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Nixon, Cushman, Hunt and the Bay of Pigs


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This just dropped out of research on Watergate, but I believe has significance in relation to JFK, and though it may have been done to death in this forum, if so, I can't find it with a search.

According to Hunt's "Undercover" autobiography:

1) In 1950 E. Howard Hunt shares an office with "a Marine colonel who had been assigned to CIA." This is Robert Cushman, later to become Commandant of the Marine Corps, then Deputy Director CIA during Watergate.

2) Sometime in March, 1960 (reckoned from Eisenhower's trip to Montevideo 2-3 March 1960) Hunt is summoned to CIA headquarters from Montevideo and named to be "chief of political action for a project recommended by the National Security Council and just approved by President Eisenhower: to assist Cuban exiles in overthrowing Castro." V.P. Richard Nixon secretly is "White House action officer" for the covert plan to overthrow Castro. On Nixon's own trip to Montevideo, just before Eisenhower's, his interpreter has been Vernon Walters (later also Deputy Director CIA, during Watergate). Marine General Robert Cushman (same boy Hunt had shared an office with at CIA, and who will furnish Hunt with all the props involved in Watergate) is Nixon's "senior military aide" in this covert plan, and is the go-between for Nixon and Hunt, purportedly telling Hunt to "inform him of any project difficulties the Vice President might be able to resolve."

3) By July, 1960, Hunt is assigned to Mexico City to carry out his part of the operation, where he spends the summer "with my group of Cuban exile political leaders, from which I was to fashion a government-in-exile." Somewhere around the end of summer (therefore going into the election), Hunt moves his "government-in-exile" to Miami.

I hope this will be of some use in analysis to people far more up to speed on the JFK assassination than I am right now, but I believe it has relevance. This bookends CIA's Cushman, Walters, and Hunt—all involved with Nixon—around the assassination: Bay of Pigs—>JFK Assassination<—Watergate. I also find Hunt's period with the Cubans in Mexico City to be of interest, but can't follow it up any further.

For what it's worth.

Ashton Gray

Edited by Ashton Gray
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Marine General Robert Cushman (same boy Hunt had shared an office with at CIA, and who will furnish Hunt with all the props involved in Watergate) is Nixon's "senior military aide" in this covert plan, and is the go-between for Nixon and Hunt, purportedly telling Hunt to "inform him of any project difficulties the Vice President might be able to resolve." (Ashton Gray)

Thanks, Ashton.

I find this aspect most curious. During Eisenhower's second term, Cushman's official title was 'Assistant for National Security Affairs to Vice President Richard Nixon'.

This poor quality image below shows Cushman (on the left) in Vietnam. Cushman jumped the gun somewhat when he declared to UPI correspondent Robert Miller that Khe Sanh had been won when in fact, it was far from being so. Cushman was also a major player behind 'Operation Pegasus' which featured the talents of Frank Camper who was discussed in a thread the other day.

FWIW.

James

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I find this aspect most curious. During Eisenhower's second term, Cushman's official title was 'Assistant for National Security Affairs to Vice President Richard Nixon'.

And thank you, James. I find it pretty curious, too. I think this is going to grow legs.

This is a little off the subject (maybe—then maybe not), but in the same research, and in correspondence with someone who's helping me on it, I revisited some of Richard Helms's testimony. In one part he is discussing his reaction to Haldeman when Haldeman brought up the Bay of Pigs in the infamous 23 June 1972 meeting. And listen to these rather chilling words—particularly the last one—in this excerpt of testimony from the always (maybe a little "too"?) debonair Mr. Helms:

  • RICHARD HELMS: I recall, as I said earlier this morning, Mr. Haldeman made some reference to the Bay of Pigs. I referred to it as an incoherent reference because it was— frankly, in my recollection, I don't know exactly what he— point he had in mind. But I reacted to that question very firmly. "The Bay of Pigs" is the rubric for a very unhappy event in the life of the CIA. It's been a dead cat that's been thrown at us over the years ever since. And therefore it's one to which I'm likely to react, and react rather quickly, for the simple reason that the Bay of Pigs was long since over; the problems arising from it had been liquidated.

These unctuous vipers do like to put it in your face now and then, don't they.

Ashton

Edited by Ashton Gray
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This is a little off the subject (maybe—then maybe not), but in the same research, and in correspondence with someone who's helping me on it, I revisited some of Richard Helms's testimony. In one part he is discussing his reaction to Haldeman when Haldeman brought up the Bay of Pigs in the infamous 23 June 1972 meeting. And listen to these rather chilling words—particularly the last one—in this excerpt of testimony from the always (maybe a little "too"?) debonair Mr. Helms:
  • RICHARD HELMS: I recall, as I said earlier this morning, Mr. Haldeman made some reference to the Bay of Pigs. I referred to it as an incoherent reference because it was— frankly, in my recollection, I don't know exactly what he— point he had in mind. But I reacted to that question very firmly. "The Bay of Pigs" is the rubric for a very unhappy event in the life of the CIA. It's been a dead cat that's been thrown at us over the years ever since. And therefore it's one to which I'm likely to react, and react rather quickly, for the simple reason that the Bay of Pigs was long since over; the problems arising from it had been liquidated.

These unctuous vipers do like to put it in your face now and then, don't they.

Ashton

God only knows what Helms meant by "liquidated."

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Ashton and Pat,

The 'liquidated' quote is a little unsettling to say the least.

If I remember correctly, Richard Helms and Robert Cushman were questioned by the Senate Watergate Committee on the same day; the only time two witnesses came and went in the one day. Mmmm.

Now I am going off memory here (which is a dangerous ploy) but didn't Helms hint that the White House sent out feelers to get the CIA involved in the cover-up but he wanted to keep the Agency clean? Funny guy.

Pounding his hand dramatically on the table, Helms said and I quote, "The agency had no involvement in the break-in, no involvement whatsoever."

He then went on to say that Eugenio Martinez had been on a $100 a month retainer. :blink:

James

Edited by James Richards
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If I remember correctly, Richard Helms and Robert Cushman were questioned by the Senate Watergate Committee on the same day; the only time two witnesses came and went in the one day. Mmmm.

I think you're thinking about "the other" general, Vernon Walters. This shuffling of generals in-and-out of the Deputy Director CIA post was one part of the shell game they played in their phase-over from their Pentagon Papers/Ellsberg/Fielding op to the Watergate op per se. It's confusing only because that was its design.

(PARENTHETICALLY: As a matter of fact, so thoroughly integral to their con was this "double generals" psy-op, that in the July 23, 1972 meeting with Haldeman and Ehrlichman, Helms goes in and sits literally, physically between General Cushman and General Walters. Cushman does nothing. He essentially has no role in the meeting. He's just there as Tweedle Dee to Tweedle Dum. Most people don't even know or remember he was there. They did this because this meeting was their pivot point for switching the locomotive-of-destruction from CIA onto the White House Express line. I covered some of this "see everything twice" psy-op in the thread on the fantasy "Diem cables" fraud. The forum's own John Gillespie has dubbed this use of near-duplicate things to confuse a "burdensome fog." Great name for it.)

Helms screwed the pooch on contradicting Walters in that testimony, then got his "memory refreshed" by an affidavit Walters had left lying around handy. (Oops.) The article I'd said I was going to post days ago (damn, I hate missing my own deadlines!) is all about the other crucial CIA bait-and-switch that was their entire key to "Watergate," and that testimony is a component of exactly how they implemented it.

Now I am going off memory here (which is a dangerous ploy) but didn't Helms hint that the White House sent out feelers to get the CIA involved in the cover-up but he wanted to keep the Agency clean? Funny guy.

:lol: Exactly right. On both counts. Their own boy, Dean, is the one who sent them the completely insane "feelers" so they could crow about their moral and legal high ground in rebuffing his advances. All just part of the con. So important was it to their script, though, that they had Dean call Walters three days in a row with essentially the same idiotic "feelers." One "no," of course, might have looked like congress between consenting adults, don't you know. So they had him do it three times, on three consecutive days, so they could say they told him "No" three times, and kept their virginity intact. (If you don't laugh at this crap, you might go just as stark raving mad as the CIA itself. I don't know. I've never tried it.)

Pounding his hand dramatically on the table, Helms said and I quote, "The agency had no involvement in the break-in, no involvement whatsoever."

I've heard he pounded his fist on the table only because he couldn't get his shoe off. (I'm joking, for those who might have missed it.)

I'll let you know when I finally get that article finished and posted.

Meanwhile, this Helms-Cushman-Walters-Hunt crew oozing all over Bay of Pigs, continuing in some arrangement through the Dallas/L.A. murders, and crawling all over Watergate is iridescing like a snail trail.

Ashton

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Walters was never part of the inner circle of the CIA and spent most of his life as a diplomat and translator. In his book, he has nothing but nice things to say about Mossadegh, for example, and pulls no punches about the economic reasons for Mossadegh's removal.

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Ashton, have you got a date for the Helms testimony?

Here are the two relevant passages from H. R. Haldeman's book, The Ends of Power (1978)

(1)

I was puzzled when he (Nixon) told me, 'Tell Ehrlichman this whole group of Cubans is tied to the Bay, of Pigs.'

After a pause I said, 'The Bay of Pigs? What does that have to do with this?'

But Nixon merely said, 'Ehrlichman will know what I mean,' and dropped the subject.

After our staff meeting the next morning I accompanied Ehrlichman to his office and gave him the President's message. Ehrlichman's eyebrows arched, and he smiled. `Our brothers from Langley? He's suggesting I twist or break a few arms?'

'I don't know. All he told me was "Tell Ehrlichman this whole group of Cubans is tied to the Bay of Pigs".'

Ehrlichman leaned back in his chair, tapping a pencil on the edge of his desk. 'All right,' he said, 'message accepted.'

'What are you going to do about it?'

'Zero,' said Ehrlichman. 'I want to stay out of this one.'

He was referring to an unspoken feud between C.I.A. Director Richard Helms and Nixon. The two were polar opposites in background: Helms, the aloof, aristocratic, Eastern elitist; Nixon the poor boy (he never let you forget it) from a small California town. Ehrlichman had found, himself in the middle of this feud as far back as 1969, immediately after Nixon assumed office. Nixon had called Ehrlichman into his office and said he wanted all the facts and documents the CIA had on the Bay of Pigs, a complete report on the whole project.

About six months after that 1969 conversation, Ehrlichman had stopped in my office. 'Those bastards in Langley are holding back something. They just dig in their heels and say the President can't have it. Period. Imagine that! The Commander-in-Chief wants to see a document relating to a military operation, and the spooks say he can't have it.'

'What is it?'

'I don't know, but from the way they're protecting it, it must be pure dynamite.'

I was angry at the idea that Helms would tell the President he couldn't see something. I said, 'Well, you remind Helms who's President. He's not. In fact, Helms can damn well find himself out of a job in a hurry.'

That's what I thought! Helms was never fired, at least for four years. But then Ehrlichman had said, 'Rest assured. The point will be made. In fact, Helms is on his way over here right now. The President is going to give him a direct order to turn over that document to me.'

Helms did show up that afternoon and saw the President for a long secret conversation. When Helms left, Ehrlichman returned to the Oval Office. The next thing I knew Ehrlichman appeared in my office, dropped into a chair, and just stared at me. He was more furious than I had ever seen him; absolutely speechless, a rare phenomenon for our White House phrase-makers. I said, 'What happened?'

'This is what happened,' Ehrlichman said. 'The Mad Monk (Nixon) has just told me I am now to forget all about that CIA document. In fact, I am to cease and desist from trying to obtain it.'

When Senator Howard Baker of the Evrin Committee later looked into the Nixon-Helms relationship, he summed it up. 'Nixon and Helms have so much on each other, neither of them can breathe.'

Apparently Nixon knew more about the genesis of the Cuban invasion that led to the Bay of Pigs than almost anyone. Recently, the man who was President of Costa Rica at the time - dealing with Nixon while the invasion was being prepared - stated that Nixon was the man who originated the Cuban invasion. If this was true, Nixon never told it to me.

In 1972 I did know that Nixon disliked the CIA Allen Dulles, the CIA Director in 1960, had briefed Jack Kennedy about the forthcoming Cuban invasion before a Kennedy-Nixon debate. Kennedy used this top secret information in the debate, thereby placing Nixon on the spot. Nixon felt he had to lie and even deny such an invasion was in the works to protect the men who were training in secret. Dulles later denied briefing Kennedy. This betrayal, added to Nixon's long-held feeling that the agency was not adequately competent, led to his distrust and dislike.

And now that antipathy was to emerge again on June 23, 1972, when Nixon would once again confront and pressure the CIA

This time the CIA was ready. In fact, it was more than ready. It was ahead of the game by months. Nixon would walk into what I now believe was a trap.

(2)

So we had failed in our one previous attempt to obtain CIA co-operation, and now in Ehrlichman's office on June 23, 1972, the C.I.A. was stonewalling me again: 'Not connected.' 'No way.' Then I played Nixon's trump card. 'The President asked me to tell you this entire affair may be connected to the Bay of Pigs, and if it opens up, the Bay of Pigs may be blown....'

Turmoil in the room. Helms gripping the arms of his chair leaning forward and shouting, 'The Bay of Pigs had nothing to do with this. I have no concern about the Bay of Pigs.'

Silence. I just sat there. I was absolutely shocked by Helms' violent reaction. Again I wondered, what was such dynamite in the Bay of Pigs story? Finally, I said, 'I'm just following my instructions, Dick. This is what the President told me to relay to you.'

Helms was settling back. 'All right,' he said.

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  • 4 months later...
Ashton, have you got a date for the Helms testimony?

John, I don't know how I missed your post back in July, but having found it by accident in a search, the Helms testimony was Thursday, 2 August 1973.

Not only that, but apparently I owe James Richards a mea culpa or three or seventeen in this thread, since the confusion I alluded to above about which former Deputy Director CIA testified on the same day as Helms was my confusion, and mine alone. So James, it now seems you were absolutely correct: that it was, indeed, General Cushman and not General Vernon Walters who testified that day—although there are records, obviously incorrect, if not downright maliciously false—saying it was Walters and not Cushman.

I apparently made the mistake of a cursory reference to the incorrect records when responding on this point back in July. So please accept my undiluted apology for having mounded up more confusion in an area already knee-deep in it.

Ashton

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  • 1 year later...

Was thinking of starting a Vernon Walters thread, but this one seems to veer into Vernon. Walters seems to be a primary hinge between JFK Assassination and Watergate. His skill with languages made him a good go between.

* depending on who you read, Walters was FLUENT in between seven and fifteen languages!!!!!!!!!!!!! This led to a lot of interesting translating!

* Walters joined with Averell Harriman in convincing Sec of State Marshall that the violence at the Columbia first meeting of the OAS ( an org. that

is described in Thy Will Be Done, as a relative victory for US unilatteralims in Latin American at the expense of the UN internationalists) "was a mere

dress rehersal for future confrontations with the Soviets" (TWBD, p. 204)

* Previously Walters had been military intelligence officer at Pawley's Rio Embassy.

* Walters was at the 1948 OAS meeting in the role of Marshall's interpreter.

* Later he joined Marshall in Europe in helping to set up the Marshall plan, another example of when CIA money was funneled through AID

for covert political operations, that had little to do with the larger explicit purpose of emergency aid and economic development.

* More Brazillian connections that were very usefull in 1963, when the CIA was organizing a coup in spite of Kennedy's wishes-- even as the CIA's

enemy President Goulart met with Kennedy in the US and Kennedy gave a vast increase in AID money to Brazil. The CIA used the governorship

of Recife to channel this AID money towards their own ends in undermining Goulart. While in France working for Marshall Plan, Walters served

as an aid to Averell Harriman.

* These Recife AID "security opperations" that were beyond the ken of Kennedy and Goulart were headed by J. C King. "The CIA spent anywhere

from 5 million ([u.S. Ambassador] Gordon's estimate) to 20 million (former CIA officer Philip Agee's claim, citing a Brazilian congrssional

investigation) to support anti-Goulart activities in 1962 alone." (p. 424, Thy Will Be Done)

* After Goulart's triumphant meeting with Kennedy-- in which he brought home the bacon that would end up cooked so supricously by US advisors

in Regional Brazilion cuisine-- it looked as if CIA destabalalizaiton efforts of the populist former minister of labor were dealt a setback.

Goulart's populist speeches, however, only triggerd more secret meetings between brazilian military and bsuiness leaders and top

U.S. officials, including Washington's newly posted military attache, Vernon Walters. Walters was the perfect man to keep an eye

on Goulart. He was a top intelligence officer and veteran of the U.S. embassy in Brazil in the days of Adolf Berle and William Pawley.

He had also been a close friend of Brazil's powerful General Humberto de Castelo Branco since both had served in the invasion of

Italy during World War II. When Walters arrived at Rio's airport, he was met by fourteen old friends, all of them now generals. One

of them, Catelo Branco, would replace Goulart as the next presidentof Brazil (TWBD, p. 424-425).

* Interestingly Walters Served as Helms Deputy Director of the CIA in 1972 and joined Helms for the fatefull meeting with Nixon and

Haldeman on June 23, 1972. Helms had met with Nixon in 1969 at the very outset of his administration when Nixon made it a priority

to try to package together all of the CIA's notes and files on the Bay of Pigs. It is generally agreed that Helms made it clear that the

the CIA could sink Nixon if it tried to push for the agency to hand over all of the Bay of Pigs files to the White House.

So why did Helms bring Walters along for the famous meeting in June of 1972, the one in which Nixon got Haldeman to ask the CIA to stop the

FBI's investigation of the Watergate money trail? Was it because Nixon expliitly asked Walters to come with Helms for the meeting in 1972, as

powers tells us? (p. 259 The Man who Kept the Secrets)

* Powers also reminds us that Walters had served as Nixon's translator at meeting with Castro in 1959. Might Walters have translated

any other meetings btw. Nixon and other Cubans on that 1959 trip? Various authors tell us that Nixon's trust of Walters was solidified

later on that 1959 trip when Walters helped Nixon translate the kitchen sink as it was being thrown at him in the famous tumultuous

Nixon visit to Venezuela. Nixon thought perceived Walters as his way of gaining greater control of the CIA. Was this an accurate

perception?

Now in lite of this, consider what Ashton Gery wote at the begininnig of this thread:

*Sometime in March, 1960 (reckoned from Eisenhower's trip to Montevideo 2-3 March 1960) Hunt is summoned to CIA headquarters from Montevideo and named to be "chief of political action for a project recommended by the National Security Council and just approved by President Eisenhower: to assist Cuban exiles in overthrowing Castro." V.P. Richard Nixon secretly is "White House action officer" for the covert plan to overthrow Castro. On Nixon's own trip to Montevideo, just before Eisenhower's, his interpreter has been Vernon Walters (later also Deputy Director CIA, during Watergate).

Was Walters privy to some of the Nixon led anti-castro operations that also may have continued later on without the knowledge of Kennedy?

His close ties to Pawley and J.C. King make this seem like a real posiblity. Certainly in Brazil he seems like the type who would have very

limiteded remorse about CIA actions that ran counter to the will of the president.

Later I will look at some more Walters stuff, in particular an interesting memo that he wrote on July 6th, 1972.

Finally, it is interesting to note Walters 3 jobs beween 1972 and 1974. First he is Deputy Director to Helms, then he is Interim Acting Director, then he is again Deputy Director, this time to Schlessinger. If we see Watergate as a period of final renegotiation betweeen the CIA and and the President culiminating in the final greater autonomy of the CIA, then Walters 3 jobs seem worthy of greater scrutiny. His role could reveal a great deal about how the CIA survived the last Presidential threat to its autonomy.

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