Jump to content

William Turner: Deadly Secrets


Recommended Posts

You might have seen the debate we have had on the forum about JFK’s knowledge of the assassination plots against Castro.

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=4844

I was very interested to read your comments about this in your chapter “Operation Mongoose” (Deadly Secrets pages 104-151). You make the very good point that the 1975 Senate Intelligence Committee only explored the CIA-Mafia assassination schemes but “it did not so much as hint that the Guantanamo, Amblood, and Veciana plots ever took place.” You go on to add “the committee’s Democratic majority managed to preserve unsullied the reputation of a Democratic administration”.

In your research have you discovered any evidence that JFK or RFK definitely ordered the assassination of Castro?

You point out that CIA’s Board of National Estimates was called upon to prepare a forecast called “If Castro Were to Die”. It concluded: His loss now, by assassination or by natural causes, would have an unsettling effect, but would almost certainly not prove fatal to the regime” (page 118).

This view is supported by David Atlee Phillips who pointed out in his autobiography (The Night Watch): “It would be dumb. It couldn’t change anything in Cuba, except put power in the hands of people even more pro-Soviet and less predictable than Fidel” (page 178).

Several historians mention the fact that JFK considered appointing RFK as director of the CIA after sacking Dulles. They speculate that the main reason this did not happen was that it would have linked JFK too closely to the CIA’s covert operations against Castro. Although he was not director of the CIA, RFK definitely behaved as if he did hold this position. He definitely put people like Richard Bissell, Desmond FitzGerald, William Harvey, Edward Lansdale, etc. under considerable pressure to “get rid” of Castro. Up until the Cuban Missile Crisis he appeared to be following JFK’s policy. However, after the cancellation of Operation Mongoose, RFK appears to be following his own foreign policy with the CIA. Was JFK following a dual, contradictory policy? Or was RFK acting as an independent spirit. It has even been suggested that this might have been part of a public relationship exercise aimed at the anti-Castro Cuban exile community. If so, it was a highly dangerous exercise. If E. Howard Hunt was indeed monitoring the secret negotiations that were going on between JFK and the Castro government in 1963, he no doubt would have passed this information onto the anti-Castro militants. They no doubt would have been furious with the Kennedys for this obvious case of betrayal and would have given them a motive for changing the target of their assassination plots.

Do you have any idea of what RFK was up to with his close relationship with the anti-Castro Cubans in 1963?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Eisenhower authorized the assassination capability now known as ZR/RIFLE with Bill Harvey as a key operative. It is unlikely that the Kennedy administration was briefed on this in the transition. Harvey and Roselli were using Cuban exile groups to carry it out. RFK found out. But he didn't tell the CIA to cut it out, he simply wanted to be informed if his archenemy the Mafia was involved in the future. So he wasn't opposed to assassinations in principle, but there is no evidence that he himself ordered an assassination.

RFK was planning a second invasion of Cuba, using Harry Williams, whom I interviewed, to strike at the east end of Cuba, and Manuel Artime to go ashore at the "soft underbelly" of the island. Simultaneously, Roland Cubela was to assassinate Castro. This was set up by Desmond FitzGerald and I doubt JFK knew anything about it although they were using his name to Cubela. The infiltrations were set to begin in mid-December 1963. Joe Califano was RFK's key man in arranging training and logistical support by U.S. military. I tried to interview Califano. At the time he was a law partner of my attorney Edward Bennet Williams. Ed tried to get him to submit to an interview, but to no avail.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the introduction of Deadly Secrets (page xxix) you claim that William F. Buckley worked for the CIA station in Mexico City in the 1950s when E. Howard Hunt was in charge. This is very interesting as I have heard from another source (Donald Freed, Genstone – the Bottom Line, included in Big Brother and the Holding Company (1974), that Hunt and Charles Colson helped Buckley establish the Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) organization in 1960. Have you discovered any link with YAF and CIA covert operations?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the introduction of Deadly Secrets (page xxix) you claim that William F. Buckley worked for the CIA station in Mexico City in the 1950s when E. Howard Hunt was in charge. This is very interesting as I have heard from another source (Donald Freed, Genstone – the Bottom Line, included in Big Brother and the Holding Company (1974), that Hunt and Charles Colson helped Buckley establish the Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) organization in 1960. Have you discovered any link with YAF and CIA covert operations?

I discovered no link between YAF and CIA covert operations. This is not to say that one didn't exist. In fact, considering Buckley's linkage to both, I consider it quite likely.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mr. Turner, I just watched a video of your 2002 COPA appearance. In your talk, you discuss Lee Harvey Oswald's role as an FBI informant as if you have definite knowledge of this possibility. Did you gain this knowledge from one of your former colleagues in the FBI? If so, will you ever name this source? I believe this could be very important.

Which brings me to a related question. I believe there was (is?) a publication put out by former FBI agents. (Was it called Grapevine?) Since Robert Maheu, Edward Morgan, William Harvey, Guy Bannister, Jim Garrison and a number of others were all former FBI, I wonder if you or anyone you know has ever searched through these mags to see what there's to see. If there was a blurb on Bannister, Maheu, and Harvey at some get-together in 1963 that would certainly prove interesting. Do you know if anyone has ever looked into this?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

John, as I've said on another thread, the mere fact that this Mr. Freed, whomever he may be, claims that Colson and Hunt helped make it so does not establish the fact. I find it highly unlikely that Freed was "present at the creation" of YAF and he is not speaking from personal knowledge. Thus, his factual assertion is only as good as his source. I have asked you in another thread what source Freed cites for this assertion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mr. Turner,

In his scathing review of Seymour Hersh's THE DARK SIDE OF CAMELOT David R. Wrone wrote:

"Hersh also devotes much attention to "proving" JFK tried to assassination Castro using the CIA and Mafia. In the course of this effort, he asserts that President Kennedy used Judy Exner, a sex partner, to carry cash to the mob bosses to pay for making the hit.

A key document of the Castro murder attempts is a 1962 Department of Justice memorandum by the CIA's inspector general Sheffield Edwards. Hersh uses parts of the document in other contexts, but when he comes to the attempts on Castro's life he carefully omits what it says about them, since the document's contents would destroy his framing of JFK.

The CIA-Mafia attempts on Castro began in August 1960 and ended in November 1960, before JFK took office in 1961. Only six people knew of it, all CIA men, and they only orally. No one else knew--not Ike, not JFK--until many months after the fact when the FBI stumbled onto a bungled CIA phone tap for a mobster and it exposed the affair. A shocked Robert Kennedy ordered a complete explanation.

....There were, in fact, no JFK directed or encouraged attempts on Castro's life"

Comments?

Len

Link to comment
Share on other sites

An intereresting quotation about a very early Ramparts article by Mr. Turner:

(by Tamara Naccarato)

. . .

In point of fact, when one reads about the investigation, one does begin to wonder what the photos and x-rays of JFK's autopsy have to do with Clay Shaw. After all, Garrison was not trying to prove Shaw actually killed JFK. He was only supposed to prove that Shaw was part of a conspiracy to kill the president. Some magazines such as Ramparts, the L.A. Free Press, the New York Review of Books, and Playboy did give Garrison the benefit of the doubt. In fact, an article in Ramparts even went so far as to show why the photos and x-rays of JFK's autopsy report, as well as trips to Dallas and Oswald's gun were necessary for the trial of Clay Shaw. It contends that it was first necessary to prove the Warren Report wrong in order to prove that JFK could have been the victim of conspiracy and that more than one gunman could have been involved. Indeed, the article is highly critical of the U.S. government. <12>

The Ramparts article is also very critical of the press, especially NBC and Newsweek. The author of the article, William Turner, says the press has created a negative image of Jim Garrison which just is not true. Turner assumes the evidence against Clay Shaw is more valid than what others say, and he definitely believes there was a conspiracy. After reading the article, there can be little doubt that a conspiracy did in fact exist, so convincing is the evidence which Turner presents, most of which he gleaned from Garrison's own files and then investigated for himself. However, the article does not really prove that Clay Shaw played a role in the conspiracy, which was the exact problem that Garrison faced.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mr. Turner, thank you for answering my question about Edward Bennett Williams. He remains a fascinating figure. You mentioned in that post that you were suspicious of Williams' buddy, Maheu. Do you remember what it was that fueled your suspicion? As a former FBI man, you may have been tuned into his frequency. Did you suspect Maheu of being a spook, even before it was well-known? Did you know about his relationship with Trujillo, or his involvement in the disappearance of Galindez?

Later on, when writing The Fish is Red, were you ever able to ascertain just what was going on at Cay Sal? Do you believe Hughes even knew about it? Was Maheu involved?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mr. Turner, I just watched a video of your 2002 COPA appearance.  In your talk, you discuss Lee Harvey Oswald's role as an FBI informant as if you have definite knowledge of this possibility.  Did you gain this knowledge from one of your former colleagues in the FBI?  If so, will you ever name this source?  I believe this could be very important.

Which brings me to a related question.  I believe there was (is?) a publication put out by former FBI agents.  (Was it called Grapevine?) Since Robert Maheu, Edward Morgan, William Harvey, Guy Bannister, Jim Garrison and a number of others were all former FBI, I wonder if you or anyone you know has ever searched through these mags to see what there's to see.  If there was a blurb on Bannister, Maheu, and Harvey at some get-together in 1963 that would certainly prove interesting.  Do you know if anyone has ever looked into this?

I flew to Dallas right after the assassination to research a mag piece on the breakdown in security. One of the things I did was call a former FBI agent in Indiana named Elmer Jacobsen. Elmer had a network of contacts and supplied information helpful to the article. He had previously supported me in my case versus Hoover. Three weeks after the article was put to bed Elmer contacted me saying oh by the way did you know that Oswald was an FBI informant? He told me that a source close to the Dallas office had advised him of that. The source had immediately called the Secret Service in Washington with the information. I knew that the chief of the Secret Service was James Rowley, another ex-FBI agent and a Hoover loyalist, so the information would probably go nowhere. Elmer gave me the name of the source, who lived in Bryan, Texas, and it is buried somewhere in my misfiled archives. I checked and determined that this source was no listed in the Director of the Society of Former Agents of the FBI.

Yes, the Society published a monthly called The Grapevine. Being critical of Hoover, I was blackballed from membership so I did not receive The Grapevine. I don't know of anyone who has searched through the issues of that time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Later on, when writing The Fish is Red, were you ever able to ascertain just what was going on at Cay Sal?  Do you believe Hughes even knew about it?  Was Maheu involved?

With regard to Cay Sal, I doubt that Hughes even knew it existed. Cay Sal was used as an advance base for exile action groups conducting raids and infiltrations against Cuba. I strongly suspect that the Roselli assassination squads had occasion to use it on occasion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mr. Turner,

In his scathing review of Seymour Hersh's THE DARK SIDE OF CAMELOT David R. Wrone  wrote:

"Hersh also devotes much attention to "proving" JFK tried to assassination Castro using the CIA and Mafia. In the course of this effort, he asserts that President Kennedy used Judy Exner, a sex partner, to carry cash to the mob bosses to pay for making the hit.

A key document of the Castro murder attempts is a 1962 Department of Justice memorandum by the CIA's inspector general Sheffield Edwards. Hersh uses parts of the document in other contexts, but when he comes to the attempts on Castro's life he carefully omits what it says about them, since the document's contents would destroy his framing of JFK.

The CIA-Mafia attempts on Castro began in August 1960 and ended in November 1960, before JFK took office in 1961. Only six people knew of it, all CIA men, and they only orally. No one else knew--not Ike, not JFK--until many months after the fact when the FBI stumbled onto a bungled CIA phone tap for a mobster and it exposed the affair. A shocked Robert Kennedy ordered a complete explanation.

....There were, in fact, no JFK directed or encouraged attempts on Castro's life"

Comments?

In answer to Len Colby's questions, there is no credible evidence that JFK knew about or encouraged assassination attempts against Castro. There was that conversation with Tad Szulc in which he raised the subject and I think he got of whiff of the ONI plots out of Guantanemo, but in context I don't think he approved and wanted Szulc's opinion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mr. Turner, thank you for answering my question about Edward Bennett Williams.  He remains a fascinating figure.  You mentioned in that post that you were suspicious of Williams' buddy, Maheu.  Do you remember what it was that fueled your suspicion?  As a former FBI man, you may have been tuned into his frequency. Did you suspect Maheu of being a spook, even before it was well-known?  Did you know about his relationship with Trujillo, or his involvement in the disappearance of Galindez?

I was suspicious of Bob Maheu because Ed Williams told me that in addition to being a former FBI agent, he had CIA connections. In other words, I thought he might well be a spook. I didn't know about his relationship with Trujillo or his involvement with the Gallindez affair.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
  • 6 months later...

Mr. Turner,

You mention in Deadly Secrets that Pittston/Scranton mob boss Russell Bufalino and NYC garment figure James "Jimmy Doyle" Plumeri were waiting offshore in a CIA boat during the Bay of Pigs to retrieve money they left on the island. I was just curious where this info came from.

Thank you,

Scott

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...