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Larry Hancock

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Everything posted by Larry Hancock

  1. While Johnson's actions in responding to news of the attack are despicable, I need to point out that numerous warnings were sent to the Liberty and efforts were made to pull it back from its exposed position. There were a number of communications problems involved as well as bungling over joint command of the ship between Navy, NSA and a special command in involved with such missions. The whole thing was a fiasco not unlike to the Pueblo and for some of the same reasons. For those who do have my book Surprise Attack, you will find those detailed in separate chapters. Again, not unlike a number of similar disasters, the problem was not strictly lack of warning but the failure of the total chain of command - exponentially made worse and in this case by the total cupidity of Johnson and for that matter of the Israeli military which clearly knew exactly what it was doing.
  2. I think that is correct Paul, and it did not happen as quickly as one might think. In fact Mongoose carried on for a time until it became clear the Russians were going to take out their missiles (over Castro's objections). By early 1963 it had faded away since the agreement precluded any overt American action against Cuba. That put Lansdale out of a job and JFK tried to get him a position in Vietnam but both the CIA and State pushed back hard. As for Harvey, it appears he just hung around the office for a few months, in his former pre-Mongoose/Task Force W role as head of staff D. Not many folks for him to talk to except Angleton because it was obvious he had no real place at HQ with RFK around. His assignment to Italy was low key, apparently more in the nature of a reward for service from Helms.
  3. As far as assassinations go, we have considerable history to show that political assassinations could be directed (or encouraged) by CIA officers at the senior level of the Plans Directorate without higher authority of direction (Tracy Barnes being one example – before his Cuba project fiasco). Hemisphere level directors could recommend assassination, J. C. King was first to recommend assassination Castro. Beyond that we know that individual CIA officers within operations could incite and even organize assassinations…we find that from Guatemala to Chile and we also know of some military style project involving surrogates that were conducted by reasonably low level CIA officers. We are learning a lot more about some of those which targeted Castro …well before the Roselli poison effort got underway. I try to cover those options in my book Nexus but more details are still emerging with further research. History also shows us that presidents could deniably issue such directives as Ike did with Lumumba and Carter, Clinton and Bush did with national security directives. In that case CIA simply takes its marching orders and tries to make it happen. As far as Harvey was concerned, his only known involvement in assassination was setting up the “magic button” program (hidden inside ZR RIFLE among Staff D’s normal dirty tricks such as burglary, safe cracking and strong arm work) which brought in Roselli (previously involved with Barnes) to continue and effort to kill Castro. We know that he turned to Angleton for advice on that project. We also know that Angleton was one of the few folks still talking to him after the missile crisis and in the months he was in a sort of limbo before heading off to Italy. We also know that during that period he remained in charge of Staff D, was copied on communications and met with Roselli and probably others from JMWAVE to officially close down the Castro project circa April, 1963… So who could have gotten Harvey involved in something that led to the attack in Dallas, as for myself I’m still looking at Angleton. There was a real bond between the two that lasted right up to Harvey’s death…although I have no doubt that if Harvey decided it needed to be done he was a man who would take the initiative on his own to make it happen.
  4. In answer to Paul's post, certainly Ralph Gainis did present at the Lancer conference - for over an hour - to a roomful of people. Ralph's presentation was very structured, he covered his book well and he had clearly spent considerable time developing it for the conference. Stu Wexler and I also had the opportunity to talk with Ralph at lunch one day and at other times. Ralph was very open and we had some great conversations; he offered us access to his own research and we will be taking advantage of that offer as soon as is logistically possible - beginning this month we hope. I've read his book multiple times now and have been doing my usual deep diving on areas of context that are called out in it - I've generated about a dozen questions on areas where we really need to be able to dig into source materials to answer questions and Ralph was the first to admit that the method that his publisher imposed on citations made it extremely difficult to get the sort of specificity that many of us would like - hence his offer to work with us. There are some related areas that I can do my own research in the meantime and I've been posting some of that on my WordPress blog. Its probably no surprise to anyone that I'm obsessive about due diligence and that's where I am on this at the moment and probably will be for a good many months. I should note that the book is not strictly chronological and because of that its really necessary to do some work putting all the elements in the right time frames to avoid making mistakes about things, nothing new there but just to affirm that its work that has to be done.
  5. Larry Hancock

    Gene Wheaton

    Those familiar with Gene Wheaton's story, and others, may be interested in my current blog post on him, the vetting of him as a source and William Law's interview with him. Its on my blog at https://larryhancock.wordpress.com/
  6. Larry Hancock

    Gene Wheaton

    Now if we only knew where they had been and what they had been doing the couple of months before....also gotta say that it doesn't get much better than the "Black Nine", old school CIA ops were hardly ever that spooky...
  7. Larry Hancock

    Number of shots

    Werbell was given provisional approval as a CIA field agent in 1959, based on his claims that he knew influential Cuban exiles because he had helped broker financial transactions for them in Miami. To make a long story short, that approval lasted only two months until the CIA determined that he merely wanted to use CIA expense money to fund his own personal travel and business networking - in the area of public relations. He was described as a promoter, in business difficulties and with no legitimate or worthwhile exile sources. At that point he was advised he would not be used operationally by the CIA. By 1962 he was working for an international fruit distribution company in Latin America, attempting to sell surplus WWII arms in Guatemala and promoting the intelligence collection capability of his essentially non-existent World Wide Information Services. CIA cables circa 62/63 discuss the fact that he had become a pain for the Agency, representing himself as the spokesman for Mario Kohly and various Cuban exile groups (the actual relationships to any such groups were questionable at best), offering bribes to agents of foreign governments, suggesting/implying non-existent US government connections and advocating polices not consistent with those of the US. A CIA memo describes him as a "wheeler dealer, unscrupulous and peddling grandiose schemes." There is more in that same vein through 65/66....for details and citations you will need to go to the pages in Someone Would Have Talked that I referenced in the previous post.
  8. Larry Hancock

    Number of shots

    There is no doubt Werbell got to know lots of folks (who and when is covered in some depth The Fish Is Red which contained an extensive interview with him as well commentary on his later day arms sales and developing nations training activities)....my post was just to provide a reality check on timelines and specifically on what he was and was not doing before 1967....the citations on the documents covering that are in the book. I'll just leave it at that.
  9. Larry Hancock

    Number of shots

    Not sure how anyone got "no silencers" out of my post - it was very specifically in regard to Mitch Werbell and his personal association with silenced machine guns/pistols. Certainly silenced weapons could have been used in the plaza and very possibly were...on the other hand, as I've expressed previously, that would have been to conceal the actual location of certain shooters since my opinion is that the plan itself never included the concept of a single shooter firing all the shots.
  10. Larry Hancock

    Number of shots

    If you check the actual chronology you find Werbell did not become involved with the silencer business years after 1963. It was not until 1967 that he managed to partner with the actual developer (Gordon Ingram ) and promote the distribution of the M-11 hand held, silenced machine gun. If you have SWHT/2010 check page 322-321 for what Werbell was actually doing circa 1962-1966 and you might be surprised - I certainly was when I located the CIA documents on his activities .
  11. Larry Hancock

    Gene Wheaton

    Haven't seen anything about a Castro contact yet, that's not in the Ganis book. There is no mention of Merix in the book's index and I don't find it in my markings in the book which include all the commercial companies mentioned. What is clear (and has been for some time) is that Skorzeny marketed his war time connections and served as a sort of "personnel recruiter", locating German scientists, engineers and military personnel and passing them on to interested parties - Argentina being the major client but he did actually help locate German rocket scientists for Egypt (including those he later led into being killed).
  12. Larry Hancock

    Gene Wheaton

    Actually I researched Interarmco at considerable length and wrote about Sam Cummins and his companies in Shadow Warfare (focusing on global arms sales and on AMWORLD) and again to a lesser extent in Creating Chaos (focusing on Indonesia). And no, Interarmco is not what Ralph was writing about in regard to Skorzeny. His references to Cuba have to do with a purported meeting with Batista after his ouster, possible meetings with Cuban exile political figures in Madrid in the early 1960s and Skorzeny's involvement with Operation Tropical (which is sourced only to a single Latin American newspaper article). Unfortunately the type of end-noting that Skyhorse used for Ralph's book makes it almost impossible to find the exact sources for some of these things (which frustrates Ralph himself) and he has been kind enough to offer Stu Wexler and I access to his own source materials. Its going to take us some work in those to fully appreciate and evaluate certain assertions in the book and Ralph is very understanding in that regard.
  13. Larry Hancock

    Gene Wheaton

    As a side note, we know from the records that one of Henry Hecksher's main roles was serving as a political/propaganda/security advisor to Artime (who had a real problem with talking about secure information to many people in order to establish his own importance). As part of that role Hecksher was mentoring Artime on setting up propaganda programs and it appears David Phillips was brought in as an advisor in those activities. He was the only officer cleared for AMWORLD at the Mexico City station. Phillips was also assigned to handle safe houses for the project in Mexico City. Which makes David's post about Sambora interesting in that I would have expected only the most senior CIA officers supporting the project or the most senior exiles involved in it to go to Mexico City to meet with Phillips. That makes Sambora/the "mexican" a very special figure at that point in time.
  14. Larry Hancock

    A simple question to James DiEugenio

    Anyone wanting to follow the release of the records and new items in them might want to follow the Mary Ferrell postings on the release process - and survey the following early synopsis by Bill Simpich: https://whowhatwhy.org/2018/07/26/analyzing-the-new-jfk-revelations/
  15. Larry Hancock

    Who was QJ/WIN

    I did discuss this with John Newman who told me that his findings on the other use of the crypt are in his second new volume. Apparently the crypt was used as a cover for one or more individuals working out of a California office in liaison work on drug smuggling. The CIA had an interesting habit of doing such liaison with the drug enforcement agency and then essentially stealing informants for itself. We find that in Europe and later all across Latin America. I have not had time to pursue the exact citation in John's work myself.
  16. Having been pretty deeply immersed in the UFO subject since the mid-60's I can certainly second Lance's assessment of Lezar - one more diversion of a great many in that arena.
  17. If you have not read this I would definitely recommend it...covers his time in Italy and then back in the US. His association with Angleton is documented in great detail. https://www.amazon.com/Flawed-Patriot-Rise-Legend-Harvey/dp/1574889915
  18. Larry Hancock

    John Newman on Samuel Halpern

    Glad to see John doing this, personally I've become more and more skeptical of Halpern as a source the more I've waded into the documented details of the matters on which he often commented.
  19. Larry Hancock

    Richard Carr source data

    For what its worth I took walking tours to the purported Carr viewing position on number of occasions during Lancer conferences and asked them if they could see what he claimed to have seen. As an add-on I asked them if they could see windows in the TSBD clearly enough to describe someone in them in any detail whatsoever. I don't recall anyone ever being comfortable with what he described after their personal experience.
  20. Larry Hancock

    David Morales

    Hecksher was not just stationed in Berlin, he actually became station chief prior to Harvey. Would have to look it up for the exact time period. Both he and Morales moved into PB/SUCCESS in Guatemala from Berlin Station. As to Hecksher in Mexico City, some of the strongest confirmation comes from Australian researchers who managed to dig up his air travel records which show his travel to Mexico City after this assignment to the first Cuba project.
  21. Larry Hancock

    David Morales

    To elaborate a bit, the longer backstory on Hecksher is important since he was Station Chief in Laos, was reassigned to work with independent nationalist troop formations working drugs in the golden triangle - troops that were being recruited as anti-Communist insurgents in Laos, before CIA shifted there attention to the Hmong. Then Hecksher became station chief in Japan during the time Oswald and Nagell were there, came back for the first Cuba project, was in Mexico City on a highly secret assignment when Nagell was there and I suspect Hecksher was "Bob" (for Berlin Operating Base where he had been chief) as described by Nagell. His role in 63 is more interesting in terms of the individuals he had high level authority over like Jenkins and Quintero - which leads...well which leads to what David and I have been doing that I will present in Dallas next month. More on that after the conference.
  22. Larry Hancock

    David Morales

    Honestly given Angleton's mental state that would be hard to say...we now know that he secretly traveled (secret from the CIA itself) to Europe to pursue leads on major foreign government figures he felt were Soviet agents, that he did break ins on his own, that he kept things in his own isolated files that the CIA itself destroyed as they went through them after his departure. I'd say that by 63 he was probably certifiable, certainly he was at the end of his career. From what I can gather at that point he was simply wondering around HQ, visiting with only senior officers he trusted from years past and rambling on about things that worried him....then just walking out. He may well have started something without fully realizing it. As to Barnes, we also now know that he literally lied to everyone above and below him in regard to the Cuban landings, that he became virtually unhinged after they failed and that he was moved into domestic ops to more or less just keep him out of further trouble since busing him would have meant acknowledging what really happened at the BOP. Given that if there was any CIA monitoring of Oswald or contact with him in 63 inside the US it would have fallen under domestic ops that makes things interesting. And as a side note those familiar with him admit that he developed an intense personal hate for JFK over the BOP ...again almost certifiable given his total and adamant rejection of his own failure. And of course Barnes would have known all the Cuba operation players from 1960/61...which included Hecksher, Morales, Robertson et al.
  23. Larry Hancock

    Jedburghs

    The Golden Triangle connection is important in a much larger context than we normally take it. It developed largely though the efforts of the US in supporting independent nationalist chines armies in actual invasions of China. These efforts created some of the first CIA commercial covers, actual proprietaries and field officer links to what later evolved in both Indonesia and Laos. It was the venue in which former OSS officers in SE Asia and China first connected and networked with each other. The drug thing developed much later. When State tried to have Hecksher removed as station chief in Laos and Helms refused, it ultimately led to Hecksher being designated to help bring in the rogue nationalist forces to act against Laotian communist rebels. It was only after that work that Hecksher was transferred to Japan - in the same time frame both Nagell and Oswald were in Japan. Certainly the drugs did get inserted into the operations in Burma and later Laos, as I've said...when you set up covert commercial covers to move weapons and supplies into an operation, someone will figure out how to make money sending something illegal back the other way...the nature of the beast. But for interest there is another story entirely and its how the CIA field officers came to work together and establish a social network that extended beyond their day jobs.....who would trust each other, who would share information and who figured they knew more than headquarters.
  24. Larry Hancock

    Jedburghs

    Thanks Steve, actually I went down the Detachment 101 road twice, most recently when I did Shadow Warfare. I spend a lot of time there following OSS 101 members who became locally influential in Burma after the war, who helped establish the first CIA presence there and to some extent many of the basic practices for CIA covert operations during the Cold War...long before PB/SUCCESS. If you have SW check Chapter 4 on Armies of Opportunity and Chapter 4 on Fighting China...Deniably. I think you will find some names that are familiar to you and others that are not...but a lot of connections that later turn up in Laos and the Golden Triangle, including Lucian Conein.
  25. Larry Hancock

    Jedburghs

    It was amazingly ballsy, especially since the jumps were at night, during the dark of the moon and coordinated strictly with local resistance folks who could easily have been compromised by the occupation forces. It largely succeeded due the the strong personal bonds between the British and French, involving Brits who were quite fluent in French and personally familiar with the territory and French personnel who had gone to Britain and moved back and forth as infiltrators. The only sad point is that while it worked in France and to a lesser extent in the low countries, certain of the senior OSS officers who became involved with it used it as a model for infiltration into occupied Europe after the war and later into North Vietnam - both efforts for total disasters (largely because unlike in France there were no comparable resistance networks). Hundreds of volunteers were sacrificed in the effort, I discuss it in Shadow Warfare. If you really want to get a personal feel I would recommend what is actually a humor book but one written an Army officer who volunteered for the OSS, went through OSS training and then did jump with the Jeds into occupied France. While being told humorously it gives the real inside story of the field officers, from a participants perspective. The title is "You're Stepping on my Cloak and Dagger" by Roger Hall. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Youre-Stepping-on-My-Cloak-and-Dagger-Bluejacket-Books-Hall-Roger-Paperback/382597883963?epid=30425006&hash=item59149c683b:g:NH8AAOSwKkhZsdHS:rk:7:pf:0 I highly recommend it.
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