Jump to content
The Education Forum

Recommended Posts

I thought it might be worth starting a thread on Frank Sturgis.

Frank Fiorini (Sturgis) was born on 9th December, 1924. As a child his family moved to Philadelphia. In 1942 Sturgis joined the United States Marines and during the Second World War he served in the Pacific.

After the war Sturgis attended the Virginia Polytechnic Institute before becoming the manager of the Whitehorse Tavern. He also served in the U.S. Army (1950-52). This was followed by a spell as the owner-manager of Tophat Nightclub in Virginia Beach.

In 1956 Frank Sturgis moved to Cuba. He also spent time in Mexico; Venezuela, Costa Rica; Guatemala, Panama and Honduras. It is believed that during this time Sturgis became a secret agent for the CIA.

Sturgis also became involved in gunrunning to Cuba. On 30th July, 1958, Sturgis was arrested for illegal possession of arms. However, he was released without charge. There is some evidence that in 1959 Sturgis had contact with Lewis McWillie, the manager of the Tropicana Casino.

After Fidel Castro gained control of Cuba, Sturgis formed the Anti-Communist Brigade. In his book, Counter-Revolutionary Agent, Hans Tanner claims that the organization was "being financed by dispossed hotel and gambling owners" who operated under Fulgencio Batista.

In 1959 Sturgis began a relationship with Marita Lorenz, who was also having an affair with Fidel Castro at the time. In January 1960, Sturgis and Lorenz took part in a failed attempt to poison Castro.

Sturgis was also a member of Operation 40. He later explained: "this assassination group (Operation 40) would upon orders, naturally, assassinate either members of the military or the political parties of the foreign country that you were going to infiltrate, and if necessary some of your own members who were suspected of being foreign agents... We were concentrating strictly in Cuba at that particular time. Actually, they were operating out of Mexico, too."

In an article published in the Florida Sun Sentinel on 4th December, 1963, Jim Buchanan claimed that Sturgis had met Lee Harvey Oswald in Miami shortly before the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Buchanan claimed that Oswald had tried to infiltrate the Anti-Communist Brigade. When he was questioned by the FBI about this story, Sturgis claimed that Buchanan had misquoted him regarding his comments about Oswald.

According to a memo sent by L. Patrick Gray, Director of the FBI, to H. L. Haldeman in 1972: "Sources in Miami say he (Sturgis) is now associated with organized crime activities". In his book, Assassination of JFK (1977), Bernard Fensterwald claims that Sturgis was heavily involved with the Mafia, particularly with the criminal activities of Santos Trafficante and Meyer Lansky in Florida.

On 17th June, 1972, Sturgis, Virgilio Gonzalez, Eugenio Martinez, Bernard L. Barker and James W. McCord were arrested while removing electronic devices from the Democratic Party campaign offices.

In January, 1973, Sturgis was convicted of conspiracy, burglary and wiretapping. While in prison Sturgis gave an interview to Andrew St. George. Sturgis told St. George: "I will never leave this jail alive if what we discussed about Watergate does not remain a secret between us. If you attempt to publish what I've told you, I am a dead man."

St. George's article was published in True Magazine in August, 1974. Sturgis claims that the Watergate burglars had been instructed to find a particular document in the Democratic Party offices. This was a "secret memorandum from the Castro government" that included details of CIA covert actions. Sturgis said "that the Castro government suspected the CIA did not tell the whole truth about this operations even to American political leaders".

In 1976 Sturgis gave a series of interviews where he claimed that the assassination of John F. Kennedy had been organized by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. According to Sturgis, Oswald had been working in America as a Cuban agent.

In November, 1977, Marita Lorenz gave an interview to the New York Daily News in which she claimed that a group called Operation 40, that included Sturgis and Oswald, were involved in a conspiracy to kill both Kennedy and Castro.

In August, 1978, Victor Marchetti published an article about the assassination of Kennedy in the liberty Lobby newspaper, Spotlight. In the article Marchetti argued that the House Special Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) had obtained a 1966 CIA memo that revealed Sturgis, E. Howard Hunt and Gerry Patrick Hemming had been involved in the plot to kill Kennedy. Marchetti's article also included a story that Marita Lorenz had provided information on this plot. Later that month Joseph Trento and Jacquie Powers wrote a similar story for the Sunday News Journal.

The HSCA did not publish this CIA memo linking its agents to the assassination of Kennedy. Hunt now decided to take legal action against the Liberty Lobby and in December, 1981, he was awarded $650,000 in damages. Liberty Lobby appealed to the United States Court of Appeals. It was claimed that Hunt's attorney, Ellis Rubin, had offered a clearly erroneous instruction as to the law of defamation. The three-judge panel agreed and the case was retried. This time Mark Lane defended the Liberty Lobby against Hunt's action.

Lane eventually discovered Marchetti’s sources. The main source was William Corson. It also emerged that Marchetti had also consulted James Angleton and Alan J. Weberman before publishing the article. As a result of obtaining of getting depositions from David Atlee Phillips, Richard Helms, G. Gordon Liddy, Stansfield Turner and Marita Lorenz, plus a skillful cross-examination by Lane of E. Howard Hunt, the jury decided in January, 1995, that Marchetti had not been guilty of libel when he suggested that Kennedy had been assassinated by people working for the CIA.

Lorenz also testified before the House Select Committee on Assassinations where she claimed that Sturgis had been one of the gunmen who fired on Kennedy in Dallas. Sturgis testified that he had been engaged in various "adventures" relating to Cuba which he believed to have been organized and financed by the CIA.

Sturgis denied that he had been involved in the assassination of Kennedy. Sturgis testified that he was in Miami, Florida, throughout the day of the assassination, and his testimony was supported by that of his wife and a nephew of his wife. The committee dismissed Lorenz's testimony, as they were unable to find any other evidence to support it.

Frank Sturgis died on 4th December, 1993.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Autumn looks very Cuban. Was her mother from Cuba?

John,

Autumn's mother may prove to be a curious individual. Still working on that one.

That aside and going on memory here, Sturgis also has a son named Ronnie (illegitimate) who would have been about 20 at the time of the assassination. In the early 1950's, Sturgis married a woman named Betty who was shot and killed by a woman the FBI described as a prostitute. I don't think Betty's reputation was much better.

Sturgis then married Juanita in 1956 divorcing her in the early 1960's. I don't have any solid details regarding his relationships after that only rumors which I have not been able to confirm - one of them being the mother of Autumn.

The photo below shows Sturgis, his father Angelo and Juanita.

James

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Stephen Turner

James, great images as usual, thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Stephen Turner

Anyone know of any evidence that suggests a link between, Sturgis & Bishop, Veciana? Seems they were operating in the same time-frame,with the same objective (Assassinating Castro) And recieving funding from similar sponsors.If we can believe "Bishop" on this point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Namebase entry for Frank Sturgis:

http://www.namebase.org/main2/Frank-A-Sturgis.html

Anderson,J. Peace, War, and Politics. 1999 (242-4, 246-7, 250-1, 264)

Anson,R. They've Killed the President! 1975 (298, 257)

Ashman,C. The CIA-Mafia Link. 1975 (23-4, 26-7)

Bellett,G. Age of Secrets. 1995 (110, 154)

Blumenthal,S. Yazijian,H. Government by Gunplay. 1976 (99, 117, 161)

Bradlee,B. A Good Life. 1995 (327-8)

Brewton,P. The Mafia, CIA, and George Bush. 1992 (195)

Christic Institute. Sheehan Affidavit. 1987-01-31 (33)

Christic Institute. Sheehan Affidavit. 1988-03-25 (12)

Cockburn,L. Out of Control. 1987 (99)

Corn,D. Blond Ghost. 1994 (95)

CounterSpy 1973-F (23)

CounterSpy 1975-SU (45)

Covert Action Information Bulletin 1983-#18 (54)

Davis,J. Mafia Kingfish. 1989 (401-2, 405, 410)

Denton,S. Morris,R. The Money and the Power. 2001 (209)

DiEugenio,J. Pease,L. The Assassinations. 2003 (132, 437)

Duffy,J. Ricci,V. The Assassination of John F. Kennedy. 1992 (447-8)

Escalante,F. The Secret War. 1995 (10-2, 18, 36-7, 47, 55, 64, 138, 174)

Fensterwald,B. Coincidence or Conspiracy? 1977 (505-9)

Fonzi,G. The Last Investigation. 1993 (37, 46, 49, 73-82, 86-91, 96, 103-7)

Frazier,H. Uncloaking the CIA. 1978 (63)

Freed,D. Death in Washington. 1980 (34-5, 67, 128-9, 133)

Furiati,C. ZR Rifle. 1994 (14-5, 46, 65, 72, 111, 122-4, 131-2, 150)

Giancana,S.& C. Double Cross. 1992 (259, 278, 294, 333, 335)

Groden,R. Livingstone,H. High Treason. 1990 (165, 286-8, 315, 317-9, 323-5, 327, 347-9)

Hinckle,W. Turner,W. The Fish is Red. 1981 (50-4, 118-9, 170, 200-3, 224, 298-306, 339-41)

Hougan,J. Secret Agenda. 1984 (80)

Hunt,H. Give Us This Day. 1973 (98)

Inquiry Magazine 1979-03-05 (17-9)

Jaworski,L. The Right and the Power. 1977 (353-4)

Kruger,H. The Great Heroin Coup. 1980 (18, 143-5, 162-3)

Lane,M. Plausible Denial. 1991 (2-4, 220-1, 288-97, 303)

Lasky,V. It Didn't Start With Watergate. 1978 (266-7)

Liberation Magazine 1977-04 (6-7)

Lobster Magazine (Britain) 1986-#12 (8)

Los Angeles Times 1977-11-05 (I3)

Mader,J. CIA-Operation Hindu Kush. 1988

Marrs,J. Crossfire. 1990 (147, 152, 392, 395)

Marshall,J... The Iran-Contra Connection. 1987 (45)

Miami Herald 1986-06-20 (1C, 3)

Myerson,M. Watergate: Crime in the Suites. 1973 (176)

New York Magazine 1976-08-16 (31-2)

New York Times 1993-12-05 (25)

Newman,J. Oswald and the CIA. 1995 (101, 228, 319)

Oglesby,C. The Yankee and Cowboy War. 1976 (74)

Parapolitics (Paris) 1982-08 (1)

Parapolitics/USA 1983-03-01 (32)

Riebling,M. Wedge. 1994 (297)

Rodriguez,F. Weisman,J. Shadow Warrior. 1989 (46)

Rolling Stone 1976-05-20 (44)

Russell,D. The Man Who Knew Too Much. 1992 (508-9)

Scheim,D. Contract on America. 1988 (189, 192)

Scott,P.D. Crime and Coverup. 1977 (15-6, 18, 20, 42, 56)

Scott,P.D. Deep Politics. 1993 (91, 120, 178)

Scott,P.D. Marshall,J. Cocaine Politics. 1991 (121)

Scott,P.D... The Assassinations: Dallas and Beyond. 1976 (360-2, 370, 372, 374, 397-401, 496-504)

Smith,J.B. Portrait of a Cold Warrior. 1981 (335)

Spotlight Newspaper 1985-02-25 (90-2)

Stich,R. Drugging America: A Trojan Horse. 1999 (220)

Summers,A. Conspiracy. 1981 (346, 448, 508)

Summers,A. Conspiracy. 1989 (498)

Summers,A. Official and Confidential. 1993 (415-6)

Summers,A. The Arrogance of Power. 2000 (192-3, 413)

Tackwood,L. The Glass House Tapes. 1973 (177)

Thomas,K. Keith,J. The Octopus. 1996 (74, 78-9)

Thomas,K. Popular Alienation: A Steamshovel Press Reader. 1995 (21, 50-1, 173-4, 244)

Turner,W. Rearview Mirror. 2001 (190, 193, 196-8, 200, 207, 218)

Vanity Fair 1993-11 (84, 86, 88, 90, 96, 100, 102, 106, 108)

Vankin,J. Conspiracies, Cover-ups, and Crimes. 1991 (133)

Vankin,J. Whalen,J. The 60 Greatest Conspiracies. 1998 (155)

Washington Times 1992-06-16 (E5)

Weissman,S. Big Brother and the Holding Company. 1974 (94, 110-3, 167-8, 289)

Wise,D. The American Police State. 1978 (158, 178-9)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

San Francisco Chronicle (5th May, 1977)

Watergate burglar Frank Sturgis said yesterday the CIA planned the break-in because high officials felt the then-President Nixon was becoming too powerful and was overly interested in the assassination of President Kennedy.

Sturgis also said he believes "Deep Throat" - a major source for Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward - was Robert Bennett, a partner in a CIA-front public relations firm in Washington. Bennett, a son of former Senator Wallace Bennett (Rep-Utah), is employed by the Summa Corp., part of the empire of the late Howard Hughes. Hughes was a major client of Mullen Corp., Bennett's old firm.

Sturgis was convicted in the break-in at Democratic headquarters. He said Bennett - on orders from then-CIA Director Richard Helms - was fed information by Alexander Haig, Nixon's chief of staff; Alexander Butterfield, who disclosed the existence of Nixon's taping system; and Watergate burglar Howard Hunt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In an article published in the Florida Sun Sentinel on 4th December, 1963, Jim Buchanan claimed that Sturgis had met Lee Harvey Oswald in Miami shortly before the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Buchanan claimed that Oswald had tried to infiltrate the Anti-Communist Brigade. When he was questioned by the FBI about this story, Sturgis claimed that Buchanan had misquoted him regarding his comments about Oswald.

Regarding Fiorini/Sturgis' backing off the claims he made to journalist Jim Buchanan about Oswald a few days after the assassination, the FBI recorded Sturgis admitting that "he had made some offhand comments to Buchanan" on Nov 26. He did back off saying he had any first-hand knowledge of Oswald. CD 59 has the short FBI writeup on their interview with Sturgis after the newspaper article:

http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/...amp;relPageId=3

Whether or not Sturgis actually knew Oswald and regardless of the truth of any of his statements (Oswald "tried to infiltrate Cuban anti-Castro organizations in Miami"), it's likely that he did tell Buchanan what showed up in the papers, and that his information was based on more than just reading the papers.

I recently read the HSCA testimony of Sturgis' sometimes girlfriend Marita Lorenz, where she told the Committee her story of hanging out with Sturgis and Pedro Diaz Lanz and Ozzie starting in 1961 I think, and their purported car trip to Dallas to go kill JFK. The Committee members waited patiently through to the end before saying, "But Oswald was in Russia then!" To which Marita essentially replied "Whatever."

Rex

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On June 2, 1959, Sturgis, visited the Dade COunty Criminal Intelligence Bureau long with Alan McDonald.

"Captain Fiorini states that he is an ex-Corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps. He states that he was with the First Raider Battalion, Fourth Marines, 6th Marine Division."

Capt. Fiorini was there to get information on "several American gangsters that operate casinos in Havana Cuba."

"On Monday, June 8th Capt. McDonald came to the office and was given information on Meyer and Jake Lansky, Joe Silesi aka Joe Rivers, and Santos Trafficante."

Very interesting. I wonder what he did with the intel files...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi James,

do you know of the whereabouts of Sturgis' daughter Autumn today? Has she ever been contacted by a researcher to your knowledge?

Hi Francesca,

I don't know what became of his daughter and to my knowledge, she has not been interviewed. It's doubtful she would know a lot anyway.

I believe he also has a son who was in his early 20's at the time of the assassination. I don't think anyone has ever spoken to him either.

James

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In Don Bohning’s article in The Intelligencer, he argues:

The Simkin website then goes on to claim that "Operation 40 was not only involved in sabotage operations. In fact it evolved into a team of assassins." He quotes one alleged member, the late Frank Sturgis, claiming that "this assassination group (Operation 40), would upon orders, naturally, assassinate either members of the military of the political parties of the foreign country that you were going to infiltrate, and if necessary some of our own members who were suspected of being foreign agents… we were concentrating strictly on Cuba at that particular time."

There are two problems with that. As a reporter for The Miami Herald during that period, I knew quite well the late Frank Sturgis - or Frank Fiorini, the name he then went by - as a "soldier of fortune" floating around Miami. As other journalists who knew Sturgis, I would listen to him but rarely - if ever - found him believable. The other and more significant problem is that Sturgis always attempted to leave the impression that he somehow worked for the Central Intelligence Agency. In fact, he never did in any capacity, according to the 1975 Rockefeller Commission Report to the President on CIA activities.

The Report states categorically: "Frank Sturgis was not an employee or agent of the CIA either in 1963 or at any other time. He so testified under oath himself and a search of CIA records failed to discover any evidence that he had ever been employed by the CIA or had ever served it as an agent, informant or other operative." That would mean that even if there were such an Operation 40, as described by Simkin, Sturgis was not part of it.

Bohning insists that Sturgis/Fiorini did not perform tasks for the CIA. However, declassified documents suggest that this was not the case. A FBI memorandum from S. B Donahoe to Alan Belmont and William Sullivan, dated 22nd December 1961, states that:

Press reported on 12/19/61 that two planes from unidentified Caribbean base had flown over Cuba on 12/17/61 and had dropped over 250,000 anti-Castro leaflets and two parachutists with radio equipment…

On 12/21/61 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Headquarters advised it was financing Sergio Rojas, former Cuban Ambassador to Great Britain, who was engaged in this type of anti-Castro propaganda activity and that Rojas could have engineered the 12/17/61 leaflet-dropping without CIA cognizance since CIA does not oversee his detailed activities…

On 12/19/61 Border Patrol, Miami, which has been keeping close watch on Florida-Cuba flights, advised our Miami Office that the 10/21/61 flight was apparently CIA operation. Border Patrol identified the participants and planes involved and stated that planes were flown from island in Bahamas to Cuba. It is noted one of the participants was Frank Fiorini, former Castro follower engaged in anti-Castro activities who, in October, 1959, participated in anti-Castro leaflet-dropping raid over Cuba with Pedro Diaz Lanz, former chief of Cuban Air Force. This raid received considerable press coverage and was thoroughly investigated by us.

Border Patrol further advised that another leaflet drop from the Bahamas had been scheduled for 12/8/61 by Fiorini and his associates. However, this was not carried out apparently because of arrest of member of group by Bahamas authorities for illegal entry. Fiorini’s group claimed proposed leaflet drop had been authorized and sponsored by CIA in New York. Border Patrol learned that CIA had furnished the leaflets; however, CIA stated it did not know if it had sponsored the proposed flight but thought that it had. In this connection, Border Patrol noted that one CIA group does not know what the other is doing with result there is considerable confusion.

Border Patrol, in addition, advised it believed the 12/17/61 flight had also been sponsored by CIA and that it had been made by Fiorini and his associates in some planes they used in 10/21/61 flight. Border Patrol doubted that any radio operators had parachuted into Cuba.

It appears foregoing flights were financed by CIA and we are conducting no investigation. It also appears that CIA is giving money to Rojas to carry out these flights, as he sees fit and that CIA is unaware of and does not want to know the details. In this way CIA can in theory claim it was not involved in the flights and did not know they were scheduled.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In an article published in the Florida Sun Sentinel on 4th December, 1963, Jim Buchanan claimed that Sturgis had met Lee Harvey Oswald in Miami shortly before the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Buchanan claimed that Oswald had tried to infiltrate the Anti-Communist Brigade. When he was questioned by the FBI about this story, Sturgis claimed that Buchanan had misquoted him regarding his comments about Oswald.

Regarding Fiorini/Sturgis' backing off the claims he made to journalist Jim Buchanan about Oswald a few days after the assassination, the FBI recorded Sturgis admitting that "he had made some offhand comments to Buchanan" on Nov 26. He did back off saying he had any first-hand knowledge of Oswald. CD 59 has the short FBI writeup on their interview with Sturgis after the newspaper article:

http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/...amp;relPageId=3

Whether or not Sturgis actually knew Oswald and regardless of the truth of any of his statements (Oswald "tried to infiltrate Cuban anti-Castro organizations in Miami"), it's likely that he did tell Buchanan what showed up in the papers, and that his information was based on more than just reading the papers.

I recently read the HSCA testimony of Sturgis' sometimes girlfriend Marita Lorenz, where she told the Committee her story of hanging out with Sturgis and Pedro Diaz Lanz and Ozzie starting in 1961 I think, and their purported car trip to Dallas to go kill JFK. The Committee members waited patiently through to the end before saying, "But Oswald was in Russia then!" To which Marita essentially replied "Whatever."

Rex

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

×