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David Atlee Phillips was born in Fort Worth, Texas, on 31st October, 1922. He was educated at William and Mary College and Texas Christian University. During the Second World War he served as a nose gunner in the United States Air Force.

Phillips joined the Central Intelligence Agency in 1950. Over the next few years Phillips was involved in clandestine operations in Guatemala against President Jacobo Arbenz. The plot against Arbenz became part of Executive Action (a plan to remove unfriendly foreign leaders from power).

Tracy Barnes was placed in charge of what became known as Operation Success. Phillips was appointed to run the propaganda campaign against Arbenz's government. According to Phillips he initially questioned the right of the CIA to interfere in Guatemala: In his autobiography Phillips claims he said to Barnes: "But Arbenz became President in a free election. What right do we have to help someone topple his government and throw him out of office?" However, Barnes convinced him that it was vital important that the Soviets did not establish a "beachhead in Central America".

The CIA propaganda campaign included the distribution of 100,000 copies of a pamphlet entitled Chronology of Communism in Guatemala. They also produced three films on Guatemala for showing free in cinemas. Phillips, along with E.Howard Hunt, was responsible for running the CIA's Voice of Liberation radio station. Faked photographs were distributed that claimed to show the mutilated bodies of opponents of Arbenz. William (Rip) Robertson was also involved in the campaign against Arbenz.

The CIA began providing financial and logistic support for Colonel Carlos Castillo. With the help of resident Anastasio Somoza, 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.

On 18th June 1954 aircraft dropped leaflets over Guatemala demanding that Arbenz resign immediately or else the county would be bombed. CIA's Voice of Liberation also put out similar radio broadcasts. This was followed by a week of bombing ports, ammunition dumps, military barracks and the international airport.

Carlos Castillo's collection of soldiers now crossed the Honduran-Guatemalan border. His army was outnumbered by the Guatemalan Army. However, the CIA Voice of Liberation successfully convinced Arbenz's supporters that two large and heavily armed columns of invaders were moving towards Guatemala City.

The CIA was also busy bribing 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. 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 over the radio.

Castillo's new government was immediately recognised by President Dwight Eisenhower. Castillo now reversed the Arbenz reforms. In July 19, 1954, he created the National Committee of Defense Against Communism and decreed the Preventive Penal Law Against Communism to fight against those who supported Arbenz when he was in power. Over the next few weeks thousands were arrested on suspicion of communist activity. A large number of these prisoners were tortured or killed.

He also worked undercover in Cuba (1959-60). He returned to the United States in 1960 and was involved in the organization of the Bay of Pigs operation. During this period he worked with E.Howard Hunt in the attempts to have Fidel Castro murdered.

In 1963 Phillips became Chief of Cuban Operations. He worked closely with David Morales at JM WAVE in Miami. Phillips also provided support to Alpha 66. It was later claimed that Phillips told Antonio Veciana his goal was to provoke US intervention in Cuba by "putting Kennedy's back to the wall."

Phillips served as Station Chief in the Dominican Republic and in Rio de Janeiro. In 1970, he was called to Washington and asked to lead a special task force assigned to prevent the election of Salvador Allende as President of Chile. Allende was killed in a military takeover in 1973.

Phillips last assignment was as head of the Western Hemisphere Division. He held the rank of GS18, the highest position in the CIA not requiring executive appointment. After he retired in 1975 he became head of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO).

In 1976 Antonio Veciana was interviewed by Gaeton Fonzi of the House Select Committee on Assassinations. The founder of the anti-Castro organization, Alpha 66, he told the committee about his relationship with his Central Intelligence Agency contact, Maurice Bishop. He claimed that in August, 1963, he saw Bishop and Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas. Veciana admitted that Bishop had organized and funded the Alpha 66 attacks on the Soviet ships docked in Cuba in 1963.

Veciana explained the policy: "It was my case officer, Maurice Bishop, who had the idea to attack the Soviet ships. The intention was to cause trouble between Kennedy and Russia. Bishop believed that Kennedy and Khrushchev had made a secret agreement that the USA would do nothing more to help in the fight against Castro. Bishop felt - he told me many times - that President Kennedy was a man without experience surrounded by a group of young men who were also inexperienced with mistaken ideas on how to manage this country. He said you had to put Kennedy against the wall in order to force him to make decisions that would remove Castro's regime." .........

The New York Times,

Friday, November 1, 1963

CASTRO SAYS C.I.A.

USES RAIDER SHIP

He Asserts Cuba Captured

Small Boats from Vessel

Miami Owner Denies It

By The Associated Press

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.,

Oct. 31. Premier Fidel Castro charged last night that the Central Intelligence Agency was operating a raider ship called the Rex, and that she had been used in a sabotage mission against Cuba. He said two small boats from the Rex and several CIA agents had been captured. Premier Castro described the Rex as a 150-foot diesel vessel flying the Nicaraguan flag. He said she was based in West Palm Beach.

A vessel called the Rex, 174 feet long, returned to Palm Beach Monday and was tied up today in the Port of Palm Beach. She flies the Nicaraguan flag and carries large search-lights, radar and a crane on the stern. Two motor launches were missing from their davits.

The port director, Joel Wilcox, said “The dockage is paid by the Sea Key Shipping Company from a post office box. I know nothing of the Rex’s activities.”

Oil Man Claims Ship

J.A. Belcher, a Miami oil company executive, told the Miami Herald that the Rex belonged to him, but denied that it had participated in raids against Cuba.

He said he bought the vessel from the Paragon Company, identified by the Herald as a Nicaraguan firm formerly owned by Luis Somoza, an ex-President of Nicaragua.

Mr. Belcher, told the Herald that for most of the year he had leased the Rex for electronic and oceanographic research to the international division of the Collins Radio Company of Dallas. He said the ship’s captain Alexander Rorke told him that the ship had never been in Cuba waters. Premier Castro, in a radio and television broadcast said that the captured agents might face death sentences.

In his three-hour speech Castro accused the CIA of “stepping up its ties against Cuba in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Florida.”

He accused the Central Intelligence Agency of murdering workers landing weapons and infiltrators in Cuba, hiring saboteurs and using postal packages to send explosives into Cuba.

“This was the kind of aid the United States sent to Cuba after the hurricane,” he said.

“They thought they had their opportunity after the hurricane. This explains and justifies Cuba’s rejections of the United States offer of aid.”

There are two other mysterious vessels of Nicaraguan registry operating out of ports of Florida’s southeast coast. One sometimes changes color.

The Leda is tied up at Port Everglades and the port of Fort Lauderdale, 45 miles south of Palm Beach. She is registered from Greytown, Nicaragua, which is now known as San Juan del Norte.

A Miami man who knew a crewman on the Villaro said today, “She was a funny ship. She changed colors all the time. Sometimes the hull would be blue with a green deck. Other times it was grey with an orange deck. My friend said she was working in oil exploration.” Coast Guard headquarters in Miami said it had no listing for any of the ships or their companies.

Carries Crew of 5.

WEST PALM BEACH. Oct. 31 (UPI)

The port operations director of the Port of Palm Beach, J. Sonny Jaudon, said today that the Rex was registered out of Bluefields, Nicaragua and carried a Spanish speaking crew of at least five. Asked if the Rex belonged to the C.I.A. Mr. Jaudon would say no more than, “It could be.”

“The Rex comes and goes at various intervals and uses the port here.” Mr. Jaudon said. “We don’t ask any questions, and they don’t volunteer any information.”

Kennedy Won’t Comment.

Special to the New York Times

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31. President Kennedy declined to comment at his news conference today on Cuba’s latest charges that several agents of the Central Intelligence Agency had been captured and faced possible death sentences.

In reply to another question the President repeated his belief that there had been a marked decrease in the number of Soviet troops stationed in Cuba. Although he refused to give figures, Mr. Kennedy said that in the last two months there had been further reductions. [Question 16, Page 14]

Administration sources said that in recent weeks “several hundred” Soviet troops were known to have left, making the estimate of remaining forces “between 7,000 and 8,000.” In addition, the Soviet Union was reported to have been taking out highly sophisticated electronic equipment and replacing it with more ordinary equipment, including tanks and jeeps.

Crowd Hails Actions

Miami, Oct. 31 (UPI) A cheering crowd before the Presidential palace tonight approved the confiscation of United States parcel post packages, rises in food prices and tighter sugar rationing. Premier Castro announced the measures last night. He said tonight he had summoned the crowd “to pass some laws” to provide some money to repair hurricane damage. Shortly before he spoke tonight, the Havana radio announced another execution the fourth in 24 hours. In his speech monitored here, the Premier also praised Herbert L. Matthews of the New York Times, who is visiting Cuba with his wife. He described him not as a Marxist-Leninist newspaperman, but one of liberal ideas.

ABOARD THE REX ON A MISSION TO CUBA

Bradley E. Ayers – The Zenith Secret, p. 27-

…Despite Operation's [Morales] objections, Ted Shackley accepted my recommendations almost to the letter. Ted informed me that I was to be permanently assigned to the training branch to set up and supervise a new program. Two weeks later I was on a V-20, speeding through the darkness, about to intercept a large mother ship lying at anchor some several miles off Islamorada. Our Cuban operator expertly turned the craft and came about on the lee side, then maneuvered it beneath the overhanging hull of the looming vessel. We were surrounded by blackness. Silently, a line was thrown from the deck above us and cargo net was dropped over the side. We clambered up and over the cold, slippery rail of the Rex, a converted Navy World War II patrol craft. 6

As the V-20 sped back toward the Florida coast, the full implications struck me. We were on our way to Cuba.

The roar of the departing V-20 was quickly swallowed by the sounds of the sea and the noise of the larger ship's diesels as they throbbed to life. I looked back for a moment. The lights of Miami glowed to the north. South, towards the Straights of Florida and the Communist island, there was only dark, open sea. To the east I could see Alligator Reef and the slowly moving lights of a large tanker in the shipping lanes of the Gulf Stream, miles from our position. It seemed unreal, as if I were standing on the edge of the world….

….There's been a week of briefings: meetings with the case office and his Cuban-American go-between, Marcus: more briefings and meetings. We waited. The sea, the weather, the moon phase all had to be right, and even more important, the Special Group in Washington had to okay the mission. That approval had come through only this morning….The team was less highly trained than their case officer had let me to believe. They were fairly typical of the other commando teams. Those six members were what was left of the very first units the CIA supported after the Bay of Pigs. The group had numbered 20 to 30 men, but some had been killed or captured in earlier operations, had quit in frustration, or were dismissed for security reasons. Rip Robertson had given them their earlier training, and when the larger group disbanded, the six men were passed off to a new case officer.

Marcus was assigned to supervise the six men and are for their immediate needs; he had worked with the group for nearly a year and claimed to have great confidence in it…

The men had been housed in a comfortable safehouse on the outskirts of Coconut Grove in south Miami. They'd been living there, in almost total inactivity since their last mission….

I was watching off the port bow, and soon the blink of the signal light from the smaller sister ship – the decoy vessel that would accompany us to Cuba – dotted the blackness….Radios would be used only in the event of an emergency….

This mission was relatively simple and, if discovered, theoretically untraceable. The minesweeper, owned and registered as a Costa Rican commercial salvage vessel, had sailed to the rendezvous point from its home port in Central America…It was to carry the team to the drop-off point three miles off Cuba, where the commandos would debark and make their way ashore in two rubber rafts with silent outboard engines. The team was to bury four specially designed cache containers at a specific point on the coastline. Later, agents already in Cuba would recover the cache. The exile volunteers would lie in hiding until the following night. At midnight they would return to the mother ship in the same manner.

While the team was ashore, our vessel would put out to sea and a conduct sea bottom survey in international waters. The smaller decoy vessel – a converted oil rig patrol craft – would remain in close proximity. In the event that the operation was discovered, the faster steel-hulled vessel would attempt to distract the Cuban patrol boats and draw them away from the mother ship long enough for the team to escape.

The decoy vessel, U.S. registered and officially operated by a phony Delaware CIA petroleum corporation, was suppose to be doing offshore oil research and mapping….

After checking on the team members – they were now asleep – Marcus took me down to the galley and introduced me to Captain Luis and his first mate, Enrique. The captain, a stocky, distinguished looking man in his late 40s, wore a gleaming .38 caliber revolver holstered on his belt. Enrique was thin and rangy, with the look of the sea about him; the deep lines etched in his leathery, tanned skin told of a lifetime of sailing.

Captain Luis spoke excellent English, and since he had been on many similar missions, I was most interested to share his firsthand knowledge of Castro's defenses. For the next hour we sipped bitter Cuban coffee as he explained in great detail the modus operandi of the Komar-class coastal patrol boats supplied to the Cubans by the Russians. I was amazed to find that he even knew the names of the Cuban commanders and crew members of some of the fast, heavily armed Soviet crafts. His information on the frequently changing routes and schedules of the coastal patrols was less than 24 hours old. He also knew the exact location of the powerful coastal searchlight and gun placements in the area the team would be infiltrating……

It was well past midnight when I went below to my small, shared cabin in the forward part of the ship and in minutes I was asleep. Awakened to the same monotonous engine throb that had put me to sleep I realized we were rapidly approaching Cuba, and tonight we would launch the operation………

A RIDE ON THE REX - (Part II) - BEA - from The Zenith Secret (p. 30-31)

I joined Captain Luis on the bridge (of the Rex), and for nearly an hour he explained the mechanics of the reclaimed World War II vessel. He showed me the elaborate electronic navigation gear and communications equipment that had been installed by the CIA. I was startled to learn that, despite all the equipment, the captain was navigating by dead reckoning alone, with only an occassional crosscheck by LORAN (a worldwide, long-range commercial air-sea navigation system). Except for the usual multilingual banter coming over the standard commercial ship-to-shore radio, no other equipment was on. I asked Captain Luis how the station contacted him to give last minute information or instructions and I learned that the special high-frequency radio was turned on only for limited periods at specific intervals. The captain showed me the 40mm deck cannons mounted fore and aft and two .50 caliber machine guns set amidship. These weapons, and the small arms available to the eight-man crew, were the ship's only defenses. All of the heavy guns and ammunition were encased in innocent looking plywood boxes that had quick release devises to permit easy access. With such limited armamenmts, I hoped we wouldn't find ourselves in a situation wher the boat would have to defend itself; it would be no match for the well armed, faster Russian boats. The two six man rubber rafts to be used by the team were covered by a heavy tarpaulin on the lower deck near the stern of the ship.

Below the main deck, the peeling bulkheads were wet with condensation and the pipes were leaking. Captain Luis and I walked through the ship and he introduced me to each of the crewmen. Their eyes flashing, and their skin glistening with sweat, they went about their tasks with pride and enthusiasm. When the captain had finished showing me aorund, I concluded that the Rex was a noisey, leaking relic, continually in need of repari, but otherwise seaworthy.

After the noon meal, the team went back to their cabin to rest; they would remain there until supper, when we would gather for a final briefing. In the midafternoon Captain Luis calculated our postition: we were on schedule, some where between Cuba and the Dry Tortugas. By dusk we would reach the drop point.

I was alert with excitment as a I went below to the galley to join the others for supper and te final briefing. It had been a very warm day and the air below deck was unmoving and rancid. Captain Luis, as was his practice, began the meal with a prayer, then opened a bottle of Portuguse wine and fille each man's small tin cup. I could only pick at my food, but the Cubans attacked the eavily oiled meaal with gusto. Afterward, the cook placed blackout covers over the small windows and the briefing began. We were now about 12 miles off Bahia Honda, on Cuba's northwest coast, and traveling southwesterly at about five knots.

Instruments and sampling probes had been dropped overboard and were being trailed behind the ship, in accordance with our cover role. The ship would remain on its present course and speed until it reached the drop off point, near the village of Dimas, southwest of teh Cayou Jutias beacon, at midnight. The vessel would be approximately three miles off the Cuban coast at a time when the two Cuban patrol boats covering the area would be furhest away. As the minesweeper continued to move slowly, the team would launch the rafts, get aboard, stat the silent engines, and release their line to the mother ship. All of this had to be done in complete blackout and as quietly as possible.

There would be no turning back, even in the event of discovery, because once the team released the tow line, the mother ship would continue under way to clear the area. Using a compass and visual landmarks on the coast, the team would make its way across the shallow coastal shelf to their landing point.

Hopefully, the silent engines would work, but if they failed, the men would paddle the rubber rafts. Meanwhile, the smaller decoy vessel would move to a point some five miles off Sancho Pardo Bank and, with lights ablaze and engines running loudly, would attract the attention of shore lookouts and the Cuban patrol boats. The decoy vessel would be in international waters, so there was little the Communists could do but to keep it under surveillance and, we hoped, be distracted from the team and us.

Tension mounted as the briefing continued. We were all sweating profusely in the small, closed space. The commando team leader, visibly nervous, drew on the back of a nautical chart a rough sketch of the coastline near Dimas. He spoke Spanish to the team and Marcus translated for me. The launching and the boarding of the rubber rafts were routine, each man knew his assignment. The silent engines would be mounted and started immediately while the boats remained in tow. When the ship reached the drop point, Captain Luis would momentarily rev the engine as a signal to relase the line. The two rafts would then proceed shoreward. Once inland, the team would locate a safe hiding place and stay there until dawn.

At first light, the team would bury the cache containers in the mangroves that fringed the shoreline. Then two of the men would move several hundred yards inland to observe the road that ran along the coast from Dimas to the village of Baja. If the team was detected, Castro's men would probably use that route to reach the area; approach from the sea by any sizeable boat was impossible because of the shallow water. In addition, the team might be able to pick up some valuable information while watching the road. When it was sufficiently dark, the team would reassemble, uncover their rubber boats, and, this time using only paddles, row back to the rendezvous point. Besides using the compass on the return trip, they would have an RDF receiver to home in on the mother ship.

Captain Luis would have the mother ship in the vicinity of the rendezvous point for one hour, from 0200 to 0300. If for some reason contct was not made, we would return at the same time the following night. After that, the team would be presumed lost. The decoy vessel would play essentially the asme role during the recovery phase as it had during the drop, and, of course, would take us back to Florida.......

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THANKS FOR THE PIX OF THE REX, JR -

Aboard the Rex - Continued - Part III -

All illumination on board the ship had now been extinguished, and there was only stifling heat and the errie redness of the blackout lights. In the equipment room, Marcus and I helped the men secure their gear. They wore dark clothes, heavy work shoes, and either dark blue baseball-type caps or wool watch caps. They carried compasses, machetes, entrenching tools, rope, canteens, and ammunition pouches attached to standard Army pistol belts. Two men carried light packs, one containing rations and the other containing a small, specially developed long-range radio transreceiver. With the receiver, they could talk with the mother ship and, under oiptimum conditions, with CIA reception stations at various locations throughout the Caribbean. The team leader wore a .45 caliber submachine gun and four clips of ammunition. All labels and identifying marks had been removed from the equipment.

When they finished dressing, Marcus checked the men again, and then gave each a small emergency survival kit containing fishing gear, water-desalinization and purification chemicals, secret writing materials, Cuban money, morphine, and a special capsule containing a painless, rapidly acting lethal poison. The contents of the kit would be used at the discretion of the individual, depending on the nature of the emergency. There was no question about the morality of the procedures.

I was troubled by the loose, careless way in which the men wore their equipment. It could easily be lost and was hazardous in other ways as well. I told Marcus to have the men jump up and down in place. He looked at me quizzically but passed on my instructions to the team. The clank of metal against metal filled the cramped room. We securely taped the loose straps and buckles; then Marcus handed me a .45 caliber pistol in a shoulder holster and buckled a similar weapon around his waist.

The deck was black. In the distance to the west, lighting flickered and a roll of thunder could be heard over the low growl of the diesel engines. To the south, beacons and scattered lights marked the coast of the Communist island. Off our stern, the bright lights of the decoy vessel were visible. The team moved to the stern and, with the help of the crew, began to uncover the rubber boats. Loud talking, cursing, and the clanking of the deck fittings were quite audible over the drone of the ship's slow-turning engines. Marcus tried to quite the men, but they persisted with their talking. Captain Luis shrugged, as if to say it was impossible to keep them quiet. I believed him. But I was sure the Cuban patrols would have heard us by now.

We all worked to slid the heavy, neoprene rafts gently over the rail and lower them to the water so that they'd land right side up. Two of the commandos were lowered to the rafts, followed by the heavy, silent engines. It as still terribly noisy. I looked at my watch, time was slipping quickly. One outboard engine started immediately, but there was trouble with the other. The team continued talking and cursing as the tools and the outboard fuel tanks clanked against the metal containers. We seemed very close to shore, and I was tense, expecting to hear the first burst of machine gun fire that would signal our discovery.

Finally the cargo net was cast over the side and the remaining team members clambered over the rail and down to the rubber boats. Marcus, the captain, and I watched from the stern as the two small boats became dark blobs trailing a hundred feet behind us in the phosphorescent wake. Both silent engines were running and the rafts were still held by the tow line. Captain Luis went to the bridge, and it seemed an eternity before we revved the diesels. The Cuban coast was very near; the captain had violated the three-mile limit and we were within one mile of the shore. We watched the tow line go slack; then the rafts were lost in the darkness.

As Captain Luis altered the ship's course and headed west, away from the coast, Marcus and I retrieved the line and stood at the stern of the ship, looking shoreward. There was an air of anxiety, and no one spoke very much; our thoughts were with the team. The crew silently resumed its routine, and kept returning to the many questions raised about the operation and to my frustration over not being able to go ashore with the commandos. I returned to the bridge, pulled some life vests from a nearby locker, made a crude bed, and lay down. Except for the stars and the head lightning on the horizon, there was only blackness. I dozed fitfully and got up at the first light to see if any word had been received from the team. So far, nothing had been heard.

The sea was flat, the sky heavily overcast. The air was stagnant and very warm. The hours dragged by. We were somewhere off the Dry Tortugas, a gain trialing the undersea instruments from the jutting long booms. Occasionally a crewman would start the winch motors and reel in the heavy cable to inspect the research devices, for we had to continue to play the role. To pass the time, Captain Luis told stories of his days as a cruise-liner captain sailing out of the pre-Castro Havana. Finally, late in the afternoon, we changed course and headed southeast, back towards Cuba. We continued to move about eight knots as twilight fell, and as soon as it grew dark, the research instruments were recovered. None of us had slept very much during the long, boring day, but as the time for the rendezvous approached, fatigue gave way alertness. Moving slowly, under blackout conditions, we edged closer and closer to the shore.

By midnight we could pick up the lights of the coastal villages. The overcast sky and the blackness of the night made them seem especially bright and close. Again, our maneuver had been timed to slip between the patrol boats and the radar fans. This was the most dangerous phase of the operation. If the team had been captured or followed, Castro's militia would be waiting for us. Captain Luis guided the ship closer and closer to the coast. At 0200 we picked up the lights of Dimas, and Captain Luis cut the diesels to idle speed. We waited in silence as 15 minutes passed, then 20. At 0200, and still no sign of the team, Captain Luis stepped nervously into the wheelhouse to check the RDF transmitter.

Suddenly there was a splash near the side of the ship, and an aluminum paddle grated against the thick wooden hull. Marcus and I rushed to the starboard side and peered into the oily blackness. One raft, with three men aboard, was just visible in the water. Marcus half whispered directions to the commandos as they maneuvered the raft alongside the ship. As the men noisily climbed the cargo-net latter with the help of Marcus and the crew, I continued to search the darkness for the second raft. The lights of the decoy boat flickered in the distance. I could almost feel the presence of a Communist patrol boat in the darkness, its crew ready and waiting for the order to open fire on us. Time was running out.

Marcus joined me at the rail, breathless, and informed me the other raft was far behind. The team leader was in that one, and they had with them a wounded Cuban who had escaped the militia that afternoon. Dogs were tracking the man when he stumbled upon the team.

I'd just glanced at my watch when the first burst of gunfire spat from the dark shoreline, the slugs raking the water somewhere in front of us. I threw myself on the deck, grabbing Marcus as I dropped. There was more gunfire and the familiar sound of an M3 machinegun . I peered cautiously over the low gunwale. There were moving lights on the shore, dogs barking, and more machine-gun fire. This time the slugs struck our ship.

Castro's men were firing in the direction of the fleeing raft. Because of the way the round were striking, it was obvious that Captain Luis had again guided the Rex much closer than authorized – probably no more than about a thousand yards offshore….Captain Luis poured full power to the idling diesel engines,…Beams of light and machine-gun fire continued to rake the water as our old vessel shuddered to life and turned her stern to the island….

….Some hours later, the eight of us sat around a wobbly kitchen table in a grimy little stucco house on Stock Island just off Key West. There was very little talk as we awaited the arrival from Miami of the team's case officer…..It was midmorning when the case officer burst through the front door of the safehouse. Under his arm was the morning newspaper containing stories of another raid on the Communist island. Castro once again accused the CIA. Fortunately, according to the description and information in the paper, Castro had many of the facts wrong, but there was enough correct data in the story to identify the incident as our recently completed operation. Castro claimed that the one boat had been sunk and all aboard had been captured or killed.

The debriefing continued throughout the day. Except for answering the officer's questions to me, I withheld comments about the mission. The story unfolded as each of us had lived it and despite the problems we encountered, the case officer seemed satisfied with the outcome of the mission. Somehow, I didn't feel that Ted would be quite so pleased. By late afternoon the debriefing had ended. I had spent part of the time drafting my after-action report but, for some reason I just couldn't keep my mind on it. I needed to get away for a while, and the case officer suggested that I take his car back to Miami. He was going to spend the weekend in Key West with his men, and I was no longer needed.

I drove slowly along the nearly deserted overseas highway. The sun was setting over the mangrove bay heads in the bay to the west. Latin music played softly on the radio…..

[....I arranged to meet Pearl and so I headed for a sleezy motel in the Keys where that J. Timothy Gratz guy works the graveyard shift, and I can set him straight about a few things....]

Edited by William Kelly
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Bill wrote:

[i][....I arranged to meet Pearl and so I headed for a sleezy motel in the Keys where that J. Timothy Gratz guy works the graveyard shift, and I can set him straight about a few things....]

[/i]

Bill, you are just like a little kid, calling names. You can't even spell "sleazy" correctly. And where I work is neither a motel nor is it sleazy.

There was indeed a Rex. All of Ayers' statements about its operations and his role in such operations must be taken with at least several grains of salt if he in fact invented Pearl. The substantial questions about the truth of Ayers' "Pearl story" are discussed at length in another thread.

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Bill, just so you know: I agree there was a CIA raid against Cuba on Halloween of 1963.

And just a few days later RFK sat in a meeting with top CIA officers in which agreement was reached to continue sabotage operations against Cuba, including sabotage efforts in the week immediately before JFK's trip to Dallas. There is some indication JFK himself may have attended this meeting.

There is no way anyone can contend that RFK was unaware of CIA sabotage efforts against Cuba.

Of couse such sabotage operations were acts of war.

Less than a month after the U.S.' October 31 attack on Cuba, the President of the United States was slain in the streets of Dallas.

As Ayers himself writes, after the assassination of JFK, the U.S.' war against Cuba grinded albeit slowly to a halt.

But to draw a connection between the October 31 U.S. raid against Cuba, RFK's approval of stepped-up sabotage against Cuba in the week immediately preceding the assassination, and the assassination itself, now that would truly be absurd. No nexus there; the confluence of these events is just--it's just--well, it's just a coincidence!

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Interesting to note that your discovery of the fact that Collins Radio became part of Rockwell

International meshes nicely with my theory that the Rockwell takeover of Draper Corp. in

1967 was for all intents and purposes the payback to Wickliffe Draper for removing JFK as

an obstacle to expanding the Viet Nam war effort. I remember when we shared the same

conference room in Washington, DC at the COPA conference and presented back to back

stories about Rockwell's role in the JFK conundrum.

Can you remind me again about that secretive NSA building you discovered with a Rockwell

logo on the outside? This project was essentially hidden from Congress, right? I think it was only

a few years later that Rockwell was forced to sell its Defense assets to Boeing just before

Congress was going to slam the door shut on future Rockwell DOD business due to their

20 year record of surreptitious activities and sloppy defense projects.

Take a look at Confederate Yankees in King Camelot's Court and especially the subsequent

posting about Frank Wisner's and William Draper's roles in the Culture Wars efforts headed

by C.D. Jackson and Frank G. Wisner II. This one blows my mind since I can not figure

why these big time CIA heavyweights would even bother with Culture Wars. I subtitled

it Will of the WASPS...

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Bill wrote:

[i][....I arranged to meet Pearl and so I headed for a sleezy motel in the Keys where that J. Timothy Gratz guy works the graveyard shift, and I can set him straight about a few things....]

[/i]

Bill, you are just like a little kid, calling names. You can't even spell "sleazy" correctly. And where I work is neither a motel nor is it sleazy.

There was indeed a Rex. All of Ayers' statements about its operations and his role in such operations must be taken with at least several grains of salt if he in fact invented Pearl. The substantial questions about the truth of Ayers' "Pearl story" are discussed at length in another thread.

Gee Tim,

I didn't expect anybody to read that far into it.

But it is a great story, kinda spooky, and if Brad made all that up he should become Bob Tannenbaum's new ghost writer.

Don't play it so straight all the time, I'm just having a little fun with you.

And lets all sing the Beatles' "Happy Birthday" for David Atlee Phillips....

How old was he on Oct. 31, 1963?

Being Risible? How do you put that word in a sentence?

BK

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The Tanenbaum to whom you refer spells his name with but two "ns". The other Tannenbaum (with three "ns") was an associate of Carlos Marcello as I recall.

Letr's not get them mixed up!

But Tanenbaum certainly does not need a ghost writer.

If however you mean a writer ABOUT ghosts, Tanenbaum does not write ghost stories.

You do mean ghosts? Or spooks?

Was that famous sixties song (by the Classics IV) as I recall in fact about a young lady who worked for the CIA? You know: "Love is kind of crazy with a . . .[etc]"

Edited by Tim Gratz
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Bill, just so you know: I agree there was a CIA raid against Cuba on Halloween of 1963.

And just a few days later RFK sat in a meeting with top CIA officers in which agreement was reached to continue sabotage operations against Cuba, including sabotage efforts in the week immediately before JFK's trip to Dallas. There is some indication JFK himself may have attended this meeting.

There is no way anyone can contend that RFK was unaware of CIA sabotage efforts against Cuba.

Of couse such sabotage operations were acts of war.

Less than a month after the U.S.' October 31 attack on Cuba, the President of the United States was slain in the streets of Dallas.

As Ayers himself writes, after the assassination of JFK, the U.S.' war against Cuba grinded albeit slowly to a halt.

But to draw a connection between the October 31 U.S. raid against Cuba, RFK's approval of stepped-up sabotage against Cuba in the week immediately preceding the assassination, and the assassination itself, now that would truly be absurd. No nexus there; the confluence of these events is just--it's just--well, it's just a coincidence!

The anti Castro exiles were told that their pending assistance in the JFK hit would result in another invasion

of Cuba. And Revilo Oliver and Billy James Hargis tried like heck to blame Castro for JFK's demise in order to

make it all happen that way. No one ever said Castro in retaliation went after JFK. Maybe the CIA started

circumventing RFK in order to elicit the support of some of the anti Castro Cuban exiles in either the Miami

plot or the Dallas plot. In a way saying... this is how it is going to be after the fact. Bobby will be powerless

to stop us after his brother is dead. He can't even stop us now, because we know JFK is history. I still

think that Frank Sturgis and others from groups that splintered off from 30th of November Movement were

involved in BOTH Miami and Dallas plots though I can not produce eyewitnesses to this false promise of a

renewed Castro invasion. At the end of the plot to kill JFK, the Cubans could only say: OK when do go

get Castro? Well there is too much heat, it is too risky. Hey, that's not what you said last month. We are

telling. Yeah, who you going to call? Who you going to tell? You guys are guilty as Hell and will fry for it.

So STFU and get back on the Rex for now. Over simplified? Mebbie.

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John B wrote:

No one ever said Castro in retaliation went after JFK

Well, John, that is my theory. It was also that of Senator Morgan and is also of Joseph Califano.

Heck, it went beyond sabotage. We were trying to KILL Castro, for heaven's sake.

And "retaliation" may not be the correct word if in fact the assassination was intended to PREVENT further attempts on the life of Fidel, rather than to revenge past, failed assassination attempts.

I think it was brigade leader Oveida who stated that the exiles' dreams for a free Cuba died on the streets of Dallas, and they KNEW it!

How in the world would anti-Castro exiles think killing JFK would prompt an invasion of Cuba? Didn't they know LBJ was a coward? He was hiding in a bathroom afraid he was the next on the target list. And then he learns of Oswald's visit to the Cuban embassy in Mexico City. He orders all such talk stopped, sets up the Warren Commission to prevent further rumours of a foreign conspiracy, and winds down the actions against Castro.

The only possibility I see for exile involvement is if any exiles who were involved were so down the pecking order they did not realize all of the administration's actions against Cuba.

Now understand that the right-wingers of the 1960s most likely believed that LHO was a genuine Marxist and that "the Commies" killed JFK because "the Commies" were bad. But understand that Hargis et al surely were NOT aware of all of the administration's efforts against Cuba and work with Artime, etc.

Edited by Tim Gratz
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John B wrote:

No one ever said Castro in retaliation went after JFK

Well, John, that is my theory. It was also that of Senator Morgan and is also of Joseph Califano.

Heck, it went beyond sabotage. We were trying to KILL Castro, for heaven's sake.

And "retaliation" may not be the correct word if in fact the assassination was intended to PREVENT further attempts on the life of Fidel, rather than to revenge past, failed assassination attempts.

I think it was brigade leader Oveida who stated that the exiles' dreams for a free Cuba died on the streets of Dallas, and they KNEW it!

How in the world would anti-Castro exiles think killing JFK would prompt an invasion of Cuba? Didn't they know LBJ was a coward? He was hiding in a bathroom afraid he was the next on the target list. And then he learns of Oswald's visit to the Cuban embassy in Mexico City. He orders all such talk stopped, sets up the Warren Commission to prevent further rumours of a foreign conspiracy, and winds down the actions against Castro.

The only possibility I see for exile involvement is if any exiles who were involved were so down the pecking order they did not realize all of the administration's actions against Cuba.

Now understand that the right-wingers of the 1960s most likely believed that LHO was a genuine Marxist and that "the Commies" killed JFK because "the Commies" were bad. But understand that Hargis et al surely were NOT aware of all of the administration's efforts against Cuba and work with Artime, etc.

Perhaps I should have said...

No one who is considered credible, non-biased and sufficiently knowledgeable about

the JFK conundrum ever said Castro in retaliation went after JFK.

There isn't that MUCH better?

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Well, as I said, I do not think "retaliation" is the correct word for it.

I consider Califano a credible source. He was deeply involved first in JFK's actions against Cuba and then in LBJ's winding down of them.

But I do agree with you that anyone who is sufficiently knowledgeable would have to conclude that the persons behind the conspiracy had a motive ("get Castro") that not only failed but failed precisely because of the assassination. The plotters were hoist by their own petard, so to speak. That sure makes sense to me!

That is certainly a more logical explanation than that the assassination in fact accomplished the intentions of its sponsors, one of which being to prevent further assassination attempts against Castro, sabotage operations and maybe even a second US invasion.

It is always better to search for a failed motive behind a murder rather than a successful motive.

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The Tanenbaum to whom you refer spells his name with but two "ns". The other Tannenbaum (with three "ns") was an associate of Carlos Marcello as I recall.

Letr's not get them mixed up!

But Tanenbaum certainly does not need a ghost writer.

I don't know who to spell his name but the Robert Tannenbaum I am talking about is a former New York prosecutor, asst. to first chief counsel of HSCA Richard Sprague, mayor of Beverly Hills and author of a dozen pulp paperback crime/mystery novels based on his experiences in New York.

He also wrote a fictional account of the JFK assassination, which I complained about to him when he gave a COPA talk, telling him that novels don't advance the case any further and there's no need to write fiction when the truth is more interesting. I don't think he bothered to listen to me.

And this Tannenbaum most certainly does work with ghost writers, his first being a cousin or an in-law who did the first few books, and then they had a falling out and he got another ghost writer who wasn't as good, and if you look him up you'll see complaints from his fans who liked the early style and feel cheated with the new writer, who ever it is.

If however you mean a writer ABOUT ghosts, Tanenbaum does not write ghost stories.

You do mean ghosts? Or spooks?

Was that famous sixties song (by the Classics IV) as I recall in fact about a young lady who worked for the CIA? You know: "Love is kind of crazy with a . . .[etc]"

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