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David Atlee Phillips: The Mastermind?


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#1 John Simkin

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 07:25 AM

I suppose if we carried out a poll on who organized the assassination of JFK, the name of David Atlee Phillips would appear fairly high up on the list (probably in second place behind Davis Morales). I thought it might be worth looking at the evidence that Phillips was behind the assassination:

Phillips joined the CIA in 1950. Over the next few years Phillips was involved in clandestine operations in Guatemala against President Jacobo Arbenz. The plot against Arbenz became part of Executive Action (a CIA plan to remove unfriendly foreign leaders from power). The plot to remove Arbenz from power was called “Operation Success”. It was well-named, it eventually became the most successful operation in CIA history. The removal of Arbenz enabled Frank Wisner to convince Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon that covert operations worked. Operation Success became a blue print for how to remove foreign leaders from power. Those who took part in this operation were seen as the “experts” in this kind of work. Those involved included the following: David Atlee Phillips, David Sanchez Morales, Rip Robertson, Tracy Barnes, Richard Bissell and E. Howard Hunt. It is no coincidence that the same team were recruited to get rid of Fidel Castro after he gained power in 1959. I, like others, believe that it was this failed operation that helps explain the assassination of JFK.

http://www.spartacus...k/JFKarbenz.htm

Phillips worked undercover in Havana (1959-60). He was seen as the “expert” on Castro. As a result, he was involved in organizing the Bay of Pigs operation. So also were the rest of the Operation Success team: Morales, Robertson, Barnes, Bissell and Hunt. Castro was no Arbenz. He was not removed, he was made stronger. Phillips and company could not believe that the reason for this was their own misreading of the situation in Cuba. As far as they were concerned, the Bay of Pigs failed because of one man: John F. Kennedy.

http://www.spartacus...LDbayofpigs.htm

Barnes and Bissell, liberal supporters of the Democratic Party, were quick to forgive Kennedy. Phillips, Morales, Robertson and Hunt came from a different tradition. As far as they were concerned, JFK was a traitor and needed to be removed from power. However, at first, they did not do anything that would make this happen. They assumed that a right-wing Republican would be elected in 1964 and this would be followed by an armed invasion of Cuba.

After the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, the Phillips gang realized that JFK would not be defeated in 1964.

http://www.spartacus...ubanmissile.htm

His image had been transformed. He was now seen as the tough Cold War leader who had made the Soviet Union back down. The reality of the situation was very different. This is why Operation Tilt was organized.

http://www.spartacus....uk/JFKtilt.htm

It hoped to provide Barry Goldwater with the necessary ammunition to destroy JFK in the presidential election. Once again the operation ended in failure. JFK looked certain to be elected. The situation became even worse for this right-wing faction when it was discovered in 1963 that JFK was carrying out secret negotiations with Castro. The future did not look good for the CIA’s anti-Castro group. JFK was likely to serve until 1968 and then he would be replaced by Robert Kennedy. In time, Edward Kennedy would take over from Robert. The Kennedy Dynasty could become a reality. What is more, John and Robert had moved to the left as a result of their experiences in government. They genuinely seemed to want to bring the Cold War to an end. This was indeed a frightening prospect for people like Phillips. It was also very worrying for the Military Industrial Congressional Complex (MICC). It was also a problem for the Congressional part of the MICC. In other words, Lyndon Johnson and his cronies.

http://www.spartacus.../JFKgroup8F.htm

In 1963 JFK had some serious enemies who could see not see how they could use conventional methods to get rid of him. If drastic action was needed, who better to approach than that group that had been responsible for getting rid of dangerous political leaders in the past. The highest-ranking member of this right-wing group within the CIA in 1963 was David Atlee Phillips.

In 1963 Phillips was Chief of Cuban Operations. He worked closely with David Morales at JM WAVE in Miami. Phillips also provided support to Alpha 66. It was later claimed that Phillips told Antonio Veciana his goal was to provoke US intervention in Cuba by "putting Kennedy's back to the wall."

Phillips therefore had the motivation and the opportunity to organize the assassination. However, is there any evidence that he was the man responsible?

In 1976 Antonio Veciana was interviewed by Gaeton Fonzi of the House Select Committee on Assassinations. The founder of the anti-Castro organization, Alpha 66, he told the committee about his relationship with his CIA contact, Maurice Bishop. He claimed that in August, 1963, he saw Bishop and Lee Harvey Oswald together in Dallas. Veciana admitted that Bishop had organized and funded the Alpha 66 attacks on the Soviet ships docked in Cuba in 1963.

Veciana explained the policy: "It was my case officer, Maurice Bishop, who had the idea to attack the Soviet ships. The intention was to cause trouble between Kennedy and Russia. Bishop believed that Kennedy and Khrushchev had made a secret agreement that the USA would do nothing more to help in the fight against Castro. Bishop felt - he told me many times - that President Kennedy was a man without experience surrounded by a group of young men who were also inexperienced with mistaken ideas on how to manage this country. He said you had to put Kennedy against the wall in order to force him to make decisions that would remove Castro's regime."

Richard Schweiker, a member of the committee, speculated that Bishop was David Atlee Phillips. Schweiker asked his researcher, Gaeton Fonzi, to investigate this issue. Fonzi arranged for Veciana and Phillips to be introduced at a meeting of the Association of Retired Intelligence Officers in Reston. Phillips denied knowing Veciana. After the meeting Veciana told Schweiker that Phillips was not the man known to him as Bishop.

Fonzi was unconvinced by this evidence. He found it difficult to believe Phillips would not have known the leader of Alpha 66. Especially as Phillips had been in charge of covert action in Cuba when Alpha 66 was established. Other information also emerged to undermine Phillips. CIA agent, Ron Crozier, who worked in Cuba during this period, claimed that Phillips sometimes used the code name, Maurice Bishop.

Phillips testified before the House Select Committee on Assassinations on 25th April, 1978. He denied he ever used the name Maurice Bishop. He also insisted that he had never met Veciana.

According to Larry Hancock (Someone Would Have Talked), just before his death Phillips told Kevin Walsh, an investigator with the House Select Committee on Assassinations: "My final take on the assassination is there was a conspiracy, likely including American intelligence officers." (Some books wrongly quote Phillips as saying: "My private opinion is that JFK was done in by a conspiracy, likely including rogue American intelligence people.")

Phillips died of cancer on 7th July, 1988. He left behind an unpublished manuscript. The novel is about a CIA officer who lived in Mexico City. In the novel the character states: "I was one of those officers who handled Lee Harvey Oswald... We gave him the mission of killing Fidel Castro in Cuba... I don't know why he killed Kennedy. But I do know he used precisely the plan we had devised against Castro. Thus the CIA did not anticipate the president's assassination, but it was responsible for it. I share that guilt."

Is this a confession? Phillips knew that people were speculating that he had organized the assassination? Phillips knew that after his death people like us would accuse him of this horrendous crime. Was he trying to shift the blame to people below him? Was he pointing the finger at people like David Sanchez Morales, Rip Robertson or E. Howard Hunt? Or was he lying? Was Phillips the man who organized the assassination? My own view is that the novel tells the truth. Although Phillips knew what was going on, Morales was the man who organized the assassination. I suspect that Morales was getting his orders from someone outside of the CIA. However, I am willing to be convinced that Phillips was the mastermind behind the assassination.

http://www.spartacus...JFKphillips.htm

#2 Mark Knight

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 12:30 PM

In all fairness, I would like to point out that, in the thread on the topic of "Castro Did It," the "testimony" of Veciana has turned out to be merely a summary...no one has actually produced this "testimony" on this Forum, and the veracity of Veciana's statements has been questioned. To then turn around and use Veciana's "testimony" to make a point is, I believe, not very solid ground upon which to base an argument.

This is NOT a defense of any particular member of the Forum [although, had I NOT posted this disclaimer, one certainly would expect him to claim so], but merely a defense of fairness in debate.

#3 Robert Howard

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 04:28 PM

In all fairness, I would like to point out that, in the thread on the topic of "Castro Did It," the "testimony" of Veciana has turned out to be merely a summary...no one has actually produced this "testimony" on this Forum, and the veracity of Veciana's statements has been questioned.  To then turn around and use Veciana's "testimony" to make a point is, I believe, not very solid ground upon which to base an argument.

This is NOT a defense of any particular member of the Forum [although, had I NOT posted this disclaimer, one certainly would expect him to claim so], but merely a defense of fairness in debate.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I recently read a post on a JFK forum, it might have even been on the JFK Lancer forum, that Shawn Phillips (who was a fairly famous rock singer in the 1970's) the nephew of David Atlee Phillips said that David told him shortly before his death that "he was in Dallas on November 22, 1963. It would be of interest for someone to interview him to find out what, if more Shawn is willing to reveal about his Uncle.

#4 Dawn Meredith

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 04:42 PM

[quote name='John Simkin' date='Aug 13 2005, 07:25 AM']
I suppose if we carried out a poll on who organized the assassination of JFK, the name of David Atlee Phillips would appear fairly high up on the list (probably in second place behind Davis Morales). I thought it might be worth looking at the evidence that Phillips was behind the assassination:

__________________

Further proof that Phillips and "Bishop" are the same person:


Maurice Bishop and "The Spook" Reporter Hal HendrixFrog discovered a single file folder in 1995 at NARA with 3 names,
David Atlee Phillips, Maurice Bishop and Harold Benson.

This expands on that file discovery. I'm sure that he had more aliases or AKAs.

Florida Frog


Maurice Bishop and “The Spook” Hal Hendrix
Gaeton Fonzi has written a book that details his search for Maurice Bishop called The Last Investigation. To Fonzi's detailed summary of reasons that David Atlee Phillips was indeed the Maurice Bishop that Veciana saw with Oswald, there is a more recent addition. In the back of his updated paperback version of Conspiracy, Anthony Summers tells of Jim Hougan's talk with CIA agent Frank Terpil. Jim Hougan will be familiar to Probe readers from our last issue. He's the author of the best book on Watergate, Secret Agenda.

Hougan got to know Terpil rather well while making a PBS documentary about him. In a tape-recorded interview, Hougan asked why Terpil was going on and on about David Phillips and the AFIO. Among other things, Terpil alleged (as have others) that Phillips' "retirement" from the CIA was phony, and that he continued to work for the CIA through the AFIO. Hougan asked Terpil why he kept talking about Phillips-was it personal, or political? Political, Terpil replied. Hougan asked where Terpil and Phillips had met. Terpil's answer is astonishing, and terribly important. Terpil had met him in Florida while living there with Hal Hendrix's daughter. Really? Asked Hougan. Yeah, said Terpil, Phillips used to come around with Hal Hendrix, but he wasn't using his real name. He was using an alias. What alias? Bishop, Terpil said, Something Bishop. Maurice Bishop? Hougan asked. Yeah, Terpil replied, Maurice Bishop. Hougan wanted to be sure Terpil wasn't putting him on, but came away convinced that Terpil did not understand the significance of what he was saying and that Terpil was answering honestly. Hougan asked how Terpil knew Bishop was Phillips. Terpil said he had run Bishop through the agency's file system in the CIA's Miami headquarters to find out who this Bishop character was. The name that came out: David Atlee Phillips.

When Probe asked Hougan about this incident, he responded, "Now, in my opinion, Terpil was telling the truth about this-because, frankly, the subject of David Phillips' background and alias would never have come up if I hadn't grown irritated with Terpil's constant kvetching about the AFIO." As a follow-up, Hougan contacted both Seth Kantor, who confirmed his call to Hendrix, and Hendrix's daughter, who Hougan says "seems to be as big a spook as her father was." She issued an "I'm afraid I don't remember" when queried about having lived with Terpil, which, as Hougan noted, "is not a denial."

In 1975, Seth Kantor, a Scripps-Howard reporter and one of the first journalists to report on Oswald's background immediately following the assassination, noticed that one of the Warren Commission documents still being suppressed from the public was a record of his own calls the afternoon of the assassination. Kantor was curious what could have been so sensitive among those calls to require such suppression, and starting actively seeking the document. Listed in the FBI report he finally got released-but not listed in the report of his calls published in the Warren Commission volumes-was a call Kantor made, at the request of his managing editor in Washington, to another reporter named Hal Hendrix, then working out of the Miami office. Hendrix was about to leave for an assignment in Latin America but had told the Washington office he had important background information on Oswald to relay. Kantor received from Hendrix a detailed briefing of Oswald's defection to the Soviet Union, his pro-Castro leafleting activities and other such details. Kantor didn't think, at the time, to ask Hendrix where he got his information. Years, later, he wished he had, as Hendrix was quite an interesting character.

Hal Hendrix had a claim to fame for his insightful reporting on the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. His efforts garnered him a Pulitzer Prize. It was perhaps because of his deep sources that Hendrix was nicknamed "The Spook." Or perhaps it was for his near clairvoyance. In a Scripps-Howard piece dated September 23, 1963, Hendrix wrote a colorful article about the toppling of the Dominican Republic's president Juan Bosch. The only problem was, the coup didn't happen until a day later.

In 1976, Hendrix pleaded guilty to charges of withholding information when a Senate Committee was looking into the corporate ties of ITT to the Chilean coup. Hendrix had worked for ITT in Chile at the time ITT was working with the CIA to bring about the fall of Chilean president Salvador Allende. David Phillips was in charge of the CIA's end of that operation. It is therefore of the greatest significance that Terpil puts Bishop/Phillips in the presence of Hendrix, and that Veciana puts Bishop in the presence of Lee Harvey Oswald. Add the new revelation that a "Mr. Phillips" was "running the show" in conjunction with Sergio Arcacha Smith and Guy Banister in New Orleans, and we know where the Assassination Records Review Board should be devoting the utmost attention.

Dawn

#5 James Richards

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Posted 14 August 2005 - 12:30 AM

John,

One of the things we can say catagorically about Phillips is that he is a liar. I don't see him as the assassination organizer but I have no doubts he played a part. I see him shuffling Oswald around and behind some of the manipulation of various Cuban exile groups.

Clark Clifford and Phillips below.

James

#6 Larry Hancock

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Posted 14 August 2005 - 01:14 AM

Robert, that has been done (by Dick Russell among others) and unfortunately everything Shawn knows can be found in the material on his WEB site. When you net it out two things are clear i) David's brother and others in the family had strong suspicions he was involved in the conspiracy in some fashion....enough so to stop speaking with him and ii) even when dying and with the opportunity of one last phone call to reconcile himself with his brother Phillips refused to deny his involvement.

At a minimum I would have to judge that Phillips either consciously aided some area of the conspiracy or suspected who had done it and consciously covered it up. Given his remark as reported by Summers about believing that it was a conspiracy involving US intelligence officers (made after denying any such thing for years and legally challenging any implication of same) that confirms to me the Phillips knew there was a conspiracy and who was involved...which of course would make him an accessory to conspiracy for not reporting what he suspected or knew.

-- Larry



In all fairness, I would like to point out that, in the thread on the topic of "Castro Did It," the "testimony" of Veciana has turned out to be merely a summary...no one has actually produced this "testimony" on this Forum, and the veracity of Veciana's statements has been questioned.  To then turn around and use Veciana's "testimony" to make a point is, I believe, not very solid ground upon which to base an argument.

This is NOT a defense of any particular member of the Forum [although, had I NOT posted this disclaimer, one certainly would expect him to claim so], but merely a defense of fairness in debate.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I recently read a post on a JFK forum, it might have even been on the JFK Lancer forum, that Shawn Phillips (who was a fairly famous rock singer in the 1970's) the nephew of David Atlee Phillips said that David told him shortly before his death that "he was in Dallas on November 22, 1963. It would be of interest for someone to interview him to find out what, if more Shawn is willing to reveal about his Uncle.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



#7 Gary Buell

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Posted 17 August 2005 - 08:50 PM

Shawn Phillips email to me in January of 2003:

The "Confession", you refer to was not in so many words as such. I cannot remember the time frames involved, but this was what was told to me by my father, James Atlee Phillips, who is deceased. He said that David had called him with reference to his (Davids), invitation to a dinner, by a man who was purportedly writing a book on the CIA. At this dinner, was also present a man who was identified only as the "Driver". David told Jim that he knew the man was there to identify him as Raul Salcedo, whose name you should be familiar with, if your research is accurate in this matter. David then told Jim that he had written a letter to the various media, as a "Preemptive Strike" , against any and all allegations about his involvement in the JFK assassination. Jim knew that David was the head of the "Retired Intelligence Officers of the CIA", or some such organization, and that he was extremely critical of JFK, and his policies. Jim knew at that point, that David was in some way, seriously involved in this matter and he and David argued rather vehemently, resulting in a silent hiatus between them that lasted almost six years according to Jim. Finally, as David was dying of irreversible lung cancer, he called Jim and there was apparently no reconciliation between them, as Jim asked David pointedly, "Were you in Dallas on that day"? David said, "Yes", and Jim hung the phone up.

#8 James Richards

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Posted 17 August 2005 - 09:32 PM

Good stuff, Gary.

Although Phillips is a serious suspect in all of this, the last line of your post is chilling indeed.

Thanks for sharing.

James

#9 John Simkin

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Posted 18 August 2005 - 03:38 PM

Namebase entry for David Atlee Phillips

http://www.namebase....e-Phillips.html

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Blum,W. The CIA: A Forgotten History. 1986 (84-5)
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#10 John Simkin

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Posted 18 August 2005 - 09:41 PM

This man was arrested in Dallas on the day of the assassination. Robert D. Morrow (First Hand Knowledge) claims he could be David Atlee Phillips. I don't think it looks anything like him.

#11 John Simkin

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Posted 18 August 2005 - 09:43 PM

Or could it be this man?

#12 James Richards

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Posted 18 August 2005 - 10:15 PM

This man was arrested in Dallas on the day of the assassination. Robert D. Morrow (First Hand Knowledge) claims he could be David Atlee Phillips. I don't think it looks anything like him.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I believe that is Kenneth Wilson who was arrested in Fort Worth.

James

Edited by James Richards, 18 August 2005 - 10:15 PM.


#13 Dixie Dea

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Posted 18 August 2005 - 11:15 PM

You are right James, the guy with the pencil behind his ear is Kenneth Wilson. He was briefly questioned and released as well as his wife's cousin, Donald Wayne House....who some feel is a LHO look-alike.

I started a thread about these two men, awhile back, but can never get the search thing to work right. It is under The Cowtown Connection thread.

So, here is the link to tne full story...a strange story too! This story was investigaed by M. Duke Lane and I believe it originally appeared in the Third Decade Publication.

cowtown.txt
http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/cowtown.txt
______________
Dixie

#14 John Simkin

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Posted 19 August 2005 - 06:41 AM

Gary Mack has sent this message.

The man was Kenneth Glenn Wilson, who was photographed in Fort Worth, not Dallas, and who was accompanied by Fort Worth Police Officer Lawerence Wood (note the different style uniform). Wilson wasn't a suspect, he was a witness. Duke Lane resolved this silly claim, first made by Shaw and repeated by Morrow, many years ago.

As I said it did not look anything like Phillips. The other picture I posted was a joke. It is of course a picture of Robert D. Morrow.

#15 John Simkin

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Posted 26 August 2005 - 12:43 PM

This is the police artit's sketch of Maurice Bishop, the CIA operative who was seen with Lee Harvey Oswald. It was drawn from details provided by Alpha 66's Antonio Veciana, whom Bishop controlled. When Senator Richard Schweiker saw the sketch, he immediately recognized its close resemblance to David Atlee Philips.




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