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In the interview with Roy Hargraves which is printed in Larry Hancock's wonderful book, Hargraves mentions that a possible Oswald impersonator in Florida could have been a Castro agent by the name of Pina Randa.

I was wondering if any forum members have come across this name before as it is a new one for me?

This is certainly interesting given that also in Florida, Loran Hall was associating with a suspected Castro agent in Manuel Aguilar (a man Hargraves actually liked) and in California, Lawrence Howard was associating with Rene Valdez, another suspected Castro agent - a man Harry Dean was asked to monitor.

All that aside, if anyone has anything on Pina Randa, it would be greatly appreciated.

James

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In the interview with Roy Hargraves which is printed in Larry Hancock's wonderful book, Hargraves mentions that a possible Oswald impersonator in Florida could have been a Castro agent by the name of Pina Randa.

I was wondering if any forum members have come across this name before as it is a new one for me?

This is certainly interesting given that also in Florida, Loran Hall was associating with a suspected Castro agent in Manuel Aguilar (a man Hargraves actually liked) and in California, Lawrence Howard was associating with Rene Valdez, another suspected Castro agent - a man Harry Dean was asked to monitor.

All that aside, if anyone has anything on Pina Randa, it would be greatly appreciated.

James

Hi, James

I can ck the date, but believe it was an 1964 artical in the Pasadena, California, "Star News" stating that Oswald had met with the Castro agent "VEGA" in Mex.City. This likely the same Francisco Vega that put me through a two + hour sweat at Havana Hdqtrs. 1960. Vega later entered the U.S. illegally at New York,City. It was with great joy that I gave him to my Intelligence contacts.

I am not aware of Pina Randa. Correction; it was 1963 {not 64} the L.A. Bureau directed me to Captain Rene Valdez.

Harry

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I can ck the date, but believe it was an 1964 artical in the Pasadena, California, "Star News" stating that Oswald had met with the Castro agent "VEGA" in Mex.City. This likely the same Francisco Vega that put me through a two + hour sweat at Havana Hdqtrs. 1960. Vega later entered the U.S. illegally at New York,City. It was with great joy that I gave him to my Intelligence contacts. (Harry Dean)

Thanks, Harry.

Do you remember Vega's full name as being Francisco Vega Varela?

James

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I can ck the date, but believe it was an 1964 artical in the  Pasadena, California, "Star News" stating that Oswald had met with the Castro agent "VEGA" in Mex.City. This likely the same Francisco Vega that put me through a two + hour sweat at Havana Hdqtrs. 1960. Vega later entered the U.S. illegally at New York,City. It was with great joy that I gave him to my Intelligence contacts. (Harry Dean)

Thanks, Harry.

Do you remember Vega's full name as being Francisco Vega Varela?

James

James

You likely know how latin names work, both father and mother's names etc. It is very possible 'Varela' fits. As mentioned via e-mail, Vega was FBI trained in the U.S.. Possibly around the time Castro was about to takeover?

Harry

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There was also Angel Vega:

FEBRUARY 5, 1967

TO: JIM GARRSION, DISTRICT ATTORNEY

FROM: JIM ALCOCK, ASSISTANT DISCTRICT ATTORNEY

RE: ANGEL VEGA

At 10:00 PM on January 31, 1967, CHARLES JONAU and I spoke to

ANGEL VEGA. This meeting, arranged by LAUREANO BATISTA,

Took place at the headquarters of the Christian Democratic Movement

located at 1732 N.W. 7th Street, Miami, Florida….

ANGEL VEGA is a slightly built Cuban male appearing to be in his

late twenties. He was one of the twenty Cubans who trained at a camp

in the New Orleans area. VEGA arrived at eth camp sometime near

the middle or end of June, 1963. When he arrived, there were only

four or five others at the camp site. The house and grounds where they

stayed were completely run down, giving the appearance they had not

been inhabited for quite a while. Their first task was to refurbish the

house and its conveniences.

All personnel stayed in the house which consisted of three rooms, a

kitchen and two baths. In addition to this, there was a screened porch

on the front and back of the house. The grounds had a swimming pool

which was constantly fed by an underground spring. Also, there was a

stream or bayou running through the property. Within sight of the property

was another house. The camp was served by a dirt road which VEGA recalls

was never used by vehicular traffic during his entire stay at the camp. ANGEL VEGA is positive he could find this camp site today, and would be willing to come to

New Orleans on a weekend for that purpose.

Training at the camp was principally limited to a physical fitness program. Daily exercises were taken along with swimming lessons. The men at the camp also practiced fording the stream that ran through the property. At no time did the men stray farther than about 200 yards from the house. No shooting whatsoever took place at the camp. They had two or three old Springfield rifles and M-1 carbine. These weapons were never fired. The M-1 carbine was used to show the men how to disassemble and assemble the weapon. During the course of many of the exercises, the men would carry small logs to simulate the weight of a weapon. Also, these logs were used in mock hand-to-hand combat training.

About two days before the cache of explosives was found at the other camp, ANGEL VEGA and two other camp members left for Miami with the Castro agent, FERNANDO FERNANDEZ. Shortly thereafter all Cubans at the camp returned to Miami. This was about August 1, 1963. Therefore, the camp was in operation for about five or six weeks.

While at the camp, ANGEL heard rifle shots and explosions from the direction of the other camp. However, at no time did VEGA and his fellow Cubans know of the existence of the other camp. This came to their knowledge only after the explosives were found.

As ANGEL recalls, the camp site was owned by two American males in their fifties or sixties. He feels they were in the insurance business. All contacts with them were made by RICARDO (DICKEY) DAVIS. They came to the camp occasionally to see if the men needed any food. DAVIS came to the camp about 8 to 10 time, mostly bringing food when he came. On one occasion, he brought his wife and he did some target shooting with a 22 caliber pistol.

ANGEL VEGA never heard the name of SERGIO ARCACHA SMITH or LINDBERGH mentioned and never saw any other Americans at the camp with the exception of the two previously mentioned. Angel remembers the following men to have been at the camp with him:

VICTOR PANEQUE 2ND in Command

FIDEL ZALDIVAR 1st in Command

……PERIU VICTORIA

MIGUEL CARBALLIDO

HENRY INFANTE

RAUL FANTONE

FERNANDO FERNANDEZ

SERGIO (NOT ARCACHA SMITH)

As you can see, ANGEL could only remember the first name of one man and only the last name of another. LAUREANO BATISTA, however, is still trying to locate a complete camp roster for us. He is also trying to locate the names if the Americans who owned the camp. If he is successful, he has promised to mail the information to me in New Orleans.

I feel that ANGEL VEGA was completely candid and cooperative throughout the interview. However, as far as the movement and its key personnel are concerned, we should expect some hedging.

JIM ALCOCK

..............----

This is the Slidell camp that was financed by "a group of very wealthy Texans and Louisianeans (Oil men) who had a lot of money and were willing to back any anti-Castro plan that would give them land were they could have a camp to train."

Most of the men were recruited by Victor "Diego" Panique who was then in New Jersey. They were to train for Somoza's "Nicaraguan Operation."

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Hi David,

Interesting stuff. Regarding the two Americans at the camp, what would the chances be that Rip Robertson was one of them?

I ask because according to one of the mercenaries serving with Mike Hoare at the time, when Robertson arrived in the Congo with his troop of Cubans, he introduced himself by saying, "My name is Carlos and I'm in the insurance business."

This was obviously a joke but the insurance reference is interesting.

James

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James, if you take a look at footnote 86 in my book you will find reference to several other documents on the CD that corroborate and expand on David's post. I would be very surprised to have seen Robertson at any of these camps and I'll expand on that on the new Ferri thread John set up.

Weisberg worked for Garrison investigating numerous rumors about 1963 camps and Garrison would have loved to find Ferrie, Arcacha Smith or any of his suspects associated with them. However that turned out just not to be the case. Indeed the individual who seems to have facilitated the 1963 camp in David's memo was none other than Ricardo Davis. Bringier identified him as the "purchasing officer" and person who selected the site. Al Osner tracked down the Christian Democratic Party folks who organized the camp and supplied people for it and interviewed Vega in Miami. The upshot seems to be that Davis had promised financial support from some wealthy Texans and nothing ever emerged, the whole thing was pretty low key, underfunded and short term and everybody bailed out after they heard about the FBI raid on the McClaney farm when they picked up the U-Haul.

However it is interesting that Vega mentions that the American "trainer", apparently someone other than Davis was ex-Navy, large and red faced and claimed ot have been at the Bay of Pigs on Destroyer Escort 510. Sound like anyone you know?

-- Larry

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Larry is right on as usual. The camps seem to have been no big deal. I think there were 4(?) of them in the general vicinity. I have some of Harold Weisberg's reports where he was trying to locate were they once were.

It was Rich Lauchli that supplied the dynamite that was in the U-Haul at McLaney's house.

James,  if you take a look at footnote 86 in my book you will find reference to several other documents on the CD that corroborate and expand on David's post.  I would be very surprised to have seen Robertson at any of these camps and I'll expand on that on the new Ferri thread John set up.

Weisberg worked for Garrison investigating numerous rumors about 1963 camps and Garrison would have loved to find Ferrie,  Arcacha Smith or any of his suspects associated with them.  However that turned out just not to be the case.  Indeed the individual who seems to have facilitated the 1963 camp in David's memo was none other than Ricardo Davis.  Bringier identified him as the "purchasing officer" and person who selected the site.  Al Osner tracked down the Christian Democratic Party folks who organized the camp and  supplied people for it and interviewed Vega in Miami.  The upshot seems to be that Davis had promised financial support from some wealthy Texans and nothing ever emerged,  the whole thing was pretty low key,  underfunded and short term and everybody bailed out after they heard about the FBI raid on the McClaney farm when they picked up the U-Haul.

However it is interesting that Vega mentions that the American "trainer", apparently someone other than Davis was ex-Navy,  large and red faced and claimed ot have been at the Bay of Pigs on Destroyer Escort 510. Sound like anyone you know?

-- Larry

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James, Gordon sent me the Sept 1975 Tattler article. I'd heard about it but not read it. Has a few errors. Do you know who wrote it? Doesn't seem to be a name on it. Lawrence Howard claimed CIA leased the land from a Wilma Weldon and W.R. Robbinson, plans changed and later Masferrer got into it. Has anyone done any research on this article or the writers and genesis? It relies on Hall info for much of story but Hall is not interviewed. I'm interested in the contents of the article and how it got passed around with other stuff at time that led to the opinions about No Name we see today?

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James, Gordon sent me the Sept 1975 Tattler article.  I'd heard about it but not read it. Has a few errors.  Do you know who wrote it?  Doesn't seem to be a name on it.  Lawrence Howard claimed CIA leased the land from a Wilma Weldon and W.R. Robbinson, plans changed and later Masferrer got into it.  Has anyone done any research on this article or the writers and genesis?  It relies on Hall info for much of story but Hall is not interviewed.  I'm interested in the contents of the article and how it got passed around with other stuff at time that led to the opinions about No Name we see today?

Hi Christy,

For the life of me, I can not find that article. I know I scanned it some time back. Do you have a copy you can attach to an email?

James

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Hi Christy,

Thanks for sending the pages. I can't get the PDF file to attach so I will keep searching for my scanned copies.

It is certainly an interesting story. It follows the Hall, Howard, Seymour combo that visited Sylvia Odio and makes some strange claims about Hall like him going to Rhodesia and making contact with the Sultan of Oman. I also found it interesting that most of the negative information on Hall came from Soldier Of Fortune's Robert Brown.

The other thing about the Tattler article is that it is very similar to one written by Tom Lutz which supposedly received its 'inside' information from a guy known only as 'Operative A'. It eventually turns into a Castro did it tale by connecting Hall and company to Castro agents.

James

Edited by James Richards
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Bummer, James. That must explain why I couldn't post pdfs when Tosh was here. Wonder why, maybe John can help. I like this compact format for articles as you can scroll continuously on one download.

I hope you can post this article. I wasn't into all this in 1975 but alot was eeking out between the WC and HSCA, stuff I'm catching up on.

I'd sure like to know how the author(s) came to their conclusions without any direct interviews with the sources.

If it's so widely thought Hall was an FBI snitch and the guys in the field didn't trust him, why does he become so prominent in this article? As if he is the man who had all the answers. A man who couldn't stay out of trouble is also a man who might say anything for his own benefit. I'd sure like to discuss that with the authors at Tattler and find out why they chose to believe what they wrote?

Of course the important point is "consider the source" which is as important as the facts we've all gathered and discussed here. We can't know much unless we find the interviewers and interviewees.

Perhaps you can post the part with the WR Robbinson. No doubt in my mind Howard was saying Rip was leasing the camps and language/spelling was either mixed up (there are many bad spellings in this article as you can see) or the authors were disguising the name. Howard was telling the truth or just tossing names out there? What does Larry think, since you were discussing the possibililty of Rip being at some of these camps?

I believe Rip was making appearances as I think Rip was a warrior who preferred interacting with these young soldiers on the front lines of Castro destabilization program. It fits with his characterization in other sources and why he would defy orders with Gray and land on the beach during BOP. This act was a nod to who was really behind the invasion like a "to hell with Washington" from the men closest to the exile pawns.

And Hall in Rhodesia? Crazy stuff and worth looking into. No doubt Hemming could share his input. Thanks as always. Brown is still around (SOF's in Colorado) and maybe could shed some light on this.

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Hi Christy,

I don't know if the W.R. Robbinson mentioned in the article is actually Rip Robertson and I would be surprised if it was. You are right that Robertson liked the action and he liked hanging out with soldiers and warrior types. Some of the stories in Haynes Johnson's Bay of Pigs book stands as testimony to that.

If I were a betting man, I would put a lazy fifty on the Tattler story being written by Tom Lutz. Lutz was behind a big Castro did it push in the early to mid 70's with information from a supposed inside source.

I also believe Loran Hall filed suit against the Tattler for 100 million. I have no idea what became of that.

James

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