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Dear Mac from Dez


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This post-assassination note from Desmond Fitzgerald, head of CIA Cuban operations to LBJ National Security Advisor concerns what they should do with the agents and operatives at JM/WAVE, some of whom became entangled in the assassination events.

Washington, March 6, 1964.

Dear Mac:

Dick Helms and I are most appreciative of the opportunity you gave us this morning for a thorough discussion of the Agency's various operational problems in connection with Cuba. It was very helpful to us and has served to clarify to a great extent our own thinking on the future of our various operational programs. It might perhaps be well to set forth, in this informal fashion, a list of the various topics which we discussed together with the considerations that appear to me to apply.

In the first place, as you know very well, although the Agency appears as the proposer of most covert action programs at the Special Group and elsewhere, we do this only in response to what we understand to be policy requirements and have no interest in either commencing or perpetuating any programs which are not demanded by policy and which are not geared to the accomplishment of a specific objective. The interdependent program of actions which we proposed last spring and which was accepted in June2 was based on three propositions which were accepted at the time: (a) that it was in the U.S. interest to get rid of Castro; (B) that, in attempting to do so, the U.S. did not wish either to employ overt force or to raise the international "noise level" to an unacceptable degree; and © that the ultimate objective of the program was not mass uprisings but to encourage disaffected elements within the military establishment and other power centers of the regime to carry out a coup.

The resulting program represented a maximum covert effort but only a minimum overall national effort which could result in overthrowing Castro. The percentage of chance of achieving this purpose was admittedly never too high even had the program proceeded on full blower. In fact the economic part of the program suffered a serious, if not fatal, reverse with the Leyland bus contract and subsequent moves by European suppliers to take advantage of Castro's improved cash position. The sabotage raids, built into the program as a sort of firing pin for internal unrest and to create the conditions for a coup, which was to be the main force leading to Castro's defeat, ran only from August to December and only five were actually conducted. The effectiveness of these five raids is certainly debatable; there are strong proponents on both sides of the argument. Regardless of how that debate might come out, however, five rather low-key raids followed by the present three-month hiatus, the latter clearly noted by pro- and anti-Castroites alike, adds up to a program of a much smaller dimension than originally envisioned which could not be expected to have had the desired detonating effect.

At the present time, as a result of a number of circumstances well known to you,Castro is in a strong upswing and the spirit of resistance within Cuba is at a very low point indeed. In my estimation, a covert program at this time designed to overthrow Castro is not realistic. Acceptance of risks and noise level of a greater magnitude than we had in mind in June would be needed to stand a chance in view of the developments since last June. This then raises the question of what should happen now to the various bits and pieces of the June program. I would like to mention these separately and refer to some of the considerations typical to each.

The sabotage raids are conducted by Cuban exile groups held and trained in Florida and entirely subject to our planning and control. There are three of these groups totaling approximately 50 men. To place them in position and recover them there requires an extensive maritime apparatus in Florida, which likewise serves intelligence agent infiltrations and exfiltrations. To maintain the raiding capability on a stand-by basis is expensive but, more importantly, the raiding groups themselves have a relatively short shelf life; if not employed their morale deteriorates and some of the members, usually the best motivated, drop out. Replacements can be acquired and trained but their caliber and morale is in large part determined by the morale of the exile community as a whole. We probably can retain the present raiding groups at roughly their current capabilities for another month or two, although the well-known Cuban volatility is capable of causing sudden and more rapid deterioration.

In short, we will need to know within a reasonable time whether we should continue to effect repairs to and keep in being our sabotage raiding apparatus. The dismemberment of these raiding teams could be accomplished without too much shock to the exile community. It would be noticed, but, if done carefully, particularly if it coincided with the commencement of "autonomous" operations, it should not cause undue repercussions and polemics against U.S. policy.

As you know, again as part of the June plan, we are supporting two "autonomous" exile groups.....

For more on this see: JFKcountercoup

[bK: Thanks to Tree Frog for calling attention to this note]

Edited by William Kelly
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Malcolm Blunt found this document at NARA. He sent it to me since it directly impacts on the whole C Day thesis of Ultimate Sacrifice. Considering what has been done to that book by me and others, it should be dead by now. But this document pours more dirt on the grave.

If you read it, this is a summary by FItzgerald and Helms of Cuban exile activity in the second half of 1963.

There is not one mention here of anything like the Waldron/Hartmann C Day scenario. Not even a whiff of it.

In fact, what is really notable here is that his summary corroborates what McGeorge Bundy told David Corn for his book on Shackley. Anti Castro Cuban exile operations had dribbled down to almost nothing. Take a look at how many raids were authorized in that time period--well below ten. And how many exiles the were using:50!

So to invade Cuba with this force in training and ready? It reminds me of the Peter Sellers movie, The Mouse that Roared, where about fifty guys in a row boat turn up on the coast to take over the country. Ridiculous.

And BTW, toward the end, FItzgerald can barely disguise the fact that he wants to drop what is left of the program since it is not returning any bang for the buck.

Now, Blunt just sent me another letter by FItzgerald and this one describes AM/World. This is the program run by Manuel Artime out of Central America, which Waldron wanted the ARRB to go ahead and declassify. The Board got a CIA analyst to go through the files and said there was nothing there pertaining to JFK. It all related to Artime and this anti Castro operation which the guy said was not getting much return.

Well, as is his want, Waldron screamed bloody murder that there was a cover up.

Well, in this new Fitzgerald letter, AM/World gets exposed as another mirage. Fitzgerald says that Artime was launching about ONE RAID EVERY TWO MONTHS! And he had to be pushed into that, and he also lied about the frequency of the raids.

This whole Waldron/Hartmann scenario is literally evaporating before our eyes.

Clearly, Helms and FItzgerald did not know anything about this C Day invasion. And if they did not know, then the CIA did not know. And if the CIA did not know, and McNamara did not know, and Bundy did not know, and if Rusk did not know before the fact, then it did not exist.

And it didn't.

I agree wholeheartedly Jim, and I think Waldron and company are barking up the wrong tree with AM/WORLD, and don't include their false analysis of the documentary record in my analysis, and still think these documents are extremely important.

For one, they reflect the thinking of top administration officials at both the White House and JM/WAVE that the Cuban operations are to be wound down and eventually done away with, as was the policy LBJ decided upon on taking over the government after the assassination.

Of course we now know that the Cuban connections to the assassination are a key to understanding the covert operation that resulted in whatever you believe happened at Dealey Plaza.

We now know that one of the key connections between Dealey Plaza and JM/WAVE is the presence of Carl Mather's car near the scene of the murder of Mather's good friend J.D. Tippit, a murder that is attributed to the same patsy who is accused of assassinating the President, and Mather's alibi is that he was at work at Collins Radio at the time.

At Collins Mather had worked on the radios aboard the Air Force plane used by the Vice President, with the Collins Radio connection to JM/WAVE being firmly established by the NYT's front page report on November 1, 1963 that that Collins leased the CIA raider ship The Rex, which had previously dropped off anti-Castro Cuban assassins in Cuba who were captured with high powered rifles by Castro forces .

Although not mentioned in the letter between Bundy and Fitzgerald, it was apparent that the JM/WAVE operations were tightly entwined with what happened at Dealey Plaza, that LBJ knew these connections had something to do with JFK's murder, and he wanted nothing to do with Cuba. Instead of following through on the Plan A - blame Castro and Cuba for the assassination, LBJ fell back on Plan B, blaming the lone-nut pasty, and foregoing an invasion of Cuba. LBJ is even quoted as telling the military that he will give them the war they wanted, but it would be in Vietnam and not Cuba.

Bradley Ayers, the US Army Ranger assigned to train some of the JM/WAVE Cubans for the missions that are discussed in this letter and the June plans that are referenced in the other report, vividly recounts in his book The Zenith Secret - how after the assassination, a new officer from Texas arrived at JM/WAVE and began to disassemble the whole operation so there was nothing left of it except the building.

The McBundy-Fitzgerald note is a preface for this happening, and the reason they did it was because they knew then what we only know now, that the JM/WAVE operations were somehow connected to the assassination.

And it is my humble opinion that the whole AM/WORLD plan that Walden and company promote, is just a smokescreen to hide the real operation that was used at Dealey Plaza, one that originated within the same offices that proposed AM/WORLD - the CIA-DOD Cuban operations office at the Pentagon. This program, as outlined by Des Fitz to the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Sept. 24, 1963, when Gen. LeMay was the temporary chairman, was the one plan based on the Valkyrie Plot to kill Hitler, which was an assassination and coup attempt by military officers who were close enough to kill Hitler and a black propaganda plan to blame the assassination on communists, and utilizing special emergency powers Hitler himself approved.

Instead of it being adapted in Cuba, with Cuban military officers killing Castro and conducting a coup, it happened in Dallas instead, as they redirected the target from Castro to JFK.

So even though Tree Frog, his associates and Waldron misread these records, or mistakenly refer to them as supporting their wrong thesis, these records are important in determining what really did happen, and how JM/WAVE was connected to both the assassination of JFK and the murder of JD Tippit, and why it had to be disbanded after the assassination in order to protect those responsible for the Dealey Plaza operation.

BK

JFKCountercoup.blogspot.com

Edited by William Kelly
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The thing about these new documents, and we all owe a great deal of thanks to Malcolm for surfacing them, is that they confirm that MONGOOSE as an official program was dead after the Missile Crisis. THat in this regard Kennedy kept his promise to the Russians.

That the only things that were being officially sponsored by the WH were hit and run jabs in order to keep a slight amount of pressure on Castro while JFK worked on the backchannel through Attwood, Howard and Daniel. Which was really momentous in a historical sense.

I agree with the general drift of what you are saying: that because certain aspects of the CIA, Pentagon, and Cuban exile community understood this, that the assassination was meant to provoke an invasion of Cuba. This, in and of itself, is another proof that Waldron/Hartmann are just dead wrong. Because its kind of a reverse of what they are saying.

I also agree that LBJ and Hoover put the kabosh on this. And in fact, we actually have documentary proof of this today in the phone calls from LBJ as he enlisted the WC, and also in Warren's oral history.

I also agree that the Phase 2 fallback then went into effect. That is, to portray Oswald as a sociopath thereby cutting off any real search for the conspiracy.

The end result of all this, with LBJ filtered in, was that everything was then shifted to VIetnam. Including Shackley. Who, irony of ironies, then blew it all by not predicting the Tet offensive. (Whether the plotters foresaw this in advance is not determinable.)

It is truly incredible to me how Waldron/Hartmann can ignore all of this documentary evidence which actually indicates the opposite of what they are saying. To me its almost unexplainable.

Bill wrote

.....Bradley Ayers, the US Army Ranger assigned to train some of the JM/WAVE Cubans for the missions that are discussed in this letter and the June plans that are referenced in the other report, vividly recounts in his book The Zenith Secret - how after the assassination, a new officer from Texas arrived at JM/WAVE and began to disassemble the whole operation so there was nothing left of it except the building......

Getting back to the Texan, if your like me you might have thought of David Atlee Phillipps...

I checked a lot of documents and didn't see any mention of Phillipps going to JMWAVE in the time frame specified.....But until I see his Office of Security File, I couldn't

dismiss the idea, and if it has the significance some might attach to it, they might have been too smart to put that in a file to begin with.....Shackley was instructed to put exile operations [against Cuba] 'on hold' immediately after the assassination but it wasn't until later that they were officially ended; Regarding that date, it would appear strongly to have been April 1964, although the exiles themselves had their own operations that didn't just stop because LBJ shut down CIA's efforts to topple Castro.

In The Nightwatch.....Phillipp's kind of glosses over this time frame albeit mentioning gathering together in Win Scott's office at the Mexico City Station, listening to reports on the Kennedy Assassination [see Nightwatch page 140] and then onto being promoted to GS-15 in February 1965 [see Nightwatch page 143] and being appointed Chief of Station at Santa Domingo, going to the Dominican Republic in 1965 after the coup, [see Nightwatch page 149] by then Admiral Raborn was DCI.

Blond Ghost: Ted Shackley and the CIA's Crusades, covers the pertinent time period in more detail

see pages 104-117

Edited by Robert Howard
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The thing about these new documents, and we all owe a great deal of thanks to Malcolm for surfacing them, is that they confirm that MONGOOSE as an official program was dead after the Missile Crisis. THat in this regard Kennedy kept his promise to the Russians.

That the only things that were being officially sponsored by the WH were hit and run jabs in order to keep a slight amount of pressure on Castro while JFK worked on the backchannel through Attwood, Howard and Daniel. Which was really momentous in a historical sense.

I agree with the general drift of what you are saying: that because certain aspects of the CIA, Pentagon, and Cuban exile community understood this, that the assassination was meant to provoke an invasion of Cuba. This, in and of itself, is another proof that Waldron/Hartmann are just dead wrong. Because its kind of a reverse of what they are saying.

I also agree that LBJ and Hoover put the kabosh on this. And in fact, we actually have documentary proof of this today in the phone calls from LBJ as he enlisted the WC, and also in Warren's oral history.

I also agree that the Phase 2 fallback then went into effect. That is, to portray Oswald as a sociopath thereby cutting off any real search for the conspiracy.

The end result of all this, with LBJ filtered in, was that everything was then shifted to VIetnam. Including Shackley. Who, irony of ironies, then blew it all by not predicting the Tet offensive. (Whether the plotters foresaw this in advance is not determinable.)

It is truly incredible to me how Waldron/Hartmann can ignore all of this documentary evidence which actually indicates the opposite of what they are saying. To me its almost unexplainable.

Bill wrote

.....Bradley Ayers, the US Army Ranger assigned to train some of the JM/WAVE Cubans for the missions that are discussed in this letter and the June plans that are referenced in the other report, vividly recounts in his book The Zenith Secret - how after the assassination, a new officer from Texas arrived at JM/WAVE and began to disassemble the whole operation so there was nothing left of it except the building......

Getting back to the Texan, if your like me you might have thought of David Atlee Phillipps...

I checked a lot of documents and didn't see any mention of Phillipps going to JMWAVE in the time frame specified.....But until I see his Office of Security File, I couldn't

dismiss the idea, and if it has the significance some might attach to it, they might have been too smart to put that in a file to begin with.....Shackley was instructed to put exile operations [against Cuba] 'on hold' immediately after the assassination but it wasn't until later that they were officially ended; Regarding that date, it would appear strongly to have been April 1964, although the exiles themselves had their own operations that didn't just stop because LBJ shut down CIA's efforts to topple Castro.

In The Nightwatch.....Phillipp's kind of glosses over this time frame albeit mentioning gathering together in Win Scott's office at the Mexico City Station, listening to reports on the Kennedy Assassination [see Nightwatch page 140] and then onto being promoted to GS-15 in February 1965 [see Nightwatch page 143] and being appointed Chief of Station at Santa Domingo, going to the Dominican Republic in 1965 after the coup, [see Nightwatch page 149] by then Admiral Raborn was DCI.

Blond Ghost: Ted Shackley and the CIA's Crusades, covers the pertinent time period in more detail

see pages 104-117

Hi Robert,

No, it wasn't DAP,

And maybe he wasn't from Texas. He was a cowboy though.

Ayers, p. 105

"Evidently, an old CIA training officer, Ernie Sparks, arrived and took over as chief of the branch.....Ernie dressed in Western style, with Cowboy boots, jeans and an open collar riding shirt. Often he would have a big revolver holstered at his side. He was about 50, with grey hair, a droopy moustache, ruddy complexion, and piercing blue eyes. His build was portly but muscular. He could have been a Wild West movie character. He had been nicknamed "Sitting Bull" while serving as a training officer in Guatemala, preparing Cuban exiles for the Bay of Pigs. As the time went buy, I learned he had a penchant for booze, women and sports cars...."

"The order to disband came first to the commando groups that were hidden around southern Florida. Gordon Campbell asked me to meet him for dinner at Black Caesar's Forge. This would be our first meeting since well before the assassination....Campbell explained major foreign policy changes had been made by President Johnson, and the paramilitary effort developed by the CIA under the previous administration had been phased out. The commando group I had been working with would be given a security briefing and be terminated with one month's pay in advance...."

BK

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