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Cesar Diosdado and Tim Gratz


Wim Dankbaar
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Welcome Tim,

Interesting that you have located Diosdado and he is still around. No surprise he refused to be interviewed. What does he know that can't be discussed?

Gaeton's book is indeed one of the most interesting books. Gaeton also interview ed Luis Posada Carillies and Orlando Bosch in prison in Venezuela. I am convinced they lied to him and they were both in Dealey Plaza. I believe that is also why they have been protected by George HW Bush up to this day.

About the reason why Diosdado visited Veciana after the assassination, I can only speculate. But let's assume Diosdado was one of the "players" in the Kennedy assassination, maybe even a shooter. Let's further suppose that Veciana was on Dealey Plaza too, not as a player, but as a spectator, because he knew the hit was coming down there. Let's further assume that Maurice Bishop was David Atlee Phillips, and Phillips was a higher ranking player in Kennedy assassination, and also the CIA controller of Veciana for Apha 66 and anti Cuban operations.

If we assume the above, Phillips would have known that Veciana was in Dallas that day and it would make sense for Phillips to send Diosdado to Veciana in order to verify that Veciana could be trusted to keep his mouth shut about what he knew. He would have gotten that confirmation from Veciana's response (that he knew nothing) and I believe that response was a lie for his own good).

Anyway, Diosdado, Bosch , Posada are all still alive and nothing is being done by proper authorities to question them.

Wim

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Timothy Gratz. 55 years old. Resides in Key West, Florida. Holds political science and law degree from University of Wisconsin. Reinterest in assassination sparked by reading "Searching for Ghosts in Key West" in Gaeton Fonzi's book. Member of Gordon Winslow's Southern Florida Reserarch Group.

Co-authored a series of five articles on possible Key West connections to the assassination, published in the Key West Citizen in November of 2003. (Co-author Mark Howell of the Key West Citizen.) Our articles are posted on the cuban-exile website. Really enjoy the Spartacus Educational website (and not just the JFK site and forum). Mark Howell, my co-author of the articles on the Key West connection to the assassination, hales from Wales and has a master's degree from Trinity College, Cambridge.

We are interested in the recent postings that started on Cesar Diosdado. He is still alive, we located him, sent him a letter, tried to interview him by phone but he refused. His visit to Veciana shortly after the assassination was interesting. I have my theories what that was all about. Whoever Bishop was, I don't think he was involved in the assassination or he would have been foolish to be seen with Veciana. But it seems very clear that CIA sent Diosdado to interview Veciana to determine if Veciana would report the sighting. Veciana did not at that time. Because of the CIA's compartmentalization, I doubt if the CIA person who ordered Diosdado to interview Veciana told Diosdado why, but it sure would be interesting to know who at CIA ordered the interview

Edited by Wim Dankbaar
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I certainly know no evidence that Diosdado had any involvement in the assassination but he was certainly an active player in the Key West area. From what I have read, he would give the "green light" or "red light" to raids on Cuba from the Florida Keys.

When Customs raided and arrested Hemmings and the No Name Key group in December of 1962, although the raid was organized by Miami Customs, Diosdado participated in the raid. I haven't read all of Hemming's various statements over the years, but I wonder if he had met Diosdado before the raid?

We also found an old Key West Citizen article that states that shortly after the JFK assassination Diosdado went to inspect the No Name camp but there was no one there anymore.

When JFK visited Key West in Nov of 1962 (to inspect the Hawk missiles still in place after the missile crisis, Diosdado's name was not on the original list of VIPS but it was inked or penciled in.

An aside: my colleague Mark Howell is working on a story about JFK's November 1962 visit to Key West. In connection with that, we ran into a very interesting web-site called The Missiles of Key West that have some remarkable photos of JFK in an open car, with sunglasses, inspecting the missiles. I commend the site to members of the Forum. You may also be interested in knowing the current name of the Key West beach that once housed the Hawk missiles: Smathers Beach.

Now back to topic at hand:

I believe Fonzi once remarked in an interview that he thought additional investigative work should be directed re Diosdado's activities. I do understand that Diosdado denied ever interviewing Veciana.

I also recall reading (I believe it was in Weberman's interesting web-site) that when Cuban exiles arrived in the Keys, Diosdado would help screen and make recommendations whether they should be recruited by the CIA.

I want to go back to the Veciana story of his seeing Bishop with Oswald in Dallas.

Let's assume he was CIA (and of course I have read Fonzi's HSCA report and his book) if 1) (again) he was CIA and (2) if Veciana was telling the truth about seeing them together, then it obviously follows that LHO had links to the CIA. Of course, there are many other reasons to suspect that but a sighting with Bishop ought to confirm it. It seems to me, however, that it tends to exculpate rather than inculpate Bishop (Phillips or whomever) in the assassination since it would be foolhardy indeed for Bishop to be seen with the "patsy". (I think someone has made this point on this forum before.) In fact, it is my understanding that it violates intelligence rules for a CIA officer to let one "asset" see another one. If LHO was doing secret work for the CIA, why would Bishop expose him to Veciana?

The link between Veciana and the Odio story is interesting. Again, if I recall correctly, the Odio (parents) were jailed because they were sheltering on their estate Reynald Gonzales, who had been a participant in Veciana's attempted assassination of Castro. Veciana escaped to the US (quite sure he first entered the US through Key West) but the Odios (and I believe Gonzales) were arrested.

What if (obviously speculation) Veciana was an agent provocateur? (Remember, his cousin's husband was a member of Castro's intelligence.) That could explain why the Gonzales assassination attempt failed--as did the 1971 attempt in Chile.) It could also indicate that the Bishop-Oswald story was disinformation by Veciana. I am not advocating this position but I think all possibilities ought to be considered.

If Veciana was telling the truth, then Diosdado's 1963 interview with him helped start the CIA cover-up of an involvement with LHO. Only after the CIA had assured itself (through Diosdado) that Veciana was not going to report his seeing Bishop with LHO could the CIA decide to deny association with LHO.

I want to skip to another subject but it may be of interest. Mark and I did a story re when Castro shut off the Guantonimo water supply in February of 1964 (it was because the Coast Guard had hauled some 38-40 Cuban fishermen to Key west jail because they violated US territorial waters. Turns out the Guantonimo base commander was a tough naval officer named Bulkeley and that, shortly before the assassination, it was JFK who had designated him for the position. RFK had given Bulkeley his marching orders: "Show that bastard (Fidel) who's in charge." Well, the interesting item we discovered was that JFK may have owed his political career to Bulkeley. According to Nigall Hamilton (who interviewed Bulkeley) Joseph Kennedy had lunched with Bulkeley and used his political influence to get JFK his position as PT boat commander. Bulkeley had gained fame by rescuing Gen MacArthur from the Phillipines. Bulkeley's WW II PT adventures were the subject of a John Ford movie called They Were Expendable.

One last item (relating to another "thread") re Earl E. T. Smith. I assume most of the Forum participants know that JFK and his buddy George Smathers visited Smith in Havana in 1957 and that JFK used his visit to Smathers against Nixon in their October 21, 1960 debate.

Enough for now! I really enjoy this forum and the level of discourse.

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One last item (relating to another "thread") re Earl E. T. Smith.  I assume most of the Forum participants know that JFK and his buddy George Smathers visited Smith in Havana in 1957 and that JFK used his visit to Smathers against Nixon in their October 21, 1960 debate.

Enough for now!  I really enjoy this forum and the level of discourse.

I believe George Smathers is a key figure in the assassination. See:

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=943

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

One of the interesting things about Smathers is that his secretary at the time of the assassination was Mary Jo Kopechne. The same woman who died in Edward Kennedy's car in 1969. Her room-mate at the time was Nancy Carole Tyler, who worked for Bobby Baker. Tyler was to die in May, 1965.

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

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

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Hey Tim. I told Gordon I'd give a shout out. I really enjoyed our meeting in the Keys this year. Tim gave my group (women looking for info on relatives of Cuban campaigns)some space in the local Key West Citizen. Howell was a joy to spend the day with as well. I remember that trip as a highlight of many research trips.

Drop me a line anytime. Love to hear from you and current research.

Best,

Chris Cox

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  • 1 year later...

I just got this document from NARA:#104-10070-10292:

This is a memo from Lawrence R. Houston, General Counsel of the CIA, to J. Walter Yeagley, Assistant Attorney General, Internal Security Division, Department of Justice, dated October 31, 1967. The memo concerns Cesario Diosdado of US Customs and his appearance on a list of prospective witnesses in the case of United States v. Rolando Masferrer, et al. Diosdado had arrested Masferrer and the other defendants under a Bureau of Customs warrant. Diosdado's name is consistently mispelled as Diosado in the document.

"As we have informed you, since 1962 Diosado, although carried on the Bureau of Customs roles, was actually working for the Central Intelligence Agency, and this Agency reimbursed Customs for his salary. This arrangement is classified as Diosado's duties were in sensitive intelligence areas and it was not intended that he be known as working for this Agency...."

"If counsel for the defense is able to establish during the trial that Diosado was under the direction and control of the Central Intelligence Agency, it would not only be seriously embarrassing to the Government, but we suggest that it might raise a question of the validity of the arrest in view of the statutory prohibitions on the Agency against the exercise of any police, subpoena, or law-enforcement functions."

Edited by Gary Buell
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Historically, I think Mr. Diosdado is an extremely important key in understanding the assassination but very guarded. Fonzi, in the field for HSCA, recommends that further information be gathered on Diosdado but there is no satisfactory follow up. WHY? Allegedly, he denied being CIA at that time HSCA did an interview.

There were other documents - CIA internal cables-prior to the above document indicating Diosdado was on the CIA payroll.

When I first started researching Diosdado, it was readily apparent that there would not be a lot of information forthcoming. My impression was that he was relatively non-commital and hostile at times. I don't think the Weberman interview of him is going to help matters any for future interviews. Hemming seems to have a low opinion of him(Diosdado) but I believe I remember Gordon Winslow indicating Diosdado couldn't be all that bad because he was working "for" the government. I thought Winslow was be facetious at the time.

The Mellen book mentions Diosdado and pontificates about an Oswald/customs connection for those who might be interested. Recently I posted on this forum and excerpt of an HSCA executive session in which it was alleged Diosdado and Veciana worked TOGETHER regarding the Chile assassination attempt. I received information from Fonzi that this was a mistake and the text should have read "Posada".

On a side note, I've ferried from Cancun to Isla Mujeres multiple times, been up and down the Island, I cannot fathom how this ship which was Carriles'(SP), alleged transport to the U.S. could have run aground unless it was being piloted by a pack of idiots. To me it seemed like a way to draw attention to the fact a "SHIP" was picking him up. Isla Mujeres also happens to have a small airport. I've took a couple photos of it's unmanned terminal. Deserted. It would have been a perfect opportunity to fly a little Cessna from there across and land on a crop dusting strip in Texas somewhere.

Before I forget...Mr. Dankbaar also emailed me within the last couple weeks asking if I had talked to Diosdado so I think he's making an effort to pursue this area a little more.

Jason Vermeer

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