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Distorting History by Don Bohning


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#1 John Simkin

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 07:24 PM

The Intelligencer: Journal of U.S. Intelligence Studies (Volume 16 – Number 2 – Fall 2008)

Distorting History by Don Bohning

It has long been said that newspapers provide "the first rough draft of history." If that's the case, then the "worst draft of history" can often be found on the Internet. While some websites are reliable and valuable research tools, others can be tendentious advocates for a point of view, twisting or ignoring information that does not support that point of view.

One need look no further for the latter than two websites based in Great Britain, run by John Simkin, a former member of a militant leftwing organization, the politics of which are now rejected by the mainstream British Labor Party.

The two sites, http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/ and a related, but badly misnamed, website called the Education Forum, are obviously more interested in promoting a political agenda than providing facts. Focusing on a purported conspiracy in the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, they are riddled with factual errors.

I first encountered the websites when Simkin contacted me after the 2005 publication of my book, “The Castro Obsession: US Covert Operations Against Cuba 1959-1965”. It did not take long to find that more often than not the information on his websites were at variance with well-documented facts based on my own interviews and the thousands of declassified official documents made publicly available in recent years.

Unfortunately for the sake of history, the only sources Simkin references - undocumented as they may be - are those that bolster his political agenda. Contrary and documented views, as I have personally discovered, are ignored.

Because it involves so many individuals, perhaps the most egregious and far-reaching - but only one of a multitude - of misrepresentations by Simkin that I have come across, involves a so-called Operation 40. The Spartacus website describes it as a unit of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) organized in early 1960 that engaged first in sabotage operations against Cuba and then "evolved into a team of assassins." It provides no credible documented evidence to support either the sabotage or assassination claims.

A U.S. government report published in 1975 based on a congressional inquiry headed by the late Idaho Senator Frank Church and entitled Alleged Assassination Plots Against Foreign Leaders, makes no mention of Operation 40. (1) Neither does a Report on Plots to Assassinate Fidel Castro, prepared in 1967 by the CIA's inspector general under orders from then President Lyndon Johnson. It was declassified in 1993. (2) It is inconceivable that had Operation 40 been an assassination unit, as Simkin claims, that either or both the Church Committee and the CIA's Inspector General's Inspector General's report would not have made some made mention of it. Essentially, the only references to it as described by Simkin are contained in books and other works by conspiracy theorists, including Fabian Escalante, an official in Cuban State Security.

While there were unsuccessful plots to assassinate various foreign leaders, mostly involving Cuba's Fidel Castro, beginning in 1960, the only documented systematic CIA assassination program as such was code-named ZRRIFLE. Created by the late Richard Bissell, it was headed by the late Bill Harvey from November 1961 through the Cuban Missile Crisis in the fall of 1962. Part of that period Harvey also headed Task Force W, the CIA component of Operation Mongoose, the multi-agency, post-Bay of Pigs program to rid Cuba of Fidel Castro. Mongoose was designed by Kennedy White House aide Richard Goodwin. As far as is known, ZRRIFLE never assassinated anyone. (3)

Contrary to Simkin's definition, Operation 40, as described by some of those who were part of it, as well as in official documentation, was the last unit formed for the failed, CIA-sponsored Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in April 1961. Its task essentially was to follow the Cuban exile invasion force, purge officials, seize documents and take over administration of "liberated" towns and villages.

When the invasion failed, the group returned to Miami, morphing into what was known locally as the Cuban intelligence organization in exile, the Cuban CIA or, more commonly, as Operation 40. Its CIA codename was AMOT. It operated under, but quasi-independently and at a separate location from JMWAVE, codename for the giant Miami CIA station then located at the University of Miami's South Campus (now the home - perhaps appropriately - for Metrozoo).

Headed by Joaquin Sanjenis Perdomo, a former police official in the pre-Castro Cuban government of Carlos Prio, it was disbanded in 1974 as part of the phase-out of JMWAVE operations. Its CIA case officer for at least two years, beginning in 1970, was the late Frank Belsito, who died in 2006. An account of AMOT can be found in a rather obscure book authored by Belsito, entitled: “CIA: Cuba and the Caribbean (CIA Officer's Memoirs)”. It was published in 2002 by Ancient Mariner Press of Reston, Virginia.

Simkin's website erroneously - as it does with so much other Cuba, Castro, and CIA material - describes the origin of Operation 40 as follows:

On December 11, 1959, J.C. King, chief of CIA's Western Hemisphere Division, sent a confidential memo to Allen W. Dulles, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency. King argued that in Cuba there existed a "far-left dictatorship which, if allowed to remain will encourage similar actions against U.S. holdings in other Latin American countries." It adds that "as a result of this memorandum Dulles established Operation 40. It obtained this name because originally there were 40 agents involved in the Operation." (4)

The original table of organization for what was to become the Bay of Pigs does reflect that 40 agents were initially assigned to the unit, including 18 at headquarters, 20 in the Havana station and two in Santiago, Cuba. (5) In sorting through thousands of pages of declassified official documents, I have never found a reference to this group as Operation 40. It is always referred to as the Cuba Task Force or WH Division/4 (WH/4). It was headed by the late Jake Esterline, whom I got to know well. Nowhere is there any documented evidence that it was an assassination unit, nor did Esterline ever mention it to me in numerous interviews and conversations.

Simkin says - citing Fabian Escalante, a Cuban State Security Officer as his source - that Operation 40's first action came March 4, 1960, "when La Coubre, a ship flying a Belgian flag, exploded in Havana Bay." The ship was actually a French ship carrying Belgian arms. Despite Escalante's claim and other speculation, there never has been any evidence produced that the La Coubre - laden with arms and ammunition - explosion was anything but an accident. The incident happened two weeks before President Eisenhower approved on March 17, 1960, what was to become the Bay of Pigs, the first covert action program aimed at Castro.

The Simkin website then goes on to claim that "Operation 40 was not only involved in sabotage operations. In fact it evolved into a team of assassins." He quotes one alleged member, the late Frank Sturgis, claiming that "this assassination group (Operation 40), would upon orders, naturally, assassinate either members of the military of the political parties of the foreign country that you were going to infiltrate, and if necessary some of our own members who were suspected of being foreign agents… we were concentrating strictly on Cuba at that particular time."

There are two problems with that. As a reporter for The Miami Herald during that period, I knew quite well the late Frank Sturgis - or Frank Fiorini, the name he then went by - as a "soldier of fortune" floating around Miami. As other journalists who knew Sturgis, I would listen to him but rarely - if ever - found him believable. The other and more significant problem is that Sturgis always attempted to leave the impression that he somehow worked for the Central Intelligence Agency. In fact, he never did in any capacity, according to the 1975 Rockefeller Commission Report to the President on CIA activities.
The Report states categorically: "Frank Sturgis was not an employee or agent of the CIA either in 1963 or at any other time. He so testified under oath himself and a search of CIA records failed to discover any evidence that he had ever been employed by the CIA or had ever served it as an agent, informant or other operative." (6) That would mean that even if there were such an Operation 40, as described by Simkin, Sturgis was not part of it.

The Simkin website provides a list of "CIA officials and freelance agents" who allegedly belong to Operation 40. Among the Americans cited is the late Gerry Hemming, another "soldier of fortune" type who had even less credibility than Sturgis did among those who knew him, me included. Hemming, who had two arrests and one conviction for drug smuggling and another arrest for gun smuggling on his record, died early in February 2008 at his home in North Carolina. I was quoted accurately in his obituary as saying that "I did not believe anything he said." (7) I continued to receive rather bizarre emails from him until about a year before his death, including a request for a signed copy of my book.

As a personal example of the far-fetched tales Hemming was capable of telling, in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, I was asked by the Washington Bureau of what then was the Knight-Ridder (now McClatchy) newspaper chain, to come to Washington and help edit copy for a few days. During that time, and in the immediate wake of the anthrax scare in Congress, I received a call from my wife in Florida who said Hemming wanted to get in touch with me. I called him at the North Carolina number he left with my wife. He said he wanted me to know that when he was flying dope out of Colombia years earlier for the M19 guerrillas, he had overheard them talking about putting anthrax into a load of "pot" destined for the United States.

The highest profile CIA figure Simkin fingers as a member of Operation 40, and as usual without any documentation, is Porter Goss, a CIA operative from the early 1960s through the early 1970s. (8) Goss subsequently served as a Republican congressman from Florida and as CIA Director from 2004 to 2006. In its account of Operation 40, the Spartacus website carries a photograph which it claims to have been "taken in a nightclub in Mexico City on 22nd January, 1963...it is believed men in the photograph are all members of Operation 40." Among them, allegedly, is Goss. I sent Goss a copy of the photo. In a subsequent telephone interview after seeing the photo, not only did he say he had "never heard of Operation 40," but declared with some vehemence the man identified in the nightclub photo "categorically, decisively and completely was not me."' Goss also cited other erroneous information, to be noted later, on the Simkin website as it related to his own career. The same erroneous information on Operation 40 and Goss - including the alleged picture - found on the Simkin website, also has been posted on the website of Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia. (Many universities will not accept any references in student research papers attributed to Wikipedia because of its factual unreliability. Florida International University in Miami, for example, has a banner hanging in its student union building informing students of that.)

Aside from Escalante, Escalante, hardly a reliable source, the closest thing to even a quasi-official documentation I have come across that Operation 40 as described by Simkin even existed, is a memorandum from the late Arthur Schlesinger Jr., an advisor to President Kennedy, to White House aide Richard Goodwin. It is dated June 9, 1961, less than two months after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion. Even that memo partially contradicts Simkin's version.

It reads in part: "Sam Halper, who has been the Times correspondent in Havana and more recently in Miami, came to see me last week. He has excellent contacts among the Cuban exiles. One of Miro's (Jose Miro Cardona, head of the Cuban exile political front created by the CIA for the Bay of Pigs invasion) comments this morning reminded me that I have been meaning to pass on the following story as told me by Halper. Halper says that CIA set up something called Operation 40 under the direction of a man named (as he recalled) Captain Luis Sanjenis, who was also chief of intelligence. It was called Operation 40 because originally only 40 men were involved: later the group was enlarged to 70. The ostensible purpose of Operation 40 was to administer liberated territories in Cuba. But the CIA officer in charge, a man known as Felix, trained the members of the group in methods of third degree interrogation, torture and general terrorism. The liberal Cuban exiles believe that the real purpose of Operation 40 was to kill Communists' and, after eliminating hard-core Fidelistas, to go on to eliminate first the followers of (Manuel) Ray, then the followers of (Tony) Varona and finally to set up a rightwing dictatorship, presumably under [Manuel] Artime. (9) (Ray, Varona and Artime were all members of the exile political front organization created by the CIA for the Bay of Pigs.)

In fact, Halper, who died in 1989 of Alzheimer's disease, worked for Time magazine, not The Times as Schlesinger's memo says. Neither was he highly regarded as a reporter by his Time colleagues, among them Bernard Diederich and Jay Mallin. Both were Time correspondents covering Cuba and the Caribbean during the same period as Halper. Diederich was based in Haiti and Mallin in Havana. Both are still alive and with whom I remain in regular communication.

Mallin, in an email to me regarding Halper, said that "just mentioning his name gives me a nightmare. After one particular conversation with him on the phone, Carroll (Mallin's wife) said she never saw me so mad and upset… he called (from his hotel room in Havana) around 3 in the morning. He thought someone was trying to get in his room and wanted me to come down and protect him." According to Mallin, Time photographer Andrew St. George, created a word for Halper. He called it ‘halpering.' “It meant endless questions and rewrites of a draft of a story, usually while dressed in underpants in a hotel room, with papers scattered everywhere." (10)

Diederich tells a similar story, describing Halper as "a writer for the Hemisphere section of Time magazine in New York. He was no reporter, although he liked to ‘big foot' big stories. While we reporters wore open neck shirts when in the streets, he always wore a coat and tie. The exception was one morning I went to check on Sam at the Hotel Oloffson (in Haiti). He had just arrived from Ciudad Trujillo (now Santo Domingo). He stood in his room in his underwear and kept ordering orange juice, tiring out the poor waiter. He then said 'Diederich, get me a typist as I have this dispatch I need typed.' I asked whether he would receive a typist in his underwear and whether he might want a call gal, not a typist. I left in my jeep, went to a market, bought several dozens of oranges and had to have two fellows carry them to his room. I hoped it would sort of shock or at least insult him. Instead he nearly kissed me, and worse, I had to sit down and type his dispatch and then file it to Time in New York. It proved to be 30 pages long." (11)

There also is documented evidence and testimony available from much more reputable sources than those cited by Simkin to refute his characterization of Operation 40, evidence and testimony which I have called to his attention via email, but which he has chosen to ignore. It includes:

i) Manuel Ray, a member of the exile political front group formed by the CIA as the provisional government to take over the Cuban government after Castro was ousted, in testifying before a board of inquiry appointed by President Kennedy to look into the Bay of Pigs failure, was asked: "What was Operation 40?" Ray's response: "Operation 40 was a group that followed the invasion force, or it was planned for them to follow the invasion force, to organize each of the cities. It was outside of our organization." (12)

ii) The account appearing in an oral history of the Bay of Pigs by Victor Andres Triay, which says: "Also slated to land at Giron [Bay of Pigs] were the headquarters staff; the Heavy Weapons Battalion; a tank unit; and the group that made up Operation Forty, whose mission it was to administer occupied areas." (13)

iii) Nestor Carbonell provides a first hand account of his role in Operation 40 in his book entitled, “And the Russians Stayed”. At the same time, Carbonell debunks versions peddled by such biased and pseudo-historians as Simkin. Carbonell had just finished his work on the planning committee for the CIA-created, five-member exile junta that was to become Cuba's provisional government with Castro's ouster. After completing his planning work a month before the Bay of Pigs, Carbonell decided to enlist in the invasion force:

"Just before I left for Guatemala, some of my colleagues persuaded me to join a newly formed unit - Operation Forty - which was to be integrated into the brigade and charged with occupation and temporary administration of liberated territories. (I later heard bizarre stories, echoed by noted reporters and historians about the purported sinister task of this unit: that of eliminating "leftist" leaders, including Miro, who might stand in the way of ‘reactionary' plans!) This unit was composed of about eighty men, most of them young professionals known to me, and was headed by an amiable former colonel of the Cuban Army, Vicente Leon, who had honored his uniform throughout his career." (14)

iv) Carbonell goes on to describe how the Operation 40 unit, after some brief training in Miami, including polygraph tests, and being "apprised of our mission as guardians of public order and custodians of human rights," were then flown from Florida to Guatemala for further training. Then it was on to Puerto Cabezas, on Nicaragua's Atlantic coast, where they set sail for Cuba aboard the Lake Charles. The unit did not leave Nicaragua until two days after the invasion force, and never did land." (15)

As described in my own book, The Castro Obsession, Carlos Obregon, (who is not identified by name in the book as it relates to Operation 40, but has since given permission to use his name), a Cuban exile who worked for Operation 40 for several years in the late 1960s and early 1970s, said he first became aware of the group in March 1961 (a month before the Bay of Pigs). He had arrived in Miami from Cuba two months earlier and was looking to enlist against Castro. A friend told him a special unit was being assembled as part of the total effort to unseat Castro, but it was somewhat independent and elite and was the place to be. He was told at the time that Operation 40's "main objective was to take over the administration of the towns and cities liberated by the invasion force, round up government officials and sympathizers and secure the files of the government's different intelligence organizations."

Obregon signed up too late to join the unit, but later became a team leader for CIA infiltration teams. When the teams started to be phased out in the late 1960s, he joined Operation 40, which was operating as an intelligence-gathering unit, under Joaquin Sanjenis, collecting information not only on arriving Cubans and Castro government officials, but also in monitoring Cuban groups in South Florida and what they were up to. They also produced occasional studies on the Cuban economy, especially the sugar industry. (16)

As an intelligence gathering unit, Operation 40 became, and remains, a controversial topic within the South Florida Cuban exile community, many of whom it spied upon. The late Rafael Quintero - who Simkin erroneously identifies as a member of his non-existent Operation 40 - is among those who expressed concern because of the vast files of information the group collected on the Cuban community and the potential for blackmail with that information.

"When the Bay of Pigs went kaput, they stayed as a group and Sanjenis became a very, very dangerous and powerful guy in Miami because he had a file on everybody… whose wife was whose lover, how much money etc... Some people tried to use that for blackmail," Quintero said in a April 2003 interview with me. "Actually, nobody knows where those files are. It's a big question mark." Operation 40 was shutdown in the early 1970s as part of the phase-out of active CIA sponsored anti-Castro activity. Quintero, who died in zoo6, also asked that he not be identified by name in my book because of Operation 40's controversial nature in South Florida's Cuban community. (17)

Apart from Operation 40, Simkin's website contains various individual biographies, all containing factual errors of people often linked by conspiracy buffs to the Kennedy assassination, among them Goss, Carl Jenkins and Rafael Quintero.
There are 15 pages devoted to Goss, including a two page opening biography and the rest an accumulation of excerpts from mostly obscure sources that generally echo Simkin's own radical views. They include the alleged picture of Operation 40 members - among them Goss - at a Mexico City nightclub in 1963, and which Goss categorically denies is he. (18)

The brief website biography is a mishmash of confusing and contradictory misinformation. It begins, saying that after joining the CIA in 1962, Goss spent the next few years at the JMWAVE station in Miami "where he worked with people such as Ted Shackley, David Sanchez Morales, Edward Lansdale, William Harvey and Tracy Barnes."

There are several problems with that, including the fact that William Harvey, Edward Lansdale and Tracy Barnes - while no doubt visiting Miami at one time or another - all worked out of Washington, not the Miami station. Goss, over the course of two recent telephone interviews, said "the JMWAVE stuff (regarding Goss) is nonsense. I knew Shackley but I was so junior compared to those people… a basic Boy Scout at that point." (19)

Neither, he said, did he work at the JMWAVE station over several years as Simkin's website claims, but only two to three months - primarily as a photo interpreter - in the period surrounding the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. He said he also did duty during that period as a small boat handler "as a matter of dealing with lots of people moving around but I never went into Cuba."

The Simkin website profile erroneously claims Goss was "one of the 400 officers who was employed on the [Operation Mongoose] project," the Kennedy administration's post-Bay of Pigs covert operation designed to bring down Castro. Goss, in a phone interview, said: "All I know about Mongoose and the Bay of Pigs is what I have read about."

Contradicting his own website profile information that Goss joined the CIA in 1962, two paragraphs later Simkin quotes Vince Cannistraro, a former CIA agent, as claiming that Goss was involved in paramilitary activity against the Cubans: "I know he was involved in the Bay of Pigs operation, he worked out of Miami with Cuban exiles… and took part in… attempts to overthrow Castro."

The Bay of Pigs took place in 1961 so it would have been impossible for Goss to have taken any role in it if he didn't join the CIA until 1962, as Simkin himself says. Goss confirmed that although recruited earlier, he did not actively start working for the CIA until late 1961 or early 1962, after first joining Army Intelligence through Yale University's Army Reserve Officers Training (ROTC) program. From there, he said he "gravitated to the CIA."

Goss confirmed that his first four to five years with the CIA involved the Western Hemisphere, namely Central America, Mexico and Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic). He said he was never permanently assigned to any CIA station in the area, always "traveling to those regions from Washington," with the Dominican Republic being "the only place I lived for any extensive period." He was assigned to London in the mid-1960s, retiring in 1970 for health reasons.

The website describes his "main area of expertise" as the "infiltration of trade unions and other organizations of the labour movement." While saying he was not at liberty to say what his main area of expertise was, Goss said the website description was "a stretch."

As inaccurate and misinformed as the Simkin website is on Goss, it pales in comparison to the fantasies he has manufactured when it comes to Rafael Quintero, whom I got to know quite well in researching my book. As with Goss and others, after providing a short biography of his "victim," Simkin follows it with several pages of background information excerpted from publicly available material, but only that which supports his own political agenda.

Quintero, who had agreed to do a book with me, died on October 1, 2006, before the project got underway. I did, however, tape interviews with him on four different occasions before his death. We also had several casual lunches together.

Simkin erroneously identifies Quintero as a member of Operation 40, which didn't even exist as Simkin and numerous other Kennedy assassination conspiracy theorists describe it. In fact, as noted earlier, Quintero expressed concern about Operation 40 and the files it collected, fearing they could be used for other than intelligence purposes. In the Quintero profile, Simkin again resorts to the worn out quote by the late Frank Sturgis/Fiorini cited above as his version of Operation 40 documentation; Sturgis being a totally unreliable windbag and who, as the Rockefeller Commission documented, never worked for the CIA, despite his efforts to leave the impression that he did. (20)

Simkin claims - again erroneously as it relates to Quintero - that Ted Shackley the station chief for the CIA'S Miami station from 1962 to 1965, "was placed in charge of the CIA's secret war in Laos. He appointed Thomas G. Clines as his deputy. He (Clines) also took Rafael Quintero..." The problem with that is Quintero was never in Laos. According to both Clines, in a 2007 interview, (21) and Quintero's widow, Dolores, in an email to me, the only time Quintero ever visited anywhere in Asia came in the late 1980s, after he had joined Clines in a private business enterprise and he made a single business trip to the area with Clines. (22)

Again, distorting the facts, the Simkin website says in 1976 Quintero was recruited by rogue CIA agent Edwin Wilson to assassinate a Libyan dissident in Egypt and that he (Quintero) recruited Rafael and Raul Villaverde - two Cuban exile brothers - to help. That much is true, but the rest of what the Simkin website offers in its brief paragraph on the subject is an obvious attempt to link the Libyan assassination plot to the February 21, 1976 assassination in Washington, D.C., of Orlando Letelier, a prominent Chilean dissident. There was no connection between the two. From the Simkin website: "Four days before the assassination of Orlando Letelier, the Villaverde brothers returned to the United States. On 21st September, the day that Letelier was killed, Wilson phoned Quintero in Miami to call off the operation."

The real facts - which Simkin chooses to ignore - are that at the time Wilson approached Quintero, both had been working for Task Force 157, a maritime spy operation run by U.S. Naval intelligence. Wilson had been Quintero's case officer. The man Wilson wanted assassinated was not named, although Quintero believed it to be Carlos Ramirez Sanchez, better known as "The Jackal," an international hit man. Quintero also believed he was working for the U.S. government. Quintero and the Villaverde brothers flew to Geneva, where they met Wilson and Frank Terpil, a rouge CIA agent and arms dealer who eventually found sanctuary in Cuba.

In Geneva, Quintero and the Villaverde brothers were told the target was a Libyan dissident, who Wilson wanted eliminated on behalf of Libyan strongman Muamar Quaddafi, to whom Wilson had provided arms. After a heated argument, and discovering that the assassination was not a U.S. government operation, Quintero and the Villaverde brothers returned to the United States. Quintero then reported the incident to Clines, his former case officer. Wilson was eventually convicted and sentenced to prison. There was never any evidence that Quintero or the Villaverde brothers had anything to do with Letelier's assassination or that the two events were in any way related. (23)

It's uncertain from where Quintero's alleged link to the November 1963 assassination of John F. Kennedy - along with Carl Jenkins, another of his onetime CIA case officers - originated. The most likely source is Gene Wheaton, a strange duck who surfaced around the time of the Iran-Contra scandal, with which Quintero, Jenkins and Wheaton all became entangled.
Jenkins, a previous acquaintance of Wheaton, who had been sleeping in his car, provided him a place to sleep in a Washington DC area apartment that Jenkins kept during the Iran-Contra period. Jenkins, in a telephone interview, described Wheaton "as a piece of work," and cautioned me that "you should read a book on paranoia before you do any more. He (Wheaton) is a paranoid character of grandiosity and conspiracy. He's got to be in the middle of everything. Always seems to be one of these little guys on the fringe ...everything is a conspiracy."

Jenkins said Wheaton "had made some of these allegations" that he and Quintero had somehow been involved in the JFK assassination, but they had known nothing about them until later. "If somebody was in the same country at the same time, they were part of some sort of conspiracy," said Jenkins of Wheaton. "He had picked up a couple of old airplanes and tried to put together a cargo airline… he got a contract out of Memphis or Louisville, hauling stuff for somebody else. He had no assets, no capability. He had the grand idea that he would somehow get huge contracts for the Iran operation." (24)
According to Simkin's website - and without identifying the source, although it is likely to have been Wheaton - Quintero is quoted as once saying: "If I were ever granted immunity, and compelled to testify about past actions, about Dallas and the Bay of Pigs, it would be the biggest scandal ever to rock the United States." Quintero categorically denied to me in informal luncheon conversations before his death that he had ever made such a statement.

Quintero's widow, Dolores, called the quote attributed to him "totally fabricated ... my knowledge of his involvement with the CIA and Bobby Kennedy and (Manuel) Artime before we were married was extensive because he never kept anything from me." (25)

In a clear personal example of Simkin's duplicity, he says on his website that he had "attempted to contact Quintero via his close friend Don Bohning. Quintero refused to be interviewed but he did say that Gene Wheaton was telling the truth as ‘he knew it.' His explanation of Wheaton's story was that he and Carl Jenkins had been lying to him when they said they were involved in the assassination."

My only exchanges with Simkin have been via email and all of which have been stored in my computer since the first one in August 2005. In a November 11, 2006, email to Simkin I challenged him to send me a copy of the email in which I said what he claimed on his website. I never received a response. The only thing that happened is that the original posting, which read "as a joke," at time of my email to him, has been changed to say as "he knew it." That is followed by the alleged Quintero quote about the "biggest scandal ever to rock the United States."

In fact, Quintero said that on the day of Kennedy's 1963 assassination he was on a plane back from Washington to Central America, with an overnight stop at his mother's apartment in Miami. It was there he first learned of Kennedy's death when he turned on the television. It also appears most unlikely that had he been involved in JFK's death, he would have supported and worked for, as he did, Bobby Kennedy's 1968 campaign for President.

Jenkins also remembers what he was doing on November 23, 1963: teaching school. He was on home leave in Shreveport, Louisiana. A woman who was teaching history at a nearby high school was pregnant and wanted to take three months leave. He had a license to teach history, the school contacted him and he agreed to fill in and substitute for two months: November and December of 1963. "I returned to the school after lunch and the class was all atwitter, the President had been shot." (26)

Simkin's website has about as much misinformation about Jenkins as it does about Quintero. The second paragraph of the Jenkins profile states:

"In 1952, Jenkins joined the Central Intelligence Agency and for several years was involved in clandestine operations in Guatemala against President Jacob Arbenz. The plot against Arbenz became part of Executive Action (a plan to remove unfriendly foreign leaders from power). It was during this period that he first worked with Tracy Barnes, E. Howard Hunt, William (Rip) Robertson, David Atlee Phillips and David Morales."

According to Jenkins he "had nothing to do with Guatemala" and wasn't even in the CIA. "I was a captain in the Marine Corps on active duty as an instructor for a reserve unit in Rome, Georgia. I didn't even know about Guatemala until years later." After nine years in the Marines, beginning in 1943, he was recruited by the Agency in 1952 and sent to "The Farm," the secret Agency paramilitary training facility in Virginia, as a survival instructor. With the Korean War ending in 1953 and the Agency cutting back in personnel, he rejoined the Marines and was sent to Rome, Georgia, where he spent 1953 and 1954 rebuilding a Marine reserve rifle company, before returning to the CIA in 1955. [The Arbenz overthrow in Guatemala occurred in 1954]. He later was involved in both the Bay of Pigs and in Laos, although contradicting Simkin's claim, he said he "never worked for [Ted] Shackley and never worked with him," in either Miami or Laos." (27)

Unfortunately, the distortions of history cited above regarding individuals and events I am familiar with, are probably only a small fraction to be found, not only on Simkin's websites, but on a vast number of others. The tragedy is that Simkin, and others like him who are interested only in promoting their own political point of view and ignoring any evidence that might contradict it, are doing a great disservice to the historical record. More serious researchers need to be aware of such charlatans.

Don Bohning, a former Latin America editor at The Miami Herald, is author of The Castro Obsession: US Covert Operations Against Cuba 1959-1965. Potomac Books, Washington, DC, 2005.

Notes

(1) Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders: An Interim Report of the Select Committee to Study Governmental operations with respect to intelligence Activities. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. November 1975.

(2) Reports on Plots to Assassinate Fidel Castro. J.S. Earman, (CIA) Inspector General. May 23, 1967. (Declassified in 1993)

(3) An excellent account of the ZRRIFLE program can be found in the book, “Flawed Patriot: The Rise and Fall of CIA Legend Bill Harvey”, authored by Bayard Stockton and published in 2006 by Potomac Books, Washington, D.C.

(4) http://www.spartacus...operation40.htm (2/28/08).

(5) Pfeiffer, Jack. [CIA historian], Volume III, p32: “The Official History of the Bay of Pigs Operation: Evolution of CIA's Anti-Castro Policies”, 1951-59 (Declassified 6/17/05)

(6) The Nelson Rockefeller Commission Report to the President on CIA Activities, June 1975 (p252). Manor Books, New York

(7) Miami Herald. February 6, 2008. Gerry Hemming obituary.

(8) Telephone interview with Porter Goss, March 5

(9) Cuban-exile.com/doc_351-37S/doco355 (3/28/08).

(10) Email from Jay Mallin to author, April 17, 2007.

(11) Email from Bernard Diederich to author, May 17, 2007.

(12) Operation Zapata: The "Ultrasensitive" Report and Testimony of the Board of Inquiry on the Bay of Pigs. Frederick, MD: University Publications of America, 1984. p340

(13) Triay, Victory Andres: Bay of Pigs: An Oral History of Brigade 2506. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida Press, 2001, p39

(14) Carbonell, Nelson T. And the Russians Stayed: The Sovietization of Cuba. (New York, NY. William Morrow, Inc.), pp 141-143.

(15) Ibid, pp157-175.

(16) Bohning, Don: The Castro Obsession: U.S. Covert Operations Against Cuba, 1959-1965. (Washington, D.C., Potomac Books, 2005). P143-144. Although he is not identified in the book, the quote is from Carlos Obregon, who has subsequently given me permission to use his name.

(17) Ibid, p. 144. The quote is from Rafael Quintero - whom Simkin's website erroneously identifies as a member of Operation 40. In fact, Quintero was not a member and was wary about how the information the group gathered might be used. Quintero, who died in October 2006, also asked that his name not be used in my book at the time because of the unit's controversial nature in the Cuban exile community.

(18) http://www.spartacus....uk/JFKgoss.htm (3/12/08).

(19) Telephone interviews by author February 29 and March 5, 2008, with Porter Goss at his Florida home.

(20) http://www.spartacus...JFKquintero.htm (3/13/08)

(21) Interview by the author with Tom Clines at his home in Virginia, February 3, 2007.

(22) Email from Dolores Quintero, March 14, 2008, reconfirming a previous email to me categorically stating that her late husband had made only one trip to Asia and that with Clines on private business in the 1980s.

(23) The information cited is based on interviews with Tom Clines, Rafael Quintero, and his widow, Dolores, along with several books on the subject, including, The Death Merchant, by Joseph Goulden, published in 1984 by Simon and Schuster and Manhunt by Peter Maas, published in 1986 by Random House.

(24) Telephone interview with Carl Jenkins, September 6, 2007.

(25) Email to author from Dolores Quintero, November 7, 2007.

(26) Telephone interview with Carl Jenkins, September 6, 2007

(27) Telephone interview with Carl Jenkins, August 28, 2007

#2 John Dolva

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 12:09 PM

"While there were unsuccessful plots to assassinate various foreign leaders, mostly involving Cuba's Fidel Castro, beginning in 1960, the only documented systematic CIA assassination program as such was code-named ZRRIFLE. Created by the late Richard Bissell, it was headed by the late Bill Harvey from November 1961 through the Cuban Missile Crisis in the fall of 1962. Part of that period Harvey also headed Task Force W, the CIA component of Operation Mongoose, the multi-agency, post-Bay of Pigs program to rid Cuba of Fidel Castro. Mongoose was designed by Kennedy White House aide Richard Goodwin. As far as is known, ZRRIFLE never assassinated anyone." - What does that mean? What about op phoenix, Nicagagua, The Contras/Drugs, the destruction of US youth as a consequence, Chile, Allende, Che, Bolivia, El salvador etc etc etc. AFAIK if someone commits a crime then those who aids that person (even by omission) is also guilty. It wouldn't surprise me if the number of murders that the CIA can be linked to numbers in the millions. This scribbler must be coming at something sideways. It smacks of a coordinated action to me..

The CIA is illegal and should not be tolerated. A society that condones it condemns itself.

#3 William Kelly

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 03:33 PM

So I guess we can now quote and cite this as accurate information from a reliable source:

Donald Dean Bohning, The Intelligencer.
From the Journal of US Intelligence Studies,
Vol. 16 Number 2 Fall 2008

Distorting History Don Bohning ….p. 67

http://educationforu...ex.ph...6&st=0 - entry166096

……Operation 40, as described by some of those who were part of it, as well as in official documentation, was the last unit formed for the failed, CIA-sponsored Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in April 1961. Its task essentially was to follow the Cuban exile invasion force, purge officials, seize documents and take over administration of "liberated" towns and villages.

When the invasion failed, the group returned to Miami, morphing into what was known locally as the Cuban intelligence organization in exile, the Cuban CIA or, more commonly, as Operation 40. Its CIA codename was AMOT. It operated under, but quasi-independently and at a separate location from JMWAVE, codename for the giant Miami CIA station then located at the University of Miami's South Campus (now the home - perhaps appropriately - for Metrozoo).

Headed by Joaquin Sanjenis Perdomo, a former police official in the pre-Castro Cuban government of Carlos Prio, it was disbanded in 1974 as part of the phase-out of JMWAVE operations. Its CIA case officer for at least two years, beginning in 1970, was the late Frank Belsito, who died in 2006. An account of AMOT can be found in a rather obscure book authored by Belsito, entitled: “CIA: Cuba and the Caribbean (CIA Officer's Memoirs)”. It was published in 2002 by Ancient Mariner Press of Reston, Virginia.

The original table of organization for what was to become the Bay of Pigs does reflect that 40 agents were initially assigned to the unit, including 18 at headquarters, 20 in the Havana station and two in Santiago, Cuba. (5) In sorting through thousands of pages of declassified official documents, I have never found a reference to this group as Operation 40. It is always referred to as the Cuba Task Force or WH Division/4 (WH/4). It was headed by the late Jake Esterline….…. that Operation 40's first action came March 4, 1960, "when La Coubre, a ship flying a Belgian flag, exploded in Havana Bay." The ship was actually a French ship carrying Belgian arms. Despite Escalante's claim and other speculation, there never has been any evidence produced that the La Coubre - laden with arms and ammunition - explosion was anything but an accident. The incident happened two weeks before President Eisenhower approved on March 17, 1960, what was to become the Bay of Pigs, the first covert action program aimed at Castro.

Nestor Carbonell provides a first hand account of his role in Operation 40 in his book entitled, “And the Russians Stayed”.

Carbonell had just finished his work on the planning committee for the CIA-created, five-member exile junta that was to become Cuba's provisional government with Castro's ouster. After completing his planning work a month before the Bay of Pigs, Carbonell decided to enlist in the invasion force:

"Just before I left for Guatemala, some of my colleagues persuaded me to join a newly formed unit - Operation Forty - which was to be integrated into the brigade and charged with occupation and temporary administration of liberated territories. (I later heard bizarre stories, echoed by noted reporters and historians about the purported sinister task of this unit: that of eliminating "leftist" leaders, including Miro, who might stand in the way of ‘reactionary' plans!) This unit was composed of about eighty men, most of them young professionals known to me, and was headed by an amiable former colonel of the Cuban Army, Vicente Leon, who had honored his uniform throughout his career." (14)

iv) Carbonell goes on to describe how the Operation 40 unit, after some brief training in Miami, including polygraph tests, and being "apprised of our mission as guardians of public order and custodians of human rights," were then flown from Florida to Guatemala for further training. Then it was on to Puerto Cabezas, on Nicaragua's Atlantic coast, where they set sail for Cuba aboard the Lake Charles. The unit did not leave Nicaragua until two days after the invasion force, and never did land." (15)

As described in my own book, The Castro Obsession, Carlos Obregon, (who is not identified by name in the book as it relates to Operation 40, but has since given permission to use his name), a Cuban exile who worked for Operation 40 for several years in the late 1960s and early 1970s, said he first became aware of the group in March 1961 (a month before the Bay of Pigs). He had arrived in Miami from Cuba two months earlier and was looking to enlist against Castro. A friend told him a special unit was being assembled as part of the total effort to unseat Castro, but it was somewhat independent and elite and was the place to be. He was told at the time that Operation 40's "main objective was to take over the administration of the towns and cities liberated by the invasion force, round up government officials and sympathizers and secure the files of the government's different intelligence organizations."

Obregon signed up too late to join the unit, but later became a team leader for CIA infiltration teams. When the teams started to be phased out in the late 1960s, he joined Operation 40, which was operating as an intelligence-gathering unit, under Joaquin Sanjenis, collecting information not only on arriving Cubans and Castro government officials, but also in monitoring Cuban groups in South Florida and what they were up to. They also produced occasional studies on the Cuban economy, especially the sugar industry. (16)

As an intelligence gathering unit, Operation 40 became, and remains, a controversial topic within the South Florida Cuban exile community, many of whom it spied upon. The late Rafael Quintero …….- is among those who expressed concern because of the vast files of information the group collected on the Cuban community and the potential for blackmail with that information.

"When the Bay of Pigs went kaput, they stayed as a group and Sanjenis became a very, very dangerous and powerful guy in Miami because he had a file on everybody… whose wife was whose lover, how much money etc... Some people tried to use that for blackmail," Quintero said in a April 2003 interview with me. "Actually, nobody knows where those files are. It's a big question mark." Operation 40 was shutdown in the early 1970s as part of the phase-out of active CIA sponsored anti-Castro activity. Quintero, who died in zoo6, also asked that he not be identified by name in my book because of Operation 40's controversial nature in South Florida's Cuban community. (17)

….Goss, over the course of two recent telephone interviews, said "the JMWAVE stuff (regarding Goss) is nonsense. I knew Shackley but I was so junior compared to those people… a basic Boy Scout at that point." (19)

Neither, he said, did he work at the JMWAVE station over several years…, but only two to three months - primarily as a photo interpreter - in the period surrounding the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. He said he also did duty during that period as a small boat handler "as a matter of dealing with lots of people moving around but I never went into Cuba."

Goss confirmed that although recruited earlier, he did not actively start working for the CIA until late 1961 or early 1962, after first joining Army Intelligence through Yale University's Army Reserve Officers Training (ROTC) program. From there, he said he "gravitated to the CIA."

Goss confirmed that his first four to five years with the CIA involved the Western Hemisphere, namely Central America, Mexico and Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic). He said he was never permanently assigned to any CIA station in the area, always "traveling to those regions from Washington," with the Dominican Republic being "the only place I lived for any extensive period." He was assigned to London in the mid-1960s, retiring in 1970 for health reasons.

Goss confirmed that although recruited earlier, he did not actively start working for the CIA until late 1961 or early 1962, after first joining Army Intelligence through Yale University's Army Reserve Officers Training (ROTC) program. From there, he said he "gravitated to the CIA."

Goss confirmed that his first four to five years with the CIA involved the Western Hemisphere, namely Central America, Mexico and Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic). He said he was never permanently assigned to any CIA station in the area, always "traveling to those regions from Washington," with the Dominican Republic being "the only place I lived for any extensive period." He was assigned to London in the mid-1960s, retiring in 1970 for health reasons……

Quintero, who had agreed to do a book with me, died on October 1, 2006, before the project got underway. I did, however, tape interviews with him on four different occasions before his death. We also had several casual lunches together.

…… Quintero expressed concern about Operation 40 and the files it collected, fearing they could be used for other than intelligence purposes. In the Quintero profile, Simkin again resorts to the worn out quote by the late Frank Sturgis/Fiorini cited above as his version of Operation 40 documentation; Sturgis being a totally unreliable windbag and who, as the Rockefeller Commission documented, never worked for the CIA, despite his efforts to leave the impression that he did. (20)….

……Simkin’s website says in 1976 Quintero was recruited by rogue CIA agent Edwin Wilson to assassinate a Libyan dissident in Egypt and that he (Quintero) recruited Rafael and Raul Villaverde - two Cuban exile brothers - to help. That much is true, but the rest of what the Simkin website offers in its brief paragraph on the subject is an obvious attempt to link the Libyan assassination plot to the February 21, 1976 assassination in Washington, D.C., of Orlando Letelier, a prominent Chilean dissident. There was no connection between the two. From the Simkin website: "Four days before the assassination of Orlando Letelier, the Villaverde brothers returned to the United States. On 21st September, the day that Letelier was killed, Wilson phoned Quintero in Miami to call off the operation."

The real facts - are that at the time Wilson approached Quintero, both had been working for Task Force 157, a maritime spy operation run by U.S. Naval intelligence. Wilson had been Quintero's case officer. The man Wilson wanted assassinated was not named, although Quintero believed it to be Carlos Ramirez Sanchez, better known as "The Jackal," an international hit man. Quintero also believed he was working for the U.S. government. Quintero and the Villaverde brothers flew to Geneva, where they met Wilson and Frank Terpil, a rouge CIA agent and arms dealer who eventually found sanctuary in Cuba.

…..In Geneva, Quintero and the Villaverde brothers were told the target was a Libyan dissident, who Wilson wanted eliminated on behalf of Libyan strongman Muamar Quaddafi, to whom Wilson had provided arms. After a heated argument, and discovering that the assassination was not a U.S. government operation, Quintero and the Villaverde brothers returned to the United States. Quintero then reported the incident to Clines, his former case officer. Wilson was eventually convicted and sentenced to prison. There was never any evidence that Quintero or the Villaverde brothers had anything to do with Letelier's assassination or that the two events were in any way related. (23)

It's uncertain from where Quintero's alleged link to the November 1963 assassination of John F. Kennedy - along with Carl Jenkins, another of his onetime CIA case officers – originated....

"….In 1952, Jenkins joined the Central Intelligence Agency and for several years was involved in clandestine operations in Guatemala against President Jacob Arbenz. The plot against Arbenz became part of Executive Action (a plan to remove unfriendly foreign leaders from power). It was during this period that he first worked with Tracy Barnes, E. Howard Hunt, William (Rip) Robertson, David Atlee Phillips and David Morales."

According to Jenkins he "had nothing to do with Guatemala" and wasn't even in the CIA. "I was a captain in the Marine Corps on active duty as an instructor for a reserve unit in Rome, Georgia. I didn't even know about Guatemala until years later." After nine years in the Marines, beginning in 1943, he was recruited by the Agency in 1952 and sent to "The Farm," the secret Agency paramilitary training facility in Virginia, as a survival instructor. With the Korean War ending in 1953 and the Agency cutting back in personnel, he rejoined the Marines and was sent to Rome, Georgia, where he spent 1953 and 1954 rebuilding a Marine reserve rifle company, before returning to the CIA in 1955. [The Arbenz overthrow in Guatemala occurred in 1954]. He later was involved in both the Bay of Pigs and in Laos, although....he said he "never worked for [Ted] Shackley and never worked with him,"....

THAT SAYS A LOT

Edited by William Kelly, 22 April 2009 - 03:34 PM.


#4 Joan Mellen

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 11:01 AM

In my 2005 book "A Farewell to Justice" I outlined that Donald Bohning was CIA's media asset "AMCARBON-3. I had many more documents than you cited. I had also at least a half dozen interviews with a CIA contract pilot named E. Carl McNabb, who visited Bohning in Miami, and who described to me his interviews with Bohning, interviews described in the CIA documents about AMCARBON-3. When I interviewed Bohning in Miami at the cafeteria of the Miami Herald, he denied knowing what AMCARBON-3 meant. He did remark that he lunched once a week with CIA's Jake Esterline.

Bohning had the same publisher I did, Potomac Books Inc. He contacted them, outraged at the AMCARBON-3 material, and so I sent a huge file to Potomac with the documents. I also sent my notes of my interview with him. I have a huge file drawer on McNabb, who came to my attention because as "Jim Rose" he did some investigations for the Garrison office.

That was the end of that until he attacked me on the Internet.

We are in the "who knows who is working for whom" department, to say the least.

This is a time waster for you, in replying to all those charges. If you have the time, I'm sure you will be able to do so. Please bear in mind that Fabian Escalante is not a reliable source. I discovered this when I interviewed this past December one of the Cubans who would know. All that will be in my new book, called, for now, "The Texas Robber Barons And The CIA."

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 07:10 PM

In my 2005 book "A Farewell to Justice" I outlined that Donald Bohning was CIA's media asset "AMCARBON-3. I had many more documents than you cited. I had also at least a half dozen interviews with a CIA contract pilot named E. Carl McNabb, who visited Bohning in Miami, and who described to me his interviews with Bohning, interviews described in the CIA documents about AMCARBON-3. When I interviewed Bohning in Miami at the cafeteria of the Miami Herald, he denied knowing what AMCARBON-3 meant. He did remark that he lunched once a week with CIA's Jake Esterline.

Bohning had the same publisher I did, Potomac Books Inc. He contacted them, outraged at the AMCARBON-3 material, and so I sent a huge file to Potomac with the documents. I also sent my notes of my interview with him. I have a huge file drawer on McNabb, who came to my attention because as "Jim Rose" he did some investigations for the Garrison office.

That was the end of that until he attacked me on the Internet.

We are in the "who knows who is working for whom" department, to say the least.

This is a time waster for you, in replying to all those charges. If you have the time, I'm sure you will be able to do so. Please bear in mind that Fabian Escalante is not a reliable source. I discovered this when I interviewed this past December one of the Cubans who would know. All that will be in my new book, called, for now, "The Texas Robber Barons And The CIA."


See page 253 in Joan's book and notes [several] documenting Bohning as AMCARBON-3 on pp 483-4. (they are marked as one page prior to the page they really refer to - mistake of the publisher, not Joan)

The following clarification from Joan Mellen:

AMCARBON-3 on the CIA documents was visited by one E. Carl McNabb.
E. Carl visited Don Bohning ergo: AMCARBON-3 is BOHNING.
the content had to do with an assignment McNabb had from Garrison's office regarding identifying a cuban in a photograph with Oswald. He came down recruiting for an assignment in Biafra, which was, of course a cover.

Of course there is no document where CIA says, by the way, AMCARBON-3 is Bohning. the purpose of the cryptonym is to conceal him.

McNabb visited Bohning at his office at the Miami Herald, twice, by the way.


Peter, I am confused....isn't this AMCARBON-3 confirmation, or as close to official confirmation as we're gonna get?

http://www.maryferre...amp;relPageId=1
Page 1

Document Information

Originator: CIA

http://www.maryferre...bsPageId=807257

Page 2

Details:

.....Bohning is the Latin American Editor of the Miami Herald. He was granted a PCSA on 21 August 1967
and a CSA on 14 November 1967. He is AMCARBON-3.



#6 John Simkin

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 03:35 PM

In his article in The Intelligencer: Journal of U.S. Intelligence Studies, the CIA asset, Don Bohning (code-name AMCARBON-3) relies heavily on two telephone interviews with Carl Jenkins. I have made several attempts to contact Jenkins, but his grandson, Kent Jenkins, and granddaughter, Heather Benfield, both claimed that he was unable to discuss his activities in the CIA for reasons of national security. However, it seems that he is allowed to talk to CIA assets like Bohning.

The two interviews with Jenkins took place on 28th August and 6th September 2007. His main objective is to discredit the information on my web page on him.


It's uncertain from where Quintero's alleged link to the November 1963 assassination of John F. Kennedy - along with Carl Jenkins, another of his onetime CIA case officers - originated. The most likely source is Gene Wheaton, a strange duck who surfaced around the time of the Iran-Contra scandal, with which Quintero, Jenkins and Wheaton all became entangled.


I make it quite clear in the text that my claims are based on the interview that Gene Wheaton gave to William Law and Mark Sobel in 2005.

Jenkins, a previous acquaintance of Wheaton, who had been sleeping in his car, provided him a place to sleep in a Washington DC area apartment that Jenkins kept during the Iran-Contra period. Jenkins, in a telephone interview, described Wheaton "as a piece of work," and cautioned me that "you should read a book on paranoia before you do any more. He (Wheaton) is a paranoid character of grandiosity and conspiracy. He's got to be in the middle of everything. Always seems to be one of these little guys on the fringe ...everything is a conspiracy."

Jenkins said Wheaton "had made some of these allegations" that he and Quintero had somehow been involved in the JFK assassination, but they had known nothing about them until later. "If somebody was in the same country at the same time, they were part of some sort of conspiracy," said Jenkins of Wheaton. "He had picked up a couple of old airplanes and tried to put together a cargo airline… he got a contract out of Memphis or Louisville, hauling stuff for somebody else. He had no assets, no capability. He had the grand idea that he would somehow get huge contracts for the Iran operation."


Bohning fails to mention that it was Wheaton who was the main figure who exposed the Iran-Contra Scandal. in May 1986 Wheaton told William Casey, director of the CIA, about what he knew about this illegal operation. Casey refused to take any action, claiming that the agency or the government were not involved in what later became known as Irangate.

According to David Corn (Blonde Ghost: Ted Shackley and the CIA Crusade) in 1985 Jenkins introduced Gene Wheaton to Paul Hoven. Jenkins and Wheaton were at this time involved in trying to "win federal contracts to transport humanitarian supplies to anticommunist rebels, including the Mujahedeen of Afghanistan and the Contras". They failed in this venture and then complained to the State Department about the activities of Richard Secord, Oliver North, Ted Shackley, Edwin Wilson and Tom Clines.

Hoven arranged for Wheaton to meet with Daniel Sheehan, a left-wing lawyer. Wheaton told him that Tom Clines and Ted Shackley had been running a top-secret assassination unit since the early 1960s. According to Wheaton, it had begun with an assassination training program for Cuban exiles and the original target had been Fidel Castro.

Paul Hoven also put Wheaton into contact with Newt Royce and Mike Acoca, two journalists based in Washington. The first article on this scandal appeared in the San Francisco Examiner on 27th July, 1986. As a result of this story, Congressman Dante Fascell wrote a letter to the Secretary of Defense, Casper Weinberger, asking him if it "true that foreign money, kickback money on programs, was being used to fund foreign covert operations." Two months later, Weinberger denied that the government knew about this illegal operation.

On 5th October, 1986, a Sandinista patrol in Nicaragua shot down a C-123K cargo plane that was supplying the Contras. Eugene Hasenfus, an Air America veteran, survived the crash and told his captors that he thought the CIA was behind the operation. He also provided information on two Cuban-Americans running the operation in El Salvador. This resulted in journalists being able to identify Rafael 'Chi Chi' Quintero and Felix Rodriguez as the two Cuban-Americans mentioned by Hasenfus. It gradually emerged that Clines, Oliver North, Edwin Wilson and Richard Secord were also involved in this conspiracy to provide arms to the Contras.

According to Simkin's website - and without identifying the source, although it is likely to have been Wheaton - Quintero is quoted as once saying: "If I were ever granted immunity, and compelled to testify about past actions, about Dallas and the Bay of Pigs, it would be the biggest scandal ever to rock the United States." Quintero categorically denied to me in informal luncheon conversations before his death that he had ever made such a statement.

Once again Bohning lies about what is on my website. I make it clear that my source for this statement is an article by Reinaldo Taladrid and Lazaro Baredo in Granma on 15th January, 2006.

Simkin's website has about as much misinformation about Jenkins as it does about Quintero. The second paragraph of the Jenkins profile states:


According to Jenkins he "had nothing to do with Guatemala" and wasn't even in the CIA. "I was a captain in the Marine Corps on active duty as an instructor for a reserve unit in Rome, Georgia. I didn't even know about Guatemala until years later." After nine years in the Marines, beginning in 1943, he was recruited by the Agency in 1952 and sent to "The Farm," the secret Agency paramilitary training facility in Virginia, as a survival instructor. With the Korean War ending in 1953 and the Agency cutting back in personnel, he rejoined the Marines and was sent to Rome, Georgia, where he spent 1953 and 1954 rebuilding a Marine reserve rifle company, before returning to the CIA in 1955. [The Arbenz overthrow in Guatemala occurred in 1954]. He later was involved in both the Bay of Pigs and in Laos, although contradicting Simkin's claim, he said he "never worked for [Ted] Shackley and never worked with him," in either Miami or Laos."


It is strange that Jenkins complains about something that was not on my website. My main source on Jenkins is Larry Hancock. He discovered that Jenkins joined the CIA in 1952 where he "became a CIA paramilitary, survival, evasion and escape trainer for the CIA." It was during this period that he first worked on covert operations with Tracy Barnes, E.Howard Hunt, William (Rip) Robertson, David Atlee Phillips and David Morales.

Larry was unable to discover what Jenkins was up to in 1954. The next time he surfaces in the documents is in 1955. As he points out in "Someone Would Have Talked (2006): "From 1955-1958 Jenkins served as an instructor for paramilitary tactics and resistance and trained cadre for both the Thai Border Police and the Chinese Nationalist Special Forces". Carl Jenkins became Training & Operations Officer for maritime infiltration of small teams in the SE Asia Project. This involved Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines (1958-1959).

According to the interview he gave Bohning: "After the Korean War the CIA cut back in staff and in 1953 he rejoined the Marines and was sent to Rome, Georgia, where he was involved in rebuilding a Marine reserve rifle company, before returning to the CIA in 1955."

What Jenkins does not want to talk about is his work at JM/WAVE. In 1960 he was appointed as Chief of Base for Cuban Project. He was responsible for the selection and training of cadre, assignment of officers for invasion brigade, maritime infiltration and operational management of small teams and individual agents.

Carl Jenkins was also involved in AMWORLD, a CIA program to remove Fidel Castro. In the summer of 1963 he worked closely with David Morales in providing paramilitary training for Manuel Artime and Rafael 'Chi Chi' Quintero and other members of the Movement for the Recovery of the Revolution (MRR). It was at this time Jenkins and Quintero became involved in the plot to assassinate Castro. According to Wheaton, this operation was then used against JFK.

Researchers will have to make a choice betwen the reliability of Wheaton or Jenkins. I know which one I believe.

#7 John Simkin

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 12:44 PM

In Don Bohning’s article in The Intelligencer, he argues:

The Simkin website then goes on to claim that "Operation 40 was not only involved in sabotage operations. In fact it evolved into a team of assassins." He quotes one alleged member, the late Frank Sturgis, claiming that "this assassination group (Operation 40), would upon orders, naturally, assassinate either members of the military of the political parties of the foreign country that you were going to infiltrate, and if necessary some of our own members who were suspected of being foreign agents… we were concentrating strictly on Cuba at that particular time."

There are two problems with that. As a reporter for The Miami Herald during that period, I knew quite well the late Frank Sturgis - or Frank Fiorini, the name he then went by - as a "soldier of fortune" floating around Miami. As other journalists who knew Sturgis, I would listen to him but rarely - if ever - found him believable. The other and more significant problem is that Sturgis always attempted to leave the impression that he somehow worked for the Central Intelligence Agency. In fact, he never did in any capacity, according to the 1975 Rockefeller Commission Report to the President on CIA activities.

The Report states categorically: "Frank Sturgis was not an employee or agent of the CIA either in 1963 or at any other time. He so testified under oath himself and a search of CIA records failed to discover any evidence that he had ever been employed by the CIA or had ever served it as an agent, informant or other operative." That would mean that even if there were such an Operation 40, as described by Simkin, Sturgis was not part of it.


Bohning insists that Sturgis/Fiorini did not perform tasks for the CIA. However, declassified documents suggest that this was not the case. A FBI memorandum from S. B Donahoe to Alan Belmont and William Sullivan, dated 22nd December 1961, states that:

Press reported on 12/19/61 that two planes from unidentified Caribbean base had flown over Cuba on 12/17/61 and had dropped over 250,000 anti-Castro leaflets and two parachutists with radio equipment…

On 12/21/61 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Headquarters advised it was financing Sergio Rojas, former Cuban Ambassador to Great Britain, who was engaged in this type of anti-Castro propaganda activity and that Rojas could have engineered the 12/17/61 leaflet-dropping without CIA cognizance since CIA does not oversee his detailed activities…

On 12/19/61 Border Patrol, Miami, which has been keeping close watch on Florida-Cuba flights, advised our Miami Office that the 10/21/61 flight was apparently CIA operation. Border Patrol identified the participants and planes involved and stated that planes were flown from island in Bahamas to Cuba. It is noted one of the participants was Frank Fiorini, former Castro follower engaged in anti-Castro activities who, in October, 1959, participated in anti-Castro leaflet-dropping raid over Cuba with Pedro Diaz Lanz, former chief of Cuban Air Force. This raid received considerable press coverage and was thoroughly investigated by us.

Border Patrol further advised that another leaflet drop from the Bahamas had been scheduled for 12/8/61 by Fiorini and his associates. However, this was not carried out apparently because of arrest of member of group by Bahamas authorities for illegal entry. Fiorini’s group claimed proposed leaflet drop had been authorized and sponsored by CIA in New York. Border Patrol learned that CIA had furnished the leaflets; however, CIA stated it did not know if it had sponsored the proposed flight but thought that it had. In this connection, Border Patrol noted that one CIA group does not know what the other is doing with result there is considerable confusion.

Border Patrol, in addition, advised it believed the 12/17/61 flight had also been sponsored by CIA and that it had been made by Fiorini and his associates in some planes they used in 10/21/61 flight. Border Patrol doubted that any radio operators had parachuted into Cuba.

It appears foregoing flights were financed by CIA and we are conducting no investigation. It also appears that CIA is giving money to Rojas to carry out these flights, as he sees fit and that CIA is unaware of and does not want to know the details. In this way CIA can in theory claim it was not involved in the flights and did not know they were scheduled.


#8 John Simkin

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 03:02 PM

In a second FBI Memorandum dated 22nd June 1962, it was reported that Alexander Rorke had been interviewed by the FBI. The report claims that:

Rorke advised that on the last leaflet-dropping flight over Cuba, he was with Fiorini and that one of the two planes they used were lost, and the pilots of this lost plane were identified as Bob Swannee of Mississippi and Bob Thompson of Melbourne, Florida. Rorke stated that this leaflet-dropping operation was entirely supported by the CIA.

In connection with the flights over Cuba, Rorke stated that Fiorini does not pilot the planes and acts for the most part as a co-pilot. The planes are rented in the United States and flown to bases outside the United States such as the Bahamas. In making the contract for the rental of the planes, usually someone other than Fiorini signs the contract, although Fiorini is in contact with local CIA agents in Miami relative to the details of the flight. Rorke stated that Fiorini has instructions that on these flights, if he is arrested or stopped, he is to notify the officers that they should telephone a number which is the number of the CIA office in the Miami area. Fiorini has also been informed, according to Rorke, that if anyone arrests him, CIA will get him out. Rorke identified the CIA contact in Miami as one “Barker”. Rorke stated that he did not know whether this was an assumed name or the individual’s real name.

Rorke advised that he could not understand why the Bureau was interested now in the activities of Fiorini as all of Fiorini’s actions are fully known to CIA in Miami and there should be a record of his activities on file with CIA in Washington, D.C. Rorke stated he knows for a fact that Fiorini has not done anything on his own and that whatever he has done in the past he has done on instructions from CIA…

Rorke advised that he originally made contact with CIA regarding Fiorini and recommended the use by CIA of Fiorini and his group. Rorke identified Commander Anderson of the United States Navy, who is assigned to CIA overt office in New York, as his original contact. He further advised that additional contacts had been made in Washington, D. C. and activities of Fiorini and his group had been discussed through intermediaries with Colonel King and Deke James of CIA headquarters, Washington, D.C….

Rorke advised that in the event Fiorini would be arrested for his anti-Castro activities, he, Rorke, having good connections with a well-known newspaper chain, will make plenty of trouble for those involved.

For the information of the Bureau, the newspaper chain, will make plenty of trouble for those involved.


You will find out more about Alexander Irwin Rorke here:

http://www.maryferre...o?docSetId=1222

#9 John Simkin

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 10:29 AM

In the FBI Memorandum dated 22nd June 1962, Alexander Irwin Rorke claimed that their (Rorke and Sturgis) contact man was "Commander Anderson of the United States Navy, who is assigned to CIA overt office in New York". This claim is supported by a declassified CIA memo's from Anderson to Robert Trumbull Crowley, Robert Trumbull Crowley, Assistant Deputy Director of Clandestine Operations of the CIA, on 9th January 1961: "Alex Rorke phoned from Miami to report that personnel in Varona group and other groups in process joining Dr. Bosch - Commander (of) Diego Party. According (to) Rorke, Frank Fiorini has been power behind scene."

Interestingly, after Crowley's death in 2000, Gregory Douglas published a book called, Regicide: The Official Assassination of John F. Kennedy (Monte Sano Media, 2002, ISBN 1-59148-297-6). The book claims that there was a conspiracy to kill John F. Kennedy, and uses material purportedly obtained from Crowley to claim that the CIA had a central role in the assassination under the code name Operation Zipper.

#10 William Kelly

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 10:56 AM

Someone just sent me the entire issue of the Intelligencer - Fall 2008, which I really appreciate, and will comment on after digesting it.

I wanted to bring back this thread in light of the fact that Don Bohning is writing an another article about the Ed Forum, and this whole issue should be addressed.

BK

DWD wrote:

This seems to only be a slightly different version of the article that appeared at the "Washington Decoded" website last year. I see it from the point of view of the author's assuming a good deal of stupidity on the part of his readers, or an inability to recognize his own.

He argues that because Operation 40 is not mentioned in the Church Committee Report ("Alleged Assassination Plots Against Foreign Leaders") or the 1967 CIA Inspector General's Report, that therefore Operation 40 wasn't involved in assassinations ....... That's a quaint idea and might be merely naive if it came from someone less informed and connected than Bohning.

Bohning goes on to give a good deal of evidence which he apparently seriously thinks will support his contention that Operation 40 was not involved in assassinations, but all of which tends to support the opposite conclusion:

1) to "purge officials" [of the Castro regime] is virtually a definition for elimination by violence (cp. "Stalinist purges" -- people aren't dealt with humanely or put on trial and given a slap on the wrist)

2) "i) Manuel Ray, a member of the exile political front group formed by the CIA as the provisional government to take over the Cuban government after Castro was ousted, in testifying before a board of inquiry appointed by President Kennedy to look into the Bay of Pigs failure, was asked: 'What was Operation 40?' Ray's response: 'Operation 40 was a group that followed the invasion force, or it was planned for them to follow the invasion force, to organize each of the cities. It was outside of our organization.' (12)

"ii) The account appearing in an oral history of the Bay of Pigs by Victor Andres Triay, which says: 'Also slated to land at Giron [Bay of Pigs] were the headquarters staff; the Heavy Weapons Battalion; a tank unit; and the group that made up Operation Forty, whose mission it was to administer occupied areas.' (13)
"

Emphasis added in bold. The "organization" and "administering" of "occupied areas" tends to imply the "purging" of "undesirable elements"

3) "...Carlos Obregon..., a Cuban exile who worked for Operation 40 for several years in the late 1960s and early 1970s, said he first became aware of the group in March 1961 (a month before the Bay of Pigs). He had arrived in Miami from Cuba two months earlier and was looking to enlist against Castro. A friend told him a special unit was being assembled as part of the total effort to unseat Castro, but it was somewhat independent and elite and was the place to be. He was told at the time that Operation 40's 'main objective was to take over the administration of the towns and cities liberated by the invasion force, round up government officials and sympathizers and secure the files of the government's different intelligence organizations.'

"Obregon signed up too late to join the unit, but later became a team leader for CIA infiltration teams. When the teams started to be phased out in the late 1960s, he joined Operation 40, which was operating as an intelligence-gathering unit, under Joaquin Sanjenis, collecting information not only on arriving Cubans and Castro government officials, but also in monitoring Cuban groups in South Florida and what they were up to.... (16)

"....'When the Bay of Pigs went kaput, they stayed as a group and Sanjenis became a very, very dangerous and powerful guy in Miami…,' Quintero said in a[n] April 2003 interview with me.... Quintero, who died in [200]6, also asked that he not be identified by name in my book because of Operation 40's controversial nature in South Florida's Cuban community. (17)
"

Emphasis added in bold. Once again we have the idea of "rounding up" officials and "sympathizers" in the administration of towns and cities. The latter portion of Bohning's account also raises the question whether Sanjenis' organization might not have been doing more than spying and blackmailing by the late 1960s, when there were numerous bombings in the Miami/south Florida area. (The Klan taking care of bombing in other parts of the South at that time.)

4) "The original table of organization for what was to become the Bay of Pigs does reflect that 40 agents were initially assigned to the unit.... (5) In sorting through thousands of pages of declassified official documents, I have never found a reference to this group as Operation 40. It is always referred to as the Cuba Task Force or WH Division/4 (WH/4). It was headed by the late Jake Esterline, whom I got to know well. Nowhere is there any documented evidence that it was an assassination unit, nor did Esterline ever mention it to me in numerous interviews and conversations."

Then we should just take Esterline's word for it, move along, and all's right with the world

5) "Aside from Escalante, ... the closest thing to even a quasi-official documentation I have come across that Operation 40 as described by Simkin even existed, is a memorandum from the late Arthur Schlesinger Jr., an advisor to President Kennedy, to White House aide Richard Goodwin. It is dated June 9, 1961, less than two months after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion. Even that memo partially contradicts Simkin's version.

"It reads in part: 'Sam Halper, who has been the Times correspondent in Havana and more recently in Miami, came to see me last week. He has excellent contacts among the Cuban exiles. One of Miro's (Jose Miro Cardona, head of the Cuban exile political front created by the CIA for the Bay of Pigs invasion) comments this morning reminded me that I have been meaning to pass on the following story as told me by Halper. Halper says that CIA set up something called Operation 40 under the direction of a man named (as he recalled) Captain Luis Sanjenis, who was also chief of intelligence. It was called Operation 40 because originally only 40 men were involved: later the group was enlarged to 70. The ostensible purpose of Operation 40 was to administer liberated territories in Cuba. But the CIA officer in charge, a man known as Felix, trained the members of the group in methods of third degree interrogation, torture and general terrorism. The liberal Cuban exiles believe that the real purpose of Operation 40 was to kill Communists and, after eliminating hard-core Fidelistas, to go on to eliminate first the followers of (Manuel) Ray, then the followers of (Tony) Varona and finally to set up a rightwing dictatorship, presumably under [Manuel] Artime.' (9) (Ray, Varona and Artime were all members of the exile political front organization created by the CIA for the Bay of Pigs.)

"In fact, Halper...worked for Time magazine, not The Times as Schlesinger's memo says. Neither was he highly regarded as a reporter by his Time colleagues, among them Bernard Diederich and Jay Mallin. Both were Time correspondents covering Cuba and the Caribbean during the same period as Halper. Diederich was based in Haiti and Mallin in Havana. Both are still alive and with whom I remain in regular communication.
"

Emphases added. The last part might tend to discredit them and speak in favor of Halper, since Schlesinger and Goodwin were President Kennedy's chief advisers on Latin America and would've been particularly concerned about a post-Castro regime that was little different than Batista's. Bohning goes on to add some personal anecdotes which are not particularly relevant except as character assassination of Halper, and without consistency: on the one hand, Halper is derided as a man who wore his undershorts in hotel rooms but -- equally damning -- "always wore a coat and tie" in the streets (whereas Bohning's friends wore open neck shirts). Damned if he did; damned if he didn't.



There are similar issues with other parts of Bohning's discourse:

"Goss confirmed that his first four to five years with the CIA involved the Western Hemisphere, namely Central America, Mexico and Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic). He said he was never permanently assigned to any CIA station in the area, always 'traveling to those regions from Washington,' with the Dominican Republic being 'the only place I lived for any extensive period.' He was assigned to London in the mid-1960s, retiring in 1970 for health reasons.

Sort of an agent without portfolio, the kind of guy higher-ups would have travel around for various special extracurricular assignments? And the Dominican Republic -- where both David Atlee Phillips and Clark Anderson (chief FBI representative/legal attache' at the US Embassy in Mexico City in November 1963) moved onto after their Mexico City assignments (HSCA Security Classified Testimony, David Atlee Phillips, p. 118), just in time to help defeat the threat of Communism in the Dominican (1965).

"The website describes his 'main area of expertise' as the 'infiltration of trade unions and other organizations of the labour movement.' While saying he was not at liberty to say what his main area of expertise was, Goss said the website description was 'a stretch.'"

:wacko: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: ("I will neither confirm nor deny.")


"Simkin claims - again erroneously as it relates to Quintero - that Ted Shackley the station chief for the CIA's Miami station from 1962 to 1965, 'was placed in charge of the CIA's secret war in Laos. He appointed Thomas G. Clines as his deputy. He (Clines) also took Rafael Quintero....' The problem with that is Quintero was never in Laos. According to both Clines, in a 2007 interview, (21) and Quintero's widow, Dolores, in an email to me, the only time Quintero ever visited anywhere in Asia came in the late 1980s, after he had joined Clines in a private business enterprise and he made a single business trip to the area with Clines. (22)"

Which would tend to corroborate a close relationship between Clines and Quintero and would not exclude a highly secret involvement WITH Clines in clandestine operations in southeast Asia.

"Again, distorting the facts, the Simkin website says in 1976 Quintero was recruited by rogue CIA agent Edwin Wilson to assassinate a Libyan dissident in Egypt and that he (Quintero) recruited Rafael and Raul Villaverde - two Cuban exile brothers - to help. That much is true, but the rest of what the Simkin website offers in its brief paragraph on the subject is an obvious attempt to link the Libyan assassination plot to the February 21, 1976 assassination in Washington, D.C., of Orlando Letelier, a prominent Chilean dissident. There was no connection between the two. From the Simkin website: 'Four days before the assassination of Orlando Letelier, the Villaverde brothers returned to the United States. On 21st September, the day that Letelier was killed, Wilson phoned Quintero in Miami to call off the operation.'

"The real facts - which Simkin chooses to ignore - are that at the time Wilson approached Quintero, both had been working for Task Force 157, a maritime spy operation run by U.S. Naval intelligence. Wilson had been Quintero's case officer. The man Wilson wanted assassinated was not named, although Quintero believed it to be Carlos Ramirez Sanchez, better known as "The Jackal," an international hit man. Quintero also believed he was working for the U.S. government. Quintero and the Villaverde brothers flew to Geneva, where they met Wilson and Frank Terpil, a rouge [sic] CIA agent and arms dealer who eventually found sanctuary in Cuba.

"In Geneva, Quintero and the Villaverde brothers were told the target was a Libyan dissident, who Wilson wanted eliminated on behalf of Libyan strongman Muamar Quaddafi, to whom Wilson had provided arms. After a heated argument, and discovering that the assassination was not a U.S. government operation, Quintero and the Villaverde brothers returned to the United States. Quintero then reported the incident to Clines, his former case officer. Wilson was eventually convicted and sentenced to prison. There was never any evidence that Quintero or the Villaverde brothers had anything to do with Letelier's assassination or that the two events were in any way related. (23)
"

Doesn't this raise the question as to why anyone would attempt to recruit Quintero to assassinate someone ........ unless Quintero was known to be the right man for such a job?


"According to [Carl] Jenkins he 'had nothing to do with Guatemala' and wasn't even in the CIA. 'I was a captain in the Marine Corps on active duty as an instructor for a reserve unit in Rome, Georgia. I didn't even know about Guatemala until years later.' After nine years in the Marines, beginning in 1943, he was recruited by the Agency in 1952 and sent to 'The Farm,' the secret Agency paramilitary training facility in Virginia, as a survival instructor. With the Korean War ending in 1953 and the Agency cutting back in personnel, he rejoined the Marines and was sent to Rome, Georgia, where he spent 1953 and 1954 rebuilding a Marine reserve rifle company, before returning to the CIA in 1955. [The Arbenz overthrow in Guatemala occurred in 1954]. He later was involved in both the Bay of Pigs and in Laos, although contradicting Simkin's claim, he said he 'never worked for [Ted] Shackley and never worked with him,' in either Miami or Laos. (27)"

Even taking him at his word ...... how would USMC duty around Georgia keep Jenkins from being involved in Guatemala, in a special capacity?



================

Much of this article sounds like it's "easing into" some painful truths, disclosing some information about the Miami JMWAVE station's operations, etc while continuing to deny anything about which "there never has been any evidence." And as long as no sure evidence ever turns up it can continue to be denied.....

Personally, I wanted to hear much more about John Simkin's "militant leftwing" views, but there were no details ......... So apparently this article is mainly for American consumption, where it's guaranteed that "militant leftwing" or any other kind of "Left" reference is all that's needed to discredit the person in question. This lack of content, much less substance, is not only akin to McCarthyism; it also says a lot about Bohning and his prospective audience: so politically ignorant they wouldn't even know how to differentiate between democratic socialism and Marxist-Leninism in the Big Scary World Beyond Our Blessed Shores ......... Ah, for the good old days when Americans weren't scared to organize in unions for workers' rights, when Eleanor Roosevelt was terrifying the white, the wealthy, and the conservative with her odd ideas about civil rights, social welfare, free love, and the communistic United Nations ..............


Edited by William Kelly, 25 June 2009 - 11:01 AM.


#11 John Simkin

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 10:46 AM

I have had a couple of emails from Don Bohning. The first one relates to something he wrote in the original CIA journal article:

“John Simkin, a former member of a militant leftwing organization, the politics of which are now rejected by the mainstream British Labor Party.” Don Bohning, (The Intelligencer: Journal of U.S. Intelligence Studies (Volume 16, 2008)

I initially replied to this comment on the forum that “I have only ever been a member of the British Labour Party, which gave the world the likes of Tony Blair and a right of centre government over the last 12 years. One presumes that if Mr. Bohning had credible evidence for this assertion he would have provided it.”

Don Bohning’s email pointed out: “Despite your claim to the contrary, I have it on good authority that you were a member of the Young Socialist Wing of the Labor Party in the 1960s at a time it was considered a Marxist organization.”

As you can see, Don has changed his claim to state that it was the Labour Party that was the Marxist organization. When I joined the Labour Party in 1964 I was nineteen years old. At the time, people of that age were automatically placed in the Young Socialists. As I stated before, I have only ever been a member of the Labour Party. It is true that at the time the far right and other neo-fascist organizations considered that the Labour Party was a Marxist organization. However, the claim is ridiculous. It should be remembered that in the 1960s the Labour Party was the largest political organization in Britain and governed the country between 1964 and 1970. To claim that the Labour Party was a Marxist organization is equivalent to saying that the Democratic or Republican parties are Marxist organizations.

I suspect that in the world of the far-right, to describe the Labour Party as a Marxist organization is like saying that it is a communist organization. (Although many on the left, myself included, would argue that the Communist Party post 1917 was not a Marxist organization but one better described as Leninist/Stalinist.)

The Labour Party has never been a Marxist organization. As several historians have pointed out, it has been more influenced by Methodism and Christian Socialism than the writings of Karl Marx. Since its formation, the Labour Party has consistently purged itself of Marxists.

When the Communist Party of Great Britain was formed in 1920 Rajani Palme Dutt argued that the CPGB should seek affiliation with the Labour Party. He argued that this was the wish of Lenin. Most of the leaders of CPGB argued against this resolution. For example, Sylvia Pankhurst described the Labour Party as being far too right-wing to become a political ally.

However, the vote went in favour of affiliation. As Willie Paul pointed out: “The comrades who voted in favour of the Labour Party were undoubtedly influenced by the arguments put forth on this question by Lenin, Radek, and many other Russian Communists.” It later emerged that Lenin had promised £55,000 (over £1 million in today's money) to help fund the CPGB in return for a say in its policy making. It was of course just a down-payment and the CPGB relied on the Soviet Union for funding until its disbandment in 1991.

It is worth noting that at every conference during the 1920s and 1930s the Labour Party voted against the attempts by the CPGB to become an affiliated organization. At the same time it expelled those members it considered under the influence of the CPGB.

http://www.spartacus.../Pcommunist.htm

Anyway, what has my membership of the Labour Party in 1964 got to do with my views on Operation 40 and role that the CIA may have played in the assassination of JFK? Would your membership of a political party in the 1960s be relevant to my arguments? The answer to that is no and I have no reason to want to find out the party you supported at this time. However, what is relevant is that the documents state you were a CIA asset during this period. Maybe, you still have that role.

In his latest email Don Bohning says: “In my fifty plus years as a journalist, I have come across many phoney unprincipled and unethical sleazebags but you top the list.”

I clearly have really upset you. I am not sure you should have told me that. It is not a good idea to tell your opponent that you have been hurt by a comment. Mind you, it does not take much thought to realize that it must be very painful to be exposed as a CIA asset. After all, I always thought that being a journalist was about telling the truth.

#12 John Simkin

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 02:56 PM

It seems that Mel Ayton (the British author of anti-conspiracy books) is Bohning's so-called source on my membership of the Labour Party's Young Socialists. It did not take too much detective work by Ayton as I posted details on the Harold Hill Council Estate website some time ago. Bohning writes in his latest email: "Also, re belonging to a militant organization why don't you also post the following from Mel Ayton, in whom I have far greater confidence than any of the misinformation you peddle. According to Ayton: "There is no doubt that the Young Socialists of the Labour Party in the 1960s was a Marxist organization - I know, I was a member of the Labour Party at the time. That also applies to the far-left trade union he [Simkin] had membership in."

The trade-union comment is interesting. Between 1960-66 I was a member of SOGAT the print union. My next employer refused permission for me to join a trade union. However, I risked my job to join ASDAW and my employer, backed-down. The next union I was a member of was the National Union of Teachers (1977-2000). I wonder which one Ayton thinks was the "far-left trade union". Maybe he could also explain why my membership of the Labour Party and various trade unions is relevant to my views on the assassination of JFK.

#13 John Simkin

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 12:03 PM

Bohning becomes more self-revealingly, laughably risible with each new missive. So the "militant leftwing organization, the politics of which are now rejected by the mainstream British Labor Party,” to which you belonged was the Labor Party. My God, how will you EVER rebound from being outed for such a youthful folly? AND you were a member of TRADE UNIONS? One is aghast to hear such things about you, John. Why could you not instead have joined a guild of retired covert intelligence operatives whose lifelong work is lying, treachery, obfuscation, misdirection and, ultimately, the overthrow of democratically elected governments, torture, and murder? Then you could hold your head proudly high, as does Bohning.

As for being an "unethical sleazebag," or whatever, one wonders what the average person would say about a "journalist" who pretends that his first and only allegiance is reporting the truth to his readers, only to be unmasked as an aparatchik of a covert intelligence service. Would that make one an "unethical sleazebag" to readers who did not know for whom the "journalist" truly toiled? Since one cannot ride two horses with a single behind, when CIA and journalistic integrity took divergent paths, which horse did Bohning ride?

Disingenuous, deceitful, duplicitous are among the words that spring to mind. But I'd best not anger Bohning, or he'll have Mel Ayton look through my sock drawer and reveal my habit of voting for a perfectly legal and rather dull democratic socialist party. How would I ever live down the shame of that being disclosed to the public?

What a smug, miserable little pissant.



Latest email from Don Bohning:

The following response from Mel Ayton. I find him find to be much more credible as a serious historian than you and your website which are a font of both misinformation and disinformation regarding numerous people and things which I have documented for you but to which you pay no attention. Thus, i stick with my original description of you and your background.

Mel Ayton

Printers' unions in the 1960s were notoriously left-wing and had many a confrontation not only with their employers but also the government.Likewise, Ruskin College, which he [Simkin] is familiar with, was a bastion of unionism and far left socialist propaganda - in fact, there was nothing else on the syllabus. Although the college is in Oxford it has nothing to do with the university - it's a place where union organizers were sent to become indoctrinated in left wing thought.

Likewise, the Young Socialists were dominated by the far left, including Trotskyites, eg the Socialist Workers party. Our very own 'Jane Fonda' - Vanessa Redgrave - led marches in London constantly under this banner.

Simkin's politics are certainly pertinent - he was, and is, a Marxist. There is also no doubt about his CIA/JF views which have been moulded by his politics - a politics that is essentially anti-American.

He knows full well I am not referring to the teachers union but the print union - this is just one method people like Simkin adopt - confuse as much as possilble and nit pick their way out of trouble.


This is his follow-up email:

it must be embarrassing for your to have a "member" [Mel Ayton] in your Education Forum site to "out" you as an "anti-American Marxist," with "antiCIA/JF views moulded by your politics.

Maybe we will next learn that the KGB taught you the defamation techniques you so skillfully employ one your websites.

Incidentally, Mel Ayton is the one who also described you to me earlier as "a crackpot of the first order [who] uses bluster and prevarication to hoodwink his readers."

cheers/don bohning


Ayton now makes it clear that he is talking about my membership of National Society of Operative Printers and Assistants (NATSOPA) as the “far-left trade union he [Simkin] had membership in." I joined NATSOPA (renamed SOGAT in 1966) when I left school at 15. I had no choice, as you could not obtain an apprenticeship in the print industry without joining the appropriate union (the printing industry was a closed-shop in the 1960s). I did not play an active role in the union and by the time I left the industry in 1966 I was not involved in one industrial dispute.

Once again Ayton shows his ignorance as a so-called “historian”. During the period I was a member NATSOPA/SOGAT was not a left-wing union. In fact, it was the complete opposite. It did not need to be radical as the print industry paid some of the highest-wages available to working-class men. Ayton is confusing the print unions of the 1960s with those who fought against Rupert Murdoch’s successful attempt to introduce cost-cutting measures in Fleet Street in 1986 (this was 20 years after I left the union).

Ayton adds: “He knows full well I am not referring to the teachers union but the print union - this is just one method people like Simkin adopt - confuse as much as possilble and nit pick their way out of trouble.” Ironically, I did play an active role in the NUT where I was the union’s school representative in the early 1980s. It was in the NUT where I was involved in industrial action. Once again he is completely wrong about a verifiable fact about my life.

Ayton then goes onto argue: “Likewise, Ruskin College, which he [Simkin] is familiar with, was a bastion of unionism and far left socialist propaganda - in fact, there was nothing else on the syllabus. Although the college is in Oxford it has nothing to do with the university - it's a place where union organizers were sent to become indoctrinated in left wing thought.”

I am not sure why Ayton brings up Ruskin College as I have never been involved with this organization. Maybe he is confusing the fact that I was a student at the Open University. This was the university that Keith Joseph, the minister of education under Margaret Thatcher, did describe as being under the influence of “Marxists”. Maybe, that was what Ayton got from his cutting file. Or maybe he is mixing me up with some other left-winger he has been investigating.

Ayton goes onto argue: “Likewise, the Young Socialists were dominated by the far left, including Trotskyites, eg the Socialist Workers party. Our very own 'Jane Fonda' - Vanessa Redgrave - led marches in London constantly under this banner.”

It is true that when I was a member of the Labour Party Young Socialists there were a significant number of Trotskyites in the organization. However, if he had done his research he would have discovered I was a strong opponent of these supporters of Trotsky. Like them, I was a strong opponent of Stalinism and the state-socialism of the Soviet Union. However, I was well aware of Trotsky’s crimes when he held power in the Communist Party and I thought that he would have continued with the dictatorial policies of Lenin if he had won the power-struggle with Stalin.

I am surprised that Ayton was unable to find this out from my MI5 files. There is no doubt that the political views that I held in the 1960s posed as much threat as those who idolised Trotsky and Stalin. I was a liberation socialist whose views were not valued by the Labour or Communist parties. That is why I left the Labour Party and never bother to join any other political party. That includes the Socialist Workers Party that he tries to link me with.

Ayton goes onto argue: “Simkin's politics are certainly pertinent - he was, and is, a Marxist.” It is true that I think that Karl Marx in the 19th century provided an important insight into the way capitalism functioned. However, he was a prisoner of the time that he wrote, and his views on the impending revolution, was completely inaccurate. Even the revolutions that did take place in the 20th century, were not examples of what Marx had in mind. For example, as the true Marxists in Russia argued at the time, Marx would have been opposed to the overthrow of the Provisional government in 1917.

When Lenin returned to Russia on 3rd April, 1917, he announced what became known as the April Theses. Lenin attacked Bolsheviks for supporting the Provisional Government. Instead, he argued, revolutionaries should be telling the people of Russia that they should take over the control of the country. In his speech, Lenin urged the peasants to take the land from the rich landlords and the industrial workers to seize the factories.

Lenin accused those Bolsheviks who were still supporting the Provisional Government of betraying socialism and suggested that they should leave the party. Some took Lenin's advice, arguing that any attempt at revolution at this stage was bound to fail and would lead to another repressive, authoritarian Russian government. They were of course right in their assessment. This view was based on the writings of Karl Marx who argued that the revolution should only take place when the majority of the population were in favour of this action. Otherwise, you will just get a dictatorship of the vanguard (the Bolsheviks).

The problem for those on the right is that they do not fully understand the writings of Karl Marx. Nor do they distinguish between the different ideologies that have developed out of his work. To lump together all critics of capitalism as “Marxists” or “Communists” or “Socialists” causes confusion rather than clarity.

Therefore, I am not, nor have I ever been, a Marxist or a Communist. However, I am proud to call myself a libertarian socialist. It also should be remembered that I am a fairly successful capitalist. It is a system that I have no desire to overthrow. However, I do think it should be reformed in order to give us a more equal society. As Aristotle pointed out, we will never have harmony without equality: “When quarrels and complaints arise, it is when people who are equal have not got equal shares.”

Ayton adds: “There is also no doubt about his CIA/JF views which have been moulded by his politics - a politics that is essentially anti-American.” This is a debate we have had many times on the forum. It is a true that I have been extremely hostile to a great number of things that have taken place in the United States since 1945: McCarthyism, Jim Crow laws, the Vietnam War, the cover up of political corruption and political assassinations, the illegal activities of the CIA, the invasion of Iraq. I have made no secret of these views and they have been fully displayed on the Spartacus Educational website and on this forum. This does not make me anti-American. In fact, one of the reasons I care about these things is because I love America and believe it has the potential to show the rest of the world the way forward.

#14 Guest_Tom Scully_*

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 01:25 PM

Hey Don!

If you're reading this thread, consider that I think John Simkin is making a mistake by attempting to justify anything he has been affiliated with in the past in the course of what seems like a typical existence in the UK, as in other developed, civilized countries in western Europe governed by popularly elected politicians.

The numbers from the US government organization you were affiliated with, and apparently still march in lockstep to, support what I am saying, as do both the Obama and Bush, US State Departments.

Europeans were not under the influence of the intel-propaganda organzation created and operated in the US, by and for the wealthiest and best connected, Don, and it shows....they voted, post WWII, in their own best interests and in the interests of their families, and they leaned more to the left in their politics than you "Gehlenized" robots of the Rockefellers, Dillons, Mellons, Lovetts, and Bushes did, Don.

Here are the results...high GINI coefficient indicates troubling wealth concentration, Don. The numbers collected by the State Dept. show lower GINI in Venezuela than in the US, and the CIA's numbers show a GINI number in the US that is higher than Venezuela's and in the stratosphere compared to the"commies" in the three major European democracies.

Ask yourself why wealth is so concentrated in the US, and why intel, military and law enforcement types are so responsive to the US wealthy and mirror their political positions and goals, and so dismissive and overbearing towards the middle class and lower? In a representative democracy, why would you defend a status quo that includes a CIA created, staffed, led, i.e. infiltrated by the wealthiest people in the country? Why wouldn't it be the opposite? Why doesn't it serve "the people", and infiltrate the ranks of the wealthiest, regarding them as the threat to "our way of life" that history plainly reveals them to be?

You've lived your whole life, now Don, and how does it feel to be elderly and now, in the fullness of time, find out that you've had it all exactly backward, that the right oriented politics of the wealthiest have resulted in wealth concentration in the US that makes our nation look more like Venezuela than France or Germany? Do you do what you did to conciously aid the wealthiest become even wealthier, Don, because that is what has happened.

Politics and unionism are the only ways, Don, other than via violent means, to prevent the wealthiest from destroying "our way of life". You and the CIA, along with the FBI and those who are elected but then serve the interests of the wealthiest instead the interests of the rest of us, are "the problem", setting us apart from the more equitable societies in Canada and in Europe. How would we have been worse off in the US these last 60 years, if we had practiced the politics of the French majority? The have model health care and lower unemployment than we in the US do, Don.

What were you fighting for, Don? Why did the CIA align itself with the very people who have done the most to undermine what made us different than the aristocracies of old Europe? Why did the CIA install the Shah and train his brutal Savak, destroy Allende and install Pinochet, conduct domestic surveillance against anti-war protestors during the Vietnam war?

Why aren't the wealthiest identified as a subversive element; a threat to the American way of life? Is it because you were too busy advancing their priorities to consider whether you were serving the interests of most of us?

http://www.truthdig....t_police_state/
America the Great ... Police State
Posted on Jul 28, 2009

By Gore Vidal

...So let me mention the real issue. The real issue is class. We have the greatest divide between the very rich and the very poor of any country on Earth, surpassing even France. And this division gets wider and wider as financial disasters overwhelm us. We were already in pretty bad shape before things began to fall apart a year or two ago. We must acknowledge that our character, never much good in these matters, is now reprehensible,..


United States measures of wealth concentration:

https://www.cia.gov/...ok/geos/us.html

Distribution of family income -Gini index:
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
45 (2007)
country comparison to the world: 44

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
lowest 10%: 2%
highest 10%: 30% (2007 est.)



http://web.archive.o...i/bgn/35766.htm
Background Note: Venezuela
ECONOMY

..There is considerable income inequality. The Gini coefficient was 0.45 during 2006. According to government statistics, the percentages of poor and extremely poor among Venezuelan population were 33.9% and 23.2%, respectively, in 2006. These high ratios are due primarily to lower real wages earned by employees, and high rates of un- and underemployment. ...


http://www.state.gov...i/bgn/35766.htm
Background Note: Venezuela

ECONOMY

...There is considerable income inequality. The Gini coefficient was 0.42 in the first half of 2007. According to government statistics, the percentages of poor and extremely poor among Venezuelan population were 20.7% and 7.9%, respectively, in the second half of 2007......


FRANCE:
https://www.cia.gov/...ok/geos/fr.html

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
lowest 10%: 3%
highest 10%: 24.8% (2004)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
32.7 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 98

GERMANY:
https://www.cia.gov/...ok/geos/gm.html

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
lowest 10%: 3.2%
highest 10%: 22.1% (2000)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
27 (2006)
country comparison to the world: 124

UNITED KINGDOM:
https://www.cia.gov/...ok/geos/uk.html

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
lowest 10%: 2.1%
highest 10%: 28.5% (1999)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
34 (2005)
country comparison to the world: 92


Edited by Tom Scully, 03 August 2009 - 01:32 PM.


#15 Robert Charles-Dunne

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 02:26 PM

Well, finally Bohning has outed himself, and his fellow traveller Ayton, as the fascistic anti-democrats that thinking persons have long known them to be. Imagine the nerve of John Simkin being educated in a school of which these two do not approve, and then being a member of a perfectly legal trade union. Good thing you weren't raised a Jesuit, John, or they'd have you strung up by the thumbs for spreading that dreadful liberation theology that keeps getting good priests killed in Third World hellholes to prevent the spread of anti-capitalist thought.

Brave men and women refute bunkum through rigorous intellectual debate of the facts. Scared and tiny little men cannot muster the courage or intellectual skills to do this, and resort instead to impugning the messenger rather than the message.

The truth remains the truth, no matter who speaks it. And, conversely, lies remain lies no matter how often the likes of Bohning and Ayton repeat them.

They no doubt fancy themselves to be defenders of liberty and justice, yet the record of the Agency in whose service they toil is an entirely different tale. While loudly extolling the virtues of a democracy they claim should be global, they are hypocritical apologists for an agenda devoted to preventing democracy from spreading wherever it might impinge on profit.

Since 1947, we have seen a trail of despots, military juntas, death squads, "disappeared" and shallow graves, all with the blessing or connivance of CIA. This is what they seek to defend, doing so here and elsewhere by asserting that people like John Simkin have no right to free association, freedom of thought or freedom of expression.

That's some "democracy" they espouse. What easily frightened and feeble little fellows they be.

When do the witch trials begin?




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