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Gus Russo


William Kelly
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Brothers In Arms (Bloomsbury, 2008, p. 6)

"That brings us to Nikolai, our source inside the Russian FSB (Federal Security Service), which had been formed in 1995 as a direct successor to the KGB after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. He would unlock secrets that the US government itself could have unlocked years ago..."

(p. 266)

"In 2005, the frist direct proof of the Oswald and Rolando Cubela connection was revelaed, when Nikolai located a KGB folio on Cubela that contained CIA debriefing files of Cubela smuggled out of Langley by a KGB 'Penetration agent.' In one of those files, it was notedt aht Cubela had named the shooter in the General Edwin Walker case as a Dallas resident named Lee Oswald. The file, said Nikolai, was from late spring or early summer of 1963."

"The source of this information, whether given directly to Cubela or coonveyed to him through a cutout of some sort, could only have been Lee himself. He was never arrested or even suspected by the Dallas Police Deprtment, and the only other person on earth who knew that he had taken the potshot was Marina, who wasn't talking...."

Yea, Lee and Marina, and DeMohrenschildet, who saw the rifle and joked about it, and Col. Jose Rivera, United States Army Reserves, who knew Oswald connected to the Walker shooting in DC on April 20, 1963.

BK

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  • 4 weeks later...

Russo and blaming RFK and Castro – (p.8)

"…Having reconstructed the roles of all these tragic actors, we have concluded with some sadness that the lessons of the politics of murder were lost on most of them, and lost on most of the body politic as well. An exception was Robert Kennedy. He, like Raul on the Cuban side, was the most relentless advocate of no-holds-barred covert actions – including assassination – within his brother's inner circle…The impulse for revenge and the political justification for it were virtually inseparable until, as Lyndon Johnson secretly expressed it, Castro got Kennedy before Kennedy could get him."

Thus making RFK responsible for his own brother's murder.

"The awful responsibility borne by Robert after John's death might have destroyed lesser men…"

(p. 16) "…Daniel would later remark that he was shocked that Fidel displayed no emotion when he heard the news, almost as if he had expected it. 4.

[bK notes: I read Daniel's report and that's just the opposite I got out of it. According to Daniel Fidel was the one who was shocked, and said that "This is a bad thing." ]

Russo :

"....Indeed he had. Fidel had been well aware that a young American 'foreign collaborator,' in contact with his agents in the embassy in Mexico City, was plotting his murder on his own initiative, a lost resort to prove his devotion to Fidel's cause. The act was a prelude to his own recruitment into Fidel's intelligence corps, or so the man had been left to believe."

(67) "…Among the students there (Minsk) were Jose Abrantes, the personal assistant to the Cuban intelligence chief, Ramiro Valdes Menendez, and one Fabian Escalante Font, a young agent of increasingly dangerous reputation who would soon rise to the top of the G2…It seems possible that Oswald befriended Fabian Escalante, among the most ambitious of those rising stars…"

(p. 147) "…Sergio (A. Smith) was already making direct reports to Bobby Kennedy by then, though he wouldn't say so explicitly until 1967…"

(p. 181) "….With his pathological secrecy, the rich and yet luminously disturbed nature of his inner life, Lee is a man who resists historical attempts to describe him. Faced with the task of unpacking Oswald's psyche, Norman Mailer emerged with only this overarching question, "….Oswald was a secret agent. There is no doubt on that. The only matter unsettled is whether he was working for any service larger than the power centers in the privacy of his mind." 36.

"As recent evidence suggests, he was both: at once a man in service to his own subjective agency, and a "patsy" for larger clandestine elements, Lee Oswald was never an operative for the American CIA, or for the Mafia. No evidence has arisen, from friends, family, associates, or authorities in either the United States or the old Soviet Union, that Lee was an agent of the American government….What he was, within weeks of his arrival, was a Cuban-aligned sleeper agent, a potential asset who might prove useful to Havana one day."

"This was his greatest dream, one that he had auditioned for perhaps as early as his visits to the Cuban embassy in L.A., before he defected to Russia – to convince his heroes that he was one of them; that he believed as they believed that he could deliver on his violent promises. He would try his best to become a 'self-recruited' Cuban spy, all the while ignorant of the fact that G2 already had its sights fixed on him."

Then there's "Oscar Marino," once a senior Cuban spy and "founder of G2," who tells Russo that Oswald came to the attention of the Cubans in the fall of 1962 as a "foreign collaborator," (p. 223) who claims that, "…It was in the autumn of 1962, when Oswald was recruited (by Castro Cuban G2). He was spoken of on the management level…Oswald was on a list of foreign colleagues and payees. He repeatedly received strategic money. No important sum, a couple of thousand dollars – only for strategic purposes. Money did not concern him. He wanted to perform something great for the revolution. He was in the USA, and was already a political activist who fought for the Cuban revolution."

Russo claims that Rolando Cubela (AMLASH) "had personal contact with Robert Kennedy and had been in a CIA safe house planning the murder of Fidel at precisely the moment that word came of the president's assassination in Dallas." (p. 224)

(p. 232)

"…Jack was already in the process of creating a new entity, the Cuban Coordinating Committee (or CCC), ostensibly to help brigadistas assimulate into American life but in fact to coordinate a new plan for a Cuban coup e'etat. As the negotiations to free the Brigade were coming to fruition, Cuban specialists at the State Department, Defense, the Navy, the Army, and on the Joint Chief's staff had been devising a new hemisphere-wide counterinsurgency strategy, plans for which he sent to the National Security Council (and Bobby) for approval before the president took action. Secretary of the Army Cyrus Vance took charge of sifting through the intel reports from the field. Joseph Califano, who had worked under Vance at the Pentagon since one week before the Bay of Pigs invasion, was the Defense Department's point man on the committee. Alexander Haig, the CCC's deputy to Califano, claimed that they effectively comprised the 'junction box' that enabled the Kennedy's to circumvent the intelligence bureaucracy. 7.

On the same page Russo acknowledges that "In Lee's 1962 diaries, he once described himself as a 'radical futurist.'" 10.

(p.234) "….On January 8, 1963, the CCC was officially established. Angelo Kennedy, an intimate of Artime's, was with him when a small group of exile leaders went to the Executive Mansion to learn of the CCC's grand scheme….

(p. 242) "….As the secret war was redefining itself, the CIA's Desmond FitzGerald was about to replace the self-sabotaging Bill Harvey. A polished, socially agile veteran of Wall Street and the CIA, Des was a classic American patrician….Harvey was shipped off to the CIA station in Rome, where he could do little additional damage to the Kennedy's ongoing agenda." 39. He bade good-bye to his assassin-in-charge, Johnny Rosselli, at a booze-drenched dinner under the amazed surveillance of the mobster's FBI shadow detail, and then set sail for the old country. 40. From then on, the mob would no longer be gunning for Fidel, officially or otherwise."

"….In the new plotting, the goal was to find disaffected military brass within Castro's inner clique who would spearhead his 'elimination' and takeover. At Bobby's directive, FitzGerald quickly generated a list of sabotage targets in Cuba , directed at infrastructure, and set to commence in July at a rate of one target per month. In the course of that pursuit, twenty-five CIA agents, mostly Cuban exiles recruited as commandos, would end up being killed or captured in five raids on the island in the coming year. 41. Additionally, Des would pay particular attention to the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, still in existence even after the New York plot had been thwarted the previous November. The secret war, both at home and abroad, had barely skipped a beat."

In the meantime, "Working at the photo company Jaggars-Chiles-Stoval, Lee actually had a job he loved, for the first time ever…."

But when it comes to paying his debts, "Where the money came from was not determined then, and has been speculated on for nearly half a century. According to Oscar Marino, the money was provided by the Cubans, in modest amounts, either by Rolando Cubela or some other G2 contact."

(p. 245) "It as hard for Bobby to regain Jack's attention on the Fidel business…and their history suggests that he was not as certain that Fidel had to be killed as Bobby was…"

(p.246) "…Back in Washington, however, not everyone was fully prepared for how blatant the talk of Fidel's assassination had become, especially since the appalling events of the past October. But at a CCC meeting that took place twelve days after its creation, on February 20, and attended by Jack's aid Ralph Dungan, Cyrus Vance, Richard Helms, Des FitzGerald, Bobby, the cautious Robert Hurwitch from State, and Califano, it was abundantly clear that murder was the first item on the CCC's agenda."

"Califano, young, idealistic, and devoted to his boss Cy Vance, was unnerved. He suddenly thought Bobby was obsessed with Castro….even reckless with regard to Fidel. The subtext was obvious. No one tiptoed around it anymore, except with the thinnest euphemisms. When he left the meeting, Califano sensed that Castro was as walking dead man."

"Vance shared the suspicion, and he was livid. The whole Cuban project had taken on this barbershop atmosphere, he said, 'Too many people at the table, low-level aides sitting against the wall…when 'actions' like this, however discreetly, are being discussed.' I took this comment to mean that he understood what I suspected: Bobby Kennedy and his brother wanted Castro assassinated."

"Califano guessed that Des FitzGerald was caught up in the plots, maybe even the spearhead, 'since he was the point man for covert raids and other dirty tricks to disrupt Cuba.": 50

"Joe Califano's objections seem almost quaint now. Compunction about such things was still an integral part of the moral code of most of the people in high office back then…."

But wait a minute Gus, Vance, and Califano didn't object to plotting the assassination of Castro, they're objecting about too many people in the room knowing about what they were planning to do.

(p. 254) "There is impressive evidence that Lee had already been in contact with Rolando Cubela by this time, either via correspondence, on the phone, in person, or though some G2 'cut out.' In preparing himself to kill Walker, Lee was auditioning for the Cubans. One of the books he had been reading this month was called How to Be a Spy."

(p. 266) "In 2005, the first direct proof of the Oswald and Rolando Cubela connection was revealed, when Nikolai located a KGB folio on Cubela that contained CIA debriefing files of Cubela smuggled out of Langley by a KGB 'penetration agent.' In one of those files, it was noted that Cubela had named the shooter in the General Edwin Walker case as a Dallas resident named Lee Oswald. This file, said Nikolai, was from the late spring or early summer of 1963."

"The source of this information, whether given directly to Cubela or conveyed to him through a cutout of some sort, could only have been Lee himself….."

But wait a minute Gus, DeMohrenschildt suspected Oswald took the shot at Walker and mentioned it to Oswald himself, and probably to his CIA contact, J. Walter Moore, the former OSS agent who served in China with Charles D. Ford, the CIA JMWAVE agent who liasoned with RFK. And then there's Col. Jose Rivera (USAR), who also expressed knowledge of Oswald's role in the Walker shooting in DC on April 20th, ten days after the fact.

Edited by William Kelly
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Russo and blaming RFK and Castro – (p.8)

"…Having reconstructed the roles of all these tragic actors, we have concluded with some sadness that the lessons of the politics of murder were lost on most of them, and lost on most of the body politic as well. An exception was Robert Kennedy. He, like Raul on the Cuban side, was the most relentless advocate of no-holds-barred covert actions – including assassination – within his brother's inner circle…The impulse for revenge and the political justification for it were virtually inseparable until, as Lyndon Johnson secretly expressed it, Castro got Kennedy before Kennedy could get him."

Thus making RFK responsible for his own brother's murder.

"The awful responsibility borne by Robert after John's death might have destroyed lesser men…"

(p. 16) "…Daniel would later remark that he was shocked that Fidel displayed no emotion when he heard the news, almost as if he had expected it. 4.

[bK notes: I read Daniel's report and that's just the opposite I got out of it. According to Daniel Fidel was the one who was shocked, and said that "This is a bad thing." ]

Russo :

"....Indeed he had. Fidel had been well aware that a young American 'foreign collaborator,' in contact with his agents in the embassy in Mexico City, was plotting his murder on his own initiative, a lost resort to prove his devotion to Fidel's cause. The act was a prelude to his own recruitment into Fidel's intelligence corps, or so the man had been left to believe."

(67) "…Among the students there (Minsk) were Jose Abrantes, the personal assistant to the Cuban intelligence chief, Ramiro Valdes Menendez, and one Fabian Escalante Font, a young agent of increasingly dangerous reputation who would soon rise to the top of the G2…It seems possible that Oswald befriended Fabian Escalante, among the most ambitious of those rising stars…"

(p. 147) "…Sergio (A. Smith) was already making direct reports to Bobby Kennedy by then, though he wouldn't say so explicitly until 1967…"

(p. 181) "….With his pathological secrecy, the rich and yet luminously disturbed nature of his inner life, Lee is a man who resists historical attempts to describe him. Faced with the task of unpacking Oswald's psyche, Norman Mailer emerged with only this overarching question, "….Oswald was a secret agent. There is no doubt on that. The only matter unsettled is whether he was working for any service larger than the power centers in the privacy of his mind." 36.

"As recent evidence suggests, he was both: at once a man in service to his own subjective agency, and a "patsy" for larger clandestine elements, Lee Oswald was never an operative for the American CIA, or for the Mafia. No evidence has arisen, from friends, family, associates, or authorities in either the United States or the old Soviet Union, that Lee was an agent of the American government….What he was, within weeks of his arrival, was a Cuban-aligned sleeper agent, a potential asset who might prove useful to Havana one day."

"This was his greatest dream, one that he had auditioned for perhaps as early as his visits to the Cuban embassy in L.A., before he defected to Russia – to convince his heroes that he was one of them; that he believed as they believed that he could deliver on his violent promises. He would try his best to become a 'self-recruited' Cuban spy, all the while ignorant of the fact that G2 already had its sights fixed on him."

Then there's "Oscar Marino," once a senior Cuban spy and "founder of G2," who tells Russo that Oswald came to the attention of the Cubans in the fall of 1962 as a "foreign collaborator," (p. 223) who claims that, "…It was in the autumn of 1962, when Oswald was recruited (by Castro Cuban G2). He was spoken of on the management level…Oswald was on a list of foreign colleagues and payees. He repeatedly received strategic money. No important sum, a couple of thousand dollars – only for strategic purposes. Money did not concern him. He wanted to perform something great for the revolution. He was in the USA, and was already a political activist who fought for the Cuban revolution."

Russo claims that Rolando Cubela (AMLASH) "had personal contact with Robert Kennedy and had been in a CIA safe house planning the murder of Fidel at precisely the moment that word came of the president's assassination in Dallas." (p. 224)

(p. 232)

"…Jack was already in the process of creating a new entity, the Cuban Coordinating Committee (or CCC), ostensibly to help brigadistas assimulate into American life but in fact to coordinate a new plan for a Cuban coup e'etat. As the negotiations to free the Brigade were coming to fruition, Cuban specialists at the State Department, Defense, the Navy, the Army, and on the Joint Chief's staff had been devising a new hemisphere-wide counterinsurgency strategy, plans for which he sent to the National Security Council (and Bobby) for approval before the president took action. Secretary of the Army Cyrus Vance took charge of sifting through the intel reports from the field. Joseph Califano, who had worked under Vance at the Pentagon since one week before the Bay of Pigs invasion, was the Defense Department's point man on the committee. Alexander Haig, the CCC's deputy to Califano, claimed that they effectively comprised the 'junction box' that enabled the Kennedy's to circumvent the intelligence bureaucracy. 7.

On the same page Russo acknowledges that "In Lee's 1962 diaries, he once described himself as a 'radical futurist.'" 10.

(p.234) "….On January 8, 1963, the CCC was officially established. Angelo Kennedy, an intimate of Artime's, was with him when a small group of exile leaders went to the Executive Mansion to learn of the CCC's grand scheme….

(p. 242) "….As the secret war was redefining itself, the CIA's Desmond FitzGerald was about to replace the self-sabotaging Bill Harvey. A polished, socially agile veteran of Wall Street and the CIA, Des was a classic American patrician….Harvey was shipped off to the CIA station in Rome, where he could do little additional damage to the Kennedy's ongoing agenda." 39. He bade good-bye to his assassin-in-charge, Johnny Rosselli, at a booze-drenched dinner under the amazed surveillance of the mobster's FBI shadow detail, and then set sail for the old country. 40. From then on, the mob would no longer be gunning for Fidel, officially or otherwise."

"….In the new plotting, the goal was to find disaffected military brass within Castro's inner clique who would spearhead his 'elimination' and takeover. At Bobby's directive, FitzGerald quickly generated a list of sabotage targets in Cuba , directed at infrastructure, and set to commence in July at a rate of one target per month. In the course of that pursuit, twenty-five CIA agents, mostly Cuban exiles recruited as commandos, would end up being killed or captured in five raids on the island in the coming year. 41. Additionally, Des would pay particular attention to the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, still in existence even after the New York plot had been thwarted the previous November. The secret war, both at home and abroad, had barely skipped a beat."

In the meantime, "Working at the photo company Jaggars-Chiles-Stoval, Lee actually had a job he loved, for the first time ever…."

But when it comes to paying his debts, "Where the money came from was not determined then, and has been speculated on for nearly half a century. According to Oscar Marino, the money was provided by the Cubans, in modest amounts, either by Rolando Cubela or some other G2 contact."

(p. 245) "It as hard for Bobby to regain Jack's attention on the Fidel business…and their history suggests that he was not as certain that Fidel had to be killed as Bobby was…"

(p.246) "…Back in Washington, however, not everyone was fully prepared for how blatant the talk of Fidel's assassination had become, especially since the appalling events of the past October. But at a CCC meeting that took place twelve days after its creation, on February 20, and attended by Jack's aid Ralph Dungan, Cyrus Vance, Richard Helms, Des FitzGerald, Bobby, the cautious Robert Hurwitch from State, and Califano, it was abundantly clear that murder was the first item on the CCC's agenda."

"Califano, young, idealistic, and devoted to his boss Cy Vance, was unnerved. He suddenly thought Bobby was obsessed with Castro….even reckless with regard to Fidel. The subtext was obvious. No one tiptoed around it anymore, except with the thinnest euphemisms. When he left the meeting, Califano sensed that Castro was as walking dead man."

"Vance shared the suspicion, and he was livid. The whole Cuban project had taken on this barbershop atmosphere, he said, 'Too many people at the table, low-level aides sitting against the wall…when 'actions' like this, however discreetly, are being discussed.' I took this comment to mean that he understood what I suspected: Bobby Kennedy and his brother wanted Castro assassinated."

"Califano guessed that Des FitzGerald was caught up in the plots, maybe even the spearhead, 'since he was the point man for covert raids and other dirty tricks to disrupt Cuba.": 50

"Joe Califano's objections seem almost quaint now. Compunction about such things was still an integral part of the moral code of most of the people in high office back then…."

But wait a minute Gus, Vance, and Califano didn't object to plotting the assassination of Castro, they're objecting about too many people in the room knowing about what they were planning to do.

(p. 254) "There is impressive evidence that Lee had already been in contact with Rolando Cubela by this time, either via correspondence, on the phone, in person, or though some G2 'cut out.' In preparing himself to kill Walker, Lee was auditioning for the Cubans. One of the books he had been reading this month was called How to Be a Spy."

(p. 266) "In 2005, the first direct proof of the Oswald and Rolando Cubela connection was revealed, when Nikolai located a KGB folio on Cubela that contained CIA debriefing files of Cubela smuggled out of Langley by a KGB 'penetration agent.' In one of those files, it was noted that Cubela had named the shooter in the General Edwin Walker case as a Dallas resident named Lee Oswald. This file, said Nikolai, was from the late spring or early summer of 1963."

"The source of this information, whether given directly to Cubela or conveyed to him through a cutout of some sort, could only have been Lee himself….."

But wait a minute Gus, DeMohrenschildt suspected Oswald took the shot at Walker and mentioned it to Oswald himself, and probably to his CIA contact, J. Walter Moore, the former OSS agent who served in China with Charles D. Ford, the CIA JMWAVE agent who liasoned with RFK. And then there's Col. Jose Rivera (USAR), who also expressed knowledge of Oswald's role in the Walker shooting in DC on April 20th, ten days after the fact.

Except, among numerous other things, uh.....Castro wasn't that STUPID!

-Bill O

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Jim DiEugenio:

http://www.ctka.net/2009/russo_molton.html

Brian Latell, who really knows what he's talking about, sets everybody straight:

http://www.washingtondecoded.com/site/2009...-dots.html#more

And do you believe that this is getting a cover story in American Heritage Magazine?

Can anybody provide a link to this story?

There's got to be a Mockingbird connection there somewhere.

BK

Edited by William Kelly
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Jim DiEugenio:

http://www.ctka.net/2009/russo_molton.html

Brian Latell, who really knows what he's talking about, sets everybody straight:

http://www.washingtondecoded.com/site/2009...-dots.html#more

And do you believe that this is getting a cover story in American Heritage Magazine?

Can anybody provide a link to this story?

There's got to be a Mockingbird connection there somewhere.

BK

Mel Ayton weighs in lightly on Russo.

The only fantasy about Oswald is that he killed JFK.

http://hnn.us/roundup/entries/58198.html

  • <H2 class=blogtitle></H2>

  • Mel Ayton: Review of Brothers In Arms – The Kennedys, The Castros, and the Politics of Murder By Gus Russo and Stephen Molton (Bloomsbury, 2008)

Source: Special to HNN (12-12-08)

[Mr. Ayton is the author of The JFK Assassination : Dispelling The Myths ( 2002), Questions Of Controversy: The Kennedy Brothers (2001), A Racial Crime – James Earl Ray And The Murder Of Dr Martin Luther King Jr, (2005) and The Forgotten Terrosist – Sirhan Sirhan and the Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy (2007). In 2003 he acted as the historical adviser for the BBC’s television documentary, The Kennedy Dynasty and has appeared in Discovery Channel and National Geographic Channel documentaries. He has written articles for David Horowitz’s Frontpage magazine, Max Holland’s Washington Decoded, History Ireland, Crime Magazine and the History News Network.]

Gus Russo and Stephen Molton have produced a well-researched and compelling study of the role Cuban, Soviet and American intelligence agencies played in keeping track of Lee Harvey Oswald, the self-styled ‘revolutionary’ who assassinated President John F. Kennedy, in the years before Dallas. Their book provides details of how the Soviets passed information about Oswald on to the Cuban intelligence agencies who in turn decided Oswald may be of some use in their attempts to hit back at the United States for its efforts in trying to topple the Castro regime. Their investigation into the movements of Cuban Intelligence agent Fabian Escalante Font before and after the assassination is also central to their thesis that the assassination can be placed firmly at Castro’s door. The authors have utilized hundreds of documents from KGB, Cuban, Mexican Secret Police, and recently unredacted U.S. government files and combined them with their own interviews of the players in the JFK/Castro conflict to support their thesis.

Additionally, one would have thought that there was nothing more to learn about Lee Oswald especially in his relationship with his wife Marina but Russo and Molton have done exactly that and they also provide the reader with additional insight into the character and motives of the assassin. The authors are particularly informative about Oswald’s activities in the Soviet Union and his friendship with Cuban students in Minsk. Particularly revealing are the snippets of information about Oswald which reveal how the assassin manipulated Cuban and American intelligence agencies into believing he had an important role to play in what turns out to be his own fantasy game of building himself up to be some sort of important figure.

Brothers In Arms also provides further conclusive proof that the facts of the assassination were concealed in order to hide the truth about Robert Kennedy’s determination to assassinate Castro so the younger brother could protect the family’s legacy. The facts were also concealed from the Warren Commission because of Lyndon Johnson’s desire to protect national security.

Two of the most important failures of the Warren Commission were in not investigating the possible links between the CIA’s plots to kill Castro and the assassination of the president and the Commission’s poor job in determining if there was more to Castro’s agents in Mexico City than had previously been discovered. Former CIA Director Allen Dulles, a Warren Commission member, failed to tell his colleagues on the Commission or staff investigators about the Castro plots. This knowledge could have given investigators an important lead on Oswald's time in Mexico City in the short period before the assassination. Commission members Richard Russell and Gerald Ford also knew about the CIA’s attempts to kill the Cuban leader. However, if no link existed between Oswald and the Soviet or Cuban governments, they reasoned, there was no reason to inform their staff investigators who wrote the Commission’s report.

Yet there was definitely a political motive for Oswald’s actions which should have provoked the Commission into investigating these important links. Russo and Molton have succeeded where the Commission failed. Oswald had spent his adolescence and early manhood pursuing a communist dream and searching for some kind of involvement in revolutionary activities. Disillusioned with his time spent in the Soviet Union the young Oswald returned home searching for a new cause. He found it in his hero, Fidel Castro, and began planning a way to help the revolution. As his wife Marina said, “I only know that his basic desire was to get to Cuba by any means and all the rest of it was window dressing for that purpose.” His friend Michael Paine said Oswald wanted to be an active guerrilla in the effort to bring about a new world order. The Commission also had knowledge that a Cuban Intelligence agent defector had provided information about his agency’s interest in Oswald. Lyndon Johnson was adamant that such information should not be disclosed even if it were true as he believed it would have disastrous consequences.

Russo and Molton provide evidence that this self-styled revolutionary and Castro worshipper may have had contact with Cuban agents when Oswald visited the Soviet and Cuban Mexico City embassies a short time before the assassination. They claim that Castro had been aware of Oswald’s desire to murder the American president and Cuban agents, either acting on their own or with Castro’s blessing, spurred him on. This may have been true. The evidence the authors provide includes a Cuban intelligence agent’s intercepted telephone conversation in which she gleefully reports JFK’s assassination and hints she had prior knowledge of Oswald’s intentions to kill Kennedy and multiple reports of Cuban agents stationed at the Cuban Embassy in Mexico City quickly leaving and returning to Cuba after the Kennedy assassination. The inference is that Cuban agents directed Oswald each step of the way. However, there is also a compelling case to be made that Oswald simply presented proof of his authentic ‘revolutionary’ activities in New Orleans to the Cuban agents who then encouraged him to assassinate Kennedy but had no hand in the mechanics of the act.

Russo and Molton have introduced the possibility that Oswald may have had assistance from Cuban agents in Dallas or, at the very least, an observer to make sure the assassin carried out the crime which they encouraged. However, this remains, at best, speculative. Questions still remain about how Cuban intelligence could have placed Oswald in the Texas School Book Depository and why they allowed Oswald to use his own less-than-reliable rifle to commit the assassination. Ruth Paine and Linnie May Randle were the two people responsible for securing the book depository job for Oswald and it beggars belief that Cuban agents would want Oswald to use a cheap rifle which could have misfired at any time during the assassination attempt.

Additionally, Cuban agents would have had no way of knowing JFK’s travel plans or the route the motorcade took in Dallas which placed the president in sight of his assassin - unless they formulated the purported plot only days before the campaign trip. However, would Cuban agents have allowed Oswald to threaten an FBI agent in a note he delivered to the Dallas FBI offices? Would Oswald’s co-conspirators have allowed the assassin to carry only a few dollars with him when he escaped from the Texas Book Depository? Russo and Molton also cannot explain why Cuban agents would risk the possibility of Oswald giving up his co-conspirators in the 48 hours or so between the time he was arrested and his murder by Jack Ruby.

If Russo and Molton fall short of providing concrete proof that Castro organized the assassination of JFK they have, nevertheless, come closer than anyone else to explaining Oswald’s mysterious trip to Mexico City. With the eventual fall of the communist regime in Cuba, Russo and Molton may in time be proven to be correct and the truth of Castro’s role in the assassination established. In the meantime, their thesis cannot either be ignored or rejected. This impressive work comes closer than any other author's efforts, with the exception of Vincent Buglisosi, in establishing the truth of the JFK assassination.

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The following excerpt is basically the main issue for all the garbage......

In August 2005 he met clandestinely in an Austrian mountain village with “one of the authors’ investigative partners.” They were told by the durable, stealthy “Nikolai” that he had searched “one of the most subterranean of Soviet archives” where he found “encrypted” records about Lee and Marina Oswald.

Then this is added in

(Presumably he also found the necessary decryption ciphers conveniently stored nearby).

The technique described above is how all this garbage is found. Russo, I have pointed out, is always eager to please when it comes to sniffing out a "Castro did it," scam. When you sift through all the HSCA Files the salient point is even mentioned by the author of the piece. The HSCA found no evidence of Castro or Cuban intelligence involvement.

Solution: If we can't find evidence we will manufacture some.

The article in my opinion totally reveals the duplicity of what is pablum for the masses, while we all know better. Then you get the old "let's spend time debating this horse_ _ _ _." Instead of working the real angles of what happened. It is a tried and true method and works every time.

Edited by Robert Howard
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  • 6 months later...

New article by Gus Russo titled The Dallas-Cuba Connection - 2009 Update on Dale Myers' blog at his JFKFiles.com site.

Interesting information on Jeremy Gunn's AARB investigation of the CIA's file on Fabian Escalante, an FBI memo about Rolando Cubela (codenamed AMLASH by the CIA) that wound up in George DeMohrenschildt's 201 file at the CIA, and documents withheld by the CIA and the Kennedy Library.

http://jfkfiles.blogspot.com/2009/08/dalla...009-update.html

http://jfkfiles.blogspot.com/

Steve

Edited by Steve Rosen
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New article by Gus Russo titled The Dallas-Cuba Connection - 2009 Update on Dale Myers' blog at his JFKFiles.com site.

Interesting information on Jeremy Gunn's AARB investigation of the CIA's file on Fabian Escalante, an FBI memo about Rolando Cubela (codenamed AMLASH by the CIA) that wound up in George DeMohrenschildt's 201 file at the CIA, and documents withheld by the CIA and the Kennedy Library.

http://jfkfiles.blogspot.com/2009/08/dalla...009-update.html

http://jfkfiles.blogspot.com/

Steve

This is great reading - thanks for posting it.

What a curious place for a memo regarding an erstwhile Castro assassin to be found.

Wasn't Cubela meeting with someone in Paris on 11/22/63 regarding a potential hit on Castro?

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New article by Gus Russo titled The Dallas-Cuba Connection - 2009 Update on Dale Myers' blog at his JFKFiles.com site.

Interesting information on Jeremy Gunn's AARB investigation of the CIA's file on Fabian Escalante, an FBI memo about Rolando Cubela (codenamed AMLASH by the CIA) that wound up in George DeMohrenschildt's 201 file at the CIA, and documents withheld by the CIA and the Kennedy Library.

http://jfkfiles.blogspot.com/2009/08/dalla...009-update.html

http://jfkfiles.blogspot.com/

Steve

This is great reading - thanks for posting it.

What a curious place for a memo regarding an erstwhile Castro assassin to be found.

Wasn't Cubela meeting with someone in Paris on 11/22/63 regarding a potential hit on Castro?

Yea, thanks for calling attention to this.

Can anyone refer me to a link or posting of the article in American Heritage Magazine?

And, oh, yea. If Hyper Gus is right, and Escalante did meet with Oswald in Minsk, Mexico City and Dallas, then I will buy "they now call me Hyper Gus' a steak dinner and mohitas at Cuba Libra restaurant in the Quarter at the Tropicana on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City.

How did Underhill know about Escalante before he became well known, and what were the "Sentinels of Liberty" that Escalante says he was investigating at the time of the assassination?

I never heard of them.

But I think I do know how the Cubella document got in the DeMohrenschildt file. It was an accident. It was simply misfiled by a careless file clerk at some point in the proceedings.

I do agree with Gus on one important point - getting private parties like the Kennedy family to release the records under their control - and get NANA to release those that it can - like the daily briefing reports and what's left of the attorney general's papers that have been ransacked. Get all of the relevant records released now, not in 2017.

BK

Thanks,

BK

Edited by William Kelly
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After a very pleasant dialog on Dale Myer's blog, I am pleased to announce that I am now recommending Gus Russo's book:

http://jfkfiles.blogspot.com/2009/08/dalla...009-update.html

J. Raymond Carroll said...

"In summary, we now know: 1) the CIA is withholding assassination related records"

This is BIG news. Wait till I tell Jefferson Morley.

August 12, 2009 8:35 PM

Gus Russo said...

Mr. Carroll couldn't be being sarcastic, could he? Not on the internet? What's next, Matt Drudge slamming Obama?

I realize that nuance is largely a stranger to the web crowd, so let me try to state this VERY clearly:

Jeff Morley BELIEVES the CIA is withholding assassination related documents, and he readily admits the Joannides material MAY have nothing to do with JFK. And he has every right to find out.

In the Escalante case, THE CIA IS ADMITTING FOR THE FIRST TIME THAT IT IS WITHHOLDING ASSASSINATION RELATED RECORDS, and they did it without a prolonged legal struggle. So, for some of us at least, this is BIG news. No sarcasm.

August 13, 2009 11:18 AM

J. Raymond Carroll said...

If Castro's government was behind the assassination, as Mr. Russo seems to think, and if the CIA is covering up Castro's involvement, as his article here suggests, then the CIA must be a nest of TREASON.

That would be BIG news indeed, if it were true. It would mean that our system of government has already ceased to function, and is now a mere charade.

August 14, 2009 8:14 AM

Dale K. Myers said...

Obviously, you haven't read Gus Russo and Stephen Molton's book. Your overreaction is typical of the conspiracy crowd.

The book didn't conclude that the Castro government hired Oswald. The book concluded that

Oswald's own idea to shoot Kennedy was encouraged by Cubans he met in Mexico City. One of them may have been Fabian Escalante, but that has yet to be proved.

The CIA coverup of Escalante's possible involvement with Oswald doesn't necessarily imply treason, it simply means that they did what

government bureaucracies do every day - blot out their mistakes.

I doubt that the CIA has the answer to the JFK assassination. They simply have information from Mexico City that they never followed up on, to their great embarrassment.

Read the book.

August 14, 2009 9:51 AM

J. Raymond Carroll said...

Ouch! Mr. Myers it really hurts when you compare me to the conspiracy crowd, especially since your friend Mr. Russo is the one proposing a conspiracy here.

The book concluded that Oswald’s own idea to shoot Kennedy was encouraged by Cubans he met in Mexico, so it sounds as though a conspiracy came into existence in September, 1963. Then Oswald wasted no time in getting a job in the TSBD, which gave him a perfect vantage point to carry the plot to fruition. Escalante’s involvement remains to be proven.

You are right, Mr. Myers. I should read the book. It sounds like a rattling good yarn.

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

"Fabian Escalante was born in Cuba in 1941. A supporter of Fidel Castro he joined the Department of State Security (G-2) in 1960. At the time of assassination of John F. Kennedy, Escalante was head of a counter-intelligence unit and was part of a team investigating a CIA operation called Sentinels of Liberty, an attempt to recruit Cubans willing to work against Castro."

The Sentinels of Liberty was established by Dr. Luis Conte Aguero, a former University of Havana student and Cuban radio show host who left Cuba and began broadcasting shows to Cuba from US radio stations in New York and Florida.

Known in CIA records as AMCORE2, Dr. Aguero did a show show, financed by the CIA, that requested Cubans send him letters from Cuba with the latest intelligence information, which generated enough response for Aguero to publish a book of these letters, also paid for by the CIA.

Aguero was run out of the Miami JMWAVE station, and is the subject of a number of CIA memos and documents, some written by William Harvey, others by David Atlee Phillips, who requested Aguero be paid $600 a month to produce a show for Radio Swan, the CIA's radio station run off of Swan island.

Among the reports sent to Aguero from Cuba are two reports, one dated before the assassination and the other after Dallas, purportedly written by a Cuban (who Mary Ferrell identifies as Manuel Gomes) reporting that the Russians are delivering arms caches and Cuban commandos to Venezuela by submarine.

Sound familiar?

The post assassination letter says that JFK was killed by a Mexican named "DUGLAS" in cahoots with Castro and some Canadians, an assassination team led by a women.

Now why isn't Gus Russo, who claims that Fabian Escalante met with Oswald in Minsk, Mexico City and Dallas, zoom right in on the Sentinels of Liberty and Dr. Aguero?

It's right down Hyper Gus' alley.

Mary:

AGUERO, LUIS CONTE (DR.)

WC 26 (420-3), MMR 1969-1975, MMF 1978-81

Has nightly radio program beamed to Cuba over WRUL, New York City, sponsored by Sentinels of Liberty. Received letter from Manuel Gomes in Havana, Cuba, dated 1/31/64, indicating Oswald and Ruby knew nothing about assassination. Crime committed by Mexican named "Duglas." Letter was given to Mrs. Gilberto Pelipich who turned it over to FBI. (See Dr. Luis CONTE Aguero.)

In government reports Aguero is on par with Pedro Luis Diaz Lanz and Manolo Ray, and was asked to become a member of the Cuban Revolutionary Council.

http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/...bsPageId=721832 1138

Foreign Relations, 1958-1960 b. Luis Conte Aguero: This man was a radio announcer and commentator in Cuba. He enjoys a certain following in the sense of a radio audience. Criticism of the Castro regime finally forced him to flee Cuba and he aspires to a leading role in the opposition group known as Alianza. Actually, he overrates himself and his following considerably and should be viewed in proper perspective as just a radio voice.

Photo from news clip:

http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/...amp;relPageId=2 104-10165-10042

LUIS CONTE AGUERO AND DR. JOSE MIRO CARDONA

http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/...bsPageId=470687

Reveals that Conte is broadcasting over WRUL New York City and from Key West CIA station, was affiliated with the DRE as part of the “Council” and CRC and was given $3,000 by the CIA to publish his book, which was also published in Uruguay, and affiliated with another group the Fronte Anticommunist Cristiano.

It also says: “This seems to have been proxied by Redacted XXXXXX Martin.” A Mr. Martin and Uruguay?

In one memo, David Atlee Phillips recommends hiring Conte to broadcast over Radio Swan, WGBS and in another he is refered to as AMCORE 2 and is being paid out of “Brent’s” corporation.

http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do

7 Oct. 65 JMWAVE Letter of commendation from W. F. Raborn, CIA for action in Dominican Republic.

In this William Harvey memo, Conte visits “Secretary Martin,” and later claimed to have met Pierre Salinger, who took him to see JFK.

http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do

Mr. Ralph BRENT, manager of Radio Station WRUL in New York City, appears to be working closely with the CIA.

Here's WC Exhibit 2950 in full, thanks to Rex and Mary Ferrell:

Warren Commission Hearings, Volume XXVI p. 424

Commission Exhibit 2950

FBI Agent James J. O’Connor

Miami, Florida.

LEE HARVEY OSWALD

INTERNAL SECURITY – RUSSIA – CUBA

Synopsis

Letter dated 1/31/64 from a writer in Havana, Cuba, stated the assassination of President KENNEDY was committed by a Mexican named “DUGLAS,” and indicated that OSWALD and JACK RUBY knew nothing about it.

This letter was directed to Dr. LUIS CONTE AGUERO, Miami, Fla., who has a nightly radio program beamed to Cuba. Dr. CONTE stated the author of the letter performs maintenance for Cuban ships and has previously furnished information regarded as valuable by Dr. CONTE.

The following interview of GILBERTO W. PELPPICH and the translation of a letter received by his wife, which contained an allegation that President KENNEDY was killed by a Mexican named “DUGLAS,” was set forth in a memorandum dated February 22, 1964, at Miami, Florida.

The content of that memorandum is being repeated in this report for the make of cohesion with the supplemental investigation contained in this report.

GILBERTO W. PELIPICH SARIOL, 3940 S. W. 2nd Street, Miami, turned over to the Miami Office of the FBI a letter which he said had recently been received from Cuba by his wife, DIANELBA.

The letter itself was dated January 31, 1964, and addressed to Dr. LUIS CONTE AGUERO. (Dr. CONTE AGUERO is leader of an organization known as Sentinels of Liberty at Miami, Florida. He makes regular radio broadcasts to Cuba in which he request the Cuban people to furnish him with information concerning activities of the CASTRO Government within Cuba by directing their letters to friends in the United States who, in turn, can send them to Dr. CONTE.)

Mr. PELIPICH stated that neither he nor his wife know who Dr. LUIS CONTE AGUERO is, and, furthermore, they did not know the writer of the letter.

A translation of the letter from Spanish to English as set out hereafter reflects that the writer identifies the assassin of President KENNEDY as a Mexican name “DUGLAS” and he further predicts the death of Panamanian President ROBERTO CHIRI and Mexican President ADOLFO LOPEZ MATROS during February or March of 1964.

The English translation of the letter furnished by Mr. PELIPECH is as follows:

Havana, January 31, 1964.

Dr. LUIS CONTE AGUERO:

I trust you will pardon a young Communist like myself for writing to you, but I arrived a few days ago from Russia, and since I love my country, I do not like crimes like the killing of President KENNEDY and the killings planned for the President of Panama and President LOPEZ MAZTO of Mexico, for which the American government will be blamed.

In Russia, I heard talk about the death of KENNEDY a week before. When I returned to Cuba at Havana University, there was a meeting attended by FIDEL CASTRO, the Russian Ambassador, CARLOS RAFEL and four people from Canada, plus one from Panama. These people are in charge of the attacks which are planned against the President of Panama and LOPEZ MATRO. You should see the quantity of arms being sent there days for those nations. For Santo Domingo, they have ‘San Cristobas’ and machineguns, American made. In packing, I and a friend of mine put ten machineguns in the Russian shipment. They took them out and then they closed all the crates. Each box is marked ‘Gift of the Agarian Reform.’

President Kennedy was killed by a Mexicn named DUGLAS. The man who was killed while being transferred to another jail, and the man who killed him, according to FIDEL and the Canadians, knew nothing about KENNEDY’S death. The four people from Canada are headed by a women. They are in charge of these assassinations. One is set for February, or the next month. CHIARI is to be killed first. For her work in the KENNEDY assassination, FIDEL brought the Order of Lenin for her from Russia.

March 23, 1964

Dr. LUIS CONTE AGUERO, residing at 4365 S. W. 3rd Street, Miami, stated he continues to broadcast nightly programs to Cuba over radio station WRUL, New York City. He stated these programs are broadcast under the name Sentinels of Liberty, of which he is the leader and director. He said that he regards Sentinels of Liberty as an organization which has many members in Cuba, and through which, although basically an “action” organization, the members furnish him with information concerning activities of the Cuban Government within Cuba. He said he requests this information be sent to him by letters directed to relatives or friends in the United States, who, in turn, can deliver or mail the letters to him in Miami.

Dr. CONTE was shown the letter which had been directed to DIANELBA PELIPICH, and he said he recognized the writing and the style as that of a party from whom he had previously received information which he regarded as valuable.

Dr. CONTE made available for copying a letter which had been posted on February 23, 1963, which he said was from the same source as the letter to DIANELBA PELIPICH.

A translation of this letter from Spanish to English is as follows:

Havana

February 19, 1963

DR. LUIS CONTE AGUERO,

This is to let you know that I had the pleasure of meeting a friend who is in the Cuban Navy, and he gave me the chills when he told me that they transported a lead of arms to the high seas, where they were met by a Russian submarine. He said that they transferred it all to the submarine, and that there were cases which said Venezuela, and others which said Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, and still others which had no destination indicated. He said that they took from the Navy building some Venezuelans who were here in this country, and they left with the shipment. Also in the shipment, were cans of Russian and Chinese meat, cans of milk and pork sausage, and some of the medicines which were sent to Cuba in exchange for the patriots. I want to tell you that I was at the University of Havana, and they are training men there to send them to Santo Domingo to make trouble there. There is a Russian who is instructing them. I was with a student who is with us, so that I could see how the FIDEL matter is getting along there, and he said that they have people in Mexico and in Brazil, and that they are about to receive arms in order to start a sabotage campaign, which is the only way that they will get ahead. Also, there is a Congolese there, who is being indoctrinated in order to be sent to his country to do that in the Congo. There are some Cubans who are going to leave for the North in order to make come attacks there in New York. They are already prepared and they are going to make the trip through Mexico. One of them has been up North already and he knows everything. That is all

Very truly yours,

The messenger of liberty,

FRAC, is discharging a

Duty of the Revolultion

The submarines receive the shipment on February 16, at 1:45 ½ A.M. about 3 or 4 miles from the coast, where the sports casino is located, in Miramar, opposite 16th Street.

Dr. CONTE stated that if deemed desirable, he would undertake to make contact with the letter writer in an effort to obtain further information relating to the individual named “DUGLAS” and the latter’s alleged involvement in the assassination.

Edited by William Kelly
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  • 4 months later...

Did Castro OK the Kennedy Assassination

By Gus Russo and Stephen Molton

http://www.americanheritage.com/articles/magazine/ah/2009/6/2009_6_20.shtml

On September 24, 1964, a copy of the official Warren Commission Report was delivered to President Lyndon Johnson in the Oval Office. Its conclusions were, in hindsight, as accurate as possible, given the commission's impossibly short investigative calendar and its utter lack of foreign intelligence. It named, correctly, Lee Harvey Oswald as the lone shooter, hypothesizing that in shooting John F. Kennedy he had been lashing out for reasons only he knew. The report found "no evidence of a conspiracy."

A few weeks later, President Johnson's hidden tape recorder captured a phone conversation with Senator Richard Russell, the old Dixiecrat whom he had pressured to be on the Warren Commission.

"I don't believe it," Russell said about the report's conclusions. "I don't either," admitted the president.

Around the same time, Johnson was on the phone with his old friend Mike Mansfield, the majority leader of the Senate. The president divulged what few in Congress had been briefed about: "There's a good deal of feeling that maybe the Cuba thing. Johnson's voice trailed off for a moment. He was always careful not to be too definite on the subject. "Oswald was messing around in Mexico with the Cubans."

Johnson had handpicked the members of the Warren Commission and directed its focus. Could it be that he and his attorney general, Robert Kennedy, believed there might be details that should remain hidden to keep the American public calm in the wake of the tragedy in Dallas? The fact was, Lyndon Johnson never would believe the conclusions of the Warren Commission Report. His staunch contention would always be that "Oswald was a Communist agent." A year before his death, in 1972, Johnson finally started revealing his secret to people outside his close circle, telling George Weidenfeld, publisher of his autobiography, that one day he would prove the Oswald-Castro connection. But there weren't enough days left at that point for Johnson to expose the truth.

A conspiracy of silence would keep the facts hidden until now, 45 years later, when evidence from a variety of different sources, many of them newly available, can be pieced together to tell the real story for the first time.

Two charismatic leaders prevailed over the Western Hemisphere in the early 1960s, both men having risen to power with two fundamentally different visions of freedom. Initially, some saw a natural kinship between John E Kennedy and Fidel Castro, but they were each in the grip of the new cold war's paradigm, one of strictly defined opposites. In many ways, the young Jack Kennedy was not much different from the young Fidel Castro. Both had been dominated and manipulated by their fathers. Where Joe Sr. had acquired his millions as a scheming, streetwise Irish outsider, Angel Castro lived as a gentrified peasant, self-made and considered rich on his own turf but still a lowly Guajiro in the eyes of the Cuban aristocracy. Their talented sons had leaped over decades, even centuries of class prejudice to become leaders by sheer force of personality. They were intellectually curious, articulate, easy in the company of men, and attracted to the spotlight.

Both Jack and Fidel came from large Catholic families, and both of their fathers made a sport of bedding women out of wedlock. Joe Sr. kept his mistresses out of sight in hotel rooms, at the penthouses of trusted friends, or on his private yacht. Angel took his lovers wherever he desired them, including in his own home.

Fidel, Raul, and their siblings had been born to Angel's housekeeper while she worked for his wife, and Angel made no secret of the small shack full of his offspring, who lived just out of sight of the casa grande. It was not until Fidel was seventeen years old that Angel recognized him as his legal offspring. Fidel loathed him.

Still, Angel knew that Fidel was exceptional and would grant him special privileges, sending him to the country's best preparatory school, keeping him in natty clothes, and furnishing him with a car as he approached his college years. Fidel's sister Juanita noted that he treated the peasants on the Castro plantation with the same cruelty as his father did. "There were a lot of employees working on the farm and serving at the house," she reported—nearly 1,000 people in all—but "Fidel never took care of these people. On the contrary, he criticized my father for being too generous with them." He made no public declaration on behalf of the poor until he joined Cuba's leftward drift in his early twenties—right around the time that Jack Kennedy was first elected to Congress.

Fidel overcame his "rustic" upbringing to be reasonably well liked at El Colegio de Belen in Havana. But the priests who taught there sensed a certain moral indifference in him. His temper could be savage. He accepted leadership from no one, taking only the wise counsel of one brilliant priest named Llorente. By the time he moved on to the University of Havana, he arrived dressed like a businessman, albeit with a lounge lizard's flair for excess, and quickly learned to negotiate the thuggish politics that thrived there.

The stately Harvard campus did not foster the political trench warfare that the University of Havana did, and Jack Kennedy's psychological issues were certainly not as aggravated, but he too underwent a transformation as he made his way out of school, through the war, and into a campaign for Congress in 1946. The unpretentious, honest, and egalitarian PT boat commander of World War II gave way to a cooler peer of the realm, a man whose charm became more calculating. He was capable of kindness, and he understood, intellectually, that power could improve the lives of those less fortunate. But one of his lovers of long standing noted his "tremendous acceptance of inequality at every level. . . . That was absolutely acceptable." He seemed content to believe that "people who are different have different responses. The pain of poor people is different from 'our' pain."

It was Jack and Fidel's younger brothers—the naturally empathetic ones, Bobby and Raul—who schooled the older ones in their humanity. When Jack made his run for the presidency, it was Bobby who tutored him in the nuances of American poverty and injustice. When Fidel made his first triumphal tour of the United States after he had vanquished the dictator Fulgencio Batista, it was Raul who waylaid him in a Houston hotel and berated him for not telling Americans that he was a Marxist. The garrulous yet emotionally remote older boys gained depth in the presence of their kid brothers, but conversely, they were also pushed to positions of passionate intransigence, too.

By the early sixties, the brothers had reached their initial goals of winning the American presidency and leadership in Cuba. Castro's victory came at great cost. In the years since, historians have debated whether Fidel ever actually murdered someone. But few question Racal's baptism in blood, nor his ongoing ministry. Of the deaths he has overseen, some were street criminals but the vast majority were political enemies, and estimates of the toll range as high as 14,000, claimed in a Harvard University study. The Cuba Archive project concluded that some 5,600 Cubans have died in front of firing squads and another 1,200 in "extrajudicial assassinations." Minors and females were not spared.

Under pressure from within and without, Kennedy and Castro began directing their newfound power to destroying each other. When Jack came to power, he considered Fidel to be Cuba's liberator after the corrupt cruelties of Batista, but Eisenhower and Nixon had already been plotting a coup. Elaborate (albeit flawed) plans were already in place. The secret war against the Castros was forced upon the Kennedys by the American Right, by Jack's early disdain for moderating "liberalism," and by the Hard Left pressure exerted by Raul and Che Guevara. Assassination was only one tool in the American kit, but given the nightmare cults that had so recently empowered Hitler and Stalin, political decapitation was seen as tactically concise and morally expedient. This secret war, however, would leave deeply buried scars on the heart of America.

In November 1961 the CIAs Cuba desk officers Bill Harvey and Sam Halpern had a plan, the next phase in the ongoing attempt to remove Castro. Halpern came up with a name for it: Operation Mongoose, named after a carnivorous predator that kills its prey after stealing its eggs. It thus both dispatches its enemy and removes its progeny, thereby preventing any line of succession—exactly what the Kennedy White House and the CIA had in mind for the Castros and their political descendants.

The plans were to continue fomenting revolution, and, by most estimates, the operation had somewhere between $50 million and $150 million to spend on its endeavor. The logistics would be implemented by Harvey and his "Task Force W." The White House had taken the Cuban operation out of the purview of the CIAs Western Hemisphere Division and placed it directly under the control of Bobby Kennedy and the White House staff. The president thus had direct oversight.

On March 16, 1962, a meeting convened in the Oval Office with the goal of setting presidential guidelines for Operation Mongoose. The meeting was attended by the president; Bobby; the newly installed director of the CIA, John McCone, and all the rest of the innermost players in the secret war, including Ed Lansdale, Bobby's Mongoose coordinator. It was Lansdale who wrote a memorandum of this meeting, which remains the only known documentary evidence that Jack and Bobby ever endorsed or authorized a hit on Fidel.

The meeting commenced with a briefing from Lansdale about the training of Cuban exile insurgents in the fine points of guerrilla warfare. The president then reiterated that he was not yet ready to approve any direct American military involvement in such plans. Lately he had made many speeches warning against the new insurrectionary forms of war, and calling for improved countermeasures.

Bobby then briefly described a possible opportunity in which members of the Cuban underground might stake out Fidel. Lansdale's memo, written later that same afternoon, called 'die plan' "worth assessing firmly and pursuing vigorously. If there were grounds for action, the CIA had some invaluable assets which might well be committed for such an effort." Lansdale went on: "I pointed out that this all pertained to fractioning the regime. If it happened, it could develop like a brush-fire, much as in Hungary, and we must be prepared to help it win our goal of Cuba freed of a Communist government."

In the words of a former CIA director, "The language of the memo speaks for itself. The only thing that Robert Kennedy can be referring to is the assassination of Castro. This paragraph should never have been written."

It was not until just before the United States launched the Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961 that Castro publicly declared himself a "socialist." But once Fidel embraced the Red path, he did so with a vengeance, goading Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev to fire the first nuke in the Missile Crisis in October 1962. Given Cuba's rogue tendencies, Khrushchev had made it the KGB's business to stay on top of U.S. efforts, and the Soviets had learned of Operation Mongoose. To deter it, Khrushchev sent his island ally 40,000 Russian troops, 1,300 field pieces, 700 antiaircraft guns, 350 tanks, and 150 fighter jets. Fidel and Raid were soon wonderfully well protected. Later, when Castro embraced the Chinese Communists, the Soviet leader started taking steps to contain Castro's megalomania.

There is evidence that the Soviet premier and the American president colluded in this regard, secretly discussing the political neutralization of Fidel. But in the last year of FK's life, while those more circumspect means were in play, the U.S. plans to kill Castro continued. With the U.S.-backed assassinations of other world leaders—Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic and Ngo Dinh Diem in Vietnam—Fidel became even more certain that he was the next hit on the Kennedys' list. In 1965 Castro's sister Juanita, who had defected the year before to the States, testified before the U.S. House Committee on Un- American Activities that "Fidel's feeling of hatred for this country cannot even be imagined by Americans. . . . His intention—his obsession—is to destroy the U.S.!"

The CIA began to focus upon one Rolando Cubela, a military hero of the Cuban revolution who had secretly grown disillusioned with Fidel's Communist leanings. He thus began flirting with CIA agents in order to form a possible alliance aimed at el presidente's removal. According to the CIA, there was no contact with Cubela from August 29, 1962, until September 1963. On September 7, officer Nestor Sanchez and his partner, Richard Maxwell Long, met with Cubela at a safe house in Porto Alegre, Brazil, to reassure him that the agency had decided to use him in the next phase of their plan to overthrow Castro. They discussed ways of approaching other Cuban military officers; Cubela told Sanchez that he wanted assurances at the top who could ensure America's support for his actions, which included the decapitation of the Cuban regime. This was always the last word in any talks with Cubela: he wanted to hear it from the White House.

Within the agency, there were a number of dissenting voices. Cubela's mistress and her brother were high- level G2 (Cuban intelligence) officers. He was thought to be as "changeable as the weather, ... capable of rash, thoughtless, violent action under the strain of provocation, tense situations, or frustration." The year before he had attempted suicide.

But the plot hurtled forward in hopes of success before the 1964 elections in the United States. Bobby had pushed for a secret base in Costa Rica, which was carrying out raids in Cuba with materials provided by the Defense Department. They bombed Cuban infrastructure, such as railroads, bridges, and power plants, and smuggled in radio equipment, arms, and supplies to resistance forces. On September 6, Fidel publicly charged the United States with responsibility for an air attack on Santa Clara, Cuba.

For all of that boom and bang, however, and all of Bobby's surety that Cubela was the right man for the job, the CIA skeptics would prove to be correct: the Cubans were on to him. It was during that summer that a G2 officer known as "Oscar Marino" and others became aware that Cubela was a counterrevolutionary. And yet Cubela was not arrested.

The same day that Cubela was having his meeting with the CIA in Brazil, Fidel was due at a reception at the Brazilian embassy in Havana. There, el lider niciximo pulled aside Associated Press correspondent Daniel Harker, within earshot of other journalists. Harker, a native of Colombia, spoke fluent Spanish and was preferred by Castro for American press interviews because of his accuracy in translating. "He often pulled me aside when he wanted to be certain his words were reported exactly as he said them," Harker later remembered.

"Hey, Colombian," said Fidel, "come over here, I want to talk to you." He started in about the recent attacks, the other reporters bending in to hear more. "We are taking into account . . . the Caribbean situation," he growled, "which has been deteriorating in the last few days due to piratical attacks by the United States against the Cuban people. . . . Kennedy is a cretin . . . the Batista of our times." He never used the word "assassination," but his meaning was clear. "If U.S. leaders are aiding terrorist plans to eliminate Cuban leaders, they themselves will not be safe. Let Kennedy and his brother Robert take care of themselves, since they too can be the victims of an attempt which will cause their death."

With that, Fidel strode on into the reception and began shaking hands, resplendent in his olive fatigues. Two days later, the story hit the Associated Press and the U.S. newspapers, including the New Orleans Times- Picayune, a paper read by a young Castro supporter named Lee Harvey Oswald.

On October 3, 1956, in the same month that the Socialist Youth Party of Cuba appealed to Fidel to drop his revolutionary quest and join theirs, a pale, lonely teenager sat down in his mother's small apartment in Fort Worth, Texasand wrote a letter to the Young People's Socialist League, or (YPSL) in Chicago. The apartment at 4936 Collingwood was the nineteenth home this boy had known. Raised without a father, in the clutches of a mentally unstable mother, Lee Harvey Oswald's future appeared to child psychologists who examined him as a disaster waiting to happen. There is some evidence that Lee may have suffered brain damage at the age of five when a chest of drawers toppled over on his head during a move. He was unconscious for eight days. Lee's doctor told his mother, "if the boy comes to at all, he's going to have a problem." From then on, he would suffer occasional blackouts, doing things he couldn't remember, walking out in the middle of classes and wandering his school's hallways.

A year after his outreach to the YPSL, Oswald, desperate to leave his mother, enlisted in the Marines, where his pro-Communist rants rendered him something between a joke and a pariah. After an early discharge in September 1959, he almost immediately boarded a ship as the first leg of a pilgrimage to Moscow, where he intended to defect. When he was rejected by the Soviets, the youngster forced their hand by attempting suicide. Faced with the cold war equivalent of a public relations nightmare, the Soviets decided to smile upon him, sending him off to Minsk, where the KGB would babysit him around the clock for the next two and a half years. It was in Minsk that he married the tempestuous young Marina Prusakova, the niece of an elite Soviet intelligence officer.

As the Castros continued to co-opt the Cuban revolution and Rani flirted ever more heavily with the Soviet state, he was sending his youngest spies to Minsk for special training at the academy of the Russians' MVD (Ministry of Internal Affairs), a subsidiary of the KGB that was responsible for civil law enforcement as well as more shadowy pursuits. Within the school's hierarchy was Col. Ilya Vasilyevich Prusakov, Marina's uncle. Among the students were Jose Abrantes, the personal assistant to the Cuban intelligence chief, Ramiro Valdes Menendez, and one Fabian Escalante Font, a young agent of increasingly dangerous reputation who would soon rise to the top of the G2.

There were approximately 200 students at the academy when Oswald arrived in Minsk. As it happened, he was interested in studying German, and his KGB file describes how "friends" steered him to the Foreign Language Institute (FLI) located directly adjacent to the MVD academy on Ulyanov Street. The KGB agents were astonishingly thorough. They chronicled Oswald's moviegoing habits, every piece of cake and cup of coffee he consumed in public, his stinginess on dates with women he wasn't enthused about, his preference for blondes, his ignorance of Marxist-Leninist theory, the records and appliances he bought, the hardware stores he visited, and, of course, the friends with whom he consorted. The "official" record of his life in Minsk omitted only what reflected badly on the Soviet intelligence apparatus.

Oswald spent so much time on Ulyanov Street that he soon became acquainted with a number of the junior Cuban spies. Marina would later tell the FBI about one of Lee's friends, Alfred, a "young man from Cuba [who] spoke Spanish" and who would later attend the University of Moscow. Lee would brag to Marina that he had gotten tight with some of the young future Cuban "ministers" and expected that he might be such a minister there himself one day.

On July 18, 1962, just over a month after Lee, Marina, and their baby arrived in New Jersey, Vladimir Kryuchkov, a future KGB chief, sent an encrypted Oswald file to the attention of Valdes Menendez at G2 headquarters in Havana. According to a source who examined the KGB's files in 2005, it read: "Lee Harvey Oswald left the Soviet Union in order to establish himself with his Soviet wife Marina in the U.S.A. He is ideologically unsound and psychically unstable." Nevertheless, Kryuchkov asked Valdes "to observe Oswald in the U.S."

Recently, actors from the Cuban side—aging cold warriors still alive in the Americas—have corroborated the Cuban link to Oswald. One of them, who went by the name "Oscar Marino" in our talks, had been a senior Cuban spy, a founder of G2, and a revolutionary companero of Fidel's. It was his esteemed place in the national leadership that made him privy to the Oswald overtures. It took over a year of negotiations for him to agree to sit for interviews with us. He lived, and perhaps still lives, in a Latin American metropolis, and when asked about his politics in 2005, he sighed that he had "had enough" of ideology and bloody intrigue. He felt "no love for Kennedy," and still considered himself a revolutionary, but was demoralized by the "corruption" of Castro's original promise.

When he was asked when the Cuban secret service first made contact with Oswald, Oscar flinched and gave a long pause, gazing out a window at the tops of some mimosa trees. "It was in the fall of 1962," he finally said with certainty. He had seen Oswald's name on a foreign collaborators list. He had also been present during high-level discussions on how to make contact with Oswald. According to the KGB document, a Cuban operative met Oswald "repeatedly, several times," with the first rendezvous at the end of 1962—exactly when Oscar Marino said it had been.

The Cubela liaison occurred during a period of exceptional marital discord for the Oswalds, a couple whose relationship existed on the emotional edge. Adding to the tension were their perpetually strained finances. According to recent inter-views, some G2 money may have appeared at just the right time. Lee's cash outlays for that period exceeded his known income: every three or four weeks, starting in August 1962, he'd send the State Department a money order (or cash) for about $10 toward repayment of a $396 loan he had made upon his return to the United States. In the seven weeks between December 11, 1962, and January 29, 1963, however, he paid off the balance of the loan in three large amounts ($106, $100, and $190). Given that Oswald's known expenses from October to January, based on a laborious reconstruction by the Warren Commission, were $537, and his earnings were $892, paying off the loan would have left him $101 in the red—making this a rather strange time to settle a major debt, unless he had a secret source of funds.

Where this money came from has been a source of speculation for nearly half a century. According to Oscar Marino, the money was provided by the Cubans, who preferred to recruit "true believers," not men who could be bought for big money. The small payments gave Lee some fiscal breathing room, and he did not spend conspicuously—just enough, on specific needs. Why would he have spent some of that money paying off a loan from the government he thought so little of? Because he would not be able to receive a new, updated passport before that debt was cleared, and apparently he might soon be doing some traveling.

Oswald was more optimistic about his chances of becoming a Cuban spy than were his G2 contacts. He became an aggressive "self-recruiter," and his first attempt to impress had its genesis at a February 13, 1963, party in Fort Worth, thrown by Russian immigrants. One of the other guests, a German intellectual, inadvertently inspired Oswald in his plans to impress the Cubans. As the party guests grew increasingly concerned over Oswald's aggressive remarks about President Kennedy, the German attempted to divert Oswald's hatred toward a local race-baiter—and fervid anti-Castroite—the retired Gen. Edwin Walker, who lived in Dallas. One month later Oswald ordered a cheap pistol and an Italian rifle by mail. After much reconnaissance of Walker's upscale home, Oswald took a shot at him from his fence line on April 10, 1963, as Walker sat inside by a window.

Oswald thought he had killed Walker, but in fact he had missed by inches, and he was never a suspect in the assault, which remained unsolved until Lee was arrested for killing Kennedy. Even then, it was seen as just another example of his political derangement. But when the authors interviewed a former Soviet spy who had reviewed the KGB's Cubela file in 2005, the clear implication was that Oswald saw the Walker incident as a more serious "audition" for his Cuban G2 contacts.

In the awful suspense that followed the Walker shooting, Marina suggested that Lee leave town for a while—maybe go back to New Orleans, where he had lived as a boy and still had some relatives. After a few days of mulling it over, Lee came to agree with her. Besides, there were a lot of Cuban exiles down there to talk with, so on April 24 he set out for the Big Easy.

Over the next four months, Oswald's attempts to infiltrate the local anti-Castro exiles apparently impressed no one in that city or in Havana, where he most desired to make an impact. But he did learn some things on the streets, most notably that the Kennedys were planning another invasion of his beloved Cuba. It now appears that Oswald was communicating with the G2 that summer.

Increasingly, however, the hemisphere's vortex of international intrigue began to pull him toward the axis mundi of the G2, the KGB, and the CIA: Mexico City. It was not only a place where all had embassies (and the attendant spies) in close proximity, it was also the G2's staging point for Cuban terrorists and assassins. It appears that Oswald's G2 contacts were cursory at this point, perhaps because he could not have been a reliable operative but more of a wild card useful only for "disposable," one-off actions. Oswald thus appears to have felt pressed to take more direct action to gain their trust.

So, in late September 1963, weeks before he murdered President Kennedy, Oswald spent five days amid the spy intrigue of Mexico City. The CIA, which had peppered the opposition's embassies with hidden microphones, phone taps, and surveillance cameras, claimed after the assassination that no photos or tapes of Oswald in Mexico exist. Lyndon Johnson had spoken: federal investigators were constrained from following up on any leads that might produce evidence for foreign conspirators. Four decades later, however, it has become clear that Oswald spent at least half of his time in the company of Cuban spies.

He had arrived at the Cuban and Soviet embassies without warning. His behavior was so erratic, so green and yet desperate, that they refused his request for a visa to Cuba. That night, we now know, Oswald went to a university and tried to enlist the help of some Mexican radicals. They took him out on the town, but when one of their leaders interceded on his behalf the next day at the Cuban Embassy, he was told to forget it. The American was unstable. It was not until Oswald went back to make a last stand at the embassies later that afternoon—not until he broke down, pulled a gun, wept, and finally claimed that he would prove his revolutionary loyalty by killing "that bastard, Kennedy"—that the doors to his Communist utopia suddenly opened to him.

As the old G2 men have described it, he was embraced. The authors learned that one low level G2 agent saw him repeatedly in the Cuban Embassy garage, out of sight of CIA cameras, meeting with an elite G2 operative, a red-haired black man. Others, including a Mexican insurance investigator there on business, would also see him. An attractive Mexican receptionist would take him briefly as her lover, and the wife and daughter of a future Nobel laureate would party with him at an apartment full of Cuban diplomats and staffers, all within the span of his "lost week" in the Mexican capital.

Seven weeks later, while Oswald lay in wait for the president, the first Cuban who had recruited him would be meeting with CIA agents in Paris to receive the weapon with which he was meant to kill Fidel.

It was overcast in the City of Light, but, despite the chill, the sidewalk cafes were already aglow in the gathering dusk of a Friday night. Two men arrived at the same luxury apartment building in which, just a few weeks earlier, one of them, Cubela, had met with a man who called himself James Clark. In fact, "Clark" was the alias used by the CIA's Cuba desk chief, Desmond FitzGerald, when he was on covert operations. Even without knowing the man's real identity, Cubela had been convinced that he was a senior American official; he wore his blue- blood authority well. The man known as Clark had given Cubela the assurances he had demanded— that the operation under discussion had been approved at the highest levels of the U.S. government. And within days of that first meeting, Bobby Kennedy, the president's brother, had contacted Cubela directly. Had it not been for those extraordinary guarantees, Cubela would not have returned.

On this evening, another CIA agent, known to Cubela as "Sanson," placed a small, black leather case on a table before him. Inside, Cubela found a metal tube, encased in foam rubber. Sanson plucked it from its nest, unscrewed the cap, and produced a single, brushed-chrome Paper Mate pen. Holding it up for closer observation, he pushed the depressor. In his other hand he held a tiny flashlight, and when he switched it on, a fluorescent beam revealed a micro-thin needle where the ballpoint would ordinarily be. The instrument was a finely tooled syringe, created at Langley for one purpose: it could be filled with a highly effective poison. Sanson suggested Black Leaf 40, a slow-acting commercially available pesticide.

The Paper Mate weapon took Cubela off guard. This deadly little prop implied close quarters, one on one. "I requested rifles and explosives," he said, querulous. Cubela had a house at Veradero Beach, right next door to one of Fidel's many domiciles; this seemed like the place for an easy strike.

Sanson placed the fake ballpoint back in its tube. He explained that if Cubela needed to get in close, he would be frisked, and a dart gun would give him away. The case officer promised once again that rifles and explosives would be forthcoming—all the weapons Cubela and his fellow insurrectionists would need for both a palace coup and the widespread revolt that would ensue. These munitions were in fact already stockpiled at a secret location in rural Cuba that would be revealed at the last moment.

Cubela slipped the tube into an inside pocket, weighing his reply. Before he could give it, a telephone rang across the room. An agent answered and then passed the phone to Sanson. The call was urgent, he said.

Sanson listened, briefly, and then returned the phone to its cradle, pausing for a long moment before he spoke. The president of the United States had just been shot, he said, in Texas. "Oswald volunteered to kill Kennedy," Marino explained in 2005. "He was so full of hatred that it gave him the idea. He wanted it himself [because] he hated his country. He was already prepared to do it. He was a soldier of the revolution and offered his services to us in order to kill Kennedy. . . . Let's just say we used him. He adopted our plans as his own—his idea was a natural projection of our wish." Marino, wanting to be clear, added, "That doesn't mean he was brainwashed—that wasn't necessary. Is it so important, whether or not he acted on his own initiative? He was an instrument of the G2. It makes no difference whether he volunteered or was used. It ends up the same."

For all the weird, ongoing hope for proof that the Mafia or the CIA or the oil companies or even the Florida exiles killed Kennedy, the evidence is now overwhelming that a Cuban-style Communist who had learned of the planned U.S. reinvasion was the sole triggerman, and that he did it with the aid and comfort of Fidel and Raid Castro.

The effect of Lee Oswald's crime is tremendously paradoxical. On one hand, because of Lyndon Johnson's subsequent choices, Oswald single-handedly achieved his political goal: he ended the secret war against the Castro brothers. Because that small, proxy war had provoked a nuclear confrontation 13 months earlier, it could even be said that he reduced the chances of a big, hot war, simply by ending the little one. On the other hand, the fears his crime raised in the minds of international leaders, who worried over Oswald's Cuban contacts, were so great that it nearly provoked a new nuclear showdown. Johnson was essentially forced to do in November 1963 what Khrushchev had done in October 1962: he backed away from the endgame. Oswald's dual effect on international tension was analogous to his own inner duality: the odd gulf between the peacenik idealist and the gunslinger. That duality was hiding in plain sight in the screed he wrote on the SS Maasdam during his return voyage to America. His manifesto debated the relative merits and injustices of the world's two dominant systems and then ended with a prediction of an imminent nuclear war. In hindsight, it was both a prediction and a vow: the recognition that the superpowers might destroy each other and a promise, however unconscious, that he might one day help them along.

Internationally speaking, by averting nuclear war on one hand and increasing its likelihood on the other, Oswald's effect on the cold war was perhaps a wash. Domestically, however, his effect has been, up until now, more definitive. In the short run, his crime further polarized the United States in an already extreme moment. In the longer term, it split the country open and made it susceptible to a form of political decay that was nearly as insidious as the recoil of the crime itself.

Sections of this essay appear in Brothers in Arms by Gus Russo and Stephen Molton © 2008. Reprinted by arrangement with Bloomsbury

Edited by William Kelly
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http://www.ctka.net/2009/russo_molton.html Gus Russo Marches On Or, Rust Never Sleeps By James DiEugenio

The current issue of American Heritage (Winter 2009) contains an article that is actually featured on the cover. It is called "Did Castro OK JFK's Assassination?" It is by Gus Russo and Stephen Molton, and it is meant as a combination summary/excerpt from their new book Brothers in Arms. After having read Russo's first book on the JFK case Live By the Sword, and then suffered through both the TV specials he worked on—for PBS in 1993, and ABC in 2003—I admit I didn't have the stomach to read the whole book. But I felt it necessary to at least comment on the book via the article. I thought that would spare me a lot of unnecessary work and mental anguish. I was right.

Anybody who understands the game that Russo learned to play can quickly guess what the book is going to be like from the title. The work will generally concentrate on the USA/Cuba policy from about 1959-1963 to the near absence of anything else in the Kennedy presidency. It will then use many questionable sources from both the CIA and Cuba to cast the Kennedy brothers in the worst light. It will also try and take advantage of the reader's lack of knowledge of the JFK case in order to distort certain subjects and episodes. The overall aim is twofold: 1.) To slightly modify but support the Warren Commission, and 2.) To trash the Kennedy brothers. These two aims are inextricably linked in the Russo/Molton scheme. That's because the design is the oldest one in the CIA playbook on the JFK case: Blame the assassination on Oswald, the Cuban sympathizer out to avenge the plots against Fidel Castro by killing the US head of state. This, of course, is what David Phillips thought of doing by bribing an Antonio Veciana relative working for Cuban intelligence in 1964. (See Gaeton Fonzi's The Last Investigation, p. 143). But Phillips tried to work this same deception even earlier, on 11/25/63, right after Oswald was killed by Jack Ruby. At that time he was using another asset of his from Nicaragua, Gilberto Alvarado. On that day, Alvarado walked into the American Embassy in Mexico City. He told the authorities there that in September, he had seen Oswald with two Cubans at the Cuban consulate. They passed money to Oswald while talking about a murder plot. (See Anthony Summers, Conspiracy, pgs 415-419) In the former case, Phillips called off the effort, perhaps because the earlier Alvarado effort had fallen flat. Alvarado first failed a polygraph and then confessed to manufacturing the story. On the subject of Phillips' propaganda about the JFK case, in part three of my review of Reclaiming History, I note that Ed Lopez and Dan Hardway of the House Select Committee on Assassinations came to an interesting conclusion about all these "Oswald killed JFK for Castro" stories which surfaced in the wake of the JFK murder. Namely, that every story in this regard was linked to a David Phillips asset. The CIA/Phillips ploy had at least three goals. First, to conceal the actual perpetrators of the plot. Second, to take advantage of Oswald's undercover intelligence status. Third, to attempt to provoke a full invasion of Cuba in retaliation for the murder of the American president. This last is something that the CIA and Pentagon wanted Kennedy to do for three years. Yet he refused.

Russo reactivated this tall tale in his previous book, and he and Molton try and dress it up and rerun it again here. Predictably, they begin the article by apologizing for the Warren Commission. They write that the Warren Report was "in hindsight, as accurate as possible." (p. 20) So clearly they are headed for the concept that certain intelligence operations Oswald crossed over had to remain hidden by the US government. Then the authors pull something that seemed to me to be really dishonest. To impress upon the reader the idea that upper echelon leaders understood that the Commission could not tell the whole truth for national security reasons, they relate the famous conversation of September 18, 1964 between President Johnson and Warren Commissioner Richard Russell. In a taped call of that day, they both said that they did not believe the main conclusion of the Warren Report. In fact, Russell said, "I don't believe it" and LBJ replied with "I don't either." (Ibid) The authors try and present this as both men not believing in the element of a conspiracy involving Oswald as the sole assassin. In other words, they understood Oswald was being egged and urged on by shadowy Cuban intelligence (G-2) cohorts. Yet, as Gerald McKnight makes clear in his fine study of the Commission, this is not what the two were discussing. Russell was talking to Johnson about his resistance to the single bullet theory that was being rammed down his throat by Chief Counsel J. Lee Rankin. (Breach of Trust, pgs 283-284) So the proper contextual grounding of this phone call cannot be a conspiracy with just Oswald as the lone gunman. What the two men are objecting to, the SBT, is the basis of Oswald as the lone assassin. Without it, there is more than one assassin. By not fully informing the reader of the context, Russo and Molton distort its meaning.

Russo and Molton follow this up with another distortion in aid of their "Oswald as Castro agent" agenda. They try to say that Johnson and Robert Kennedy controlled the Warren Commission investigation. In their terms, they "directed its focus." (Russo and Molton p. 20) See, LBJ and RFK suspected the whole Oswald retaliation story and wanted to keep it from the public. This is more malarkey. The Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) has now declassified every transcript of the Warren Commission executive sessions. In addition, the working papers of the Commission, as held by Rankin, were also turned over. McKnight based his definitive volume about the Commission largely on these ARRB materials. There is no trace in them of any direct influence by Johnson or RFK. The Warren Commission needed no such help in centering on Oswald alone as the killer. In reading the transcripts of the executive sessions and the testimony in the Commission volumes, it seems clear that the most influential commissioners were Allen Dulles, Gerald Ford, and John McCloy. And these three had their minds made up virtually from the beginning. In fact, in a famous anecdote, Dulles passed out a book at an early meeting that described previous presidential assassinations as the work of disturbed misfits. (McKnight, p. 92) Further, Rankin was a longtime crony of J. Edgar Hoover, and the Commission was overwhelmingly reliant on the FBI for its information. The FBI had closed the case against Oswald in early December. And on December 12, 1963 Hoover told Rankin that a.) Oswald was a skilled marksman, and b.) The bullet on Connally's stretcher had come from Oswald's rifle. (McKnight, p. 94) These were both false statements. Today, the former is universally agreed upon as false by everyone except Russo. The latter would be proved false by a later interview of Parkland Hospital employee O. P. Wright, one of the two men who first discovered the bullet. (Josiah Thompson, Six Seconds in Dallas, pgs. 175-176) And that Hoover lied about this key fact, and that Rankin accepted the lie tells you all you need to know about the report being, in the authors' words, "as accurate as possible." It also tells you why both LBJ and RFK were essentially irrelevant to the proceedings of the Commission. Once the FBI verdict was submitted, Hoover was not going to let the Commission stray from its essential findings. And with McCloy, Dulles, and Ford involved, he didn't meet much resistance. (I will touch on Johnson's actual influence later.)

But in spite of all the errors, distortions, and misrepresentations on just the first page of the excerpt, Russo and Molton insist they actually have the truth. And they add that they will now piece together and "tell the real story for the first time." (Op. cit. p. 20)

They begin by saying that Kennedy was in the grip of a Cold War paradigm that was especially true for Cuban relations. They say that President Eisenhower and Vice-President Richard Nixon had been plotting a coup in Cuba. Further, that assassination was part of it. Thus the historical backdrop is dubious at the start. It is true that Eisenhower did OK a plan to overthrow the Castro government. But he was urged on in this by CIA Director Allen Dulles. It was Dulles who first proposed the trade embargo on Cuba and urged Eisenhower to try and spread it to all American allies in order to isolate the island. Many commentators, including Harry Truman, have said it was this move which almost guaranteed that Castro would be thrown into the arms of the Russians. Which may have been the crusty old Director's aim all along. (I have always respected Dulles' brains as much as I didn't the uses to which he put them.) In fact, in this whole preliminary Cuban/American discussion, there is no mention of Dulles or the CIA! Which is incredible. Because it is Dulles and the Agency which will continue with the overthrow plot and push it on the new president after Eisenhower leaves office. This resulted in the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion. And its utter failure caused President Kennedy to fire its main architects, Dulles, Deputy Director Charles Cabell, and Director of Plans Dick Bissell. If you can believe it, in this article, the authors never mention this crucial information.

Instead, they jump immediately to November of 1961 and Operation Mongoose. And then they distort that also. They say that RFK was closely involved with Mongoose but they leave out the main reason: after they were deceived on the Bay of Pigs, the Kennedys did not trust the CIA anymore. If you leave out the Bay of Pigs debacle, you can shove that crucial fact under the rug. And because this is Gus Russo, the essay tries to state that the Kennedys were part of the CIA's attempts to assassinate Castro. The problem here is that both the CIA Inspector General Report on the plots to kill Castro, and the records of Mongoose have both been declassified by the ARRB. No reasonable person can state today that those records reveal what Russo says they do. In fact, Russo still uses the notorious xxxx Sam Halpern to try and insinuate the opposite. Halpern has been exposed many times by, among others, David Talbot and myself as being a fabricator on this issue. Russo and Molton then write that the Missile Crisis was precipitated over Mongoose. Yet in what is probably the best book on the Missile Crisis, The Kennedy Tapes, the authors disagree. In a long and detailed analysis based on declassified Soviet records, they note that Khrushchev first surfaced the idea of shipping nuclear missiles to Cuba in April of 1962. Why? This is one month after the US had completed its installation of Jupiter missiles in Turkey. (Ernest May and Philip Zelikow, The Kennedy Tapes, p. 674) That same month, the US resumed nuclear tests in the Pacific. The combination of these two events—both in April of 1962—coincide with Khrushchev's first private discussions of the matter with friend and Politburo member Anastas Mikoyan and then with defense minister Rodion Malinovsky. (Ibid p. 675) Further, when Castro was first approached about the installation, he was reluctant to accept it. He felt—correctly—that Cuba was being used to change the global balance of power. (Ibid p. 676) Castro felt that the deployment of the nuclear missiles would itself create an intense crisis. By ignoring all this new, relevant and documented information, the authors can then distort the causes of the Missile Crisis.

When Russo and Molton go outside of Cuba, they have the same monomaniacal agenda. They actually can write that after Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic and Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam were killed, "Fidel became even more certain that he was the next hit on the Kennedys' list." (p. 24) This is ridiculous. In the case of Diem, Jim Douglass' fine book JFK and the Unspeakable shows in exquisite detail that the responsible parties for the murder of Diem were Henry Cabot Lodge and Lucien Conein. (See especially pages 202-209) Not only did Kennedy not know what the two were up to, he was so distraught by what had happened he decided to fire Lodge. As for Trujillo, he had become such a brutal dictator, even his Latin American neighbors urged the US to get rid of him somehow. Yet, there is no evidence that Kennedy ever knew of, let alone approved of a plot. The actual assassination of the man was more or less a spur of the moment outburst. (See William Blum, The CIA: A Forgotten History pgs. 196-197)

Around this point in the excerpt, Russo and Molton go into high gear and begin to describe their plot to kill President Kennedy. To say it is flimsy is to give it too much credibility. Predictably, they trot out the mildewed and disputed Daniel Harker AP story from September of 1963. Every writer in this vein—Jean Davison for example—uses this reportage and none of them seem to note that Castro disputes the story as written. (HSCA interview of Castro 4/3/78) And they also fail to note that there are two stories from this Castro encounter at the Brazilian Embassy in Havana. The second one, reported by the UPI and printed in the NY Times of 9/9/63 does not say the same thing as the Harker AP story. The latter quotes Castro as saying "If US leaders are aiding terrorist plans to eliminate Cuban leaders, they themselves will not be safe. Let Kennedy and his brother Robert take care of themselves, since they too can be the victims of an attempt which will cause their death." (p. 25) The UPI fourteen-paragraph story had none of this in it. As the authors note, the Harker story appeared in the New Orleans Times Picayune. The unproven assumption is that Oswald read it and this helped ignite his homicidal tendency to kill Kennedy. So Russo and Molton give us a disputed newspaper story that was assumed to be read by Oswald as key evidence in motivation.

What is the rest of the plot? Well, essentially it is a rerun of the script Gus Russo wrote for German film director Wilfried Huismann. The film he made out of Russo's work was called Rendezvous with Death and was shown on German television in January of 2006. This documentary was so full of holes, and used so many dubious witnesses that Russo apparently decided to clean it up the second time around. For instance, it actually relied on the David Phillips inspired and aforementioned Gilberto Alvarado story as its keystone. Even though that fable has been discredited for decades. Yet Huismann and Russo did not tell the audience this. Nor did they tell them about Phillips' association with Alvarado or how this paralleled other efforts by Phillips. I should also add here that in the original telling, Alvarado said he saw Oswald and the two G-2 agents in Mexico City on September 18th. Yet Oswald was not supposed to be in Mexico at that time.

Russo and Huismann then built on this phony foundation with people like Pedro Gutierrez. In the Gutierrez instance, Phillips found someone who got the date right. This guy said he saw Oswald in Mexico City on September 30th. But he says he saw a payoff to Oswald right in front of the Cuban Embassy! That G-2 would arrange the murder of JFK right in front of CIA cameras is ludicrous.

Russo also got his Witness for All Seasons, Martin Underwood, a posthumous gig. Why, I don't know. Maybe the Germans didn't know about his poor track record. But it seems whenever Russo needs someone to bolster some unbelievable point of his, he trots this guy out. Underwood was an employee of Mayor Richard Daley who Daley loaned to Kennedy as an advance man for his 1960 campaign. Russo originally tracked him down for Sy Hersh and ABC to bolster one of the many fallacious tales spouted by the late Judith Exner. For the shameless Hersh, Underwood said he saw Exner leaving a train with a bag of money in Chicago when she met Sam Giancana. Well, when Underwood was called to testify before the ARRB about this incident the Hersh/Russo/Exner fabrication collapsed. Underwood "denied that he followed Judith Campbell Exner on a train and that he had no knowledge about her alleged role as a courier. " (ARRB Final Report, p. 136)

For the German TV special, Underwood—who later worked for LBJ—passed on a secret report, which he only wanted revealed after his death. The secret report alleged that Winston Scott, CIA Mexico City station chief, told Underwood that one of Castro's top G-2 agents, Fabian Escalante, was in Dallas on the day of Kennedy's murder. And the CIA missed that fact. The implication being that the Agency's miscue caused JFK's murder.

One problem with this is that, contrary to the claim above, Underwood told this story while he was alive. And a further problem with it is that he could produce no "report" when the ARRB asked him for it. Russo had given the ARRB notes, but Underwood said he wrote those notes for use in Hersh's book. That is, they were written in the nineties, not in the sixties when Russo and Huismann say the "Underwood Report" originated. Yet Underwood insisted Scott had told him this. But when he did send the ARRB his notes from Mexico, they only briefly mentioned Scott, and there was no mention at all of the JFK assassination. When the ARRB asked him to testify under oath, Underwood wisely and understandably declined. (ARRB Final Report, p. 135) One last problem with the fabled "Underwood Report". Scott's biographer, Jefferson Morley, spent years researching the man's life. In 2008, he published his book on Scott, entitled Our Man in Mexico. There is no mention of either Underwood or the Escalante story in the volume. Did Scott only tell the Escalante story to Underwood? Why?

Realizing this was all thin gruel for anyone familiar with the JFK case, Russo and Huismann came up with a new witness. This is a guy named Oscar Marino—which is a pseudonym. Marino said that Oswald volunteered to kill JFK. And Russo and Molton repeat this claim for this article. What is this based upon? Well, when Vincent Bugliosi called Russo, Russo said it was based upon Alvarado's allegation! (Reclaiming History, End Notes, p. 736) With that, we know what to think of Marino. He has all the credibility of Underwood. But that didn't matter to Russo and Molton. As I said, they repeat the quote here. (p. 29)

In American Heritage, Russo and Molton say that Oswald's shooting at Gen. Walker in April of 1963 was supposed to be an audition for G-2. Further, the authors say that Oswald ordered the rifle used in that shooting, the Mannlicher Carcano. Here is the problem with that. If this is so, then the bullet changed both color and caliber from April to December. Because as Gerald McKnight notes, the original bullet was silver in color and not of the 6.5 caliber used in the Carcano. (Breach of Trust, pgs 48-49) The FBI and Warren Commission altered its color and dimension to incriminate Oswald. Somehow, Russo and Molton leave out that pertinent fact.

From here, the authors transition to Oswald's trip to Mexico City. They say that Oswald was declined for a visa to Cuba at the Cuban Embassy because of his erratic behavior. Not accurate. Whoever was at the Cuban Embassy—Oswald or an imposter—was declined because he wanted an in-transit visa to Cuba. The ultimate destination was Russia. Oswald could not get a visa at the Russian Embassy. This is why the Cubans turned him down. They then relate how Oswald went to a local university to get some student leftists to vouch for him in his pursuit of a visa. They say that when Oscar Contreras, the leader of the group, called the Cuban Embassy he was told to forget it since Oswald was unstable. Again, not accurate. Eusebio Azcue told Contreras that he should forget Oswald—or whoever impersonated him—because he was probably an agent provocateur. In other words, he was a CIA operative. This is why Contreras did not help. (Gaeton Fonzi, The Last Investigation, p. 290) This undermines their whole thesis. So the authors leave it out.

The excerpt/summary ends in a crescendo of unintended satire. The authors write that because of the assassination, LBJ ended the secret war against Cuba. But the assassination almost forced a nuclear war against Russia based upon Oswald's activities in Mexico City. (Russo and Molton, p. 29) What the authors leave out is that Johnson now eliminated the back channel Kennedy had been working on to create détente with Castro. And that move caused the freeze out in relations between the two nations to persevere for 45 years. They also leave out the fact that the fear of atomic war with Russia was largely created by the phony Mexico City tapes the CIA sent to Dallas and Washington the night of the assassination. The ones that contained an imposter's voice, not Oswald's. And the whole idea that Oswald was meeting with a KGB agent in Mexico City to plan the murder of Kennedy was a fiction set up before the fact by James Angleton and David Phillips. (See John Newman, Oswald and the CIA, Chapters 18 and 19.) It was this false pretense which threatened atomic war that frightened Johnson. (James Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable, p. 231) This fear was used to coax Earl Warren into helming the Warren Commission and conducting it in such a shameful manner. This also undermines their phony thesis.

That's pretty important information to keep from the reader. But its par for the course for Russo and Molton. American Heritage should be ashamed of itself for putting such a worthless piece of tripe in its magazine. Let alone on its cover. Shame on you.

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http://www.ctka.net/2009/russo_molton.html

Gus Russo Marches On

Or, Rust Never Sleeps

By James DiEugenio

The current issue of American Heritage (Winter 2009) contains an article that is actually featured on the cover. It is called "Did Castro OK JFK's Assassination?" It is by Gus Russo and Stephen Molton, and it is meant as a combination summary/excerpt from their new book Brothers in Arms. After having read Russo's first book on the JFK case Live By the Sword, and then suffered through both the TV specials he worked on—for PBS in 1993, and ABC in 2003—I admit I didn't have the stomach to read the whole book. But I felt it necessary to at least comment on the book via the article. I thought that would spare me a lot of unnecessary work and mental anguish. I was right.

Anybody who understands the game that Russo learned to play can quickly guess what the book is going to be like from the title. The work will generally concentrate on the USA/Cuba policy from about 1959-1963 to the near absence of anything else in the Kennedy presidency. It will then use many questionable sources from both the CIA and Cuba to cast the Kennedy brothers in the worst light. It will also try and take advantage of the reader's lack of knowledge of the JFK case in order to distort certain subjects and episodes. The overall aim is twofold: 1.) To slightly modify but support the Warren Commission, and 2.) To trash the Kennedy brothers. These two aims are inextricably linked in the Russo/Molton scheme. That's because the design is the oldest one in the CIA playbook on the JFK case: Blame the assassination on Oswald, the Cuban sympathizer out to avenge the plots against Fidel Castro by killing the US head of state. This, of course, is what David Phillips thought of doing by bribing an Antonio Veciana relative working for Cuban intelligence in 1964. (See Gaeton Fonzi's The Last Investigation, p. 143). But Phillips tried to work this same deception even earlier, on 11/25/63, right after Oswald was killed by Jack Ruby. At that time he was using another asset of his from Nicaragua, Gilberto Alvarado. On that day, Alvarado walked into the American Embassy in Mexico City. He told the authorities there that in September, he had seen Oswald with two Cubans at the Cuban consulate. They passed money to Oswald while talking about a murder plot. (See Anthony Summers, Conspiracy, pgs 415-419) In the former case, Phillips called off the effort, perhaps because the earlier Alvarado effort had fallen flat. Alvarado first failed a polygraph and then confessed to manufacturing the story. On the subject of Phillips' propaganda about the JFK case, in part three of my review of Reclaiming History, I note that Ed Lopez and Dan Hardway of the House Select Committee on Assassinations came to an interesting conclusion about all these "Oswald killed JFK for Castro" stories which surfaced in the wake of the JFK murder. Namely, that every story in this regard was linked to a David Phillips asset. The CIA/Phillips ploy had at least three goals. First, to conceal the actual perpetrators of the plot. Second, to take advantage of Oswald's undercover intelligence status. Third, to attempt to provoke a full invasion of Cuba in retaliation for the murder of the American president. This last is something that the CIA and Pentagon wanted Kennedy to do for three years. Yet he refused.

Russo reactivated this tall tale in his previous book, and he and Molton try and dress it up and rerun it again here. Predictably, they begin the article by apologizing for the Warren Commission. They write that the Warren Report was "in hindsight, as accurate as possible." (p. 20) So clearly they are headed for the concept that certain intelligence operations Oswald crossed over had to remain hidden by the US government. Then the authors pull something that seemed to me to be really dishonest. To impress upon the reader the idea that upper echelon leaders understood that the Commission could not tell the whole truth for national security reasons, they relate the famous conversation of September 18, 1964 between President Johnson and Warren Commissioner Richard Russell. In a taped call of that day, they both said that they did not believe the main conclusion of the Warren Report. In fact, Russell said, "I don't believe it" and LBJ replied with "I don't either." (Ibid) The authors try and present this as both men not believing in the element of a conspiracy involving Oswald as the sole assassin. In other words, they understood Oswald was being egged and urged on by shadowy Cuban intelligence (G-2) cohorts. Yet, as Gerald McKnight makes clear in his fine study of the Commission, this is not what the two were discussing. Russell was talking to Johnson about his resistance to the single bullet theory that was being rammed down his throat by Chief Counsel J. Lee Rankin. (Breach of Trust, pgs 283-284) So the proper contextual grounding of this phone call cannot be a conspiracy with just Oswald as the lone gunman. What the two men are objecting to, the SBT, is the basis of Oswald as the lone assassin. Without it, there is more than one assassin. By not fully informing the reader of the context, Russo and Molton distort its meaning.

Russo and Molton follow this up with another distortion in aid of their "Oswald as Castro agent" agenda. They try to say that Johnson and Robert Kennedy controlled the Warren Commission investigation. In their terms, they "directed its focus." (Russo and Molton p. 20) See, LBJ and RFK suspected the whole Oswald retaliation story and wanted to keep it from the public. This is more malarkey. The Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) has now declassified every transcript of the Warren Commission executive sessions. In addition, the working papers of the Commission, as held by Rankin, were also turned over. McKnight based his definitive volume about the Commission largely on these ARRB materials. There is no trace in them of any direct influence by Johnson or RFK. The Warren Commission needed no such help in centering on Oswald alone as the killer. In reading the transcripts of the executive sessions and the testimony in the Commission volumes, it seems clear that the most influential commissioners were Allen Dulles, Gerald Ford, and John McCloy. And these three had their minds made up virtually from the beginning. In fact, in a famous anecdote, Dulles passed out a book at an early meeting that described previous presidential assassinations as the work of disturbed misfits. (McKnight, p. 92) Further, Rankin was a longtime crony of J. Edgar Hoover, and the Commission was overwhelmingly reliant on the FBI for its information. The FBI had closed the case against Oswald in early December. And on December 12, 1963 Hoover told Rankin that a.) Oswald was a skilled marksman, and b.) The bullet on Connally's stretcher had come from Oswald's rifle. (McKnight, p. 94) These were both false statements. Today, the former is universally agreed upon as false by everyone except Russo. The latter would be proved false by a later interview of Parkland Hospital employee O. P. Wright, one of the two men who first discovered the bullet. (Josiah Thompson, Six Seconds in Dallas, pgs. 175-176) And that Hoover lied about this key fact, and that Rankin accepted the lie tells you all you need to know about the report being, in the authors' words, "as accurate as possible." It also tells you why both LBJ and RFK were essentially irrelevant to the proceedings of the Commission. Once the FBI verdict was submitted, Hoover was not going to let the Commission stray from its essential findings. And with McCloy, Dulles, and Ford involved, he didn't meet much resistance. (I will touch on Johnson's actual influence later.)

But in spite of all the errors, distortions, and misrepresentations on just the first page of the excerpt, Russo and Molton insist they actually have the truth. And they add that they will now piece together and "tell the real story for the first time." (Op. cit. p. 20)

They begin by saying that Kennedy was in the grip of a Cold War paradigm that was especially true for Cuban relations. They say that President Eisenhower and Vice-President Richard Nixon had been plotting a coup in Cuba. Further, that assassination was part of it. Thus the historical backdrop is dubious at the start. It is true that Eisenhower did OK a plan to overthrow the Castro government. But he was urged on in this by CIA Director Allen Dulles. It was Dulles who first proposed the trade embargo on Cuba and urged Eisenhower to try and spread it to all American allies in order to isolate the island. Many commentators, including Harry Truman, have said it was this move which almost guaranteed that Castro would be thrown into the arms of the Russians. Which may have been the crusty old Director's aim all along. (I have always respected Dulles' brains as much as I didn't the uses to which he put them.) In fact, in this whole preliminary Cuban/American discussion, there is no mention of Dulles or the CIA! Which is incredible. Because it is Dulles and the Agency which will continue with the overthrow plot and push it on the new president after Eisenhower leaves office. This resulted in the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion. And its utter failure caused President Kennedy to fire its main architects, Dulles, Deputy Director Charles Cabell, and Director of Plans Dick Bissell. If you can believe it, in this article, the authors never mention this crucial information.

Instead, they jump immediately to November of 1961 and Operation Mongoose. And then they distort that also. They say that RFK was closely involved with Mongoose but they leave out the main reason: after they were deceived on the Bay of Pigs, the Kennedys did not trust the CIA anymore. If you leave out the Bay of Pigs debacle, you can shove that crucial fact under the rug. And because this is Gus Russo, the essay tries to state that the Kennedys were part of the CIA's attempts to assassinate Castro. The problem here is that both the CIA Inspector General Report on the plots to kill Castro, and the records of Mongoose have both been declassified by the ARRB. No reasonable person can state today that those records reveal what Russo says they do. In fact, Russo still uses the notorious xxxx Sam Halpern to try and insinuate the opposite. Halpern has been exposed many times by, among others, David Talbot and myself as being a fabricator on this issue. Russo and Molton then write that the Missile Crisis was precipitated over Mongoose. Yet in what is probably the best book on the Missile Crisis, The Kennedy Tapes, the authors disagree. In a long and detailed analysis based on declassified Soviet records, they note that Khrushchev first surfaced the idea of shipping nuclear missiles to Cuba in April of 1962. Why? This is one month after the US had completed its installation of Jupiter missiles in Turkey. (Ernest May and Philip Zelikow, The Kennedy Tapes, p. 674) That same month, the US resumed nuclear tests in the Pacific. The combination of these two events—both in April of 1962—coincide with Khrushchev's first private discussions of the matter with friend and Politburo member Anastas Mikoyan and then with defense minister Rodion Malinovsky. (Ibid p. 675) Further, when Castro was first approached about the installation, he was reluctant to accept it. He felt—correctly—that Cuba was being used to change the global balance of power. (Ibid p. 676) Castro felt that the deployment of the nuclear missiles would itself create an intense crisis. By ignoring all this new, relevant and documented information, the authors can then distort the causes of the Missile Crisis.

When Russo and Molton go outside of Cuba, they have the same monomaniacal agenda. They actually can write that after Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic and Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam were killed, "Fidel became even more certain that he was the next hit on the Kennedys' list." (p. 24) This is ridiculous. In the case of Diem, Jim Douglass' fine book JFK and the Unspeakable shows in exquisite detail that the responsible parties for the murder of Diem were Henry Cabot Lodge and Lucien Conein. (See especially pages 202-209) Not only did Kennedy not know what the two were up to, he was so distraught by what had happened he decided to fire Lodge. As for Trujillo, he had become such a brutal dictator, even his Latin American neighbors urged the US to get rid of him somehow. Yet, there is no evidence that Kennedy ever knew of, let alone approved of a plot. The actual assassination of the man was more or less a spur of the moment outburst. (See William Blum, The CIA: A Forgotten History pgs. 196-197)

Around this point in the excerpt, Russo and Molton go into high gear and begin to describe their plot to kill President Kennedy. To say it is flimsy is to give it too much credibility. Predictably, they trot out the mildewed and disputed Daniel Harker AP story from September of 1963. Every writer in this vein—Jean Davison for example—uses this reportage and none of them seem to note that Castro disputes the story as written. (HSCA interview of Castro 4/3/78) And they also fail to note that there are two stories from this Castro encounter at the Brazilian Embassy in Havana. The second one, reported by the UPI and printed in the NY Times of 9/9/63 does not say the same thing as the Harker AP story. The latter quotes Castro as saying "If US leaders are aiding terrorist plans to eliminate Cuban leaders, they themselves will not be safe. Let Kennedy and his brother Robert take care of themselves, since they too can be the victims of an attempt which will cause their death." (p. 25) The UPI fourteen-paragraph story had none of this in it. As the authors note, the Harker story appeared in the New Orleans Times Picayune. The unproven assumption is that Oswald read it and this helped ignite his homicidal tendency to kill Kennedy. So Russo and Molton give us a disputed newspaper story that was assumed to be read by Oswald as key evidence in motivation.

What is the rest of the plot? Well, essentially it is a rerun of the script Gus Russo wrote for German film director Wilfried Huismann. The film he made out of Russo's work was called Rendezvous with Death and was shown on German television in January of 2006. This documentary was so full of holes, and used so many dubious witnesses that Russo apparently decided to clean it up the second time around. For instance, it actually relied on the David Phillips inspired and aforementioned Gilberto Alvarado story as its keystone. Even though that fable has been discredited for decades. Yet Huismann and Russo did not tell the audience this. Nor did they tell them about Phillips' association with Alvarado or how this paralleled other efforts by Phillips. I should also add here that in the original telling, Alvarado said he saw Oswald and the two G-2 agents in Mexico City on September 18th. Yet Oswald was not supposed to be in Mexico at that time.

Russo and Huismann then built on this phony foundation with people like Pedro Gutierrez. In the Gutierrez instance, Phillips found someone who got the date right. This guy said he saw Oswald in Mexico City on September 30th. But he says he saw a payoff to Oswald right in front of the Cuban Embassy! That G-2 would arrange the murder of JFK right in front of CIA cameras is ludicrous.

Russo also got his Witness for All Seasons, Martin Underwood, a posthumous gig. Why, I don't know. Maybe the Germans didn't know about his poor track record. But it seems whenever Russo needs someone to bolster some unbelievable point of his, he trots this guy out. Underwood was an employee of Mayor Richard Daley who Daley loaned to Kennedy as an advance man for his 1960 campaign. Russo originally tracked him down for Sy Hersh and ABC to bolster one of the many fallacious tales spouted by the late Judith Exner. For the shameless Hersh, Underwood said he saw Exner leaving a train with a bag of money in Chicago when she met Sam Giancana. Well, when Underwood was called to testify before the ARRB about this incident the Hersh/Russo/Exner fabrication collapsed. Underwood "denied that he followed Judith Campbell Exner on a train and that he had no knowledge about her alleged role as a courier. " (ARRB Final Report, p. 136)

For the German TV special, Underwood—who later worked for LBJ—passed on a secret report, which he only wanted revealed after his death. The secret report alleged that Winston Scott, CIA Mexico City station chief, told Underwood that one of Castro's top G-2 agents, Fabian Escalante, was in Dallas on the day of Kennedy's murder. And the CIA missed that fact. The implication being that the Agency's miscue caused JFK's murder.

One problem with this is that, contrary to the claim above, Underwood told this story while he was alive. And a further problem with it is that he could produce no "report" when the ARRB asked him for it. Russo had given the ARRB notes, but Underwood said he wrote those notes for use in Hersh's book. That is, they were written in the nineties, not in the sixties when Russo and Huismann say the "Underwood Report" originated. Yet Underwood insisted Scott had told him this. But when he did send the ARRB his notes from Mexico, they only briefly mentioned Scott, and there was no mention at all of the JFK assassination. When the ARRB asked him to testify under oath, Underwood wisely and understandably declined. (ARRB Final Report, p. 135) One last problem with the fabled "Underwood Report". Scott's biographer, Jefferson Morley, spent years researching the man's life. In 2008, he published his book on Scott, entitled Our Man in Mexico. There is no mention of either Underwood or the Escalante story in the volume. Did Scott only tell the Escalante story to Underwood? Why?

Realizing this was all thin gruel for anyone familiar with the JFK case, Russo and Huismann came up with a new witness. This is a guy named Oscar Marino—which is a pseudonym. Marino said that Oswald volunteered to kill JFK. And Russo and Molton repeat this claim for this article. What is this based upon? Well, when Vincent Bugliosi called Russo, Russo said it was based upon Alvarado's allegation! (Reclaiming History, End Notes, p. 736) With that, we know what to think of Marino. He has all the credibility of Underwood. But that didn't matter to Russo and Molton. As I said, they repeat the quote here. (p. 29)

In American Heritage, Russo and Molton say that Oswald's shooting at Gen. Walker in April of 1963 was supposed to be an audition for G-2. Further, the authors say that Oswald ordered the rifle used in that shooting, the Mannlicher Carcano. Here is the problem with that. If this is so, then the bullet changed both color and caliber from April to December. Because as Gerald McKnight notes, the original bullet was silver in color and not of the 6.5 caliber used in the Carcano. (Breach of Trust, pgs 48-49) The FBI and Warren Commission altered its color and dimension to incriminate Oswald. Somehow, Russo and Molton leave out that pertinent fact.

From here, the authors transition to Oswald's trip to Mexico City. They say that Oswald was declined for a visa to Cuba at the Cuban Embassy because of his erratic behavior. Not accurate. Whoever was at the Cuban Embassy—Oswald or an imposter—was declined because he wanted an in-transit visa to Cuba. The ultimate destination was Russia. Oswald could not get a visa at the Russian Embassy. This is why the Cubans turned him down. They then relate how Oswald went to a local university to get some student leftists to vouch for him in his pursuit of a visa. They say that when Oscar Contreras, the leader of the group, called the Cuban Embassy he was told to forget it since Oswald was unstable. Again, not accurate. Eusebio Azcue told Contreras that he should forget Oswald—or whoever impersonated him—because he was probably an agent provocateur. In other words, he was a CIA operative. This is why Contreras did not help. (Gaeton Fonzi, The Last Investigation, p. 290) This undermines their whole thesis. So the authors leave it out.

The excerpt/summary ends in a crescendo of unintended satire. The authors write that because of the assassination, LBJ ended the secret war against Cuba. But the assassination almost forced a nuclear war against Russia based upon Oswald's activities in Mexico City. (Russo and Molton, p. 29) What the authors leave out is that Johnson now eliminated the back channel Kennedy had been working on to create détente with Castro. And that move caused the freeze out in relations between the two nations to persevere for 45 years. They also leave out the fact that the fear of atomic war with Russia was largely created by the phony Mexico City tapes the CIA sent to Dallas and Washington the night of the assassination. The ones that contained an imposter's voice, not Oswald's. And the whole idea that Oswald was meeting with a KGB agent in Mexico City to plan the murder of Kennedy was a fiction set up before the fact by James Angleton and David Phillips. (See John Newman, Oswald and the CIA, Chapters 18 and 19.) It was this false pretense which threatened atomic war that frightened Johnson. (James Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable, p. 231) This fear was used to coax Earl Warren into helming the Warren Commission and conducting it in such a shameful manner. This also undermines their phony thesis.

That's pretty important information to keep from the reader. But its par for the course for Russo and Molton. American Heritage should be ashamed of itself for putting such a worthless piece of tripe in its magazine. Let alone on its cover. Shame on you.

Edited by William Kelly
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