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CIA, FBI, Oswald and Castro


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On 23rd November, 1963, Thomas Karamessines sent a cable to Mexico Station requesting that the arrest of Silvia Duran should be kept a secret. Karamessines later revealed that the CIA was aware that Oswald was having a sexual relationship with Duran, a Cuban consular official. As a result, they initially suspected that the Cubans were involved in the assassination of JFK. If this got out, Karamessines feared it would result in a nuclear war and the “end of the world”.

The CIA was also aware that Oswald had met Valeriy Kostikov on 18th October. The CIA knew that Kostikov was a KGB assassinations specialist. This information was passed to William Sullivan who was in charge of the FBI investigation. This was important as James Hosty had found a connection between Oswald and Kostikov. Sullivan was concerned that Hosty would report this when he appeared before the Warren Commission. As a result the files relating to this connection were removed from the Dallas office by order of Sullivan.

In 1992 James Johnson, revealed that while working as a lawyer for a Senate investigating committee he came across a CIA document that suggested that the CIA had enough evidence to suggest that Oswald was part of a foreign plot. If this were true, CIA analysts predicted, then “Oswald himself might be killed before he could talk”. This warning was then passed onto the FBI. However, before this message could be passed to the Dallas police department, Ruby had killed Oswald.

Further research convinced the CIA and FBI that the Soviet Union or Cuba were not involved in the plot to kill JFK. For example, the FBI found out from two moles in the American Communist Party (Jack and Morris Childs) that Oswald had indeed discussed assassination with the Cubans, but that offer had been turned down. This supported the general view that the Soviets and the KGB would never get involved with anyone like Oswald. This was also aware that it made no political sense given JFK's attempts to negotiate an end to the Cold War.

What is interesting is that Oswald does appear to be giving the appearance that he was involved in a plot with the Cubans to kill JFK. I wonder why?

Jesus Angleton, remained convinced that JFK had been killed as a result of a conspiracy. A KGB plot remained one of his many theories. Angleton saw it as his role to “think the unthinkable”. However, he found it extremely difficult to find anyone else to agree with him (bit like Tim Gratz really).

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John

Can you site the references for this information?

Jim Root

The Thomas Karamessines story first appeared in Daniel Schorr's review of The Assassins in The New York Review of Books (13th October, 1977).

The James Hosty story comes from Clarence Kelley's The Story of the FBI Director (1987) pages 293-294

The James Johnson memo is included in Mark Riebling's 'Wedge: From Pearl Harbor to 9/11' (2002) page 202. It seems that it came from an interview with Johnson on 27th September, 1993.

The Jack and Morris Childs information comes from Ronald Kessler's Inside the FBI (1993) page 23

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On 23rd November, 1963, Thomas Karamessines sent a cable to Mexico Station requesting that the arrest of Silvia Duran should be kept a secret.  Karamessines later revealed that the CIA was aware that Oswald was having a sexual relationship with Duran, a Cuban consular official.

John, along with Jim Root, I'd appreciate a citation for the "later" point at which Karamessines claimed CIA knew Oswald and Duran were intimate.  This was certainly among the key questions Duran was asked by DFS during its brutal interrogations of her, undertaken at CIA's behest.  According to her subsequent recitation of events, she refused to admit to DFS that this scurrilous accusation was true, which refusal seemed to increase her troubles at their hands.  Clearly, somebody advised DFS that this was true, irrespective of the reality of the situation.  Given that Duran claimed she consistently denied this rumour, one wonders at what "later" date Karamessines was still peddling this fiction as fact.

As Peter Dale Scott has cogently argued for some years, there is ample reason to suspect that more than one version of the Duran interrogation transcripts made their way from DFS to Washington.  What Duran refused to say while under torture by DFS may have nevertheless been attributed to her by DFS in at least one such transcript.  After all, it seemed to DFS as though it was what CIA wished to hear. 

As a result, they initially suspected that the Cubans were involved in the assassination of JFK.  If this got out, Karamessines feared it would result in a nuclear war and the “end of the world”.

The CIA was also aware that Oswald had met Valeriy Kostikov on 18th October. The CIA knew that Kostikov was a KGB assassinations specialist.

Actually, CIA only identified Kostikov's purported "special duty status" and reported it to others soon after the assassination, presumably because they had only just learned this alleged fact.  The timing of this red herring may tell us much about CIA's own agenda.  Had CIA announced this detail about Kostikov to FBI prior to the assassination, the putative fact that former defector and then-current FPCC gadfly Lee Oswald had met with Kostikov might have resulted in Oswald being surveilled in a way that would nullify his usefulness to the conspirators as the predesignated patsy.  

This information was passed to William Sullivan who was in charge of the FBI investigation. This was important as James Hosty had found a connection between Oswald and Kostikov. Sullivan was concerned that Hosty would report this when he appeared before the Warren Commission. As a result the files relating to this connection were removed from the Dallas office by order of Sullivan.

In 1992 James Johnson, revealed that while working as a lawyer for a Senate investigating committee he came across a CIA document that suggested that the CIA had enough evidence to suggest that Oswald was part of a foreign plot.

If one is stupidly credulous enough to infer a Cuban conspiracy from an undocumented romantic tryst by Oswald with a Cuban consular official - which that official denied, even under torture - then clearly the amount of evidence necessary for CIA to reach such a conclusion is minimal.  Apparently the evidentiary bar hasn't been raised much in the intervening years, based on the silly Thread That Will Not Die here @ the Forum.

If this were true, CIA analysts predicted, then “Oswald himself might be killed before he could talk”. This warning was then passed onto the FBI. However, before this message could be passed to the Dallas police department, Ruby had killed Oswald.

Further research convinced the CIA and FBI that the Soviet Union or Cuba were not involved in the plot to kill JFK. For example, the FBI found out from two moles in the American Communist Party (Jack and Morris Childs) that Oswald had indeed discussed assassination with the Cubans, but that offer had been turned down. This supported the general view that the Soviets and the KGB would never get involved with anyone like Oswald. This was also aware that it made no political sense given JFK's attempts to negotiate an end to the Cold War.

I think Peter Dale Scott has written the most, and most interesting, work on the possibility that Oswald uttered a death threat against Kennedy while in the Cuban consulate.  While there doesn't seem to be the slightest truth to the claim, this didn't prevent it from recurring repeatedly, from the Childs brothers [FBI's "Solo"], Comer Clark and others.  We now know, which we didn't then, that CIA not only had photo surveillance of the Cuban consulate, but also had it well bugged for audio coverage.  Presumably, if Oswald made such a comment to Cuban consular staff, CIA would have it on tape.  [Particularly if Oswald had been instructed to make the comment loudly.] 

There may be a perfectly simple reason that CIA failed to float this tape, if it existed.  Had Oswald simply disappeared after the assassination, CIA's tapes of intercepted Oswald conversations could have been floated to those who had a need to know, and been accepted as genuine.  However, the fact that the taped voice could be vetted by FBI agents who had conversed with Oswald - as happened with the intercepted Soviet phone call tape - rendered them useless in painting him as a Soviet or Cuban apparatchik.  What it would have demonstrated, instead, was that somebody had chosen to impersonate this nobody named Oswald less than two months before he became a most notorious "somebody."  Now, who would have chosen to impersonate this nonentity at that precise point in time?  And how did CIA, which failed to note Oswald's presence in the Cuban consulate when it happened, know enough about his dealings with the Cubans in Mexico City to instruct DFS to arrest Duran on the day of the assassination, and instruct DFS to confront her with intimately detailed accusations about her sexlife?

What is interesting is that Oswald does appear to be giving the appearance that he was involved in a plot with the Cubans to kill JFK. I wonder why?

If the claims made by the Childs brothers, Comer Clark, et al, have any basis in truth, it only increases the odd disparity in ways CIA dealt with Oswald's contacts with the Soviets and Cubans.  Recall that CIA memos from Mexico City report his rather inoccuous alleged phone contacts with the Soviets [which were bogus], but failed to report a single detail regarding any contact he had with the Cubans.  How did CIA cameras miss Oswald's repeated entrances into and departures from the Cuban consulate?  Why did CIA's numerous plants and moles within the Cuban consulate not report a single detail regarding Oswald's visits there?  If Oswald made a threat against the President - per the Childs brothers, Clark, et al - how did CIA fail to unearth this detail?  

Jesus Angleton, remained convinced that JFK had been killed as a result of a conspiracy. A KGB plot remained one of his many theories. Angleton saw it as his role to “think the unthinkable”. However, he found it extremely difficult to find anyone else to agree with him

Angleton may have been brilliant, but he was also nuts.

(bit like Tim Gratz really).

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"What is interesting is that Oswald does appear to be giving the appearance that he was involved in a plot with the Cubans to kill JFK. I wonder why?"

John, Peter Dale Scott explores all this in immense detail in Deep Politics II, I would recommend it highly.

However I can give you a simple two part scenario as to "why".

1) Oswald was being used as a dangle against the Cubans and the pace had been stepped up considerably in Mexico City, he was carrying credentials including a reported Communist Party card (fake) which significantly enhanced his being a radical. He showed this material to Duran to try and establish himself. And he may well have been instructed to do wild things if they would not accept him....including cursing JFK and even talking about killing him. A good way to try and entrap the Cubans and test them. And of course the impersonator helped this whole pitch by mentioning to the Russians that Oswald didn't know where he was staying but the Cubans could tell them....creating a telephone intercept which someone of a suspicious mind might think implied Oswald was being housed by the Cubans, possibly even in a safe house. None of this is particulary out of the ordinary CI procedure and would have no implications or risk....until the assassination happened.

2) The bad guys know that Oswald is being dangled, is creating a Castro supporter legend for himself. They help it along with a few things like the Odio call back about Oswald being a wild man. And they prepare a variety of other pieces of information which will also make it look like Oswald may have been inspired by if not directly working for Fidel on November 22.

....and nobody wants to deal with that.....enter the Lone Nut..

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Robert Charles Dunne wrote:

If one is stupidly credulous enough to infer a Cuban conspiracy from an undocumented romantic tryst by Oswald with a Cuban consular official - which that official denied, even under torture - then clearly the amount of evidence necessary for CIA to reach such a conclusion is minimal. Apparently the evidentiary bar hasn't been raised much in the intervening years, based on the silly Thread That Will Not Die here @ the Forum.

Robert, I do not think Johnson was simply relating to a document stating Oswald was intimate with Silvia Duran. You will notice as well that in all of my silliness (including reports of a Cuban intelligence officer in Dealey Plaza) never once did I posit as a fact inculpating Castro the possibility that Oswald was intimate with one of his staff members in Mexico City. Alnost as silly as a Lone Nutter claiming Oswald shot Kennedy because his wife refused him marital relations Thursday night.

I do have to comment. however, that in response to many of my postings you did not say they were silly. Rather, you claimed they were simply manufactured by the CIA, cut out of whole cloth as they say. Nothing silly about a Cuban intelligence officer in Dealey Plaza. Only question is whether the report is true or whether as you suggest it was made up by the CIA.

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Robert wrote:

Angleton may have been brilliant, but he was also nuts.

(bit like Tim Gratz really).

Robert I can assure you that I am neither as brilliant nor as nuts as the legendary James Jesus Angleton.

I think "the legendary" became an appendage to his name just like "well-respected" is the normal appendage before Gaeton Fonzi's name.

I do think Angleton may have been "right on" in his belief who planned the assassination. Of course, his conclusions were based on information we do not have and, unfortunartely, may never have.

Edited by Tim Gratz
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I tend to agree with Larry's first scenario that LHO or his imposter was being used on some mission, probably as a dangle or perhaps for another assassination plot against Castro. But it doesn't workk because the Russians are on to him.

As I've said before, if LHO was "ours" then I think logic compels the other side made him a patsy. And Nosenko could have demonstrated deception on his polygraph not because LHO was a KGB agent but because he knew the story he was telling about Oswald was false.

IMO Nosenko is another key to who was controlling the assassination. As are the Paines.

And for my friend Robert it does not take brilliance to make these deductions. Indeed, they are compelled by logic and common sense.

Edited by Tim Gratz
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Tim:

Please don't be in so big a rush to take offense at my comments that you misread them. A few clarifications may smooth your ruffled feathers.

You wrote:

Robert, I do not think Johnson was simply relating to a document stating Oswald was intimate with Silvia Duran.

Perhaps not, but my comment wasn't in relation to Johnson at all, but to what John Simkin wrote about Karamessines, to wit:

Karamessines later revealed that the CIA was aware that Oswald was having a sexual relationship with Duran, a Cuban consular official. As a result, they initially suspected that the Cubans were involved in the assassination of JFK.

If that's all it took to convince CIA that Oswald was the assassin in a Cuban conspiracy, then CIA was clearly desperate to find a Cuban conspiracy, irrespective of whether there actually was one, and invent one if there wasn't a real one. Given the geopolitics of the day, that might not be too surprising. Forty years later, it's harder to understand why people still insist on trying to invent the same myth.

Robert wrote:

Angleton may have been brilliant, but he was also nuts.

(bit like Tim Gratz really).

Whether deliberately or inadvertently, you've conflated my comment about Angleton with a prior comment about you made by John Simkin.  You'll note that they were in two different colours in the post from which you lifted them, clearly indicating that they were two different thoughts from two different writers.

You also wrote:

Robert I can assure you that I am neither as brilliant nor as nuts as the legendary James Jesus Angleton.

I do think Angleton may have been "right on" in his belief who planned the assassination.  Of course, his conclusions were based on information we do not have and, unfortunartely, may never have.

If we don't have the information on which Angleton based his assumptions, it is for two fundamental reasons: CIA failed to provide the full range of data available in its files to the Warren Commission, and by the time of the Church, Pike and House Select Committees, Angleton had shredded truckloads of material prior to his forced resignation, rendering it unavailable to anyone. 

Unfortunately, this leaves those who agree with Angleton bereft of the data that might prove their case.  But then, as we've seen, those who are convinced of Angleton's conclusion don't seem to require a lot in the way of supporting evidence for that conclusion.  Any little thing that can be misinterpreted will be, most recently including your insistence that the spurious TNT plot is a precedent establishing that Castro was insane enough to launch an unprovoked attack on the US, and hence was insane enough to kill the President.

I think it was Stevie Wonder who observed that "when you believe in things you don't understand, you're in trouble."   

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Robert, Tim, John

IMO understanding Angleton's position whithin the panaramma of the assassination picture is an essential area of research.

Let me briefly sketch out some thoughts on the subject.

Angleton became OSS station chief in Italy at a time when the State Department and the military where developing programs for civilian control of occupied territories. John J. McCloy was the leading player for Secretary Stimson (and under whom the OSS was positioned on the flow chart). Maxwell Taylor was also involved as a negotiator with Italian politicians in this program.

Angleton was maintained in an intelligence position as the OSS was disbanded by Truman at the end of WWII. John J. McCloy was the person transfroming the WWII OSS into the 1948 NSC and CIA and would be a key player in maintaining Angleton within the organization.

Angleton's role in CI during the early years of the Cold War alowed him to have access to the most closely guarded intelligence secrets our country maintained.

Angleton was involved in the "mail opening program" that became fully opperational by 1956 and remained a steadfast proponent of the program (LHO's letter to the SWP may have been read by this program in 1956, IMO, subjecting the rest of Oswald's life, from that point on, to careful scrutiny in relationship to Angleton).

In light of the above paragraph any CI advantage that could have been gained by the downing of the U-2 on May 1st 1960 (Japanese Communist/Socialist Party infiltration, WS 117 program advancement, failure of the Paris Summit, election of JFK to the presidency, etc.) would tie Angleton and Oswald together.

Angleton's refusal to accept Nosenko's "bonifieds" becomes not only understandable but more than reasonable IF Oswald was in fact an unknowing agent that had been tracked and used by Angleton since 1956! Only if Angleton knew this would he be certain that Nosenko's mission from Moscow would clearly be disinformation (this would be true even if Nosenko did not know that his infomation was disinformation).

Angleton would be more than justified in believing that there was a conspiracy to assassinate JFK IF in fact Oswald had been/was being used by US intelligence agencies.

It would not be resonable to think that James Jesus Angleton would not believe anything else! Imagine for a moment; if Angleton could not figure out who or what group had killed Kennedy.......it might have driven him "nuts."

Jim Root

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To Robert:

Robert, you did not "ruffle my feathers" at all and none of your comments have ever offended me.

Sorry, though, that I attributed John's comment to yoou.

I respect your intelligence and your ability to logically formulate your arguments. As well as your wit!

Re your substantive comments, it is my opinion that there is plenty of evidence pointing to a Cuban connection, e.g. the possible presence of Cuban intelligence officers in Dallas on November 22, 1963. Your response to that evidence has simply been "Consider the source" (i.e. CIA). Theoretically, the sources of the CIA reports could have been false, or the CIA could have manufactured the reports out of whole cloth. I would like a concession from you that if there were Cuban intelligence officers in Dallas it is fairly damning evidence of Cuban involvement in the assassination. If you are not willing to concede that, I will be convinced that you would not even be convincec if Castro personally confessed to you (you could always contend it was a Cuban CIA officer in a clever disguise). If you do so concede, then it seems to be the issue will turn on whether the CIA reports were true or false. I believe some of the reports may very well be available and therefore ought to be researched.

Re the plot to sabotage New York, why do you call it spurious? Do you dispute that the FBI discovered weapons of sabotage in Garcia's Manhattan shop? Regardless of the SCOPE of the plot, if Castro plotted even to kill a dozen innocent Americans after the resolution of the missile crisis it certainly demonstrates to me a reckless disregard for consequences. It is no answer that the CIA may have sponsored, endorsed or encouraged similar Cuban exile plots in Cuba. For what could Castro do to us in response? But if the US discovered that Castro had plotted the deaths of innocent Americans there clearly would have been calls to immediately invade Cuba that would have been politically irresistible. So Castro demonstrated a willingness to retaliate against US sabotage inside Cuba, regardless of the possible consequences, suggesting he would have also been willing to retaliate against the numerous US efforts to kill him. And of course, Castro had specifically warned us he might retialate against New York City if we did not stop our sabotage of Cuba, just as he warned us our political leaders would not be safe if US efforts to kill Cuban political leaders continued. In law, this is called a "pattern".

Edited by Tim Gratz
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