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Robert D. Morrow


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#1 John Simkin

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 07:57 AM

What do members make of Robert D. Morrow? I have just read his book, First Hand Knowledge. He explained in a speech at the State University of New York (28th June, 1991) what the motive for killing JFK:

The assassination of President Kennedy was, to put it simply, an anti-Castro 'provocation', an act designed to be blamed on Castro to justify a punitive American invasion of the island. Such action would most clearly benefit the Mafia chieftains who had lost their gambling holdings in Havana because of Castro, and CIA agents who had lost their credibility with the Cuban exile freedom fighters from the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion.

I also believe that this was the primary motive behind the assassination. Therefore I read the book wanting to believe his story. Briefly, this is Morrow’s story:

After attending Pennsylvania Military College Morrow became an engineer in Pittsburgh. In 1956 he joined Martin Company as a senior engineer in Baltimore, Maryland.

In January, 1958, Morrow moved to Washington where he set up an independent laboratory at his home in Hazelwood Avenue. For the next six months he worked with Stan Clark on the Doomsday Project. In July he joined the Neurology Project with Dr. John Seipel of Georgetown University.

Mario Kohly, who had been imprisoned by Fidel Castro in Cuba, escaped and arrived in the United States in February, 1959, and began organizing exile groups against Castro. Soon afterwards Kohly met Marshall Diggs. In March, 1960, Diggs recruited Morrow to work for Kohly. Three months later Morrow met Tracy Barnes and agrees to be Kohly's CIA contact.

Kohly agrees to accept help from the CIA in overthrowing Castro and in July, 1960, the Cuban Revolutionary Council (CRC) is formed. According to Morrow, the CRC informed JFK of CIA plans to invade Cuba at the Democratic National Convention. Morrow also claims that Kohly met Richard Nixon and the CIA in October. This resulted in the formation of Operation 40.

In March, 1961, Kohly's 300 man guerrilla army in the Escambray Mountains was decimated by Castro's forces. This damaged the potential success of the Bay of Pigs operation. Kohly now changed his strategy and with the help of Morrow he started a counterfeiting operation to undermine the Cuban economy.

Morrow continued to work for the CIA and he travelled to France to pick up a package for Tracy Barnes. While in Europe he bought arms for Kohly's new army.

In July, 1963, Morrow claims that Tracy Barnes "requested that I purchase four Mannlicher 7.35 mm surplus rifles. According to Barnes, the rifles were available in the Baltimore area from Sunny's Supply Stores. Upon my agreement to make the purchase, Barnes requested that I alter the forepiece of each rifle so that the rifles could be dismantled, hidden and reassembled quickly. I thought this last request odd until I was informed that the rifles were to be used for a clandestine operation."

The following day, Morrow claims that Eladio del Valle asked him to purchase four transceivers. In August 1963, Morrow delivered these rifles and transceivers to David Ferrie. Morrow believed that that the idea was to blame Fidel Castro for the assassination of JFK in order to trigger an invasion of Cuba.

In 1976 Morrow published “Betrayal: A Reconstruction of Certain Clandestine Events from the Bay of Pigs to the Assassination of John F. Kennedy”. The book was a partially fictionalized account of what Morrow experienced between 1958 and 1964. In his book, Morrow argues that Lee Harvey Oswald went to the Soviet Union as a CIA agent. On his return he became a FBI informant.

According to Morrow in 1963 Jack Ruby, Eladio del Valle, Guy Banister, David Ferrie and Clay Shaw organized a plot to kill Kennedy. This group manipulated events to make sure that Oswald would be identified as the assassin. The actual killer was an unnamed man impersonating Oswald. This man killed J. D. Tippit when he refused to go along with the plan to kill Lee Harvey Oswald who was waiting in the Texas Theatre. When Oswald was captured alive Ruby was forced to murder him in Dallas Police Station.

His next book was First Hand Knowledge (1992). Morrow claimed it was an autobiographical account of what he knew about the assassination of JFK. According to Morrow, the major players in the plot included Tracy Barnes, William Harvey, Marshall Diggs, Carlos Marcello, Santos Trafficante, Guy Banister, David Ferrie, Clay Shaw, Mario Kohly, Eladio del Valle, Sergio Arcacha Smith, Rolando Masferrer, Michel Mertz and Thomas Davis.

Morrow account implicates people who have already been named in other books. However, three people figure prominently who do not fit into this category: Mario Kohly, Marshall Diggs and Tracy Barnes. I have to admit that I do not know a great deal about Kohly or Diggs. However, I have spent sometime studying Tracy Barnes. Some researchers have mentioned his name as a possible figure in the JFK assassination conspiracy. Barnes was a member of Operation Success, the plot to overthrow Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954. Others involved in this operation were Frank Wisner, David Atlee Phillips, E. Howard Hunt, David Morales and Rip Robertson.

in 1960 Barnes joined the Directorate for Plans and helped Richard Bissell to organize the Bay of Pigs operation. Lyman Kirkpatrick, the CIA's inspector general, wrote a report on the failed project. Kirkpatrick was highly critical of both Bissell and Barnes. He claimed that they had misled JFK and that "plausible deniability was a pathetic illusion".

Unlike Bissell and Dulles, Barnes survived the Bay of Pigs disaster and according to Morrow, in 1962 Barnes was placed in charge of Domestic Operations Division. It was this unit that organized the assassination of JFK.

Morrow claims that Barnes had a motive. The Bay of Pigs operation failed because of JFK. However, it was the CIA who got the blame. Barnes was getting revenge on JFK and at the same time was guaranteeing a successful invasion of Cuba by setting up Lee Harvey Oswald as the assassin.

My main objection to this is that this does not fit Barnes’ personality. Barnes was a left of centre Democrat. Although very anti-communist (like other senior members of the CIA this view was based on his experiences in Europe during and soon after the Second World War) he held liberal views on domestic issues.

Morrow’s portrait of Barnes is totally unconvincing. From what we know of how the CIA worked, Barnes would never have exposed himself in the way that Morrow suggests. Why would Barnes personally recruit Morrow to buy the weapons to kill JFK? Why would Barnes then involve Eladio del Valle in asking Morrow to buy the four transceivers. Then Barnes gets Morrow to deliver the rifles and the transceivers to David Ferrie. It is all very convenient for the plot of Morrow’s book, but it is not the way senior officials in the CIA worked. Why would Barnes be so convinced that Morrow would never tell his story? If Barnes had been foolish enough to let Morrow know about the conspiracy, surely he would have had him killed soon after the event took place?

The book reads like a poorly written novel (the dialogue is appalling). That is what it is – a work of fiction.

#2 Tim Gratz

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 08:05 AM

Agreed!

#3 John Simkin

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 08:30 AM

Agreed!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Are you trying to undermine my credibility?

#4 Tim Gratz

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 08:34 AM

No, I just think you are moving in the right direction: critically dismissing a book even though you would agree with the premise underlying the book shows maturity of thought.

One should put Morrow's book on the same shelf as Sprague's.

#5 Pat Speer

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 09:06 AM

The problem with dismissing Morrow is that one can't entirely dismiss Morrow. Morrow was an associate of Kohly's. They were arrested together in the 60's. Morrow names some of Kohly's associates such as Marshall Diggs and Owen Webster. He also claims Kohly had Nixon's support. The recently released Pfeiffer history of the Bay of Pigs reveals that Nixon supported Kohly, and that, guess what, Kohly was associated with Marshall Diggs and Owen Brewster. Unless you're willing to believe Morrow was Pfeiffer's source for this information, this means Morrow's fiction had a basis in fact.

His portrait of Barnes is also interesting. When Morrow first wrote about Barnes, was Barnes widely known? Could Morrow have possibly guessed that books by Richard Bissell and Richard Helms would confirm his depiction of Barnes as a wreckless covert operative, given to bold and daring acts? Could Morrow have peformed the research necessary to see that Barnes was involved in assassination from the early fifties, with Boris Pash in Europe, with Rip Robertson in Guatemala, and with God knows who--Op 40?--in Cuba. It's possible Morrow gained his insights from Church Committee testimony, but, if so, who was his source?

I suspect Morrow was involved with Kohly and overheard a lot of stuff. He wrote about his suspicions, and made the rest up. Not unlike too many others.

#6 Tim Gratz

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 09:08 AM

Once more Pat comes along with a post causing me to rethink my original carte blanche dismissal of Morrow.

#7 John Simkin

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 10:02 AM

Namebase entry for Robert D. Morrow:

http://www.namebase....t-D-Morrow.html

Burleigh,N. A Very Private Woman. 1999 (291-2)
DiEugenio,J. Destiny Betrayed. 1992 (62-3, 333-4, 385)
Duffy,J. Ricci,V. The Assassination of John F. Kennedy. 1992 (318-9)
Groden,R. Livingstone,H. High Treason. 1990 (320, 343-4)
Hinckle,W. Turner,W. The Fish is Red. 1981 (177-80)
Marrs,J. Crossfire. 1990 (201-2)
Morrow,R. First Hand Knowledge. 1992
Parenti,M. Dirty Truths. 1996 (169, 179-80)
Piper,M.C. Final Judgment. 1993 (188-9, 192-3, 271-3, 276-7, 301-2)
Russell,D. The Man Who Knew Too Much. 1992 (190, 216-8, 398, 406-10, 505-7, 537, 690)
Thomas,K. Popular Alienation: A Steamshovel Press Reader. 1995 (300)
Vankin,J. Conspiracies, Cover-ups, and Crimes. 1991 (141)
Washington Times 1994-03-27 (A2)

#8 John Simkin

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 10:07 AM

I suspect Morrow was involved with Kohly and overheard a lot of stuff.  He wrote about his suspicions, and made the rest up.  Not unlike too many others.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I am sure you are right. It was of course well-known that Tracy Barnes was involved in the Bay of Pigs operation. The mystery was why Barnes was not sacked along with Bissell and Dulles.

Richard Helms became director of the Central Intelligence Agency in June, 1966. He immediately put Desmond FitzGerald under pressure to sack Barnes. The following month FitzGerald told Barnes his CIA career was over.

The one thing that all the people that Morrow named had in common was that they were all dead. I doubt very much if Morrow would have named Barnes if had not died on 18th February, 1972.

http://www.spartacus.../JFKbarnesT.htm

#9 John Simkin

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 04:02 PM

Photograph of Robert D. Morrow:

#10 David Boylan

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 08:27 PM

What do members make of Robert D. Morrow? I have just read his book, First Hand Knowledge. He explained in a speech at the State University of New York (28th June, 1991) what the motive for killing JFK:

The assassination of President Kennedy was, to put it simply, an anti-Castro 'provocation', an act designed to be blamed on Castro to justify a punitive American invasion of the island. Such action would most clearly benefit the Mafia chieftains who had lost their gambling holdings in Havana because of Castro, and CIA agents who had lost their credibility with the Cuban exile freedom fighters from the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion.

I also believe that this was the primary motive behind the assassination.


<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Here's my old outdated "theory" on the motive -


Disclaimer: This is just a half-formed kinda fuzzy “maybe” based upon what I read. I reserve the right to change my mind when I get more “data.”

The only way to get Cuba back from Castro was to do two things: remove him by any means, and somehow invade and get a “government in exile” to get a toehold in Cuba and hold it for at least 24 hours. Doesn’t have to be a big force just well armed. But who should be the “government in exile?” Trying to understand Cuban exile politics can get very confusing. Who’s Left who’s Right who was a Castro supporter…If Cuba was freed, who would make up the government? Who would the exile community get behind? Artime? Carlos Prio? Mateo? Kohly? Forget anybody closely tied to Batista. How about Manolo Ray? Too far left. The US government may have gotten behind Artime. Hence the Second Naval Guerrilla. The problem with Artime is that if he became the new Presidente of Cuba, certain people’s interests would not be represented. This includes organized crime and big business. They needed to put their own person in there that they could control. The problem is most of the well known leaders were too independent and had too much political baggage. So, the person selected had to be bright, Cuban, no excess political baggage but controllable. Enter Paulino Sierra Martinez. To bring him on board, Burt Mold and John Lechner were sent to Chicago to make their pitch.
Sierra accepted the conditions and the JGCE was formed. The money had to be tightly controlled by a subsidiary – Union Tank Car. The money controlled by someone high up the company chain – William Browder. Who were Mold and Lechner representing? (Lechner’s name and affiliation were found in Nagell’s notebook) The FBI and CIA were certainly curious. One theory was that he was being backed by “gamblers from out West.” (Jake Lansky) Another CIA/FBI theory was “oil men.” Most of these theories came from Sierra himself. A clue may be William Trull. Trull was Sierra’s temporary babysitter who disappeared after introducing Sierra around the Miami exile community. (Felipe Vidal among others) Trull was from Dallas, Texas and mentioned the King Ranch. Also, while Burt Mold may have had organized crime connections - he later worked in a Vegas Casino - I don’t see John Lechner in that role. Lechner was an old time anti-communist. He was Executive Director of the Americanism Educational League, which was an arm of the California American Legion. He was also very active in the American Committee to Free Cuba. He and Mold formed their own organization called Americans for Cuban Freedom. The American Committee to Free Cuba is a very interesting org that has a very interesting membership. The ACFC had many right wing extremists – California Rangers, Christian Defense League, etc. Some names of note: Robert A. Surrey, Gen. Walker’s right hand man, Kent Courtney, Hon. John Rousselot, Steve Foote, Harry Von Zell, and Jose Norman. Norman gave Loran Hall the money to get Hemming’s rifle out of hock. The check was from the ACFC. Hall knew many of these people and would give inspirational fund raising talks before many of these people. The HSCA was very interested in this group. (I’m getting too long winded here.) It was John Rousselot that gave Gerry Hemming, and because he tagged along, Loran Hall a lot of good contacts and sources of funds in Dallas. (Harry Dean mentions John Rousselot as one of the planners/money men behind the actual assassination plot.)
Hall dogged Hemming and eventually started meeting with most of Hemming’s contacts behind his back. Hall made his pitch for what eventually evolved into the Bayo-Pawley raid. He claimed that it was his and John Martino’s idea. Hall, Martino and Rip Robertson met in Robertson’s room and formulated a plan. This was an assassination attempt on the Castro brothers (scheduled for July 26) disguised as a planned raid to capture Russians that would come back and tell the world that the missiles were still in Cuba. Some of the funds came from Hall’s friend Santo Trafficante. The mission left without Hall. Eddie “Bayo” Perez was allegedly captured in Cuba but as late as Sept 1963, Perez’s brother-in-law Luis Angel Castillo AKA ANTONIO ELORIAGA-REYES was trying to get into Cuba to get him out.. So Part One was a no go.

Later, Hall went back to visit Robert Morris, Dan Smoot, Lester Logue, H.L. Hunt, Nelson Hunt, Gen Walker and later hooked up with Wiley Yates, Wally Welsh and Nico Crespi. It was in Lester Logue’s office that Hall met most of the moneymen. Hall mentioned that a “Jack” who owned a trucking firm (possibly J.E. Rose from Rose Truck Line) offered him $50,000 to shoot Castro’s boss, the guy in Washington. Hall “declined” at the time. Hall continued his fund raising by flashing his letter from Manolo Ray around and writing letters back to Ray but never mailing them.

Back to Sierra. Sierra was throwing money around and starting to make some headway in meeting with all the various anti-Castro factions and came to the notice of people in Washington. (Possibly through his fellow Chicagoan, Morris Leibman?) Sierra and Reinaldo Pico (Later involved in Watergate) visit Artime’s Latin American camps. Pico reporting to Bernard Barker at his time in August 1963. Aug 17, 1963 he goes to Washington to visit a member of the State Dept. John Crimmins(?). Not sure of the content of the meeting though. By September 1963 things start to fall apart for Sierra. People are complaining that he is spending too much money on himself. He is called back to Chicago and warned by William Browder. He is still left in charge of the Junta but his “coalition” failed to materialize. Part Two failed. All these weapons and people are in Guatemala and Nicaragua just waiting to invade. Hmm…. maybe if a communist killed JFK, the invasion would still go on. Around this same time, Homer Echevarria was heard to say that they’d get plenty of money after they took care of JFK. This was the Chicago plot. This was foiled so then it was on to Dallas.


Dave

#11 Robert Howard

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Posted 24 August 2005 - 12:15 AM

What do members make of Robert D. Morrow? I have just read his book, First Hand Knowledge. He explained in a speech at the State University of New York (28th June, 1991) what the motive for killing JFK:

The assassination of President Kennedy was, to put it simply, an anti-Castro 'provocation', an act designed to be blamed on Castro to justify a punitive American invasion of the island. Such action would most clearly benefit the Mafia chieftains who had lost their gambling holdings in Havana because of Castro, and CIA agents who had lost their credibility with the Cuban exile freedom fighters from the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion.

I also believe that this was the primary motive behind the assassination.


<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Here's my old outdated "theory" on the motive -


Disclaimer: This is just a half-formed kinda fuzzy “maybe” based upon what I read. I reserve the right to change my mind when I get more “data.”

The only way to get Cuba back from Castro was to do two things: remove him by any means, and somehow invade and get a “government in exile” to get a toehold in Cuba and hold it for at least 24 hours. Doesn’t have to be a big force just well armed. But who should be the “government in exile?” Trying to understand Cuban exile politics can get very confusing. Who’s Left who’s Right who was a Castro supporter…If Cuba was freed, who would make up the government? Who would the exile community get behind? Artime? Carlos Prio? Mateo? Kohly? Forget anybody closely tied to Batista. How about Manolo Ray? Too far left. The US government may have gotten behind Artime. Hence the Second Naval Guerrilla. The problem with Artime is that if he became the new Presidente of Cuba, certain people’s interests would not be represented. This includes organized crime and big business. They needed to put their own person in there that they could control. The problem is most of the well known leaders were too independent and had too much political baggage. So, the person selected had to be bright, Cuban, no excess political baggage but controllable. Enter Paulino Sierra Martinez. To bring him on board, Burt Mold and John Lechner were sent to Chicago to make their pitch.
Sierra accepted the conditions and the JGCE was formed. The money had to be tightly controlled by a subsidiary – Union Tank Car. The money controlled by someone high up the company chain – William Browder. Who were Mold and Lechner representing? (Lechner’s name and affiliation were found in Nagell’s notebook) The FBI and CIA were certainly curious. One theory was that he was being backed by “gamblers from out West.” (Jake Lansky) Another CIA/FBI theory was “oil men.” Most of these theories came from Sierra himself. A clue may be William Trull. Trull was Sierra’s temporary babysitter who disappeared after introducing Sierra around the Miami exile community. (Felipe Vidal among others) Trull was from Dallas, Texas and mentioned the King Ranch. Also, while Burt Mold may have had organized crime connections - he later worked in a Vegas Casino - I don’t see John Lechner in that role. Lechner was an old time anti-communist. He was Executive Director of the Americanism Educational League, which was an arm of the California American Legion. He was also very active in the American Committee to Free Cuba. He and Mold formed their own organization called Americans for Cuban Freedom. The American Committee to Free Cuba is a very interesting org that has a very interesting membership. The ACFC had many right wing extremists – California Rangers, Christian Defense League, etc. Some names of note: Robert A. Surrey, Gen. Walker’s right hand man, Kent Courtney, Hon. John Rousselot, Steve Foote, Harry Von Zell, and Jose Norman. Norman gave Loran Hall the money to get Hemming’s rifle out of hock. The check was from the ACFC. Hall knew many of these people and would give inspirational fund raising talks before many of these people. The HSCA was very interested in this group. (I’m getting too long winded here.) It was John Rousselot that gave Gerry Hemming, and because he tagged along, Loran Hall a lot of good contacts and sources of funds in Dallas. (Harry Dean mentions John Rousselot as one of the planners/money men behind the actual assassination plot.)
Hall dogged Hemming and eventually started meeting with most of Hemming’s contacts behind his back. Hall made his pitch for what eventually evolved into the Bayo-Pawley raid. He claimed that it was his and John Martino’s idea. Hall, Martino and Rip Robertson met in Robertson’s room and formulated a plan. This was an assassination attempt on the Castro brothers (scheduled for July 26) disguised as a planned raid to capture Russians that would come back and tell the world that the missiles were still in Cuba. Some of the funds came from Hall’s friend Santo Trafficante. The mission left without Hall. Eddie “Bayo” Perez was allegedly captured in Cuba but as late as Sept 1963, Perez’s brother-in-law Luis Angel Castillo AKA ANTONIO ELORIAGA-REYES was trying to get into Cuba to get him out.. So Part One was a no go.

Later, Hall went back to visit Robert Morris, Dan Smoot, Lester Logue, H.L. Hunt, Nelson Hunt, Gen Walker and later hooked up with Wiley Yates, Wally Welsh and Nico Crespi. It was in Lester Logue’s office that Hall met most of the moneymen. Hall mentioned that a “Jack” who owned a trucking firm (possibly J.E. Rose from Rose Truck Line) offered him $50,000 to shoot Castro’s boss, the guy in Washington. Hall “declined” at the time. Hall continued his fund raising by flashing his letter from Manolo Ray around and writing letters back to Ray but never mailing them.

Back to Sierra. Sierra was throwing money around and starting to make some headway in meeting with all the various anti-Castro factions and came to the notice of people in Washington. (Possibly through his fellow Chicagoan, Morris Leibman?) Sierra and Reinaldo Pico (Later involved in Watergate) visit Artime’s Latin American camps. Pico reporting to Bernard Barker at his time in August 1963. Aug 17, 1963 he goes to Washington to visit a member of the State Dept. John Crimmins(?). Not sure of the content of the meeting though. By September 1963 things start to fall apart for Sierra. People are complaining that he is spending too much money on himself. He is called back to Chicago and warned by William Browder. He is still left in charge of the Junta but his “coalition” failed to materialize. Part Two failed. All these weapons and people are in Guatemala and Nicaragua just waiting to invade. Hmm…. maybe if a communist killed JFK, the invasion would still go on. Around this same time, Homer Echevarria was heard to say that they’d get plenty of money after they took care of JFK. This was the Chicago plot. This was foiled so then it was on to Dallas.


Dave

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I wanted to comment on this post. I think it is a very "on-target" topic and ties in to some thoughts I have regarding the assassination of JFK and trying to "make all the pieces fit." In the 1960's and going on in a linear fashion, there was the Warren Comm., then Sylvia Meagher, Mark Lane, Thos. Buchanan and William Turner - Ramparts magazine. The Jim Garrison and the Clay Shaw indictment in this period there were "mysterious deaths" first in the immediate period after the assassination, and then again during the period leading up to the Shaw trial. Then other books.... William Torbitt's Nomenclature of .... and the "Gemstone Files," the latter seems to be so far-fetched it could have been called "How Onassis Took Over the World." Edward Epstein's Oswald bio. Now we have over 600 books on the assassination and (a dozen or so?) people who "say they participated in the assasination itself! Things certainly have become more complicated to say the least. Anyway, my point is that Garrison's investigation is to me the first real concrete expounding of a "plot." Morrow's book and Torbitt's Nomenclature of an Assassination Cabal are unique in identifying specific people that were/(may have been?) involved in the assassination. Nowaday's it appears like the task of putting all the pieces together ultimately boils down to two possibilities. One is sifting thru all the ARRB documents that have been de-classified to find a significant "smoking gun" and/or developing or discovering a "crucial piece of evidence" ala the Paschall film (which ostensibly shows gunfire from the grassy knoll visible to the naked eye) or something even more compelling. What I'm trying to point out is that I think the success of solving the case, depends on an objective analysis which allows for the possibility that Morrow or Richard Case Nagell for that matter may be essentially right and that we HAVE to use that objectivity in looking at all the possibilities. I have come to believe that we may be at the end of a window of opportunity regarding potential "credible individuals" who ARE STILL ALIVE as of this writing, and that ultimately WE are apparently the only people that can pull the rabbit out of the hat, as far as getting to the truth if that is even still possible. I hope my post doesent appear to be self-indulgent, I just felt that the Morrow book has been an example of "throwing the baby out with the bath water." I mean Sprague was the head of the HSCA at one time for goodness sakes. Maybe he wasn't as dumb as some think he was. Even though I thought the Taking of the America seemed a little short on facts compared to the picture he was painting.

#12 John Simkin

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Posted 24 August 2005 - 05:16 PM

Here is an interesting extract from Robert D. Morrow's First Hand Knowledge:

The execution of John F. Kennedy would be performed by a series of teams selected from CIA-sponsored exile and mercenary groups in Miami and New Orleans. The modus operandi to be employed would be very simple. The murder of the President of the United States could not resemble a standard syndicate killing. It should, ideally, be made to look as if it were the work of a lone gunman. As a sure kill could not be guaranteed by the work of only one gunman, two additional firing sites would be necessary.

The next item to pursue was the involvement of Fidel Castro. Trafficante planned the scenario. He would act as a double agent and, through an intermediary, warn Castro that the CIA, under presidential directive, would execute another nRsassination attempt on the Cuban dictator. Trafficante would then select two expendable subordinates who would be set up to murder Castro. The hitmen, under the impression they were actually working for the CIA, would be caught by Castro and reveal, after having been tortured, the identity of their supposed employer. As further evidence of their CIA affiliation, they would be equipped with assassination items readily identifiable with the clandestine agency. With both this evidence and the confessions of the hitmen, Fidel Castro would undoubtedly make a statement indicating his desire for revenge against the United States government. After the death of JFK, Castro's statement would be viewed as evidence of his complicity in the President's assassination.

Now that the actual plan for the assassination of JFK had been completed, it was time to find the players to fit the designated roles. To this end, Trafficante sent out word to the Mafia families and clearly detailed his requirements for personnel, armaments, communications and management of the two-phased operation.

David Ferrie received word of Trafficante's requirements and suggested Lee Harvey Oswald for the role of lone gunman in the assassination scenario. Oswald was the perfect patsy and fit all the requirements established to render the assassination a nonsyndicate hit: he was supposedly a liberal political activist with no traceable mob connections and presently residing in New Orleans - Marcello's home territory. Trafficante chose Rolando Masferrer, a Cuban mercenary closely associated with Kohly and del Vane, to assist in the implementation of the JFK assassination scheme. Masferrer would both coordinate and finance the assigned Kennedy hit teams, one of which would include John Michael Mertz. The staged Castro assassination attempt was coordinated by Tony Verona, "Prio" Socarras' former prime minister. To legitimize the Castro assassination attempt as a CIA operation, Trafficante had John Roselli report Verona's dispatch of a Castro assassination team to the CIA. The team's existence was leaked to Castro via Trafficante's use of a Cuban attorney named Carlos Garcia Bongo."
Trafficante's plan worked. On September 7, 1963, Fidel Castro told Associated Press reporter Dan Harker that the United States was assisting terrorist plans to eliminate Cuban leaders. He added a warning to his statement, maintaining that, if this continued, U.S. leaders could find their own lives in jeopardy.

Although Trafficante and Ferrie maintained vigilant security precautions while both planning and staffing the JFK operation, their secrecy was breached. J. Edgar Hoover learned of both the contract on JFK and the ensuing plot to assassinate him. His method of securing the information was through FBI surveillance of the Trafficante organization and paid FBI informants. A Cuban Mafia member told a wealthy Cuban exile, Jose Aleman of Miami, that Trafficante felt indebted to Aleman's cousin, and wanted to reciprocate by helping Aleman solve the cash problems he was having trying to build a new motel. Trafficante said Jimmy Hoffa had already cleared a loan for Alemdn from the Teamster's Pension Fund.


#13 Pat Speer

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Posted 25 August 2005 - 09:31 AM

I mean Sprague was the head of the HSCA at one time for goodness sakes. Maybe he wasn't as dumb as some think he was. Even though I thought the Taking of the America seemed a little short on facts compared to the picture he was painting.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Robert, I made this same mistake for a long time. It's a different Richard Sprague. The former chief counsel of the HSCA and the photographic consultant for the HSCA/ author of The Taking of America were both named Richard Sprague. Strange, but true.

The author is no longer with us, but I'm fairly certain the former investigator and chief counsel still breathes.

#14 John Simkin

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Posted 25 August 2005 - 09:51 AM

Biographies of the two Richard Spragues can be found here:

Richard E. Sprague

http://www.spartacus...JFKspragueE.htm

Richard A. Sprague

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#15 Steve Thomas

Steve Thomas

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Posted 25 August 2005 - 03:43 PM

Tim,

Once more Pat comes along with a post causing me to rethink my original carte blanche dismissal of Morrow.


There was one aspect to Morrow's story that has given me pause - and that is the conterfeiting operation that he was involved in.

In her WC testimony, Marina went to great lengths talking about a Mexican peso that LHO was supposed to have brought back from Mexico that had been drilled to accomodate a necklace or something.

I have often wondered if the Mexican currency piece had something to do with the counterfeiting operation that Morrow talked about in his book.

Steve Thomas




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