Jump to content
The Education Forum

John Newman on Lisa Pease's challenges to his research


Douglas Caddy
 Share

Recommended Posts

The encounter with Phillips occurred during his HSCA testimony, Fonzi describes it in his book.

I would like to add something here as well,  one reason I'm very  interested in John's research is that I hope he follows Veciana place by place and year by year after 1963.  At this point, having developed  a great respect for Phillip's capability for independent action I can see the possibility that there was some minor contact in Cuba - nothing at all like Veciana describes in his "far after the fact" book and which John totally deconstructs.

I also hold it possible that Phillips did contact him personally and independently at least briefly inside Cuba and after Veciana came out, at least in a minor fashion - and that Phillips might have used him in Chile as he appears to have used other Cubans in yet one more attempt to assassinate Castro.  At least it appears that somebody got Veciana a job with USAID there.  All of that would have nothing in particular to do with who was in contact with or manipulating Alpha 66 given that Veciana was the finance and PR guy for them but not involved operationally in their missions from all accounts.

There are some good indications that Phillips pursued his own private actions against Castro all the way up to his job at West Hemisphere - actually he admitted that. And in doing so he used various exiles independently of the Agency.  While I don't trust Veciana at this time (and never fully did) I also have a great interest in things Phillips (the consummate actor) may have done on his own and perhaps John will dig up some of that in following Veciana on in time.

On the other hand John may eliminate both Veciana and any contact with Phillips from the entire Dallas equation, which would be fine too.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 170
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

8 hours ago, W. Tracy Parnell said:

When and where did this allegedly take place?

At an HSCA hearing where Phillips had been called to testify.  Fonzi took Veciana there.  You have to check Fonzi's book, The Last Investigation.  I don't have a copy available today, but it's a well-known moment in JFKA research.

EDIT: This appears in the Alpha 66 Spartacus Ed. page:

Richard Schweiker, a member of the committee, speculated that Bishop was David Atlee Phillips. Schweiker arranged for Veciana and Phillips to be introduced at a meeting of the Association of Retired Intelligence Officers in Reston. Phillips denied knowing Veciana.

https://spartacus-educational.com/JFKalpha.htm

From an interview with Fonzi; however, The Last Investigation describes the Phillips-Veciana surprise encounter in detaili:

(5) Gaeton Fonzi, interviewed on 8th October, 1994.

Veciana was introduced by name to Phillips twice, once in the banquet hall and once in the hallway. Phillips even asked that it be repeated and then, when Veciana asked him, "Don't you remember my name?" Phillips responded, "No." As Veciana himself later pointed out, that was odd considering that Veciana had been exceptionally well-known in anti-Castro activity, being the founder, key fund-raiser and spokesman for Alpha 66, the largest and most militant anti-Castro group. It was odd because anti-Castro activity was the heart and soul of Phillips' mission during the period in question. It was impossible for Phillips not to know or remember Veciana's name. Phillips had simply been caught off-guard by Veciana's surprise appearance at Reston and had a little "slip of tradecraft." Phillips himself must have later realized that because later, under oath during his Committee testimony, he decided the only way he could rectify that "slip of tradecraft" was to lie and say that Veciana was never introduced to him by name at that encounter. I urged Chief Counsel Bob Blakey to recommend Phillips be charged with perjury, since we had three witnesses to that Reston encounter: myself, Veciana and an aide from Senator Schweiker's office. Blakey declined to take on the CIA.

https://spartacus-educational.com/JFKphillips.htm

Edited by David Andrews
Link to comment
Share on other sites

David Andrews,

You originally said that Phillips "fled the room" during the HSCA encounter which is what threw me off. The information you posted above is accurate. Fonzi and Phillips disagreed about some details of the encounter which occurred at the ARIO meeting in Reston not at the HSCA. But Phillips did not flee the room-he talked to Veciana by all accounts. What he did do was return to his activities after talking to Veciana and Fonzi for a few minutes and decline to answer further questions outside of Congress which I think is understandable. He was in charge of the meeting and banquet that day and didn't have time to answer any more questions. Even Fonzi admitted that he was courteous to them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tracy, here's Fonzi's account, from The Last Investigation, Chapter Nineteen:

It was a very large crowd in a large room, noisy with chatter, the cacophony of tableware and the bustle of waitresses. We wound our way single file through a curveway of packed tables until we came to the one in the far corner of the room, farthest from the rear door. I immediately recognized Phillips, who was sitting with his back toward us. I was walking ahead of Sarah Lewis and Veciana because I wanted to be in a position to see Phillips’s face when he first saw Veciana. The fellow leading us tapped Phillips on the back. Phillips jumped up, whirled around, looked directly at me and, smiling, extended his hand as he introduced himself. He had the rich, well-modulated voice of the theater. I watched his eyes as I shook his hand, told him my name and said I was with Senator Schweiker’s office. His eyes never left my face, although Sarah was standing directly behind my right shoulder and Veciana was alongside her. Phillips never even glanced at them.

I turned and said, “I’d like you to meet Sarah Lewis . . .’’ Phillips smiled a greeting and shook her hand. “. . . and this,” I continued, “is Antonio Veciana.”

Phillips smiled a quick greeting at Veciana, shook his hand and immediately turned back to me. “I’m glad you could come,” he said, “and I’m delighted that Senator Schweiker is showing an interest, but I must admit I don’t quite understand why you’re here.” He said this very cordially and with a nice smile. Then he quickly added, “. . . but, of course, you’re most welcome.” He gestured to the three empty chairs across the table.

It all happened with such speed that I was taken aback. I had thought I would be able to tell, keen observer that I deemed myself, if Phillips had exhibited even the slightest hint of having recognized Veciana. Not only did Phillips not display that hint, but his eyes had moved on and off of Veciana so quickly—in the flash of a brief handshake—that it was almost as if Veciana was a nonentity. Strange, too, when I thought about it later, that Phillips, when he greeted me, had not even glanced at either of the two people standing just behind me, not even at the pretty girl.

We were seated opposite Phillips at the large round table. I was on Veciana’s left, Sarah Lewis on his right. Between Phillips and I were his wife, Gina, an attractive woman who had been a secretary at the CIA, and a United Press International reporter, a bluff, red-faced fellow just back from 21 years as a foreign correspondent. (Revelations about the CIA’s use of the press and the fact that the Agency actually had working journalists on its payroll hadn’t emerged yet, so it never crossed my mind to be suspicious of this fellow. Not even when he casually asked if I were attending the luncheon for any specific reason.)

As soon as Veciana sat down, he reached into his breast pocket, pulled out his glasses, put them on, folded his arms across his chest and began studying Phillips. Inwardly I cringed. Subtle he wasn’t. For almost the entire luncheon, Veciana remained in the same position: erect in his chair, arms folded across his chest, staring at Phillips. Occasionally he picked up his fork and dabbed at the food on his plate. Then he would lean back again, fold his arms and look at Phillips. It made Phillips very nervous; his hands were shaking noticeably. He appeared to deliberately avoid looking at Veciana and remained in animated conversation with both his wife and the fellow to his left, a retired Navy officer.

The table was very large and the room so noisy that, at one point, when Phillips leaned towards me to say something, it was difficult to hear him. I thought he was asking again about what particular interest Senator Schweiker might have in this conference. I said I was there because it gave me the opportunity to meet him, and that we were working on something he might be able to help us with. I suggested that perhaps we could talk about it after the luncheon. He nodded and smiled, but because of the din I wasn’t sure he caught everything I said. He went back to chatting with the fellow on his left. Veciana kept staring at him.

I kept looking over at Veciana, trying to get a reaction. I didn’t want to appear too obvious by engaging him in a whispered conversation, but the suspense finally got to me. I leaned towards him and whispered, “ What do you think?” Veciana looked at me, shrugged, and continued staring at Phillips.

When the guest speaker was introduced, I turned in my chair, my back to Phillips. Veciana moved only a bit to the side and kept glancing back at him.

The speaker was Lt. General Samuel V. Wilson, the newly appointed head of the Defense Intelligence Agency. A handsome, broad—shouldered soldier with wavy hair and a ruddy complexion, he wore a chestful of colorful ribbons, topped with the blue Combat Infantryman’s Badge. He had seen some action. He was also polished, articulate and smoothly dramatic—right out of Patton’s give’em-hell school of military speakers. His speech was a model for the occasion, an aggressive defense against the attacks being launched at the intelligence community, a real us-against-them speech.

When General Wilson finished, the audience gave him a standing ovation. I stood and clapped also; I always appreciate a good speech. Veciana stood but didn’t clap, probably because the General didn’t say anything about the need to kill Castro. During the ovation, I took the opportunity to lean towards Veciana and ask once again, “Is he Bishop?” Veciana removed his glasses and put them in his pocket. “No,” he said, slowly shaking his head, “it is not him.” He paused for a moment, then added, “Well, you know, I would like to talk with him.” I said I would try to arrange that.

What I had in mind, once we were sure he wasn’t Maurice Bishop, was to approach Phillips and ask directly for his help. I would give him a few details, show him the composite sketch; I had a copy with me in a plain brown envelope.

Phillips, however, was too fast for me. By the time I turned around he had already shot out the door near the podium. As president of the association, I realized, he probably wanted to thank his guest speaker and had raced ahead so as not to get caught in the crowd. I quickly ran toward the rear door to try to head him off, beckoning Veciana and Sarah Lewis to follow.

The hallway was already jammed but I could see Phillips talking with General Wilson. I tried to push my way against the flow of the crowd until I noticed that Phillips, having thanked the General and shaken his hand, was moving back down the hall towards me. “Excuse me, Mr. Phillips,” I said as I stopped him, maneuvering him against the wall, “I’d like you to meet Antonio Veciana.” I turned but Veciana wasn’t there. I had thought that he and Lewis were directly behind me but they had gotten caught in the crowd. It was now obvious to Phillips that I wanted to bring him and Veciana together.

“Well, at any rate,” I continued, turning back to Phillips, “as you know, I’m with Senator Schweiker and I thought you might be able to help us with what we’ve been working on.”

“What about?” asked Phillips.

“The Kennedy assassination,” I said, a bit surprised at the question.

Phillips smiled. “I’ll be glad to talk with any Congressman, or any representative of Congress . . . in Congress.”

Veciana suddenly appeared at our side with Sarah Lewis directly behind him. “This is Mr. Veciana,” I said again. Veciana immediately asked Phillips in Spanish if he had been in Havana in 1960. Phillips answered in Spanish, yes, he had. Did he know Julio Lobo? Phillips said, yes, he remembered the name. Did he know Rufo Lopez—Fresquet (Castro’s Finance minister and a CIA liaison)? Phillips said yes, then quickly asked Veciana, “What was your name again?”

“Antonio Veciana.”

“Veciana?” Phillips repeated.

“Don’t you know my name?”

Phillips shook his head slowly and, with apparent thoughtfulness, said, “No . . .” Then he asked me in English, “Is he with Schweiker’s staff?” Phillips now appeared quite nervous.

“No,” I said. “Mr. Veciana has been helping us with our investigation.”

“What investigation?”

I found it strange that he didn’t quite understand. “The Kennedy assassination,” I said again. “That’s why I thought if we could talk, I mean nothing official, just off the record if you prefer, you could be of some help. I thought. . .”

He interrupted me: “I’ll be glad to talk with any Congressman, or any representative of Congress . . . in Congress.” His hands shook. I realized that unintentionally, with the push of the crowd behind us, we had inadvertently cornered him.

“Well, there’s an area I thought you might help us with . . .” I began, thinking I could push a little.

His smile was forced. “I told you, I’ll be glad to talk with any Congressman, or any representative of Congress . . . in Congress,” he repeated. Then, suddenly, he turned testy. “I’m sorry,” he said, edging towards an opening in the crowd, “you’ve caught me at a very inopportune moment. As you can see, this is all very hectic here and I’m quite busy, so if you’ll excuse me. . . .” He kept smiling, but he was clearly shaken.

“No,” I said, “I didn’t mean I wanted to talk with you now, but perhaps if I can give you a call . . .”

The smile was gone. With a dramatic, exasperated sigh, he said once again, now slowly and in mock rote: “I’ll be glad to talk with any Congressman, or any representative of Congress . . . in Congress. Now, if you’ll excuse me . . .’’He pushed his way between us.

I retreated. I thanked him and told him I enjoyed the lunch and the guest speaker. He smiled again, said we were most welcome and quickly moved away.

Veciana, of course, later equivocated that Phillips was not Bishop, but Bishop was as good as Phillips' twin.  After Gaeton Fonzi died, Veciana admitted to his widow that Bishop was Phillips.

Edited by David Andrews
Link to comment
Share on other sites

David,

I appreciate you posting the section from Fonzi's book. Perhaps you are unaware, but I have written a series of articles on Veciana, so I am aware of the evidence.

http://wtracyparnell.blogspot.com/2017/05/the-maurice-bishop-story.html

I was simply taking exception to your statement that Phillips "fled the room" which I do not believe was the case. As I mentioned, Phillips and Fonzi disagreed about some details of the encounter but both agreed that Phillips talked to them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Phillips was questioned three times by the HSCA.  In late 1976 by Sprague, superficially about Mexico City.  In April 1978 immediately after Veciana.  This is when Fonzi wanted him charged with perjury for lying about saying he was never introduced to Veciana at Reston.  The last was "informal" questioning in August 1978 by Dan Hardway.  He came in anticipating more questions about Bishop.  He got nervous, lighting a third cigarette with two burning in the ash tray when he couldn't explain why there were no pictures of Oswald if the cameras were in fact working.  When Hardway asked him about his relationship with Julio Lobo, millionaire bank president in Cuba Veciana had worked for, Phillips rose in his chair and said "Now I've had enough!" forcefully.  More later.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, W. Tracy Parnell said:

David,

I appreciate you posting the section from Fonzi's book. Perhaps you are unaware, but I have written a series of articles on Veciana, so I am aware of the evidence.

http://wtracyparnell.blogspot.com/2017/05/the-maurice-bishop-story.html

I was simply taking exception to your statement that Phillips "fled the room" which I do not believe was the case. As I mentioned, Phillips and Fonzi disagreed about some details of the encounter but both agreed that Phillips talked to them.

I would argue that Fonzi stated that Phillips displayed avoidance behavior in Veciana's presence, and on their second meeting left the corridor, telling Fonzi he'd answer before Congress but not to an investigator confronting him with Veciana.

Edited by David Andrews
Link to comment
Share on other sites

56 minutes ago, David Andrews said:

I would argue that Fonzi stated that Phillips displayed avoidance behavior in Veciana's presence, and on their second meeting left the corridor, telling Fonzi he'd answer before Congress but not to an investigator confronting him with Veciana.

But Phillips had spoken to them and no doubt realized what was going on and also had a conference to run. I describe the whole thing as "The Reston Ambush" in my articles and that is exactly what it was. They were hoping to get Phillips to say or do something that they could later misrepresent or at least put their spin on. So, Phillips wasn't "avoiding" them but simply saying that he would speak in an official capacity only. He testified twice and also made a statement under oath referred to by Ron above. Also, Fonzi admitted that Phillips displayed no hint of recognition when it came to Veciana who he supposedly had ran as an asset for 13 years. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Ron Bulman said:

Phillips was questioned three times by the HSCA.  In late 1976 by Sprague, superficially about Mexico City.  In April 1978 immediately after Veciana.  This is when Fonzi wanted him charged with perjury for lying about saying he was never introduced to Veciana at Reston.  The last was "informal" questioning in August 1978 by Dan Hardway.  He came in anticipating more questions about Bishop.  He got nervous, lighting a third cigarette with two burning in the ash tray when he couldn't explain why there were no pictures of Oswald if the cameras were in fact working.  When Hardway asked him about his relationship with Julio Lobo, millionaire bank president in Cuba Veciana had worked for, Phillips rose in his chair and said "Now I've had enough!" forcefully.  More later.

Phillips was probably nervous for sure. He was tired of being accused of being someone he was not and expressed this to Hardway and Fonzi. Phillips admitted in his testimony that he knew Lobo who reported to the CIA from time to time. So what? As far as charging Phillips with perjury because he said Veciana wasn't introduced to him by name but as "the driver," Blakey told Fonzi to go fly a kite and rightfully so since it was Phillips' word against Fonzi's  and Veciana's (and possibly Sarah Lewis' although Fonzi doesn't mention her much in the book so I doubt she knew anything). 

Even if what Larry Hancock suggests is true-that Phillips used the alias "Bishop" and Veciana somehow found out about it, that doesn't prove that Veciana saw Phillips with Oswald. In fact, the evidence being developed by people like myself and Newman shows that Veciana likely lied about the whole thing. The difference between Newman and myself is that he is creating a whole new conspiracy theory that just happens to support his theory of Army Intelligence involvement in the assassination. I just see a guy that lied because he wanted to make sure he wasn't prosecuted for activities that he was involved in with Alpha 66 and maybe wanted to write history so it was favorable to him.

BTW, Phillips had a couple registered pseudonyms (one was Choaden as most know) and Bishop is nowhere to be found according to the AARC and Mary Ferrell. That suggests that if he used Bishop at all, it was an alias and those came and went as they were changed for different projects. Phillips testified that he used 100 or more during his time with the CIA and the chance that anyone like Veciana could discover one is remote. 

Also, a fact that many seem to be unaware of or ignore is that in the first interviews with Fonzi, Veciana said he didn't believe that Bishop was necessarily an intelligence operative but could have been with a "private organization not the government." Now why would he say that if he knew that Bishop was Phillips? And why the cat and mouse game with Fonzi? Just come out in the beginning and say Phillips was Bishop.

And there was no reason to be afraid-once he testified that Phillips was Bishop under oath he would be safe. Of course, he would have to have proof that Phillips was Bishop and his story would have to be checked out properly, which Fonzi did not do by the way. But Veciana had no proof, not a scrap of paper and not one other person in the world (save for the imaginative Wynne Johnson) to verify his story. And we now know (thanks to Newman) that Veciana lied about how he met Bishop in Cuba. It simply couldn't have happened the way he said.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Anyone who was at the Wecht Conference in Pittsburgh will understand that Parnell is misrepresenting Phillips attitude and actions before the HSCA.

Hardway said that not only  did Phillips lie before the HSCA, he admitted he lied.

This was especially true in regards to the delay in the Kostikov cable being sent up to Langley.  He also lied about the cameras being out and somehow this was the reason for there being no picture of Oswald. Third, he also lied about the Oswald tapes being gone and recycled.

When Phillips admitted he lied, Danny and Eddy and Mike Goldsmith put together a bill of indictment for perjury.  They felt they had an air tight case.  But the HSCA would not sign off on it.

(BTW, Danny said they also wrote one up for Goodpasture.  It was not quite as strong as the one for Phillips.)

Danny explained this inaction by saying it was intimidation due to the aftershock of the Sprague episode.  

Speaking of which, the whole idea Parnell is trying to sell here that somehow the Bishop alias is reliant on Veciana is also baloney.

As Jim Hougan showed, Edwin Wilson knew that Phillips used that alias, and Cliff Fenton, who was chief investigator under Tanenbaum, had sources inside the CIA who also confirmed that this was the case.

 

Edited by James DiEugenio
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...