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John Simkin

Henry Hecksher

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I thought I should start a thread on Henry Hecksher. He is one of those CIA agents who kept in the shadows and was not known as an important figure until Thomas Powers named him in "The Man Who Kept the Secrets" in 1979. Larry Hancock has probably written the most detailed account of Hecksher in the second edition of "Somebody Would Have Talked". There is also a brief account on his life at Wikipedia. I would be very grateful if anyone can add anything to the following information.

Henry Hecksher was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1910. His father served in the government of Kaiser Wilhelm II. Hecksher emigrated to the United States in 1938. On the outbreak of war he joined the United States Army and took part in the Normandy invasion and was wounded in Antwerp.

Hecksher joined the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and interrogated some of the top leaders of the Nazi Party, including Julius Streicher. The OSS was disbanded by President Harry Truman, on September 20, 1945. Hecksher now joined the Department of War's Secret Intelligence (SI). In 1946 Hecksher became head of its counter-intelligence section in Berlin where he worked with Theodore Shackley, David Sanchez Morales and William Harvey.

In 1947 Hecksher joined the Central Intelligence Agency and during the 1953 Berlin Riots that followed the death of Joseph Stalin, Hecksher cabled for permission to arm the East Berlin rioters with rifles and stun guns. However, despite being supported by C.D. Jackson, the request was refused.

In the early 1950s Hecksher worked undercover as a coffee buyer in Guatemala. He became part of PB/SUCCESS, a CIA operation to overthrow President Jacobo Arbenz. Other CIA officers involved in this operation included David Atlee Phillips, Tracy Barnes, William (Rip) Robertson and E. Howard Hunt. Hecksher's role was to supply front-line reports and to bribe Arbenz's military commanders. It was later discovered that one commander accepted $60,000 to surrender his troops. Ernesto Guevara attempted to organize some civil militias but senior army officers blocked the distribution of weapons.

With the help of President Anastasio Somoza, Colonel Carlos Castillo had formed a rebel army in Nicaragua. It has been estimated that between January and June, 1954, the CIA spent about $20 million on Castillo's army. Jacobo Arbenz now believed he stood little chance of preventing Castillo gaining power. Accepting that further resistance would only bring more deaths he announced his resignation.

According to David Atlee Phillips (The Night Watch), President Dwight Eisenhower was so pleased with the overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz he invited Hecksher, Tracy Barnes, David Sanchez Morales, and Allen Dulles to a personal debriefing at the White House.

In 1958 Hecksher became Chief of Station in Laos. Hecksher disagreed with the official U.S. neutrality policies in the country and his covert activities resulted in a request from Ambassador Horace Smith for his early removal. Allen Dulles refused and he served his full assignment. He later moved to Thailand where he supervised covert trans-border activities in the area of the Golden Triangle.

Hecksher was CIA Station Chief in Japan (1959-60) before becoming involved in the project to overthrow Fidel Castro. As the case officer of Manuel Artime, Hecksher became involved in AM/WORLD in 1963. Carl E. Jenkins oversaw paramilitary support and also served as case officer Artime's second in command, Rafael Quintero. According to Larry Hancock (Someone Would Have Talked), Hecksher and Jenkins were both "involved in the Artime's initial travel to Europe for contact" with Rolando Cubela.

In 1967 Hecksher became Chief of Station in Santiago. He worked closely with Edward M. Korry, the US Ambassador to Chile, in an attempt to prevent Salvador Allende from being elected as president. According to Joseph Trento (The Secret History of the CIA), Korry discovered that Hecksher was working with Patria y Libertad (Fatherland and Liberty). CIA associate, Michael V. Townley, who also worked closely with this organization, was later involved in the assassination of Carlos Prats, Bernardo Leighton and Orlando Letelier.

Salvador Allende was elected as president of Chile in 1970. Hecksher, Chief of Station in Santiago, played a major role in FUBELT, the covert operation to overthrow Allende. Thomas H. Karamessines, chairman of the Chile Task Force, sent a secret cable to Henry Hecksher, dated 16th October, 1970, stating: "It is firm and continuing policy that Allende be overthrown by a coup ... it is imperative that these actions be implemented clandestinely and securely so that the USG (Unites States Government) and American hand be well hidden."

Henry Hecksher retired from the CIA in 1971. He died of complications of Parkinson's disease at the Medical Center of Princetown, on 2nd March, 1990.

Does anyone know what Hecksher got up to after he retired from the CIA? I wonder if he became involved in Ted Shackley's business activities.

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

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Hecksher also used the name Henry Boysen. In addition to what John posted, he had a relationship of some sort with Lucien Conein dating back to the late 1940's but that is a difficult one to track.

I am almost embarrassed to post this image below given the very poor quality. Anyway, it is of Manuel Artime (on the left) and Henry Hecksher.

FWIW.

James

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Two thoughts on Heckscher. First a question and then a little piece of info. 1) is that I thought Nestor Sanchez was Artime's case officer. If I'm mistaken, or if he was his case officer before Heckscher, please clarify. 2) is that Heckscher's exploits were well-known in his time. At one point, he was stationed in a latin American country--was this after Chile?--and the leaders of that country noted that every country Heckscher visitied soon suffered an overthrow. They asked for his replacement. If someone remembers where I read this, please relate the whole story.

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Two thoughts on Heckscher. First a question and then a little piece of info. 1) is that I thought Nestor Sanchez was Artime's case officer. If I'm mistaken, or if he was his case officer before Heckscher, please clarify. 2) is that Heckscher's exploits were well-known in his time. At one point, he was stationed in a latin American country--was this after Chile?--and the leaders of that country noted that every country Heckscher visitied soon suffered an overthrow. They asked for his replacement. If someone remembers where I read this, please relate the whole story.

I believe Heckscher became Artime's case-officer in 1963. This was the same-time Carl Jenkins became Chi Chi Quintero's case-officer. Both came about because of the AM/WORLD project.

It is not true that every country he worked in suffered an overthrow. For example, he worked in Japan, Laos and Thailand between 1958-60.

His record of trying to overthrow governments include:

East Germany (1953)

Guatemala (1954)

Cuba (1960-67)

Chile (1967-71)

A success record of two out of four.

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Hecksher also used the name Henry Boysen. In addition to what John posted, he had a relationship of some sort with Lucien Conein dating back to the late 1940's but that is a difficult one to track.

I am almost embarrassed to post this image below given the very poor quality. Anyway, it is of Manuel Artime (on the left) and Henry Hecksher.

FWIW.

James

I don't suppose other pictures of Hecksher have surfaced?

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Hecksher also used the name Henry Boysen. In addition to what John posted, he had a relationship of some sort with Lucien Conein dating back to the late 1940's but that is a difficult one to track.

I am almost embarrassed to post this image below given the very poor quality. Anyway, it is of Manuel Artime (on the left) and Henry Hecksher.

FWIW.

James

I don't suppose other pictures of Hecksher have surfaced?

Myra,

Yes there are other shots of Hecksher. I have some slides of him, Raul Hernandez and a couple of Artime's guys. I have a huge collection of slides covering all variety of subjects that need to be transferred.

One day ...

James

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Hecksher also used the name Henry Boysen. In addition to what John posted, he had a relationship of some sort with Lucien Conein dating back to the late 1940's but that is a difficult one to track.

I am almost embarrassed to post this image below given the very poor quality. Anyway, it is of Manuel Artime (on the left) and Henry Hecksher.

FWIW.

James

I don't suppose other pictures of Hecksher have surfaced?

Myra,

Yes there are other shots of Hecksher. I have some slides of him, Raul Hernandez and a couple of Artime's guys. I have a huge collection of slides covering all variety of subjects that need to be transferred.

One day ...

James

Good to know James.

Please keep me in mind once they're transferred.

Do you have a waiting list? :mellow:

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Dick Russell, in his new book On The Trail of the JFK Assassins, has a chapter "A Man Called Bob" p.296, in which he speculates that Henry Hecksher is the "Robert Graham" that RCN meets at a reception in Mexico City and becomes his CIA case officer.

"Graham" gives RCN the go-ahead to accept the Russian bait and become a double-agent.

BK

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Bill,

At the time, the so-called "Bob" was described as being mid 30's and tall. Hecksher was in his 50's, short and somewhat pudgy.

FWIW.

James

Edited by James Richards

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Dick Russell's "On the Trail of the Assassins" includes a photograph of Henry Hecksher.

I cannot vouch for the authenticity, but I've seen this picture in 2 places and can only find the cropped picture at this time. Not sure of the date.

Hecksher.jpg

There are also some rather Unfaltering thing said about him in :

Stasi: The Untold Story of the East German Secret Police

By John O. Koehler

Edited by Brian Benson

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Dick Russell, in his new book On The Trail of the JFK Assassins, has a chapter "A Man Called Bob" p.296, in which he speculates that Henry Hecksher is the "Robert Graham" that RCN meets at a reception in Mexico City and becomes his CIA case officer.

"Graham" gives RCN the go-ahead to accept the Russian bait and become a double-agent.

BK

Bill,

Thinking a bit more about this "Bob' character and it occurs to me that Heckscher was once head of the 'Berlin Operation Base' aka BOB. Curious coincidence if nothing else.

Henry Heckscher was in fact Heinrich Detlev Heckscher, younger brother of William Sebastian Heckscher. William was close friends with Albert Einstein and an interesting character on his own.

FWIW.

James

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HH moved-- like Desmond Fitzgerald-- from work in South East Asia to Cuba work in 1963. This made me wonder about others who made this move around that time. Edward Lansdale made a similar move in late 1961 or 1962 I think. Did these three have much contact in Laos or Vietnam? Any others of interest in this subset?

HH is also descibribed in the new Russel book as having direct conflict with the US ambassador in Laos. This is similar to what happened with Richardson in Vietnam.

Russel points out that the fuzziest part of HH's career are in Japan-- when he was there at the same time as RCN and LHO-- and Cuban AMWORLD work n 1963. Russel points out that an old Berlin pal of HH never knew that he was involved in Cuba work.

These sentences interested me in Russell's chapter ""A Man Name 'Bob'": New clues in the Nagel Saga":

Hecksher's CIA superior at BOB in Germany, Peter Sichel, would recall:"Unfortunately Henry became, as he got older, extremely right wing.

He became an absolutist and I think he got retired a little too late. That should have happened a little early, before he got involved in this whole

mess in Cuba and what -have- you."

Asked to elaborate, Sichel said only:"I knew very little about it, because it was after I left the agency. On only knew it because some of my

old buddies got ensnared in it. They ended up with a lot of the old German hands in the Cuba thing. Like William Harvey, who'd been Henry's

boss for a while in Berlin. Harvey was an alcoholic. He was very bright, very able, but he destroyed himself. (p. 232, Russell, 2008)

To me it seemed like the comment that HH should have retired earlier was pretty closely associated with what he did around Cuba. Sichel then

claims to know little said Cuba work.

Now look at the ambivalence of the HH- Artime relationship under what Russell seems to accept as an AMWORLD framework:

Another memo, generated by Hecksher, described a meeting on the Artime project that took place between November 7 and 10

1963, where one of Artime's leading advisors took the firm position that, while President Kennedy remained in power, it would be

impossible to defeat Castro. Rafael "Chi Chi" Quintero, who worked closely with Artime, was quoted in a book by Don Bohning

to the effect that Hecksher did not believe the AWORLD efort was going to work.....

Russell then goes on to describe efforts by Aritme to distance himself from Ray, apparently to become more tenable to most of the anti-Castro

Cubans who thought JFK's golden boy was too close to Ray. Then he writes:

An astonishing document from February 1964, signed by Hecksher, described an AMWORLD meeting in New York, where it was noted

that JURE was being kept under surveillance and that Hecksher had authorized Artime's boats to fire on Ray's boats should they encounter them.

(p.234)

If parts of AMWORLD were indeed real, it sure seems hard to imagine a looser cannon than Hecksher on board that ship. How could such a clear rightwinger, who had already been involved with disputes with an ambassador or two, have been allowed into AMWORLD by the Kennedy's? Or was he?

Edited by Nathaniel Heidenheimer

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Legacy of Secrecy (p. 39) Waldron, Hartmann,

"Henry Heckscher's role in AMWORLD is documented by recently released CIA files, showing that he was Manuel Artime's CIA case officer in the summer and fall of 1963. However, Heckscher didn't work with any of our four sources who worked with the Kennedy's on the coup plan, so it's not clear how much he knew about Almeida. Heckscher was a higher-level CIA official than either Morales or Phillips, and had first worked with them in 1954, on the successful CIA coup that overthrew the democratically elected president of Guatemala. Joining Heckscher, Phillips, and Morales in the 1954 coup operations was E. Howard Hunt, which makes it logical that Helms would have them working together again in 1963 on another coup." (Chapter 2, note 46, citing Larry Hancock, Someone Would Have Talked, p. 128,129)

Yea, they worked together on another coup, the one that happened at Dealey Plaza. BK

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Dan Archer of Archcomix.com tells the story of the overthrow of Salvador Allende in Chile, in comic form.

It's worth a look. Archer utilizes historical documents and cartoon versions of Dave Phillips, Henry Heckscher (often misspelled as 'Hecksher'), Helms, Nixon, and Kissinger:

Latest episode: http://www.archcomix.com/?p=98

His 3-page piece for bashmagazine.com called The First 9/11 details the 1973 Chilean coup:

Page 1: http://www.archcomix.com/?p=64

Page 2: http://www.archcomix.com/?p=67

Page 3: http://www.archcomix.com/?p=68

His next story, called The Other 9/11 is a longer version of the The First 9/11:

Page 1: http://www.archcomix.com/?p=69

Page 2: http://www.archcomix.com/?p=72

Page 3: http://www.archcomix.com/?p=73

Page 4: http://www.archcomix.com/?p=79

Page 5: http://www.archcomix.com/?p=81

Page 6: http://www.archcomix.com/?p=80

Page 7: http://www.archcomix.com/?p=82

Page 8: http://www.archcomix.com/?p=85

Page 9: http://www.archcomix.com/?p=88

Page 10: http://www.archcomix.com/?p=90

Page 11: http://www.archcomix.com/?p=98

You can start at http://www.archcomix.com/?p=64 and hit 'Next' to read all of them in order.

Steve

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