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More on Barnes:

From The Very Best Men (p.311) it's clear that post BOP, Barnes, while running the Domestic Operations Division

1. had to pay off the widows of the sheep-dipped Alabama National Guard pilots killed at the Bay of Pigs.

2. did the ops no one else wanted (not explained)

3. sold off unwanted CIA assets (which means he was managing a number of paper companies--which could have been used to cover official CIA involvement in any number of schemes)

4.was put in charge of a couple of agents in India and Switxerland, who were just drawing expenses (it doesn't say what Barnes arranged for them to do)

Thomas also quotes Hunt as saying that Barnes "wanted a real station doing ops in the United States." If the CIA proper was involved in the assassination, it certtainly sounds like Barnes could be the man.

I also found a few tidbits on Barnes in Bitter Fruit, by Stephen Scleshinger and Stephen Kinzer, about the 1954 coup in Guatemala. While much is made of Hunt's and Phillps' roles, it's not widely reported that they both were hired by Barnes. On page 217 it details a cocktail party thrown for the CIA "heroes," attended by Eisenhower and Nixon. The heroes included Barnes, Rip Robertson and David Phillips. Hunt had already been re-assigned in Asia. Anyhow, I find it intriguing that the authors quote Phillips as claiming that Nixon asked the most incisive questions, and "demonstrated a thorough knowledge of the Guatemalan political situation." This would indicate that Nixon was well aware of Hunt and his abilities as early as 1954, seeing as Hunt was the political action officer of the coup.

I found another tidbit in Presidents' Secret Wars, by John Prado. This is supported as well by Thomas' book. And that is that Barnes came from the same lawfirm as Frank Wisner and Gordon Gray, who headed the Psychological Strategy Board. In fact, Barnes' introduction to the high levels of the intelligence community came at Gray's side, after being hired as Gray's assisitant. Of course the reason this is relevant now is that the Gray family is thoroughly connected to the Bush family, with Gordon having been one of Prescott's golf buddies and his boy Boyden (Boy) being George H.W."s personal attorney.

So, if Barnes was involved as the point man for a right-wing coup, there's no telling where it leads.

Edited by John Simkin
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Excellant post and extremely thought provoking. Especially so because obviously Evan Thomas couldn't dig up much on what Domestic Operations really meant and because Domestic Operations were inherently against the CIA charter. The examples provided read much like David Phillips description of his role in Mexico City, which he significantly downplayed into a minor security staff position. The mere fact that Barnes wanted a US Station for operations says a lot. The question is how far CIA went down that road. We know they did go a long ways with Angleton's MKCHOS operation targeting the Viet Nam anti war effort. Perhaps that leveraged something Barnes had already put in place. Fighting perceied enemies (or perhaps dupes of foreign powers as they would be considered) at home would have been a fine duty for a US station.

However there were serious domestic operations going on in the United States, they included both counter intelligence activities and operations against designated organizations seen to support US enemies - the project against the FPCC jumps to mind. Given a relationship between Phillips and Barnes and Veciana's observaton of someone looking like Oswald with Phillips in Dallas in the same time period as Oswald's trip to Mexico City the implications get significant.

And certainly if resources were needed for a conspiracy against JFK where better to find them than among the secret proprietary companies and surplus assets that Barnes seems to have been assigned to manage.

Barnes, Phillips, Robertson, (you have to add in Morales from the heros of Guatamala, he was in the Eisenhower visit as well) an operation against the FPCC, access to secret assets and proprietaries...and all parties carrying personal grudges and trauma from the BOP failure.

Perhaps Barnes is a very important piece of the puzzle. And Domestic Operations, whatever it really did.

-- Larry

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Larry, do you have copies of Penn Jones books: Forgive My Grief I (1966), Forgive My Grief II (1967), Forgive My Grief III (1974), and Forgive My Grief VI (1976). If so, does he say anything about the relationship between Smathers/Smith/Kilgallen.

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Thanks to the earlier dialog on Barnes, I've done a bit more homework and would encourage anyone interested in exploring Barnes activities following the Bay of Pigs and the activities of Domestic Operations in particular to post anything they turn up and to get in touch with me. I will be adding information on Barnes to my book including the following:

He joined CIA in 1947 after working with Dulles during WWII on an abortive German early surrender project, he went on an extremely fast track to become Chief of Political and Psychological Staff during the Korean War and then served in Germany as COS in the same timeframe that Morales joined the CIA there. It seems very possible that Barnes became a sponsor for Morales and that might account for Morales own fast track both into PBSUCCESS where Barnes served in a key role as chief over Phillips, Hunt and Morales as well as Rip Robertson. It may also explain Morales move into JMWAVE when Barnes became ADP under Bissell, running many of the aspects of the Cuban Project. It appears that Barnes and Bissell were perhaps the only two in the Project with knowledge of the top secret assassination plans against Castro.

In fact, a recent CIA study of the BOP IG report and Barnes aggressive response to it's criticism notes that Bissell and Barnes may have placed way to much confidence in Castro being assassinated; it also notes that Barnes was essentially in denial if not worse over the failure of the project, blaming it virutually all on JFK and the air support issue. Check it out at:

http://www.cia.gov/csi/studies/winter98_99/art08.html

Given Barnes senior agency position, his loss of status and move into the very mysterous Domestic Ops position in Feb 63 (with Hunt working for him) and his documented associations with Morales, Robertson and Phillips, I think further study of his activities in 1963 is well deserved.

-- Larry

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Morrow also claims he purchased three Mannlicher-Carcanos and delivered them to David Ferrie, as I remember.  That part I'm not so sure about.

And, according to Morrow, the person who requested he buy the rifles was Tracy Barnes. Barnes made the request on July 1, 1963 for 4 7.35 MC rifles, available from Sonny's Supply stores in Baltimore. Barnes asked Morrow to modify them so they could be easily dismantled, hidden, and reassembled.

Morrow bought 4, but when he found a screw on one had been stripped, Barnes told him 3 would suffice, and said someone Morrow knew would pick them up in a few weeks. The man who picked them up was David Ferrie, who said they were to be used to assassinate a head of state. Ferrie then added that it was Juan Bosch of the Dominican Republic.

On 11/23/63 Morrow says he was in a panic because of the rifles (and 4 transceivers he had supplied to Eladio del Valle), and called Barnes, who told him that he (Morrow) was "clean as a whistle."

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A bit more on Barnes... I went through my library and searched for Barnes and this is what came up...

Joseph Trento's Secret History of the CIA pg 211. Barnes conducts a meeting at CIA headquarters in which he discusses the purchase of a cigarrette factory in Africa as cover. This occurs in August 61 and Bill Harvey's deputy is there. The story implies that Barnes and perhaps the DOD were at least tangentially involved with the ZRRifle program.

Hickle and Turner's Deadly Secrets pg. 41 explains that Hunt was sometimes sloppy but that Barnes protected him within the agency. It goes on to say that Hunt's recommendations for Castro's assassination were given to Barnes, who presented them to the special group. (I believe it's reported elsewhere that his recommentations were given to Cushman, who gave them to Nixon) Maybe both are true.

Joseph B Smith's Portrait of a Cold Warrior pg.346 confirms that Barnes was given a new division, the Domestic Operations Division, after the BOP, and that Hunt went to work for him.

Anthony Summers' The Arrogance of Power, pg. 186, supports the Morrow assertion that both Barnes and Nixon were privy to the Kohly/Morrow counterfeiting scheme.

Donald Freed's Death in Washington pg.46 portrays Barnes as an extremist, along with Hunt and Phillips and asserts that the DOD ran illegal domestic fronts, including one as the FPCC in New Orleans. (Does he mean Oswald?)

David Wise's American Police State details pg.222 how in Feb. 1960 Barnes approved a plan to "disable" an Iraqi colonel sympathetic to communism by sending him a poison handkerchief. Sidney Gottlieb verified sending the handkerchief, but the colonel was killed by other means before he got the chance to use it. Nevertheless, this shows Barnes' openness to assassination. Oddly, according to an article by Richard Sale dated 4-10-03, Saddam Hussein was working with the CIA at that point as an assassin.

Dick Russell's The Man Who Knew Too Much pg. 306 repeats Morrow's claim that Barnes had William Sullivan remove Oswald's name from the security index. More importantly, on pg. 168 he asserts that the Domestic Contact Service was part of the DOD, which means J. Walton Moore, the CIA agent who kept an eye on Oswald through De Mohrenschildt, was Barnes' employee. This could be a breakthrough! Can anyone confirm that the DCS was part of the DOD?

Finally, in Richard Helms' A look Over My Shoulder he asserts that Barnes was Dulles' pet pg. 166. He goes on to say that Barnes was "unable to get the hang of secret operations" and that due to "Dulles' constant praise and pushing, Tracy apparently remained unaware of his problem." Seeing as Helms asserts elsewhere in his book, his final word on all things CIA, that the Garrison investigation and the Stone movie were the results of a long-time KGB operation, this could be disinfo perpetrated by a convicted perjurer on his deathbed.

I hope others find this angle as intriguing as I do. I said it earlier, but re-reading these passages really confirms it for me. If elements of the CIA were involved in the assassination, Barnes was the one who was in the best position to both head the operation and disguise his involvement.

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I hope others find this angle as intriguing as I do.  I said it earlier, but re-reading these passages really confirms it for me.  If elements of the CIA were involved in the assassination, Barnes was the one who was in the best position to both head the operation and disguise his involvement.

Good stuff, Pat.

I find this most interesting indeed. Barnes has always been on my list of major suspects. I agree with your assessment and Barnes may well have been the link in the chain above David Morales.

James

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Thanks very much for the additional Barnes post Pat, I admire your library!!

I'd sure like to know when in 1961 that meeting about an African cover company was but my guess would be later in the year perhaps when Barnes was making a transition to Domestic Ops but also getting other miscellaneous jobs. It would be most interesting if they had given him responsiblity for front companies both inside and outside the US.

I'm particulary interested in the Freed book which sounds like it paints Barnes as an extreamist - that would be more in line with what Thomas says about him after the BOP and less like the even tempered, sort of vanilla guy that other books seem to describe.

Even more interesting is the talk about domestic fronts and the FPCC... of course Oswald's FPCC front is almost a picture book combination of the sort of "false flag" operation so dearly loved by both Fitzgerald and used by him in SE Asia. The combination of Fitzgerald and Barnes running a flase flag operation against the FPCC using Oswald and functioning say as part of QKENCHANT under Domestic Operations would certainly explain all of Oswald's doings in New Orleans.

However Barnes involvement in any project agaist an Iraq Col in 1960 when he was under Bissell on the Cuba Project is a real eye opener and does indeed suggest that Barnes may somehow have been operating much more directly with Harvey and ZRRIFLE than we have realized. Certainly their is nothing in Barnes 1960 job description at JMWAVE that would explain it. But we do know he let Harvey carry on the whole ZRRIFLE project while at JMWAVE so it may be that CIA managed to keep a whole lot from the Church Committee.

One last note, I think we (well somebody) now knows all the paperwork on the removal of Oswald's name from the security index so we should probably be able to resolve whether it did come from Barnes or was strictly inside the FBI. If it came from Barnes that would be monumental but I think that may be too good to be true.

-- Larry

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I spent a little time at the local university library yesterday and came across a few more tidbits on Barnes and the DOD.

In Ray Cline's book The CIA Under Reagan Bush and Casey pg. 245 he states that in 1975 the CIA was re-alligned and the domestic contact service was moved to the clandestine services. I'm not sure but that seems to indicate that it was previously NOT under the jurisdiction of the DDP, which could very well indicate that it was under Barnes' DOD in 1961-1963.

In Uncloaking The CIA (1978), Victor Marchetti (former CIA employee--wasn't he Helms' assistant?) insists on pg. 10 that the Domestic Ops Division is just like any other division, only that it does its spying in the U.S. "This area is more sensitive and requires more secrecy." Which could explain why so few of the books by former CIA honchos even mention it. Does it still exist? Did they change the name?

On page 154 of this same book Kirkpatrick Sale (related to Richard Sale?) writes that according to Seymour Hersh 25 agents of the DOD were engaged in infiltration and spying on the new left within New York City alone. I need to go back and refresh my memory because for some reason I thought this infiltration was under Angleton's command. Maybe that was only the mail interception. Sale also makes note on this page that the CIA was possibly funding the Young Americans For Freedom, founded by Hunt's best buddy William F Buckley. If this is so this could indicate DOD involvement. Does anyone know if the Young Americans were involved in any anti-Castro activity?

In The CIA File (1976) David Wise pg. 103 asserts that the very title of the DOD flouted the intentions of congress. He also seems to believe that the cover companies for JMWAVE --Zenith Technical Enterprises, etc. were among the proprietaries overseen by the DOD.

But it was The Spymasters, from 1999, that gave me the freshest of nuggets. On pg. 88, in an interview, Richard Bissell asserts that he believed that Tracy Barnes consulted with the state department before approving the passage of carbines to dissidents in the Dominican Republic. When I followed this up by reading the Church Report pg. 200, however, I found that they found no record of any such consultation, and, not only that, they found records indicating that HQ (Barnes) requested the local station in the DR make sure that the military consul (Dearborn) also not tell the state department! It asserts that the state department wasn't told for weeks after. Dearborn told the committee that he believed someone at state had been consulted in advance... uh huh, that's why there's a cable stating that the CIA wanted them to wait for the station officer to return to the DR before consulting with the state department... Anyhow, what's surprising, considering that all the media summaries of the assassination plots try to imply that they all failed, is that one of Trujillo's assassins, Antonio de la Maza, used one of the carbines approved by Barnes!!! Thus, our boy Tracy may be the only CIA official acknowledged by the U.S. Government to have sponsored the assassination of another country's head-of-state. Looks good on the resume.

Still digging!

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  • 3 weeks later...

While doing a Search-in-the-Books search on Barnes at Amazon.com (there are over 1,000 references), I’ve come across a suspicion that Barnes was complicit in the murder of Black Panther Alex Rackley in New Haven, CT.

There was a Black Panther chapter in New Haven. In 1969 Black Panther founder Bobby Seale made a cross-country trip from Oakland, CA to New Haven to speak at Yale. This put him in New Haven on the day that Rackley was tortured and murdered by fellow Black Panthers, who thought Rackley was a police informer. Seale allegedly ordered the murder and was put on trial in New Haven.

Barnes had left the CIA and was special assistant to Yale president Kingman Brewster. From page 403 of The Guardians: Kingman Brewster, His Circle, and the Rise of the Liberal Establishment, by Geoffrey Kabaservice (NY: Henry Holt, 2004):

“The link between Yale and the Panther trial was suggested rather than established. Zanger heard a story that Brewster’s ex-CIA assistant Tracy Barnes had helped facilitate Seale’s visit to New Haven on the day of Rackley’s murder. Furthermore, ‘the Black Panther organization was riddled with informers. . . . And then you had the decision made to discipline this comrade, and Bobby Seale was asked for an OK, like the Mafia condoning a hit. . . . And lo and behold, Seale happens to be in New Haven at the right time. So it attract(ed) a certain amount of speculative attention to who in the Yale administration might have been horsing around with this.’”

BTW assisting the defense in Seale’s trial was activist Yale law student Hillary Rodham Clinton. The trial ended with a hung jury and charges were dismissed.

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Interesting Ron; it's also interesting that one of the self admitted people in Dallas on November 22 - Roy Hargraves - was active the late 60's in a variety of anti-Panther activities in Los Angleles, including bombings of Black Panther offices.

On the subject of Barnes, thanks largely to some great literature digging by Pat and due to the stimulus of this thread, readers of my upcoming second edition are going to see a lot more about Mr. Barnes, the Domestic Contact Service, Domestic Operations and chief of Domestic Operations Covert operations in 1963, Mr. Howard Hunt.

Seems I had not given nearly enough credit to the position and capabilities of Mr. Barnes. Clearly Barnes was not the vague, mild mannered guy described to Evan Thomas for characterization in his book.

-- Larry

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Pat,

Where Morrow gains credibility is that he was convicted in the 1960's for counterfeiting--he was part of a plot led by a right-wing Cuban named Mario Kohly to de-stabilize the Cuban economy by making false money and then using the false money to fund a Cuban counter-revolution.

It's been a while since I read Morrow's book. Do you remember what currency they were counterfeiting? Was it Mexican pesos?

The reason I ask is that in Marina Oswald's WC testimony she said that she knew that LHO had been in Mexico because he brought her back a Mexican Peso that was turned into a necklace or something. It was such an odd exchange, that after reading Morrow's book, I wondered if Marina wasn't trying to tell us something.

Steve Thomas

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Pat,

David Wise's American Police State details pg.222 how in Feb. 1960 Barnes approved a plan to "disable" an Iraqi colonel sympathetic to communism by sending him a poison handkerchief. Sidney Gottlieb verified sending the handkerchief, but the colonel was killed by other means before he got the chance to use it.

Poison seemed to be the CIA's assissination weapon of choice didn't it?

This Iraqi colonel you mentioned... Patrice Lumumba of the Congo...Castro in Cuba.

Seems like poison was the first thing they went to.

Steve Thomas

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Pat,

Where Morrow gains credibility is that he was convicted in the 1960's for counterfeiting--he was part of a plot led by a right-wing Cuban named Mario Kohly to de-stabilize the Cuban economy by making false money and then using the false money to fund a Cuban counter-revolution.

It's been a while since I read Morrow's book. Do you remember what currency they were counterfeiting?  Was it Mexican pesos?

The reason I ask is that in Marina Oswald's WC testimony she said that she knew that LHO had been in Mexico because he brought her back a Mexican Peso that was turned into a necklace or something. It was such an odd exchange, that  after reading Morrow's book, I wondered if Marina wasn't trying to tell us something.

Steve Thomas

Steve,

It was Cuban currency. (Pesos) From the November 1, 1965 issue of On Target, published monthly by the Minutemen (Robert DePugh):

"...Now the United States government has sentenced president Kohly to one year in the federal penitentiary for trying to liberate his own country. [some stuff about the Kennedy administration having Kohly arrested because further invasions by exiles were prohibited]

For the above reasons he consulted with an Annapolis Attorney named Walter Schultz as to the legality of printing Cuban Pesos to be used by his underground in Cuba to purchase arms and also to be used in wrecking Fidel Castro's shaky economy. The Attorney was most enthusiastic about the plan. Two days later he brought a federal agent to President Kohly's home in Arlington, Virginia and introduced the federal agnet as "my printer, who will make the Cuban pesos for you." Sr. Kohly was encouraged by both his lawyer and the plates from which the "printer" would make the bills. At their instigation President Kohly had one Robert Morrow of Baltimore make the plates from which Cuban pesos could have been printed."

The Free Cuba News (May 11, 1963. Published by the Citizens Committee to Free Cuba) has a sample Cuban peso with the words in Spanish:

"VALUELESS FOR FOOD

VALUELESS FOR CLOTHING

BECAUSE COMMUNISM IS HUNGER MISERY AND DESTRUCTION

THIS IS THE WORK OF THE GREAT TRAITOR"

Circulating in Cuba, in unknown quantieis, the "anti-Castro peso presents holders with a dilemma. If they try to cash it at the bank, they risk being accused of collaborating with the resistance. If they attempt to pass it on, the *do* collaborate. If they hide it or destroy it, they take the loss.

Dave

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