John Simkin Posted June 28, 2004 Share Posted June 28, 2004 A member of the forum, Nathaniel Weyl, recently published a memoir, Encounters With Communism. He has sent me a copy of the book and I thought it might be a good idea to discuss it on the forum. The book records Nathaniel’s political activities in the Socialist Party (Norman Thomas predicted he would become a future leader of the party) and the Communist Party in the 1930s. By the 1950s Weyl had moved sharply to the right and was a supporter of Joseph McCarthy. Nathaniel has some interesting things to say about John Martino and William Pawley, two significant figures in the events surrounding the JFK assassination. He writes: Alan Courtney, a commentator on Miami radio, introduced me to John Martino and persuaded me to help him write the story of his imprisonment for several years in Castro's prisons. John told me he had helped set up gambling devices in Cuban hotels under Batista and had been arrested for returning to Cuba to get his employers' money out. I knew that the mob had largely controlled Cuban gambling and assumed John worked for them in a minor capacity. The Martino story seemed to me a fascinating account from the inside of the experiences of his fellow prisoners, mostly political dissidents, as they faced execution. John Martino turned out to be a mild, very likeable man whose ash-white pallor revealed years of deprivation and suffering. Although he was an American citizen, Martino had received no help during his ordeal from the Embassy in Havana. Considering the long history of pro-Soviet infiltration of our Latin American foreign service, this did not astonish us. He felt bitter resentment toward the State Department and attributed its abandonment of him to pro-Castro American officials. The book, I Was Castro's Prisoner, was published in 1962. The following year Martino once again entered the life of Nathaniel Weyl. In 1963, John Martino came to me with a fascinating story. He had attended a meeting in Palm Beach at which a Cuban who used the nom de guerre of Bayo claimed that the Soviets had deceived President Kennedy and that Russian missiles were still in Cuba. Bayo said he knew tills because two of the Soviet officers guarding these clandestine missiles had defected, were being hidden and guarded by the remnants of the anti-Castro underground and were desperately anxious to tell their story. I was told that this was an emergency. The Russians could be captured by Castro's forces at any time. John Martino said that their Cuban protectors could get them safely to the northern coast of the island and thence by boat to some agreed-upon rendezvous point in the Bahamas if we acted immediately. Martino added that Bayo and the other Cuban patriots would have nothing to do with anyone from the CIA because they believed that the Agency had betrayed them at the Bay of Pigs. Could I get a yacht, designate a time and place to meet on some remote Bahamas island, get there and bring the Russian officers to the American mainland? If it was to be done, it must be done immediately. Nathaniel did this but later William Pawley and the CIA took control of the operation. They also brought in Henry Luce and the plan was for photographs to be taken of the Russians on board Pawley’s yacht, the Flying Tiger. These were to appear in Luce's Life Magazine. Nathaniel was eventually sidelined from the operation. He admits that the “defecting Soviet colonels never existed, that there were no Russian missiles left in place in Cuba, that the Bayo story was a hoax.” My question for Nathaniel concerns the real reasons for Martino telling him this story. Does he agree with Peter Dale Scott (Deep Politics) that the Bayo affair was linked to the Kennedy assassination? Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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