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Mitch Werbell in 63


Pat Speer
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While studying the earwitnesses I came to the conclusion that there was almost certainly a suppressed (or subsonic) shot fired from the Dal-Tex Building. This brings up the question not only of who fired the shot but of who built or designed the suppressor system. Does anyone know what the legendary "genius" designer of suppressed and silenced weapons, Mitch Werbell, was doing at the time of the assassination? Does anyone know when he first began working on suppressors for the M-16? He's quoted in Jim Hougan's Spooks as saying that the CIA was worse than the Mafia, which implies he was familiar with both. Does anyone know if he ever worked with the mob? I believe at least two members of this Forum knew Werbell. Is it possible he was involved in the assassination, or that, at the very least, his weapons systems were used?

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While studying the earwitnesses I came to the conclusion that there was almost certainly a suppressed shot fired from the Dal-Tex Building.

The combination of earwitness testimony and the number of wounds and missed shots leaves me no choice but to conclude that there was some silencing function used on at least some weapon in Dealey Plaza that day - Werbell was known as "The Wizard Of Whispering Death."

T.C.

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While studying the earwitnesses I came to the conclusion that there was almost certainly a suppressed shot fired from the Dal-Tex Building. This brings up the question not only of who fired the shot but of who built or designed the suppressor system. Does anyone know what the legendary "genius" designer of suppressed and silenced weapons, Mitch Werbell, was doing at the time of the assassination? Does anyone know when he first began working on suppressors for the M-16? He's quoted in jim Hougan's Spooks as saying that the CIA was worse than the Mafia, which implies he was familiar with both. Does anyone know if he ever worked with the mob? I believe at least two members of this Forum knew Werbell. Is it possible he was involved in the assassination, or that, at the very least, his weapons systems were used?

Don’t know where Mitch Werbell was in November, 1963, but I do know that during the Second World War he carried out a secret mission for the OSS in Kumming, China. Others involved in this mission included Howard Hunt, Paul Helliwell, Lucien Conein, John Singlaub and Ray Cline (The Iran Contra Connection, page 64). There were others at Kumming at this time including William Pawley, Claire Chennault, Jack Anderson and Phil Graham. Hunt also mentions his time in Kumming in his authobiography (Undercover, pages 37-43). He points out that Helliwell was in charge of the operation. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, the OSS were paid for their work with five-pound sacks of opium (18th April, 1980).

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Don’t know where Mitch Werbell was in November, 1963, but I do know that during the Second World War he carried out a secret mission for the OSS in Kumming, China. Others involved in this mission included Howard Hunt, Paul Helliwell, Lucien Conein, John Singlaub and Ray Cline (The Iran Contra Connection, page 64). There were others at Kumming at this time including William Pawley, Claire Chennault, Jack Anderson and Phil Graham. Hunt also mentions his time in Kumming in his authobiography (Undercover, pages 37-43). He points out that Helliwell was in charge of the operation. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, the OSS were paid for their work with five-pound sacks of opium (18th April, 1980).

In Singlaub's book he recalls partying with Hunt on a slow boat back from China. He also mentions one of the OSS secretaries by name--Julia Child, the legendary chef.

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John wrote:

Others involved in this mission included Howard Hunt, Paul Helliwell, Lucien Conein, John Singlaub and Ray Cline (The Iran Contra Connection, page 64). There were others at Kumming at this time including William Pawley, Claire Chennault, Jack Anderson and Phil Graham.

Sounds like "the usual suspects"! Quite a group. Does the book say what the mission was about?

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In Singlaub's book he recalls partying with Hunt on a slow boat back from China. He also mentions one of the OSS secretaries by name--Julia Childs, the legendary chef.

Hunt also mentions Julia Child (page 42). He adds: "a number of us who worked for OSS in the Far East were destined to have significant careers - including myself." I suspect that what they learnt from this spell in Kumming hasd something to do with it as well.

John wrote:

Others involved in this mission included Howard Hunt, Paul Helliwell, Lucien Conein, John Singlaub and Ray Cline (The Iran Contra Connection, page 64). There were others at Kumming at this time including William Pawley, Claire Chennault, Jack Anderson and Phil Graham.

Sounds like "the usual suspects"! Quite a group. Does the book say what the mission was about?

No, but I suspect it had more to do with the way they were paid. It is worth pointing out that the OSS became involved in the drug trade before the CIA was established in 1947. It also marks the beginning of their relationship with Tommy Corcoran and Chaing Kai-shek. I will write more about this on the thread: Assassination, Terrorism and the Arms Trade: The Contracting Out of U.S. Foreign Policy: 1940-1990.

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Regarding the over-all subject of silencers, it would seem a relevant inquiry would be how many sources there were for silencers in 1963; was the sale of silencers legal, etc.

Many assassins knew how to make their own silencers. A study I found in a forensics publication came to the surprising conclusion that the "home-made" silencers the writers (German police if I remember correctly) had recovered from murder weapons were quite often superior to the military or mass-manufactured silencers.

It's significant as well that when Cubela asked for a silencer for his rifle, the CIA had Manuel Artime MAKE him one.

The book Silencers Snipers and Assassins notes that organized crime used silenced weapons in the 60's. The book notes that the mob had its own gunsmiths to design and supply these weapons. I'm wondering if Werbell was in this line of work.

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While studying the earwitnesses I came to the conclusion that there was almost certainly a suppressed (or subsonic) shot fired from the Dal-Tex Building. This brings up the question not only of who fired the shot but of who built or designed the suppressor system. Does anyone know what the legendary "genius" designer of suppressed and silenced weapons, Mitch Werbell, was doing at the time of the assassination? Does anyone know when he first began working on suppressors for the M-16? He's quoted in Jim Hougan's Spooks as saying that the CIA was worse than the Mafia, which implies he was familiar with both. Does anyone know if he ever worked with the mob? I believe at least two members of this Forum knew Werbell. Is it possible he was involved in the assassination, or that, at the very least, his weapons systems were used?

Pat:

According to Fonzi, WerBell was already the go-to guy for suppressed firearms in the early to mid-1950s, when his handiwork was already covertly used in what they used to call Indo-China. By WerBell's own admission, he was involved in some capacity in the attempts on Castro's life in the early '60s. "I was sittin' in Miami with a goddamned million dollars in cash for the guy who was gonna take Fidel out," he told Fonzi, who doesn't expound further. However, minimal logic would seem to indicate that if he was already involved in those attempts, even if only as a lowly courier of funds, it would be stupid not to also utilize the expertise he'd already demonstrated by using his weapons for the job of offing Castro. Fonzi seems to give him a pass on personal involvement in the assassination, but when one manufactures assassination-specialized weapons for a living, who knows what happens to those weapons once they've been delivered to the client? Then again, WerBell may have been happy to admit being a mule for the funds, but less sanguine about admitting that he also provided the weaponry for the job. Given the subsequent events in Dallas that Fonzi was pressing him for information on, WerBell may have intuited that any admission to having supplied weapons to kill Castro could implicate him in Dallas too.

FWIW.....

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John Simkin wrote:

"No, but I suspect it had more to do with the way they were paid. It is worth pointing out that the OSS became involved in the drug trade before the CIA was established in 1947. It also marks the beginning of their relationship with Tommy Corcoran and Chaing Kai-shek. I will write more about this on the thread: Assassination, Terrorism and the Arms Trade: The Contracting Out of U.S. Foreign Policy: 1940-1990."

Of course I have to point out that in the 1950's General Maxwell Taylor, as Chief of Staff of the Army would assign General Edwin Anderson Walker to be the US Military Advisor to Chaing Kai-shek.

Just another coincidence?

Jim Root

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While studying the earwitnesses I came to the conclusion that there was almost certainly a suppressed (or subsonic) shot fired from the Dal-Tex Building. This brings up the question not only of who fired the shot but of who built or designed the suppressor system. Does anyone know what the legendary "genius" designer of suppressed and silenced weapons, Mitch Werbell, was doing at the time of the assassination? Does anyone know when he first began working on suppressors for the M-16? He's quoted in Jim Hougan's Spooks as saying that the CIA was worse than the Mafia, which implies he was familiar with both. Does anyone know if he ever worked with the mob? I believe at least two members of this Forum knew Werbell. Is it possible he was involved in the assassination, or that, at the very least, his weapons systems were used?

Pat:

According to Fonzi, WerBell was already the go-to guy for suppressed firearms in the early to mid-1950s, when his handiwork was already covertly used in what they used to call Indo-China. By WerBell's own admission, he was involved in some capacity in the attempts on Castro's life in the early '60s. "I was sittin' in Miami with a goddamned million dollars in cash for the guy who was gonna take Fidel out," he told Fonzi, who doesn't expound further. However, minimal logic would seem to indicate that if he was already involved in those attempts, even if only as a lowly courier of funds, it would be stupid not to also utilize the expertise he'd already demonstrated by using his weapons for the job of offing Castro. Fonzi seems to give him a pass on personal involvement in the assassination, but when one manufactures assassination-specialized weapons for a living, who knows what happens to those weapons once they've been delivered to the client? Then again, WerBell may have been happy to admit being a mule for the funds, but less sanguine about admitting that he also provided the weaponry for the job. Given the subsequent events in Dallas that Fonzi was pressing him for information on, WerBell may have intuited that any admission to having supplied weapons to kill Castro could implicate him in Dallas too.

FWIW.....

Thanks, Robert, The Last Investigation was one book I forgot to check. While the quote you cite doesn't suggest the use of Werbell's guns in the assassination, it DOES suggest that Werbell was close to the mob. The only million dollars ever associated with the hits on Castro was the million dollar bounty put on Castro's head by Lansky. When one takes into account that Sturgis and Lorenz made their moves on Castro before the CIA's pills were ready, this should make one suspect that Werbell and Sturgis were in pursuit of Castro's bearded skull BEFORE Sheff Edwards ever had his brainfart to use the mob.

Does Mr. Hemming have a comment on this? Did Sturgis and Werbell know each other? Did they know Lansky and Trafficante? Did S and W ever do L and T's dirty work?

Edited by Pat Speer
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While studying the earwitnesses I came to the conclusion that there was almost certainly a suppressed (or subsonic) shot fired from the Dal-Tex Building. This brings up the question not only of who fired the shot but of who built or designed the suppressor system. Does anyone know what the legendary "genius" designer of suppressed and silenced weapons, Mitch Werbell, was doing at the time of the assassination? Does anyone know when he first began working on suppressors for the M-16? He's quoted in Jim Hougan's Spooks as saying that the CIA was worse than the Mafia, which implies he was familiar with both. Does anyone know if he ever worked with the mob? I believe at least two members of this Forum knew Werbell. Is it possible he was involved in the assassination, or that, at the very least, his weapons systems were used?

Pat:

According to Fonzi, WerBell was already the go-to guy for suppressed firearms in the early to mid-1950s, when his handiwork was already covertly used in what they used to call Indo-China. By WerBell's own admission, he was involved in some capacity in the attempts on Castro's life in the early '60s. "I was sittin' in Miami with a goddamned million dollars in cash for the guy who was gonna take Fidel out," he told Fonzi, who doesn't expound further. However, minimal logic would seem to indicate that if he was already involved in those attempts, even if only as a lowly courier of funds, it would be stupid not to also utilize the expertise he'd already demonstrated by using his weapons for the job of offing Castro. Fonzi seems to give him a pass on personal involvement in the assassination, but when one manufactures assassination-specialized weapons for a living, who knows what happens to those weapons once they've been delivered to the client? Then again, WerBell may have been happy to admit being a mule for the funds, but less sanguine about admitting that he also provided the weaponry for the job. Given the subsequent events in Dallas that Fonzi was pressing him for information on, WerBell may have intuited that any admission to having supplied weapons to kill Castro could implicate him in Dallas too.

FWIW.....

Thanks, Robert, The Last Investigation was one book I forgot to check. While the quote you cite doesn't implicate the use of Werbell's guns in the assassination, it DOES suggest that Werbell was close to the mob. The only million dollars ever associated with the hits on Castro was the million dollar bounty put on Castro's head by Lansky. When one takes into account that Sturgis and Lorenz made their moves on Castro before the CIA's pills were ready, this should make one suspect that Werbell and Sturgis were in pursuit of Castro's bearded skull BEFORE Sheff Edwards ever had his brainfart to use the mob.

Does Mr. Hemming have a comment on this? Did Sturgis and Werbell know each other? Did they know Lansky and Trafficante? Did S and W ever do L and T's dirty work?

Pat

Check the back threads

We have been down this road before

the chunming gang is very heinous

perhaps Al McCoy has a file on WerBell

I thought he might be a gun source for the Cuban counterplans 1960-63.

Check our back threads via Google, there is PROBATIVE material in the forum pages on him.........

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Pat wrote:

It's significant as well that when Cubela asked for a silencer for his rifle, the CIA had Manuel Artime MAKE him one.

Pat, I am very curious re your source for this statement.

Many thanks.

Well, the Church Report discusses Cubela's demanding a silencer and the CIA's decision to provide him one through B-1. The I.G. Report confirms that B-1 is Artime and that his secretary transferred a Belgian FAL rifle with silencer to Cubela on February 10 or 11, 1965. I'm still having trouble remembering where I read that the silencer was actually made by Artime's men and that Cubela found it unsatisfactory.

Pat,

In case you haven't seen this;

http://www.smallarmsreview.com/pdf/hel556.pdf

Werbell was designing and experimenting with suppressors on the AR-15 and the M-16 during the early 1960's.

Werbell below watching over the firing of a suppressed M10.

James

Thanks, James. From what I've seen, Werbell didn't form Sionics until 67. On what source do you have it that Werbell was already messing with AR-15s in the early sixties? I once asked Hemming about this and he said no one in the Florida/anti-Castro world had AR-15s at that early date. The earliest reference I could find to the Florida anti-castro Crowd having AR-15s/M-16s was in 66 before the Masferrer planned raid on Haiti in January 67. I believe those guns were indeed provided by Werbell.

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