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Jack Anderson: CIA briefed LBJ that Castro killed JFK


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In a 1988 two-hour special, "Who Murdered JFK?", Jack Anderson ends by citing a "secret briefing from the CIA" to LBJ within "only a couple of days" since he became president. According to Anderson, this CIA briefing informed LBJ that the assassination had actually been done by Castro.

Does anyone know anything further about this CIA briefing of LBJ to which Anderson refers? Do any documents refer to its existence and to the substance of that briefing? Is Anderson's report of this CIA briefing accurate and/or verifiable?

Here is my transcription of the closing words of Anderson in this special, starting at 1:28:18f. I have bolded what is relevant to my question.

"Shortly after Kennedy was shot, President Johnson got a secret briefing from the CIA informing him that, first, Castro was behind the assassination. And second, Castro reportedly acted because of the CIA's efforts, using the Mob, to kill him. President Johnson felt, rightly or wrongly, that the American people could not be told this. They would demand retaliation against Cuba, which might have forced Khruschev to act. This could have meant World War Three. Johnson had been president for only a couple of days. He couldn't take that chance. Besides, the truth was embarrassing. The world would learn that the CIA was plotting to assassinate a foreign leader. Not only that, but with the help of Mafia killers. Not only that, but the plot was bungled. And not only that, the plot was bungled so badly it caused the assassination of their own president. 

"It was just too much to ask the American people to know, and the consequences too great. So Johnson and his advisors felt that it was better that Americans not know the truth. And we may not know the whole truth for decades. Not until the involved government agencies, particularly the CIA, can no longer be damaged by our learning who really murdered John F. Kennedy. Some may differ in their interpretation of the facts, but we are convinced they represent what actually happened. I'm Jack Anderson."

 

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So if Castro did not do it, why did the CIA tell LBJ that it was Castro? Did they expect him to retaliate, or did they reason that it would cause LBJ to cover everything up? And I guess a further question is if CIA expected LBJ to bury the truth, was there coordination to that end inside LBJ’s close circle? Or maybe Castro did it, or the CIA seriously thought he did. Then there is the question of who told Anderson this story. Is there any corroboration?

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We know of a number of pieces of information coming via the CIA (and other channels, especially the Cuban exiles) that put the blame on Castro...all within 48 to 72 hours.  We also know there was an NSC level meeting in that time frame which related to information out of Mexico City in regard to the assassination...we have no meeting notes or transcripts.  The Gilberto Alvarado story of Cuban involvement with Oswald was touted by the CIA and Ambassador in Mexico City.  We also have documents and quotes that while the no conspiracy story was being touted in DC,  the CIA Director and others were pushing a hard investigation of Cuban involvement.

I suspect it was not single briefing but a combination of all that which led to Anderson's story although the meeting (I recall it being Sunday morning) - which we know about only as dealing with the assassination and Oswald in Mexico City - may have been the genesis of the story - have no idea of where Anderson would have gotten any details other than picking up gossip about those sorts of things.

 

Edited by Larry Hancock
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So, LBJ did nothing to Castro and his regime in retaliation for one main reason, that doing so would have triggered WW III with Russia?

A dinky little island leader brutally takes out our sitting president in broad daylight and gets away with it for 50+ years?

We tried to take out Castro "before" JFK.

The powers to be in our country were willing to go "that far" in getting rid of Castro with reasons for doing so that couldn't come close to the "act of war" reason if and when Castro took out our commander in chief?

Why wouldn't we worry about Russian retaliation when we tried to off Castro before JFK?

If Le May and the other members of the Joint Chiefs wanted to bomb the heck out of Cuba twice before 11,22,1963 but were held back by JFK, now they had even more reason to level Castro's little military empire.

And are we to believe that Khrushchev and Russia's own military expected us to not retaliate against Castro after the ultimate act of aggression against us?

If one of our small country ally leaders did the same to Khrushchev, you think Russia would hesitate in obliterating that leader and their regime?

If Castro did JFK, and our government and LBJ really knew and believed he did, we would have in the least, made life for Castro and Cuba in general a living hell, much more than we ever did. We would be obligated and highly, morally justified in doing so.

In many real ways however, Castro did all the JFK haters in this country a favor.

I believe they felt this way.

The hate of JFK was so strong and virulent and widespread that we know there was relief, rejoicing and even celebration in many JFK hating realms when he was whacked.

36 year employed Murchison family housemaid May Newman recollected upon the JFK assassination:

"The mood in the Murchison family home was very joyous and happy. For a whole week after like champagne and caviar flowed, every day of the week. But I was the only one in that household at that time that uh felt any grief for his assassination."

All of LBJ's legal problems instantly went away the second JFK was killed. And his arch enemy Bobby Kennedy completely neutralized at the same time.

I don't think General Walker, Bill Harvey, David Morales, E.H. Hunt, Dulles. LeMay, H. L. Hunt, Guy Banister, Ferry, Joseph Milteer and millions of other rabid JFK haters shed one tear upon hearing of JFK's brutal end or called for Castro's head in the immediate speculative talk about Castro's involvement. Some might have even proposed a toast to Castro if they really thought he did it imo.

Castro did JFK?

Please, he would have been toast if our highest levels of our government and military actually knew and believed Castro committed this ultimate act of war against us.

Instead he was allowed to flourish for 5 more decades?

Hogwash.

 

Edited by Joe Bauer
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6 minutes ago, Joe Bauer said:

Instead he was allowed to flourish for 5 more decades. Hogwash.

My best guess is that after Kennedy was whacked Castro wised up and started moving his Red Chinese donated heroin supply through CIA channels — GHW Bush’s Zapata Off-Shore.

Just a guess...

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2 hours ago, Cliff Varnell said:

My best guess is that after Kennedy was whacked Castro wised up and started moving his Red Chinese donated heroin supply through CIA channels — GHW Bush’s Zapata Off-Shore.

Just a guess...

Cliff - you have previously claimed Castro was moving heroin. Could you back that up?

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Just to be clear, I do not for one moment think Castro was behind the JFK assassination, although the record is clear that elements associated with the CIA--never with CIA on-the-record endorsement, always deniable as rogue or wildcat actions not done by CIA--sought to have the public think that. The Anderson 1988 claim is the first and only instance of which I am aware of a claim that the CIA itself directly claimed that in a briefing to a president. Because Jack Anderson's 1988 claim of a CIA briefing to LBJ within ca. 2 days of the assassination stating that as a CIA disclosure of fact to LBJ--said claim (of a CIA briefing to LBJ saying that) otherwise unknown and unreferenced in any JFK assassination literature that I have seen--I interpret Anderson's 1988 claim as part of this larger narrative of "(false) CIA attempts to implicate Castro". Notably, Anderson gave no hint as to his source for that important and closing allegation in his two-hour 1988 special, nor did he comment on how it had been fact-checked to his satisfaction.

As Donald Wilkes, Jr., law professor at Univ. of Georgia, and, to me, a fairly sound analyst, in "Was Castro Behind the JFK Assassination?", Jan. 11, 2017 (https://digitalcommons.law.uga.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1278&context=fac_pm), writes:

"...The Enquirer's claim [in Dec 2016 following Castro's death of a bogus alleged 'I did it' deathbed confession of Castro] that Castro was behind the assassination occurred the day after the assassination, when an anti-Castro student exile group here in the United States that was secretly funded and run by the CIA published a special edition of its English language newspaper Trinchera ('Trench') suggesting that Lee Harvey Oswald had killed the President on behalf of Fidel Castro and featuring large side-by-side photos of Castro and Oswald jointly captioned 'The Presumed Assassins.'

"Trinchera's assertions were not fact-based; they were part of the CIA's clandestine anti-Castro campaign to, among other things, smear Castro by propagating derogatory disinformation about him. The base falseness of the allegation and its convenient timing are sure indications that the CIA was attempting to make Castro the false sponsor of the assassination. (In intelligence lingo, a false sponsor is a person who will be publicly blamed for a covert operation after it takes place, thereby diverting attention away form the individuals who actually carried out the operation.) Thus, the theory that Castro was behind the assassination originated in disinformation disseminated by a CIA front group within 24 hours of the President's murder.

<snip>

"Whoever was behind JFK's murder, it was not Fidel Castro. Here are a few of the many reasons we can rest assured of this.

"First, neither the FBI nor the CIA has ever claimed that Castro was behind the assassination or that they had evidence he was behind it. The directors and top echelons of both the FBI and the CIA hated Castro and wanted him dead or deposed and his regime overthrown. If there was evidence that he, a hostile communist tyrant allied with the Soviet Union, had played a role in the brazen public murder of an American President, they would have produced it with alacrity. And if there had been proof permitting the assassination to be pinned on Castro, unquestionably the United States of America would in fury have unleashed its overwhelming military might to destroy the entire Cuban government and obliterate Castro's regime. Eminent JFK assassination researcher Jeff Morley understates this truth when he observes: "If there was any evidence of Cuban involvement, the United States government would have exploited it for diplomatic and geopolitical advantage."

"(Of course, if there was proof that Castro was involved, but the FBI and the CIA overlooked it or concealed it, then the leadership of both agencies should have been sacked and the agencies themselves abolished.)

"Second, both of the principal government investigations of the JFK assassination reached the conclusion that Castro's Cuba was not responsible [. . .]

"Third, the purported evidence of Castro's involvement consists almost entirely of (1) uncorroborated, unverifiable and often highly unlikely allegations made by untrustworthy government informers or by anti-Castro zealots with an ax to grind, and (2) suspicious, misleading or altered or forged documents. [. . .]

"Attributing the assassination to leftists rather than to rightists is now as anachronistic as the view that JFK's murder was carried out by a lone gunman. As former Cuban law professor Arnaldo M. Fernandez correctly notes, at present 'the dominant view of the JFK research community depicts Kennedy as a victim of a plot by his enemies on the right.'

"Unsurprisingly, the majority of the authors or bloggers who obstinately continue to blame Castro are, with few exceptions, right-wingers or spokesmen for conservative organizations or causes. This strongly suggests that the claim that Fidel Castro is to blame for the assassination of President Kennedy is based more on politics than facts."

It seems that the 1988 Jack Anderson "Castro did it as blowback" narrative, underscored by the culminating damning alleged factual claim stated in his conclusion--a non-sourced, nonverifiable assertion of a CIA briefing to LBJ within ca. two days of the assassination in which the CIA allegedly disclosed as fact to the President inside CIA intelligence of knowledge of Castro's responsibility for having assassinated the American President--(a factual claim of a CIA briefing to LBJ that would change everything for historians not to mention the public if that factual claim of that CIA briefing as described by Jack Anderson were ever documented as true)--is itself a Plan B coverup story. In this Plan B, the earlier coverup is acknowledged, but, like Plato's defense of "noble lies" by wise ruling philosophers for the greater good of the lesser rabble, the coverup is framed and self-understood by insiders as having been for understandable and benign motives. For the CIA's own setting forth of this second-stage Plan B retrospective explanation of CIA's behavior re the JFK assassination as a benign coverup there is CIA's in-house historian David Robarge's Sept 2013 article, "DCI John McCone and the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy" (https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu//NSAEBB/NSAEBB493/docs/intell_ebb_026.PDF).

Totally agree with your assessment, Joe Bauer, well put. And thanks to Larry Hancock for what is likely the actual context from which the later source spun the story told to and broadcast to America by Jack Anderson. 

If Jack Anderson's wording had been "Shortly after Kennedy was shot, President Johnson got a secret briefing from the CIA informing LBJ that they were investigating contacts between Oswald and Castro's Cubans not yet presently understood, but which could have major geopolitical implications (and that LBJ should be aware that there had been CIA attempts to assassinate Castro)"--if the wording had been that instead of the wording that Jack Anderson did give--that could more or less have been accurate in reflecting a CIA briefing to LBJ in the immediate hours following the JFK assassination. Only a "slight" misunderstanding (?) on the part of the source (or alternatively, of Anderson) then need be assumed to account for the way Jack Anderson said it. 

But that "slight" misunderstanding (?) makes all the difference in the world. It is the difference between raising a question or a short-list possibility or investigative lead in the absence of certainty, and stating the considered conclusion of the agency tasked by the United States government to determine matters of fact upon which governing officials then make decisions for action.

The other alternative, of course, is that both the source and Jack Anderson reported accurately and that the CIA did secretly and directly tell LBJ that, but the prior question is whether it happened the way Anderson reported it. 

Edited by Greg Doudna
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2 hours ago, Paul Brancato said:

Cliff - you have previously claimed Castro was moving heroin. Could you back that up?

Just a guess, Paul.  I’ve never claimed it as a fact.

Over the years there have been various allegations about Castro running cocaine.

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/drugs/archive/cubaandcocaine.

hthttps://nypost.com/2015/05/03/former-bodyguard-unmasks-fidel-castros-corrupt-double-life/

Back in the early 60’s there were articles in American newspapers accusing Castro of running dope, but that may have been mere propaganda.

My understanding is that in the early days of the Cuban revolution Red China and the USSR competed for influence.  Pound for pound, the most cost-efficient foreign aid would have been a steady supply of H.


 

 

Edited by Cliff Varnell
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Cliff - I am skeptical. Isn’t it clear that it was the KMT not Mao that was dealing Dope. Just like Afghanistan where it was the US supported government and not the religious zealots and the Taliban that facilitated the opium trade. 

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1 hour ago, Paul Brancato said:

Cliff - I am skeptical. Isn’t it clear that it was the KMT not Mao that was dealing Dope. Just like Afghanistan where it was the US supported government and not the religious zealots and the Taliban that facilitated the opium trade. 

Color me cynical, Paul. I don’t put dope dealing beyond any government.

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20 minutes ago, Paul Brancato said:

 I just never thought there was good evidence. 

To quote Joe Cabot in Reservoir Dogs:

You don’t need proof when you have instinct!”

90 miles off the coast of the world’s biggest narcotics market, why wouldn’t Castro run a boutique drug operation?

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https://drugwarfacts.org/node/3900
In Hong Kong in 2015 (the most recent year for which data are available), the wholesale price of heroin ranged from $47,603.70 to $51,152.10 per kilogram.
</q>

50 grand a key in 2015.  Assuming all things equal in the drug market, that’s 6 grand in 1963 dollars.  The wholesale price of China white would likely double or triple by the time it hit Zapata Off-Shore drilling platforms in the Caribbean.

A boutique wholesale heroin operation in 1963 turning 20 keys a month netted about $3 million a year (more than $25 mil in today’s dollars) — in hard currency.

Mao eradicated the opium trade but that doesn’t mean he eradicated all the opium.

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Consider, JFK was working with Kruschev.    Castro would not make any moves without Russian ok.   Why would Kruschev allow JFK to be taken out when he was working with him?   That makes no sense.   Why would Castro risk losing its biggest supporter?    That makes no sense.   Where is the evidence?

Edited by Cory Santos
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13 hours ago, Cliff Varnell said:

To quote Joe Cabot in Reservoir Dogs:

You don’t need proof when you have instinct!”

90 miles off the coast of the world’s biggest narcotics market, why wouldn’t Castro run a boutique drug operation?

Castro kicked the mafia and casinos out. That didn’t make a lot of economic sense, but he did it just liked he kicked out United Fruit and others. I’ve never heard or seen any evidence that Castro had a corner of the worlds heroin trade, and I don’t recall reading that Batista did either. Cuba may be strategically located, but you could say that about other islands too. Why wouldn’t Castro do that? Because his goals were not Capitalist. 

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