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According to Gerald Patrick Hemming, Antonoi Veciana told Hemming that the man he saw Lee Harvey Oswald with in Dallas was not Maurice Bishop but was Jake Esterline. Veciana told Fonzi it was Bishop to protect Esterline. The building where the meeting took place was the building that housed the office of H. L. Hunt.

I do not believe Hemming thinks Esterline was involved in the assassination but he did mention one familiar name who he said was involved in transfering funds for the assassination: Lucien Conein.

Food for thought, anyway. I await your comments.

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According to Gerald Patrick Hemming, Antonoi Veciana told Hemming that the man he saw Lee Harvey Oswald with in Dallas was not Maurice Bishop but was Jake Esterline.  Veciana told Fonzi it was Bishop to protect Esterline.  The building where the meeting took place was the building that housed the office of H. L. Hunt.

I do not believe Hemming thinks Esterline was involved in the assassination but he did mention one familiar name who he said was involved in transfering funds for the assassination:  Lucien Conein.

Food for thought, anyway.  I await your comments.

Interesting, thanks, Tim.

Did GPH elaborate on the transfer of funds? Like from where to who? Also, was there an explanation as to how or why GPH would know about the financial arrangements?

Then again, if that is Hemming standing behind Conein at the corner of Main and Houston, who knows what was said. :tomatoes

James

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Glad you mentioned it. Several days ago Hemming told me that Conien was involved in a transfer of funds re the assassination from Madame Nhu.

He states that there is a published photograph of Madame Nhu in Dallas at the Murchison ranch a day or two (I believe he said the day after) the assassinaion.

With what happened to the Diem family, whoever was planning the assassination would have surely known that Madame Nhu would have been willing to help fund it.

In this regard, I commend to your attention the book "Triangle of Death" that suggests a Vietnamese involvement in the assassination. The book has a few "problems" (for instance, the authors did not know who sam Papich worked for) but it otherwise has some very interesting information.

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According to Gerald Patrick Hemming, Antonoi Veciana told Hemming that the man he saw Lee Harvey Oswald with in Dallas was not Maurice Bishop but was Jake Esterline.  Veciana told Fonzi it was Bishop to protect Esterline.  The building where the meeting took place was the building that housed the office of H. L. Hunt.

I do not believe Hemming thinks Esterline was involved in the assassination but he did mention one familiar name who he said was involved in transfering funds for the assassination:  Lucien Conein.

Fascinating information on Esterline. I am currently researching Esterline. This was after I discovered that Easterline ran the "war room" during both the overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz and the attempts to assassinate Castro.

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Fascinating information on Esterline. I am currently researching Esterline. This was after I discovered that Easterline ran the "war room" during both the overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz and the attempts to assassinate Castro. (John Simkin)

John,

Esterline was also the Task Force Chief for the Bay of Pigs invasion. Grayston Lynch and Rip Robertson reported directly to him.

Below is a document which shows the command structure.

FWIW.

James

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I have now produced a page on Jake Esterline. With the help of James Richards I have been able to find out some interesting information about this key figure in the war against Castro.

During the Second World War Esterline was recruited into the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Esterline was sent to Burma where he became a commander of a guerrilla battalion fighting the Japanese Army.

On the outbreak of the Korean War Esterline joined the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). He was sent to work at what became known as "The Farm" - a clandestine training school for CIA recruits at Williamsburg, Virginia. Esterline was put in charge of guerrilla warfare training.

Esterline went to work for Frank Wisner, head of the Directorate of Plans (DPP). In 1954 Esterline was placed in charge of the CIA's Washington task force in the successful overthrow of Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz. Esterline also served as CIA station chief in Guatemala, Venezuela and Panama.

Later, Richard Bissell, the new head of the Directorate of Plans, appointed Esterline as Task Force Chief for the Bay of Pigs invasion. He was also involved in the plot to assassinate Fidel Castro.

When Esterline discovered that the assassination plot against Castro had failed he had serious doubts about whether the Bay of Pigs operation would be a success. Esterline and Jack Hawkins, Chief of Paramilitary Staff, were also unhappy about the decision to change the landing site from Trinidad to the Bay of Pigs. On 8th April, Esterline and Hawkins went to see Richard Bissell and told him they wanted to resign. Bissell persuaded them to stay and be "good soldiers".

Esterline also served as chief of the CIA's Miami office (1968-1972) and as deputy chief of the agency's Western Hemisphere division. Esterline retired from the CIA in 1978. Esterline died at Hendersonville, North Carolina, in October, 1999.

There has been much speculation about Esterline’s knowledge on the assassination plot against Castro.

This is what J. S. Earman, Inspector General of the CIA, said about this in his secret report, CIA Plots to Kill Castro (27th May 1967)

We find evidence of at least three, and perhaps four, schemes that were under consideration well before the Bay of Pigs, but we can fix the time frame only speculatively. Those who have some knowledge of the episodes guessed at dates ranging from 1959 through 1961. The March-to-August span we have fixed may be too narrow, but it best fits the limited evidence we have.

a. None of those we interviewed who was first assigned to the Cuba task force after the Bay of Pigs knows of any of these schemes.

b. J.D. (Jake) Esterline, who was head of the Cuba task force in pre-Bay of Pigs days, is probably the most reliable witness on general timing. He may not have been privy to the precise details of any of the plans, but he seems at least to have known of all of them. He is no longer able to keep the details of one plan separate from those of another, but each of the facts he recalls fits somewhere into one of the schemes. Hence, we conclude that all of these schemes were under consideration while Esterline had direct responsibility for Cuba operations.

c. Esterline himself furnishes the best clue as to the possible time span. He thinks it unlikely that any planning of this sort would have progressed to the point of consideration of means until after U.S. policy concerning Cuba was decided upon about March 1960. By about the end of the third quarter of 1960, the total energies of the task force were concentrated on the main-thrust effort, and there would have been no interest in nor time for pursuing such wills-o'-the-wisp as these.

We are unable to establish even a tentative sequence among the schemes; they may, in fact, have been under consideration simultaneously. We find no evidence that any of these schemes was approved at any level higher than division, if that. We think it most likely that no higher-level approvals were sought, because none of the schemes progressed to the point where approval to launch would have been needed.

Some of this information I have on Esterline came from a obituary written by Don Bohning of The Miami Herald that was sent to me by James Richards. Bohning seemed to know Esterline very well and so I thought it might be that he interviewed him before his death. I did a search via Google and found out that he had interviewed Easterline. He had also talked to his buddy, Jack Hawkins. It seems that in 1997 Esterline and Hawkins decided to reveal what they knew about the plot to overthrow Castro. This information appeared in articles in the Miami Herald in 1997 and 1998.

According to Esterline he was not initially told about the plots against Castro. However, while planning the invasion of Cuba, Esterline was asked by J.C. King, then head of the CIA's Western Hemisphere division, to pay a sum of money to an agent in Cuba. Esterline went to King: "I really forced my way in by refusing to pay unless I knew what I was paying for… That got me partially briefed.'' Esterline said he was sworn to secrecy and didn't even tell his friend Jack Hawkins about the plot. Nor did Esterline tell S. Earman, Inspector General of the CIA, when he was writing his report in 1967.

Esterline was told that Juan Orta, who functioned as Castro's private secretary, had been recruited to slip a poisoned pill into a drink just before the invasion. This was a key part of the invasion plan.

However, a few days before the invasion Orta changed his mind and fled to the Venezuelan Embassy. Bissell, King, Esterline and Kennedy knew this before the invasion took place. Esterline knew that this, combined with the change in landing site, meant that the invasion would be a failure. That was why he tried to resign on 8th April, 1961.

Esterline and Hawkins before believed that Kennedy and Bissell betrayed the Cubans involved in the Bay of Pigs invasion. They were also angry about the way that senior members of the government and the CIA lied about these events. Therefore, before their death, they decided to go public with their story.

You can see some of these articles here.

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

Others will appear in my biography of Hawkins (hopefully that will be finished later today).

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Read Albert "Buck" Persons book on Bay of Pigs. An obscure little paperback, but can be found. He mentions a "Jake and Hoyt" who came to recruit out of the Alabama Air Guard. Interesting read from a pilot who was there.

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According to Gerald Patrick Hemming, Antonoi Veciana told Hemming that the man he saw Lee Harvey Oswald with in Dallas was not Maurice Bishop but was Jake Esterline. Veciana told Fonzi it was Bishop to protect Esterline. The building where the meeting took place was the building that housed the office of H. L. Hunt. (Tim Gratz)

I must admit that I am having a hard time getting my head around this (not being a rocket scientist to begin with). If Veciana was trying to protect Esterline, why mention it at all?

The question then begs, what was the relationship between Esterline and Veciana?

I do believe it was Bishop/Phillips but it is possible that Veciana saw the LHO imposter? Pondering that possibility certainly offers some new perspective.

James

Edited by James Richards
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An interesting bit of history on the relationship between Lynch, Robertson and Esterline.

In early 1961, Lynch and Robertson were running an operation called Mineral Traders out of a warehouse in Stock Island (the island four miles to the north of Key West). The cover story was that the company was exploring for oil off of the Dry Tortugas. In fact, inside the warehouse were CIA arms and under the direction of Lynch and Roberston the CIA was running arms to Cuba, in waterproof packing, using the Blagar and the Barbara J. Although the State Department did not know of the operation, supposedly most of the people in Key West knew it was an anti-Castro operation. Lynch and Roberston were not informed of the actual Bay of Pigs Plan until approximately three weeks before the invasion Esterline appeared at the warehouse, took Lynch and Roberston outside for privacy reasons and told them of their next mission. The next day the boats took off to pick up the Brigade. Lynch, of course, was the first ashore and fired the first shots at the Bay of Pigs.

Lynch wrote a book blasting JFK for refusing air cover for the invasion. I am sure Robertson shared Lynch's sentiments.

If any member would like a copy of the article Mark Howell and I wrote re Mineral Traders and the CIA gun-running operation, drop me a message with your name and address and we'll be glad to send you one.

Edited by Tim Gratz
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