and he felt he had sufficient comprehension of English to permit conduct of the interview in the English language.
"Martinez said he has, on occasions in the past, taken visitors in his personal car to tourist attractions in the Miami area, including the Parrot Jungle. He recalled the occasion on or about November 1, 1963, when he took tourists to the Parrot Jungle, and while there engaged in a conversation with the employees in the gift shop and displayed his ability to write with both hands simultaneously. During interview, he exhibited this ability by writing his name, Jorge Martinez, with both hands simultaneously. Mr. Martinez stated that he had no personal acquaintanceship with, or knowledge of, LEE HARVEY OSWALD. He said that if the Parrot Jungle employee thought he had expressed an association or acquaintanceship with OSWALD, this misunderstanding on the part of the employee must have resulted from his poor pronunciation of English, and lack of grammatical correctness. He stated that, in fact, he knew of no one with the first name LEE, and was at a loss to understand how the employee might have obtained this misunderstanding. He said, likewise, he had no friend located in either Texas or Mexico, and that the incident of his having allegedly spoken in this sense was completely erroneous.
"Martinez stated that he does regard himself as excitable, and particularly so with regard to the control of Cuba by Fidel Castro, and that he may have made some remarks related to Castro which were misinterpreted by the Parrot Jungle employee as directed toward President John Kennedy. He said he vaguely recalled having spoken about Castro and the Cuban situation. He said, by way of explaining remarks attributed to him by the Parrot Jungle employee, that he may have said that he wished he were in Washington, or that he were the President of the United States, so that he could exercise the power to blow up Fidel Castro. Martinez said he may have also expressed some displeasure as what he regards as the failure of the United States to rid Cuban of Castro, but it was not a criticism of the United States Government, which he considers to be the best in the world. Martinez denied that he would have made any such statement as 'shooting between the eyes of President Kennedy,' and explained that if he made any such references, it would most certainly have been with respect to Fidel Castro.
"Martinez stated that he is acquainted with no one whom he knows to be a U.S. citizen and Marxist, or such an individual who served in the U.S. Armed Forces. He stated that he himself, speaks Spanish and broken English, and no other language, and he does not have any friend or acquaintance who can speak the Russian language. Martinez said that, likewise, he could think of no acquaintance whom he knew to be a Marksman or Sharpshooter, and he added that if he had made some remark of this nature to the Parrot Jungle employee, it was unquestionably in reference to the means by which he would like to see Fidel Castro eliminated.
"Martinez said he did not recall what may have prompted him to talk along these general lines during his visit to the Parrot Jungle, but possibly some development in the Cuban situation had recently occurred which could have upset him. He said that it was incredible that anyone should think that he would have any relationship with a pro-Castro person, because, in fact, he has only hate for Castro sympathizers. He related that he was employed in the Ministry of Finance in Cuba as of 1949, and continued in that department until the beginning of 1959, at which time he was the Customs Inspector in charge of Havana Harbor and the Colombia Air Base near Havana. He said that he was economically comfortable, in that he was earning $900 a month as of 1959, and resided rent free in a $40,000 home in Havana which belonged to his aunt, and which he would eventually inherit.
"Martinez continued that his former father-in-law, Carlos Pujol, was a government administrator during the regime of Cuban President Carlos Prio, and it was through Pujol that Martinez originally obtained employment in 1949 in the Ministry of Finance.
"He said that his own father, Antonio Martinez Perez Abreau, had been a successful and well-to-do attorney in Cuba prior to the advent of Fidel Castro to power, but he had since lost his properties through confiscation by the Castro regime. He said he did not know the whereabouts of his father, although the latter might still be in Cuba. He said that his mother, Carmen Soto Urquiza, had divorced his father years ago, and married Emilio Garcia Perez, who had lost a large amount of income property in Cuba to the Cuban Government. He said his mother and step father continue to live in Cuba. Martinez said that his wife, Concepcion Luisa Cortes Madrazo, had come to the United States with him in July 1960, but they have since separated and are contemplating divorce.
"Martinez stated that his immigration into the United States was sponsored by Michael McLaney, who had operated the casino in the Nacional Hotel in Havana before the Government of Fidel Castro closed down such operations. Martinez said that when he lost his job in the Cuban Customs Service in the first part of 1959, when the Castro Government removed the pre-Castro personnel, he, Martinez, worked for McLaney at the casino in the general capacity of handling Spanish-speaking clients. He said that as of July 1960 he reached the decision that he could no longer accept the restrictions of freedom being imposed by the Castro regime, and decided to move to the United States. He said that very shortly after arrival, he began employment at the Fontainebleau Hotel at Miami Beach as a 'runner' handling cars, and with the exception of about three or four weeks during 1960 when he worked at a motel on the 79th Street Causeway, Miami Beach, he has been steadily employed at the Fontainebleau.
"Martinez stated that he is a graduate of the Belen College in Cuba, and had studied law for one year at the University of Havana. He said he had not joined the forces which engaged in the Cuban invasion of April 1961, but subsequently volunteered for training in the Cuban unit of the United States Army, but was not accepted, possibly because of overage. He stated he has never applied for nor received assistance or aid under the Cuban Refugee Program.
"In conclusion, Martinez stated that he would volunteer to take a polygraph examination at any time if the question remained as to possible acquaintance with, or knowledge of, LEE HARVEY OSWALD or any other individual who may be engaged in any plan or activity inimical to the interests of the United States."
April 18, 1967.
TO: JIM GARRISON
FROM: Richard E. Gerstein, State Attorney
Alfonso Sepe, Executive Assistant
RE: Assassination of President Kennedy
As a result of a phone call I received from my sister-in-law, Mrs. Pat Sepe, I was informed that her close friend, Mrs. Ruth Bastholm, knew a woman who had worked in the Parrot Jungle Gift shop in 1963 and 1964. The name of this woman was Lillian Springler, and according to Mrs. Sepe, Mrs. Springler had a conversation with a Spanish-type man several months preceding the Kennedy assassination to the effect that he, the Spanish-looking man, hated Kennedy, could shoot Kennedy between the eyes, and that the Spanish-looking man had a friend named LEE who was also a sharp shooter, could speak Russian and German, and that he was either in Texas or Mexico. The FBI was supposed to have investigated this, and the matter ultimately dropped. This informal report took on added significance because of current allegations that there was a conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy, and that some of the conspirators may have been Cuban.
Mrs. Springler appeared in my office in response to my telephone call and testified that she had been working in the Gift Shop of the Parrot Jungle and, in the course of her work, in September or October 1963, a Cuban male initiated a conversation with her in which he stated that he could write with both hands simultaneously and that he was a sharp-shooter, and if he wanted to he could shoot Kennedy between the eyes. This Cuban male allegedly told Mrs. Springler that he had a friend named LEE who could speak Russian and German, and was living in either Texas or Mexico, and that LEE was also a sharp-shooter. Mrs. Springler told some of her friends, but the conversation she had with the Cuban male was passed off until the night of President Kennedy's assassination, when Mrs. Springler was riding in a car with her husband, a close friend, and a relative from New Jersey, on their way back from Key West to Miami. Mrs. Springler states that before she heard the name of the President's assassin, she remarked to her husband and the other two passengers that she knew who the assassin was.
Because she had told several of her friends, including Mrs. Bastholm, who told her husband, Dr. Bastholm, and Alies Trigg, a co-worker at the Parrot Jungle, it was reported to the FBI. Thereafter, FBI Agent James O'Conner undertook the investigation. Several months after the President's assassination, this Cuban male was seen again in the Parrot Jungle, and, on one specific occasion, Mrs. Springler's employer, Mr. William Vander Wyden, and Mrs. Springler, secured the license plate number of the car used by the Cuban man. The license plate number was 1-143874, and it was on a 1954 blue and white Chevrolet. However, at the time, they were unable to talk to the Cuban. Mrs. Springler described him as follows: Average height, slight build, very dark complected, light deep-set eyes, uncombed hair, sloppily dressed, Cuban accent. It seemed to Mrs. Springler and Mr. Vander Wyden that the Cuban made a business of driving tourists to the Parrot Jungle. It is unclear whether several weeks or several months passed after Agent O'Conner was given the description of the car, together with the license plate number, but in any event he called Mrs. Springler and informed her that he had in his custody Jorge Soto Martinez. At the time Mr. Martinez was working as a bellboy and moonlighted by driving tourists on sight-seeing tours. Martinez admitted to the FBI that he had a conversation with a woman working in the Parrot Jungle Gift Shop prior to the Kennedy assassination, but denied knowing OSWALD, being a sharp-shooter, or the conversation as Mrs. Springler recalled it. S.A. James O'Conner asked Lillian Springler if she wanted to go to the FBI Office and identify Jorge Soto Martinez, but she refused, because she was afraid of personal harm. S.A. James O'Conner said he was satisfied that Jorge Soto Martinez was not involved in an attempt to assassinate President John F. Kennedy, and did not know OSWALD; and further that MARTINEZ was the son of a prominent criminal attorney in Cuba.
I interrogated Mrs. Bastholm, Mr. Vander Wyden and Mrs. Trigg. Mrs. Bastholm knew only what had been told to her by Mrs. Springler and couldn't remember whether Mrs. Springler first gave her this information before or after the Kennedy assassination. On the other hand, Mrs. Trigg remembered learning of Springler's conversations from Mrs. Springler prior to the assassination, and corroborated to some degree Mrs. Springler's version. Mr. Vander Wyden remembered Mrs. Springler's excitement when Martinez had returned to the Parrot Jungle, at which time they were able to secure his license plate number. He knew something of the conversation that Springler had with Martinez, but only what he was told, and he doesn't remember whether he learned of the conversation before or after Kennedy's assassination. All witnesses that knew Mrs. Springler testified that she was a very truthful woman and in sound mental health.
Up to this point, however, I was unable to determine if the person interviewed by the FBI and identified as Martinez was the same person that Mrs. Springler had met in the Parrot Jungle. Since Mrs. Springler provided me with the license plate number for an old blue and white car bearing 1963 plate number 1-143374, I traced the car to Mrs. Albert Green...Because of this discrepancy, and because of the involvement of the FBI in 1963, I contacted S.A. O'Conner for further information. In our phone conversation, Agent O'Conner told me that he was completely satisfied that Martinez had not been involved in a conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy. Mrs. Springler had exaggerated the conversation she had had with Martinez; and that in all probability she had misunderstood Jorge Soto Martinez, and he said he would like to kill Fidel Castro. S.A. James O'Conner believed that because of Jorge Soto Martinez's heavy accent she thought he said 'Lee' when he said 'he.' Agent O'Conner examined his own file and freely exchanged information with me, indicating a highly cooperative attitude. He provided me with the license plate number given him at the time by Mrs. Springler. It was in this conversation that I learned that the license plate number was for the year 1964 and not for 1963.
We then traced this automobile to Mr. Martinez, who is now living at 7879 Crespi Boulevard, Miami Beach, Florida. He answered our subpoena with no difficulty, and testified under oath that he had been at the Parrot Jungle when he was working as a bellboy at the Fontainebleau Hotel for about five years under Mr. Humphries. His father was a criminal lawyer still living in Cuba, and that he, Martinez, had married a girl in Cuba but left her there when he came to the United States. He divorced her and has remarried an American woman with two children, who he is currently supporting. While working as a bellboy at the Fontainebleau Hotel, Martinez moonlighted as a tourist guide to earn extra money.
During one of these excursions, Martinez drove some tourists to the Parrot Jungle and while they were inside, he initiated a conversation with an employee at the Parrot Jungle, demonstrating to her how he could write with both hands simultaneously. He also admitted that he had discussed President Kennedy's handling of the Bay of Pigs invasion, and stated he wished he could advise President Kennedy on how to handle to Cuban situation. He denied being a sharpshooter, or saying he was a sharp shooter. He denied ever stating that he could shoot the President between the eyes if he wanted to, or stating that he had a friend named LEE. He agrees that he might have said he wished he could kill Castro, but emphatically denies ever saying he wanted to kill President Kennedy.
Martinez denied knowing LEE HARVEY OSWALD or anyone involved in any conspiracy. He denied being involved in a conspiracy himself. Martinez claimed that he was very peace-loving, and shied away from inflicting any type of harm on another human being. He stated that he had, since the assassination, improved himself by studying real estate and becoming a real estate salesman, working for the Gulf American Land Corporation. He gave me a picture of himself so that I could show Mrs. Springler, which I did and which she identified. Martinez denied ever going to Texas or having any friends in Texas. He denied ever saying that he had a friend named LEE who lived in Texas or Mexico. The only person he knew in New Orleans was his cousin, who was a doctor.
Arrangements were made with Warren Holmes for Martinez to take a lie detector test. Several days later Martinez took the test and answered all questions posed to him by the polygraph expert. Mr. Holmes conclusions were that Martinez was telling the truth, with the exception that in a temperamental outburst to Mrs. Springler, Martinez might have said some unkind things about President Kennedy which he had originally denied to me. Specifically, he showed deception in his denial to the question posed by Mr. Holmes, "Did you tell the woman at the Parrot Jungle that you were going to Washington to shoot the President between the eyes?" He later admitted to Holmes, following his examination, that the question bothered him because he recalled making some stupid statements like that to the woman in the Parrot Jungle Gift Shop, but could not recall what words he had used. He stated that he had a habit of shooting his mouth off, but vehemently denied mentioning the name of LEE. Holmes found Martinez's explanation that he probably shot his mouth off too much to Mrs. Springler at the Parrot Jungle consistent with Martinez's demeanor. A combination of Holmes observations of Martinez, together with the administration of the polygraph test, satisfied Holmes that Martinez was telling the truth. It is therefore my recommendation that this investigation be closed.
Alphonso C. Sepe
[NARA HSCA 180-10112-10464]
City of Miami Archivist Gordon Winslow and researcher Gordon Winslow, discovered this testimony of Martinez dated March 1964:
Q. Are you married?
Q. Does your wife live with you?
A. Of course.
Q. Where do you live?
A. 550 Northeast Terrace, Apartment 4.
Q. How long have you been living at that address?
A. Since September until now [January 1961].
Q. Where were you living before you moved to that address?
A. I was living in a small apartment on top of a garage in back of Mr. McLaney's home.
Q. Did your wife live with you there?
A. No, she was in Cuba.
Q. How did you meet McLaney?
A. I was working for Customs in Havana, and since Mr. McLaney used to travel a lot, I met him there, working at Customs.
Q. Did you ever work for him in Havana?
Q. Have you worked for him in the United States?
A. No. Well, when I left Cuba they looked me all over and they took away all of my money. And when I came back here I looked him up and he let me live in that room above the garage because I didn't have any money or anything to face the situation.
Q. What do you know about McLaney's work or business?
A. I know nothing, nothing.
[#60L3609-E Cannon Circuit Court, 11th Judicial District, Dade County, Florida; FBI 105-8342 Miami 3.25.64]
Jorge Soto Martinez was a former official of the Batista Administration. Castro had cost him everything he had. Martinez spoke key words at Parrot Jungle: ex-Marine, spoke Russian, spoke German, Texas, Lee. He had heard about OSWALD either from Mike McLaney (who heard it from HEMMING) or because he was part of the LaCombe training camp organized by Rudolph Richard Davis that OSWALD attempted to "infiltrate" through BRINGUIER. Jorge Soto Martinez was questioned by the FBI about the dynamite found in William McLaney's LaCombe home on July 31, 1963. Alphonse Sepe went on to become a Judge. He was indicted for corruption. He dismissed the fact that Martinez failed a significant question during his lie detector test.
Lillian Springler told the truth. It was no accident that out of all the Cubans in Miami, Lillian Springler pointed her finger at a close associate of McLaney. Lillian Springler was contacted in November 1993. She said, "I am old now and don't remember. Whatever I said back then was true." Lillian Springler was a patriot.
HEMMING told this data base compiler in 1994: "Who would run around trying to put the finger on LEE HARVEY OSWALD? Who would do that? Why do you think that was done? Why would someone come up with that kind of shit? What purpose did it serve? The guy would have to be a moron, or was he setting somebody up? He might have been in a situation where he overheard McLaney saying something, or one of the Cubans around. From what I read, Soto didn't speak English really worth a fuck. However, I presume that he spoke clearly enough, and said what he said. I buy that. Now, does he get it into his own head to walk in there? What prompted the conversation? What led to this outburst? Did he try to hit on her? Was he trying to get some pussy? What was his motivation to blurt this shit out and blow the cover completely? More than likely, it was more involved than that. He was probably getting some pussy there, and she's trying to cover her ass by saying it was done in a store. It might have been fucking pillow talk. I always figured there was something behind it. Then I want to know, How would Soto pick up this kind of information? Who the fuck is he? What kind of jerk-off is this? Is this the key man in the fucking plot? Who was letting these secrets out? Even dummies aren't going to have people walking through the Parrot Jungle. The plot is to nail OSWALD. Let's visualize the scenario. You don't want the word to get around to people who are going to call the cops, who are going to say something. Do you want OSWALD busted before the event?" I explained to HEMMING that "Not everything works the way you want it." HEMMING: "A.J., we're getting close." I responded: "He's a fuck up, an asswipe, he came back after the assassination to see her again so maybe she'll be impressed with him and say, 'Wow, this guy knew some heavy shit about the assassination way in advance.' GERRY, did you ever meet this guy, Jorge Soto Martinez?" HEMMING: "Yeah, yeah. I had other people talk to him, sat down and had a chat, and all that kind of shit. This was before the assassination. There was shit going on. Number one, McLaney had been helpful to us. So we consider him a friend. He sent Espinosa and couple of other people out to do a couple of things, and now we're being asked about it. McLaney wanted to kill Fidel. With a passion. If Espinosa had a loose mouth and he talked in front of this guy, and this guy actually lived there, and things were being discussed. That's a lot of 'ifs.' Is he trying to get out of participating in something by burning it? This was the first thing we looked at. Or did he tell stories to people in confidence? Was he trying to impress somebody?
"With Victor Espinosa around, no Cuban around McLaney was doing anything that McLaney didn't know about. He didn't take those kind of chances. It wasn't sanctioned by McLaney. It was done behind his back. McLaney would suspect it was done to fuck him up."
During his deposition in HUNT v. WEBERMAN STURGIS was asked:
Q. Do you know the owners of the Nacional Hotel, Mike and William McLaney?
A. I met him yes.
Q. Do you remember a man named Jorge Soto Martinez?
A. George? Possibly. If he had anything to do with casinos, possibly, because -
Q. He worked for McLaney.
A. Possibly; because I didn't meet everybody there 'cause there's too many people involved.
Antonio Veciana [201-312,966] was born October 18, 1928. He was the President of the Association of Public Accountants of Cuba. Prior to Castro's rise to power, Veciana, in collusion with bank employees, embezzled funds for the MIR which was described as a fund raising mechanism for the Second National Front of Escambray. From 1958 to 1961 Antonio Veciana was employed by Julio Lobo Olavarria, as a comptroller of his finance company, Banco Financiero.
Julio Lobo spoke with R.E. Reichardt, Chief /Western Hemisphere/4/FI, on December 17, 1960. Julio Lobo "mentioned Veciana again and restated that Veciana is reliable. He said that he had received word that Veciana is systematically destroying the bank's records and the machine bookkeeping equipment in the bank. Also he felt that there had been some planning on Veciana's part for the wholesale sabotage of his sugar mills. Lobo did not know anymore of the details or status of this plan. Distribution: Original & 1 -C/WH/4 | WH/4/FA | WH/4/PROP | WH/4/FI | WH/4/Chron | File Contact Reports." [MFR 12.19.60]
In the middle of 1960 Antonio Veciana was approached in Havana by MAURICE BISHOP. Although Veciana initially assumed he was a new bank customer, BISHOPS' conversation with him focused on the Castro revolution. The business card of BISHOP indicated he was with a Belgium construction firm. BISHOP then invited Veciana to lunch at the Floridita Restaurant. After BISHOP convinced Antonio Veciana to work against the Castro Government, Antonio Veciana asked him if he was a CIA agent. He was told that BISHOP "was in no position to let me know for whom he was working, or for which agency he was doing this." BISHOP also said he could not tell Veciana whether or not it was Julio Lobo who suggested he contact him. "Supposedly Julio Lobo had very important contacts with the U.S. Government" Veciana said. Antonio Veciana entered a training program where he was taught demolition and sabotage techniques, although most of the program consisted of lectures on propaganda and psychological warfare. Veciana stated: "BISHOP told me several times...that psychological warfare could help more than hundreds and thousands of soldiers" Veciana stated. He then worked with BISHOP on a covert operation that resulted in the destabilization of the Cuban currency. Veciana also became Chief of Action of the Revolutionary Movement of the People, an anti-Castro underground movement headed by Manolo Ray. In Antonio Veciana's CIA Personal Questionnaire he listed "Victor" as the alias he "used in Havana City in the underground against the Castro regime."
Mario Kohly and Joseph Merola were also involved in a plan to destabilize the Cuban currency in the early 1960's. Was this the same plan? BISHOP was a great believer in psychological warfare as was DAVID PHILLIPS who was operating in Cuba at this time under the cover of public relations man. DAVID PHILLIPS stated the he frequented the Floridita Restaurant and once saw Hemingway there.
BISHOP suggested to Antonio Veciana in 1960 that he go to the Embassy and contact a Mr. Smith and Sam Kail. Said Veciana: "MAURICE BISHOP suggested the names of these individuals because we needed specific weapons to carry out the jobs, and he told me that these were the people who could help me."Antonio Veciana was asked not to reveal BISHOP'S name to them. The HSCA ascertained that in 1960 there was a Colonel Samuel G. Kail at the American Embassy, Havana. The HSCA located Sam Kail, retired, and interviewed him in Dallas. Sam Kail, born June 7, 1915, was a West Point graduate who served as the Army Military Attache from June 3, 1958, until the day the American Embassy, Havana, closed on January 4, 1961. His primary mission as a Military Attache had been intelligence. Sam Kail assumed his unit was functioning for the CIA. He told the HSCA: "I suspect they pay our bills." In January 1963 he received the CIA's Legion of Merit Award. Kail said that prior to the American Embassy closing in Havana, there was a constant stream of Cubans coming through his office with anti-Castro schemes, including assassination plans, asking for American assistance in the form of weapons or guarantees of escaping. Kail stated: "We had hoards and hoards of people through there all the time." For that reason, he said, he did not specifically remember Veciana visiting him. "I think it would be a miracle if I could recall him," he said, but does not discount the possibility that he did meet him. Kail said, however, agents of the CIA would frequently use the names of other Embassy staff personnel in their outside contacts without notifying the staff individual it was being done. It happened a number of times he said that a Cuban would come in and ask to see Colonel Kail and when introduced to him, tell him that he was not the Colonel Kail he had met outside the Embassy. Kail said he would then have the Cuban point out the CIA agent who had used his name. Kail said he was not familiar with MAURICE BISHOP."
Gaeton Fonzi believed that "Mr. Smith"might have been Wayne Smith, the third secretary at the American Embassy in Havana at the time Veciana claimed he met him there. Smith was a personal friend of PHILLIPS.
KUBARK Havana reported: "On December 7, 1960, Antonio Veciana called on (deleted) with Felix Fernandez Yarzabal, former (deleted) group member, who at that time represented the (deleted) movement. (Deleted) was Justo Carrillo Hernandez Montecristi Group (deleted) must have been Cuban Revolutionary Council (deleted) had contact with Cuban Revolutionary Council member Manolo Ray. Antonio Veciana told the (deleted) of a plot against Castro in which Antonio Veciana was involved. (Deleted) gave Antonio Veciana no encouragement whatsoever. Antonio Veciana said he had previously spoken with a State [Department] political officer (identity not given)."
In June 1961 BISHOP was infiltrated into Cuba, and met with Antonio Veciana. According to Antonio Veciana: "At the time, 'MAURICE BISHOP' decided that the only thing left to be done was to have an attempt on Fidel Castro's life." Although Antonio Veciana himself did not participate, he recruited the assassins and organized the operation, including renting the apartment from which the shot would be fired. The CIA reported: "(Deleted) to help in an assassination plot against Castro. Veciana asked for visas for ten relatives of the four men assigned to kill Castro and also requested four M1 rifles with adapters for grenades plus eight grenades. (Deleted) did not encourage Veciana and subsequently checked with (Deleted) who reported that Veciana had made similar 'wild-eyed' proposals to him. On November 23, 1961, The Miami News published a report of an unsuccessful attempt by Antonio Veciana to kill Castro. Veciana reportedly arranged to assassinate Castro and Cuban President Osvaldo Dorticos on October 5, 1961, in Havana from apartment he rented near a Castro rally, but the bazooka he was using failed to fire." An article appeared in the Cuban press naming Antonio Veciana as the organizer of the plot.
The day before the plot unfolded, Antonio Veciana left Cuba by boat with his mother-in-law, in whose name the apartment had been let. According to Veciana, it was BISHOP who urged him to leave, because, he said, Castro's agents were becoming suspicious of Veciana's activities. The CIA reported: "October 7, 1960, Veciana entered U.S. at Key West. Had passport, no visa. Came via small boat, received $100 a month refugee assistance." William Sturbitts of the CIA reported: "Veciana fled Cuba by small boat in late 1961 and began his fund raising activities for Alpha-66 in early 1962. In July 1962, he claimed to have $50,000 to $60,000 in U.S. and Puerto Rican banks belonging to Alpha-66. He is characterized as a 'specialist in fund raising for Alpha-66 which is the financial section of the Second National Front of Escambray.' The fund raising activities of Veciana centered in the United States and Puerto Rico, although there are indications that Veciana intended to seek funds elsewhere in the Hemisphere such as Venezuela. In November 1962 the Inter-Agency Source Register indicates Antonio Veciana was an asset of the Army and was terminated by them, without prejudice, in 1966. Mr. Sturbitts feels that Veciana did not have, or need, any personal source for his own funds. He was in the U.S. only a few months before founding Alpha-66, and commencing fund-raising drives. In addition to this, Mr. Sturbitts reports that we did not have records identifying the Army officer who headed the Army's activities in Miami and Puerto Rico during Veciana's association, nor the name or identity of Veciana's Army case officer." [Breckinridge to Blakey 12.18.78] Sturbitts added: "From reading the file I get the impression that Veciana was a slippery-tongued type, completely capable of conning anyone and diverting funds for his personal use. Based on above I don't think that Veciana had or needed any personal source for his own funds. He was in the U.S. only a few months before he founded Alpha-66, and commencing fund-raising drives." [Speed ltr. 12.18.78]
In Miami, BISHOP recontacted Antonio Veciana. In the Fall of 1960, Antonio Veciana founded Alpha-66, which Veciana described as "the brainchild of MAURICE BISHOP." According to Veciana, the man behind all of Alpha-66's strategy was MAURICE BISHOP. Over the twelve year period of their association Veciana estimates that he met with BISHOP over 100 times. Besides contacts with BISHOP in Havana and Miami, Veciana also had meetings with him in Dallas, Washington, Las Vegas, and Puerto Rico, and in Caracas, Lima, and La Paz in South America. Antonio Veciana established himself as the civilian chief of Alpha-66, and principal fund raiser. He recruited the former head of the Second National Front of Escambray, Eloy Gutierrez Menoyo, as Military Chief. Eloy Gutierrez Menoyo had remained in the Castro Government until January 1961, when he defected to the United States accompanied by a dozen other former Rebel Army Officers. The group commandeered a small boat and sailed to Miami, where the Immigration and Naturalization Service quarantined them as possible Castro double-agents. The sister of Eloy Gutierrez Menoyo, Mercedes Gutierrez, called Frank Bender and stated "that her brother was in jail in McAllen with other Cubans; that she understood that some of these Cubans had been released; and wanted to know just what the situation was with her brother." [From Alien Affairs Officer Jerry L. Massett To: File] Six months later the group was released and flown to Miami, where they merged with Alpha-66. Veciana told the HSCA that BISHOP had some doubts about Menoyo, but Veciana insisted that Menoyo could be trusted. Besides, he said, "if it did not work we could get rid of him." Veciana said Menoyo was not aware of the existence of MAURICE BISHOP.
Shortly after reestablishing contact with BISHOP in Miami, Veciana was asked to sign a loyalty pledge in the presence of two unidentified men. On March 16, 1976, Veciana told Gaeton Fonzi: "(More specific about his meeting with BISHOP and the two men at the Pan American Bank Building). He remembers he met BISHOP downtown and they walked to the building. He didn't know where they were going. He doesn't remember what floor they got out of the elevator on, they were talking, but they got out and BISHOP took a key out and opened the door. There was a small office, a sofa and chairs, and there was a room with the American flag in the lefthand corner. He says it was a very brief ceremony, and it involved the agreement between BISHOP and him. There were papers that were written, typewritten papers, he read them and signed them. (Like a contract?) Yes, like an agreement. He says the reason for it he now believes was just to let him know that he would be responsible. He got no copies of it."
In Miami, BISHOP asked Antonio Veciana to monitor the activities of the anti-Castro operation, Cellula Fantasma. This was STURGIS' leafleting operation in May 1961.Antonio Veciana related he attended a few group meetings and described it as a leaflet-dropping mission over Cuba involving STURGIS. Antonio Veciana told Gaeton Fonzi that Robert Swanner and Robert Thompson were killed during a CELLULA FANTASMA OPERATION. Gaeton Fonzi reported: "(FIORINI) The only time he got involved with FIORINI was when FIORINI had a secret group - not CIA - called Cellula Fantasma and BISHOP asked him to infiltrate it. But the group sponsored a trip of leaflet droppings with two American pilots who were killed. The operation, he hears, cost $300,000. That broke up the group. (Did BISHOP know FIORINI?) [non-committal answer] He never had any contact with FIORINI." [NARA SSCIA 157-10007-10311] Antonio Veciana said he no contact with STURGIS. In another interview with Gaeton Fonzi, Veciana said STURGIS was there for the meetings. Gaeton Fonzi reported that Antonio Veciana stated: "(Ever work with FIORINI?) Just very little. He went to a few meetings of the Cellula Fantasma. About four meetings. Lobo was the one who introduced him to Cellula Fantasma. That operation cost about $300,000. Lobo introduced Veciana to the coordinator of it, Sergio Rojas. He was Castro's Ambassador to London before he defected. (Lobo financed Cellula Fantasma?) No, but he did put some money into it. Somoza, President of Nicaragua, he put some money in it too. He met Somoza at the Dupont Plaza. He thinks he died. Lobo gave Veciana's name to Somoza and he met him...(And BISHOP had asked you to infiltrate Cellula Fantasma to find out what it was doing?) Yes. He said the report he gave BISHOP was that he notified they weren't getting anywhere, and they seemed to drink a lot. The meetings were held in a motel in Miami Springs. (FIORINI was there for the meetings?) Yes. (Was he the leader?) FIORINI was like a special advisor. The military leader of it was Pedro Diaz Lanz. Rojas was the coordinator. There were a lot of people in the group but he didn't know them. BISHOP knew of FIORINI. He said that once he remembers BISHOP saying about FIORINI that he wasn't just another soldier, he was more than that. He wasn't just a dumb soldier. BISHOP told him that." Antonio Veciana denied having known HEMMING. Gaeton Fonzi reported that Veciana told him: "(re JERRY PATRICK?) Fifteen years ago he had a bunch of hippies surrounding him and today those very same people are with him at the truck company. He says that someone who worked there told him that the company has nothing to do with trucks, it was just a front for an intelligence operation. (Did you ever work with PATRICK?) No."
DAVID PHILLIPS Division, WH/4/Propaganda, would have had an interest in monitoring Cellula Fantasma.
The CIA reported: "There has been no Agency relationship with Veciana. (Deleted). Veciana was a member of the People's Revolutionary Movement, an anti-Castro group in Cuba during 1960 to 1961, and was one of the founders of Alpha-66. A certified public accountant by trade, Veciana was with the Agency for International Development in La Paz from 1968 to 1972. Veciana was (deleted)...POA granted January 1962 for use with Revolutionary Movement of People (MRP) but no record in his file whether he ever used or contacted. POA canceled November 1962." [CIA 201-312,966 1.7.74]
On December 29, 1961, a Provisional Operational Approval was requested for Antonio Veciana. His wife and children were living in Cuba. He parents were living in Spain. [WAVE 0311 (IN 44277) NARA 1993.07.22.08:55:23:460530]
January 4, 1962 prc
TO: Deputy Director of Security
FROM: Chief, CI/Operational Approval and Support Division
Area of Subject's Assignment: WH/4/Cuba
Use of Subject: Sabotage man for the Movimiento Revolutionario Del Pueblo (MRP)
1. Write clearly.
2. Answer all questions. If question is not applicable write N/A.
3. Attach blank pages if additional space is needed.
Name: Antonio Veciana Blanch
Aliases, Nicknames, Temecodes, legal change in name (State time, reason and place of use:
Victor - Used in Havana City in the underground against the Castro regime.
Date of Birth: (Blank) Place of Birth (Blank).
Personal Habits: (Liquor, drugs, gambling, paramours). (Blank)
Court Record (Court date, arrests, charges, punishments, sentences, acquittals).
Color of Hair: Black.
Color of Eyes: Brown.
On January 10, 1962, G. Marvin Gentile, Chief, Investigation Division, asked the Assistant Deputy Director of Security (Investigations and Operational Support) for an expedite FBI check concerning Veciana. On January 19, 1962, Thomas Carroll J. Chief, CI/OA, generated a memo for the Deputy Director of Security, (Investigations and Support), Subject (Deleted) 256167. It contained the words "January 24, 1962, CI/OA advised RET." [Security Form dated January 4, 1962, JFK Box 46 Folder 15 1 page was previously withheld: Authority: National Security Act of 1947 CIA Act of 1949 As Amended also seven pages of Bio Data 7 pages]
Unit WH/4/OPS SUPPORT
January 30, 1962.
Conf: Bell 10
Info: WH 5, S/C 2
REF WAVE 0311 (IN 44277)*
Provisional Operational Approval granted (Deleted) Subject Ref. 201-312966. End of message.
WH COMMENT: *Reference requested POA of Subject for use by ParaMilitary.
(Deleted) Sam Halpern Acting Chief /Western Hemisphere/4 Releasing Officer, Western Hemisphere/4/ParaMilitary (Deleted) Coordinating Officer, (Deleted) C/Western Hemisphere /4/INTEL, Authenticating Officer.
Date November 5, 1962 JS
Memorandum for Chief, TFW.
Attention: Calvin Hicks (deleted). 201-312966 (deleted).
A CIA Index Card stated: "POA req'd by PM (C. Hicks) on December 29, 1961, WAVE-0311 IN 44277 December 29, 1961. POA Granted Date January 29, 1962." A rubber stamp read "POA CANCELED FIELD ADVISED." [NARA CIA 1993.07.12.11:46:21:620580]
Antonio Veciana was being considered "in connection with Project (deleted)." Probably PROJECT PB PRIME. Veciana filled out an employment application with the CIA and was granted a Provisional Operation Approval by the Office of Security and by Counter-Intelligence. The CIA turned over its file on Antonio Veciana to the HSCA: "In a review of its own files on March 15, 1978, the CIA noted that Antonio Veciana had contacted the Agency three times - in December 1960; July 1962; and April 1966 - for assistance in plots against Castro." According to the CIA, "Officers listened to Veciana, expressed no interest, offered no encouragement and never recontacted him on the matter. There has been no Agency relationship with Veciana." This was clearly untrue in light of the release of Veciana's CIA Employment Application.
The HSCA found it probable that "some United States Agency assigned Veciana a case officer, since he was the dominant figure in an extremely active anti-Castro organization. The committee established that the CIA assigned case officers to Cuban revolutionaries of lesser importance than Veciana, though it could not draw from that alone an inference of CIA deception of the committee concerning Veciana..."
Gaeton Fonzi concluded that PHILLIPS ran Antonio Veciana, like OSWALD, as a vestpocket operation, although some CIA documents that have not been released in their entirety still might link Antonio Veciana to PHILLIPS. The CIA definitely had an interest in Alpha-66, the most active exile group, and through Veciana, who was a member of the MRP and Alpha-66, indirectly supported an exile organization that was disfavored by the Kennedy Administration.
In October 1961 Frank Watterson, State Department Security Officer, Miami, was told that Alpha-66 had made 30 to 40 trips to Cuba without State Department permission. Frank Watterson told the FBI that the Department had not formulated policy on how to deal with this type of violation. [FBI MM2-312 10.19.61 p5] Frank Watterson called STURGIS and HEMMING, and told them they were on the list of pilots restricted to the U.S. On July 7, 1962, the CIA reported that "Antonio Veciana, principal of Alpha-66 attended meeting July 2, 1962, in home of Emilio Fuentes, Bayamon, Puerto Rico. Purpose was to solicit funds from forty persons attending (above average Cuban exile professionals). Veciana pitch was demand rather than request for funds with inference reprisals against any who failed to fulfill this duty. Veciana said that it was necessary that they undertake an action program outside of U.S. control. In this connection the group was in contact with CIA through person named 'Joe' but group was not going to confide in CIA and were taking precaution of avoiding CIA penetration. Veciana left Puerto Rico on July 4, 1962, for fund raising junket to Chicago." [NARA CIA 1993.07.22.08:55:23:460530 - (Deleted) IN 24738 7.7.62]
On July 7, 1962, Veciana received $500 from a wealthy Puerto-Rican financier and industrialist with whom the CIA had a longstanding relationship. On July 23, 1962, Antonio Veciana was interviewed, at his request, by Harry Real, a CIA officer with the New York Domestic Contacts Division: "Veciana asked Real to arrange a meeting with a senior CIA officer to discuss Alpha-66's plans to assassinate Castro and to request CIA's assistance (U.S. - $100,000; 10,000 Cuban pesos; 48 hand grenades). There is no indication that this request was ever acted upon by CIA." Another CIA document stated: "Veciana said they needed Agency help, but under no circumstances would the Agency be identified with its activities. Veciana said they already had $50 to $60 thousand dollars at their disposal scattered in different places in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Veciana's immediate requirement was conversation with someone in Agency sufficiently highly placed to make commitment." [NARA CIA 1993.07.22.08:55:23:460530 - OOA(s) 3232106 (WH 765) 7.26.62] On August 8, 1962, an FBI informant said "Veciana indicated names of the following three individuals then in Cuba who were expected to assist Alpha-66: Vincente Noble, Guillermo Ruiz (believed to be Veciana's cousin's husband, Orestes Guillermo Ruiz - DGI), Bernardo Paradela. Informant said he knew all three as they had been connected in 1956 with SIM (Military Intelligence Service) in the Dominican Republic. Veciana said Paradela was then in jail in Cuba, but Noble and Ruiz were on the loose in Cuba and were cold blooded killers." [NARA CIA 1993.07.22.08:55:23:460530 - CIA DBA 18681 8.8.62] On September 7, 1962, the CIA generated at highly deleted Classified Message: "(Deleted) August 29, 1962. (FYI) (Deleted) H has reported (deleted) connection between info in paras one, two and three not known. (Deleted) Alpha 66 is anti-Castro Cuban exile organization. Antonio Veciana Blanche, former Cuban banker and militant exile is involved recent reports (Deleted) indicate Alpha-66 action against Cuba may be imminent. DRE organization may be working with Alpha-66 (Deleted)." [CIA FOIA F82-0430/24] By September 1962 Alpha-66 had machine-gunned three vessels in Cuban waters, and had a 300-man force scattered in small units throughout the Caribbean. Veciana told the press that the group had a $100,000 war chest. On October 11, 1962, Alpha-66 raiders attacked Cuba. A few weeks later they were forced to curtail activities because of the freeze that followed the Cuban missile crisis. On October 22, 1962, the CIA received information that "Veciana was trying to obtain two boats from some unknown Americans somewhere in Texas. Veciana's organization (Alpha-66) centered in Puerto Rico, operated out of unidentified island in the Bahamas and had representatives in Guatemala and sympathizers in Miami." [NARA CIA 1993.07.22.08:55:23:460530] On November 6, 1962, the FBI received a memo from the CIA that stated: "Reported that Alpha-66 officer, Dr. Ramon Perez Daple, assistant to Dr. Jose Luis Gonzalez, both of whom are Castro infiltrators." On November 21, 1962, the CIA received a report that SANTO TRAFFICANTE Jr. had given Eloy Gutierrez Menoyo $250,000 worth of arms, which he had not yet paid for: "Informant reported that the mafia planned to have Eloy Gutierrez Menoyo killed somewhere outside the U.S." On November 16, 1962, the FBI received information from William Harvey at the CIA that Antonio Veciana planned a new action to "test the U.S. Government's disposition in permitting or suppressing Cuban exile action programs against Cuba." In December 1962 Alpha-66 planned a joint raid with the DRE. The CIA reported: "Large sums of money were allegedly donated to Veciana for Alpha-66 activities by Julio Lobo." [NARA CIA 1993.07.22.08:55:23:460530 - CIA DBA 28528]
The CIA information on Veciana ends here and picked up again in 1966. [NARA CIA 1993.07.22.08:55:23:460530] Information came to the attention of the FBI in February 1963 that certain Alpha-66 members had "become so disaffected by the lack of action and by the United States Government's present policy toward Cuba, that the group is discussing sabotage in Miami or New York City, by blowing up cars and buildings, with the hope that the acts will be blamed on Castro supporters, and the United States Government would be provoked into taking retaliatory action against Castro." [FBI file # deleted Miami 2.19.63 #235869 rel. 3.14.84] In March 1963 Alpha-66 was suspected of having launched a raid against Russian ships and technicians in Cuba. [FBI 105-112098-537] Eloy Gutierrez Menoyo was apprehended by the U. S. Coast Guard a few weeks later, while on another anti-Castro mission. In early April 1963, the Department of Justice, headed by Robert F. Kennedy, indefinitely quarantined 38 Cubans to the Miami area to prevent them from conducting raids against Castro and Soviet shipping; all were members of Alpha-66. [FBI 105-117222-2.27.64] In reaction, Alpha-66 held a "March of Silence" at the Soviet Mission to the United Nations. On April 9, 1963, Eloy Gutierrez Menoyo was restricted to Miami. The next day, he announced that the raids would continue. Alpha-66 held a press conference in Los Angeles on April 18, 1963, and criticized the Kennedy Administration for frustrating its efforts to rid Cuba of Castro. The repeated hit-and-run attacks had drawn public criticism from President Kennedy in the Spring of 1963; Antonio Veciana responded, "We are going to attack again and again."
In May 1963 Rene Valdes, the General Delegate of Alpha-66 in Los Angeles, and INTERPEN member LAWRENCE JOHN HOWARD, appeared on a television interview show. LAWRENCE JOHN HOWARD, who stated that he had been a former U.S. Army platoon sergeant in Korea, said that while training guerrillas at an isolated island camp in the Keys in December 1962, he was arrested and charged with violations of the Neutrality Act. His case had been dismissed. LAWRENCE JOHN HOWARD and Rene Valdes spoke of a joint Cuban raid they had conducted. [FBI LHM 5.2.63 Los Angeles rel. 3.8.84]
On February 15, 1963, the Office of Security of the CIA, Domestic Operations Division, received notice from the Regional Security Officer that DAVID PHILLIPS had not violated certain security regulations on July 26, 1962:
"Reference is made to that latest communications pertaining to the violation of security regulations charged against (Deleted) on April 14, 1962.
"In view of the documented confession by a Marine Security Guard, as a result of investigation into thefts and planting of this and other documents, it is requested that violation against (Deleted) be canceled.
"Although not mentioned specifically in his sworn statement, it would appear that two other violations were recorded by the same Marine Security Guard under similar circumstances; and in fairness to the persons involved, cancellation of the following is also requested as there appears to be reasonable doubt in the mind of this Officer.
"Those violations were charged respectively to Mr. (Deleted) on May 28, 1962, and to DAVID PHILLIPS on July 26, 1962."
On August 22, 1963, OSWALD borrowed From Russia With Love, by Ian Fleming, The Sixth Galaxy Reader and Portal of Tomorrow, by August Derleth, from the New Orleans Public Library. On August 26, 1963, OSWALD returned The Treasury of Science Fiction Classics. He next showed up at the library on September 5, 1963, to return some books and on September 9, 1963, he borrowed Bridge Over the River Kwai, by Pierre Boulle, the Big Book of Science Fiction and Ben Hur, by Lewis Wallace. On September 19, 1963, he borrowed Moonraker, by Ian Fleming, Goldfinger, by Ian Fleming, Ape And Essence, by Aldous Huxley and Brave New World also by Aldous Huxley. On September 23, 1963, he returned Bridge on the River Kwai, The Big Book of Science Fiction, and Ben Hur. On October 3, 1963, an associate of OSWALD returned Ape and Essence, Brave New World, Moonraker, and Goldfinger. OSWALD was on his way back from Mexico City on this date and Marina was in Dallas.
On March 2, 1976, Gaeton Fonzi interviewed Antonio Veciana in Miami. Gaeton Fonzi did not mention the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, although it was widely known he worked for the SSCIA subcommittee on the Kennedy assassination that was headed by Senator Richard Schweiker. Antonio Veciana told Gaeton Fonzi he was introduced to OSWALD by BISHOP, in Dallas in late August 1963 or early September 1963.
On March 2, 1976, Antonio Veciana told Gaeton Fonzi that "He says he remembers once having met LEE HARVEY OSWALD. He says he doesn't remember the way it says it happened in the magazine. He says he did meet LEE HARVEY OSWALD, but in different circumstances than what the magazine says. (How did you meet him? When?) BISHOP introduced him. (Where?) Dallas. (When?) Around 1962. (How did it come about?) He said when BISHOP came up to him once, he came up with OSWALD, but you know it was such an engagement like, it came up like, 'This is LEE HARVEY OSWALD.' He never thought of the name really twice, he didn't even remember him. (Where?) It was a building, he doesn't remember if it was blue or white, it was a bank, the building had a bank in it, and that's where they used to have meetings. He said the thing is, he was called to Dallas to meet BISHOP, to meet him in front of the building -- there was a big bank or insurance company inside the building, in the lobby, like all the times he met him he would tell him to meet him there. So this time he met him there, but this time he brought along another guy. The guy never talked. Then he left, and Veciana had his meeting with BISHOP. Then, when he saw it was OSWALD that killed Kennedy, he nearly freaked out, but he never said anything, he denied everything."
In 1976 Antonio Veciana stated:"I have been in Dallas many times, and remember a meeting of August 1963, perhaps the first days of September, I was there. At that time the U.S. Government had confined me to Miami Dade County. No matter, I traveled to other cities anyway, Dallas was one of them. In August 1963 I had a meeting in downtown Dallas with Mr. MAURICE BISHOP, a United States Intelligence Officer. I remember that LEE HARVEY OSWALD was present at that meeting. OSWALD remained silent all the time. BISHOP discussed with me different matters about the Cuban situation and other efforts in the war against Castro.
"I have worked with the State Department in specifically in the American Embassy in Bolivia, South America. I have cooperated with the FBI in different situations, and I also worked for the intelligence service under BISHOP for more than ten years. In 1962, I ordered the attack on the Russian merchant ships which traveled to Cuba; there were BISHOP'S instructions. The plan was to force President Kennedy into making drastic decisions against Castro Government. While Kennedy traveled to Central America we prepared a press conference in Washington, D.C. really, the president did not fall into the ambush and he was very angry. He decided to confine me to that country. Among the activities against the Cuban Communist, I have tried several times to kill Castro, I remember the last one in Chile on November 31, 1971, always following BISHOP'S instructions. I have no doubt that the assassination of President Kennedy was a conspiracy. Castro had good reason to kill him; he knew perfectly well that in the United States high level, a plot to kill him was being considered. However, to my personal understanding Castro was not involved in President Kennedy's assassination. The President was killed by other people for other reasons.
"My profession in the last 17 years has been risky, my life has been in danger on several occasions, the FBI knows my life is in danger, yet I hope they will take a step to keep me alive.
"LEE HARVEY OSWALD was not allowed to talk, all he said was that he was a patsy. I believed he was telling the truth. There is no doubt that he had good contact with some intelligence agency in this country...I confirmed that MR. BISHOP instructed me to make arrangements with my cousin Guillermo Ruiz, who was working in the Cuban intelligence service in Mexico City, to offer my cousin money so that he would state that he was in contact with OSWALD about Kennedy assassination.
"Another part. Castro's planned assassination in Chile had the same pattern of the Kennedy plot. The killer would die and everybody would believe that the killer was the communist, to my judgement Mr. BISHOP participated in both plans." [Int. WCKT-TV Miami 8.16.77 Vic Walters; NARA HSCA 180-10097-10138]
On another occasion Antonio Veciana told Gaeton Fonzi: "That when he arrived he saw BISHOP in a corner of the lobby talking with a young man who Veciana remembers as pale, slight, and soft-featured. He does not recall if BISHOP introduced him by name, but does recall that BISHOP continued his conversation with the young man only briefly after Veciana arrived. Together, BISHOP and the young man walked out of the lobby and stopped outside, behind Veciana, for a moment. BISHOP and the young man had a few words there, and then the later gestured a farewell and walked away. BISHOP turned to Veciana and they discussed the current activities of Alpha-66 as they walked to a nearby coffee shop. BISHOP never spoke to Veciana about the young man and Veciana did not ask."
August 25, 1977: "States he never said that BISHOP was CIA. He believes that BISHOP was with some sort of intelligence agency or with a powerful interest group. Swears LEE HARVEY OSWALD was with BISHOP one time when they met. OSWALD did not say anything." [HSCA Memo Gonzales to Fenton 8.25.77 014599]
After the assassination, there was absolutely no doubt in Antonio Veciana's mind that the man he had seen was OSWALD. Marina Oswald told this researcher: "According to my file, Veciana said this meeting was in the first week of September. We were in New Orleans. Who was that man? Was it LEE OSWALD then? If there was a meeting in Dallas and we were in New Orleans, how is that possible unless he had a plane to fly back and forth?"
OSWALD had "BISHOP" written in Russian in his address book. [WCE 18 p24] He also had the word "Knight." These were found in a list of chess pieces. In Give Us This Day, HUNT used the cryptonym "Knight" when he referred to PHILLIPS. PHILLIPS wrote: "Bestowing the name of Knight was the ultimate accolade - people who have worked in the CIA will recall that pseudonym belonged to one of the Agency's most senior officers, a man HOWARD HUNT idolized." It has been suggested that "Knight" was once the code name of Richard Helms. [Powers The Man Who Kept the Secrets p253] Antonio Veciana never assumed that MAURICE BISHOP was a true name. During an early meeting in Havana, Antonio Veciana noticed a Belgian passport that MAURICE BISHOP had in his open briefcase. The name on the passport was "Frigault." Veciana made a quick note of it on a scrap of paper and showed it to Gaeton Fonzi. The Belgian Embassy could not identify this name without additional information.
Dick Russell reported that Antonio Veciana stated: "We were in a hotel and BISHOP left to do something. In his briefcase I saw a memo with the...activities of commando groups in Texas. The memo had the initials 'To HH.'" [Russell, cited in Hinckle Deadly Secrets p230] Antonio Veciana told Gaeton Fonzi: "He says he doesn't want to say this is definite, but there are some things that are beginning to make him think that Howard Hughes had a lot to do with BISHOP. He said he once saw a file when he was in a hotel room with BISHOP in La Paz, Bolivia, which had HH initialed on the top. At first he thought it was HOWARD HUNT or H.L. Hunt, but now he thinks it was Howard Hughes. He said it was a file about activities involving the sale of arms to Israel through Bolivia." He also told Gaeton Fonzi: "He used to write to a lot of people for support of Alpha-66, for money, and he guesses that HUNT may have been one of the people who expressed interest in helping. He says he met HUNT'S secretary once, but Godoy was the one who dealt with him. Joaquin Godoy. Last he heard he was in Puerto Rico working for an insurance company. (Where did he meet HUNT'S secretary? In New York. (Was his name Carroll?) He doesn't remember. Godoy could give us information because he talked to him a lot." [SSCIA 157-10004-10158]
Antonio Veciana believed the meeting between OSWALD and BISHOP occurred in late August or early September 1963. Gaeton Fonzi wrote: "The Warren Commission found records accounting for some of OSWALD'S activities during this time, but none could be authenticated and some were found to be false. He reportedly visited the unemployment office, cashed unemployment checks and withdrew some library books. The FBI could not, however, authenticate OSWALD'S signature on the unemployment documents, and of the 17 firms where he applied for work, 13 denied it, and four did not exist...three library books returned at the end of this period were overdue." [Fonzi, Last Invest. p141] Antonio Veciana said the meeting with BISHOP was in a large office building lobby in downtown Dallas. OSWALD had the telephone number of the Continental Life Building - ED 6-8449 - in his address book. After the assassination, a ENCO Dallas map was found in OSWALD'S room at his boarding house. OSWALD had made several marks on the map, including the intersection of Elm and Houston (the Texas School Book Depository), the Texas Drivers License Examining Station, and Love Field. The FBI reported: "A mark at Irving Boulevard near Farrington Street, as well as marks at the intersection of San Jacinto and Boll Streets, marks near the intersection of Ross and Olive Streets, and San Jacinto and Harwood Streets, and other marks on the map, have no known significance to personnel of the Dallas Office with respect to the known activities of OSWALD. A large Chevrolet agency is located at the intersection of San Jacinto and Boll Streets. Irving Boulevard near Farrington is in an industrial area where numerous businesses are located. Ross and Olive Streets intersection, and San Jacinto and Harwood Streets intersection, are in the downtown area where numerous office buildings, parking lots and other businesses are located. Based on the foregoing, the purpose for OSWALD'S having the map was probably to seek employment as stated by Mrs. Paine."
After speaking with Gaeton Fonzi, Antonio Veciana aided a professional artist in developing a composite sketch of BISHOP. It was Senator Richard Schweiker who focused the Committee's attention on DAVID PHILLIPS as perhaps having knowledge of "MAURICE BISHOP." Immediately after receiving the BISHOP sketch, Senator Richard Schweiker concluded that PHILLIPS, who had earlier testified before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Activities, bore a strong resemblance to it. When Antonio Veciana was shown a photograph of PHILLIPS by Gaeton Fonzi, he did not provide a conclusive response: "He said he was pretty sure it wasn't, but that PHILLIPS looked 'very close' like him. But it is not him."
Veciana told the HSCA that he had no way of getting in touch with BISHOP and that all meetings were instigated by BISHOP, a procedure BISHOP established early in their relationship. To set up a meeting, BISHOP would call Veciana by telephone, or, if Veciana was out of town, call a third person whom Veciana trusted, someone who always knew his location. Veciana said that this third person never met BISHOP but, "knew that BISHOP and I were partners in this fight because this person shared my anti-Communist feelings." Author Tony Summers found this intermediary. Her name was Delores Cao of Barrio Obrero, Puerto Rico. She was the wife of Sergio Arias. She had been Veciana's personal secretary at the Banco Financiero, where Veciana worked in Havana. Delores Cao left Cuba for Puerto Rico, where she became involved in anti-Castro activities. Veciana had recontacted her in Puerto Rico, and asked her to provide secretarial services, and to act as his answering service when he was out of town. She agreed, and in the months that followed she became familiar with the name of a man who called from the mainland. His name, she recalled, was BISHOP. Delores Cao also knew Victor Espinosa. Delores Cao mentioned that the name "Prewett" was associated with "MAURICE BISHOP." Journalist Virginia Prewett (died April 1988 at age 66) was a media asset of PHILLIPS. PHILLIPS admitted this to David Leigh. (In his offensive against Tony Summer's book, PHILLIPS had approached the Washington Post's Executive Editor, Ben Bradlee. Bradlee assigned David Leigh, an English exchange reporter, to look into the story). Virginia Prewett's columns were syndicated by North American Newspaper Alliance and she was a member of the Free Cuba Committee. [Fonzi, Last Inv. p319; HSCA OCR 11.15.78] Delores Cao was contacted in December 1993. She said she knew Antonio Veciana and Victor Espinosa.
Antonio Veciana believed BISHOP was from Dallas, Texas. Gaeton Fonzi reported that PHILLIPS told Leigh that he very well might have been in Texas, visiting his family in Fort Worth, during the period Veciana claims he saw Bishop with OSWALD.
Gaeton Fonzi decided to set up a meeting between PHILLIPS and Veciana. Schweiker arranged for Antonio Veciana to be present at a luncheon put on by the Association of Retired Intelligence Officers on September 17, 1976. Antonio Veciana was introduced to PHILLIPS by name, and not by his affiliation with Alpha-66, nor by his anti-Castro background. PHILLIPS made no indication of recognition:
"I introduced him only as Antonio Veciana and didn't mention anything about Alpha-66 or anti-Castro activities. Phillips smiled, shook Veciana's hand very quickly and casually and quickly invited us to sit down at the table. As hard as I tried, I didn't catch any glimpse of recognition in PHILLIPS eyes, if that were at all possible to do...Veciana just sat there for most of the luncheon, put his glasses on, and hardly touched his food as he stared at PHILLIPS almost the whole time. I don't know whether PHILLIPS is naturally nervous, but he was shaking, at least his hands were shaking badly, and he was smoking nervously the whole time. I was watching him to see if he was looking at Veciana at all, but he seemed as if he was almost deliberately avoiding doing that. But maybe I would have gotten nervous also if some guy was just sitting there with his arms folded staring at me like Veciana was doing with PHILLIPS...I thanked him for having us at the luncheon and told him I thought he might be able to help us out in the investigation we were doing. He asked what investigation. I said the Kennedy assassination. He smiled nervously at me and said he would be happy to speak with any member of Congress or his representative 'in Congress.' I told him I wasn't interested in any kind of formal interview, but since we've come up with some new information, I thought perhaps just chatting with him about it might be of some help to us. He repeated, almost in rote like he was taking the Fifth, that he would be happy to answer any questions from any Congressman or representative of any Congressman 'in Congress.' Meanwhile, as I was talking to him, Veciana had come up behind me. Veciana then asked him a few questions in Spanish. Although I caught the gist of them I later confirmed with him that he asked if he had been in Havana in 1960, and whether or not he knew Julio Lobo. Phillips said that he had been in Havana and that he knew the name of Lobo. Then PHILLIPS stopped and asked him, 'What did you say you're name was?' Veciana told him then asked, 'Don't you know the name?' PHILLIPS thought for a moment then shook his head and said, no he didn't. PHILLIPS then asked me if Veciana worked for Schweiker and I said, no he didn't, but he was helping us out with the investigation. PHILLIPS then quickly excused himself, thanked us for coming, and said he was awfully busy right now and couldn't chat with us further. As soon as we got out of the place I anxiously asked Veciana is PHILLIPS was BISHOP. He said no, it wasn't him, and then added, 'but he knows.' I said, 'what do you mean, he knows?' Veciana said, 'He knows who BISHOP is?' I couldn't get out of Veciana why he said that, or how he came to that conclusion, but he did point out that it was strange that PHILLIPS said he didn't even recognize his name, which was pretty well-known in Miami anti-Castro activities and was in the newspapers often as the spokesman for Alpha-66." [SSCIA Fonzi to Gustavson 9.20.76] In his HSCA testimony, DAVID PHILLIPS denied having met Antonio Veciana. HUNT said he was unfamiliar with the name Antonio Veciana. [HUNT v. WEBERMAN HUNT Depo. One p21] Antonio Veciana told Gaeton Fonzi that PHILLIPS was not BISHOP.
A CIA memorandum in which Julio Lobo mentioned Veciana was routed to WH/4/PROP. Gaeton Fonzi reported Western Hemisphere/4/PROP was headed by DAVID PHILLIPS. PHILLIPS was asked:
Q. In your relationship with Mr. HUNT, in the Bay of Pigs, was he a supervisor of you or you a supervisor of him, or were you all just in separate functions as far as the relationship of each other to that activity was concerned, without going into what you and he might have done?
A. Mr. HUNT and I had separate functions to perform. Mr. HUNT was involved with the Cuban exile groups from the political action sense. I was involved from the beginning of my involvement in propaganda. At one stage, toward the end of the Bay of Pigs business, Mr. HUNT was, I think, relieved of his responsibilities, at least to some degree, with the political groups and asked to move in and work with me in the propaganda field. I'm not quite sure how you would describe that relationship.
Gaeton Fonzi believed that PHILLIPS and Antonio Veciana both lied. PHILLIPS had to have been aware of the name Veciana even if had not met the individual. PHILLIPS could not have been intimately involved in anti-Castro exile affairs and never have heard the name Antonio Veciana, the public spokesman for Alpha-66. Alpha-66 was the most famous, largest and most active, anti-Castro group. The HSCA stated it "suspected that Antonio Veciana was lying when he denied that the retired CIA officer was BISHOP." Gaeton Fonzi believed that Antonio Veciana was lying because he hoped to get future help from BISHOP.
In Miami, Gaeton Fonzi interviewed a former career CIA agent, Ross Crozier. Fonzi wrote: "The CIA would later demand that the Committee not use the man's real name. The Committee called him Ron Cross. Crozier, we discovered, had worked as a case officer out of the CIA's JMWAVE station. He handled Cuban exile labor units, and helped in organizing a militant group that, although not nearly as large and effective as Alpha-66, was very active. Early in his career, posing as an American businessman with financial connections, Ross Crozier had infiltrated Castro's mountain stronghold before the big barbudo seized power." There, Crozier met FRANK STURGIS and Andrew St. George. HEMMING told this researcher: "The one time FRANK ever risked his life was when he went with St. George and Ross Crozier. You know what that trip was all about? To take Fidel out. He was a patriot. He was serving his country. They couldn't find Fidel. It was the last two weeks of December 1958. FRANK was a spotter. Crozier was his case officer. That's bad news. He wouldn't do it. He's not a kamikaze. STURGIS never dropped a hammer on anyone in his life. Crozier was a case officer who belonged to Alcoholics Anonymous. He's a C.O. for STURGIS, and he's reporting to Sam Kail in Havana. STURGIS dealt with Kail when he was in Miami." From September 1960 until November 1962, Ross Crozier was a JMWAVE case officer. According to Ross Crozier, HUNT frequented this facility. While Ross Crozier was at JMWAVE, PHILLIPS, who was stationed in Washington, was responsible for certain CIA anti-Castro operations. Gaeton Fonzi reported: "Both Al Gonzalez and I stopped short of asking him certain questions for fear of revealing what we knew...But we did ask him about DAVID PHILLIPS. Sure Crozier said, he knew PHILLIPS. He said PHILLIPS, working through the JMWAVE, coordinated the propaganda operations of all the Cuban exile groups the Agency was running. PHILLIPS, he said, worked mostly out of Washington at that time, but flew in and out of Miami frequently. On a daily basis, Crozier said, the case officers worked with PHILLIPS direct subordinate at the station, a man called Doug Gupton...One day Al Gonzalez called Crozier and told him we were working on something that required confirmation of the pseudonyms or aliases used by CIA officers who had worked out of the JM WAVE station. He threw three names at Crozier: One was 'BISHOP,' another was 'KNIGHT' and the third was the true name of an officer who had worked out of the Havana Station. Off the top of his head, Crozier said, he believed BISHOP was the name used by PHILLIPS, KNIGHT, a name that HOWARD HUNT occasionally used. He said we must be mistaken about the third name because that was the true name of a fellow he had known in Havana. Crozier said that in the next few days he would be talking with some of the Cuban exile agents he had worked with and, in chatting with them about the old days, perhaps his memory would be refreshed. Several days later Gonzalez dropped in for a chat with Crozier to see if his memory had been refreshed. Well, Crozier said, it had been a bit. He now said he was 'almost certain' that DAVID PHILLIPS had used the name of MAURICE BISHOP but he still was not definite about whether HUNT had used the KNIGHT alias. He was sure, however, that the third name was a true name. His answer surprised us. We had not given Crozier the first name of BISHOP."
Fonzi revisited Ross Crozier and brought up the topic of KNIGHT and BISHOP. "Yes, Crozier said, as a matter of fact, he had been giving it more thought. He said he was fairly sure now that HUNT did use the KNIGHT alias. He was said he was now 'almost positive' that DAVID PHILLIPS used the name BISHOP. The reason he was sure about that, he said, was because he had been thinking about the period when he worked with PHILLIPS' assistant at the JMWAVE Station, that young fellow named Doug Gupton. Crozier said he now recalled often discussing special field agent problems with Gupton and Gupton at times saying 'Well, I guess 'Mr. BISHOP' will have to talk to him. Ross Crozier said, 'And of course I knew he was referring to his boss, DAVID PHILLIPS.'" In Give Us This Day HUNT wrote: ""I met Douglas Gupton, an aggressive bilingual young officer who handled field propaganda operations for KNIGHT. Gupton was already organizing, guiding and subsidizing the same exile groups that Varona had wanted to bring under FRD direction and control. He also subsidized a number of former Havana newspapers that now had "In Exile" added to their names. (Though not, or course, Diario de la Marina). Subscriptions to Latin Americans were sold at nominal cost to spread the anti-Castro word in countries where Fidel was regarded sympathetically...Unlike the political freeze, Gupton's psychological warfare activities were going full blast. Under such dedicated young student activists as Luis Fernandez Rocha, Ernesto Fernandez Travieso, the exile DRE had achieved sufficient cohesion to permit its operating as an independent infiltration unit. The members were scoring sabotage successes in Havana, and the resultant publicity provoked resentment in Tony Varona, who felt he should have charge of the DRE as well. Organizationally this made sense, but Varona's personality was so corrosive, that both Gupton and I realized we would have to spend so much effort policing the merger as to make it impractical." [Day pages 46,85] The HSCA interviewed "Doug Gupton" on August 22, 1978, at CIA Headquarters. 'Doug Gupton" acknowledged that he worked with PHILLIPS and Ross Crozier but denied having heard the name MAURICE BISHOP. Fonzi reported: "When told that Ross Crozier said that he specifically mentioned remembering Gupton referring to DAVID PHILLIPS as Mr. BISHOP, Gupton remained silent for a moment, looked down at his lap, and said 'Well, maybe I did. I don't remember.'" PHILLIPS testified before the HSCA in executive session, and denied all of the allegations. When Antonio Veciana testified, he denied PHILLIPS was BISHOP.
HSCA investigator Dan Hardway introduced Gaeton Fonzi to Barney Hidalgo, who had been a CIA agent for 20 years. He had worked closely with PHILLIPS on a day to day basis on Cuban operations between 1960 and 1964. He said he thought PHILLIPS was one of the best agents the CIA ever had. He said PHILLIPS was his personal friend. Unlike Crozier or Gupton, Hidalgo was questioned under oath by Michael Goldsmith:
Goldsmith: Did you know an individual named MAURICE BISHOP?
Hidalgo: Again, Mr. BISHOP was in the organization, but I had no personal day-to-day open relationship with him. PHILLIPS yes, BISHOP, no. I knew them both and PHILLIPS I knew. I know Mr. Berk is over there, and I know Mr. Hardway is over there, but I have no relationships with them. Do you follow me?
Goldsmith: Now with Mr. BISHOP -- was this Mr. MAURICE BISHOP?
Hidalgo: I believe that was his name, yes. His was strictly a business knowledge.
Goldsmith: How long has it been since you have seen Mr. BISHOP?
Hidalgo: Less than twice or three times in the hallway somewhere.
Goldsmith: When was the last time you saw him?
Hidalgo: It would have to be before 1970 somewhere.
Goldsmith: Do you know what position, if any he held with the Agency?
Hidalgo: He held a position higher than mine, but I did not know, you know.
Goldsmith: Did you ever have any personal contact with Mr. BISHOP?
Hidalgo: I don't believe so. If it was, it was not that important that it would impress itself upon me.
Goldsmith: Did he work in the Western Hemisphere Division?
Hidalgo: I think so but again I am not sure of all the details.
Goldsmith: Do you know any other individuals who were familiar with Mr. BISHOP who have known him?
Hidalgo: I don't know. Perhaps Mr. (Deleted) perhaps DAVE PHILLIPS.
Goldsmith: Was Mr. BISHOP'S office located at CIA?
Hidalgo: I believe so.
Goldsmith: Do you recall which floor his office was on?
Hidalgo: No, sir.
Goldsmith: Do you know whether Mr. Bishop ever went by any other name?
Hidalgo: No sir,, I have no knowledge of any of his other names.
Goldsmith: Would you make your best effort please to describe Mr. BISHOP'S physical description? What did he look like?
Hidalgo: I could not even make a mental image of Mr. BISHOP right now.
Goldsmith: Approximately how old is he today?
Hidalgo: I don't know. This must sound strange to you, it really must, I know but, you see -- How can I say it? The relationship of one agent to another is a thing that you try your best not to, not to know.
Goldsmith: Was Mr. BISHOP an administrator or a case officer?
Hidalgo: I would say his position was higher than mine. A little honcho against a chief.
Goldsmith: Where did you generally see him on those occasions when you did see him?
Hidalgo: I imagine in the Agency perhaps. In the hallways or cafeteria. Never certainly at my desk.
Goldsmith: What is your best recollection as to the number of times that you saw him?
Hidalgo: A couple of times, two or three.
Goldsmith: When you saw this individual and you knew that he was MAURICE BISHOP, how did you know that the gentleman that you had in mind was not that MAURICE BISHOP?
Hidalgo: Someone might have said, 'That is MAURICE BISHOP,' and it was different from DAVE PHILLIPS or guys that I know...
Goldsmith: Did you know an individual named Antonio Veciana Blanc?
Hidalgo: Now this name sounds familiar to me in my Cuban operation, I don't know where. It may have been with the (illegible) or he may have been an agent of an agent. I knew literally hundreds of Cubans.
Goldsmith: Did Mr. BISHOP have any involvement in affairs of the Bay of Pigs Brigade?
Hidalgo: I don't know if he did. I was not aware of everyone. He might very well have been involved in this thing.
Goldsmith: Getting back to Mr. BISHOP, when was the first time you saw him to the best of your knowledge?
Hidalgo: I would think about the early 1960's.
Goldsmith: Were you ever formally introduced to him?
Goldsmith: And from the time you first saw him in the early 1960's until the last time that you saw him, which I believe you said would have been about 1969 or 1970, approximately how many times did you actually see this man?
Hidalgo: It would not have been that late because in late 1964, or early 1965, I left the Cuban operations and went to another country of interest, so in those times, say 1960 to 1964, it might have been two or three times.
Goldsmith: Is it fair to say, in light of your last comment, that once you stopped working in Cuban operations, you left that particular area, you no longer saw Mr. BISHOP.
Hidalgo: If I did, it would be just in the hallway and I don't think so. I was now in another part of the Agency.
Goldsmith: So by that, in other words that would infer that Mr. BISHOP worked in the area of Cuban operations?
Hidalgo: No, not necessarily. He might have worked in -- you know, there are so many operations. You see whereas in the case of (Deleted) and DAVID PHILLIPS, I continued to seek him out and say 'How are you DAVE?' Go to lunch, play some poker. In this case of BISHOP this is not so.
Goldsmith: Did you ever see Mr. BISHOP at the station?
Hidalgo: No. In the Havana station, you have to understand that I was assigned to the Havana station, but I stayed away from the Havana station. It sounds peculiar. I was assigned there, and yet I was not there. I was assigned there shortly after I went there and met my own cover, and did my own operations. So when I did go to the Havana station, it was just a matter of just quickly in and get it over with.
Preyer: Was your office in Langley in the CIA headquarters?
Hidalgo: Yes. At the time I was in headquarters. That is where I went.
Preyer: And DAVE PHILLIPS' office was also there?
Hidalgo: Yes sir. (Deleted)
Preyer: And MAURICE BISHOP'S office was not on the same floor as yours in Langley?
Hidalgo: I don't know. It was a very large floor and there were many people on the floor that had nothing to do with what I had to do.
Preyer: Did BISHOP have some relationship in his appearance and age to PHILLIPS?
Hidalgo: Again I cannot recall BISHOP'S appearance at all.
Preyer: Do you recall more on the name when people said, 'That is Maurice Bishop?'
Hidalgo: MAURICE BISHOP, right. It might have been a secretary or a fellow case officer. (Deleted).
Goldsmith: Do you know whether DAVID PHILLIPS knew MAURICE BISHOP.
Hidalgo: I don't know that. He may have known BISHOP but I don't know that.
Goldsmith: Is it possible that the name MAURICE BISHOP may have been an alias?
Hidalgo: Very possible. Because others in the Agency thought that they knew me by X name and they called me by that name when in fact it was not.
Goldsmith: So the use of aliases even at Agency headquarters was not at all uncommon, is that true, to your knowledge?
Hidalgo: That is true.
Scott Breckinridge questioned Hidalgo about BISHOP, then reported this to the HSCA: "The employee continues to recall a person who was known as MAURICE BISHOP. He cannot state the organizational connection or responsibilities of the individual, not knowing him personally, and feels that the person in question was pointed out to him by someone, perhaps a secretary. He is unable, however, to recognize any of the photographs...we assembled of the persons with the surname of Bishop who had employment relationships of some type with the CIA during the 1960's." [Hidalgo 240 Treasure Lake Road, DuBois, PA 15801 telephone 814-375-9046]
The HSCA asked the CIA to check all its files for references to MAURICE BISHOP; the Agency replied that the only Maurice Bishops in its files was one from Grenada and other from the faculty of Cornell University. [Ltr. Breckinridge to Blakey 9.8.78] The Committee deposed John A. McCone, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from October 1961 to April 30, 1965. John A. McCone said he knew a MAURICE BISHOP who was an Agency employee.
Q. Do you know or did you know MAURICE BISHOP?
Q. Was he an Agency employee?
A. I believe so.
Q. Do you know whether the name, MAURICE BISHOP, was a pseudonym?
A. No, I do not know that.
Q. Do you know whether any of these people worked at headquarters in 1963 or worked in the field in 1963?
A. Well they move back and forth and it is pretty hard to tell just where they were in 1963, but the records will show and you can get it from the Office of the present Director. He will have records where they were, or the personnel department.
Q. Do you know whether MAURICE BISHOP worked in the Western Hemisphere Division, or whether he worked in some other division of the CIA?
A. I do not know. I do not recall. I knew at that time but I do not recall.
In light of the testimony of John A. McCone, the HSCA asked the CIA to again check its records for BISHOP.
MEMORANDUM FOR THE RECORD
SUBJECT: Traces on Morris Bishop
1. The following are traces on Morris Bishop which were run as a result of Jack Anderson's article in the May 6, 1977, Washington Post. CI Staff, (Russ Holmes) Cuba Desk (Ops and CI records), LAD Personnel Wheel under true name a pseudo, LAD Registry (both true name and alias/pseudo checked), Commercial Cover Staff and Top Secret Control. No record. IP Index One Maurice R. Bishop, aka Morris Bishop, born May 17, 1944, St. George's, Grenada, West Indies. Bishop is the leader of the New Jewel Movement or Grenada. He travels in and out of the U.S. and has had closed meetings in the U.S. known to the FBI. Bishop disclosed that the New Jewel Movement has links going into Cuba, and indicated that the New Jewel Movement is receiving assistance from Castro, but it is of a rather cautious nature. According to his file, Bishop is not associated with CIA. (201-888899). Chris Hopkins LAI/JFK Task Force. The foregoing was passed, verbally, to John Leader,IG Staff, on May 6, 1977." [CIA FOIA 17520]
MEMORANDUM FOR THE RECORD October 9, 1978
SUBJECT: Meeting with Former DCI McCone
1. I met with Mr. McCone this afternoon in his hotel room in Washington, D.C. Present was Mr. Walter Elder, Mr. McCone's Executive Assistant during his service as DCI.
2. I showed Mr. McCone a declassified copy of the transcript of his deposition taken by HSCA personnel, referring to one MAURICE BISHOP. I told Mr. McCone that an extensive search of Agency records showed no person by that name in Agency records. As a result, I wished to have him look at photographs of Agency employees during the 1960's with that surname. Mr. McCone declined, saying that he lunched at the Metropolitan Club that very day and had not recognized old friends from that period. He felt that photographs would not help.
3. Mr. McCone said the name was given him at the end of his deposition, which had taken some five hours. It came along with another dozen or so names. He had recognized the names of DAVID PHILLIPS and (deleted) but not many of the others. The name MAURICE BISHOP "rang a bell," but he really could not say how. He suggested that it may have been a football player.
4. Mr. McCone said he must have been in error. He asked if he should write the HSCA so stating. I said he could do as he wished, but it would suffice for me to simply report my meeting with him. He said I could say that he had been in error. He said that my letter should state that I met with him, in the company of his "Executive Officer" who had access to all his records of meetings with people, and that he had stated that he had been in error in stating to the HSCA representative that he had known a CIA employee named MAURICE BISHOP. I said I would show my letter to Mr. Elder to be sure it was accurate.
5. I told Mr. McCone that an Agency employee had also reacted similarly to a question about a MAURICE BISHOP. He asked who it was. I replied that it was a junior officer in the WH Division named (Deleted). He made no comment.
6. There was talk about other aspects of the assassination issue, which are not relevant to this specific question.
On September 30, 1980, PHILLIPS was again questioned about Antonio Veciana:
A. I am aware that Antonio Veciana Blanch was one of the people who funded Alpha-66.
Q. Did you ever have occasion to know whether he had any dealings with Mr. HUNT or did he ever have dealings with you?
A. All right. I am going to make a brief statement for the record here about this gentleman. First of all, while the CIA supported a large number of Cuban exile groups, to my knowledge it never supported and worked with Alpha-66.
Finally, I am aware of the investigation made by the House Assassinations Committee about claims made by Mr. Veciana that he was in touch with a man he knew as MAURICE BISHOP, presumably a pseudonym, over a period of some 13 years; that the last time he met Mr. BISHOP he was given a suitcase with $253,000 in it in cash as his final payment.
I must say I find it amusing to try to imagine the meeting of intelligence executives that say we are going to give a final payment to a man, and someone says let's give him a quarter of a million dollars. And someone says no, let's give him $253,000.
Anyway, what I want to say is if Mr. Veciana's story, which he came up with two weeks after leaving a Federal penitentiary after serving his sentence for which he claims he was framed by the CIA, if that story is true, I know nothing about it. I know nothing about HOWARD HUNT ever being involved with Antonio Veciana. And I think I am going to leave it at that.
One of the reasons is that we are now into a field which I don't really see the connection with HUNT. But it is very definitely connected with me and with future legal action I will be taking.
Q. All right. Did you ever use the name MORRIS BISHOP in any context in your work is the question?
A. I never used that name.
Q. All right. Now in Dallas in September of 1963, did there come a time when you were ever in Dallas, and if you were, did you ever meet Mr. HUNT there or know of his presence there for any reason?
A. I never met Mr. HUNT in Dallas. I never knew of his presence there. I may have been in the Dallas airport in that period traveling back and forth.
Q. While you were stationed in Havana did you know Julio Lobo, Rufo Lopez Fresquet or Mr. Melton or Sam Kail?
A. Once again, you have a long list of names. I think anyone who was ever in Havana -- I was certainly not in Havana in the 1960's. I left Havana in 1960 -- in the early part of 1960. And after my participation in the Bay of Pigs, I didn't want to go back to Havana.
You read off a list of names. Everyone who lived in Cuba knew Julio Lobo, the sugar king. His name was in the paper every day. But I am not going to go over a long list of names.
Q. Did you ever know LEE HARVEY OSWALD in August 1963?
A. I never knew LEE HARVEY OSWALD ever in my life. If I did, I would be on a lecture circuit called "LEE HARVEY And Me," and I would make a million dollars.
By September 1963 Alpha-66, according to a FBI-intercepted letter, was "training...men for a specialized reserve brigade, in various types of guerrilla warfare." The FBI SAC of the Miami Office sent an air telegram to the Washington Office on September 16, 1963. The only words the FBI released were: "In view of the above, Miami is not conducting investigation of neutrality aspects, but will be alert for any subsequent pertinent information." [FBI 2-1499 NR 9.16.63 this is STURGIS' FBI File] The FBI reported that in October 1963 Eloy Gutierrez Menoyo predicted, "The organization will be in Cuba in less than six months." On November 10, 1963, Alpha-66 held a meeting in New York City. John Caufield monitored it. [FBI 105-112098 NY rel. 3.12.84]
Antonio Veciana reported that after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Caesar Diosdado questioned him about it. It was not an official visit, Ceasar Diosdado had just been instructed to ask a few exiles if they knew anything about OSWALD. Antonio Veciana felt he was being tested. Antonio Veciana didn't tell Ceasar Diosdado he had seen OSWALD because he didn't want to get involved. Gaeton Fonzi reported: "He says he remembers that the same day that Diosdado came to ask him about the Kennedy assassination that's when he had seen the picture of OSWALD and was very nervous, but as soon as he walked in the door he told him, hey, don't worry about a thing, I don't even know why I'm doing this, they just told me to do it, interview some Cubans. He remembers he made comment saying that 'All I know this is going to cause a lot of people in the Secret Service trouble, maybe their jobs, for the errors that were made.' (Diosdado told you that he was told to interview you, that someone gave him a list?) Yes, yes, yes, that he had instructions to interview a bunch of activists. That's what cooled him down, that he was only one of a group being interviewed, not specifically him."
When the HSCA interviewed Ceasar Diosdado, he was working for the Drug Enforcement Administration. He said he worked for United States Customs from 1957 to 1968, not for the CIA. He stated he never questioned anyone about the JFK assassination. [HSCA interview 5.23.77 Klein] HEMMING 1994: "Diosdado was worried we had done it. He's the first guy they told. Because he's a dipshit. He comes scurrying around right away. He was scared shitless that somebody's gonna do a hit on him for knowing too much. Diosdado, if he was working a deal with you, a smuggling deal, he would never fuck you up. But boy, when his bosses told him to do something, he'd shit on his own mother.
"After the assassination Dwyer invited me and Davy [Howard K. Davis] to lunch. Diosdado, Shanley were there. Wallace Shanley was Mr. Nice Guy. They said 'Someday the government's going to use you for a big operation.' Shanley was one of the guys who authorized some of his people to tip us off to stuff. He never told us anything against the regulations. His boys would call me in, lay a map down, and say, 'You know anything about these people over here?' They'd point to a spot on a map. I knew there was nobody there. But in finger pointing four or five locales, the finger would fall on a place where I knew somebody was operating."
Ceasar Diosdado was contacted in June 1994. Ceasar Diosdado: "What is it you want to know? In reference to what? The JFK assassination? You have nothing on me. You're barking up the wrong tree. I don't know a damn thing about it so forget it. Okay? (hangs up)." Ceasar Diosdado was recontacted and asked if he knew HEMMING. He denied he had.
Antonio Veciana met with BISHOP in Miami two months after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Although they discussed that event, Antonio Veciana did not ask him about OSWALD: "I was not going to make the mistake of getting myself involved in something that did not concern me. That was a very difficult situation, because I was afraid. We both understood. I could guess that he knew that I was knowledgeable of that, and I learned that the best way is not to know, not to get to know things that don't concern you, so I respected the rules, and I didn't mention that ever."
BISHOP approached Antonio Veciana about getting in touch with his cousin, Guillermo Ruiz, a member of the Cuban Intelligence Service ,who was assigned to Mexico City at the time of the Kennedy assassination. According to Veciana, a news story was circulating immediately after the assassination that OSWALD had met a couple on the Mexican border while on his way to Mexico City prior to the assassination. BISHOP said his cousin could earn a large amount of money by saying publicly that he and his wife were the ones who had met OSWALD. Veciana agreed to contact Ruiz agreed to make the attempt to contact Ruiz, because, as he testified, "I knew that Ruiz would be tempted with money, he liked money."Antonio Veciana was unsuccessful in contacting Guillermo Ruiz, and when he mentioned it a couple of months later, BISHOP told him to forget it. That was the last time Veciana ever spoke of the Kennedy assassination or LEE HARVEY OSWALD to BISHOP, and he testified he never told anyone about seeing OSWALD until questioned by Gaeton Fonzi.
Guillermo Ruiz was born on February 10, 1930, in Cuba. His primary and secondary education was in private institutions. He was reportedly well-educated with a degree in political economics from the University of Havana. He was a Communist before he became as Castroite, as his father was a militant Communist. During the Batista regime, Ruiz, who was in asylum in Mexico, was involved in the Triple A Movement of Dr. Aureliano Sanchez Arango. In the 1950's he emigrated to the U.S., traveling throughout the east coast and holding minor jobs. The CIA reported that his wife, Nilda Veciana, lived in New York for five years in the 1950's on West 48th Street, three block from Times Square. In 1957 Ruiz was in Miami, where he worked as an apprentice butcher. Ruiz became involved with the Cuban underworld: "In Miami, Ruiz and another Cuban exile, Major Jose Maria Moleon Carreras, were in contact with an American of Cuban descent, known as Joe Louis or Joe Luis, an underworld figure who was competing with Italians in the bolita racket in Tampa. Ruiz said Luis offered Ruiz and close associates $800 a month, plus car and expenses to supervise 'collections in Miami.' Luis even asked them to kill a man named Fernandez, who was involved in the numbers game in Miami, for $5,000 each." Ruiz left Miami in February 1958 will Harry Villegas Tamayo (contact of Pineiro, DGI Chief; also served as guerrilla with Che Guevara in Bolivia) and three other members of the 26th of July Movement and reportedly entered Cuba clandestinely. In Havana, Guillermo Ruiz was involved with a group in acts of terrorism against the Batista regime. Prior to 1959 Ruiz was reportedly operating clandestinely in the Dominican Republic trying to overthrow the Trujillo regime. Trujillo wanted to get Ruiz. Ruiz escaped and went to Cuba. In 1959 he was an official in the Castro administration, Chief of the Department of Construction, Expenses Studies, Office of Financial Statistics, Ministry of the Treasury. He was also reported to be a G-2 agent. Veciana said he first learned of Ruiz's affiliation with Castro's intelligence service shortly after Castro took power. He and Ruiz were walking in a Havana park when they were stopped and searched by Castro's police. Ruiz was found to be carrying a gun and was taken away. Concerned, Veciana immediately placed call to a close friend inside Castro's Government, Minister of Finance Rufo Lopez-Fresquet. Lopez-Fresquet told Veciana not to worry about Ruiz, because Ruiz was actually working for the intelligence service. Although Ruiz was a Castro agent and Communist, he warned Veciana that he was being observed visiting the American Embassy in Havana, and told him to be careful. That was why Veciana later thought that he might be able to turn Ruiz into an anti-Castro agent."
On August 1, 1963, Ruiz was appointed Commercial Counselor at the Cuban Embassy, Mexico City. He was reportedly a member of the DGI, and sent to Mexico City to infiltrate counter-revolutionary groups. The CIA: "The Guillermo Ruiz married to Antonio Veciana's cousin:
A. Lived in the U.S. illegally in 1957.
B. Was assigned to Cuban Embassy, Mexico City, September 6, 1963, as diplomat.
C. Flew from Mexico City to Havana on November 22, 1963." [He returned to Mexico City on November 29, 1963].
The CIA reported that in November 1964 Guillermo Ruiz received a letter from Andy Buckner of Sherman, Texas, that made reference to information Andy Buckner had supplied Guillermo Ruiz in January 1964. Andy Buckner, contacted in 1994, said he knew nothing of Guillermo Ruiz: "If I had any contact with Cubans, I can't remember." "In May 1964 AMMUG-1 reported that Ruiz, in Mexico City, was case officer for CUIS operations targeted against some nearby area. Ruiz was appointed Vice Minister for Economics of Ministry of Foreign Trade in 1964. In December 1967, Ruiz went to Madrid as the new Cuban Ambassador. He had his family with him and much money. He was living high on the hog. Very high. On April 24, 1968, Ruiz advised officer at Embassy, Oristides Diaz Roverosa, to disguise self for good organization, because he was already clandestine. Ruiz comments that he was arrested only once but it was only a joke. Aside from that, he says, they never caught him."
Antonio Veciana told a Cuban Affairs officer Miami August 1, 1968, that Guillermo Ruiz married to Veciana's cousin, was "dissatisfied with Fidel Castro and was receptive to recruitment. Antonio Veciana reported same information to Cuban Affairs officer in 1964. In 1968 Veciana served with the Agency for International Development in La Paz." [(Deleted) (IN 63607-]
"(Deleted) (IN 97745)," that was cited in the preceding cable, concerned Veciana's appearance at "State political section September 23, 1968, with same information regarding Ruiz. Veciana said Henry Taylor in Miami invited Veciana to visit (Deleted), who would follow up Ruiz case." [NARA CIA 1993.07.22.08:55:23:460530 - CIA 201-735296] In 1969 Guillermo Ruiz arranged for a camouflaged trip to Cuba by Salvadore Allende, a Socialist and President of Chile. In 1970 "CIA had (deleted) go to Madrid to reestablish friendship with Ruiz. (Wouldn't surprise me if (deleted) didn't tell Ruiz of arrangement.) Shortly thereafter Guillermo Ruiz returned to Cuba. We terminated interest in (deleted). Chris Hopkins Task Force K." Other attempts at CIA recruitment also ended in failure: Veciana said he was approached by another by another anti-Castro Cuban exile named Robert Vale. Vale asked Veciana to attempt to contact Ruiz about possibly becoming an asset for the CIA. Ruiz, at the time, was stationed in Spain, and when Veciana found a friend, Robeljo Lorie, who was traveling to Spain, he asked him to carry a letter to Ruiz. Ruiz tore the letter up in front of Lorie and told him he did not want to have any contact with Veciana, because he knew Veciana was "working for the CIA."
The HSCA interviewed Guillermo Ruiz in Havana. He acknowledged he was related to Antonio Veciana through marriage and remarked that everyone in Cuba knew Antonio Veciana was associated with the CIA and had tried to assassinate Fidel Castro. Guillermo Ruiz said he was never contacted by Antonio Veciana about OSWALD and had not seen Antonio Veciana since 1959. According to Guillermo Ruiz, Antonio Veciana was mentally ill, and had been under psychiatric care from the time he was 16 years old, until he was 21. These charges could not be substantiated.
Gaeton Fonzi asked Veciana if he ever dealt with Mitch Werbell: "No. But he said that you were going to ask him about Masferrer now. (Why?) Because there was a lot of business between Masferrer and Werbell. They say that Masferrer was killed as a result of his dealings with Werbell." The CIA: "In April 1966 a Latin American Division officer (deleted) using the alias (deleted) met with Veciana in New York City. The meeting was arranged by a retired Naval Officer, James Cogswell, who had informed Chief, Western Hemisphere Division, that he had information of value concerning Cuba. When (deleted) arrived in New York City for the meeting, he was introduced by James Cogswell to Antonio Veciana. He immediately launched a discussion of the Cuban political situation and noted his strong feeling that the only solution was the assassination of Castro. (Deleted) advised Veciana that he was in no position to provide him with assistance or encourage him in an assassination attempt, and was only interested in gathering information which he thought was the purpose of the meeting. Veciana subsequently said that his roommate (Deleted) a Cuban refugee, had excellent contacts in Havana. It was clear to (Deleted) however, Veciana was attempting to use (Deleted) potentially to get Agency financial support for his organization." A report dated April 25, 1966, revealed that James Cogswell, "told AMRAZZ that he was expecting Antonio Veciana at that moment. Veciana, Cogswell said, was in on a plan to assassinate Fidel Castro. Details of the plan were lacking. Veciana wanted Cogswell to introduce him to a man known only as (FNU) Livingstone, from 'Winston, Massachusetts.' Cogswell's sister, name unknown, who works in Washington, D.C., presented Livingstone to Cogswell about a month ago. Cogswell told (deleted) that on Sunday night, April 17, 1966, he had introduced Veciana to Livingston. The latter two had spoken in private after which Veciana came away very pleased, but did not disclose anything except that he had a plan to assassinate Fidel Castro." In a dispatch titled "Alleged KUBARK Officer in Contact with Cuban Who is Planning Castro Assassination Plot" the CIA stated: "According to (deleted) 'Livingstone' was involved with Veciana's alleged assassination plot and he was masquerading as KUBARK officer." [CIA 201-259910 (deleted) 25301] James Cogswell was described as a New York attorney who raised funds for Eloy Gutierrez Menoyo. In May 1966 "(deleted) employee met with Veciana who again requested (deleted) in assassination of Castro." A CIA memo for the record dated May 31, 1966, noted: "Veciana had roommate in Puerto Rico, Felix Zabala, who visited Cuba November 1965, in regard to Camarioca refugee departures. Has an identical twin brother in Cuba. Has sister in Cuba, at that time, who was secretary to Ramiro Valdez, Cuban Minister of Interior." [NARA CIA 1993.07.22.08:55:23:460530]
Antonio Veciana worked for the Office of Capital Development of the Agency for International Development as a consultant at the Central Bank of La Paz, Bolivia, with an office in the Passport Division of the American Embassy, circa April 1968 to June 30, 1972. Veciana believed that BISHOP was instrumental in getting the job with the Agency for International Development, because he himself was surprised the Agency would hire a known terrorist and anti-Castro activist. Antonio Veciana was hired by the Agency for International Development, although his application was unsigned. The CIA commented, "Veciana was (deleted)." Gaeton Fonzi reported that Antonio Veciana told him he did very little banking. Instead he spent his time working for BISHOP.
Antonio Veciana and BISHOP instigated a scheme to assassinate Fidel Castro in Chile in 1971. According to Antonio Veciana, BISHOP suggested the operation and provided the weapon, a lethal news camera. (CIA rogue agent Edwin P. Wilson produced similar devices for the Libyans.) During Veciana's narcotics conspiracy trial in New York City, Augustin Barres, one of his co-defendants testified that he had given Reinaldo Abreu $2,000 in 1971 in furtherance of this plot. [USDC SDNY 74-1219]
The HSCA reported: "Although BISHOP directed the operation, and provided Veciana with intelligence information, Veciana himself recruited anti-Castro Cuban associates in Caracas to take part in the attempt. Part of the plan to assassinate Castro in Chile in 1971, said Veciana, called for Chilean military bodyguards to capture the assassins before Castro's people could kill them. BISHOP, said Veciana, made the requisite arrangements with the Chilean military.
Without his knowledge, Veciana said, his Cuban exile associates in Caracas introduced a new element into the plan, a scheme to blame the assassination on certain Russian agents in Caracas. The associates even produced phony documents and photographs. When BISHOP later found out about this unauthorized part of the scheme, he was extremely upset, and he accused Veciana of being part of it. Although Veciana told BISHOP he had no knowledge of it, BISHOP apparently did not believe him and eventually suggested their relationship be terminated.
In a report to Senator George McGovern in 1975, Castro provided information detailing the plot and accused "counter-revolutionaries from Alpha-66" as co-conspirators. Veciana himself was not specifically mentioned. Max Lesnick, editor and publisher of Replica, the most prominent Spanish-language weekly publication in the Miami Cuban exile community, said he was aware of Veciana's involvement in the assassination attempt at the time. He said, however, Veciana told him it was his "own plan" and did not mention the involvement of MAURICE BISHOP. Lesnick could not identify BISHOP, but said he always did think that Veciana had "some high government contacts, probably CIA."
Veciana stated the Lucilo Pena, a Cuban-born graduate of Auburn University in Georgia, was a co-conspirator in the plot to assassinate Castro in Chile. Lucilo Pena lived in Venezuela since 1961. Although Pena denied any involvement in the Castro assassination plot in Chile, he admitted to knowing Veciana since "1964 or 1965" when he was active in Alpha-66. He said he first met Veciana through a friend, Secundino Alverez, who the leader of Alpha-66 in Caracas. (Alverez was also named by Veciana as also being involved in the Chile plot.) Pena admitted he had been in contact with Veciana during the period the Chile plot was being planned, but, he said, their meeting were only casual, usually at boxing matches which Veciana promoted. Pena also admitted that Veciana may have discussed the possibility of assassinating Castro with him during one of these encounters at the boxing matches. "I think he asked some help in raising money," Pena said "but that's all I know about that." Pena denied any knowledge or involvement in any plan to blame Russian agents for the planned Castro assassination in Chile. "I am not the type to do that kind of counter-intelligence work," he said. "I am too open and honest." Pena said he knew Luis Posda, perhaps since 1963.
The HSCA interviewed Luis Posada, an anti-Castro Cuban exile, in the Venezuelan political prison, Cuartel San Carlos, in Caracas. In October 1976 Luis Posada was arrested with Orlando Bosch, and was subsequently indicted for the bombing of the Cubana Airlines plane in which 73 persons were killed. Posada had earlier been linked with assassination plots against Cuban officials in Chile, including two who disappeared in August 1976. Posada was a member of Brigade 2506, but he did not take part in the Bay of Pigs landing. In 1963 he joined the U.S. Army and was commissioned a first lieutenant. He resigned his commission in 1964. He went to Venezuela in 1967 and shortly afterwards joined the Venezuelan secret police, DISIP, the Direccion de los Sevicios de Intellgencia y Prevencion. From 1971 to 1973 he was chief of operations of the General Division of Security for DISIP, which included counter-intelligence. He resigned from DISIP in 1973 and went to Washington, D.C. to take training from what he termed "a private company" in the field of lie detection. He returned to Caracas to open his own private detective agency. Posada told HSCA investigators that he was not involved in the Castro assassination attempt in Chile in 1971. He admitted that he knew Veciana, but said he only met him twice, once in Miami and once in Caracas at the boxing matches. He said he did talk to Veciana about the time the Chile plot was being planned, but Veciana never mentioned anything to him about it.
This aborted assassination attempt against Fidel Castro in Chile ended BISHOP'S relationship with Antonio Veciana. In April 1972 the CIA reported that Antonio Veciana reportedly planned an assassination attempt on Fidel Castro's life. [CIA date 4.8.72 signed by Shackley C/WHD (Deleted) C/WH/COG (Deleted) C/WH/3]
On July 26, 1973, Veciana said BISHOP arranged to meet with him in the parking lot of the Flagler Dog Track in Miami. When he arrived, BISHOP was waiting for him with two younger men in an automobile. At that time BISHOP gave Veciana a suitcase, which, Veciana later ascertained, contained $253,000 in cash. Veciana stated the money was compensation for his efforts over the years.
In August 1973 the CIA reported that Antonio Veciana was allegedly involved in planning the explosion in France on August 2, 1973, which "resulted in the death of Juan Felipe De La Cruz." [CIA R 7309180924 in 201-312966]
On January 2, 1973 the CIA generated this memo:
Memorandum For: Acting General Counsel
Attention: Mr. John K. Greaney
Subjects: Ariel Pomeres aka Ariel Ignacis aka Ariel Pomare Orbea
1. Reference is made to your memo of December 1972 requesting name traces on Pomeres and Veciana. Office of Security has no record of Ariel Pomeres or his listed aliases.
2. Office of Security indices do reflect a record on Veciana. On January 4, 1962, Western Hemisphere Division requested a POA for Veciana in connection with Project (Deleted)...A Western Hemisphere Division dispatch (deleted) 25097, dated May 6, 1966, described Veciana as a Public Accountant by profession. It further described him as the titular head of Alpha-66 and a member of MRP and SFNE. His residence was shown as Puerto Rico and he was described as having a Cryptonym and of marginal (deleted) interest to JMWAVE, CI Branch, as a source of information obtained by (Deleted) for the CUIS.
3. There is no indication that Veciana was at any time involved in importing cocaine or other narcotics into this country in connection with the activities of Alpha-66.
Howard J. Osborn.
Director of Security.
On August 10, 1973, Antonio Veciana was indicted for possession with intent to distribute cocaine and two counts of conspiracy to do so. Augustin Barres, who was a former member of the 26th of July Movement and an official under Castro for a short while, along with an agent of the Organized Crime Bureau, Special Services Division, Drug Enforcement Task Force (Detective Joseph Bruno), delivered the cocaine to Veciana and Ariel Pomares. When the authorities searched Veciana's home they found several fake passports.
The Government claimed Veciana had smuggled cocaine from Bolivia from 1971 to 1973 via a diplomatic courier at least three times. Augustin Barres was unhappy with "The Midget," who was selling these shipments in the U.S. and contacted some one Barres thought was a member of the Mafia. The gangster introduced Barres to Bruno. Barres testified against Veciana: "[Veciana] told me that he had a friend of his, which I don't recall his name at this time, had introduce him with the man in charge of the Interpol police in Bolivia. That this gentleman, Interpol, was in charge of watching the traffic of cocaine but he had group of factories or refineries that he give them protection for a certain amount of money."
Veciana's attorney argued:
Bannigan: I think the agencies -- if it was that broad, I think what I would seek is whether the employment undertaken by Mr. Veciana or Mr. Pomares for any government agency, particularly the FBI or the CIA, in any way related to the charges in this case, and that I have not gotten an answer back on yet...The only thing I can suggest, your honor, is that Mr. Veciana, in addition to working for the agencies that have already been mentioned, has some affiliation with some Cuban Revolutionary Groups. It is possible, though I think it unlikely, that that affiliation with the group maybe as a covert agent, that there may be some relationship to the transactions here and that group, raising funds to continue their activities. We just don't know that yet. In that sense there may be some --- I mean it is possible he was working for the CIA when he did this. I would hope not.
THE COURT: You mean selling narcotics?
Rosner: Crazier things than that have happened, your Honor, as I'm sure the court knows.
On January 4, 1974, John Greaney of the Office of the General Counsel of the CIA, sent a letter to the United States Attorney, regarding Antonio Veciana and Ariel Pomeres in regard to unlawful acts of both from November 1, 1972 to January 1974, regarding unlawful importing of cocaine or other narcotics. In July 1974 (Deleted) mentioned Antonio Veciana and stated he was "denounced as a CIA agent."
Antonio Veciana was convicted of drug trafficking, and served 27 months in prison on a conspiracy conviction involving narcotics.
Veciana associated his legal problems with Bishop. Gaeton Fonzi speculated this was why Antonio Veciana had brought OSWALD'S name up. Gaeton Fonzi wrote: "(Does he believe his narcotics arrest was somehow related to all his years dealing of dealing with BISHOP?) Yes. He says he believes there is some relation with the past years. But he says just to remember that the narcotics department (DEA) feels that he is guilty, and if he were working for the narcotics department he would believe it too. (But how does he relate it?) He says in 1973, when everything went down [with BISHOP?], they couldn't kill him because he had too much information, that if he ever got killed too much would come out. So he figures the only way to finish him was to put him in jail, to set him up. He doesn't know whether it was even Castro on the other hand. He has had three assassination attempts on his life. They even put a bomb in Puerto Rico to get him. In Bolivia they came to get him at his house. In Miami never." [NARA SSCIA 157-10004-10158] When Veciana spoke with HSCA investigators on another occasion, he blamed his drug arrest on Castro agents. On November 29, 1977, the FBI reported that "a reliable source who is close to Antonio Veciana had advised that he feels that Veciana's unusual preoccupation with the Kennedy assassination investigation may have something to do with the fact that Veciana was released from prison soon after his drug conviction. Source suspects that Veciana may have made some kind of secret deal with unknown government agents who allowed his release from prison in exchange for his testimony which implicated the CIA in the Kennedy assassination. This is pure speculation on Source's part and he had no tangible evidence to support his theory. It is recommended that inquiry be made at the federal correction institution where Veciana was imprisoned in an effort to determine whether Veciana's early release from prison had anything to do with his claim that he had pertinent knowledge of the Kennedy assassination." [NARA 124-10275-10230]
Gaeton Fonzi recalled that several weeks after the HSCA Report was issued (July 1979): "The telephone rang. A friend in Little Havana was calling. He said Antonio Veciana had been shot in the head. Antonio Veciana was driving home from work when someone ambushed him, fired four shots at him. There were four bullet holes in his car. Antonio Veciana was not dead, the friend said, but that was all he knew." Antonio Veciana had received a slight wound to the left temple. He told Gaeton Fonzi: "It was a Castro agent."
Veciana was involved in the importation of narcotics to the United States. The attempted assassination of Antonio Veciana could have been drug-related, or it could have been a warning from individuals intent on protecting the CIA. Veciana's $253,000 cash payment and his arrest for cocaine trafficking and money laundering were related as was the attempt on his life. Veciana felt the CIA should have intervened and prevented his imprisonment. Gaeton Fonzi interviewed Veciana at a time when he was especially embittered with the CIA, two weeks after leaving the Federal Penitentiary in Atlanta, after serving 27 months on a narcotics conspiracy conviction, so he told Fonzi about BISHOP and OSWALD.
HEMMING told this researcher: "BISHOP is BISHOP, and about four other people. PHILLIPS was one of them. Obviously Antonio Veciana wasn't supposed to show up at that building at that fucking time. You don't allow assets to see one another by themselves. And you sure as hell don't let assets see you with somebody else. That was a major fuckup. Antonio Veciana relied on me to keep his fucking ass alive in the 1970's. I saved his life twice. We were real close. Me and Veciana get on real fucking good. He's alive because of me. He risked his life coming forward and he got shot for it. OSWALD went to the meeting with BISHOP to see Mr. HUNT. Mr. HUNT was going to have him do some stuff."
Marina Oswald told this researcher: "Let me squeeze something in, okay? So if you make connection of LEE HARVEY OSWALD to CIA and to DAVID ATLEE PHILLIPS who was in division where he conducted assassination all over the world and he was involved, according to you or another book, in assassination of President Kennedy. And if he knew LEE OSWALD it means he knew about Presidential assassination. And I don't think LEE would ever want to kill President Kennedy. I know exactly how LEE felt about Kennedy. LEE did not tell me he was associated with the government, that's all. He was very sure that Kennedy would take care of the missile crisis right. Right now I have inkling of double life, but not then. After the Walker incident I thought he playing with dangerous politics, and it's time for him to quit. I thought it was just a game. He never confessed to me, or confided to me, that it was a serious thing. I think he was a small potato who got fried in a big batch. But that cannot be because of inside information, or that I hiding something, but I just simply did not suspect anything heavier than the kid simply tried to play big politics, that's all."
In July 1963 Edward Anderson Collins was working with Manuel Aguilar. The FBI reported: "MM T-7, a Cuban exile and member of the Frente Revolutionario Anti-Communista, on July 29, 1963, advised that on July 27, 1963, Edward Collins, an American soldier-of- fortune, Jesus Franco, former leader of the Cuban Rebel Army and Rudolfo Fasco, a Cuban exile, left Miami on the motorboat, 'Little Ann.' They went out to sea about 30 miles, turned on a radio transmitter and tape recorder, and transmitted anti-Communist propaganda to Cuba. They returned to Miami about 8:30 p.m. the same day...MM T-7 advised that the head of the organization is Manuel Aguilar. The organization has 20 members and two boats." [FBI MM 105-1742 10.9.63 p25] Fasco had Collins arrested for theft of the 'Little Ann' and the homemade boat broke up quickly in the surf. [FBI Report on FRAC]
The CIA possessed a copy of an Army report concerning William Houston Seymour: "Subject: Aguilar, Manuel, June 19, 1970." [CIA 04483]
Subject: Frente Revolutionario Anti-Communista en Cuba (U)
Department of Justice
Washington, D.C. 20535
1. (U) Forwarded for your information and action deemed appropriate are two Agent Reports (Ars) dated June 18, 1970, and June 19, 1970, Subject: (Deleted) (NHM); DPOB: (Deleted).
2. Aguilar may possibly be identifiable with Manolo Aguilar named as a representative of the Frente Revolutionario Anti-Communista en Cuba in unnumbered report FBI, Miami, Florida, December 20, 1963, Subject: Movimiento Revolucionario Frank Pais. (Deleted) is presumed to be the same individual named in unnumbered report, FBI Miami, Florida, April 5, 1963, Subject, 30th of November Revolutionary Movement; and report 97-406, FBI Miami, Florida, same Subject. [A search of this data base for 97-406 revealed HEMMING was mentioned in it.]
3. (FOUO) Records of this office indicate that (Deleted).
For the Commander:
Irwin R. Gay LTC,MI,
Acting Assistant Adjutant General.
[NARA FBI 124-10067-10221]
1. NAME OF SUBJECT OR TITLE OF INCIDENT (Deleted)
2. Date submitted June 18, 1970.
3. Control Symbol or File Number
4. Report of Findings: (MISCELLANEOUS) On June 17, 1970, (Deleted) was interviewed at the Miami Field Office, Region III, 111th MI Group, Miami, Florida, regarding information he volunteered concerning an anti-Castro Cuban exile group called Frente Revolucionaria Anti-Communista en Cuba (FRACC) (Anti-Communist Revolutionary Front in Cuba), of which he claimed to be a leader. (Deleted) a jeweler employed by (deleted) stated in substance as follows:
In approximately 1959 Subject helped form FRACC in Cuba when it became known that the Castro regime was turning Communist. Subject claimed that at that time he was a member of Castro's Naval Intelligence. He alleged that he attempted to obtain help from the American Embassy, but the only helped he received was from a (Deleted) then the (Deleted) who made personal donations to FRACC but offered no official help. When Subject could not obtain official aid, he and other members of FRACC went underground. Source declined to reveal the names of other members of FRACC for fear of jeopardizing their security since some members were still in prison in Cuba. In approximately March 1961, Subject escaped from Cuba when he learned that he was being investigated for subversive activities. Since coming to the U.S. he has been working with about 50 persons living in various parts of the U.S. in order to send aid to members of FRACC in Cuba. Subject declined to reveal the names of these members in the U.S. As yet, FRACC has only been able to send very small amounts of aid to FRACC at sporadic intervals, and through clandestine means. They do not have any stockpiles of arms or materials, and do not plan to initiate any action without the approval of the U.S. Government. There is no formal organization of FRACC in the U.S. However, the Subject claimed that the FRACC members in the U.S. could be organized and trained in a matter of weeks to send supplies and arms to Cuba. Subject believed that there were approximately 4,000 to 10,000 persons in Cuba who would support FRACC immediately, if they had assurance that FRACC, did, in fact, have supplies and the support of the U.S. Subject claimed that he was in contact with members of FRACC in Cuba (some still in prison and others in high positions within the Cuban military), NFI, who were awaiting support. Subject has no definite military plans, but believed that FRACC could overthrow the Castro from within, rather than by means of invasion involving the U.S., if they had the proper supplies and support. Subject was referred to the Miami Field Office by (Deleted) presently a patient at Palm Springs General Hospital, Hialeah, Florida. Through (Deleted) Subject met an individual who claimed to be Captain in the U.S. Army Reserves, not further identified, who stated that he could train Subject and other members of FRACC. Agents notes: The interview of Subject was conducted in the Spanish language. He appeared to be sincere, truthful and was completely cooperative throughout the interview.
Joseph A. Agee, 111th Group (III)
Signature of Special Agent, Gilberto
(Illegible). (Deleted - two pages withheld entirely Referred to Army. The following number is to used for reference regarding these pages: HQ 105-82555-5th NR.
NAME OF SUBJECT OR TITLE OF INCIDENT (Deleted)
DATE SUBMITTED June 19, 1970.
CONTROL SYMBOL OR FILE NUMBER: (Deleted)
REPORT OF FINDINGS: (Five Paragraphs Deleted)
Source mentioned as an aside that during the build-up of 1963, a number of volunteer civilians was making their way across the US into Florida. It was during this time that three individuals from California became known within his separate click. Source supplied names as follows:
(Deleted)[Lawrence John Howard] probably located in California, possibly El Monte
(Deleted)[William Houston Seymour] presently located in Tucson, Arizona. (Deleted) [HEMMING].
According to (Deleted) [Aguilar], both (Deleted) met with OSWALD in Texas while en route to Florida prior to the Kennedy assassination. After President Kennedy was killed (deleted) related to source that the assassination was a CIA plot to do away with Kennedy since (deleted) were believed to have been connected with the CIA. Source, at a later date, confronted (deleted) with the question concerning his part in the alleged connection with the Kennedy assassination. (Deleted) 'clammed up' and became nervous concerning the matter and avoided the subject completely. Additionally, due to source's long involvement with military civilian movements against Cuba a man by the name of (deleted) [Steve Burton] who presently resides at (deleted) came to source's home while he was living in California, following the Robert F. Kennedy assassination and displayed photographs of Sirhan B. Sirhan in efforts to make identification. Source was unable to make identification but stated that Burton was in the employ of JERRY HEMMING at the time.
Agents Notes: Source was completely cooperative during the interview and provided names, addresses and telephone numbers from a small address book in his possession. He appeared to be somewhat self-centered and desired to talk more about himself than Subject. As a spot check for accuracy of information concerning individuals, the names and addresses of (deleted) listed above, was checked through the Los Angeles Field Office of the 115th MI Group. The North Hollywood telephone directory reflected a listing for (Deleted). It is felt that Source was completely truthful in his answers and had strong feelings concerning the abilities of Subject.
Charles N. Phillips, 111th MI Group (III).
Steve Burton of Los Angeles interviewed LAWRENCE JOHN HOWARD on January 25, 1968, for New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison. [Report of Charles N. Phillips Joseph A. Agee, 111th MI Group 6.18.70; Citizens Committee of Inquiry Steven J. Burton] On May 8, 1968, HEMMING was interviewed by Steve Burton, on behalf of New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison.
HEMMING told this researcher: "Manuel Aguilar was a Castro agent. The last time I had Aguilar located was at a house we were going to hit to recover my rifle and other equipment that they had purloined and a trailer full of medicines. We'd gotten part of the trailer, we wanted the rest of the medicines, so we could ship them to Cuba legally. And the next thing you know they were getting permission with Masferrer and them to go down and use No Name Key as a base and that's the last of Aguilar. Summer of 1963 and we were busy on other stuff...Aguilar was trying to buy some guns and shit and he got a box full of rocks delivered to him...Ralph Hernandez set up a buy with Aguilar and box full of rocks. It became an armed confrontation. Metro Miami Police. I figured here's Ralph Hernandez and they all got machine guns and I figured at any moment Aguilar is going to have Hall and that crowd on the scene and things are gonna get real interesting...ROY HARGRAVES was great buddies with Aguilar, okay, and HARGRAVES had been told to stay away from him and was getting ready to put a bomb on his ass because he put a bomb on Louie Balbana's [phonetic] house that night after the scene with Hall and Molina and Bayo. They blew the front door in one Balbana's house. They were going to hit Aguilar."
In a Freedom of Information Act request to the FBI HEMMING requested documents on: "Meetings in Florida, Texas, Louisiana, etc. with individuals threatening the life of President John F. Kennedy from 1962 to 1963." END OF NODULE.CLICK HERE TO GO ON TO THE NEXT NODULE.