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The Attempt to Remove Fidel Castro from Power


Nathaniel Weyl
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The Attempt to Remove Fidel Castro from Power: A Personal History

One morning early in 1960, we were reading the New York Times in bed when I happened to glance through a speech by the new dictator of Cuba. I knew very little about Fidel Castro beyond the fact that he was being portrayed as a reincarnation of Robin Hood (or was it Abraham Lincoln?) in the lyrical prose of Times correspondent Herbert L. Matthews.

I asked Sylvia (my wife) to read the Castro harangue. We both concluded that it seemed to be the product of an indoctrinated Communist. What if Castro was a Soviet agent? I thought that the time gap between his student days and his conquest of power was short enough so that the trail should be warning. I had a sudden urge to go to New York City, where the first wave of Cuban exiles could often be found, and try to solve the problem.

Sylvia tried to dissuade me, pointing out that I was working on a book on a more important subject-the geography of intellect. Conceding her point, I promised to spend no more than 48 hours in New York on the Castro matter.

Fortunately, I met two people in New York the next day who convinced me that Castro was a Communist: Ross, the editor of the NYC Spanish-language newspaper, a bitterly disillusioned early backer of Fidel, generously let me take his newspaper files on the hairy Cuban back to Washington with me even though we had just met. The second source was Lincoln Diaz Balart, the ex-brother-in-law of Castro who had also been his college room mate. Diaz Balart told me that Fidel used to pore reverentially over the Communist Party pamphlet editions of the lighter, shorter and more popular writings of Marx and Lenin.

I returned to Washington on schedule. Sylvia and I researched Castro's early career, using the Latin American press and journal resources of the Library of Congress. We interviewed dozens of Cuban refugees. In a month or so, I had the first draft of an article done. We submitted it to Life and Reader's Digest. Both periodicals rejected it after angry meetings of their editorial boards, in which the editors who wanted to publish the story called their opponents appeasers of communism and in which those who wanted to kill it characterized any attack on the bearded hero of the Caribbean as part of a plot by rightwingers and fascists.

What should we do? We now felt that the publication of the exposé was important. Not primarily because it revealed that Fidel was a Communist. As the year advanced, he was doing that for us. The more important message of the article was that the Latin American division of the State Department had deliberately pursued a policy designed to overthrow the government of Cuba and to bring about the triumph of Castro, despite the fact that at least one of its key people had abundant evidence that Fidel was a Communist.

The draft article was circulated privately. I was reliably informed that the CIA reacted adversely, but that FBI Director Hoover approved. Former Vice President Nixon agreed with it and wrote me to that effect.

I would later learn from the editor of the Saturday Evening Post, a mass circulation organ of' [lie time, that he would have accepted the piece without hesitation. However, I didn't know this at the time.

Rather than bury our findings, we decided to expand the draft article into a book. We found in Devin Adair Garrity a small publisher of courage and principle. We didn't want anything to interfere with our plan to visit Spain with our children that summer, so l finished the book in a few weeks.

Red Star Over Cuba, as the book would be called, would go through several American editions and at least three Spanish language ones, plus German and Portuguese translations, selling about a third of a million copies. Yet the New York Times and the other influential review media, which had generously reviewed my previous books, all quasi-liberal in orientation, ignored its existence.

Castro's triumph occurred when Eisenhower was President of the United States. The critical period was between Castro's landing in the Sierra Maestia mountains of eastern Cuba in 1957 with an insignificant force of 18 men and his triumph a few years later. During most of this period (June 1957 to August 1960), the office of Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs was held by a man called Roy Richard Rubottom and control of Cuban affairs was vested in Rubuttom's close associate, William Wieland. These two had been in Bogota in 1948 when a mass uprising by Communists and other revolutionaries, among, them Fidel Cast to, had attempted to seize power over Colombia and had caused over a thousand deaths and torched a large part of the city.

The evidence that Castro was either a Communist or some associated type of revolutionary terrorist should therefore have been clear to Rubottom and Wieland. This did not deter them from a course that would destroy the Batista regime, which was friendly to the United States, and substitute a hostile one which would in 1963 drive America and the world to the brink of nuclear war.

In March 1958, the State Department, on the recommendation of Wieland, imposed an arms embargo on the Cuban government, a clear signal to the Cuban army that the United States wanted him ousted or defeated. When the Cuban government staged presidential elections in November 1958, Castro called for the murder of all participating candidates and threatened voters with death. This terrorist move evidently did not persuade Rubottom and Wieland that they were supporting a mortal enemy of everything their nation stood for.

In December 1958, Wieland ordered Ambassador Earl E. T. Smith, a decent man and a loyal American, to tell President Batista that he no longer had U.S. support and must leave his native country forthwith.

These appalling acts told the generals commanding the armed forces of 'Cuba that they had better switch sides or perish. They surrendered without a battle or turned over to the enemy.

In this sorry narrative, Wieland was in close and friendly contact with New York Times correspondent in Cuba Herbert L. Matthews, the political activist who was busy selling Fidel Castro to the American people as a Robin Hood and a man who had previously been reprimanded by his newspaper for biased reporting.

Alan Courtney, a commentator on Miami radio, introduced me to John Martino and persuaded me to help him write the story of his imprisonment for several years in Castro's prisons. John told me he had helped set up gambling devices in Cuban hotels under Batista and had been arrested for returning to Cuba to get his employers' money out. I knew that the mob had largely controlled Cuban gambling and assumed John worked for them in a minor capacity.

The Martino story seemed to me a fascinating account from the inside of the experiences of his fellow prisoners, mostly political dissidents, as they faced execution. John Martino turned out to be a mild, very likeable man whose ash-white pallor revealed years of deprivation and suffering.

Although he was an American citizen, Martino had received no help during his ordeal from the Embassy in Havana. Considering the long history of pro-Soviet infiltration of our Latin American foreign service, this did not astonish us. He felt bitter resentment toward the State Department and attributed its abandonment of him to pro-Castro American officials.

In 1963, John Martino came to me with a fascinating story. He had attended a meeting in Palm Beach at which a Cuban who used the nom de guerre of Bayo claimed that the Soviets had deceived President Kennedy and that Russian missiles were still in Cuba. Bayo said he knew tills because two of the Soviet officers guarding these clandestine missiles had defected, were being hidden and guarded by the remnants of the anti-Castro underground and were desperately anxious to tell their story.

I was told that this was an emergency. The Russians could be captured by Castro's forces at any time. John Martino said that their Cuban protectors could get them safely to the northern coast of the island and thence by boat to some agreed-upon rendezvous point in the Bahamas if we acted immediately.

Martino added that Bayo and the other Cuban patriots would have nothing to do with anyone from the CIA because they believed that the Agency had betrayed them at the Bay of Pigs.

Could I get a yacht, designate a time and place to meet on some remote Bahamas island, get there and bring the Russian officers to the American mainland? If it was to be done, it must be done immediately.

I accepted the Marino-Bayo story as true. For one thing, I couldn't see what anyone could gain by inventing it. The implications were tremendous. Presidential elections were looming. The incumbent Chief Executive would run as the young hero who had faced down Khrushchev in the Cuban missile crisis and removed a mortal threat to the nation. (The world was actually saved from thermonuclear disaster, not so much by JFK, as by the man "who blinked first" - Nikita Khrushchev.)

But if missiles were still in place in Cuba and pointed at American cities, Kennedy and the Democrats could lose the 1964 elections. I surmised that the Administration would take strong measures to see that the revelations, in fact even the existence, of the defecting Soviet field grade officers would probably be kept from the American people until after the elections. The obvious way to do this would he to intercept our yacht, rename the Russian rocket officers and, on grounds of national security, whisk them away to an undisclosed location. In the process. I might he arrested for attempting to smuggle illegal aliens into the U.S.

After turning these possibilities over in my mind, I phoned Jay Sourwine, the general counsel of the Senate Internal Security Committee, told him the story in confidence and asked him to give us John Doe subpoenas which we could serve on the Russians at sea. He informed me that this was legally impossible. My next step was to seek advice from a journalist friend. Ralph de Toledano of' Newsweek. Ralph told Senator Barry Goldwater about the Soviet defectors. The result was an agreement that the Russians would be immediately invited to Goldwater's ranch in Arizona, that he would call a press conference, enabling them to tell their story to the world, and that he would also give them enough money so they could start a new life, in America.

What had begun as a small, covert operation was now mushrooming into a fairly large enterprise. William Pawley, former US Ambassador, godfather of the World War II Flying Tigers and poker-playing crony of President Harry Truman, entered the picture. The CIA came aboard and took charge. The escorting boat would be Bill Pawley's yacht, the Flying Tiger. The Russians would be photographed on board by a Life magazine camera man. Henry Luce would see that their revelations reached the world.

The Bayo operation has been covered in several article and books. It has been a hunting ground for conspiracy theorists, such as Peter Dale Scott (Deep Politics and the Death ofJFK, University of California Press), who suggest that the Bayo affair was linked to the Kennedy assassination.

We know now that the defecting Soviet colonels never existed, that there were no Russian missiles left in place in Cuba, that the Bayo story was a hoax.

What happened to the Cubans who were offloaded from the Flying Tiger, heavily armed with ClA-supplied weapons? We know that the Pawley yacht weighed anchor ten miles to sea from the port of Baracoa in Oriente Province on the night of June 8, 1963. Three CIA people kept machine-guns trained on Bayo and his Cuban commandos as the latter piled into the speedboat that was to take them to shore (Warren Hinckle and William W. Turner, Deadly Secrets, p. 194). Weapons were aimed at the Cubans because the CIA considered the possibility that they were Castro agents and that the operation was an ambush.

The commandos vanished into the night. Pawley saw to it that a Catalina flying boat search the skies for them until a week had elapsed. The generally accepted theory is that their secret purpose had been to get modern arms with which to kill Castro, but that they had been intercepted and killed or captured in a firefight. A year or so after the tragedy, Bill Pawley told me he believed that the men never landed. When they boarded the speedboat, he warned them that it was dangerously overloaded and urged them in vain to take rubber rafts aboard. Pawley heard a large freighter pass between the Flying Tiger and the shore. He believed that the Cuban boat was swamped in the freighter's wake and that the men drowned.

Was their secret purpose to get CIA arms with which to kill Fidel Castro? This is the conclusion researchers have arrived at, but it seems to me illogical. When I was approached to find a yacht and meet the defectors at sea, there was no mention of sending armed commandos ashore. Nor did I have any access to assault weapons nor did Martino have any reason to imagine I would be willing or able to supply them.

The source of guns was the CIA and Bayo and his companions had made it abundantly clear that they distrusted the agency and wanted to have nothing to do with it.

The conclusion I draw is that Bayo's initial plan was to land two or three mysterious people in Florida, to allege that they were Soviet colonels and spread the story of missiles still in Cuba to influence the American presidential elections. The purpose would have been to defeat Kennedy since many Cubans believed he had betrayed them and their cause.

Would any such imposture have been promptly detected and exposed? Or would continuing uncertainty and suspicion have poisoned the air for the young President?

When the plan mushroomed to comprise a Cuban commando force, heavily armed by the CIA with weapons, none of which was, of course, of US origin, plans may well have changed. Assassination? Mere havoc and sabotage? We will probable never know.

This is an edited account from my book, Encounters With Communism (2003)

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PAINTING CASTRO RED

During the late 1950s the world began to read and hear about a charismatic Cuban revolutionary operating out of the Sierra Maestra mountains. Fidel Castro was an ardent nationalist who had already spent years in one of Batista's prisons for leading an ill-conceived attack on an army installation, the Moncada Barracks, in one of Cuba's eastern provinces. Although sentenced to a fifteen-year term, he had been released after only two years in a general amnesty issued by the Cuban dictator as a sign of his good will and tolerance. Undaunted, Castro had immediately begun planning his next moves. From his mountain hideout, he began to give a series of interviews to American reporters designed to create a romantic and noble image of himself and his band of followers.

Herbert L. Matthews of The New York Times was perhaps the best known of these, although among the others was the famous television personality, Ed Sullivan, whose weekly variety show was characterized more by acts such as "dancing bears, ventriloquists, and magicians," rather than serious interviews with political figures.[1] But even this was perhaps appropriate to the circus atmosphere of personal promotion generated by the public relations-savvy Castro. While meeting with Matthews, Castro arranged for his men to make a jungle clearing look like a busy command post by having them wander through in twos and threes, then change into different clothing and walk by again. This carefully orchestrated skit led Matthews to believe that Castro had hundreds, perhaps thousands, of guerrilla followers.

On New Years Day, 1959, when Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba, the United States' foreign policy establishment had a wide range of options available. So why was the choice made to alienate Castro, thereby driving him into the Soviet fold? Much of the answer can be found in the U.S.' policy in support of multinational corporations. This single-minded mentality (the business of America is business) had little tolerance for social reforms that might cut into profits and control. The absolutism of American capitalism was a very real factor, as Mills wrote, "in forcing the Government of Cuba to align itself politically with the Soviet bloc, as against assuming a genuinely neutralist and hence peaceful world orientation."[2] In his first speech as the leader of the new Cuba, Castro revealed an intended independence that would have been disconcerting to those that profited most from a subservient Cuba:

"The Revolution begins now.... It will not be like 1898, when the North Americans came and made themselves masters of our country.... For the first time, the Republic will really be entirely free and the people will have what they deserve.... This war was won by the people!"[3]

The shaping of Castro's image as communistic long before he would be forced to publicly adopt that guise was a form of self-prophesy. But initially, even the CIA's own resident expert on Latin American communism concluded after a three hour interview with Castro, that "Castro is not only not a Communist; he is a strong anti-Communist fighter."[4] The Eisenhower administration was alarmed by Castro's protestations about human rights and democracy at the same time that he was seizing control of the press, rigging elections, shutting down the casinos, and nationalizing industry. However, other than the issue of the casinos and the geographical and recreational immediacy to American interests, these practices had all been seen before in Latin American efforts to achieve social reform. But this was after McCarthyism had taken its toll on Western attitudes, and there was no room for shades of pink in that climate. It was the era of all or nothing in the fight against the Red Menace. Such extreme attitudes were reflected in a briefing given to CIA Director Dulles by Kenneth Crosby, a leading American businessman with interests in Havana. Crosby described Castro as "another Hitler" who had "tremendous influence over the people," comparable to that of Rasputin.[5]

Clearer heads, however, have questioned such a totalistic perspective. Thomas Patterson disputes the notion that Castro was always a Communist and committed to a Marxist view of the world before taking power. He notes that "even the veteran foreign service officer appointed U.S. ambassador to Cuba shortly after Castro's triumph acknowledged that Castro's Soviet alliance solidified only after the United States tried to overthrow the bearded leader."[6] More than simply placing the cart before the horse, U.S. policy created a Soviet beachhead in the Western Hemisphere. This constituted enemy-making of the first order.

"One school of thought argues that Castro's objectives, combined with the dynamics of revolution, propelled Fidel into the Soviet orbit. On the other hand, there is the contention that, by its actions and non-actions, the United States drove Castro to seek out the Soviet Union. Nonetheless, there was consensus that if presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy had responded to Cuba as President Carter later did to Nicaragua, Castro more likely than not would have been stymied in his radical course."[7]

Even if it were true all along that Castro was a Communist, few countries subscribed to the blanket criterion of "anything but communism" (the "ABC" of U.S. cold war foreign policy) in determining regime legitimacy.[8] Only a year after Castro came to power, secret official efforts had begun to depose him when Eisenhower's National Security Council deliberated over ways to bring "another government to power in Cuba." E. Howard Hunt, the man the Washington Post called the "Great Gatsby of the cloak and walkie-talkie set,"[9] had been sent to Cuba to check things out for himself and upon returning submitted an itemized list of suggestions geared toward toppling Castro:

1. Assassinate Castro before or coincident with the invasion (a task for Cuban patriots);

2. Destroy the Cuban radio and television transmitters before or coincident with the invasion;

3. Destroy the island's microwave relay system just before the invasion begins;

4. Discard any thought of a popular uprising against Castro until the issue has already been militarily decided.[10]

Before Hunt was to be appointed what James Reston described as "operational head of the CIA-Cuban Bay of Pigs disaster," he was asked whether he was too conservative to handle the Cuban exiles.[11] He responded that he was "a career officer" and that his "political views, whatever they may be, don't enter into it." In fact, the question would eventually prove to be well placed, given Hunt's right wing attitudes; he would eventually require replacement over this very issue. But his extreme operational recommendations were well-received, initiating what is perhaps the shadiest period in U.S. foreign relations. At the time, however, it was old home week, with the veterans of the Guatemala overthrow reunited. Hunt recalled, "We greeted each other warmly and remarked that the old crowd was rallying to the new cause."[12] "The first discussion of killing Castro" according to Richard Bissell, the number two man at the CIA, occurred when "first on [Hunt's] list was Castro's murder."[13]

A meeting of the National Security Council was held after which, on March 17, President Eisenhower approved a four-point military plan, laid out in a top secret policy paper, "A Program of Covert Action Against the Castro Regime." This program had already received approval from the 5412 Committee, "the most secret operating unit of government." Leaving out any mention of Hunt's internal CIA memo recommending that "thorough consideration be given to the elimination of Fidel Castro," the document called for four steps:

(1) creation of a responsible and unified Cuban government in exile;

(2) a powerful propaganda offensive;

(3) a covert intelligence and action organization in Cuba, to be responsive to the exile opposition; and

(4) a paramilitary force outside of Cuba for future guerrilla action.[14]

Hunt was gratified to be informed that the project's action officer at the White House was to be none other than the Vice President, Richard Nixon. He later noted his disappointment that when the time came that he needed him, Nixon "had been supplanted by a new administration."[15]

Michael Beschloss has observed that all of this plotting and planning was conducted at a time when Castro "had yet to seize American property or establish diplomatic relations with Moscow."[16] Publicly, the official American policy was still friendliness toward the new Cuban government. The planned lodgment of a government-in-exile on a Cuban beachhead was never expected to actually topple Castro; the most hopeful prospect was that by presenting a military threat of unknown proportions, and fabricating rumors and propaganda of multiple landings, dissident Cubans might be encouraged to take up arms while borderline supporters would be frightened into quiescence. The idea was that, once established, the exiles would begin "broadcasting to the world as a government-in-arms. In other words, the best the constructed legitimacy of the exile beachhead government could have offered the Cuban people was civil war, a "bitter gift."[17] Of course, once the U.S. were to recognize the new government as the legitimate one, then requests for military support would have indigenous origins, giving the U.S. all the pretext needed, and avoiding any appearance of imperialism. To add to the construction of legitimacy, Hunt was directed to draft a new Cuban constitution which should include "land reform clauses and the rest of it."[18] While some supposed that the exile force would be able to advance toward Havana, Bissell knew better: the isolation of the landing site intended to keep Castro out would just as readily keep the exiles in.

Shortly after conducting a good will tour of America, Castro introduced an agrarian reform law to his Cabinet. The measure would authorize the Cuban government to take back much of the island's land from its owners, many of them being American-based companies. Immediately, the American press began to portray Castro as a Communist. This change was not merely a reflection of ideological sentiment. There was a very real monetary incentive behind the opposition to the agrarian reform. Chief among the companies who vehemently opposed the expropriation of land was the conglomerate, some would say oligarchy, United Fruit, a company that had already been instrumental in the overthrow of the Guatemalan government in 1954.

The Boston-based United Fruit Company had unique connections within the U.S. government. Both John Foster Dulles, the Secretary of State, and his brother Allen Dulles, the Director of the CIA, had been partners in the law firm that represented this company. John M. Cabot, Eisenhower's Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, was the company's major stockholder. Sinclair Weeks, the Secretary of Commerce, had been director of United Fruit's registrar bank.[19] Although some of these officials had divested themselves of their interests in the company, the Washington-United Fruit network was a significant one. These were the days "when the United Fruit Company's reputation for being able to call in the Marines or the CIA to its Central American banana fiefdom was a principal company asset."[20]

Along with United Fruit, a major stakeholder in the control of Cuba was the American Mafia. When Castro ordered the Cuban casinos closed down he made himself a significant enemy of the Mafia. That U.S. foreign policy would be concerned with the interests of United Fruit is not as surprising as that the government would readily climb in bed with the Mafia. In September of 1960, a high-ranking CIA official met with Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana, his West Coast associate Johnny Roselli, and Santos Trafficante, the Florida and Havana underworld chief who had been put in jail by Castro after the takeover of the casinos. The purpose of the meeting was the planning for the murder of the Cuban leader. The Deputy Director for Plans of the CIA, Richard Bissell, thought that hiring gangsters to kill Castro was the "ultimate cover," because "there was very little chance that anything the Syndicate would try to do would be traced back" to the U.S. government.[21] It seems reasonable, however, that this was not merely operationally expedient; it was also a reflection of a mutuality of interests between the American intelligence community and the underworld. Nor was it the first time this partnership had been activated. The alliance had begun during World War II after a series of sabotage incidents on the East Coast culminated in the burning of an oceanliner, the Normandie.

"With Operation Underworld, Roosevelt made the Mafiosi all but official masters of the U.S. East Coast docks and gave implicit protection to their activities everywhere. With his instructions to Patton in 1943, he restored the Mafia to power in Sicily. When he sent Lansky to Batista in 1944, he paved the way for the spread of Syndicate influence throughout the Caribbean and Central America."[22]

The same month that the CIA and Mafia resumed their unholy partnership, this time planning for the assassination of a sovereign head of state, Castro publicly labeled the U.S. activities against his country as subversive and warlike. In a speech before the United Nations in September of 1960, he railed against the international criminality being practiced by the U.S.:

"The government of the United States considers it has the right to promote and encourage subversion in our country. The government of the United States is promoting the organization of subversive movements against the revolutionary government of Cuba.... Does this mean, by chance, that the Cuban government has the right to promote subversion in the United States?"[23]

Castro seems to have been beset by the strange notion that what goes around comes around, turn about is fair play, and some kind of equitable treatment between nations is to be expected. His statements consistently reflect a resistance to the kind of one-sidedness presumed by the United States. Given that legitimacy in international relations involves certain standards and codes of conduct, Castro's expectations may have been legitimate, but misplaced. It was Castro's rejection of the U.S. military double standard in the hemisphere, which assumes Latin America weakness and North American strength, that encouraged him to form an army which could later beat off the Bay of Pigs invasion.

That same summer, Soviet Premier Khrushchev announced that "the Monroe Doctrine has outlived its time, has outlived itself, has died, so to say, a natural death." Reflecting Nietzsche's views on the state of stale, obsolete constructions, the Russian continued, "Now the remains of this doctrine should best be buried as every dead body is so that it should not poison the air by its decay." Noting that the doctrine may have been reasonable in its day, he noted that now it belonged to,

"... the imperialists of the United States of America, the colonialists, who, like vultures, snatch the last crumb out of the mouths of the dying children and old folk just to wax fat and rich. And it is through the Monroe Doctrine that they want to assure themselves the right to go on with this robbery forever."[24]

The representation that Castro posed a Communist threat to the U.S. was demonstrably in place long before any supporting facts were to emerge. The New York Times' reporter, Herbert L. Matthews, had come under attack for his sympathetic coverage long before Castro announced that he was a Communist that "almost brought on a nuclear war." The newspaper reported public demonstrations "protesting editorials on Cuba and editorial writings of Herbert L. Matthews in The Times, as well as information in the news columns that the protesters interpreted as favorable to Fidel Castro, and therefore to communism."[25]

During the 1960 presidential election season, the candidates found that voters considered Cuba and Castro to be the most important foreign policy issue. A big fan of Ian Fleming's James Bond spy thrillers, Kennedy asked the novelist at a dinner party what should be done about Castro. Fleming responded that since Latinos cared primarily about money, religion and sex, the best way to handle the Cuban would be to humiliate him. This suggestion would later be operationalized during the Kennedy administration.

Never one to turn away from political advantage, Kennedy accused the Republicans of permitting "a Communist menace" to emerge "only eight jet minutes from Florida." He continued, "We must make clear our intention not to let the Soviet Union turn Cuba into its base in the Caribbean-and our intention to enforce the Monroe Doctrine." He called for more propaganda and sanctions to "quarantine" the Cuban revolution, along with more support for Cubans who opposed the Castro regime. The twisted result was that those Americans who did not support a belligerent stance toward Cuba voted for Nixon, who was desperately pushing the CIA to take action before Election Day. Those who preferred a tougher stance against Castro voted for Kennedy, who was far more ambivalent about overthrowing Castro by force.

With the transition from Eisenhower to Kennedy, there was a corresponding shift from the former's "hidden hand" approach to the latter's heroic model of leadership, so long exploited in his literary efforts. David Halberstam has written that in Kennedy's time "style became as important as substance, and on occasion more important."[26] That Kennedy recognized the public relations aspect of politics is not surprising. In this, he was only ahead of his time in the implementation of Madison Avenue methodologies. The process of constructing legitimacy involves similar marketing and packaging. Advancing previous models that relied upon historical personages as authorizing figures, Kennedy sought to promote himself as an embodiment of the heroic model. Just as it is not considered unusual that the images of great sports figures are found on boxes of cereal, political leaders package policies in the trappings of personal appeal and lofty rhetoric. Although this approach eventually gave Kennedy a hallowed place in history, his politics of personality would add a volatile element into the mix of U.S.-Cuban relations, pitting him directly against Castro's charismatic leadership.

Notes

1. William B. Breuer, Vendetta: Castro and the Kennedy Brothers, (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1997), 26.

2. C. Wright Mills, Listen Yankee, (New York, McGraw-Hill, 1960), 186.

3. David J. Finlay, Ole R. Holsti and Richard R. Fagen, Enemies In Politics, (Chicago: Rand McNally, 1967),95.

4. Georgie Anne Geyer, Guerrilla Prince - Fidel Castro, (New York: Little, Brown & Co., 1991), 240.

5. Seymour M. Hersh, The Dark Side of Camelot, (New York: Little, Brown & Co., 1997), 162.

6. Susan Eckstein, "Contesting Castro: The United States and the Triumph of the Cuban Revolution" Political Science Quarterly, (Summer 1995 v110 n2), 335(2).

7. Donald E. Rice, The Rhetorical Uses of the Authorizing Figure. (New York: Praeger Publishers, Inc., 1992), 112.

8. Alexander M. George and William E. Simons, eds. The Limits of Coercive Diplomacy, (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, Inc, 1994), 178.

9. E. Howard Hunt, Give Us This Day, (New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House, 1973), Frontispiece.

10. Ibid., 38.

11. Ibid., Frontispiece.

12. Ibid., 24-26.

13. Thomas Powers, The Man Who Kept The Secrets: Richard Helms & The CIA, (New York: Alfed Knopf, 1979), 147.

14. Peter Wyden, The Bay of Pigs: The Untold Story, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1979), 25.

15. E. Howard Hunt, 40.

16. Michael R. Beschloss, The Crisis Years: Kennedy and Khrushchev, 1960-1963, (New York, HarperCollings Publishers, 1991), 102.

17. Powers, 117.

18. E. Howard Hunt, 82-83.

19. Robert Smith Thompson, The Missiles of October, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992), 57-58.

20. Richard J. Barnet and Ronald E. Müller, Global Reach, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1974), 57.

21. Wyden, 41.

22. Carl Oglesby, The Yankee and Cowboy War, (Kansas: Sheed Andrews and McMeel, Inc., 1976), 34.

23. Donald E. Rice, The Rhetorical Uses of the Authorizing Figure: Fidel Castro and Jose Marti, (New York: Praeger Publishers, Inc., 1992), 115.

24. Robert F. Smith, The United States and Cuba: Business and Diplomacy, 1917-1960, 1960), 100.

25. William E. Ratliff, The Selling of Fidel Castro, (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Inc., 1987), 4.

26. David Halberstam, The Powers That Be, (New York: Dell Publishing Co., 1979), 545.

Tim Carroll

Edited by Tim Carroll
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Great posts fellows. I have a page of notes on this paper to trim down into readable questions, still rereading these two posts.

This thread has only two posts, yet it has very much to do with circumstances surrounding the killing of a head of state. Isn't this odd? John mentioned the phenom. in another post.

My first question right off the bat, is oh, I'll post it separately.

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The Attempt to Remove Fidel Castro from Power: A Personal History

[b]"... In 1963, John Martino came to me with a fascinating story. He had attended a meeting in Palm Beach at which a Cuban who used the nom de guerre of Bayo...". [/b]

"...What had begun as a small, covert operation was now mushrooming into a fairly large enterprise. William Pawley, former US Ambassador, godfather of the World War II Flying Tigers and poker-playing crony of President Harry Truman, entered the picture. The CIA came aboard and took charge. The escorting boat would be Bill Pawley's yacht, the Flying Tiger. The Russians would be photographed on board by a Life magazine camera man. Henry Luce would see that their revelations reached the world.

"...What happened to the Cubans who were offloaded from the Flying Tiger, heavily armed with ClA-supplied weapons? We know that the Pawley yacht weighed anchor ten miles to sea from the port of Baracoa in Oriente Province on the night of June 8, 1963. Three CIA people kept machine-guns trained on Bayo and his Cuban commandos as the latter piled into the speedboat that was to take them to shore (Warren Hinckle and William W. Turner, Deadly Secrets, p. 194). Weapons were aimed at the Cubans because the CIA considered the possibility that they were Castro agents and that the operation was an ambush.

"...The commandos vanished into the night. Pawley saw to it that a Catalina flying boat search the skies for them until a week had elapsed. The generally accepted theory is that their secret purpose had been to get modern arms with which to kill Castro, but that they had been intercepted and killed or captured in a firefight. A year or so after the tragedy, Bill Pawley told me he believed that the men never landed. When they boarded the speedboat, he warned them that it was dangerously overloaded and urged them in vain to take rubber rafts aboard. Pawley heard a large freighter pass between the Flying Tiger and the shore. He believed that the Cuban boat was swamped in the freighter's wake and that the men drowned.

Was their secret purpose to get CIA arms with which to kill Fidel Castro? This is the conclusion researchers have arrived at, but it seems to me illogical. When I was approached to find a yacht and meet the defectors at sea, there was no mention of sending armed commandos ashore. Nor did I have any access to assault weapons nor did Martino have any reason to imagine I would be willing or able to supply them.

The source of guns was the CIA and Bayo and his companions had made it abundantly clear that they distrusted the agency and wanted to have nothing to do with it.

When the plan mushroomed to comprise a Cuban commando force, heavily armed by the CIA with weapons, none of which was, of course, of US origin, plans may well have changed. Assassination? Mere havoc and sabotage? We will probable never know.

A LITTLE KNOW SIDEBAR TO THE FLYING TIGER:

Nathaniel: Perhaps I can shed a little light on a few matters I know about first hand:

I enjoyed your paper. It was informative and brought up some very good points.

However, there are few matters that I would like to establish for historical content.

John (Martino) had also talked with William Wyland of the State Department (March of 1963) and he had been sent by State to see a Tim Simmons (cut-out) to fund the operation. (Simmons was assigned to the CIA's Covert Action Group (CAG) of the Miami Cuban Desk) Simmons meet with Wild Bill Harvey and his associate who told Simmons to tell Martino to forget the operation. The CIA was involved in another operation and these activites of Martino and his group would "Compromise" a(CIA's) on going operation; code name "Pawalla". ( Ref; FBI-105 76xxx file and 62-2116-12)

Martino then (later) early April meet with Wm. Pawley for funding and support. This was the begginning of the "Flying Tiger affair. Pawley used his influence and contacts to get the green light from the CIA for this small "independent" operation. Pawley was used as a 'cut out' by the CIA and a buffer for the Cubans involved because they did not trust the CIA or Miami Station. Harvy was convienced to sign off on the operation and hold the other operation back for two weeks. This he did. Ref; xxx FBI 105-xxxx declassified 1997

"... What happened to the Cubans who were offloaded from the Flying Tiger, heavily armed with ClA-supplied weapons? We know that the Pawley yacht weighed anchor ten miles to sea from the port of Baracoa in Oriente Province on the night of June 8, 1963. Three CIA people kept machine-guns trained on Bayo and his Cuban commandos as the latter piled into the speedboat that was to take them to shore (Warren Hinckle and William W. Turner, Deadly Secrets, p. 194). Weapons were aimed at the Cubans because the CIA considered the possibility that they were Castro agents and that the operation was an ambush.

The commandos vanished into the night. Pawley saw to it that a Catalina flying boat search the skies for them until a week had elapsed. The generally accepted theory is that their secret purpose had been to get modern arms with which to kill Castro, but that they had been intercepted and killed or captured in a firefight. A year or so after the tragedy, Bill Pawley told me he believed that the men never landed. When they boarded the speedboat, he warned them that it was dangerously overloaded and urged them in vain to take rubber rafts aboard. Pawley heard a large freighter pass between the Flying Tiger and the shore. He believed that the Cuban boat was swamped in the freighter's wake and that the men drowned.".[/B]

For the sake of time and space I'll step in here:

I was one of the pilots of the PBY. ("Galloping Sue".) It belong to "Texaco" The PBY Catalina Galloping Sue, was based at Miami International Airport and sometimes parked at Marathron Florida, across from Jack Tarrs resort hotel. (Ref; Martino/Plumlee FBI 105-xxxxxx Cin xxx declassified FOIA 1997)

I will state the following: The group was not ran down by a frighter. They did make it to shore. We received their radio contack through radio Swan. Their code message was as followes: (From a song of the time Poinsetta (sp) these are the words and what they meant:

"Poinseatta-- your branches speak to me of love...Pale moon casting shadows from above...". The Flying Tiger had received this transmission from the beach. It meant: ABORT! ABORT!. The small band were captured by Castro's men on the beach shortly after that and the raiders had signaled the Flying Tiger to leave the area.., a patrol boat was paceing toward them in the darkness. They left.

Three days later Pawley, and two of the Cubans who had stayed on board the Tiger (who were supposed to go on a type of second landing with explosives) received another radio signal from the beach. It was thought this transmission was sent by Castro's men on the beach drawing them back into Cuban waters.

Pawley called Marathron for the PBY and another boat known as the WindJammer II. A rescue mission was planned using the WindJammer as bait. THe Wind Jammer would drawn the Patrol crafts away in a chase. The PBY would go into a "Cove" not far from where the first landing party had landed. They would use their code light flashers in hopes of finding any one hiding out in case some had not been captured.

(the following details are still Classified TS COM SEN)

Rough Recap:

When the PBY got to the LP (landing point) and a rubber raft was sent the 200yards or so, to the beach, the landing party found the bodies of three of the raiders. They had been drawn and quartered, throats slit and a note pinned on their bodies. Bayo was not one of them. We removed the notes and loaded the bodies in the raft and took them back to the PBY and home. The CIA shut the book and Pawley was told another story as to the final fate of his raiding party. I told Pawley the story a few years later a little before he died.

John never really knew what happened to this part from the Flying Tiger. We talked about it briefly one day in 1991 whenI was down in Miami on another matter. We decided we would not talk about it again.

How do I know these things? I was there. I thought you might like to know a little unknown matter, for it too is a part of history. Not nice.. but true. There is more... much more... but I will leave it at this point for now. I am sure the wrath of God and the gate keepers of experts will now pounce on me from above and scatter my ashes to the winds.

Thanks for the fine paper. Tosh

Edited by William Plumlee
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I think this story fits right into this thread:

http://cuban-exile.com/doc_001-025/doc0019a.html

For instance, one of the first leads which Schweiker asked me to check out came from a source he had to consider impeccable: Clare Boothe Luce. One of the wealthiest women in the world, widow of the founder of the Time, Inc. publishing empire, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, a former Ambassador to Italy, a successful Broadway playwright, international socialite and longtime civic activist, Clare Boothe Luce was the last person in the world Schweiker would have suspected of leading him on a wild goose chase.

It began almost immediately after Schweiker announced the formation of the Kennedy assassination subcommittee. He was visited by syndicated Washington columnist Vera Glaser who told him she had just interviewed Clare Boothe Luce and that Luce had given her some information relating to the assassination. Schweiker immediately called Luce and she, quite cooperatively and in detail, confirmed the story she had told Glaser.

Luce said that some time after the Bay of Pigs she received a call from her "great friend" William Pawley, who lived in Miami. Pawley was a man of immense wealth, originally a Texas oil millionaire who once owned the Havana bus system and vast sugar holdings. He had helped start General Claire Chenault's famous Flying Tigers in World War II. Pawley had long been actively supporting anti-Castro Cubans in Miami, Luce said, and he now had the idea of sponsoring a fleet of speedboat -- sea-going "Flying Tiger" --- which would be used by the exiles to dart in and out of Cuba on "intelligence gathering" missions. Pawley asked her to sponsor one of these boats, said Luce, and she agreed.

As a result of her sponsorship, Luce said, she got to know the three-man "crew" of the boat. She called them "my boys" and said they visited her a few times in her New York townhouse. "I got to know them fairly well," she said. It was one of these boat crews, she said, that originally brought back the news of Russian missiles in Cuba. Because Kennedy didn't react to it, she said she helped feed it to then-Senator Kenneth Keating, who made it public. She said she wrote an article in LIFE magazine which predicted the nuclear showdown. "Well, then came the nuclear showdown and the President made his deal with Khrushchev and I never saw my young Cubans again," she said. The boat operations were stopped, she said, when after Kennedy's "deal," Pawley was notified that the U.S. was invoking the Neutrality Act and would prevent any further exile missions into Cuba.

Luce said she didn't think of her boat crew until the day that President Kennedy was killed. That evening she received a telephone call from one of the members of her boat crew. She told Schweiker she believed his name was Julio Fernandez. He said he was calling from New Orleans. He told her that he and the other crew members had been forced out of Miami after the Cuban missile crisis and that they had started a "Free Cuba" cell ln New Orleans. Luce said that Julio Fernandez told her that Oswald had approached his group and offered his services as a potential Castro assassin. Fernandez said his group didn't believe Oswald, suspected he was really a Communist and decided to keep tabs on him. Fernandez said they found that Oswald was, indeed, a Communist, and they eventually penetrated his "cell" and tape--recorded his talks, including his bragging that he could shoot anyone because he was "the greatest shot in the world with a telescopic lens." Fernandez said that Oswald than suddenly came into money and went to Mexico City and then Dallas. Fernandez also told Luce his group had photographs of Oswald and copies of the handbills Oswald had distributed on the streets of New Orleans. Fernandez asked Luce what he should do with this information and material.

Luce recalled: "I said what you do is call the FBI at once. Don't waste a minute. Go right in and call up the FBI."

Luce said she did not think about the story again until Jim Garrison's investigation hit the headlines in 1967. She said she called the New Orleans district attorney and tell him of the incident but, after talking to him for 10 minutes, she decided he was a "phony" and not serious. Through Pawley, however, she did locate and call her "young Cuban" and reminded him of his conversation with her the evening Kennedy was killed. By then, Luce recalled, Julio Fernandez no longer wanted to get involved: "He said, 'Mrs. Luce, we did just what you said. We got it all to the FBI. They came, took our tape recordings, took our photographs and told us to keep our mouths shut until the FBI sent for us.' He said, Mrs. Luce, I am married, I have two children, I am a lawyer with a very successful practice in Miami. I don't want any part of the Kennedy assassination. You couldn't torture it out of me."' Luce also said that Fernandez told her that of the other two members of her boat crew, one was deported and one was stabbed to death in Miami.

Luce told Schweiker that her impression, based on what she was told by "her Cubans," was that Oswald was hired by Castro to assassinate Kennedy in retaliation for the assassination efforts against him.

Luce also told Schweiker that she did not remember the names of the other two crew members, nor did she know now how to get in touch with Julio Fernandez. She said that Bill Pawley would know all about it.

Schweiker called Pawley. Pawley said he didn't remember a thing. Schweiker took it as an indication that Pawley just didn't want to get involved. He still thought that Luce's story, if confirmed, could lead to a significant break. He asked me to try to find the Julio Fernandez who had called her.

I discovered there are a lot of Cubans in Miami named Julio Fernandez. There are more than a dozen lawyers named Fernandez. Many Cubans, like Americans, are commonly known by their middle name, not their first, and some Cubans are commonly known not by their by father's family name by their matrinomy. Nevertheless, selecting them by their age and word of their anti-Castro activism, I spent weeks talking with scores of Cubans named Julio Fernandez. Schweiker particularly interested in the Julio Fernandez whose name did turn up in an FBI report buried in the Warren Commissions' volume of evidence. I finally tracked him down in upstate New York. He wasn't the Julio Fernandez who had called Clair Boothe Luce. It wasn't until more than a year later, with the broadened access to information I had with the House Assassinations Committee, I discovered that there was no Julio Fernandez who called Luce. She had simply concocted the name for Schweiker.

What was interesting about the Luce story was that it had a couple of the characteristics common to so many of the other leads which were fed to Schweiker and, later, the House Assassinations Committee and, when checked out, went no where. One such characteristic was that the leads usually could not be dismissed outright because they always contained hard kernels of truth mixed in the fluff.

For instance, in the case of the Luce lead, it was known that Oswald did approach an anti-Castro group in New Orleans and said he was interested in helping their cause. The fellow he approached, Carlos Bringuier, was the chief Orleans delegate of the Directorio Revolucionario Estudiantil, known simply as the DRE or Student Directorate, headquartered in Miami and under the wing of the CIA's JM/WAVE station. A few days after Oswald walked into Bringuier's small store, Bringuier saw him passing out pro-Castro leaflets on Canal Street, got in a scuffle with him and both he and Oswald were arrested. He later debated Oswald on a radio program recording of which appeared on the commercial market immediately after the Kennedy assassination.

Independent researchers have been looking into Oswald's encounter with Bringuier for years and have discovered some curious things about it. Jim Garrison found that a newspaper photographer had been alerted to Bringuier's encounter with Oswald handling out leaflets before Bringuier approached Oswald. Oswald, despite his attempt to join the anti-Castro group days earlier, seemed bent on getting publicity as a pro-Castro demonstrator and encouraged Bringuier to attack him. At one point, Oswald was overheard to say, "Hit me, Carlos." In addition Oswald had stamped on some of the pro-Castro leaflets strange address for the New Orleans chapter of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee (of which he was the only member). The address was a building which housed a hotbed of anti-Castro activity, at one time the New Orleans office of the CIA-backed Cuban Revolutionary Front. The Assassination Committee discovered that Oswald was seen in that building with extreme right-wing and anti-Castro activists.

In checking further into Luce's story for the Assassinations Committee, we developed some additional interesting information. We found that Luce's "great friend" in Miami, William Pawley, was also a longtime friend of the CIA. He was reportedly involved in the CIA's overthrow of the Arbenz government in Guatemala. A CIA front called the Pacific Corporation was an offshoot of Pawley's Flying Tigers. Pawley himself fronted some of the CIA's anti-Castro activities. (He once told a Miami reporter: "Find me one man, just one man who can go it alone and get Castro, I'll pay anything, almost anything.") He helped fund the LIFE magazine, a secret raid into Cuba in order to exfiltrate two Russian technicians who could testify, to Kennedy's embarrassment, that Russian missiles were still in Cuba. The raiding party failed to return and 10 exiles were lost.

In 1976, before we could interview Pawley about the Luce story and other matters concerning the Kennedy assassination, he committed suicide. He reportedly had been suffering from a bad case of shingles.

We pursued the Luce story all the way down the line. Carlos Bringuier, who later became a lecturer on Billy Jean Hargis' right-wing Christian Crusade circuit, said he had never spoken to Clair Boothe Luce. In Miami, however, we did discover that a few leaders of his Directorio group were -- the kernel of truth -- in touch with Luce.

The Directorio was, along with Alpha 66, the most active, on both the military and propaganda fronts, of all the Cuban exile groups. In September, 1962 the group received national publicity with a daring raid into Havana harbor. Its boats shelled a theater where Castro was scheduled to speak. Castro raged that it was another attempt on his life by the CIA. The leaders of the Directorio decided to squeeze as much propaganda and fund-raising benefit as they could out of the publicity. They were put in touch with a man in New York who, for certain reasons, will be known here as Jack Justin. Justin had excellent contacts in the media and got the Directorio leaders on several radio and television shows. He also introduced them to Clair Boothe Luce.

The key Directorio liaison was a sharp, articulate young fellow named Jose Antonio Lanusa. It was Lanusa who handled the regular reports from DRE delegates in various cities and who, after the Kennedy assassination, recalled Bringuier's report from New Orleans about Oswald's visit. It was Lanusa who originally released the story to the press, after contacting his CIA case officer at the JM/WAVE station. It was also Lanusa who turned over to the FBI copies of Bringuier's reports and a tape recording of the radio debate with Oswald. The FBI never told him to keep his mouth shut about it, Lanusa said. Lanusa said he never spoke to Clare Boothe Luce about the incident, either at the time or later, and he knew of no DRE member who was deported or murdered.

Lanusa said he had only a single contact with Luce, arranged by Jack Justin. Lanusa didn't know how the DRE arrangement with Justin came about, but Justin appeared to be affluent, lived in a

luxury apartment on Central Park West and picked up all expenses whenever DRE members visited New York. "My opinion now," Lanusa told me, "is that he was being paid by the CIA."

Justin introduced him and another leader of the Directorio to Luce in her New York apartment because, Lanusa was told, she wanted to write an article for LIFE magazine about the group's raid into Cuba. She said she would turn the $600 fee she would get for the article over to the DRE as a _ contribution. Lanusa said that was the only money Luce ever contributed to the DRE. He said she could not have sponsored a boat because he was aware of how all the DRE boats were acquired. When I told him of the story that Luce had told Schweiker, Lanusa shook his head and said: "I think Clare Boothe Luce shoots from the hip without having her brain engaged."

Many times in the course of my experiences investigating the Kennedy assassination, I found it strangely difficult to accept the obvious. The truth often came so boldly and blatantly that it was difficult to believe. Analogically, it was like sitting across the table from an old friend when, in the midst of a very pleasant conversation, he suddenly reaches over and slaps you across the face and then, without missing a word, continues the pleasant conversation. Your initial reaction is one of shock, then disbelief. When you ask why he did that, he asks, "Did what?" without changing his pleasant expression. It was quite obvious what happened, but with his denying the obvious and the continued pleasant conversation, you begin to doubt the reality of the obvious. Did what just happened -- this time chunk of experience that was here a moment ago and is now gone -- really happen? Did I just get slapped in the face? It was a question I asked myself often.

On slowly uncovering and verifying the facts surrounding the story that Luce told Schweiker, I began to envision her as an old woman now -- she was well into her 70s --diverse experiences of her colorful life perhaps blending into jumbled recollections over-dramatically recalled. That image was shattered when I met her.

Clare Boothe Luce had been difficult to pin down. She regularly moves between her New York apartment, her home in Hawaii and her penthouse at the Watergate in Washington, still very active and agile. We finally set up an interview in the last months of the Committee's existence, too late for an executive session hearing or sworn deposition. I was accompanied by staff researcher Betsy Palmer, who had done the file checking of the Luce story at the CIA.

Amid a splendid fortune of museum-quality Chinese artifacts in her elegant Watergate apartment house on the floor, coincidentally, is occupied by General Claire Chenault's widow), Luce was most pleasant and cooperative. Yes, she said, she had originally told the story to columnist Vera Glaser and confirmed it with Senator Schweiker. She repeated the story, virtually unchanged for us.

Luce, however, when question further, also confirmed additional details which Betsy Palmer had uncovered in her file search. At the time Luce was in touch with Schweiker, she was also in touch with William Colby, then head of the CIA. She told Colby she had just made up the name of Julio Fernandez for Schweiker. She said she was also in touch with Jack Justin, who gave her the names of three DRE leaders, including Lanusa, but she didn't mention them to Schweiker. Colby, however, called Justin and urged him to cooperate with Schweiker, but Justin said he did not want to get involved. From the CIA file notes of telephone conversation, it appeared that even Colby was confused about what was going on. When I pointed out to Luce that her story reminded me of the Carlos Bringuier incident with Oswald, she smiled and said, "Why, yes, that's the same type of thing that happened to my boys."

When we walked out of the Watergate late that afternoon, we knew only one thing for sure: An awful lot of time had been spent checking out Luce's story and, in the end, it led nowhere at all.

The last time I saw Clare Boothe Luce was shortly after we interviewed her at the Watergate. I attended a luncheon meeting, for reasons which will be later apparent, of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers at a country club in Arlington. Luce was the guest speaker. Her speech was a vigorous defense of the intelligence establishment and an historical review of its successes. I discovered that Boothe Luce, besides being the guest speaker at that meeting, is actually on the Board of Directors of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers. The organization was founded in 1975 by former Bay of Pigs propaganda chief, David Atlee Phillips.

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I think this story fits right into this thread:

http://cuban-exile.com/doc_001-025/doc0019a.html

 

WIM's previous POST

Reply from Tosh:

Thanks to both of you. Good research.

I would like to add something here. The first information to surface on this matter came from Congressman Tom Downing in the Summer of 1975 or 76 from Phoenix Arizona (ref; FBI 72-73; FBI 105-xxxx and 26xxxxx FBI 62xxxxx) And Berry Goldwater's staff. Mr Lombardo, Goldwater's Security Ad visor; and later, Senator Gary Hart, Senate Arms Service Committee)

Congressman Downing had received information from families of missing men and was asked to look into these matters. In the process of trying to find out what had happened to some of these people, (Paul Hughes, G. Sullivan, Alex Rourke, Fuller, Morgan, etc,) who was also claimed to have been working for the CIA and MI, on covert UC operations in behalf of the United States Government and its Pre-Castro, 1956-59 and later Anti-Castro, 1960-64) operations. Downing investigators uncovered other information , the Flying Tiger, Pawalla, etc, and other information about the Kennedy assassination. This was the beginning of trying to get a committee and the funding to look into the assassination of President Kennedy.

Downing's investigation gather momentum and in a very short time enough information was documented which caused others in D.C. to support Downings efforts and soon the HSCA was formed. It was no time that this HSCA was tainted and information Downing had obtained was purged from the record by "Gonzales" and others, and the investigation was directed away from some of the CIA operations which had been, and were, in process at the time Downing started his investigation in 1974.

We need to go back before the HSCA was formed (1974) and look into the information that was obtained that caused the formation of the HSCA.., not after the committee was forum. I believe most of that early information was later tainted and contaminated by the formal stamp, "National Security matters" and other dis-information was feed to the HSCA while other factual information obtained by Downing's staff was eliminated for review. J Hoover was a part of this process and reviewing and processing information the the HSCA committee.

Tosh

Edited by William Plumlee
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Thank you Tosh

I think this story has become larger than life. I hope the record is straight now or at least makes some things clearer to researchers. Each story has different POVs and together they complement each other. Good research listens to all accounts.

My question for you is

Did the Yacht Wars article in SF cover this in detail? Is it part of same story? Did they know this detail then? I still don't have a copy but am working on finding one.

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The State Department serves the president. There were sympathizers that supported Castro in the early days in State but how does this explain, for instance, the weapons disappearing from US armories and delivered to the rebels? This was not an occasional thing, but a system involving many people, over a long time. The knowledge of this was not only at State Department, but USMil, CIA, FBI, Customs, etc.

To hang the success of revolution only on State is leaving out a large part of the story, IMHO. And we should consider Castro was one who claimed power but there were other challengers to Batista such as the Second Front.

The US was quite a base of support in the early days. Castro's child lived in NYC and was safely delivered after revolution's success was imminent. Many students began their support here in US at various universities working with students in Havana. Vilma Espin was a student at MIT. Many cities here didn't know about Cuba or Castro until it was all over.

Geyer's book is one of the few books that covers this.

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Tosh,

What did become of Eddie Perez? Did Castillo go in to Cuba to get him out?

Dave

David: I am not sure about Castillo, but to my knowledge nobody got him out. We went back into Cuba a few weeks later to (or was told ) to bring them out Eddie (aka) and others, but that too was a failed mission. Some of the details of this operation can be found in an old Coppla Magazine published in San Francisco around August of 1976 by 'Warren Hinckle' and 'WM. Turner' "The CIA's Secret Yacht War". "Cuba's MIA's". "Deadly Secrets"; "Fish are Red" (Ref; Alton Sweening (sp) Life Magazine's, Richard Billings)

Note: Four trips I was own: The Flying Tiger.., in case there was an aircraft available to fly someone off the island; The Wind JammerII and THOR operation aka (Red Cross); The PBY where we took the bodies from the beach; and about a week later again with the PBY to bring somebody out (thought to be Bayo aka Perez) Another rumor we heard was Odio and Eddie, were safe and we were going in to get them. All these were under the umbrella of "TILT" as some CIA and others have called this secret operation.

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  • 1 year later...
Is Nate Weyl still alive?

Nate Weyl died at his home in Ojai, California on 13th April, 2005 aged 94. He joined the Forum in May 2004. I had been in email contact with him for several years (he had originally objected to what I had said about him on my website). Although we had very different political views, I found him very charming.

I will start up a new thread on him so we can discuss his possible involvement in the assassination of JFK. See:

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=8564

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

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