Jump to content
The Education Forum
Sign in to follow this  
David Boylan

The Christian Defense League

Recommended Posts

A League of Their Own:

A Look Inside the Christian Defense League

By D. Boylan*

The United States during the 1950s experienced an unparalleled growth of extremist organizations from the John Birch Society on the right to the Fair Play for Cuba Committee on the left. The heating up of the Cold War, the Supreme Court's decision to end segregation in 1954, and the establishment of a Communist Cuba in 1959 spurred this growth. One of the lesser known but more influential right wing fringe organizations that were formed during this period was the Christian Defense League (CDL). The CDL managed to meld anti-communism, anti-Semitism, anti-Castro activities, and a hatred of the "liberal" policies of the Kennedy Administration into a cohesive whole. It is in this context that the CDL will be examined.

The driving forces behind the rise of the CDL were Reverend Wesley A. Swift and Colonel William Potter Gale. It seemed inevitable that they would gravitate toward each other. Their religious beliefs were similar: both were adherents of what is now called Christian Identity, an updated version of the earlier British Israelite Movement that originated in the late nineteenth century. Christian Identity adherents believe that those of Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, Nordic, or Aryan origin were the true Israelites, "the sons of Adam", and that those of Jewish origin were "the sons of Satan."[1]

The origin of the Christian Defense League is clouded. Some accounts credit its founding to the Reverend Swift[2], while Colonel Gale gives credit to Reverend San Jacinto Capt[3]. Capt, a Baptist minister, was one of the early pioneers in the Identity Movement.[4] Gale says "the idea of the Christian Defense League was entirely that of Reverend San Jacinto Capt. He proposed it to me [Col. Gale] who prepared the initial material in the form of a letter entitled, "The NAACP represents the negro; the ADL represents the Jews; who represents YOU — the white Christian?"[5]

Gale, again speaking in the third person, claims, "...others were brought to Dr. Swift's [identity Churches] by Colonel Gale, it was decided that the time was appropriate for reactivation of the Christian Defense League [CDL], which had been in ‘limbo' these past years."[6] In early 1964, the CDL was officially incorporated with Richard G. Butler as President; attorney Bertrand L. Comparet, Vice President; Steve Foote,[7] Western Regional Director; and Rear Admiral, USN (Ret) John G. Crommelin, Eastern Regional Director.[8]

Swift began as a "Ku Klux Klan organizer and Klan rifle-team instructor."[9] In 1946, Swift formed the Church of Jesus Christ-Christian whose fundamental ideology was that Jesus Christ was not Jewish but Christian and that "pure blooded whites are the lost children of Israel."[10] By 1953, Swift had become Reverend Gerald L. K. Smith's West Coast representative of the Christian Nationalist Crusade.[11] Smith, a former member of William Pelley's Silver Shirts and friend of Henry Ford, was a "godfather" to many on the far right. By the early 1960s, Swift's string of "Identity" churches spread throughout California.

In contrast to the somewhat uneducated Swift was the more impressive William Potter Gale. Under General MacArthur, Gale became the youngest Lt. Col. in the U. S. Army, where he trained Filipino guerrillas to fight the Japanese. After retiring from the Army in June of 1950, Gale, like many retired military officers, found employment in the aircraft industry, specifically Hughes Aircraft. This became what he described as his "Jekyll and Hyde" period; leading the Hollywood life by entertaining actors and singers, but hiding his growing involvement in the Identity movement. At this same time, he became a member of the Republican Party and later the Constitution Party. He ran for Governor of California on the Constitution Party ticket in 1958 and 1966, and the Republican ticket in 1962.

Gale's association with Wesley Swift came about through San Jacinto Capt. Capt, a former Klansman like Swift, introduced Swift to Gale after a meeting in Los Angeles in the early 1960s. Gale in turn introduced Richard Butler to Swift initiating their long-term relationship. Butler is the founder and current leader of Aryans Nations.

William Gale managed to land the CDL a financial "angel" in the person of James Oviatt.[12] Oviatt, owner of Oviatt Clothiers, donated money and office space at 617 S. Olive St. in Los Angeles for the CDL headquarters.[13] It was Gale's success that eventually brought about the demise of the CDL. Swift claimed that the financial success of the CDL was hurting his church offerings. Gale and Capt agreed to take a backseat to Butler, Comparet, Crommelin and Foote in order to avoid a conflict with Swift.

The Reverend Oren Potito represented Swift's church on the East Coast. Potito, a one-time organizer for the National States Rights Party (NSRP), was the 1962 campaign manager for Admiral John Crommelin.[14] Potito and Gale joined with other members of the NSRP in journeying to Oxford, Mississippi to protest against the enrollment of James Meredith. Potito was arrested for possession of firearms that were found in the trunk of his car.[15]

One of Swift and Gale's more notorious associates was Charles Conley "Connie" Lynch. Lynch was simultaneously a minister in the Church of Jesus Christ-Christian, state organizer for the NSRP, a member of the Minutemen, and a member of the CDL. He became one of Swift's first ministers after he left the church of the General Assembly of Jesus Christ where he cut his teeth as a self-taught minister. Lynch became politically active during the early 1960s when he became the California State organizer for the NSRP (1962) and a member of the CDL in fall of 1963. The FBI considered him sufficiently dangerous to conduct an investigation to determine his whereabouts on November 22, 1963. It was determined that Lynch was in "Jacksonville, Florida, speaking at Ku Klux Klan rallies during the last two months."[16] His extremism became too much for even the NSRP. Dr. Edward Fields, NSRP information director said, "He raised more money than any other man we had. But he was too extreme. He scared away the more substantial elements of the community."[17]

Lynch's notoriety reached its peak in June of 1964 when he joined local Klansmen and NSRP leader J. B. Stoner[18] in what has been termed St. Augustine's [Fla.] worst racial violence in a century. Lynch was arrested the following month along with J. B. Stoner, Barton Griffin, Bill Coleman, and Jacksonville Klan leader Paul Cochran for illegal cross burning.[19] Stoner later became James Earl Ray's attorney. He was also a suspect in the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King and was investigated by the House Select Committee on Assassinations.

The paramilitary side of the CDL/CJCC was the California Rangers, sometimes referred to as the U.S. Rangers. Formed in 1959 by William Gale, it never grew as large as its better-known cousin, the Minutemen. Robert DePugh, founder of the Minutemen, knew William Gale and structured his organization after Gale's Rangers.[20] The purpose of the Rangers was to build an underground network to conduct guerrilla warfare. Gale's recruiting efforts were directed toward former military servicemen. He transferred his American Legion membership to the Signal Hill post where he and George King, Jr., also a member of the CDL, converted the post into a front for the Rangers.[21]

Much like their Minutemen cousins, the CDL believed in hoarding a large supply of arms and weaponry. A police raid on William Garland's house in Cucamonga, California turned up eight machine guns, and one hundred rifles, shotguns and pistols. When they searched his barn they found an ammunition dump for heavy caliber rockets, bombs, and thousands of rounds of ammunition.[22]

The first indication that the Swift/Gale complex was interested in more than preaching religion came from George Harding in April 1963 when he informed the FBI that he was being recruited to become part of an eight man team to assassinate three hundred public officials in high positions of government. According to WCD 39 and WCD 1107 "Harding claimed that the leaders in the group were Dr. Wesley Swift, James Shoup and others.... The second in command was a Colonel William Gale...who was supposed to have been the youngest intelligence officer under MCARTHUR (sic)."

A related incident also occurred that April. Los Angeles physician Dr. Stanley Drennan approached Captain Robert K. Brown, who was also involved in anti-Castro activities during this period, stated that "while at Drennan's home, Drennan stated in general conversation that he could not do it, but what the organization needed was a group of young men to get rid of Kennedy and the Cabinet…Brown stated that he considered the remark crackpot; however …he gained the impression that Drennan had been propositioning him on this matter. Drennan, a member of the National States Rights Party and associate of William Gale." Drennan complained in a letter to Dean Clarence Manion, a prominent member of the John Birch Society, that on June 10, 1963 two Secret Service agents visited two of his friends at 7:30 am to inquire about his "patriotism, integrity, dependability, and emotional and mental stability. These people were twenty miles East of my dwelling while I was only two miles from where the President was riding in an open convertible sitting high on the back of the seat."[23]

The Secret Service and FBI generated another report in August 1963 by the arrest of Gale's associate George King, Jr. King was overheard discussing the possibility of assassinating the president and was later arrested that month for the sale of illegal firearms. A later FBI field report, CO2-26104 #6419, stated "King is extreme right wing, hates Jews, was arrested by ATF O'Neil for illegal possession of firearms. Emotionally unstable. Arrested 2-29-68 again. This time for CCU, John Bircher, Christian Def. League (sic), Am Nazi Party, Christian Defense League."[24]

There was yet another pre-assassination report (November 15, 1963) of a plot to assassinate "the President and other high-level officials" by a "militant group of the National States Rights Party."[25] The FBI dismissed the report because they felt the subject was trying to make a deal because of pending criminal charges. This was not the well-documented November 9, 1963 report of Joseph A. Milteer's accurate prediction that Kennedy would be shot "from an office building with a high powered rifle." [26] Milteer was also a member of the NSRP and ran for governor of Georgia on the Constitution Party ticket the same year that William Gale switched from the Constitution Party to the Republican Party to run for governor of California.

Evidence suggests that Gale and Milteer were acquainted.[27] Both attended the gathering of the Constitution Party in Indianapolis, Indiana during October 18-20, 1963. Also in attendance were notable right wing extremists General Pedro Del Valle, Curtis Dall of the Liberty Lobby, Colonel Arch Roberts who was the architect of General Edwin Walker's "Pro Blue" program in the military, Richard Cotten, editor of The Conservative Viewpoint, Jack Brown, Klan leader James Venable[28], and Kenneth Goff, Constitution Party Committee member and leader of the paramilitary group Soldiers of the Cross, a Minutemen affiliate.[29] Goff wrote an article for The White Sentinel, that Oswald "called me, before a meeting in a Dallas hotel about a year ago (December 1962) he poured out his pro-Communist venom….His Red record was no secret to those fighting Communism in the Texas area."[30]

In a document that the FBI sent to the Miami Police Department titled Re: CONSTITUTIONAL AMERICAN PARTIES OF THE UNITED STATES, an unnamed source stated that Milteer had been to the West Coast where he was in contact [name redacted] believed to be in the vicinity of Los Angeles. Milteer stated that the meeting was very profitable. The source then went on to describe a speech given by William Gale on December 22, 1963 where Gale says, "I know some of you out there are FBI Agents, so get out your pads and make notes so that I'll not be misquoted." [31]

Another incident where Gale and Milteer's paths may have crossed was the now infamous Birmingham church bombing where four young African-American girls where killed. According to the House Select Committee on Assassinations Final Report (p. 377):

Information from a Mobile, Ala., FBI report indicated an informant had told the Bureau that Sidney Barnes and several others had gone to Birmingham, Ala., in the fall of 1963 to kill Dr. King. The FBI also learned that a secret meeting had been held in Birmingham before the September 15, 1963, bombing of a Birmingham church that left four young Black girls dead. Barnes, William Potter Gale, Noah Jefferson Carden and John C. Crommelin attended this meeting. The FBI had attempted to determine the whereabouts of the participants in the 1963 Birmingham meeting during the week following Dr. King's assassination. The Bureau files reflected that the FBI ended its investigation of Barnes after it found no indication he was away from his home before or after the assassination.

An FBI report out of Miami said that Gale and Governor George Wallace had a close relationship and that "Gale is responsible for the church bombing in Birmingham on September 15, 1963." Circuit Judge Seymour Gelber, former assistant to Florida State Attorney Richard Gerstein, diary reveals that "before they parted, Milteer confided to Somersett he was certain that Dixie Klan Imperial Wizard Jack Brown either placed the bomb, or engineered the act, which caused the death of four children in the Birmingham church bombing." The FBI later determined that Jack Brown was in Tennessee when the church was bombed.

The Miami FBI office reported that an informant furnished information on October 27, 1963 that Gale "is on the East Coast in the Southern part, exact location not given on important business." A report filed by the Miami police department's intelligence unit stated "On Monday 28 October 1963, I contacted informant known to us as "88" (William Somersett), and information obtained from him is as follows: "88" attended a CONSTITUTIONAL PARTY OF AMERICA in Indianapolis, Indiana, last week. While there at this convention he met numerous persons known to this office as extremists and troublemakers. Information obtained by "88" is that KENNETH GULF [sic] Goff, and COLONEL GALE are coming to Florida in an attempt to stir up the people down here; probably on the lower east coast. His information is that they want to train and recruit men for physical action. This is going to be a "Hate Campaign" according to "88".[32]

Another FBI airtel dated November 18, 1963 "Miami advised that on November 17, 1963 [deleted] (Racial) had been advised by [deleted] the whereabouts of GALE, but indicated that GALE is ‘working underground', and that he was not in position to disclose GALE's whereabouts."[33] An FBI informant wrote Jim Garrison on May 10, 1968 that in 1963, three top members went to Montgomery, Alabama where one of them met George Wallace. Another wanted to meet with the top four groups of the Ku Klux Klan to unite them through the membership of the CDL.[34] FBI informant Willie Somersett provided additional evidence of this meeting. He again met with Joseph Milteer on February 17, 1964. Milteer described a secret meeting in Alabama prior to September 15, 1963 where discussions where made about "getting things done." Milteer told Somersett that he agreed with the plan to bomb the church but did not participate. Milteer further stated that [Swift and Gale] are moving fast in California. He stated, "they have formed a group known as the Christian Defense League with the main purpose of raising funds for the use of Patriots."[35]

The Garrison investigation also produced a wealth of information about the same California anti-JFK crowd. Gerry Patrick Hemming, who got to know many of these people in his efforts to fight Castro in the 1960s, stopped by Garrison's office on July 7, 1967. He gave Garrison a list of names "as being of possible interest to [Garrison's] investigation." The first was Dennis Harber[36] "who was connected to both [Loran] Hall and [Lawrence] Howard in Miami in an attempt to blow up ships in Vera Cruz. Apparently a ‘Mexican Minuteman', tutor to someone, a homosexual, and recently visited Nebraska."[37] The second was Colonel Gale. Described as "active in the local Minutemen army in Southern California. Has offices in downtown Los Angeles. Friendly with General Walker and Lincoln Rockwell and stayed at Walker's house in July 1963. Patrick mentioned a Eugene Lyons in connection with Colonel Gale, and that one BOB WELLS[38] is also associated with Gale."[39] Rockwell, the founder of the American Nazi Party, was assassinated in 1967 by former party member John Patler. Longtime researcher Mary Ferrell noted that Rockwell's name and address is contained in Lee Harvey Oswald's address book. Eugene Lyons was a member of the American Committee to Free Cuba (ACFC) and a member of the Citizens Committee to Free Cuba.

There was an overlap in membership between the CDL and the ACFC. Steven Foote, Western Regional Director of the CDL, was a board member of the ACFC. Curiously enough, so was Dr. John Lechner. Lechner, Executive Director of the Americanism Educational League, a political arm of the California American Legion, is listed in Richard Case Nagell's notebook.[40] Lechner and Burt Mold met with Cuban exiles Cesar Blanco and Paulino Sierra in Chicago during the month of February 1963 to discuss writing a document on uniting the different Cuban exile factions. Sierra did more than write a document. Mold and Lechner were the founders of a subcommittee of the Americanism Educational League called Americans for Cuban Freedom formed in 1961 after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion.[41] Noted members were the previously mentioned Steve Foote, Guy Gabaldon, associate of Hall and Howard, Dr. Tirse Del Junco and W. Cleon Skousen.

Also of interest to Garrison was G. Clinton Wheat of Los Angeles. Wheat has been identified as an ex-Klansman that hosted meetings at his house of the Church of Jesus Christ-Christian, the Christian Defense League and the American Nazi Party.[42] An FBI informant described the speakers at Wheat's house as giving "classic examples of the hate-mongers sermons." He also goes on to describe William Gale as saying, "...I can show you top-secret documents that prove that the six million Jews Hitler was supposed to kill are right here in America...." Garrison had information that in September of 1963, Wheat had meetings at his house where discussions were held on assassinating the President, and according to a former neighbor, traveled to Dallas that same fall (1963) in a hurry after borrowing four hundred dollars from him.[43] Lawrence Howard further identified Wheat's house at Lafayette Terrace in Los Angeles as a place "where paramilitary organizations held meetings and prepared ammunition."[44] Wheat disappeared shortly after Garrison attempted to have him subpoenaed, reportedly on orders "from headquarters." [Gale?] He was reported to be hiding out at Fred Lee Crisman's ranch in Oregon[45] before moving to Burney, California from where he disappeared altogether.[46]

Crisman is another intriguing character that became a subject of interest by both Jim Garrison and the House Select Committee on Assassinations. He first came to Garrison's attention after an anonymous letter was sent from Orlando, Florida linking him to Clay Shaw, Sergio Arcacha Smith, and Thomas Beckham. The anonymous writer further tried to implicate Crisman as a courier of funds between certain individuals and "Cuban factions" imploring Garrison to place him under a lie detector and ask him "certain questions."[47]

There was enough information on Crisman that the House Select Committee on Assassinations made him a subject of their investigation. The Committee sent investigators Robert Buras and L. J. Delsa to Jackson, Mississippi to question Thomas Beckham about his association with the now deceased Fred Crisman on October 9, 1977. Beckham had quite an interesting tale to tell. He claimed that Crisman belonged to a group called "The Organization" and that it had connections all over the country. Beckham credited Crisman's connections to "The Organization" in helping locate Beckham in Lincoln, Nebraska where he "took off after the assassination of the President." Crisman suggested that he relocate to Omaha where Garrison couldn't reach him. [48] This may be the reason for Dennis Harber's "recent visit to Nebraska" as previously noted by Gerry Hemming during his July 7, 1967 visit to Garrison.

Two other figures that were heavily investigated by the Warren Commission, District Attorney James Garrison and the HSCA also had ties to Wheat, Gale, Swift, and Butler. They are the previously mentioned Loran Hall and Lawrence Howard. Howard told Steve Burton, investigator for Garrison, that Richard Butler introduced him and Steven Justin Wilson to Gale and Swift after a meeting in which Wesley Swift spoke.[49] Butler also introduced Howard to Hall in the spring of 1963.[50] This was possibly the "talk" that Hall referred to during an interview with Bill Triplett of the HSCA. Jose Norman, another board member of the American Committee to Free Cuba and member of the John Birch Society's Speaker's Bureau, brought Howard and his wife Rose to a doctor's house in Whittier, California to hear Hall give one of his fund raising speeches.[51] Norman also admitted to being a guest at Clint Wheat's house. [52] Hall stated that he also met Edgar Eugene Bradley, Ed Collins, Dr Stanley Drennan,  and Colonel Gale at Wheat's house. [53]

It was at Clint Wheat's house that Hall, Howard, and "Juarito" a.k.a. Celio Castro Alba, picked up a trailer of weapons and a large supply of medical supplies to bring to Miami for anti-Castro activities.[53b] According to Howard the weapons consisted of a ". 30 caliber, there was a scope weapon, [54] and there was M-1s, standard M-1 Girands an M-14, modified, strictly semi..."[55] Some of these weapons were supplied by Erquiaga Arms Company owned by Juan Erquiaga, the former top arms ordinance man for Fidel Castro. The trailer carrying these weapons was left at Lester Logue's house in Dallas on October 10, 1963. Logue, an oil geologist, was a friend of Hall's. Hall admitted that it was in Logue's office that he was offered fifty thousand dollars to assassinate JFK but he declined. He added that Lester Logue had nothing to do with the offer and left the room after the offer was made.[56]

This was not the only offer made to assassinate Kennedy or Fidel Castro by "Lester Logue's people." Gerry Hemming and Howard Davis, who were in Dallas at the Texas Club to raise funds for anti-Castro activities, were approached to assassinate Kennedy after initial discussions on the feasibility to assassinate Fidel Castro. Hemming was asked " Why go to Havana when the whole thing could be resolved by going to Washington?" After Hemming and Davis declined, "a group from that same origin" traveled from Dallas to Miami where they met with Tony Cuesta and made the same proposal to Cuesta and Alpha 66.[57]

Hall and William Seymour traveled from Miami the following week to retrieve the trailer of weapons and medical supplies. It was on this return trip that Hall and Seymour were arrested for drug possession — a bottle of Dexedrine. While in custody, Hall was questioned by an FBI agent whom he identified as "Hostel or something", a Military Intelligence agent, and a "CIA guy." The "CIA guy" was probably ATF Agent Frank Ellsworth who was working closely with FBI agent James Hosty and Military Intelligence agent Ed Coyle on a gun smuggling case. He claimed that the MI Agent attempted to recruit him. Hall remained in jail for two days before being released. Hall had called Dr. Robert Morris who in turn called Lester Logue.[58] Logue secured an attorney for Hall.[59]

A close look at Hall and Howard's associates explains why the various investigations took such an interest in them. Hall testified to receiving money from Mafioso Sam Giancana ($20,000 - 30,000), went on a mission with ex-CIA paramilitarist William "Rip" Robertson, just missed going on the now infamous Bayo-Pawley raid on Cuba,[60] went with Rip Robertson to John Martino's house in Miami, visited General Edwin Walker with Gerry Hemming, admitted to having heard of Lee Oswald in June of 1963 and testified that he was offered $50,000 to kill Kennedy but that he declined the offer. [61]

Howard's associations are just as interesting as Hall's. Howard was second in command to Gerry Hemming at No Name Key before assuming full command with William Seymour as his second. Howard, Seymour and friends, along with fifty of Rolando Masferrer's men from New York spent the summer of 1963 preparing to overthrow "Papa Doc" Duvalier in Haiti in the hope that they could establish a base close to Cuba for anti-Castro operations.[62]

Howard's connections were wide reaching. Some of the people that he claimed to know and who's names appeared in his address book were: Pedro Diaz Lanz; Frank Fiorini [Sturgis] of Watergate fame; Frank Fernandez of Dallas; oilman Lester Logue; Clint Wheat; William Gale; Larry Laborde; Enrique Molina Rivera who Hemming and Howard claimed was a Castro agent; Alexander Rorke, who disappeared along with Geoffrey Sullivan in Rorke's airplane September 25, 1963; Richard Butler; former Batista official Rolando Masferrer Rojas and his brother Kiki; Captain Robert K. Brown[63], Dr. Grennan [Dr. Stanley Drennan][64]; Eddie Field, "right winger" was also a friend of John Lechner; Roy Hargraves; Nico Crespi; Dr. Robert Morris whom he was very reluctant to admit knowing; Cuban exile leader Tony Varona who thought Howard was double-crossing him because of Howard's relationship with former Batista henchman Rolando Masferrer; Renee Valdez, Los Angeles representative of the Cuban exile group Alpha 66; and Edgar Eugene Bradley whom he described as "a man who believed in action."[65] Bradley was described by Carol Aydlotte as an associate of Col. William Gale and that she was certain that she saw him at Clint Wheat's house with Loran Hall and Gordon Novel. Peter Noyes suggests in his book Legacy of Doubt that she may have had an ulterior motive in linking Bradley to Gale although Bradley admitted that he once gave a speech at Clint Wheat's house.[66]

In October of 1963, Gale and Swift presided over a meeting of the Christian Knights of the Invisible Empire in which thirty-eight members were inducted into the Klan. The CKIE was the "Third Front" in a four front structure. The "First Front" was the Church of Jesus Christ, Christian. Faithful members of the CJCC were recruited for the "Second Front" was the AWAKE movement.[67] The more militant members were then recruited in to the "Third Front" which was the Christian Knights of the Invisible Empire "which will have the outward impression of a political-religious group not interested in violence." It was from this group that the most militant members were recruited for the "Inner Den." These recruits were the ones that committed acts of violence. Gale stated that "leaders in our country might have to be eliminated to further the goals of the CKIE" and that "God will take care of those who must be eliminated."

Swift and Gale soon struggled for control of the organization. It came to a head on December 26, 1963 when they had a "violent argument and decided to split."[68] Gale was left in charge of the Christian Knights and Swift assumed leadership of the Christian Defense League until it went inactive again. Gale told his biographer Cheri Seymour a conflicting account of the split. He claimed that Swift "took some money from some widows...two elderly ladies. That's the official version. Nothing to do with the Church."[69]

After the split, Gale put all his efforts into his ministry. He began publishing a magazine called "Racial and National Identity"[70] in 1965, at the request of "a bunch of military officers...Colonel Ben Von Stahl, Admiral Crommelin and General Pedro del Valle." He continued to be active in the Identity Movement by forming his own group called the Ministry of Christ Church. In 1969-70, he joined forces with former Silver Shirt Henry Beach to launch the Posse Commitatus movement.[71] Colonel Gale died in April 1988 of complications brought about by emphysema.

Wesley Swift died in 1970, leaving Richard G. Butler to lead the Church of Jesus Christ-Christian. Butler moved the headquarters to Hayden Lake, Idaho and renamed the organization to Aryan Nations-Church of Jesus Christ, Christian. Butler, although now in his early eighties, is still a leading figure in the Identity Movement.

James K. Warner reformed the Christian Defense League in the early 1977. Warner is a former member of Rockwell's American Nazi Party, the National States Rights Party, Sons of Liberty, and current publisher of Christian Vanguard. He moved from California to Metarie, Louisiana in the middle 1970s after he met David Duke who was then a member of the Klan. Duke became an unsuccessful presidential candidate in 1988. In 1983, Dr. John Coleman joined the CDL as its "intelligence expert." Coleman produced a series of audiotapes on the "secrets of the Kennedy assassination." The CDL is no longer the force it was in the early 1960s, although its influence can still be seen in today's extreme right wing movement in both its "Identity" teachings and the continued formation of small paramilitary groups and militias.

* I'd like to thank Larry Haapanen, Anna-Marie Kuhns-Walko, Joe Backes, and Jeff Caufield for their help.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[1] Gale, “Children of God vs. Children of Satan,” in Identity, June 1973, p. 3.

[2] Michael and Judy Newton, The Ku Klux Klan (New York: Garland Publications,. c1991), p. 109.

[3] Author? , “A Reply to the National Chronicle,” in Identity, November 1975, p. 5

[4] Cheri Seymour, Committee of the States: Inside the Radical Right (Mariposa, CA: Camden Communications 1991) 87. Most of Gale’s history has been derived from this book.

[5] Identity, p. 3.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Foote was the California State Chairman of the American Legion and a friend of Dr. John Lechner.

[8] Shasta County Chronicle, 13, no. 10, April 9, 1964. This paper would soon change its name to the National Chronicle. The editor, Hal Hunt, followed Richard Butler up to Hayden Lake, Idaho where it continued publication.

[9] William Turner, Power on the Right (Ramparts Press. Berkeley CA. 1971), p 100.

[10] Newton, p. 113.

[11] Newton, p. 167.

[12]Ibid.

[13] Oviatt attempted to sue the Anti-Defamation League for $10 million in January 1966. Oviatt’s attorney was Senator Jack Tenney. Richard Cotten’s Conservative Viewpoint, February 10, 1966 p. 2.

[14] Turner, p. 101

[15] Seymour, p. 68.

[16] WCD 1107. According to WCD 42, the information on Lynch’s whereabouts was furnished by Gene Fallow, officer of the Ku Klux Klan, Oceanway, Florida. Documents courtesy of Larry Haapanen.

[17]Trevor Armbrister, “Portrait of an Extremist,” in Saturday Evening Post, August 22, 1964

[18] See Jerry Rose’s article on Stoner, The Fourth Decade, 3, no.1, November 1995, p. 26.

[19] Armbrister, “Portrait of an Extremist”,

[20] John George and Laird Wilcox, Nazis, Communists, Klansmen and Others on the Fringe (Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Book, 1992).

[21] Thomas C. Lynch, 1965 California Attorney General’s Report on Private Armies in California.

[22] George Thayer, The Farther Shore of Politics (Simon and Schuster, New York, 1967) p. 145.

[23] Letter from Drennan to Clarence Manion dated July 20, 1963.

[24] This is extracted from RIF 180-10118-10033. This document courtesy of Joe Backes.

[25] Warren Commission Document 762

[26] FBI informant Willie Somersett told the Miami police on November 26, 1963 that “I am satisfied that this man beyond doubt knew that this was going to happen, and from the impression that I got from him this conspiracy originated in New Orleans, probably some in Miami, and different parts of the Country, probably in California. And I am pretty sure California had a lot to do with it, because he mentioned Dr. Swift very often, in his conversations, what a great man he was and that he had already predicted that Kennedy would be killed, before he got out of office. So, that is about the story as to the important information that I got from him.

[27] Gale’s name and address were found in Milteer’s home after Milteer died.

[28] This list was from William Holden’s fine article in the November 1996 issue of The Fourth Decade, “New Evidence Regarding Oswald’s Activities in Clinton, Louisiana”. I often refer to this group as “The National Chronicle crowd.” Most of them have appeared in the paper as either authors or subjects of articles. Other regular authors during the 1960’s were Wesley Swift, Edwin Walker, Gerald Smith, Korean Kilsoo Han of the anti-communist underground and friend of John Lechner, Reverend Oren Potito, James K. Warner, H.S. Riecke leader of a “Minutemen” affiliate called the Paul Revere Associated Yeoman, AKA P.R.A.Y., and editor Hal Hunt.

[29] Goff appeared with John Martino as guest speakers for the kickoff of Robert DePugh’s Patriotic Party on July 4, 1966. DePugh was the founder of the paramilitary Minutemen.

[30] The White Sentinel. December 1963. Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

[31] FBI document, undated.

[32] Interoffice memo from Kay to Sapp dated October 29, 1963. “88” was Somersett.

[33] LA 157-571 cover page. This was also a request by the Secret Service to the FBI to grant permission to interview Gale. This document was acquired by Dr. Jeffrey Caufield FOIA request 906722.

[34] Letter from Chester Warman to Garrison.

[35] FBI files MM 157-896 and MM 157-918

[36] Dennis Lynn Harber had a boat, identified as a “two man sub”, confiscated by the Coast Guard in October 1963. This boat was to be used for anti-Castro operations and was owned by Paulino Sierra.

[37] Tom Dunkin in his June 4, 1967 letter to Richard Billings said “"Harber, who has a Columbia University Master's degree in Education, also had a bit of an educational experience in Colombia, where he was employed as a private tutor for about a year for the family of ex-Presidente Gustavo Rojas Pinilla. Harber also says he has lived at various times for several months duration, in the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Mexico.”

[38] Richard Cotten described Wells as “the pastor of the marvelous church in Anaheim which just happens to be near Knotts Berry Farm…. Reverend Wells’ church is the church where Dr. McIntire and Dr. Hargis and Major Bundy and all of those other fine men speak whenever they are in the area.” Wells formed his own “league” - the Christian Anti-Defamation League. Richard Cotten’s Conservative Viewpoint, February 10, 1966 p. 2.

[39] HSCA 002176, RIF 180-10105-10097.

[40] Dick Russell, The Man Who Knew Too Much. (Carroll and Graf Publishers, Inc. 1992) Nagell claimed that he was sent by U.S. intelligence to infiltrate a “domestically formulated” plot to assassinate JFK.

[41] Edward Edell, An American with Guts (Los Angeles: Coleman-Holmquist Press, 1961). This was a biography of Lechner.

[42] Letter from Warman to Garrison, May 10, 1968. This document was obtained from the AARC.

[43] FBI 124-10178-10206, Agency File Number 89-75-907.

[44] HSCA RIF 180-10085-10197. Interview of Howard by Garrison investigator Steve Burton.

[45] Edd Jeffords to James Alcock. July 18, 1968, (AARC).

[46] Klamath Falls Herald and News, May 5, 1968. The article describes Wheat as a “former Klamath County resident wanted for questioning by New Orleans authorities in connection with alleged Kennedy assassination probes, failed to show for a Shasta County, California Superior Court hearing this morning.... Wheat was last seen in Klamath County when he moved from a residence in Poe Valley May 6. The building burned to the ground that night.” Coincidentally, when the FBI questioned Harold Doyle, one of the newly identified “tramps,” he was found in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Crisman became a subject of investigation by Garrison in his probe. Crisman’s name and address appeared in Clay Shaw’s address book. Shaw was tried by Garrison and subsequently found not guilty.

[47] Letter from Orlando, Fla to Garrison. This document was acquired from the AARC.

[48] Beckham interview by Delsa and Buras. HSCA 014888. RIF 180-10121-10016. Dated October 9, 1977.

[49]Memo from Burton to Garrison, May 8, 1968.

[50] HSCA 006058. RIF 180-10085-10191.

[51] HSCA 006058. RIF 180-10085-10194. These are notes from an interview on August 20, 1977 with Loran Hall.

[52] His revelation was in response to a reporter’s question during the question and answer period after Norman’s presentation in Klamath Falls, Oregon.

[53] Hall interview  March 12, 1968 interview by Steve Jaffe and summarized in a memo to DA Jim Garrison. http://jfk.hood.edu/Collection/Weisberg Subject Index Files/H Disk/Hall Loran Eugene/Item 64.pdf

[53b] According to Harry Dean, Hall and Howard were given the medical supplies by Harry from Guy Gabaldon’s supply. Dean is a former Minuteman that was active in Southern California. (Email from Harry Dean August 8, 2001.)

[54] This was Gerry Hemming’s rifle that was hocked by Hemming and taken out of hock by Hall. The check was issued by the American Committee to Free Cuba. The check was supplied by Jose Norman. Norman wanted to go with Hall, Howard and Celio Castro Alba on a raid to Cuba but his speaking schedule precluded him from doing so. The rifle reportedly ended up at at a Dr. Crockett's house in Miami. Crockett was a dentist that would fix anti-Castroites teeth for free. For a complete account of the rifle saga see Hathcock’s interview: HSCA 001041 RIF 180-10086-10375.

[55] Howard Interview by Garrison. HSCA 008269 (pt. 9) RIF 180-10076-10015. This was copied by Anna-Marie Kuhns-Walko at the National Archives, June 1994.

[56] Hall interview by Harold Weisberg. Acquired from the AARC.

[57] Deposition of Gerald Hemming taken 3/21/78 by William Triplett of the HSCA. RIF 180-10086-10250.

[58] Morris is the former Chief Counsel for the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, lawyer for General Edwin Walker, and the force behind Larrie Schmidt’s attempt to take over Young Americans for Freedom and General Edwin Walker’s organization. Morris would later join forces with friends Julien Sourwine and Otto Otepka in an organization called “The National Committee to Restore Internal Security.”

[59] HSCA 014660. RIF 180-10117-10026, p. 97. This was Hall’s HSCA testimony.

[60] This was a disguised attempt to assassinate Fidel Castro. The original plan was sold to the CIA as an extraction of two Russian defectors that had knowledge of missiles in Cuba.

[61] Ibid.

[62] HSCA 8269 (pt. 9) RIF 180-10076-10015.

[63] Brown is the founder of Paladin Press and Soldier of Fortune magazine.

[64] CDL Vice President Bertrand Comparet represented Dr. Stanley Drennan in his efforts to fight Garrison’s extradition efforts. The judge ruled in favor of Drennan.

[65] HSCA 006058 RIF 180-10085-10197

[66] Memo from Boxley to Garrison, March 19, 1968. Aydlotte had a falling out with Bradley after he allegedly got her kicked out of the John Birch Society. This may have been her way of getting back at him. For a full description of this incident, see Peter Noyes’ Legacy of Doubt. The memo covers quite a few interesting subjects. Aydlotte claims that her mother heard Bradley propose the use of the storm drain system as a location for the prospective assassination of JFK. A Reverend Brice, acquaintance of Bradley, told Garrison investigators that Bradley was supposed to meet with Ned Touchstone in Louisiana before proceeding to Dallas. Touchstone was the editor of The Councilor, a White Citizen’s Council newsletter based in Louisiana. (Courtesy Lisa Pease.)

[67] AWAKE was the Army of White American Kingdom Evangelists. According to FBI 157-282-8, AWAKE was disbanded in early 1964 along with the Christian Knights of the Invisible Empire.

[68] FBI report LA 157-571.

[69] The split seemed to include Gale, Edgar Eugene Bradley, and Dr. Stanley Drennan as one faction and Swift, Butler and Mower as the other. William Turner also noted this in Power on the Right.

[70] Gale claimed that he was the originator of the term Identity. In fact, Rev. John Lovell of Dallas, Texas, another member of the British Israelite Movement, used this term in the February 1957 newsletter of Kingdom Digest. Mary Ferrell, famed JFK assassination researcher, had attended Lovell's church hoping to gather some information.

[71] Newton, p. 220.

Edited by David Boylan
fixes

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

David

Excellent information that goes miles beyond some work that I have done.

I have followed the career of Edwin Walker very closely and believe that, rather than being the "right wing extremist" that he is portrayed to be was in fact a government plant to extract information from a right wing that was deemed to be a danger to the government.

There are to many indications in Walker's military career that he was connected to the intelligence community. The timming of his "Pro Blue" program and the resultant "Muzzling of the Military" hearings coincides with Oswald's return from Russia. I hold to the belief that Walker may have contacted Oswald while he traveled to Russia (Oct. 9, 1959 being the most likely date). When Oswald began his quest to return to the United States, I believe Walker had to be distanced from the Kennedy administration. The action of Walker in the first hours after the assassination of Kennedy make me believe that he was one of the most surprized people in the world when he saw Oswald's face on TV. Walker reacted like a man who believed he was being set-up to be associated with the assassin and had to provide his own cover (his telephone conversation with a German newspaper the morning following the assassination).

Thank you for the great info.

Jim Root

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
David

Excellent information that goes miles beyond some work that I have done.

I have followed the career of Edwin Walker very closely and believe that, rather than being the "right wing extremist" that he is portrayed to be was in fact a government plant to extract information from a right wing that was deemed to be a danger to the government.

There are to many indications in Walker's military career that he was connected to the intelligence community.  The timming of his "Pro Blue" program and the resultant "Muzzling of the Military" hearings coincides with Oswald's return from Russia.  I hold to the belief that Walker may have contacted Oswald while he traveled to Russia (Oct. 9, 1959 being the most likely date).  When Oswald began his quest to return to the United States, I believe Walker had to be distanced from the Kennedy administration.  The action of Walker in the first hours after the assassination of Kennedy make me believe that he was one of the most surprized people in the world when he saw Oswald's face on TV.  Walker reacted like a man who believed he was being set-up to be associated with the assassin and had to provide his own cover (his telephone conversation with a German newspaper the morning following the assassination).

Thank you for the great info.

Jim Root

Jim,

Thanks for the kind words.

A few things of note:

Loran Hall admitted to knowing "of" Oswald. He and a Cuban exile friend were going to harrass Oswald when he was passing out leaflets. Hall gave two conflicting dates: June of 1963 and Oct 1963.

Hall met with many of the same people in Dallas that Joseph Milteer did.

Clint Wheat would occasionally fill in for Col. Gale when Gale made his trips in the South US in his trailer. Gale would stop in Louisiana and visit Sen. William Rainich.

Rainich was an associate of Guy Banister.

Kenneth Goff claimed that Oswald was not unknown to the Dallas right wing community (and himself) prior to 11/22/63.

Gale and Milteer knew each other. Both ran on the platform of the Constitution Party.

Kenneth Goff was an associate of John Martino in 1966. I don't know of a prior association though.

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good work, David.

That is a scary network of organizations with a fascinating cast of characters.

Here's a photo you might find interesting. It is George Lincoln Rockwell after being gunned down by John Patler.

James

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with James. Nice work (as always).

James, I think I'm going to have to move to the Gold Coast. Seems to be some sort of photo goldmine over there I'd like to mine :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

James, I think I'm going to have to move to the Gold Coast. Seems to be some sort of photo goldmine over there I'd like to mine :lol: (Greg Parker)

Well, Greg, we would welcome you here with open arms. Remembering that the Gold Coast's contribution to the world of fine arts is sun-tan lotion and string bikinis.

Surf's up. :unsure:

James

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Good work, David.

That is a scary network of organizations with a fascinating cast of characters.

Here's a photo you might find interesting. It is George Lincoln Rockwell after being gunned down by John Patler.

James

Thanks James and Greg,

I'm sure you know this, but Rockwell's name and address are in Oswald's notebook. Strange world.

dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
(Sorry for the early submission. Gonna be away for a few days.)

A League of Their Own:

A Look Inside the Christian Defense League

By D. Boylan*

I enjoyed your paper very much well documented.

However there is one part I think, at least from my point of view, is an old story planted for effect to throw off the trail to MI and Dallas/Miami operations which had been on going concerning gunrunning through Dallas for over three years.

"....A close look at Hall and Howard's associates explains why the various investigations took such an interest in them. Hall testified to receiving money from Mafioso Sam Giancana ($20,000 - 30,000), went on a mission with ex-CIA paramilitarist William "Rip" Robertson, just missed going on the now infamous Bayo-Pawley raid on Cuba,[60] went with Rip Robertson to John Martino's house in Miami, visited General Edwin Walker with Gerry Hemming, admitted to having heard of Lee Oswald in June of 1963 and testified that he was offered $50,000 to kill Kennedy but that he declined the offer...". [61]

Hall was never considered for any CIA UC or covert operation with any of these case officers. He was not connected in any way with CIA operations and too, he was not the friend he thought of Mafia. The Mafia (Chicago and the small Dallas bunch) referred to Hall as 'Liver Lips". They.., mafia and CIA knew he was a paid informant for the FBI. They feed him information they wanted the FBI through Hoover, to have; information they (mafia) wanted to get back to various people. In fact at one point a mob contract was considered on Hall, but Hoover stopped that. Hoover felt he could have "His Boys" take care of Hall and "put him down'. John Martino tried to stay clear of Hall as well as most of the 'non sanctioned 'INTERPEN' boys.

Ref; first hand accounts: (as told to me by John Roselli (1962) Miami; and John Martino (1978) Miami; and retired detective XXXXSMITH. Miami homicide (1999) and Scott Warner Denver FBI SAC Denver Colorado, (1964.) Buna Vista, Colorado; documented; Phoenix Organized Crime; Sgt Ed Salem ret. Referenced Roseli/ Plumlee FBI 62-2116xxx; 1976)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
(Sorry for the early submission. Gonna be away for a few days.)

A League of Their Own:

A Look Inside the Christian Defense League

By D. Boylan*

I enjoyed your paper very much well documented.

However there is one part I think, at least from my point of view, is an old story planted for effect to throw off the trail to MI and Dallas/Miami operations which had been on going concerning gunrunning through Dallas for over three years.

"....A close look at Hall and Howard's associates explains why the various investigations took such an interest in them. Hall testified to receiving money from Mafioso Sam Giancana ($20,000 - 30,000), went on a mission with ex-CIA paramilitarist William "Rip" Robertson, just missed going on the now infamous Bayo-Pawley raid on Cuba,[60] went with Rip Robertson to John Martino's house in Miami, visited General Edwin Walker with Gerry Hemming, admitted to having heard of Lee Oswald in June of 1963 and testified that he was offered $50,000 to kill Kennedy but that he declined the offer...". [61]

Hall was never considered for any CIA UC or covert operation with any of these case officers. He was not connected in any way with CIA operations and too, he was not the friend he thought of Mafia. The Mafia (Chicago and the small Dallas bunch) referred to Hall as 'Liver Lips". They.., mafia and CIA knew he was a paid informant for the FBI. They feed him information they wanted the FBI through Hoover, to have; information they (mafia) wanted to get back to various people. In fact at one point a mob contract was considered on Hall, but Hoover stopped that. Hoover felt he could have "His Boys" take care of Hall and "put him down'. John Martino tried to stay clear of Hall as well as most of the 'non sanctioned 'INTERPEN' boys.

Ref; first hand accounts: (as told to me by John Roselli (1962) Miami; and John Martino (1978) Miami; and retired detective XXXXSMITH. Miami homicide (1999) and Scott Warner Denver FBI SAC Denver Colorado, (1964.) Buna Vista, Colorado; documented; Phoenix Organized Crime; Sgt Ed Salem ret. Referenced Roseli/ Plumlee FBI 62-2116xxx; 1976)

Tosh,

Thanks for the additional info. My take on Hall is that he talked a good game.

Do you know of his relationship with Santo Trafficante and Frank Sturgis?

He reportedly visited Trafficante in Tampa on occasion.

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
(Sorry for the early submission. Gonna be away for a few days.)

A League of Their Own:

A Look Inside the Christian Defense League

By D. Boylan*

I enjoyed your paper very much well documented.

However there is one part I think, at least from my point of view, is an old story planted for effect to throw off the trail to MI and Dallas/Miami operations which had been on going concerning gunrunning through Dallas for over three years.

"....A close look at Hall and Howard's associates explains why the various investigations took such an interest in them. Hall testified to receiving money from Mafioso Sam Giancana ($20,000 - 30,000), went on a mission with ex-CIA paramilitarist William "Rip" Robertson, just missed going on the now infamous Bayo-Pawley raid on Cuba,[60] went with Rip Robertson to John Martino's house in Miami, visited General Edwin Walker with Gerry Hemming, admitted to having heard of Lee Oswald in June of 1963 and testified that he was offered $50,000 to kill Kennedy but that he declined the offer...". [61]

Hall was never considered for any CIA UC or covert operation with any of these case officers. He was not connected in any way with CIA operations and too, he was not the friend he thought of Mafia. The Mafia (Chicago and the small Dallas bunch) referred to Hall as 'Liver Lips". They.., mafia and CIA knew he was a paid informant for the FBI. They feed him information they wanted the FBI through Hoover, to have; information they (mafia) wanted to get back to various people. In fact at one point a mob contract was considered on Hall, but Hoover stopped that. Hoover felt he could have "His Boys" take care of Hall and "put him down'. John Martino tried to stay clear of Hall as well as most of the 'non sanctioned 'INTERPEN' boys.

Ref; first hand accounts: (as told to me by John Roselli (1962) Miami; and John Martino (1978) Miami; and retired detective XXXXSMITH. Miami homicide (1999) and Scott Warner Denver FBI SAC Denver Colorado, (1964.) Buna Vista, Colorado; documented; Phoenix Organized Crime; Sgt Ed Salem ret. Referenced Roseli/ Plumlee FBI 62-2116xxx; 1976)

Tosh,

Thanks for the additional info. My take on Hall is that he talked a good game.

Do you know of his relationship with Santo Trafficante and Frank Sturgis?

He reportedly visited Trafficante in Tampa on occasion.

Dave

In my opinion, I doubt that. Trafficante was not one to chit chat with people he knew were informants for the FBI. In fact the term "Liver Lips" came from the mob. I'm not sure about Sturges, but I think Sturges also shuned him. Sometimes these wanta bees would get next to you much like how little girls get next to rock stars to get their picture taken with them,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(1) You mention several members of Interpen in your research. Did you discover if they were actually members of the Christian Defense League or were they just associates. I have got photographs and biographies of several of these people. They can be found here:

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKinterpen.htm

(2) Why was the Christian Defense League so hostile to John Kennedy? His record in power was not particularly left-wing? Was it because he was a Catholic? Or was it because he was a Yankee?

(3) I was reading today about Lyndon Johnson being physically attacked by a group of right-wingers in Dallas during the 1960 presidential campaign. I suppose it just shows just how right-wing people were in Texas at the time.

(4) As someone living in the UK I am fascinated by the idea of right-wing religious groups. This seems to be a common theme in American history. In the UK (and I think in the rest of Europe), religious groups are either non-political or on the left. Why do you think this is?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
(1)  You mention several members of Interpen in your research. Did you discover if they were actually members of the Christian Defense League or were they just associates. I have got photographs and biographies of several of these people. They can be found here:

I don't believe that any members of Interpen were members of the CDL. Some members of Interpen travelled in the same circles because of their shared anti-communist and anti-Castro beliefs. Larry Howard was considered "ok" even though he was part Mexican.

The difficulty in this research is pinning labels on people. They just don't fit nice and tidy. Members of one organiztion could be members of many other organizations. One person could be a member of one or many of the following: Minutemen, John Birch Society, American Committee to Free Cuba, CDL, KKK, National States Rights Party, Patriotic Party, Constitution Party, California Rangers, etc.  So when someone acts, what group are they representing? As Tommy Tarrents told Patsy Simms in The Klan, at the top of all these groups were a group of ex-military officers that directed the real dirty stuff. I'd make an educated guess and say that they group included Col. Gale, Adm. John Crommelin, and Gen. Pedro del Valle amongst others.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKinterpen.htm

(2) Why was the Christian Defense League so hostile to John Kennedy? His record in power was not particularly left-wing? Was it because he was a Catholic? Or was it because he was a Yankee?

In general because this group and others of the far-right would have disliked any president other then a Dan Smoot or William Gale. Or as noted by Joseph Milteer, an up and coming California conservative, Ronald Reagan.  :D

John Kennedy was concerned enough about the ultra right wing to have a  189 page report commissioned by Myer Feldman. (RECORD NUMBER : 180-10074-10468)

(3) I was reading today about Lyndon Johnson being physically attacked by a group of right-wingers in Dallas during the 1960 presidential campaign. I suppose it just shows just how right-wing people were in Texas at the time. 

(4) As someone living in the UK I am fascinated by the idea of right-wing religious groups. This seems to be a common theme in American history. In the UK (and I think in the rest of Europe), religious groups are either non-political or on the left. Why do you think this is?

As William Gale noted, it helped resolve the conflict of "love the fellow man" and anti-semitism and racism. If they weren't considered "fellow men" there was no conflict.

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IN REFERENCE TO D. BOYLAN'S FINE PAPER

A League of Their Own:

A Look Inside the Christian Defense League

By D. Boylan*

Reply from Tosh:

David: The following chapter 9 (Cuban Insurrection 1952-1958. New Jersey; Transaction Books, 1974) was sent to me recently by a close Cuban researcher and friend. I think this is little known by most of the current researchers of today. I find this information a very important link for those who want a solid foundation on the events that led up to that day in Dallas. It starts in 1956.

It is important to keep in mind that the CIA was supplying arms and ammunitions to Fidel Castro, while at the same time still sending arms, aircraft, and tanks to Batista. We were "Arms Merchants" supporting both sides. In order to grasp why some Cubans to this day do not trust the United States is, perhaps, because of these political policies of old.

Not much has been written about this M-26-7 to some extend the CIA's involvement is still classified. Most of this information, about the M-26-7 Havana group and the CIA's activities, have been purged from history by the powers that be. I for one think this history should be incorporated into any serious research work.

I know of at least three American Pilots who lost their lives while flying weapons which had been stolen from United States National Guard Armories in order to overthrow Batista and bring Castro to power. I know of others who lost their lives while engaged in other secret operations connected to some of the splinter groups of the M-26-7. These brave men lost their lives after the M-26-7 was merged into other operations which were connected with the overthrow of Castro.

Congressman Tom Downing was looking into these American MIA's when he died. I hope you find the following read of interest for your research and for the sake of history.

This Chapter has been taken from:

Ramon L. Bonachea and Marta San Martin. The Cuban Insurrection 1952-1959. New Jersey: Transaction Books, 1974.

Chapter 9

A New Strategy

pp. 173-186

Fidel Castro had survived with a small force of guerrilla fighters in the Sierra Maestra for over a year. Isolated from the rest of the island, sustaining few casualties and supported by the urban underground of the M-26-7, Fidel was creating a well-disciplined group of guerrillas and gaining the backing of the area's population. His mere presence in the Sierra Maestra contributed to his popularity with the people. Urban underground fighters were unknown precisely because of the secret nature of their activities, and after the deaths of Frank País and José Antonio Echeverría, Fidel was the only important insurrectionary leader, urban or otherwise, left in Cuba. Militarily, he had demonstrated that one could wage guerrilla warfare in the mountains against a regular army; and in so doing he had created a sanctuary for the urban cadres, a place where they could continue the struggle rather than perish in the cities.

The DR's insistence upon conducting urban operations in accordance with the theory of' "hitting at the top" did not altogether disappear from the minds of' some of the leaders, especially Faure Chomón. But it was evident by late 1957 that a change in approach was as urgently needed. The organization had probably suffered more than any other in the urban struggle. It was the only movement to have lost all its leaders in a period of one month--the tragic weeks of March and April 1957. The long perparatory period before the attack on the Presidential Palace, the street demonstrations, acts of terrorism and direct confrontations with the police--all of which helped to develop a group of hard-core militants--also damaged the organization. The police had learned many of the cadre members' names and sought them out with pictures after the palace attack. The DR had to initiate a campaign for new recruits and to try to reinstitute the cell structure of the organization.

After the attack on the palace and the Humboldt No. 7 killings, the executive council was reorganized. The new group included Primitivo Lima, Andrés Silva, Osmel Francis and Mary Pumpido among the voting professionals. The workers were represented by Pedro Martínez, Orlando Blanco and Jorge Martín, who were leaders of action and sabotage cells and also organizers within the labor movement. The council also included a women's section represented by Fructuoso Rodríguez's widow, Marta Jiménez.

Eloy Gutiérrez Menoyo--the brother of Carlos, who had led the commando group in the palace attack--was appointed chief of action in Havana. Under Eloy's leadership a new group of' urban cadre members emerged to replace their dead compañeros, among them: Guillermo Jiménez, Angel Quevedo, Julio Fernández, Héctor Terry, Enrique Zamorano, Domingo Pérez, Jorge ("Mago") Robreño, and Mario ("Reguerita") Reguera.

In Las Villas province, Ramón Pando, president of the Student Federation of the School of Commerce at Las Villas University, became the provincial secretary general of the DR. With Enrique Villegas and Piro Abreu active throughout the province, the DR movement acquired a new impetus in central Cuba. Meanwhile, in Camagüey other militants emerged as important members of the urban organization, among them: Antonio ("Tony") Bastida, Florencio González, Adolfo Mora and Sergio Valle.

The DR recovered rapidly from its defeat and extended its cells into the various sectors of the population reaching even well-to-do students at the Catholic Unversity of Villanova, where Jesús "Paulino" Barreiro represented the DR. Although few of these students were willing to cooperate, those who did help were instrumental in creating the Fourth Guerrilla Front in Pinar del Rio province. West of Havana, in late 1958.

The movement also organized overseas. With funds raised among exiles in Miami and other cities in the United States, the DR sent delegates to various Latin American countries. Venezuelan leader, Romulo Betancourt, José Figueres of Costa Rica and Juan José Arévalo of Guatemala aided the DR by publicly supporting the insurrection. Results of this support were impressive, opening new contacts throughout the area and helping in the formation of delegations in Chile and in Caracas, Venezuela, following the fall of dictator Pérez Jiménez in early 1958. Delegations also existed in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Montevideo. Uruguay; Lima, Peru; Bogotá, Colombia; San José, Costa Rica: and in Panama, El Salvador and Mexico. In the United States there were delegations in New York, Chicago, New Orleans, Tampa, Jacksonville and Miami. The Nassau delegation was as able to extend its contacts throughout the Bahamas and, through the members of this important delegation. The DR developed its system for infiltrating people into Cuba, for conveying contraband arms, and for receiving information on the activities of the urban underground.

One of the important tasks of the delegations was to conduct public campaigns to discredit Batista's regime and to present the case for the insurrection. As the tempo of these activities increased, U.S. authorities began to pay more attention to Cuban exiles in the Florida area. Federal authorities sometimes succeeded in blocking arms shipments to Cuba; more often they were unsuccessful.

Under the leadership of Luis Blanca, Héctor Rosales, Carlos "Chino" Figueredo and Armando Fleites, the DR created a chain of' arms depots that extended from New York City to New Orleans and from there to Miami. Arms were never concentrated in a specific place, and sites where arms were gathered were usually outside the Spanish-speaking colonies. When a shipment left, several cars and trucks were used along the route, and deliveries were seldom made at the same place twice. False reports circulated throughout the exile colony to confuse the authorities. However, the general feeling among DR militants was that U.S. authorities were simply looking the other way as much as they possibly could.

The DR's Decision to Fight Guerrilla War

In September, Eloy Gutiérrez Menoyo, the DR's chief of action in Havana, arrived in Miami to discuss future strategy with Chomón, Cubela and Armando Fleites. The latter, a young physician and DR leader in Las Villas province, agreed with Gutiérrez Menoyo on the need to adopt a guerrilla strategy counter to the "hit at the top" tactic. Chomón still favored the direct action tactic, but agreed that the DR should change its approach and open a guerrilla front in Cuba. Eloy Gutiérrez Menoyo returned to Havana and left the capital for the Escambray Mountains, reaching that area in mid-October. Menoyo's task was to inspect the area and to set up a guerrilla group; establish the necessary contacts with DR leaders in the surrounding towns and cities, and prepare the ground for the arrival of a larger group of' DR militants. On November 10, 1957 the guerrillas issued their first internal order declaring that a second national guerrilla front had been crcated and instructing the guerrillas to be loyal to the country, to keep all secrets of war, never to abandon their weapons, and to denounce deserters and traitors. In January 1958, various small arms shipments arrived in Cuba and were rapidly distributed throughout the various action cells, and some were transported to the Escambray Mountains. César Páez and Juan Figueroa, students who were born in Las Villas province, arrived in Havana and went to their native province to make contacts for future guerrilla actions. Pedro Martínez Brito, veteran of the Radio Reloj operation in 1957, infiltrated to Havana from Miami to acquaint DR cells of forthcoming operations against Batista. Meanwhile, Enrique Villegas, DR leader in the city of Sancti-Spiritus, in Las Villas, was shot to death by the army while he was taking supplies to Menoyo's guerrilla group. The movement rapidly gathered military information on government troops in Las Villas province, and on forces concentrated in posts close to the mountains.

On January 28, 1958, José Martí's birthday, the DR held a mass rally at Miami's Bayfront Park, scene of many such gatherings by Cuban exiles. At that meeting, it was announced that Cuba would soon be in flames, and other pledges of future action were issued. Rumors of an impending invasion of Cuba circulated throughout the exile colony. During the first week of February, the DR underground was placed on the alert, and various cells prepared to go into diversionary actions against the government.

In the final hours before the expedition, reports circulated in the exile colony about an encounter between an army patrol and guerrillas at Escambray. Fearing that these guerrillas were Menoyo's, and that Batista would mobilize the army to stop another Castro-like invasion, the DR gave the plan for an expedition its final touches.

The Expedition

In Miami, the students had established contact with an American named Alton Sweeting, captain of a pleasure yacht, the "Thor II," licensed in New York. Captain Sweeting agreed to take the expedition to a point near the northern coast of Cuba. From there a rendezvous ship was to transport the expeditionaries to the mainland, while Captain Sweeting's yacht would be refueled for the trip back to Miami.

A few hours before departure, the authorities raided several places where students usually gathered around Miami. They failed to make any arrests, but they did succeed in letting everyone know that they had to move immediately. To confuse the authorities, the expeditionaries selected the most conspicuous place of departure, the Miami River. There, very close to the MacArthur Causeway which links Miami with Miami Beach, the Cubans gathered and boarded the "Thor II." renamed "Escapade." The decision was made to carry five tons of arms, thus reducing the number of expeditionaries to 15 men and one woman (Esther Martín). With its cargo the "Escapade" quietly cruised out of Miami.

The expedition was as a complete success, and coordination between the exiles and the urban cadres was excellent. Captain Sweeting's cruiser anchored at Raccoon Cay off the northern coast of Cuba, and the expeditionaries \Acre transported further by a fishing boat, the "San Rafael." From the moment "Escapade" touched Raccoon Cay, Gustavo ("Tavo") Machin'' was responsible for the operation. Close to the coast they boarded a third small craft, the "Yaloven," which carried men and supplies to the fishing village of Santa Rita, close to the port of Nuevitas, in Camaguey province. On February 8, 1958,12 the DR's small expeditionary force landed and rapidly moved inland toward the capital of' Camaguey province where they remained hidden for a day, in groups of two and three at various underground headquarters.

The expedition's cargo was at this point divided between arms to he transported to the DR's underground in Havana, and arms suitable for mountain fighting. Antonio ("Tony") Bastida, manager of a transport fleet of' trucks, was in charge of delivering the arms in Havana. The urban underground received 33 Thompsons, a .50 caliber machine gun, two .55 caliber anti-tank rifles, one shotgun, two .30 caliber machine guns, one M-3, two M-1s, a Winchester rifle, one Browning automatic rifle, 300 rounds of ammunition for the anti-tank rifles, 2,000 capsules (30.06mm) and ammunition for .45 caliber pistols, and hand grenades. The would-be guerrilla fighters carried 50 Italian carbines, two "Stern" submachine guns, one Thompson, two M-3s, two Springfield rifles, one Garand rifle, one M-1, five semi-automatic Remington rifles with telescopic sights, and 20,000 rounds of ammunition of various calibers.

The route leading from Camaguey to the Banao area in the Escambray Mountains (190 kilometers) had been traced by urban cadres. All along the \Nay cadre members met the expeditionaries to render reports on the area they were still to cover, and to pinpoint army positions. The urban cadre members-among them Ramon Pando and Piro Abreu, student leaders in Las Villas province-took supplies to the expeditionaries and sometimes added men to the group. Dr. Manuel Sori Marin was also very helpful in finding means of transportation for the expeditionaries.

On February 13, the expeditionaries reached the Banao area in the subregion of the Trinidad-Sancti-Spiritus mountains, to the southeast of Santa Clara, Las Villas' capital, and the next day the group reached the Cangalito hills- At 7 AM on February 15, they arrived at Cacahual, a small guerrilla camp flanked by two hills, where Gutierrez Menoyo, William Morgan and other guerrillas awaited the group. With Castro's experience at Alegria de Pio in mind, the expeditionaries place two observers on the hills surrounding Cacahual. Two days later, the observers alerted the camp to five army scouts approaching Cacahual~ an ambush disposed of' three of the five soldiers, but the rest escaped. Fearing the arrival of' army reinforceincrits the expeditionarics broke camp.

At this point there were 29 guerrillas marching in two separate groups. Fourteen guerrillas followed an old peasant guide named Cadenas, among them \Acre Rolando Cubela, Gustavo ("Tavo") Machin, Dario Pedrosa, Alberto Mora and Efren Mur. The other group included, among others, Eduardo Garcia Lavandero, Rodriguez Loeches, Chomon, Luis Blanca, Armando Fleites, Alberto Blanco, Menoyo, Ivan Rodriguez, Ramon Pando, Oscar Ruiz and William Morgan.

The second group of guerrillas marched toward the west and into the mountain chain called Guamuhaya. On February 19, the guerrillas camped at a place where they were to meet the rest of' the expeditionaries. Some of the DR men were to separate from the main group and return to the cities to wage urban guerrilla warfare. Ramon Pando and Alberto Blanco decided not to wait for the rest and were led out of' the mountains by Leonardo Bombino and a guide named Faustinito. They "ere intercepted by an army patrol, and Ramon Pando was captured, but the others managed to escape. Pando was later assassinated by order of army Lieutenant Froilan Perez. I I

The two groups reunited at the Michelena forests, and the remaining 27 men tried to escape the area and tile pursuing army. They marched until 4 PM on February 19, when they camped at the forest of' "La Diana." Soon army troops approached along a path in the forest: at 4:45 PM the DR combatants ambushed them, in a 15-minute encounter killing 14 and wounding 16 soldiers." For the next 13 hours the guerrillas, led by Leonardo Bombino, marched along ravines until they managed to escape from the army. On February 24, safe from the army's pursuit, the DR leaders A rote a manifesto which they signed on the 25th.

The Manifesto of Escambray

The DR's manifesto set forth the objectives of the struggle by announcing that its strategy would be to conduct simultaneous urban and rural guerrilla A warfare against Batista. The DR would fight for the re-establishment of the Constitution of 1940, and to open the way for a social revolution. Revolutionary unity was essential for the victory of the insurrection, and the DR proposed that a "party of the revolution" be organized after Batista's overthrow. That party would gather "the real fighters who daily risk their lives fighting the dictatorship," and would guarantee that the constitution and the laws were fulfilled. The need for violence was reaffirmed, for peace could only come through the waging of war. The pillars of the future revolution were to be education, administrative honesty, agrarian reform and industrialization. Internationally, the DR supported the formation of a federation of' Caribbean republics, an initial step toward the organization of a confederation of American republics.

The insurrectionary struggle against Batista, maintained the DR, was but the continuation of the country's historical struggle for independence since the nineteenth century. the DR viewed the insurrection as inspired by Jose Marti's ideas, the nationalism of Antonio ("Tony") Guiteras and the democratic principles of Jose Antonio Echeverria. The DR's fight was not only against Batista's regime, but also against -those who only a few years ago supported the Nazis on conquered land of Europe," a direct reference to the Communists, who -today are playing Batista's game as vulgar puppets." The caste of old and young politicians would be swept away by the insurrection as a fundamental requisite of social therapy.

On February 27, the guerrillas reached the mountains to the south of Santa Clara, close to the cities of Placetas, Cabaiguan, Santa Clara and Guayos. At a peak called Tres Cruces, Chomon, Alberto Blanco, Rosendo Yero, Rodriguez Loeches, Garcia Lavandero and Luis Blanca began their journey back into the urban struggle. They were led by the peasant guide Bombino and another peasant named Raul Rosa.

Although the DR had suffered severe casualties in the urban struggle, the theory of "hitting at the top" had not been discarded completely. Faure Chomon, Rodriguez Loeches and Eduardo Garcia Lavandero continued to urge the DR to strike at the dictator. These men had been molded in the urban insurrection, men from the cities, whose insurrectionary outlook was directly connected with struggle in the center of power, Havana.

Consequently, when Rodriguez Loeches left his companeros to seek help in the cities close to the Escambray Mountains, he felt "a sense of relief and security," since as an urban fighter he felt "secure in my own environment." In Sancti-Spiritus, Loeches established contact with Piro Abreu through a lawyer, Emilio Morata. Abreu provided the insurrectionists with a car and with an experienced driver, Carlos Brunet. On the evening of March 3, the group met at Fomentos with plans to reach the city of Placetas, and then move by bus to Havana.

As their car approached the city of' Placetas on the Central Highway, an army jeep and a car from the Servicio de Inteligencia Militar (SIM) closed the road to check on all cars. The DR militants sped through the SIM's barricade as the army's car sped after them. Suddenly, Brunet stopped the car; as the soldiers stepped out of theirs, Brunet started the car again and the SIM agents opened fire. The men succeeded in escaping Placetas, heading east toward the city of Cabaiguan. Along the way, the driver refused to continue what he viewed as a suicide mission; the car was stopped and Brunet and Rosendo Yero stayed behind while Alberto Blanco took the driver's seat.

In minutes, the car approached the city of Cabaiguan where an army patrol was waiting, signaling for them to stop. The soldiers "had all kind of weapons," and as Blanco sped through the army's barricade "shots rang out," and "pieces of glasses flew all over."" Garcia Lavandero fired his M-3 rifle behind the driver while Chomon, fired from the other window as the car went through the army's blockade and into the city. Miraculously, they escaped with Garcia Lavandero suffering only a minor wound in the shoulder. After a daring escape from Cabaiguan and several days of hiding with peasants, the group established contact with the urban underground again and reached Havana. Despite their brush with death they "decidedly felt more secure in the llano (plain)."" Once in Havana, Chomon, met with Faustino P6rez to discuss the feasibility of a general strike.

The DR Guerrilla Front

As the student manifesto circulated throughout the island, the new guerrilla front gained importance. The Escambray Mountains were an excellent location for guerrilla warfare. The Trinidad-Sancti-Spiritus subregion of the mountain range was the second largest coffee-producing area on the island. The valleys surrounding Escambray produced good crops of rice, beans and vegetables, guaranteeing the guerrillas a constant supply of food. The large coffee plantations and cattle ranches also guaranteed a steady income through revolutionary taxes imposed during the campaign. The central Cuba location guaranteed that many urban fighters could reach the Escambray Mountains and participate in rural guerrilla warfare. To the southwest was the city of Cienfuegos, long a bastion of resistance to Batista. From Cienfuegos many young men joined the guerrillas, and intelligence reports about army movements "ere gathered there and sent to the Escambray. The various sugar mills in the province, the DR's previous involvement with the sugar workers in Las Villas province, and the militancy of DR urban cadres in cities and towns close to the mountains was a factor of great importance in the stabilization of the DR's guerrilla front.

The number of DR guerrillas increased steadily. Many experienced urban fighters who had been identified by the regime's forces went to the mountains for the duration of the insurrection. Others went to the mountains but returned to the cities, some because the life of a rural guerrilla was too devoid of "excitement," others because they could not work "ell in groups of 20 or 30 and their individualism was too great a risk to the discipline which must exist in a guerrilla unit. Many of these fighters died in encounters with Batista's police. The DR's chief of action, Eduardo Garcia Lavandero, was killed together with Pedro Martinez Brito during the summer of 1958; Jose Rodriguez Vedo, Raul Gonzalez Sanchez, Ramon Gonzalez Coro and Mario ("Rcguerita") Reguera also died fighting the dictatorship in the cities.

In the Escambray Mountains, the students received their baptism of' fire in encounters with the army at Fomento, Saltillo, Hanabanilla, Guinia de Miranda and the two battles of Pedrero, during the spring and summer of 1958. They also learned to walk in jungles, to get their bearings in the area and to prepare ambushes, where their collective effort was paramount. The guerrilla's skills eventually led the army to follow the example of their comrades in the Sierra Maestra. The regular soldiers simply refused to enter the mountains.

By the beginning of the summer, the DR controlled the Escambray Mountains. As their power over the area grew, their responsibilities increased and the DR organized a civil administration. A comison campesina led by Juan Miranda, a peasant, was created and enlisted the support of most peasants in the mountains. Under the direction of Pedro Martinez Larrinaga, a sugar worker, a population census was taken in the area for the first time in the country's history. More than 50 schools were built, and all were functioning regularly by the end of the year. An educational unit administered by Professor Gilberto Mediavilla was formed-Unidad Educacional Joe Westbrookwith graduate students in charge of programming and student teachers at all levels of instruction in the system. There was a department of Justice-Division Legal Menelao Mora-under the supervision of Dr. Humberto J. Gomez a criminal lawyer and an officer in the DR guerrilla army. By the end of the insurrection the DR had created a department of public works and was building roads throughout the marginal areas of the Sierra del Escambray. Workers' brigades were organized to help in such endeavors as the maintenance of the three gun factories, and the schools, roads and hospitals.

The activities of the committee of the census and that of the campesinos "ere coordinated to create a system of' cattle distribution among the inhabitants of Escambray and adjacent territories under the DR's control. A cattic-breeding center was formed under the direction of' professional veterinarians and students of the veterinary school from Havana University . The insurgents built two peasant homes for the elderly, and named them after Juan Pedro Carbo Servia The Pepe Wanguemert Medical Division at the town of' Guinia de Miranda extended medical aid throughout the mountains. Towards December 1958 the service had 15 field hospitals and ten ambulances, and treated more than 400 cases a month. Special attention was given to children's diseases, from intestinal parasites to leprosy. Cases of malnutrition were common; it was estimated that three out of five infants died before reaching the age of two. Before these rather primitive facilities were established, pregnant women received no prenatal care, but instead went to the local "nurse," who was a sort of witchdoctor. Dentists at field hospitals worked without respite in eight-hour shifts, 24 hours a day. Although many of the peasant families had brothers, cousins and other relatives in the Rural Guards, the location of the guerrilla hospitals were never revealed to the army. There were even times when regular soldiers, dressed in civilian clothes and accompanied by friends of the guerrillas, went to these medical centers for aid. There seems to be no doubt that through these activities the guerrillas established an excellent relationship with the rural population, and that the harsh realization of the poverty of the peasants served to radicalize the students further.

There were also problems. The guerrillas tried to organize two agricultural cooperatives, but the plan failed because the peasants refused to abandon their own plots of land or even to discuss collective farming. The DR distributed land to peasants in the marginal areas of the Escambray Mountains, granting immediate title to peasants who requested land and who showed a desire to work. A department of agricultural affairs supervised the DR's agrarian reform and also offered technical advice in an attempt to teach the new proprietors methods of irrigation and the use of fertilizers. However, very seldom did the new owners folio" the suggestions of the technicians, and generally they made fun of those who tried to teach them how to plant certain crops. Some students tried to conduct study groups to improve family relations, in an attempt to decrease the machista attitude of the peasant men towards their women. The project was discarded when no men attended the study groups, and one of the volunteers for the project alertewd his companeros that the peasants were taking their advice as an insult. The new generation of Cuban insurrectionists was learning the social values of the peasants and their religious dogmas; not only were they being confronted with all their problems at once, but also with the realization that the peasants were quite a conservative group. The students learned to differentiate theory from practice, and to understand the complexity of problems involved in a seemingly easy family project which the students conceived as beneficial to the peasants, but which the latter viewed as prejudicial to their own traditions.

The DR established a good communication system. It was based upon a telephone network which covered about 20 square kilometers, linking advance posts with headquarters. Maintenance was handled by a group of technicians of the Cuban Telephone Company, who left the urban underground to join the guerrillas in Escambray. The DR had two radio stations, and by the fall of 1958 these were linked with mobile units that reported the campaign leading to the battle of Santa Clara.

BY mid-August 1958 the regular army would not even approach the marginal areas of the Escambray Mountains. However, during the fall of 1958, the army made an attempt to cut the guerrilla front in half by advancing simultaneously from the city of Cienfuegos towards the north, and from Santa Clara to the south. The army's sudden decision to fight the guerrillas was probably due to the arrival of Battalion No. 11, whose chief, Colonel Angel Sanchez Mosquera, was transferred from Oriente to Las Villas province. In theory the main objective was to isolate the guerrillas who had been operating in the western sector of the mountains and had attacked various army posts in the area, moving too close to the city of Cienfuegos. However, after two weeks of futile marching the army withdrew, leaving a few dead, some wounded, and plenty of' arms and ammunition. This brief and useless operation allowed the guerrillas to capture dozens of automatic rifles, substantial amounts of ammunition, secret codes and even a tank.

In September 1958 approximately 800 guerrillas were operating in Escambray, with about 150 recruits in training and 50 messengers taken from among the youth in the area. As government persecution increased in the cities more urban militants went to the mountains. It was difficult to get to the Sierra Maestra or to the Sierra Cristal, but it "as relatively easy to reach the Escambray Mountains. Some activists of the M-26-7 also took refuge there because the rebel army in the Sierra Maestra would accept only a select number into the ranks of the guerrillas. Tile Escambray forces were larger, but Castro's 300 fighters had the advantage of' being united under one command, his. Castro would not allow any violation of the guerrilla code to threaten the group's unity. His policy was to limit the guerrilla fighters to a manageable number.

Internal Division

In July 1958 Faure Chomon returned to the Escambray Mountains to find a conflict between Rolando Cubela and Eloy Gutierrez Menoyo over the right of leadership,. Menoyo refused to accept Cubela as head, of' the guerrilla fighters, and he also rejected Chomon's insistence on "hitting at the top," as a useless spilling of blood. Menoyo protested sending arms I to the urban underground, claiming that all the arms were needed by the rural guerrillas.

The leadership conflict in the mountains had a number of roots. One was that Menoyo's membership in the DR dated back to 1957, and although he had done a tremendous amount of organizational work as chief of action in Havana, Cubela was a founding member of the organization, and within the DR's tradition he, not Menoyo, had the right to the top position in the Escambray Mountains. Menoyo's claim to leadership was based on the fact that he had been the first DR guerrilla to reach the mountains. The organization found by the DR expeditionaries upon their arrival in central Cuba had been created by Menoyo. The conditions for the establishment of a guerrilla front, the contacts with the peasantry, the selection of sites for guerrilla camps, the knowledge of the terrain, and the contacts with the DR

cadres in surrounding urban areas were all the product of Menoyo's dedicated work. Menoyo's claim clashed with Cubela's long standing as a DR leader, and with Chomon's leadership as the secretary general of the movement. But if experience as a guerrilla fighter had been considered as the prerequisite for leadership, then Menoyo, not Chomon, had the right to lead the DR's new phase of struggle.

The solution was simple: Faure Chomon, stayed in the mountains as the secretary general of the DR, and I Rolando Cubela was reconized as the military leader of the DR. The executive committee of the DR supported Chomon's position, and Menoyo announced that he was leaving the organization to create his own group of guerrilla fighters. Chomon, then repeated the same charge that had been passed down after the palace attack, when Jorge Valls and Tirso Urdanivia, among

others, were expelled as traitors. Chomon charged Menoyo with treason, proclaimed his expulsion from the DR, and settled down to direct the guerrilla campaign with Cubela.

The division within the DR guerrilla army reflected the absence of the charismatic leadership of Jose Antonio Echeverria. Echeverria had maintained the control of the organization from its inception to the palace attack and his death: second-level leaders like Chomon and Menoyo appear to have inspired less respect on the part of the militants, and were more subject to criticism. The surviving leaders of the DR appear to have completely lacked the unique qualities which characterized Fidel Castro and made him not only an excellent insurgent, but also an astute politician.

The DR had suffered two serious setbacks: the palace attack and the Chomon-Menoyo split. It may be that the palace attack was the product of amateurish planning. but the Chomon-Menoyo split was the result of the mediocrity of the surviving members of the DR.

The Second Front of Escambray

Because of the conflict between leaders, Eloy Gutierrez Menoyo formed the Segundo Frente Nacional del Escambray. At this point he attained the rank of major. William Morgan, 11 a former U.S. Marine, was also a commander and close to Gutierrez Menoyo. Also backing the- Second Front was Max Lesnik, a radio commentator and politician who disliked Chomon and Castro. Other guerrilla fighters, most of whom had an Autentico background, joined the Second Front of Escambray. The main financial backing came from former president Prio, whose contact with Gutierrez Menoyo was Lazaro Artola, an Autentico and an admirer of the former president.

This guerrilla group was characterized by its lack of bureaucracy and by its highly mobile units. Its general staff included Majors Armando Fleites, William Morgan, Lazaro Artola, Alfredo Pena, Genaro Arroyo, Jesus Carrera and Gutierrez Menoyo as chief."

The guerrilla army of the Second Front performed quite well during the remaining months of the insurrection. It had various encounters with the regular army, inflicting 37 casualties at La Diana. At Charco Azul, 30 soldiers were killed, and in the Rio Negro commando raid, 40 Rural Guards were shot to death and over 100 wounded. The encounters of Guanayara, Manantiales, Dos Became Jibacoa, San Blas, Hanabanilla, the second attack against the Rio Negro army post, and the encounters of Soledad, Guaos and La Moza helped to raise the prestige of the organization, and to consolidate its territory 1.39

Towards the end of the insurrection, while "Che" Guevara and the DR encircled Santa Clara, Major Gutierrez Menoyo's army attacked the regular trrops at Topes de Collantes, and fought the regular army at Camanayagua, Manicaragua, Barajagua, San Fernando de los Camarones, Guaos, Hormiguero and El Hoyo until the army sought refuge inside the city of Cienfuegos. But the approximately 300 guerrillas under his command did not have a definite ideology, nor was the group a disciplined political organization. Its sole purpose was to overthrow Batista.

The division within the ranks of the DR had come at a critical time. Eight hundred guerrillas united under a single command could have created havoc with the regular army; instead, the divisiveness weakened the DR. The guerrilla movement remained divided in the Escambray Mountains, and was not to unite even after "Che" Guevara's arrival in I-as Villas province in October 1958. Gutierrez Menoyo did not change his position toward Chomon Chomon continued to charge Menoyo with treason; and "Che" took Chomon's side but paid attention to his main task: to defeat the regular army.

Castro did not need to worry about internal divisions over military and political strategy. Although the M-26-7 militants complained of' Castro's dictatorial attitude, harsh discipline in its ranks and absolute centralization of command, the M-26-7 was monolithic by the end of 1958. This was the most important factor in the future course of the insurretion; for in insurrections, discipline is of paramount importance.

END OF POST Ref; Cuban Insurrection 1974

Edited by William Plumlee

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

post-6199-1233805965_thumb.jpg

(Sorry for the early submission. Gonna be away for a few days.)

A League of Their Own:

A Look Inside the Christian Defense League

By D. Boylan*

The United States during the 1950s experienced an unparalleled growth of extremist organizations from the John Birch Society on the right to the Fair Play for Cuba Committee on the left. The heating up of the Cold War, the Supreme Court's decision to end segregation in 1954, and the establishment of a Communist Cuba in 1959 spurred this growth. One of the lesser known but more influential right wing fringe organizations that were formed during this period was the Christian Defense League (CDL). The CDL managed to meld anti-communism, anti-Semitism, anti-Castro activities, and a hatred of the "liberal" policies of the Kennedy Administration into a cohesive whole. It is in this context that the CDL will be examined.

The driving forces behind the rise of the CDL were Reverend Wesley A. Swift and Colonel William Potter Gale. It seemed inevitable that they would gravitate toward each other. Their religious beliefs were similar: both were adherents of what is now called Christian Identity, an updated version of the earlier British Israelite Movement that originated in the late nineteenth century. Christian Identity adherents believe that those of Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, Nordic, or Aryan origin were the true Israelites, "the sons of Adam", and that those of Jewish origin were "the sons of Satan."[1]

The origin of the Christian Defense League is clouded. Some accounts credit its founding to the Reverend Swift[2], while Colonel Gale gives credit to Reverend San Jacinto Capt[3]. Capt, a Baptist minister, was one of the early pioneers in the Identity Movement.[4] Gale says "the idea of the Christian Defense League was entirely that of Reverend San Jacinto Capt. He proposed it to me [Col. Gale] who prepared the initial material in the form of a letter entitled, "The NAACP represents the negro; the ADL represents the Jews; who represents YOU — the white Christian?"[5]

This article is from Time Magazine in either 1952 or 1956, I lost the exact date...

Rev. Gerald L K Smith relied on Wesley K. Swift to be his bodyguard and was closely associated

with these characters from the Christian Defense League...

Quoting the Time Magazine article...

At a luncheon in Pasadena last week, Mrs. Mildred Younger, 33, a comely GOPolitician, faced State Senator Jack B. Tenney, 56, whose political record is far from comely. Tenney represents the big 38th District (which takes in Los Angeles County, with more than 4,000,000 people). He was chairman of the legislature's McCarthyite Red-hunting committee and once wrote a Christian Nationalist tract, Zionist Network. Mrs. Younger has decided to run against him.

According to luncheon protocol no candidate could mention another, but Millie Younger, whose brains and looks delighted the 1952 Republican Convention (TIME, July 21, 1952), felt she had to challenge Tenney's bland assertion that "I have never been connected in any way with Gerald L. K. Smith." As the lunch ended, she went up to Tenney, snapped: "I'm disgusted with you." Replied Tenney: "Likewise."

Younger: Do you mean to say you have no connection with Gerald L. K. Smith?

Tenney: That's right.

Younger: Wasn't your picture on the cover of The Cross & the Flag last month?

Tenney: Yes. Wonderful, wasn't it?

Younger: Isn't that Gerald L. K. Smith's publication?

Tenney: I believe so.

Younger: But you still have no connection with him?

Tenney: That's right.

Younger: Weren't you a candidate for the vice presidency [of the U.S.] on the Christian Nationalist Party ticket?

Tenney: I ran with Douglas MacArthur.*

Younger: But wasn't it the C.N.P.?

Tenney: I don't know; I think so.

Younger: You don't know! Well, Gerald L. K. Smith is executive secretary of that party, just in case you didn't know.

Tenney: Well, Gerald L. K. Smith is a fine American. When this is all over, it will have been a lot of fun. [Exit Tenney.]

When it's all over, Tenney's long political career may well be, too. California observers expect the race to be close, believe that Mrs. Younger has at this moment a lead.

Here is a link to a 53 page research report on GLK Smith written about his 20-year list of sordid activities

from 1933-1953 compiled by the American Jewish Congress. Everyone knew what Smith would probably be up

to, but no one could effectively control his activities, his associations or his ultimate plans to kill JFK. Smith

snuffed Huey Long and he also had JFK killed. I will firmly and convincingly believe this until the end of my days.

He was the original neo-Nazi, joined the Nazi inspired Silver Shirts of Wm. Dudley Pelley, and was a lifelong anti-Semite

and racist like Dr. Revilo P. Oliver and he conspired with Senator Willis Robertson of Louisiana, Pat Robertson's father,

to murder, Senator Huey Long, the father of the eventual Senator from Louisiana Russell B. Long in 1935. Smith was one

despicable miscreant and would resort to anything in order to advance his cause and to eliminate his opponents.

Smith's hero was Gen. Douglas MacArthur whom he nominated for the Christian Nationalist Party ticket along with Jack

Tunney of California as his VP running mate. Both MacArthur and Smith appear in "The Manchurian Candidate".

Smith only in the novel where he and Father Charles Coughlin are named explicitly, and MacArthur only in the movie.

I can not figure out who put MacArthur and Lincoln in the movie when they were not even in the novel except as

Benjamin K. Arthur near the end of the movie. Can you?

Frank Sinatra opposed Smith's efforts to put the Hollywood Seven into jail for allegedly writing pro-Communist

movie scripts. Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall among others joined Sinatra in fighting Smith and his Nazi pals.

http://www.ajcarchives.org/AJC_DATA/Files/THRXX4.PDF

May those of GLK Smith's ilk lie fallow in their graves until the end of time.

Here is the link to the photo of GLK Smith in the late 1950's which I maintain looks quite a bit like David Ferrie,

and Richard Giesbrecht could not be blamed for confusing the photo of Ferrie with this image of GLK Smith.

The concept of Ferrie being at Winnipeg for the Giesbrecht Incident has been thoroughly debunked by now

since Ferrie could not even come close to qualifying to fly a DC-8, did not wear horn-rimmed glasses, but

Smith did. Ferrie had no eyebrows at all and was in fact attending the funeral of his uncle in Cleveland, Ohio

hundreds of miles away at the time of the Giesbrecht Incident. Peter Whitmey continues to hold to his erroneous

conclusions to the contrary regarding Ferrie's presence in Winnipeg. The term "Annie" overheard by Giebrecht

was to Anastase Vonsiatsky not to "Auntie" a term Peter claims is used by homesexuals like Ferrie. How Whitmey

can even claim to know type of information is totally beyond me. Perhaps he made that up, like much of what

he concocted about the Giesbrecht Winnipeg Airport Incident in order to pretend to be more knowledgable

than he really is. Kinda sad really. He once even stated that Dick Russell was in agreement with him that

Harold Isaacs, an MIT professor would have been hired to dispose of an incriminating motor vehicle. In fact

Dr. Jerry Rose supported the thesis in writing that it was more likely someone involved with The Isaac's Detective

Agency cited by John Newman in Oswald and the CIA. Dick Russell categorically denied that he agreed with

Whitmey about Harold Isaacs' role in the Winnipeg Airport Incident or anything else for that matter.

http://www.joincalifornia.com/candidate_pic.php?id=573

Here are some of the better known photos of David Ferrie. One of which might have appeared in the newspaper read by Giesbrecht.

Remember, that Ferrie's presence in Winnipeg in Feb. 1964 has been thoroughly discredited, I am merely trying to show that Giesbrecht

could have made an honest mistake when he saw Ferrie's photo and compared it to his mind's eye recollection of the suspect

at The Winnipeg Airport Incicdent. Ferrie was in Cleveland, Ohio at an uncle's funeral at the exact time of this incident in Winnipeg

several hundred miles away. Almost a thousand miles in fact.

http://www.jfk-online.com/jgphotosdf.html

You have to admit, it would be very easy to confuse these 2 sets of images in your mind...

These are the only 2 known mug shot images of Ferrie, one of which was quite likely published in The Winnipeg Free Press.

gsmith.JPG

ferriemugsm.jpg

ferriemug2.jpg

Here is a review of the Jeansonne book Ministers of Hate from David Margolis' site:

Gerald L.K. Smith Revisited

xxxx, racist, demagogue – the voice of a generation.

Gerald L.K. Smith: Minister of Hate

by Glen Jeansonne

Gerald L.K. Smith

This biography, reprinted ten years after its first publication, is a useful portrait of a nasty fellow. During his long career as a “nationalist,” anti-Communist, anti-Jewish, pro-Christian, “America first” agitator and propagandist, Gerald L.K. Smith was a household name in America — and in some circles quite an influential one.

Nasty though he was, Smith’s life also serves as a reminder that a hate-monger can be, in private, a very kindly, even admirable fellow. Smith was personally courageous, extraordinarily energetic and totally sincere, as well as paranoid, shrilly racist and a xxxx — a disseminator of total fabrications that he apparently believed with full sincerity as soon as he invented them.

Born in 1898 in rural Wisconsin to hard-working religious parents, Smith chose the Christian ministry as his career at age 12 and never looked back. Much of his fame and influence came as a consequence of his abilities as a public speaker. He was probably the best orator and “rabble-rouser” in American history; H.L. Mencken, who had heard both, judged him superior even to the silver-tongued William Jennings Bryan.

Smith got his start in politics as a member of Louisiana Governor Huey Long’s administration. When Long, whom he loved and admired, was assassinated in 1935, Smith’s power base fell apart. He believed that Franklin Roosevelt was behind the assassination, in order to keep Long from running for president in 1936, and he forever after hated FDR.

After Roosevelt’s reelection in 1936, Smith created his own movement, the Committee of One Million, preaching that the United States was in imminent danger of a Communist revolution. The warning did not seem so far-fetched during the Depression years, and Smith was endorsed by members of Congress and financially supported by such captains of industry as auto magnate Horace Dodge.

Energetic and prolific — a true American success story — Smith raised considerable sums of money through radio talks, direct mail campaigns, book distribution, and personal appearances. (We are lucky that he did not have the sort of long-term organizational talents that build and solidify mass movements.)

All of Smith’s preachments were seasoned with a large dollop of paranoia and demagoguery. He believed, for example, that the Communists were plotting to seal off Manhattan Island by dynamiting its bridges and tunnels, and he circulated a spurious genealogy “tracing” Franklin Roosevelt’s “Jewish” ancestry. An ardent isolationist, he insisted that World War II was being fought only to protect European Jews and to preserve the British Empire.

By 1942 he was blaming the Jews for his failure to win the Republican nomination for Senator in Michigan. In 1943 he created the America First Party in order to “save” white, Christian America. Jesus, he claimed, was not a Jew but a blue-eyed blond who “bore no resemblance whatever to the modern hook-nose shopkeeper, money changer, brothel owner and whiskey peddler.” Hitler, he believed, was being persecuted by the Jews. Six million Jews murdered? Nonsense — they had been illegally admitted to the United States to keep Roosevelt in power. As his anti-Semitism became more shrill, Smith alienated even those mainstream figures who had once supported him.

Nonetheless, he couldn’t understand why, in 1944, no serious candidate for president wanted his support; in fact, each one repudiated it. In 1948, repudiated even by the States’ Rights “Dixiecrats, ” he ran as the candidate of the Christian Nationalist Party on a platform that included white supremacy, deporting blacks and Zionist Jews, and constructing ghettoes for those Jews who remained. The government was controlled by Jews, he railed. Eisenhower was a “Swedish Jew. ” Harry S. Truman’s middle name? Solomon. By the time of the Eichmann trial in Israel, he was speculating that Eichmann, who “looks like a Jew to me, ” was collaborating in a Jewish conspiracy to gain money and sympathy for Israel.

In the last 15 years of his life — he died in 1976 — Smith devoted much of his energy to creating a suitable monument to himself. He settled in the Arkansas town of Eureka Springs and funded the building of a 70-foot-high sculpture, “The Christ of the Ozarks,” visible from three states; an amphitheater to which thousands of tourists still come to watch the story of Jesus acted out; and a museum that displays his private collection of 7,000 Bibles.

Glen Jeansonne’s succeeds, by the careful accumulation of details, to provide a portrait of both the public and the private man. Only the figure of Smith’s wife, and the bond between them, remains elusive.

Overviewing Gerald L.K. Smith’s life, it is a relief to see that many ugly ideas that were respectable, or at least widely held, have now been assigned to the margins of American public life. But it is also edifying to remember that the bad old days are not really all that far in the past.

Edited by John Bevilaqua

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...