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#1 John Simkin

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Posted 16 January 2006 - 08:52 AM

On 11th December, 1959, Colonel J. C. King, chief of CIA's Western Hemisphere Division, sent a confidential memorandum 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."

As a result of this memorandum Dulles established Operation 40. It obtained this name because originally there were 40 agents involved in the operation. Later this was expanded to 70 agents. The group was presided over by Richard Nixon. Tracy Barnes became operating officer of what was also called the Cuban Task Force. The first meeting chaired by Barnes took place in his office on 18th January, 1960, and was attended by David Atlee Phillips, E. Howard Hunt, Jack Esterline, and Frank Bender.

On 4th March, 1960, La Coubre, a ship flying a Belgian flag, exploded in Havana Bay. It was loaded with arms and ammunition that had been sent to help defend Cuba's revolution from its enemies. The explosion killed 75 people and over 200 were injured. Fabian Escalante, an officer of the Department of State Security (G-2), later claimed that this was the first successful act carried out by Operation 40.

One member, Frank Sturgis, claimed: "this assassination group (Operation 40) would upon orders, naturally, assassinate either members of the military or the political parties of the foreign country that you were going to infiltrate, and if necessary some of your own members who were suspected of being foreign agents... We were concentrating strictly in Cuba at that particular time."

Over the next few years Operation 40 worked closely with several anti-Castro Cuban organizations including Alpha 66. CIA officials and freelance agents such as Porter Goss, E. Howard Hunt, David Morales, Bernard L. Barker, Frank Sturgis, Barry Seal, and William C. Bishop also joined the project. Cuban figures used by the Operation 40 included Antonio Veciana, Luis Posada, Orlando Bosch, Roland Masferrer, Eladio del Valle, Guillermo Novo, Carlos Bringuier, Eugenio Martinez, Antonio Cuesta, Hermino Diaz Garcia, Felix Ismael Rodriguez, Juan Manuel Salvat, Ricardo Morales Navarrete, Isidro Borjas, Virgilio Paz, Jose Dionisio Suarez, Felipe Rivero, Gaspar Jimenez Escobedo, Nazario Sargent, Pedro Luis Diaz Lanz, Rafael Quintero, Jose Basulto, and Paulino Sierra.

http://www.spartacus...operation40.htm

The picture below is of interest. This photograph was taken in a nightclub in Mexico City on 22nd January, 1963. It is believed that the men in the photograph are all members of Operation 40. It has been suggested that closest to the camera on the left is Felix Rodriguez. Next to him is Porter Goss and Barry Seal. It has been claimed that Tosh Plumlee is attempting to hide his face with his coat. Others in the picture are Alberto 'Loco' Blanco (3rd right) and Jorgo Robreno (4th right).

I would be interested in the opinions of Gerry and Tosh on this photograph.

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#2 James Richards

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Posted 16 January 2006 - 09:08 AM

John,

FWIW, I don't buy that the guy on the far left is Felix Rodriguez. The guy third from the right looks a lot like Felipe De Diego as well.

Has it ever been confirmed that this image is indeed circa 1963, or does the possibility exist that it is much later?

James

#3 George Bollschweiler

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Posted 16 January 2006 - 03:05 PM

On 11th December, 1959, Colonel J. C. King, chief of CIA's Western Hemisphere Division, sent a confidential memorandum 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."

As a result of this memorandum Dulles established Operation 40. It obtained this name because originally there were 40 agents involved in the operation. Later this was expanded to 70 agents. The group was presided over by Richard Nixon. Tracy Barnes became operating officer of what was also called the Cuban Task Force. The first meeting chaired by Barnes took place in his office on 18th January, 1960, and was attended by David Atlee Phillips, E. Howard Hunt, Jack Esterline, and Frank Bender.

On 4th March, 1960, La Coubre, a ship flying a Belgian flag, exploded in Havana Bay. It was loaded with arms and ammunition that had been sent to help defend Cuba's revolution from its enemies. The explosion killed 75 people and over 200 were injured. Fabian Escalante, an officer of the Department of State Security (G-2), later claimed that this was the first successful act carried out by Operation 40.

One member, Frank Sturgis, claimed: "this assassination group (Operation 40) would upon orders, naturally, assassinate either members of the military or the political parties of the foreign country that you were going to infiltrate, and if necessary some of your own members who were suspected of being foreign agents... We were concentrating strictly in Cuba at that particular time."

Over the next few years Operation 40 worked closely with several anti-Castro Cuban organizations including Alpha 66. CIA officials and freelance agents such as Porter Goss, E. Howard Hunt, David Morales, Bernard L. Barker, Frank Sturgis, Barry Seal, and William C. Bishop also joined the project. Cuban figures used by the Operation 40 included Antonio Veciana, Luis Posada, Orlando Bosch, Roland Masferrer, Eladio del Valle, Guillermo Novo, Carlos Bringuier, Eugenio Martinez, Antonio Cuesta, Hermino Diaz Garcia, Felix Ismael Rodriguez, Juan Manuel Salvat, Ricardo Morales Navarrete, Isidro Borjas, Virgilio Paz, Jose Dionisio Suarez, Felipe Rivero, Gaspar Jimenez Escobedo, Nazario Sargent, Pedro Luis Diaz Lanz, Rafael Quintero, Jose Basulto, and Paulino Sierra.

http://www.spartacus...operation40.htm

The picture below is of interest. This photograph was taken in a nightclub in Mexico City on 22nd January, 1963. It is believed that the men in the photograph are all members of Operation 40. It has been suggested that closest to the camera on the left is Felix Rodriguez. Next to him is Porter Goss and Barry Seal. It has been claimed that Tosh Plumlee is attempting to hide his face with his coat. Others in the picture are Alberto 'Loco' Blanco (3rd right) and Jorgo Robreno (4th right).

I would be interested in the opinions of Gerry and Tosh on this photograph.



Tosh for sure could finally end the dispute (demopedia) between you and Daniel Hopsicker who claims in "Barry and the Boys" that the guy hiding his face is Frank Sturgis.

George

ps: somewhere I read that the first guy on the right is William Seymour (?)


Edited by George Bollschweiler, 16 January 2006 - 03:08 PM.


#4 George Bollschweiler

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Posted 16 January 2006 - 05:04 PM

John,

FWIW, I don't buy that the guy on the far left is Felix Rodriguez. The guy third from the right looks a lot like Felipe De Diego as well.

Has it ever been confirmed that this image is indeed circa 1963, or does the possibility exist that it is much later?

James



James,

concerning the origin of the picture I came across the following:

As we saw it, the photo was in a yellowed frame, the kind used by nightclub photographers to create instant keepsakes. Seal’s widow Debbie Seal kept it in her safe, where it was overlooked by a 7-man team from the State Department which arrived at her house in 1995 to comb through her records.
It bears the name of a nightclub in Mexico City, and is stamped January 22, 1963, which, if you’re counting, was exactly ten months to the day before the Kennedy assassination.


George

#5 James Richards

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Posted 16 January 2006 - 10:44 PM

Thanks, George. Muchly appreciated.

BTW, I don't buy the Seymour ID either.

James

#6 John Simkin

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Posted 16 January 2006 - 10:57 PM

I carried out a search for background on the picture and found this:

http://www.abovetops...thread75925/pg1

http://demopedia.dem...hp/Operation_40

Should I be flattered or angry?

Here are some other useful links:

http://www.scoop.co....0408/S00254.htm

This is also interesting:

http://prorev.com/connex.htm


According to former CIA officials David MacMichael and Ray McGovern, Barry Seal, a former TWA pilot who had trained Nicaraguan Contra pilots in the early eighties, and who is facing a long sentence after a federal drug conviction in Florida, makes his way to the White House's National Security Council to make the following proposition to officials there. He would fly his own plane to Colombia and take delivery of cocaine. He would then make an emergency landing in Nicaragua and make it appear that Sandinista officials were aiding him in drug trafficking. Seal made it clear that he would expect help with his legal problems. The Reagan White House jumps at the offer. Seal's plane is flown to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, where it was fitted with secret cameras to enable Seal to photograph Nicaraguan officials in the act of assisting him with the boxes of cocaine.

On January 17, the U. S. Attorney for the Western District drops a money laundering and narcotics-conspiracy charges against associates of drug smuggler Barry Seal over the protests of investigators Russell Welch of the state police and Bill Duncan of the Internal Revenue.

The operation goes as planned. The photos are delivered to the White House, and a triumphant Ronald Reagan goes on national TV to show that the Sandinistas are not only Communists but also criminals intent on addicting America's youth.

BARRY SEAL FOLLOWING HIS MURDER

Seal is scheduled to testify at the trial of Jorge Ochoa Vasques. But on February 19, shortly before the trial is to begin, Seal is murdered in Baton Rouge gangland style by three Colombian hitmen armed with machine guns who attack while he seated behind the wheel of his white Cadillac in Baton Rouge, La. The Colombians, connected with the Medellin drug cartel, are tried and convicted. Upon hearing of Seal's murder, one DEA agent says, "There was a contract out on him, and everyone knew it. He was to have been a crucial witness in the biggest case in DEA history."

Eight months after the murder, Seal's cargo plane is shot down over Nicaragua. It is carrying ammunition and other supplies for the Contras from Mena. One crew member, Eugene Hasenfus, survives.

The attorney general of Louisiana tells US Attorney General Ed Meese that drug trafficker Barry Seal has smuggled drugs into the US worth $3-$5 billion.

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#7 Tim Carroll

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 03:11 AM

As you know any detailed organizational matters and the why's and how and who, as to the formation, I would not know. If I did tell you anything in reference to that.., it would only be speculation on my part. That is how operations are or were done on a "need to know bases". I was not at the "planning" level to know those things. Sometimes I was dispatched to members of ops forty as their operational support member. What and why they were doing what they were doing I would not know..., nor would I ask.

Especially interested in the names of the people concerned and any information on individual operations.

As you know, part of the operation was a spin from the 5412 group. Operatives would come and go as specialized support personal and they were controlled and dispatched by the 40 group which was part of the 5412 group. In reality there was no covert team named as "Operation 40" that I am aware of and as some have claimed. Liberties have been taken for whatever reasons and 40 has been cast into a different function than what it really was. Some of the operatives that from time to time did launch missions in behalf of the 40 or 5412 were mostly from the "School of The America" and other specialized operational personal and their training commands. Kind of like TDY ( Temp Duty assignments). As to the mechanics and various operations I can only name about four I was associated with and those are questionable as being dispatched solely by OPS-40 command and cleared by the 5412 Group. Our Teams were dispatched from the Pentagon with logistical support gave by the CIA. In most cases you could say ".. they were not really "CIA" operations, but in reality Military INTEL OPS with CIA logistical support..." At any rate the operations were "layered" and numerous "Locks" and "cut-outs" were assigned to protect the knowledge of these operations and the operational personal.

Regarding Operation 40, I have previously posted about an Operation 40 plan to manipulate the politics of post-Castro Cuba following the Bay of Pigs:

"The Bay of Pigs planning also included manipulating the politics of the Cuban exiles in the aftermath of what was hoped to be a successful takeover. Even many of the Cuban exiles would have been shocked at how far some in the United States were willing to go in this regard. The President’s directive that the exile leadership include more people from the left-of-center orientation to counter charges that the exiles were nothing more than Batisteros in disguise caused some dissension in the CIA’s ranks. E. Howard Hunt’s resentment of the change led him to “resign” or be “fired” from his job as Political Action Officer for the invasion, depending on who’s version one believes. He thought these changes amounted to a policy of Fidelismo sin Fidel, Fidelism without Fidel. Hunt’s political orientation, which was distinctly right wing, was far more amenable to Batistism sin Batista. One of the moderate Cuban leaders, stung by Hunt’s charge, stated: “I don’t know what it means to be a leftist. If it means to be in favor of all the people and for the welfare of the masses, then I am.” Hunt retorted: “Fidel Castro could not have phrased it better.” His ideology was reflected in a quote he was fond of citing: “The liberal’s arm cannot strike with firmness against communism . . . because the liberal dimly feels that in doing so he would be somehow wounding himself.” The right wing Cubans and those in the CIA like Hunt who were most sympathetic to counter-revolutionary politics did make contingency plans for the exiles’ leadership after the landing. “Operation 40 [a high level, government-connected Cuban exile group] called for assassinating the moderates after their return to the island following an invasion.” The U.S. supported the creation of a moderate provisional government during the planning, while its own agents were plotting to install a more right-wing one later. The moderates were intended to legitimize the efforts of the exile force while at the same time becoming targets themselves for some later murderous manipulation."

The recently published book, Ultimate Sacrifice, makes its only mention of Operation 40 in the same context of manipulating the anti-Castro leadership. But what is so important about Tosh's post is the distinction that Operation 40 was a decisionmaking group, and did not include the operatives that were used. I have actually read that this offshoot of the 5412 Committee originally obtained its designation based upon the number of participants, but that it had quickly grown to include approximately 70 such decisionmakers. When we read that Marita Lorenz described the participants in the caravan to Dallas as members of Operation 40, I believe that creates a significant misunderstanding about the group's nature as compared with the mechanics employed for this or that purpose.

Here's how Ultimate Sacrifice deals with the subject, pp. 394-395:

"A White House memo shows that Kennedy officials only learned months after the Bay of Pigs that the CIA formed a small group called Operation 40 - which, according to some accounts, included Trafficante bagman Frank Fiorini - supposedly to assassinate more progressive elements of a new Cuban government. JFK aide Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., wrote a memo to Richard Goodwin about it, saying that 'liberal Cuban exiles believe that the real purpose of Operation 40' after the Bay of Pigs was to first 'kill Communists - and, after eliminating hard-core Fidelistas, to go on to eliminate first the followers of Ray, then the followers of Varona and finally to set up a right-wing dictatorship, presumably under Artime.' Newly released documents show that David Morales was involved with Operation 40."

I believe that Waldron and Hartmann missed the mark with the mention of Frank Sturgis as a member, although according to Tosh's framework, he could very well have been contracted for some Operation 40 task. The book goes on to mention that Cubela, "former leader of a rebel group called the DR," was on board prior to the Bay of Pigs in this scramble for leadership positions in the anticipated post-Castro period.

Many authors have included Felix Rodriguez as Operation 40. There have been photos posted of a "covert squad formed from Operation 40" (phraseology that doesn't conflict with the conception of a higher up, decisionmaking group) and an Operation 40 "reunion" (phraseology that does imply that Operation 40, or some similarly named offshoot, included operational personnel. So the root question is whether Operation 40 itself was a decisionmaking or operational subgroup.





T.C.

#8 John Simkin

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Posted 14 April 2006 - 01:00 PM

On pages 43/44 of Fabian Escalante's CIA Covert Operations 1959-1962: The Cuba Project (2004), he claims that in 1960 Richard Nixon recruited an "important group of businessmen headed by George Bush (Snr.) and Jack Crichton, both Texas oilmen, to gather the necessary funds for the operation". He is talking about Operation 40, the group that Warren Hinckle and William Turner described in Deadly Secrets, as the “assassins-for-hire” organization.

#9 James Richards

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Posted 14 April 2006 - 11:46 PM

On pages 43/44 of Fabian Escalante's CIA Covert Operations 1959-1962: The Cuba Project (2004), he claims that in 1960 Richard Nixon recruited an "important group of businessmen headed by George Bush (Snr.) and Jack Crichton, both Texas oilmen, to gather the necessary funds for the operation". He is talking about Operation 40, the group that Warren Hinckle and William Turner described in Deadly Secrets, as the “assassins-for-hire” organization.


Jack Crichton is an interesting character. He was the commanding officer of the 488th Military Intelligence Detachment. Crichton also went up against John Connolly in the Governor race of 1964. He was very critical of both Connolly and LBJ calling for them to make public the findings in the Billie Sol Estes investigation. George Bush backed up Crichton's calls and both men went on the political attack.

Crichton's resume also included that he was Chairman of the Dallas Civil Defense Intelligence Committee. In early 1961, he was behind a program called 'Know Your Enemy' - a phase of defense in the Cold War. This focused on Communists and their perceived purpose to destroy the American way of life.

FWIW.

The man on the right below is Jack Crichton. The guy on the left is Robert D. Offer.

James

Edited by James Richards, 14 April 2006 - 11:51 PM.


#10 John Simkin

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Posted 15 April 2006 - 06:45 AM


On pages 43/44 of Fabian Escalante's CIA Covert Operations 1959-1962: The Cuba Project (2004), he claims that in 1960 Richard Nixon recruited an "important group of businessmen headed by George Bush (Snr.) and Jack Crichton, both Texas oilmen, to gather the necessary funds for the operation". He is talking about Operation 40, the group that Warren Hinckle and William Turner described in Deadly Secrets, as the “assassins-for-hire” organization.


Jack Crichton is an interesting character. He was the commanding officer of the 488th Military Intelligence Detachment. Crichton also went up against John Connolly in the Governor race of 1964. He was very critical of both Connolly and LBJ calling for them to make public the findings in the Billie Sol Estes investigation. George Bush backed up Crichton's calls and both men went on the political attack.

Crichton's resume also included that he was Chairman of the Dallas Civil Defense Intelligence Committee. In early 1961, he was behind a program called 'Know Your Enemy' - a phase of defense in the Cold War. This focused on Communists and their perceived purpose to destroy the American way of life.


Interesting information James. I think he deserves his own thread.

http://educationforu...?showtopic=6568

#11 John Simkin

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Posted 17 April 2006 - 12:05 PM

I have argued elsewhere that as a result of the assassination certain aspects of John F. Kennedy’s policies were brought to a halt. This included plans to end the oil depletion allowance, investigations into government corruption (TFX and Bobby Baker scandals), secret negotiations with Fidel Castro, the refusal to start a war in Vietnam and an unwillingness to support anti-democratic military dictators in the America. I have attempted to show that all these decisions benefited the Military Industrial Congressional Intelligence Complex (MICIC).

http://educationforu...?showtopic=5799

Although the MICIC had a good motive for killing Kennedy, it is much more difficult to show how this was organized. A considerable amount of evidence has emerged to indicate that anti-Castro Cubans working for the CIA were involved in the assassination. This in itself was linked to CIA plots to assassinate Fidel Castro.
Gaeton Fonzi has argued convincingly in The Last Investigation that CIA officers, David Atlee Phillips and David Morales were involved in the assassination of Kennedy. Fonzi discovered that in 1963 Morales was head of operations at JM/WAVE, the CIA Miami station. (1) JM/WAVE chief was Ted Shackley and his top deputy was Tom Clines. As Warren Hinckle and William Turner were to point out in Deadly Secrets, Operation 40 the “ultra secret… assassins-for-hire” program was based at the JM/WAVE station. (2)

An account of the formation of Operation 40 can be found in the Senate Report, Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders. On 11th December, 1959, Colonel J. C. King, chief of CIA's Western Hemisphere Division, sent a confidential memorandum 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." (3)

As a result of this memorandum Dulles established Operation 40. It obtained this name because originally there were 40 agents involved in the operation. Later this was expanded to 70 agents. The group was presided over by Richard Nixon. Tracy Barnes became operating officer of what was also called the Cuban Task Force. The first meeting chaired by Barnes took place in his office on 18th January, 1960, and was attended by David Atlee Phillips, E. Howard Hunt, Jack Esterline and Frank Bender.

According to Fabian Escalante, a senior officer of the Cuban Department of State Security (G-2), in 1960 Richard Nixon recruited an "important group of businessmen headed by George Bush (Snr.) and Jack Crichton, both Texas oilmen, to gather the necessary funds for the operation". This suggests that Operation 40 agents were involved in freelance work. (4)

In 1990 Common Cause magazine argued that: "The CIA put millionaire and agent George Bush in charge of recruiting exiled Cubans for the CIA’s invading army; Bush was working with another Texan oil magnate, Jack Crichton, who helped him in terms of the invasion." (5) This story was linked to the release of "a memorandum in that context addressed to FBI chief J. Edward Hoover and signed November 1963, which reads: Mr. George Bush of the CIA" (6)

Reinaldo Taladrid and Lazaro Baredo claim that in 1959 George Bush was asked “to cooperate in funding the nascent anti-Castro groups that the CIA decided to create”. The man “assigned to him for his new mission” was Féliz Rodríguez. (7)

Daniel Hopsicker also takes the view that Operation 40 involved private funding. In the book, Barry and the Boys: The CIA, the Mob and America’s Secret History, he claims that Nixon’s had established Operation 40 as a result of pressure from American corporations which had suffered at the hands of Fidel Castro. (8)

Webster Griffin Tarpley and Anton Chaitkin have argued that Bush was very close to members of Operation 40 in the early 1960s. In September, 1963, Bush launched his Senate campaign. At that time, right-wing Republicans were calling on John Kennedy to take a more aggressive approach towards Fidel Castro. For example, in one speech Barry Goldwater said: “I advocate the recognition of a Cuban government in exile and would encourage this government every way to reclaim its country. This means financial and military assistance.” Bush took a more extreme position than Goldwater and called for a “new government-in-exile invasion of Cuba”. As Tarpley and Chaitkin point out, beneficiaries of this policy would have been “Theodore Shackley, who was by now the station chief of CIA Miami Station, Felix Rodriguez, Chi Chi Quintero, and the rest of the boys” from Operation 40. (9)

Paul Kangas is another investigator who has claimed that George Bush was involved with members of Operation 40. In an article published in The Realist in 1990, Kangas claims: "Among other members of the CIA recruited by George Bush for (the attacks on Cuba) were Frank Sturgis, Howard Hunt, Bernard Baker and Rafael Quintero.” In an article published in Granma in January, 2006, the journalists Reinaldo Taladrid and Lazaro Baredo argued that “Another of Bush’s recruits for the Bay of Pigs invasion, Rafael Quintero, who was also part of this underworld of organizations and conspiracies against Cuba, stated: If I was to tell what I know about Dallas and the Bay of Pigs, it would be the greatest scandal that has ever rocked the nation." (10)

Fabian Escalante names William Pawley as being one of those who was lobbying for the CIA to assassinate Castro. (11) Escalante points out that Pawley had played a similar role in the CIA overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán in Guatemala. Interestingly, the CIA assembled virtually the same team that was involved in the removal of Arbenz: Tracey Barnes, Richard Bissell, David Morales, David Atlee Phillips, E. Howard Hunt, Rip Robertson and Henry Hecksher. Added to this list was several agents who had been involved in undercover operations in Germany: Ted Shackley, Tom Clines and William Harvey.

According to Daniel Hopsicker, Edwin Wilson, Barry Seal, William Seymour, Frank Sturgis and Gerry Hemming were also involved in Operation 40. (12) It has also been pointed out that Operation 40 was not only involved in trying to overthrow Fidel Castro. Frank Sturgis has claimed: "this assassination group (Operation 40) would upon orders, naturally, assassinate either members of the military or the political parties of the foreign country that you were going to infiltrate, and if necessary some of your own members who were suspected of being foreign agents."

Virtually every one of the field agents of Operation 40 were Cubans. This included Rafael ‘Chi Chi’ Quintero, Luis Posada, Orlando Bosch, Roland Masferrer, Eladio del Valle, Guillermo Novo, Carlos Bringuier, Eugenio Martinez, Antonio Cuesta, Hermino Diaz Garcia, Felix Ismael Rodriguez, Antonio Veciana, Juan Manuel Salvat, Ricardo Morales Navarrete, Isidro Borjas, Virgilio Paz, Jose Dionisio Suarez, Felipe Rivero, Gaspar Jimenez Escobedo, Nazario Sargent, Pedro Luis Diaz Lanz, Jose Basulto, and Paulino Sierra. (13)

Most of these characters had been associated with the far-right in Cuban politics. Rumours soon became circulating that it was not only Fidel Castro that was being targeted. On 9th June, 1961, Arthur Schlesinger sent a memo to Richard Goodwin:

“Sam Halper, who has been the Times correspondent in Havana and more recently in Miami, came to see me last week. He has excellent contracts among the Cuban exiles. One of Miro's 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. (Could this be the man to whom Miro referred this morning?) 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 agent 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 Ray, then the followers of Varona and finally to set up a right wing dictatorship, presumably under Artime.” (14)

In an interview he gave to Jean-Guy Allard in May, 2005, Fabian Escalante pointed out: “Who in 1963 had the resources to assassinate Kennedy? Who had the means and who had the motives to kill the U.S. president? CIA agents from Operation 40 who were rabidly anti-Kennedy. And among them were Orlando Bosch, Luis Posada Carriles, Antonio Veciana and Felix Rodriguez Mendigutia." (15)

This is not the first time that Fabian Escalante has pointed the finger at members of Operation 40. In December, 1995, Wayne Smith, chief of the Centre for International Policy in Washington, arranged a meeting on the assassination of John F. Kennedy, in Nassau, Bahamas. Others in attendance were Gaeton Fonzi, Dick Russell, Noel Twyman, Anthony Summers, Peter Dale Scott, Jeremy Gunn, John Judge, Andy Kolis, Peter Kornbluh, Mary & Ray LaFontaine, Jim Lesar, John Newman, Alan Rogers, Russ Swickard, Ed Sherry, and Gordon Winslow. During a session on 7th December, Escalante claimed that during captivity, Antonio Cuesta, confessed that he had been involved in the assassination of Kennedy. He also named Eladio Del Valle, Rolando Masferrer and Hermino Diaz Garcia as being involved in this operation. All four men were members of Operation 40. (16)

It has been argued that people like Fabian Escalante, Jean Guy Allard, Reinaldo Taladrid and Lazaro Baredo are under the control of the Cuban government. It is definitely true that much of this information has originally been published in Granma, the newspaper of the Cuban Communist Party.

Is there any other evidence to suggest that members of Operation 40 were involved in the assassination? I believe that there are several pieces of evidence that help to substantiate Escalante’s theory.

Shortly before his death in 1975 John Martino confessed to a Miami Newsday reporter, John Cummings, that he had been guilty of spreading false stories implicating Lee Harvey Oswald in the assassination of Kennedy. He claimed that two of the gunmen were Cuban exiles. It is believed the two men were Herminio Diaz Garcia and Virgilio Gonzalez. Cummings added: "He told me he'd been part of the assassination of Kennedy. He wasn't in Dallas pulling a trigger, but he was involved. He implied that his role was delivering money, facilitating things.... He asked me not to write it while he was alive." (17)

Fred Claasen also told the House Select Committee on Assassinations what he knew about his business partner’s involvement in the case. He claimed Martino told him: “The anti-Castro people put Oswald together. Oswald didn’t know who he was working for – he was just ignorant of who was really putting him together. Oswald was to meet his contact at the Texas Theatre. They were to meet Oswald in the theatre, and get him out of the country, then eliminate him. Oswald made a mistake… There was no way we could get to him. They had Ruby kill him.” (18)

Florence Martino at first refused to corroborate the story. However, in 1994 she told Anthony Summers that her husband said to her on the morning of 22nd November, 1963: "Flo, they're going to kill him (Kennedy). They're going to kill him when he gets to Texas." (19)

Herminio Diaz Garcia and Virgilio Gonzalez were both members of Operation 40. So also was Rip Robertson who according to Anthony Summers “was a familiar face at his (John Martino) home. Summers also points out that Martino was close to William Pawley and both took part in the “Bayo-Pawley Affair”. (20) This anti-Castro mission, also known as Operation Tilt, also involved other members of Operation 40, including Virgilio Gonzalez and Eugenio Martinez.

There is another key CIA figure in Operation 40 who has made a confession concerning the assassination of John Kennedy. David Morales was head of operations at JM/WAVE, the CIA Miami station, at the time of the assassination. Gaeton Fonzi carried out a full investigation of Morales while working for the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA). Unfortunately, Morales could not testify before the HSCA because he died of a heart attack on 8th May, 1978.

Fonzi tracked down Ruben Carbajal, a very close friend of Morales. Carbajal saw Morales the night before he died. He also visited Morales in hospital when he received news of the heart attack. Carbajal is convinced that Morales was killed by the CIA. Morales had told Carbajal the agency would do this if you posed a threat to covert operations. Morales, a heavy drinker, had a reputation for being indiscreet when intoxicated. On 4th August 1973, Morales allowed himself to be photographed by Kevin Scofield of the Arizona Republic at the El Molino restaurant. When the photograph appeared in the newspaper the following day, it identified Morales as Director for Operations Counterinsurgency and Special Activities in Washington.

Carbajal put Fonzi in contact with Bob Walton, a business associate of Morales. Walton confirmed Carbajal’s account that Morales feared being killed by the CIA. On one occasion he told him: “I know too much”.

Walton also told him about a discussion he had with Morales about John F. Kennedy in the spring of 1973. Walton had done some volunteer work for Kennedy’s Senatorial campaign. When hearing this news, Morales launched an attack on Kennedy, describing him as a wimp who had betrayed the anti-Castro Cubans at the Bay of Pigs. He ended up by saying: “Well, we took care of that son of a bitch, didn’t we?” Carbajal, who was also present at this meeting, confirmed Walton’s account of what Morales said. (21)

Another important piece of evidence comes from Gene Wheaton. In 1995 Gene Wheaton approached the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) with information on the death of Kennedy. Anne Buttimer, Chief Investigator of the ARRB, recorded that: " Wheaton told me that from 1984 to 1987 he spent a lot of time in the Washington DC area and that starting in 1985 he was "recruited into Ollie North's network" by the CIA officer he has information about. He got to know this man and his wife, a "'super grade high level CIA officer" and kept a bedroom in their Virginia home. His friend was a Marine Corps liaison in New Orleans and was the CIA contact with Carlos Marcello. He had been responsible for "running people into Cuba before the Bay of Pigs." His friend is now 68 or 69 years of age... Over the course of a year or a year and one-half his friend told him about his activities with training Cuban insurgency groups. Wheaton said he also got to know many of the Cubans who had been his friend's soldiers/operatives when the Cubans visited in Virginia from their homes in Miami. His friend and the Cubans confirmed to Wheaton they assassinated JFK. Wheaton's friend said he trained the Cubans who pulled the triggers. Wheaton said the street level Cubans felt JFK was a traitor after the Bay of Pigs and wanted to kill him. People "above the Cubans" wanted JFK killed for other reasons." (22)

It was later revealed that Wheaton's friend was Carl E. Jenkins, A senior CIA officer, Jenkins had been appointed in 1960 as Chief of Base for Cuban Project. In 1963 Jenkins provided paramilitary training for Manuel Artime and Rafael ‘Chi Chi’ Quintero and other members of the Movement for the Recovery of the Revolution (MRR). In an interview with William Law and Mark Sobel in the summer of 2005, Gene Wheaton claimed that Jenkins and Quintero were both involved in the assassination of Kennedy.

It seems that members of Operation 40, originally recruited to remove Fidel Castro, had been redirected to kill Kennedy. That someone had paid this team of assassins to kill the president of the United States as part of a freelance operation. This is not such a far-fetched idea when you consider that in 1959 Richard Nixon was approaching oilmen like George Walker Bush and Jack Crichton to help fund Operation 40. We also have the claim of Frank Sturgis that "this assassination group (Operation 40) would upon orders, naturally, assassinate either members of the military or the political parties of the foreign country that you were going to infiltrate, and if necessary some of your own members who were suspected of being foreign agents."

Further support for this theory comes from an unlikely source. David Atlee 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." (23)

Notes

1. Gaeton Fonzi, The Last Investigation, 1993 (pages 366-371)

2. Warren Hinckle & William Turner, Deadly Secrets, 1992 (page 53)

3. Senate Report, Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, 1975 (page 92)

4. Fabian Escalante, CIA Covert Operations 1959-1962: The Cuba Project, 2004 (pages 42 and 43)

5. Common Cause Magazine (4th March, 1990)

6. The Nation magazine (13th August, 1988)

7. Reinaldo Taladrid and Lazaro Baredo, Granma (16th January, 2006)

8. Daniel Hopsicker, Barry and the Boys: The CIA, the Mob and America’s Secret History, 2001 (page 170)

9. Webster Griffin Tarpley and Anton Chaitkin, George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, 2004 (page 173)

10. Reinaldo Taladrid and Lazaro Baredo, Granma (16th January, 2006)

11. Fabian Escalante, CIA Covert Operations 1959-1962: The Cuba Project, 2004 (pages 42 and 43)

12. Daniel Hopsicker, Mad Cow Morning News (24th August, 2004)

13. Jean-Guy Allard, Granma (22nd May, 2005)

14. Arthur Schlesinger, memo to Richard Goodwin (9th June, 1961)

15. Jean-Guy Allard, Granma (22nd May, 2005)

16. Fabian Escalante, Centre for International Policy, Nassau, Bahamas (7th December, 1995)

17. Larry Hancock, Someone Would Have Talked, 2003 (page 17)

18. Anthony Summers, The Kennedy Conspiracy, 2002 (page 328)

19. Anthony and Robbyn Summers, The Ghosts of November, Vanity Fair (December, 1994)

20. Anthony Summers, The Kennedy Conspiracy, 2002 (page 326)

21. Gaeton Fonzi, The Last Investigation, 1993 (pages 380-390)

22. Anne Buttimer, Assassination Records Review Board Report (12th July, 1995)

23. Anthony Summers, The Kennedy Conspiracy, 2002 (page 371)

#12 James Richards

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 12:26 AM

In an article published in Granma in January, 2006, the journalists Reinaldo Taladrid and Lazaro Baredo argued that “Another of Bush’s recruits for the Bay of Pigs invasion, Rafael Quintero, who was also part of this underworld of organizations and conspiracies against Cuba, stated: If I was to tell what I know about Dallas and the Bay of Pigs, it would be the greatest scandal that has ever rocked the nation." (10) (John Simkin)

I have no doubt that Quintero is right. His intimate connections to Manuel Artime and especially to Tony Izquierdo I believe would reveal aspects that would help join the dots of the assassination.

Another name never mentioned when it comes to the anti-Castro Cuban aspect of covert activity is Frank Montiel. Like Quintero, he could do some serious nation rocking as well.

FWIW.

The attachment below shows Manuel Artime on the left and Rafael Quintero on the right.

James

Edited by James Richards, 18 April 2006 - 12:29 AM.


#13 John Simkin

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 12:17 PM

The issue is whether Operation 40 remained active after 1963. Is it possible that a network of CIA agents, right-wing businessmen linked to the arms and oil industries and Cuban exiles continued to assassinate people seen as dangerous to the interests of the Military-Industrial-Congressional Intelligence Complex? I believe this group were also involved in corrupt business activities that date back to Lyndon Johnson in the 1950s.

I would suggest that the following people were key members of Operation 40 who need to be looked at very carefully:

CIA Officers: Ted Shackley, Tom Clines, Tracy Barnes, David Atlee Phillips, David Morales, Rip Robertson, E. Howard Hunt, Carl E. Jenkins, William Harvey, Daniel Hopsicker, William C. Bishop and Edwin Wilson.

Assassins: Rafael ‘Chi Chi’ Quintero, Luis Posada, Orlando Bosch, Roland Masferrer, Eladio del Valle, Guillermo Novo, Eugenio Martinez, Antonio Cuesta, Hermino Diaz Garcia, Felix Rodriguez, Ricardo Morales Navarrete, Virgilio Gonzalez, Bernard L. Barker and Frank Sturgis.

Business Sponsors: William Pawley, George Bush and Jack Crichton.

It is interesting to now look at what other events these people were involved in following the assassination of JFK.

Operation Phoenix in Vietnam (1966-73). This was the killing of non-combatant Vietnamese civilians suspected of collaborating with the National Liberation Front. During this period, Operation Phoenix murdered between 20,857 (CIA figures) and 40,994 (North Vietnam figures) 40,994 civilians. This involved the following members of Operation 40: Ted Shackley, Thomas G. Clines, David Morales, Carl E. Jenkins, Chi Chi’ Quintero, Felix Rodriguez and Edwin Wilson)

The assassination of Che Guevara in October, 1967 (David Morales and Felix Rodriguez).

Watergate (1973-75): E. Howard Hunt, Eugenio Martinez, Virgilio Gonzalez, George Bush, Bernard L. Barker and Frank Sturgis.

The assassination of Orlando Letelier, the former Chilean Foreign Minister, on 21st September, 1976 (David Atlee Phillips, Luis Posada, Orlando Bosch and Ricardo Morales Navarrete).

The bombing of the Cubana Aircraft in October, 1976 that killed all 73 people aboard. (Luis Posada and Orlando Bosch).

Attempted assassination of Fidel Castro in November, 2000 (Luis Posada and Guillermo Novo).

Iran-Contra Scandal (1986-87): Ted Shackley, Thomas G. Clines, Carl E. Jenkins, Chi Chi’ Quintero, Felix Rodriguez, George Bush and Edwin Wilson.

I would be grateful if members could post information about the links between members of Operation 40 and these events that I have missed.

#14 David Boylan

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 06:59 PM

I've been curious (for years) as to the source of funds behind Paulino Sierra's attempt to form a government in exile. Anything new on this? Larry?

Dave

#15 Anthony Summers

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 12:57 PM

In the edition of your book published in 2000 you tell the fascinating story of the John Martino confession made to John Cummings (pages 372-373). You also interviewed Martino’s widow in 1994. From your conversations with John Cummings and Florence Martino, did you get the impression that Martino was telling the truth about his involvement in the assassination of JFK? If so, who do you think paid him to take part in this operation?


You ask whether I found Martino credible. That's hard to answer because of course I was unable to interview him. He was long dead when I did the research. But I did find his widow Florence and his son credible - in that I interviewed them without notice or time for preparation many years after the event, and their responses seemed spontaneous.

You ask who I think "paid" Martino to take part in the alleged operation. I'm not sure that this is even a legitimate question, since so far as I recall there was no suggestion that he had been paid. Anyway, I have no basis on which to speculate and in general try to avoid speculation.




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