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Steve Thomas

Christian Democratic Party

12 posts in this topic

We hear a lot about the Cuban exile groups, Alpha-66 and DRE, but there was another Cuban exile group, that if I am reading this right, may have had a lot more to do with JFK's assassination than I previously realized. This was the group called the Christian Democratic Party, and they will figure large in the activities of Lee Harvey Oswald in the summer of 1963.

This group was covered in volume X, chapter VII of the HSCA Hearings. There, they called it the Movimiento Democrata Cristiano, or (MDC). “Proclaiming the doctrine of Christianity as its foundation, the MDC published a manifesto in March, 1960 denouncing Communism and strongly advocating the free enterprise system. One of its founders, Dr. Jose Ignacio Rasco was elected head of the organization. He was one of the five original exile leaders brought together by the U.S. to form a Cuban government-in-exile.

However, after the Bay of Pigs, the MDC split into factions. According to Gaeton Fonzi, who wrote the HSCA chapter on the MDC, the “Rasco” faction had, as its military chief, a man named Laureano Batista Falla. Fonzi wrote that this group, “…was one of the most active and effective underground groups in Cuba in the early 1960’s.” He wrote that many MDC members joined the “Cuba Committee” in 1962.

(I think he meant to write the “Free Cuba Committee” – the group that was mentioned by Deputy Sheriff Buddy Walthers in his memo about the house on Harlendale St. in Dallas). Fonzi said that the group was formed to counteract the propaganda of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee.

Doing an NARA search on Batsta Fall is interesting. You get results like this:

AGENCY INFORMATION

AGENCY : FBI

RECORD NUMBER : 124-90084-10090

RECORDS SERIES : HQ

AGENCY FILE NUMBER : SEE TITLE

DOCUMENT INFORMATION

ORIGINATOR : NSA

FROM : NSA

TO : [No To]

TITLE : [RESTRICTED]

DATE : 05/28/1970

PAGES : 7

DOCUMENT TYPE : PAPER, TEXTUAL DOCUMENT

SUBJECTS : LAUREANO BATISTA FALLA

CLASSIFICATION : TOP SECRET

RESTRICTIONS : 1B

CURRENT STATUS : RELEASED WITH DELETIONS

DATE OF LAST REVIEW : 09/23/1998

OPENING CRITERIA : INDEFINITE, APPROVAL OF NSA

Sometime in early 1963, this Rasco or Batista faction set up a “training camp” near Lake Ponchetrain, about 50 miles north of New Orleans. What they were “training” for I think is open to question. Fonzi wrote that in the summer of 1963, a group of 18 men arrived at the camp. It’s hard to imagine an invasion being launched by 18 men. Richard Billings said that there were 32.

From Richard Billings' New Orleans Journal (Billings was an investigator for Jim Garrison).

http://www.jfk-online.com/billings2.html

“Giant (Jim Garrison) interested in Christian Democratic Party, Cuban revolutionaries who had training camp north of lake in summer '63 -- has names: Diego Paneque, Ricardo Davis, Orlando Piedra -- CDP run by Lauriano Batista . . .

Has name of man training north of lake -- Hernando Cortes -- Giant figures original of 32 was cut -- Hernando was cut . . .

Giant has talked to two Cubans who convinced there was a camp set up to plan and train for Castro assassination . . . Camp was north of lake . . . A spy was found in camp in August, driven to Miami and questioned by Laureano Batista . . . CDP tried to turn spy over to FBI, but Bureau had no jurisdiction . . . Giant sends Fowler to see Batista . . . Another name attached to camp: Ledovido Interam . . . Fowler points out there were two camps -- one CDP where the spy, Fernando Fernandez, was caught; another run by ultra conservatives . . . Turns out CDP camp didn't break up when spy was caught (claim they knew he was there all the time and kept him for protection against other infiltrators) . . . Camp broke up because of raid on conservative camp . . . Davis ordered departure . . . CDP camp on land owned by Redemptorist Fathers, later located by Oser with help of Angel Vega, one of Cubans there . . . Ultra conservative camp reportedly on land owned by McLaney (see report on raid) . . .”

So there were actually “two” training camps outside New Orleans. One that got raided by the FBI, and one that didn’t. According to Billings, the Cuban exile group was training to assassinate Castro. When the right-wing camp got raided and dynamite seized, the Cuban exile group broke up.

I speculate that it is possible that the raid on the conservative camp was the last straw, and planning went from assassinating Castro to assassinating JFK.

From Carlos Bringuer’s WC testimony:

Carlos Bringuer WC testimony:

Next thing is this: On August 2, 1963, I receive in my store--I have over there the office of the delegation too, the visit of two Cubans, who told me that they had already desert from one Anti-Castro training camp that was across Lake Pontchartrain here in New Orleans. (Were these two, Philip Geraci and Vincent Blalock?) Until that moment I did not know nothing about that Anti-Castro training camp here in the city, and they told me that that Anti-Castro training camp was a branch of the Christian Democratic Movement--that is another Anti-Castro organization-- and they told me that they had the fear inside the training camp that there was a Castro agent inside that training camp.”

During the Garrison investigation and Clay Shaw trial, the CIA held a series of strategy session to determine how to respond. The Justice Department submitted a list of questions to the CIA. One of these is as follows:

28 SEP 1967

MEMORANDUM

SUBJECT: Garrison Investigation: Queries from Justice Department

http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/notcia.htm

8. Richard Rudoph DAVIS apparently managed the training camp that was operated on the far side of Lake Pontchartrain in July 1963. What was the CIA relationship with him? Is he associated with the "Free Cuba Committee"? There is no association between DAVIS and CIA, nor has there been. CIA had nothing to do with the training site on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, near Lacombe, La. FBI reporting has listed DAVIS, a Cuban, as a New Orleans delegate of the Christian Democratic Movement (MDC) but has also quoted one other Cuban as saying that DAVIS was not an MDC delegate. This source and others characterize DAVIS as a heavy drinker with a vivid imagination.

Is DAVIS associated with the Free Cuba Committee? Our files do not contain the answer. It is requested that WH/COG respond.

You will also find this individual called: Rudolph Richard Davis, Rudolph Ricardo Davis, and Ricardo Davis. He rose to prominence as one of the two people who went to Lee Harvey Oswald’s house on Magazine St. to find out what he was up to after his August 16, 1963 distribution of literature.

There is this 1967 memo for the Director of the CIA:

29 September 1967

MEMORANDUM FOR: Director of Central Intelligence

SUBJECT: Clay L. Shaw's Trial and the Central Intelligence Agency

http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/shawcia.htm

b. Rudolph Ricardo Davis might testify about a training camp across the lake from New Orleans, possibly at Lacombe, Louisiana, run by a Cuban exile group (MDC) not affiliated with CIA, and that connected with this camp were Victor Paneque and Fernando Fernandez. Davis claims he met Oswald in the fall of 1963 in connection with anti-Castro activities. Paneque was also identified by Quiroga, the possible witness mentioned above, as having been in charge of the training camp at Lacombe, which Garrison falsely asserts was run by CIA. Our Miami Station was interested in Paneque in August 1964 and requested a provisional clearance, but a report of 5 October 1965 stated that Paneque would be dropped at the end of that month for lack of any immediate operational use for him. The Fernandez mentioned by Davis was also identified by one Michael W. Laborde as being the head of the Cuban organization for which Laborde's father, Lawrence J. Laborde, had worked. Fernandez was a contact of the Miami Station. [sENTENCE REDACTED] Lawrence Laborde was a contact of the Miami Station in 1961 and 1962 and served as an officer on a ship used for CIA Cuban operations.

Panque’s name was Victor Manuel Panque, but Fonzi wrote that he liked to call himself “Commandante Diego”. It looks like he was working for CIA at one point.

Dave Reitzes wrote in alt.conspiracy.jfk 11/8/98

Two Oswalds 14: Fidel's "Psychic Friend"

“Carlos Quiroga, aka FBI informant NO T-5, was a member of the Cuban

Revolutionary Front whose father was imprisoned in Cuba. On November 27, 1963,

Carlos Quiroga told the FBI that he was acquainted with Carlos Bringuier, and

was aware of the August 9 street fracas. On August 16, he was seated in

Thompson's Restaurant when a representative of Puerto Rico with an office in

the International Trade Mart informed him of another pro-Castro demonstration

at the Trade Mart. Quiroga notified the police, but Oswald had left before they

arrived (Weisberg, Oswald in New Orleans, 349).

Carlos Quiroga and an associate named Rudolph Richard Davis III drove to the

address listed on the handbill. Oswald claimed to be a student of language at

Tulane University and the representative of 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. Oswald

gave Quiroga an application to the FPCC. Quiroga contacted Lt. Martello at the

NOPD, offering to infiltrate the organization, but Martello wasn't interested.

Davis happens to be the Cuban in charge of the Lacombe exile training camp

where Oswald has been placed by several witnesses (FBI 62-109060-466, 5263,

5218, 105-82555-5263A, LHM of February 21, 1967; Weisberg, 380; training camp:

see "Oswald and 544 Camp").

Rudolph Richard Davis, aka Ricardo 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, he went to the New Orleans FBI Office and offered his services to the agents there

(Weberman web site).

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. [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." (FBI NO #109-584; Weberman).

In a footnote to volume X, chapter VII of the HSCA Hearings, Fonzi wrote:

Volume X Chapter VII of the HSCA Report contains info on Davis, Paneque, and Batista Falla.

The Senate Select Committee said, “The group of Cubans associated with the Guatemalan Lumber Company project is identified as the same group arrested when the FBI raided and seized dynamite on property in Lacombe, LA.”

The FBI Report from Miami Bufile # 2-1821 lists the people arrested on the McLaney property. Victor Paneque was not on that list.

On his web site, Reitzes says, “Oswald in New Orleans, Part 2 by Dave Reitzes

http://www.acorn.net/jfkplace/03/JA/DR/.dr10.html

"The best-known case [of Oswald's contacts with anti-Castro groups under investigation] is Oswald's initial meeting of August 5, 1963, with the DRE's Carlos Bringuier, only five days after the FBI had raided the dynamite cache next to the DRE's secret training camp [at Lake Pontchartrain, where several witnesses have placed Guy Banister, David Ferrie, Richard Davis, Gerry Patrick Hemming, and Lee Harvey Oswald in 1963]. Bringuier, with good reason, took Oswald's offer to him 'to train Cubans in guerrilla warfare' as proof that he was not a 'loner,' but someone with knowledge of the DRE's secret links to both the arms cache and the training camp (Peter Dale Scott, "Deep Politics and the Death of JFK,* 251).

"Bringuier's argument was indeed an almost unanswerable one. As he

pointed out to the Warren Commission, the presence of the training camp

'was not generally known. . . . I believe that that was the only time

here in New Orleans that there was something like that' (10 H 43-44;

Scott, Ibid.). Bringuier went on to suggest that Castro might have given Oswald this privileged information. Back in August, however, Bringuier had had the opposite reaction: 'I thought he might be an agent from the FBI or CIA, trying to find out what we might be up to' (*Washington Post,* November 23, 1963; cf. 10 H 35; Scott, Ibid.). Bringuier's logic here is of major importance. Oswald had to be working for one side or the other; he could not have been acting alone" (Scott, Ibid.).

"Not till years later did the rest of us learn how accurate was Oswald's knowledge. Only in 1976 did the Church Committee reveal, from US government sources, that 'underworld figures' were (as the FBI had known) involved in the training camp along with the arms cache (Schweiker-Hart Report, 12, 79; FBI Airtel 62-109060-4758, 5, 10, 13; Scott, Ibid.). Yet Oswald talked as if he were investigating this involvement back in 1963.

According to one bystander at the first meeting, Oswald asked Bringuier 'was he connected with the Cosa Nostra' (10 H 77; Scott, Ibid.). According to another witness, Oswald brought up the subject by saying that he had 'recently visited something called the Casa Nostra' – in Florida, the source of the dynamite and trainees (10 H 84-85; WCD 75.533; Scott, Ibid.).

Shortly before his death in 1990, longtime CIA hitman Colonel William

Bishop was asked by Dick Russell, in the presence of veteran researcher

J. Gary Shaw, if he'd ever met Lee Harvey Oswald. Bishop said he had not, but offhandedly volunteered, "I did look into Oswald's background [in 1963]. I'd never met him, but I'd seen him in a training film in New Orleans the past summer. He just happened to be in the group out there at the Pontchartrain camp. Trying to get in with the anti-Cuban exiles" (Russell, *The Man Who Knew Too Much,* 508).

In his testimony before the ARRB,

http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/arrb/index32.htm

former HSCA Deputy Counsel, Robert Tannenbaum testified, “We came across a film of anti-Castro Cubans -- who were identified a anti-Castro Cubans -- not on the film but people who we recognized -- and these soldier of fortune types with the contract employees CIA, the Sturgess', the Hemmings and other individuals.” Tannenbaum has said that Lee Harvey Oswald was on this film.

In JFK Document# 012981, Davis claimed that he had entered into a business partnership with geologist David Raggio and right-wing New Orleanian Gus De LaBarre forming the Guatemalan Lumber and Mineral Corp. It was their intention to train Cubans to cut trees and then send them to Guatemala to cut mahogany trees. A group of 18 Cubans did arrive in New Orleans, led by Victor Paneque.

HSCA volume X, Chapter VII.

He did admit that the group arrived dressed in khakis and they thought they were going to receive military training.

When the raid happened on the McLaney farm, it unnerved the Cubans and they went back to Miami (Davis claimed). De LaBarre tells it differently and says that he insisted the Cubans leave. Davis said they didn’t want to go and De LaBarre said he “had to do some real brainstorming.” He says the Cubans were told that what they had been training for – the invasion was on and they were leaving for Guatemala. They boarded a bus for Miami, “Looking as though ready for war, with knapsacks and guns bulging from under their clothes, they boarded a bus.” He says that was the last he ever saw of them.

According to Fonzi, the Final Report of the Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations With Respect to Intelligence, “The group of Cubans connected with the Guatemalan Lumber Co. project is identified as the same group arrested when the FBI raided and seized dynamite on property in Lacombe, LA.” Fonzi noted that the raid occurred on July 31, 1963 on property owned by William McLaney, while the Cubans were training on land (DeLabarre said) belonged to a friend of his. (The Redemptorist Fathers?) Oser located this camps with the help of Angel Vega.

AGENCY INFORMATION

AGENCY : HSCA

RECORD NUMBER : 180-10070-10322

RECORDS SERIES : NUMBERED FILES

AGENCY FILE NUMBER : 008269 (PT. 17)

DOCUMENT INFORMATION

ORIGINATOR : NEW ORLEANS DISTRICT ATTORNEY

FROM : OSER, AL

TO : GARRISON, JIM

TITLE : LOCATION OF THE CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATIC PARTY TRAINING CAMP NEAR LACOMBE

DATE : 03/07/1967

PAGES : 2

DOCUMENT TYPE : MEMORANDUM

SUBJECTS : VEGA, ANGEL; DE LABARRE, FRANK; CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATIC PARTY; AMMUNITION; duplicate in folder. Box 152

Fonzi goes on to say that the FBI report from Miami, Bufile# 2-1821, sec. 33, lists the names of the Cubans arrested on McLaney property. Paneque’s name was not on that list.

According to Dave Reitzes, only two arrests were made in connection with the arms cache raid:

On July 31, the Associated Press out of Mandeville, Louisiana, reported

that "FBI agents swooped down on a house in a resort section near here

today and seized more than a ton of dynamite and 20 bomb casings. An

informed source said the explosives were part of a cache to be used in an attack on Cuba. But the FBI would only say that the materials were

'seized in connection with an investigation of an effort to carry out a

military operation from the United States against a country with which

the United States is at peace.' . . . The FBI declined to identify the

owner of the house or to say if any arrests had been made" (Washington

Post, August 1, 1963; Weisberg, Oswald in New Orleans, 67).

The house belonged to William Julius McLaney. Confiscated were 48 cases

of dynamite, the 20 firing caps, M-1 rifles, grenades, and 55 gallons of napalm (Associated Press, March 4, 1967; New Orleans States-Item, March 4, 1967; Weisberg, Ibid., 68-69; Hinckle and Turner, Deadly Secrets, 225). William McLaney and his brother Mike had been casino owners in Havana until their property was nationalized by Castro. (William McLaney had also served time in Castro's prison.) The arms cache had been transported to the Lake Pontchartrain house by Gerry Patrick Hemming and future Watergate burglar Frank Sturgis along with members of the DRE.

Both men, particularly Hemming, were instrumental in running the nearby

paramilitary training camp for the CIA-backed Cuban exiles, which was quietly shut down concurrent with the seizure of the arms cache. Two arrests were made at that time in connection with the arms cache: Sam Benton -- mobster Mike McLaney's go-between with the anti-Castro Cubans -- and Richard Lauchli, co-founder of the Minutemen (Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, 88-89, 120; Hinckle and Turner, 224-25). Benton was also briefly associated in Cuban-related endeavors with the CIA until it was determined that he "talked too much," and was promptly let loose (Hinckle and Turner, 182). Mike McLaney was Lewis McWillie's employer in Havana; McWillie was one of Jack Ruby's best friends (Hinckle and Turner, 402).

So, was the Cuban exile camp “quietly shut down”?

Through a ruse, put on a bus and told to leave?

Arrested by the FBI?

I believe that the Guatemalan Lumber and Mineral Corporation was a front for a planned invasion of Cuba from the shores of Guatemala scheduled to take place in late November, 1963. An assassination of Castro was supposed to have coincided with this invasion and that the group of “18 Cubans” in New Orleans were training for this assassination.

The ‘Scelso Deposition’: What John Whitten Said.

http://www.historymatters.com/essays/frame...RomanSaid_5.htm

“He was appalled to learn in the 1970s that Helms had been organizing a conspiracy to kill Castro in November 1963 and failed to share information about the plots with the Warren Commission.”

David Boylan in the Education Forum March 3, 2005:

Weisberg interview of Hall Feb 1968.

Hall. …We had a hell of a deal set up – we were going to take all the, uh, we were going to take Prio Socarres to Guatemala and we were going to invade Cuba from Guatemala into Oriente, set up a 24 hour holding period and ask the United Nations to come in and help us and we were going to do this and Prio Soccares got…Yeah, and do you know what. The dirty lousy son of a bitch wouldn’t do it. Prio Soccares flat turned me down and I had the money, I had the ground and I had everything set up.

Weisberg. Did you have an army?

Hall. You bet.

Steve Thomas

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Steve,

Not sure if you've seen these:

FEBRUARY 5, 1967

TO: JIM GARRSION, DISTRICT ATTORNEY

FROM: JIM ALCOCK, ASSISTANT DISCTRICT ATTORNEY

RE: ANGEL VEGA

At 10:00 PM on January 31, 1967, CHARLES JONAU and I spoke to

ANGEL VEGA. This meeting, arranged by LAUREANO BATISTA,

Took place at the headquarters of the Christian Democratic Movement

located at 1732 N.W. 7th Street, Miami, Florida….

ANGEL VEGA is a slightly built Cuban male appearing to be in his

late twenties. He was one of the twenty Cubans who trained at a camp

in the New Orleans area. VEGA arrived at the camp sometime near

the middle or end of June, 1963. When he arrived, there were only

four or five others at the camp site. The house and grounds where they

stayed were completely run down, giving the appearance they had not

been inhabited for quite a while. Their first task was to refurbish the

house and its conveniences.

All personnel stayed in the house which consisted of three rooms, a

kitchen and two baths. In addition to this, there was a screened porch

on the front and back of the house. The grounds had a swimming pool

which was constantly fed by an underground spring. Also, there was a

stream or bayou running through the property. Within sight of the property

was another house. The camp was served by a dirt road which VEGA recalls

was never used by vehicular traffic during his entire stay at the camp. ANGEL VEGA is positive he could find this camp site today, and would be willing to come to New Orleans on a weekend for that purpose.

Training at the camp was principally limited to a physical fitness program. Daily exercises were taken along with swimming lessons. The men at the camp also practiced fording the stream that ran through the property. At no time did the men stray farther than about 200 yards from the house. No shooting whatsoever took place at the camp. They had two or three old Springfield rifles and M-1 carbine. These weapons were never fired. The M-1 carbine was used to show the

men how to disassemble and assemble the weapon. During the course of many of the exercises, the men would carry small logs to simulate the weight of a weapon. Also, these logs were used in mock hand-to-hand combat training.

About two days before the cache of explosives was found at the other camp, ANGEL VEGA and two other camp members left for Miami with the Castro agent, FERNANDO FERNANDEZ. Shortly thereafter all Cubans at the camp returned to Miami. This was about August 1, 1963. Therefore, the camp was in operation for about five or six weeks.

While at the camp, ANGEL heard rifle shots and explosions from the direction of the other camp. However, at no time did VEGA and his fellow Cubans know of the existence of the other camp. This came to their knowledge only after the explosives were found.

As ANGEL recalls, the camp site was owned by two American males in their fifties or sixties. He feels they were in the insurance business. All contacts with them were made by RICARDO (DICKEY) DAVIS. They came to the camp occasionally to see if the men needed any food. DAVIS came to the camp about 8 to 10 time, mostly bringing food when he came. On one occasion, he brought his wife and he did some target shooting with a 22 caliber pistol.

ANGEL VEGA never heard the name of SERGIO ARCACHA SMITH or LINDBERGH mentioned and never saw any other Americans at the camp with the exception of the two previously mentioned. Angel remembers the following men to have been at the camp with him:

VICTOR PANEQUE 2ND in Command

FIDEL ZALDIVAR 1st in Command

……PERIU VICTORIA

MIGUEL CARBALLIDO

HENRY INFANTE

RAUL FANTONE

FERNANDO FERNANDEZ

SERGIO (NOT ARCACHA SMITH)

As you can see, ANGEL could only remember the first name of one man and only the last name of another. LAUREANO BATISTA, however, is still trying to locate a complete camp roster for us. He is also trying to locate the names if the Americans who owned the camp. If he is successful, he has promised to mail the information to me in New Orleans.

I feel that ANGEL VEGA was completely candid and cooperative throughout the interview. However, as far as the movement and its key personnel are concerned, we should expect some hedging.

JIM ALCOCK

..............----

This is the Slidell camp that was financed by "a group of very wealthy Texans and Louisianeans (Oil men) who had a lot of money and were willing to back any anti-Castro plan that would give them land were they could have a camp to train."

Most of the men were recruited by Victor "Diego" Panique who was then in New Jersey. They were to train for Somoza's "Nicaraguan Operation."

-------------

14 February 1967

To: Jim Garrison

District Attorney

From: William Gurvich

Investigator

Subj: SEIZUE OF EXPOSIVES - LACOMBE, LOUISIANA AUGUST 1963

I have on this date read the January 21, 1967 interview between CARLOS

QUIROGA and yorself. In reading this I noticed your interest in arms,

ammunition, and explosives used by Cuban trainees at a training camp on the North side of Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans. The following information was given to you orally but not in a formal manner therefore I am repeating these facts relative to the seizure of explosives in the approximate area of the Cuban training camp.

In August 1963, in Lacombe, Louisiana, a large quantity of dynamite and

bomb casings were seized on the property of William J. McLaney. It is

assumed the FBI conducted this.

Others involved were:

VICTOR DOMINADOR ESPINOSA HERNANDEZ

CARLOS EDUARDO HERNANDEZ SANCHEZ

JOHN KOCK GENE

ACELO PDEROS AMORES

MIGUEL ALVAREZ JIMENEZ

ANTONIO SOTO VASQUEZ

SAM BENTON

BYRON CHIVERTON

RICH LAUCHLI (OR LUCHLI)

EARL J. WASEM, JR.

RALPH FOLKERTS

AMORES once reported an airstrip 40 miles west of New Orleans where

aircraft - B25's or B26's were kept. This report was to a Federal Agency.

CHIVERTON was possibly co-owner of the LACOMBE property and resided at

4207 Fountainebleu Drive, New Orleans.

LAUCHLI (or LUCHLI) was proprietir of LAXCO MACHINE SHOP, which apparently

was in COLLINSVILLE, ILLINOIS.

McLANEY may be the same one who had extensive gambling interests in

HAVANA, CUBA, prior to the CASTRO administration. He was evicted from CUBA

by CASTRO and it is reasonable to assume he suffered considerable

financial losses.

In your interview with QUIROGA he mentioned using U-HAUL trailers. A

U-HAUL trailer was used to transport these explosives ( approximately 2500

pounds) by some of the above mentioned LATINS. The license of this trailer

was FLORIDA 7E-668 and possibly came from FLORIDA (JACKSONVILLE) through

RALPH FOKERTS.

Subsequent to this I was informed this seizure was made in the first block

of "PONTCHARTRAIN" in BIG BRANCH, LOUISIANA. This community is immediately west of LACOMBE. The building from which the explosives were seized was described as a residence setting about 100 yards back on the Wesy side of the road or street and had a large garage. Two aerial photo- graphy

missions in the COVINGTON-BIG BRANCH-LACOMBE area failed to disclose a

building of acceptable comarison. Due to the abunance of tall pine trees a

ground survery would be perhaps more useful.

Your attention is invited to reports of ADA ALVIN OSTER relative to an

arms cache in this area. His reports cover arms but not explosives but

does refer to "PONTCHARTRAIN" STREET.

I will attempt to develope more information from my contacts in order to

secure the exact location.

WHG:wg

William H. Gurvich

Dave

Edited by David Boylan

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The following comes from A.J. Weberman's site, Nodule 7, and illustrates just how attentive CIA had been to New Orleans area training camps. Weberman cites a most intriguing document, and follows it by asking a highly insightful question about the document. It is followed by a question of my own:

QUOTE ON:

On October 26, 1967, Donovan Pratt of CI R&A sent a Memorandum to C/WH/COG (Cuban Operation Group) the Subject of which was "Garrison Investigation: Belle Chasse Training Camp: "A recently published booklet concerning the Garrison case and entitled Plot or Politics? was written by States-Item reporters Rosemary James and Jack Wardlaw. The following appears on page 49: 'Meanwhile, Executive Assistant DA Alvin Oser...came a across a third training camp near Belle Chasse, Louisiana." Pratt wanted to know everything about this site. This memo was routed to DAVID PHILLIPS who drafted this reply:

WH/C 67-336

MEMORANDUM FOR: Chief, CI/R & A

SUBJECT: Garrison Investigation: Belle Chasse Training Camp

REFERENCE: CI/ R & A Memorandum Dated October 26, 1967

1. Listed below us the information pertaining to the Belle Chasse training camp which was requested in reference memorandum.

a. The training site was activated on February 18, 1961 and the first group of trainees arrived on February 18, 1961.

b. The site was located eight miles from New Orleans at the U.S. Naval Ammunition Depot which had been inactive for five years.

c. The site covered 3,500 acres of marshlands adjoining the Mississippi River. The depot consisted of ammunition magazines storage areas, warehouses, various frame and brick buildings, many miles of interlocking railroad tracks and both hard surface and improved roads and the entire site was enclosed by a chain link fence. Since much of the terrain was unaccessible and unsuitable for training purposes, due to the marshy ground and poisonous reptiles, a limited area was used for actual training purposes. This area was located where the activity could neither be heard no observed.

The base closed on April 21, 1961, and the training site was completely sterilized by Base and cleared Navy personnel after all demolition, ammunition, ordnance items, and field equipment was sterilized and air-lifted to a Midwest depot. Material on loan from the military was restored to original condition and returned to the appropriate military component.

e. Approximately 300 Cubans were trained at the site over a six week period. The only known list of trainees which was available at Headquarters has not been located to date. A search has been initiated for this list.

f. The training consisted of weapons firing, demolition, guerilla warfare, communications, UDT, etc. One group was trained as a strike force assault battalion and was sent to Guatemala on March 22, 1961, to join the Bay of Pigs invasion strike force.

g. The training camp location never came to public knowledge through press media. However, the New York Times and New Orleans radio and television stations reported that a Cuban training camp was located outside of New Orleans, according to information emanating from Miami. Inquiries were directed to high level military and Louisiana officials, who denied knowledge of such a camp and the site was not identified. Subsequent to the above publicity, the representative of a leading T.V. station appeared at the main gate of the installation and requested permission to enter and take pictures. Naval authorities denied permission and there were no further inquiries. The actual training site was quite some distance from the main gates of the depot which was identified by an inscription cut into the concrete 'U.S. Naval Ammunition Depot.' Whether the T.V. representative was trying to identify the location of the rumored training site or simply take pictures of a deactivated historical landmark for posterity, is not known.

h. The training camp was entirely Agency controlled and the training was conducted by Agency personnel.

2. During the initial phase of activation, the depot was sterilized to avoid any indication of government interest and to prevent disclosure of actual physical location of training camp to newly assigned trainees. For example, all U.S. Navy references on boxcars, buildings, etc. were painted out or destroyed. Although the first group of trainees transferred to the base from Florida knew they were going to an abandoned ammunition depot located near New Orleans, maximum precautions were taken to insure that the site location could not be pinpointed while the trainees were being transported from the airport to the camp. Despite all precautions, one incident occurred that is significant in view of the recent publication naming the Belle Chasse camp. One night, a group of trainees arriving at the Moisant Airport from Miami, were observed by Orlando Piedra, the former Chief of the Bureau of Investigation during the Batista regime. Piedra obtained the license numbers of the rental vehicles used for transporting the trainees to the camp. His license number was likewise observed by our security officer at the scene. Piedra, who is one of the individuals included in the CI R&A memorandum dated September 15, 1967 (page 3 -item 21), and memorandum #5 (paragraph 4-J) may be the individual who provided the information contained in the recent publication. In any event, it would be surprising indeed of some of the 300 trainees involved have not discussed their training activities in detail over the past six years. With the clue that the camp was located at an abandoned Navy ammunition depot outside New Orleans, a long-time resident such as Piedra, Arcacha Smith, Fowler, or LaBorde, would eventually be able to narrow down the location despite the extreme security precautions that were in effect during the training period. Although only the commanding officers of the ammunition depot and Naval Air Station were knowledgeable of the activities on the grounds, an enterprising reporter or investigator could probably surface other corroborating bits of information which would help identify the training site. For example, despite the fact the majority of supplies and equipment was procured through Navy facilities, certain items were necessarily purchased on the local market, thereby producing a sudden influx of cash in an area that had been dormant for five years. In any event, although the Garrison investigation may eventually lead to identifying the site as a government installation, there has never been any evidence or publicity identifying the Agency as the actual operators of the training camp.

3. CI/R&A may wish to discuss further aspects of the Belle Chasse training camp with Mr. (Deleted) former Base Chief, and Mr. (Deleted) former Security Officer, who are presently assigned to Headquarters. Mr. (Deleted) can be reached at this SOD office and Mr. (Deleted) can be reached at OS/SRS.

Signed DAVID PHILLIPS Chief, WH/COG

DDP/WH/COG/CICS/N. Gratz:ear

Distribution:

Orig & 1 - Addressee

1- WH/Reg/C

1 - C/WH/COG

1 - WH/COG/CICS

1- Originator

[CIA OGC 67-2061]

The CIA deleted the names of Louisiana law enforcement officials who were aware of the camp. Four of these men were aware of its CIA-sponsorship. [CIA MFR 2.14.68 Sarah K. Hall]

ANALYSIS

Why was this memo concerning the Belle Chasse training camp routed to PHILLIPS whose job relating to the Bay of Pigs was supposed to have only concerned propaganda? DAVID PHILLIPS had a detailed knowledge of this camp. If he hadn't organized it, he certainly had visited it. PHILLIPS was familiar with Larry LaBorde, who was close to HEMMING.

QUOTE OFF:

Now for my question. Observant readers will have noted that immediately beneath Phillips' signature we see: "N. Gratz: ear." Would this refer to any family member or relative of this Forum's member, Tim Gratz?

Edited by Robert Charles-Dunne

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To Robert:

You have to read ALL of weberman's nodules.

In another part of weberman, there is a memo that states that Nancy Gratz was an associate (as I recall) of James Jesus Angleton's subordinate Ray Rocca.

I was wondering how long it would take someone to find this reference.

But, as humorous as it was, I have no idea who this lady was or what her exact position was in the CIA. To the best of my knowledge, she is not a relative.

There is a Gratz College in Philadelphia. It is Jewish. But so far as I know I am not Jewish. Nor am I related to the Gratz who filed the affirmative action case against the University of Michigan.

But it was an amusing reference particularly since this Nancy Gratz was affiliated with the legendary James Jesus Angleton.

What in the world "N. Gratz:ear" means has me baffled!

Edited by Tim Gratz

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To Robert:

You have to read ALL of weberman's nodules.

And just what, pray tell, makes you think I haven't read them all?  In point of fact, I not only read them all years ago, but printed them all to have a hard copy, due to my fear that the site wouldn't remain online.  [Which fear seemed well founded when the site was temporarily eliminated after Weberman's most recent run-in with John Law.]  The cost and effort were considerable, but well worthwhile.

In another part of weberman, there is a memo that states that Nancy Gratz was an associate (as I recall) of James Jesus Angleton's subordinate Ray Rocca.

In the pertinent period, Nancye Gratz worked for the Agency's Western Hemisphere division.  Phillips would have been her boss at the time, as his memo illustrates.  Ms. Gratz was also one of the recipients of other memos written during the Garrison period.  One of these dealt with Garrison's attempts to identify certain anti-Castro Cubans; another pertained to Hemming.  You may wish to ask Hemming if he was/is aware of Ms. Gratz or her position in the pecking order, back in the day.

I was wondering how long it would take someone to find this reference.

But, as humorous as it was, I have no idea who this lady was or what her exact position was in the CIA.  To the best of my knowledge, she is not a relative.

There is a Gratz College in Philadelphia.  It is Jewish.  But so far as I know I am not Jewish.  Nor am I related to the Gratz who filed the affirmative action case against the University of Michigan.

But it was an amusing reference particularly since this Nancy Gratz was affiliated with the legendary James Jesus Angleton.

What in the world "N. Gratz:ear" means has me baffled!

Me too, though I would venture the guess that "ear" referred to the fact that Phillips had transmitted the memo's contents to N. Gratz orally, rather than by hard copy.  It's only a guess, mind....

The other possibility, relying on vague memories of old office etiquette, is that the memo was drafted for Phillips' signature by Ms. Gratz, and was typed by someone with the initials "ear."  This was the standard format used by office staff to denote who had typed any outgoing letter or memorandum.

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Robert, we agree that weberman's nodules are packed with info. I too printed the, but I have now downloaded them to a laptop. My place is cluttered with papers and books re the case (as well as other non-fiction nooks) which I am sure is common to most assassination researchers.

You may be right about "ear"; could simply be a secretary's initials.

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Robert, we agree that weberman's nodules are packed with info.  I too printed the, but I have now downloaded them to a laptop.  My place is cluttered with papers and books re the case (as well as other non-fiction nooks) which I am sure is common to most assassination researchers.

You may be right about "ear"; could simply be a secretary's initials.

My question regarding the "N. Gratz" referred to in the document was entirely secondary to the question posed by Weberman: why did Phillips author a memo on the Belle Chasse training camp?

A number of possibilities exist, I think.

The first is that when it came time to respond to an inquiry about the camp, that task fell to the current head of WH, irrespective of the fact that he may not have had that responsibility in the time the camp was active.  In this scenario, Phillips wasn't supplying information based on his own personal knowledge, but was only regurgitating whatever data about the camp existed in the files.  I doubt this.  While it is possible CIA routinely promoted persons who had no actual experience in the department they were now tasked to run, my own reading on the topic inclines me to accept that supervisory roles fell to those who had proved their mettle in those departments and worked their way up the food chain.

Consequently, I tend toward the second alternative: Phillips drafted that memo because he had supervised the camp, in some capacity, when it was active.  Though this is a more hands-on role than mere propaganda, we should remember that Phillips' responsibilities increased exponentially in the early 1960s.  Not long before the assassination, Phillips had been elevated to overseeing all WH covert actions against Cuba, a position he presumably attained based on prior oversight of some covert actions against Cuba.  If not, CIA was promoting somebody from within, but somebody who had no experience in the post to which he was being elevated.  This seems unlikely, to my mind, at least.

However, if we infer that Phillips played a supervisory role in running the Belle Chasse camp in 1961, while he was still darting in and out of Cuba prior to the Bay of Pigs, are we to assume that he played no role in supervising the camps active in the New Orleans area in 1963?  Again, this seems unlikely, to me, at least.

Suspicion is only bolstered by the fact that, throughout the period, Phillips rubbed shoulders with DRE, Alpha 66 and other militant groups being used by the Agency as surrogates in the clandestine war to overthrow Castro.  In other words, the very same Cuban exiles who trained at the types of camp we find to have dotted the countryside outside New Orleans... the same camp in which Oswald seems to have had so keen an interest.

Oddly enough, Phillips seems to have had a rather large blind spot when it came to Comrade Oswald.  We know from the "Cord Wood" memo that Phillips and James McCord had been running an operation that had FPCC personnel as its target.  So intense an operation, in fact, that they surveilled high school students.  Yet, neither man seems to have had an interest in the guy who "ran" the FPCC chapter in New Orleans.  Comrade Oswald operated beneath CIA's radar, apparently.

When Comrade Oswald, the FPCC "chairman" in New Orleans, decided to express a direct interest in the local training of anti-Castro exiles, one would think this fact would become known to the Agency personnel running the camps.  Yet, Phillips seemed inexplicably ignorant of Oswald.  Comrade Oswald operated beneath CIA's radar, apparently. 

When Comrade Oswald arrived in Mexico City, and triggered the Agency's surveillance tripwires, Phillips and his underlings there noted - belatedly - Oswald's dealings with the Soviets, but neglected to advise HQ of his contemporaneous dealings with the Cubans there.  That trump card was kept up the Mexico City station's sleeve until immediately after the assassination.  Again, an astonishingly belated disclosure of events that should have been disseminated to HQ almost two months earlier.  How did Phillips, yet again, miss Comrade Oswald?  Comrade Oswald operated beneath CIA's radar, apparently.

Then there is the matter of the photographic surveillance in Mexico City.  Based on the extant record, it seems Comrade Oswald made five or more visits to 'enemy' consular installations, yet CIA failed to procure a single photo of him.  Given the multiple camera locations, and the multiple opportunities to film the subject, we again see Phillips - supervisor of the surveillance operation - failing to detect the presence of Comrade Oswald.  Comrade Oswald operated beneath CIA's radar, apparently.

Either Phillips and his people were inexplicably shoddy at doing their jobs, or the blind spot in which Oswald dwelled was deliberately created to shield Oswald from more widespread exposure, even from others within CIA.

However, if Oswald wasn't being used for some purpose by Phillips, how does one rationalize Phillips' apparent inability to "see" Oswald even when he was on Phillips' own doorstep; even as he waltzed undetected through the Mexxico City surveillance tripwires that Phillips himself oversaw for CIA? 

How could Oswald have been spotted at Sanborn's restaurant - inside the US Embassy building in Mexico City - at the precise time he was dealing with Soviet and Cuban embassy officials - without CIA noticing his presence?

Comrade Oswald operated beneath CIA's radar, apparently.

 

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Yeah, Robert, we kind of went off on a tangent there. Sorry! Your above post is interesting.

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I tend to agree with Robert that Oswald was involved in some type of intelligence operation on behalf of the U.S.

This leads me to the conclusion that the organization sponsoring Oswald would not have used him as the patsy.

The corrollary conclusion is that Oswald was made a patsy by anti-U.S. forces (Cuban, presumably) who knew or suspected his connection to U.S. intelligence or by anti-Castro forces who thought Oswald was a genuine Castro supporter.

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I just came across a document written by Nancye Gratz. Her un it was WH/COG/SA which is Western Hemisphere, Cuban Operations Group, SA (?).

The document relates to the payment of $2500 to informant AMPUG-1 in order for him to negotiate with others.

Just in case anyone is interested.

John

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We hear a lot about the Cuban exile groups, Alpha-66 and DRE, but there was another Cuban exile group, that if I am reading this right, may have had a lot more to do with JFK's assassination than I previously realized. This was the group called the Christian Democratic Party, and they will figure large in the activities of Lee Harvey Oswald in the summer of 1963.

This group was covered in volume X, chapter VII of the HSCA Hearings. There, they called it the Movimiento Democrata Cristiano, or (MDC). “Proclaiming the doctrine of Christianity as its foundation, the MDC published a manifesto in March, 1960 denouncing Communism and strongly advocating the free enterprise system. One of its founders, Dr. Jose Ignacio Rasco was elected head of the organization. He was one of the five original exile leaders brought together by the U.S. to form a Cuban government-in-exile.

However, after the Bay of Pigs, the MDC split into factions. According to Gaeton Fonzi, who wrote the HSCA chapter on the MDC, the “Rasco” faction had, as its military chief, a man named Laureano Batista Falla. Fonzi wrote that this group, “…was one of the most active and effective underground groups in Cuba in the early 1960’s.” He wrote that many MDC members joined the “Cuba Committee” in 1962.

(I think he meant to write the “Free Cuba Committee” – the group that was mentioned by Deputy Sheriff Buddy Walthers in his memo about the house on Harlendale St. in Dallas). Fonzi said that the group was formed to counteract the propaganda of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee.

Doing an NARA search on Batsta Fall is interesting. You get results like this:

AGENCY INFORMATION

AGENCY : FBI

RECORD NUMBER : 124-90084-10090

RECORDS SERIES : HQ

AGENCY FILE NUMBER : SEE TITLE

DOCUMENT INFORMATION

ORIGINATOR : NSA

FROM : NSA

TO : [No To]

TITLE : [RESTRICTED]

DATE : 05/28/1970

PAGES : 7

DOCUMENT TYPE : PAPER, TEXTUAL DOCUMENT

SUBJECTS : LAUREANO BATISTA FALLA

CLASSIFICATION : TOP SECRET

RESTRICTIONS : 1B

CURRENT STATUS : RELEASED WITH DELETIONS

DATE OF LAST REVIEW : 09/23/1998

OPENING CRITERIA : INDEFINITE, APPROVAL OF NSA

Sometime in early 1963, this Rasco or Batista faction set up a “training camp” near Lake Ponchetrain, about 50 miles north of New Orleans. What they were “training” for I think is open to question. Fonzi wrote that in the summer of 1963, a group of 18 men arrived at the camp. It’s hard to imagine an invasion being launched by 18 men. Richard Billings said that there were 32.

From Richard Billings' New Orleans Journal (Billings was an investigator for Jim Garrison).

http://www.jfk-online.com/billings2.html

“Giant (Jim Garrison) interested in Christian Democratic Party, Cuban revolutionaries who had training camp north of lake in summer '63 -- has names: Diego Paneque, Ricardo Davis, Orlando Piedra -- CDP run by Lauriano Batista . . .

Has name of man training north of lake -- Hernando Cortes -- Giant figures original of 32 was cut -- Hernando was cut . . .

Giant has talked to two Cubans who convinced there was a camp set up to plan and train for Castro assassination . . . Camp was north of lake . . . A spy was found in camp in August, driven to Miami and questioned by Laureano Batista . . . CDP tried to turn spy over to FBI, but Bureau had no jurisdiction . . . Giant sends Fowler to see Batista . . . Another name attached to camp: Ledovido Interam . . . Fowler points out there were two camps -- one CDP where the spy, Fernando Fernandez, was caught; another run by ultra conservatives . . . Turns out CDP camp didn't break up when spy was caught (claim they knew he was there all the time and kept him for protection against other infiltrators) . . . Camp broke up because of raid on conservative camp . . . Davis ordered departure . . . CDP camp on land owned by Redemptorist Fathers, later located by Oser with help of Angel Vega, one of Cubans there . . . Ultra conservative camp reportedly on land owned by McLaney (see report on raid) . . .”

So there were actually “two” training camps outside New Orleans. One that got raided by the FBI, and one that didn’t. According to Billings, the Cuban exile group was training to assassinate Castro. When the right-wing camp got raided and dynamite seized, the Cuban exile group broke up.

I speculate that it is possible that the raid on the conservative camp was the last straw, and planning went from assassinating Castro to assassinating JFK.

From Carlos Bringuer’s WC testimony:

Carlos Bringuer WC testimony:

Next thing is this: On August 2, 1963, I receive in my store--I have over there the office of the delegation too, the visit of two Cubans, who told me that they had already desert from one Anti-Castro training camp that was across Lake Pontchartrain here in New Orleans. (Were these two, Philip Geraci and Vincent Blalock?) Until that moment I did not know nothing about that Anti-Castro training camp here in the city, and they told me that that Anti-Castro training camp was a branch of the Christian Democratic Movement--that is another Anti-Castro organization-- and they told me that they had the fear inside the training camp that there was a Castro agent inside that training camp.”

During the Garrison investigation and Clay Shaw trial, the CIA held a series of strategy session to determine how to respond. The Justice Department submitted a list of questions to the CIA. One of these is as follows:

28 SEP 1967

MEMORANDUM

SUBJECT: Garrison Investigation: Queries from Justice Department

http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/notcia.htm

8. Richard Rudoph DAVIS apparently managed the training camp that was operated on the far side of Lake Pontchartrain in July 1963. What was the CIA relationship with him? Is he associated with the "Free Cuba Committee"? There is no association between DAVIS and CIA, nor has there been. CIA had nothing to do with the training site on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, near Lacombe, La. FBI reporting has listed DAVIS, a Cuban, as a New Orleans delegate of the Christian Democratic Movement (MDC) but has also quoted one other Cuban as saying that DAVIS was not an MDC delegate. This source and others characterize DAVIS as a heavy drinker with a vivid imagination.

Is DAVIS associated with the Free Cuba Committee? Our files do not contain the answer. It is requested that WH/COG respond.

You will also find this individual called: Rudolph Richard Davis, Rudolph Ricardo Davis, and Ricardo Davis. He rose to prominence as one of the two people who went to Lee Harvey Oswald’s house on Magazine St. to find out what he was up to after his August 16, 1963 distribution of literature.

There is this 1967 memo for the Director of the CIA:

29 September 1967

MEMORANDUM FOR: Director of Central Intelligence

SUBJECT: Clay L. Shaw's Trial and the Central Intelligence Agency

http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/shawcia.htm

b. Rudolph Ricardo Davis might testify about a training camp across the lake from New Orleans, possibly at Lacombe, Louisiana, run by a Cuban exile group (MDC) not affiliated with CIA, and that connected with this camp were Victor Paneque and Fernando Fernandez. Davis claims he met Oswald in the fall of 1963 in connection with anti-Castro activities. Paneque was also identified by Quiroga, the possible witness mentioned above, as having been in charge of the training camp at Lacombe, which Garrison falsely asserts was run by CIA. Our Miami Station was interested in Paneque in August 1964 and requested a provisional clearance, but a report of 5 October 1965 stated that Paneque would be dropped at the end of that month for lack of any immediate operational use for him. The Fernandez mentioned by Davis was also identified by one Michael W. Laborde as being the head of the Cuban organization for which Laborde's father, Lawrence J. Laborde, had worked. Fernandez was a contact of the Miami Station. [sENTENCE REDACTED] Lawrence Laborde was a contact of the Miami Station in 1961 and 1962 and served as an officer on a ship used for CIA Cuban operations.

Panque’s name was Victor Manuel Panque, but Fonzi wrote that he liked to call himself “Commandante Diego”. It looks like he was working for CIA at one point.

Dave Reitzes wrote in alt.conspiracy.jfk 11/8/98

Two Oswalds 14: Fidel's "Psychic Friend"

“Carlos Quiroga, aka FBI informant NO T-5, was a member of the Cuban

Revolutionary Front whose father was imprisoned in Cuba. On November 27, 1963,

Carlos Quiroga told the FBI that he was acquainted with Carlos Bringuier, and

was aware of the August 9 street fracas. On August 16, he was seated in

Thompson's Restaurant when a representative of Puerto Rico with an office in

the International Trade Mart informed him of another pro-Castro demonstration

at the Trade Mart. Quiroga notified the police, but Oswald had left before they

arrived (Weisberg, Oswald in New Orleans, 349).

Carlos Quiroga and an associate named Rudolph Richard Davis III drove to the

address listed on the handbill. Oswald claimed to be a student of language at

Tulane University and the representative of 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. Oswald

gave Quiroga an application to the FPCC. Quiroga contacted Lt. Martello at the

NOPD, offering to infiltrate the organization, but Martello wasn't interested.

Davis happens to be the Cuban in charge of the Lacombe exile training camp

where Oswald has been placed by several witnesses (FBI 62-109060-466, 5263,

5218, 105-82555-5263A, LHM of February 21, 1967; Weisberg, 380; training camp:

see "Oswald and 544 Camp").

Rudolph Richard Davis, aka Ricardo 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, he went to the New Orleans FBI Office and offered his services to the agents there

(Weberman web site).

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. [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." (FBI NO #109-584; Weberman).

In a footnote to volume X, chapter VII of the HSCA Hearings, Fonzi wrote:

Volume X Chapter VII of the HSCA Report contains info on Davis, Paneque, and Batista Falla.

The Senate Select Committee said, “The group of Cubans associated with the Guatemalan Lumber Company project is identified as the same group arrested when the FBI raided and seized dynamite on property in Lacombe, LA.”

The FBI Report from Miami Bufile # 2-1821 lists the people arrested on the McLaney property. Victor Paneque was not on that list.

On his web site, Reitzes says, “Oswald in New Orleans, Part 2 by Dave Reitzes

http://www.acorn.net/jfkplace/03/JA/DR/.dr10.html

"The best-known case [of Oswald's contacts with anti-Castro groups under investigation] is Oswald's initial meeting of August 5, 1963, with the DRE's Carlos Bringuier, only five days after the FBI had raided the dynamite cache next to the DRE's secret training camp [at Lake Pontchartrain, where several witnesses have placed Guy Banister, David Ferrie, Richard Davis, Gerry Patrick Hemming, and Lee Harvey Oswald in 1963]. Bringuier, with good reason, took Oswald's offer to him 'to train Cubans in guerrilla warfare' as proof that he was not a 'loner,' but someone with knowledge of the DRE's secret links to both the arms cache and the training camp (Peter Dale Scott, "Deep Politics and the Death of JFK,* 251).

"Bringuier's argument was indeed an almost unanswerable one. As he

pointed out to the Warren Commission, the presence of the training camp

'was not generally known. . . . I believe that that was the only time

here in New Orleans that there was something like that' (10 H 43-44;

Scott, Ibid.). Bringuier went on to suggest that Castro might have given Oswald this privileged information. Back in August, however, Bringuier had had the opposite reaction: 'I thought he might be an agent from the FBI or CIA, trying to find out what we might be up to' (*Washington Post,* November 23, 1963; cf. 10 H 35; Scott, Ibid.). Bringuier's logic here is of major importance. Oswald had to be working for one side or the other; he could not have been acting alone" (Scott, Ibid.).

"Not till years later did the rest of us learn how accurate was Oswald's knowledge. Only in 1976 did the Church Committee reveal, from US government sources, that 'underworld figures' were (as the FBI had known) involved in the training camp along with the arms cache (Schweiker-Hart Report, 12, 79; FBI Airtel 62-109060-4758, 5, 10, 13; Scott, Ibid.). Yet Oswald talked as if he were investigating this involvement back in 1963.

According to one bystander at the first meeting, Oswald asked Bringuier 'was he connected with the Cosa Nostra' (10 H 77; Scott, Ibid.). According to another witness, Oswald brought up the subject by saying that he had 'recently visited something called the Casa Nostra' – in Florida, the source of the dynamite and trainees (10 H 84-85; WCD 75.533; Scott, Ibid.).

Shortly before his death in 1990, longtime CIA hitman Colonel William

Bishop was asked by Dick Russell, in the presence of veteran researcher

J. Gary Shaw, if he'd ever met Lee Harvey Oswald. Bishop said he had not, but offhandedly volunteered, "I did look into Oswald's background [in 1963]. I'd never met him, but I'd seen him in a training film in New Orleans the past summer. He just happened to be in the group out there at the Pontchartrain camp. Trying to get in with the anti-Cuban exiles" (Russell, *The Man Who Knew Too Much,* 508).

In his testimony before the ARRB,

http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/arrb/index32.htm

former HSCA Deputy Counsel, Robert Tannenbaum testified, “We came across a film of anti-Castro Cubans -- who were identified a anti-Castro Cubans -- not on the film but people who we recognized -- and these soldier of fortune types with the contract employees CIA, the Sturgess', the Hemmings and other individuals.” Tannenbaum has said that Lee Harvey Oswald was on this film.

In JFK Document# 012981, Davis claimed that he had entered into a business partnership with geologist David Raggio and right-wing New Orleanian Gus De LaBarre forming the Guatemalan Lumber and Mineral Corp. It was their intention to train Cubans to cut trees and then send them to Guatemala to cut mahogany trees. A group of 18 Cubans did arrive in New Orleans, led by Victor Paneque.

HSCA volume X, Chapter VII.

He did admit that the group arrived dressed in khakis and they thought they were going to receive military training.

When the raid happened on the McLaney farm, it unnerved the Cubans and they went back to Miami (Davis claimed). De LaBarre tells it differently and says that he insisted the Cubans leave. Davis said they didn’t want to go and De LaBarre said he “had to do some real brainstorming.” He says the Cubans were told that what they had been training for – the invasion was on and they were leaving for Guatemala. They boarded a bus for Miami, “Looking as though ready for war, with knapsacks and guns bulging from under their clothes, they boarded a bus.” He says that was the last he ever saw of them.

According to Fonzi, the Final Report of the Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations With Respect to Intelligence, “The group of Cubans connected with the Guatemalan Lumber Co. project is identified as the same group arrested when the FBI raided and seized dynamite on property in Lacombe, LA.” Fonzi noted that the raid occurred on July 31, 1963 on property owned by William McLaney, while the Cubans were training on land (DeLabarre said) belonged to a friend of his. (The Redemptorist Fathers?) Oser located this camps with the help of Angel Vega.

AGENCY INFORMATION

AGENCY : HSCA

RECORD NUMBER : 180-10070-10322

RECORDS SERIES : NUMBERED FILES

AGENCY FILE NUMBER : 008269 (PT. 17)

DOCUMENT INFORMATION

ORIGINATOR : NEW ORLEANS DISTRICT ATTORNEY

FROM : OSER, AL

TO : GARRISON, JIM

TITLE : LOCATION OF THE CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATIC PARTY TRAINING CAMP NEAR LACOMBE

DATE : 03/07/1967

PAGES : 2

DOCUMENT TYPE : MEMORANDUM

SUBJECTS : VEGA, ANGEL; DE LABARRE, FRANK; CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATIC PARTY; AMMUNITION; duplicate in folder. Box 152

Fonzi goes on to say that the FBI report from Miami, Bufile# 2-1821, sec. 33, lists the names of the Cubans arrested on McLaney property. Paneque’s name was not on that list.

According to Dave Reitzes, only two arrests were made in connection with the arms cache raid:

On July 31, the Associated Press out of Mandeville, Louisiana, reported

that "FBI agents swooped down on a house in a resort section near here

today and seized more than a ton of dynamite and 20 bomb casings. An

informed source said the explosives were part of a cache to be used in an attack on Cuba. But the FBI would only say that the materials were

'seized in connection with an investigation of an effort to carry out a

military operation from the United States against a country with which

the United States is at peace.' . . . The FBI declined to identify the

owner of the house or to say if any arrests had been made" (Washington

Post, August 1, 1963; Weisberg, Oswald in New Orleans, 67).

The house belonged to William Julius McLaney. Confiscated were 48 cases

of dynamite, the 20 firing caps, M-1 rifles, grenades, and 55 gallons of napalm (Associated Press, March 4, 1967; New Orleans States-Item, March 4, 1967; Weisberg, Ibid., 68-69; Hinckle and Turner, Deadly Secrets, 225). William McLaney and his brother Mike had been casino owners in Havana until their property was nationalized by Castro. (William McLaney had also served time in Castro's prison.) The arms cache had been transported to the Lake Pontchartrain house by Gerry Patrick Hemming and future Watergate burglar Frank Sturgis along with members of the DRE.

Both men, particularly Hemming, were instrumental in running the nearby

paramilitary training camp for the CIA-backed Cuban exiles, which was quietly shut down concurrent with the seizure of the arms cache. Two arrests were made at that time in connection with the arms cache: Sam Benton -- mobster Mike McLaney's go-between with the anti-Castro Cubans -- and Richard Lauchli, co-founder of the Minutemen (Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, 88-89, 120; Hinckle and Turner, 224-25). Benton was also briefly associated in Cuban-related endeavors with the CIA until it was determined that he "talked too much," and was promptly let loose (Hinckle and Turner, 182). Mike McLaney was Lewis McWillie's employer in Havana; McWillie was one of Jack Ruby's best friends (Hinckle and Turner, 402).

So, was the Cuban exile camp “quietly shut down”?

Through a ruse, put on a bus and told to leave?

Arrested by the FBI?

I believe that the Guatemalan Lumber and Mineral Corporation was a front for a planned invasion of Cuba from the shores of Guatemala scheduled to take place in late November, 1963. An assassination of Castro was supposed to have coincided with this invasion and that the group of “18 Cubans” in New Orleans were training for this assassination.

The ‘Scelso Deposition’: What John Whitten Said.

http://www.historymatters.com/essays/frame...RomanSaid_5.htm

“He was appalled to learn in the 1970s that Helms had been organizing a conspiracy to kill Castro in November 1963 and failed to share information about the plots with the Warren Commission.”

David Boylan in the Education Forum March 3, 2005:

Weisberg interview of Hall Feb 1968.

Hall. …We had a hell of a deal set up – we were going to take all the, uh, we were going to take Prio Socarres to Guatemala and we were going to invade Cuba from Guatemala into Oriente, set up a 24 hour holding period and ask the United Nations to come in and help us and we were going to do this and Prio Soccares got…Yeah, and do you know what. The dirty lousy son of a bitch wouldn’t do it. Prio Soccares flat turned me down and I had the money, I had the ground and I had everything set up.

Weisberg. Did you have an army?

Hall. You bet.

Steve Thomas

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