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1 hour ago, Larry Hancock said:

Most definitely,  the ships were brought into port in New Orleans,  the crews were told the boats were going to be used as transports and loaded with ammunition, supplies etc for the landings.  Those that did not immediately volunteer to give up their jobs and go along with the plan were sequestered by the CIA for the duration - locked up.  Of course they were told the risk would be minimal...which is indeed what had been called for in the plan.

JFK himself had ordered that the landing be developed so all ships involved in the landings would be at sea out of Cuban territorial waters by daylight, under Navy protection.   In reality, that was never possible given the tanks, heavy weapons and amount of ammunition and supplies that had to be landed and the ships came under air attack at daylight.

Long story short, the ships were civilian freighters with civilian officers and crew with no combat experience, the net result was that after coming under attack and with the loss of the ammunition supply ship the others literally fled out to sea -  and when an effort was made to go transfer their loads for landing the the next night they were still being rounded up by the Navy and essentially forced back.  The boat resupply never worked.

Supporting an amphibious operation with civilian ships and crews who had never really volunteered for any military action was a major error - but even the two command ships that carried Lynch and Robertson were crewed by civilians and captained by civilians.  They were much better prepared for what was going to happen and stood strong but if they had not, or if the tow CIA officers had not decided to stay engaged, their would not even have been the minimal coordination with the Cuban forces on the beach that there was.

Its a much longer, nastier and tragic story....painful in fact.  And JFK ended up holding the bag for Bissell's failures and Bissell himself lied to all and sundry blaming it all on Kennedy - that's not speculation, we now know it for a fact.

 

 

 

 

1 hour ago, Larry Hancock said:

Most definitely,  the ships were brought into port in New Orleans,  the crews were told the boats were going to be used as transports and loaded with ammunition, supplies etc for the landings.  Those that did not immediately volunteer to give up their jobs and go along with the plan were sequestered by the CIA for the duration - locked up.  Of course they were told the risk would be minimal...which is indeed what had been called for in the plan.

JFK himself had ordered that the landing be developed so all ships involved in the landings would be at sea out of Cuban territorial waters by daylight, under Navy protection.   In reality, that was never possible given the tanks, heavy weapons and amount of ammunition and supplies that had to be landed and the ships came under air attack at daylight.

Long story short, the ships were civilian freighters with civilian officers and crew with no combat experience, the net result was that after coming under attack and with the loss of the ammunition supply ship the others literally fled out to sea -  and when an effort was made to go transfer their loads for landing the the next night they were still being rounded up by the Navy and essentially forced back.  The boat resupply never worked.

Supporting an amphibious operation with civilian ships and crews who had never really volunteered for any military action was a major error - but even the two command ships that carried Lynch and Robertson were crewed by civilians and captained by civilians.  They were much better prepared for what was going to happen and stood strong but if they had not, or if the tow CIA officers had not decided to stay engaged, their would not even have been the minimal coordination with the Cuban forces on the beach that there was.

Its a much longer, nastier and tragic story....painful in fact.  And JFK ended up holding the bag for Bissell's failures and Bissell himself lied to all and sundry blaming it all on Kennedy - that's not speculation, we now know it for a fact.

 

 

 

Fascinating!  True History one will not find in textbooks or lectures at any university.  Thank you.

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What we now know about the overall Cuba Project, about the Bay of Pigs and about how JFK was intentionally and falsely blamed for the disaster is incredible - yet its never going to get any historical traction.  Too late and the fake story was too well planted and reinforced by Bissell and some of the others who actually bore the blame at the time.  

Its very frustrating to have come up with a new and more accurate picture and not be able to make any impact with it.

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3 hours ago, Larry Hancock said:

What we now know about the overall Cuba Project, about the Bay of Pigs and about how JFK was intentionally and falsely blamed for the disaster is incredible - yet its never going to get any historical traction.  Too late and the fake story was too well planted and reinforced by Bissell and some of the others who actually bore the blame at the time.  

Its very frustrating to have come up with a new and more accurate picture and not be able to make any impact with it.

Larry,

    Just to clarify, are these details (above) about the true history of the Bay of Pigs described in your book, In Denial, or in a different text?   I had never heard about the forced use of commercial Cuban vessels in the botched Bay of Pigs assault before reading your posts today.  Shocking that they coerced civilian crews into a theater of combat.

    Equally shocking that the general public still hasn't heard about the true history of the Bay of Pigs.

    At the same time, it sounds like the story I read somewhere about GHWB, the Bay of Pigs, and the good ship Barbara is bunk.

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Yes, its all in Chapters 1-7, of In Denial.  The reason I spent so much time on it as related to a broader book on deniable operations is that we now literally know more about the Eisenhower and Kennedy phases of the Cuba project that virtually any other deniable operation - and it  is heavily documented,  including the post postmortems that officially concluded that the CIA should never again be tasked with large scale covert military operations.  A decision Johnson almost immediately discarded in SE Asia, in particular in Laos.

The three transports I was referring to, the Houston, Caribe and Atlantico were all essentially loaned to the CIA by the owner of the Garcia Lines, Eduardo Garcia.   The two landing ship infantry (LCI) utility craft, the Blagar and Barbara J, had been purchased from the Navy - long story there - and were crewed by personnel from the Military Sea Transportation Service, civilians as were the boat's Captains. 

Those two craft carried Robertson and Lynch respectively,  who were not supposed to stay in the vicinity of the landing after the first night, but who were actually served liaison to the Cuban Brigade onshore (which ended up with no radio connection to its base and actually never had any radio links to the Brigade Air Unit - a  total fiasco in itself).  Documents and source are available on all this and are cited.

To be clear though, the Garcia Line ships were volunteered by their owner, their crews and captains were not volunteers for combat nor part of the Brigade, they were simply given a choice of sailing on with their ships or going into CIA sequestration for the duration...whatever that was going to be.  Certainly they were never told they would be going to be the subject of ongoing air strikes. 

As to the shocking part,  well its not like the source material I used is not in the public domain, if  you dig for it like I did.  However aside from one or two general historical tomes (which do not consolidate materials) there has been no general discussion of what emerged over the last few decades.  Every anniversary the same old JFK failure/guilt story is just trotted out again.

And certainly none of it contains some of the unique material I manged to dig up including the plans for major American Navy air strikes which JFK was not told about or the true "false flag" attack against Guantanamo which was being set up.  There is no sign that either came up in the follow on inquiries or that he was briefed on either by Bissell and Admiral Berkley.

My books and my small publisher's efforts just don't have the traction to penetrate the historical dialog,  unfortunately we didn't even manage to get In Denial reviewed by the major outlets like Library Journal and it has made it into no libraries at all, unlike most of my other national security books.

 

 

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I'm going to make a point of gifting a copy of In Denial to father-in-law, who is a former right-winger, and a retired Navy veteran. He participated in a full dress rehearsal for a land invasion in the Caribbean in 1964. I should discuss that with him again.

Btw, I encourage everyone that buys Larry's books on Amazon to leave a review. It will be printed and there will be an addendum added saying it was a verified purchase. The reviews there carry weight and a wide reach, and I imagine are extremely helpful. I will be writing one up in the near future.

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That should be interesting Matt,  I interviewed a Navy crewman who was offshore on the aircraft carrier Essex,  he was very helpful in confirming several points but as with most of those who participated in the operation,  he had no idea of the rules of engagement, restraints, and directives that JFK had issued - which were not complied with by either  Bissell or CINCLANT who was giving orders in regard to the Navy participation.  

Of course that also likely explains why the Essex comm logs and other mission logs were actually destroyed on board before the carrier ever left the area.

Another JFK directive was that if the force was detected during the landings or engaged at all, the landings should abort and fall back to a plan to land elsewhere.  There is no indication such a plan was ever prepared and of course the landing was engaged by Cuban forces from the very beginning.  I found no sign that there were ever any orders issued or plans made for that contingency.

Another was that the Brigade leaders were to be directly told that there would no condition would American military forces would be committed for any reason, there would be no American military support of any sort, air or sea.  The records state they were so briefed, but neither the officers with the Brigade itself nor the Brigade members appear to have have received that message - and were clearly expected something much different, which is why they have always felt so abandoned. 

However be prepared for the response that the the entire operation was an exercise in futility and could never have succeeded without overtly committing the American military.  There is certainly an argument for that - what you have to be prepared for is that the CIA led everyone to think there would be a major on island uprising going on in conjunction with it and totally managed to duck that point in the final weeks and in the after action assessments. Strangely is was a CIA historian who called that out most aggressively, years after the fact.

Unless you dig into what a two faced game Bissell played, how totally useless and ineffectual Cabell was, and how JC King  was even worse, its hard to appreciate how JFK could have let it go forward. The thing is that it was not just his trust in Dulles that was misplaced, it was an inherent weakness and incompetence up and down the high level chain of command for the operation.  Which of course is why the actual IG report on the failure - which explicitly called that out - was suppressed and Bissell allowed to write his own version...

 

 

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17 hours ago, Matt Allison said:

Ron, IIRC, the stuff about Bush and ship's names first appeared in Mark Lane's Plausible Denial book.

Yes, Matt, Lane states that Prouty obtained two ships for Operation Zapata for the Bay of Pigs invasion that were re-named Barbara & Houston.

Later Russ Baker added info in his 'Family of Secrets'.

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Posted (edited)

I don't know that Prouty was involved with sourcing the Barbara J, it had been formerly a Navy vessel. The Houston came from Garcia Lines.  The history of both ships is found in detail in the records pertaining to the Cuba Project - and is cited in my book In Denial.  It would be nice to see someone go back to source documents I referenced. 

As I've mentioned before, we did find some minor reference to Prouty in documents related to the project, primarily in the form of complaints about his responsiveness. 

 

 

Edited by Larry Hancock
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3 hours ago, Larry Hancock said:

I don't know that Prouty was involved with sourcing the Barbara J, it had been formerly a Navy vessel. The Houston came from Garcia Lines.  The history of both ships is found in detail in the records pertaining to the Cuba Project - and is cited in my book In Denial.  It would be nice to see someone go back to source documents I referenced. 

As I've mentioned before, we did find some minor reference to Prouty in documents related to the project, primarily in the form of complaints about his responsiveness. 

 

 

Larry,

     From what I can discern, Prouty wasn't officially appointed by McNamara as the Joint Chiefs' chief liaison to the CIA for Special Operations until 1962, although, he had, apparently, worked with the CIA in some capacity (within the USAF) after 1955.  In fact, he had been decorated and promoted in the USAF for his meritorious service to the CIA by 1961.

     The only thing I recall reading in Prouty's own memoirs about the Bay of Pigs was his observation of McGeorge Bundy's phone call to JFK nixing supplemental U.S. air strikes, (after the failure of the initial Cuban air strikes from Nicaragua.)

     It doesn't sound like managing Naval arrangements for the Bay of Pigs flotilla would have been Prouty's specialty (or responsibility) in April of 1961.

     Perhaps he was later blamed by Bissell & Co. for failing to provide conventional air support for the Bay of Pigs landing that had been nixed by JFK? 

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Hello all

hope you don’t mind me going back to an earlier discussion strand from August…?

There was some discussion around the extent to which Oswald’s move back to Dallas in October 63 and getting a job at the TBSD could be seen as evidence of a higher level of control than would have been possible from officers at JM/WAVE…

Leaving the debate as to if this was or was not Oswald acting under orders or not to one side, could I ask if it would be reasonable to suggest that WAVE was leading operations across a wide geographical area (certainly including New Orleans and Mexico as well as Florida and Cuba). There were known connections from various anti-Castro groups to Dallas and several indications of activity in the area (e.g fund raising, possible presence of one or more groups etc). Would it therefore be reasonable to suggest officers involved in both CI and propaganda work at WAVE may have had a legitimate interest in activity in Dallas?

if so do we see any examples in the records of operations in the USA outside the Florida-Louisiana area run out of Miami?

thanks

 

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It's only my opinion, but I think too much is made of Oswald getting the TSBD job as part of any plot. I think that was dumb luck. In alternate scenarios, who's to say someone else couldn't have been set up? Or that Oswald couldn't have taken the day off from a different job and been somewhere else on the parade route just as easily?

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Posted (edited)

We ran into the reference to Prouty and his support (or CIA project officer griping about lack thereof) for the Cuba project circa late 60, early 61.  Hopefully David Boylan can produce the document with some slogging, since he found it in the first place.  I looked and did not find a specific reference in the book but I may have missed it.  We are working on an expanded index but that's still upcoming.

I did trace the timing on his career with SACSA in Shadow Warrior but don't normally try to give exact dates from memory.  It is certainly possible he may have simply been working for the Air Force in regard to responding to Cuba Project requests...which may have been in regard to getting additional B-26's in the last months when they were still woefully short of aircraft, but that's just one possibility. 

I don't recall it having anything to do with the Navy or ships though because CIA officers were working directly with the Navy itself on that.

Edited by Larry Hancock
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Posted (edited)

On Anthony's question, there are documents reflecting that SAS Counter Intelligence at JMWAVE was using AMOTS and the Cuban Intelligence service not only in Florida but in New Orleans and in Mexico City.   For that matter one DRE case officer (William Kent) actually too up residence in New Orleans for a time (you will find details on that in Tipping Point as well as some document references on Kent). 

I don't recall any specific reference to SAS or AMOT activity in Dallas - although its possible if SAS (or the DRE) was following Oswald after New Orleans. If that were true it would be in documents either already destroyed or in those that Moreley has been fighting for in court. 

Beyond that, the SAS and the AMOTS were active in New York city in regard to Cuban diplomats at the U.N. but I don't recall seeing any activities outside Florida, New Orleans, Mexico City and NYC.

Edited by Larry Hancock
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