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James DiEugenio

Antonio Veciana's book Reviewed-Twice

15 posts in this topic

And here is a review by Arnaldo Fernandez--a former professor at University of Havana-- of the book.

https://kennedysandking.com/john-f-kennedy-reviews/antonio-veciana-with-carlos-harrison-trained-to-kill-2

 

Let me add, having read the book, it is well-written, fast paced, and it seems to me to contain new information about Veciana's activities.  The portrait of Phillips that emerges is really interesting.  

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2 hours ago, James DiEugenio said:

And here is a review by Arnaldo Fernandez--a former professor at University of Havana-- of the book.

https://kennedysandking.com/john-f-kennedy-reviews/antonio-veciana-with-carlos-harrison-trained-to-kill-2

 

Let me add, having read the book, it is well-written, fast paced, and it seems to me to contain new information about Veciana's activities.  The portrait of Phillips that emerges is really interesting.  

There is "new information" for sure. Veciana’s tale now includes suicide pills, disappearing ink, lie detector tests, truth serum and other clichés that are notably absent from earlier versions of the story.

http://wtracyparnell.blogspot.com/2017/04/trained-to-kill.html

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Maybe because he never wrote a book before that detailed all of his training?

Tracy didn't notice that I guess. 

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1 hour ago, James DiEugenio said:

Maybe because he never wrote a book before that detailed all of his training?

Tracy didn't notice that I guess. 

But wouldn't the HSCA and Fonzi have been interested in these details? And he mentioned training by Melton just not with these details. And "Smith" was never mentioned before this at all.

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Tracy, could you elaborate on when and possibly where that training was supposed to have occurred.  As far as I know the CIA did not officially train Cuban exiles until they had been formally vetted and brought into a program, which involved giving them a polygraph among other things. Then they were given a special classification as to their role and appropriate military training or intelligence trade-craft practice training would be provided  - meaning there should have been a file on Veciana that showed his vetting process and he should have been assigned a case officer, all things the HSCA would have wanted to know. And of course if Phillips was assigned to be involved with him on projects that should have been documented. We have seen enough now to know how much the CIA practiced security and loved paperwork.

Then it becomes a matter of what he was trained for...as an intelligence collection asset, as a spy on other exiles, or for some specific project (say running Alpha 66 as a deniable Agency asset)  - we know it was routine for such things to happen but they were always heavily documented. Alberto Fernandez an the Tejauna is an example and there is extensive paperwork on him and the ship. 

All of this should have been brought to the attention of the HSCA - meaning one of three things, either it did happen and the Agency committed a major sin of not just obfuscation but a series of outright lies (OK, no surprise there), it happened unofficially with Phillips and possibly some of his reports doing things outside normal channels and control e.g. going rogue (which would possibly be even more interesting and suggestive given what Veciana has claimed Phillips was doing in Latin America) or Veciana is making his story more sensational to sell books which would not be good.

Timing and location might give us some clues on which of the three is in play.

,

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Posted (edited)

Larry,

In the original story as told by Fonzi in HSCA volume X and which is at least partly confirmed by the 1976 interview notes (now available at my site) in 1960 in Havana, Veciana entered a three week program by a "Mr. Melton" that involved "some training in the use of explosives and sabotage techniques, [but] most of the program consisted of lessons in propaganda and psychological warfare." In the story that Veciana is now telling, he includes the training by Melton but adds a polygraph test and questioning after being given a pill that acted as a sort of truth serum. It is unclear to me why he would not have mentioned any of this previously if it were true. As you point out, the polygraph is something that they would have done so no mention of that until now is curious. For those interested in the subject, watch for the next part of my series in which I will continue a skeptical look at the story as presented by Fonzi. I will also be releasing more documents from the National Archives pertaining to the Veciana story.

My series on Veciana so far:

http://wtracyparnell.blogspot.com/2017/04/gaeton-fonzi-and-veciana-allegations.html

http://wtracyparnell.blogspot.com/2017/04/trained-to-kill.html

http://wtracyparnell.blogspot.com/2017/04/wynne-johnson.html

Edited by W. Tracy Parnell

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Thanks Tracy, based on that I offer the following - strictly speculative and based on my own belief that Phillips did first contact Veciana in Cuba, where Phillips himself wrote that he used an alias to connect with counter revolutionary groups including one in particular which was seeking to assassinate Castro. Of course Phillips was working under commercial cover, as a contract CIA employee, not fully on staff as he had been previously and certainly not as a case officer. Basically he was collecting intelligence, particularly political intelligence on the Castro regime and its opposition.

Given that, two things strike me. The first is that the level of contact with Veciana would have been more tenuous than what we see back in the states, Veciana would have been a source and not much more. That could mean some limited training, after all Phillips had previously been a case officer and had done recruiting and agent handling. How he could have handled polygraphing in Cuba eludes me but Phillips was an actor at heart, perhaps it was all staged - including the purported truth serum and poison pill - to impress and to test Veciana.

So why would Veciana have held back on such information at the time of his HSCA interview....actually the reason might be quite simple. If he had decided not to identify Phillips, for whatever reason, he would have had to go with a story that the fellow he know in Cuba had represented himself as acting for commercial interests and not have been a CIA officer.  Of course he would have looked incredibly stupid to mention the polygraph, truth serum, the training and the poison pill in that context. Obviously such things would have screamed CIA, even back in Cuba.

Now that he has admitted he knew that Phillips was CIA, he can add that in...

Of course all that is a guess on my part but it would make things more consistent.   Larry

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Wasn't Melton an alias used by Phillips?

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Tracy, I don't think there is any doubt the CIA was in contact with Veciana however if you will check all the documents listed in the link below I think its pretty clear that they talked to him, they monitored him and they monitored Alpha 66.  I don't see any sign of an "asset" type connection for him while in Cuba or while he was organizing Alpha 66.  He appears to be very independent.  I'm not sure about that JMATE sabotage thing, it seems inconsistent and might be a product of name confusion, even the CIA got confused with the multiple Cuban names.

https://www.maryferrell.org/php/cryptdb.php?id=AMSHALE-1

On the other hand, Phillips might have gone further with Veciana in Cuba (and even afterwards) on his own, if so its not reflected in the documents we have and normally it would be in Vecian's background file, no reason for it to be concealed.

To Paul's question, Phillips used the alias Andrew Merton but never "Melton".  On the other hand, operating on his own under commercial cover he could have used any number of names at his own discretion - operational cover names show up in project and activity reports but we don't have any of those on Phillips in Cuba.  So, he may have used Melton and we just don't see it or he may have used it for his own purposes and not as part of any reporting - a fairly common practice.

 

 

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Merton and melton - too close to dismiss, and Veciana could easily have misremembered. 

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Agreed, I tend to think it was Phillips using Melton...

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10 hours ago, Paul Brancato said:

Merton and melton - too close to dismiss, and Veciana could easily have misremembered. 

The problem with this theory is that Bishop was occasionally at the training sessions with Melton. So, according to Veciana they were two separate individuals.

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My thought would be that would be either confabulation on Veciana's part, another way to disguise his knowledge that it was Phillips and he knew Phillips was CIA - or that Phillips was using an associate.  Interestingly enough we know of another American who was quite close to Phillips in Cuba (Paul Bethel), who was also an actor and who was the one who passed the first warnings to Phillips that Cuban intel was on to him.  That individual was later employed by JM/WAVE; he had worked for AIDE in Cuba, which suggests that he may have been under a government cover even then.

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