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Cuban Smoke and the French Connection:Why the CIA installed Fidel Castro


Paul Rigby
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Paul, you have started a very interesting thread that raises all sorts of issues about the nature of US foreign policy. The main point I would like to make at this stage is that the CIA’s relationship with presidents of the US is very complex. One reason for this is that the CIA has not always been united in its carrying out of the US government’s foreign policy. Between 1917 and 1989 the main concern of the US is to create anti-left-wing governments.

This conflict has often arisen as a result of a difference of opinion about the best way of doing this. Those on the right believe the best way forward is to encourage the development of right-wing governments. In the case of the undeveloped world this has meant the support of military dictators such as Fulgencio Batista. This of course coincided with many of their business friends who had large investments in these countries. See for example the pages on Jacobo Arbenz and this thread on the forum (Guatemala, Cuba and the JFK Assassination):

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKarbenz.htm

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=5945

However, there were other CIA officers who believed this was the wrong approach to the threat of communism. They pointed out that communist revolutions had only taken place in countries which had not introduced democratic reforms in the 19th and 20th centuries. They argued the best way of stopping communism spreading was to encourage the development of governments willing to introduce moderate reforms. This is why some figures in the CIA and the US State Department argued in favour of supporting Castro’s struggle against Batista. They argued that Batista was so corrupt that it was only a matter of time before he was overthrown. Therefore, it was important that he was overthrown by someone who had received the support of the CIA. Castro was seen as an ambitious politician who could be corrupted once in power. I am sure this strategy would have worked and after bringing in limited reforms, Castro would have developed a close relationship with those Americans, including the Mafia, with business interests in Cuba.

The problem is that this was not the policy of Dwight Eisenhower who still remembered the great success of the CIA operation in Guatemala in 1954. Eisenhower’s tough stance against Castro drove him into the hands of the Soviet Union (he had nowhere else to go).

Interestingly, John F. Kennedy changed this policy to the third world in 1962. See David Kaiser’s great book, American Tragedy:

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=7305

For anyone interested in this subject I would suggest that they read Earl E. T. Smith gave evidence to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary on 27th August, 1960.

http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/us-cub...rdner-smith.htm

For example, this passage is very relevant to these discussions:

F. W. Sourwine: Mr. Smith, when you were appointed Ambassador to Cuba, were you briefed on the job?

Earl E. Smith: Yes; I was.

F. W. Sourwine: Who gave you this briefing?

Earl E. Smith: I spent 6 weeks in Washington, approximately 4 days of each week, visiting various agencies and being briefed by the State, Department and those whom the State Department designated.

F. W. Sourwine: Any particular individual or individuals who, had a primary part in this briefing?

Earl E. Smith: The answer is, in the period of 6 weeks I was briefed by numbers of people in the usual course as every Ambassador is briefed.

F. W. Sourwine: Is it true, sir, that you were instructed to get a briefing on your new job as Ambassador to Cuba from Herbert Matthews of the New York Times?

Earl E. Smith: Yes; that is correct.

F. W. Sourwine: Who gave you these instructions?

Earl E. Smith: William Wieland, Director of the Caribbean Division and Mexico. At that time he was Director of the Caribbean Division, Central American Affairs.

F. W. Sourwine: Did you, sir, in fact see Matthews?

Earl E. Smith: Yes; I did.

F. W. Sourwine: And did he brief you on the Cuban situation?

Earl E. Smith: Yes; he did.

F. W. Sourwine: Could you give us the highlights of what he told you?...

Earl E. Smith: We talked for 2 1/2 hours on the Cuban situation, a complete review o£ his feelings regarding Cuba, Batista, Castro, the situation in Cuba, and what he thought would happen.

F. W. Sourwine: What did he think would happen?

Earl E. Smith: He did not believe that the Batista government could last, and that the fall of the Batista government would come relatively soon.

F. W. Sourwine: Specifically what did he say about Castro?

Earl E. Smith: In February 1957 Herbert L. Matthews wrote three articles on Fidel Castro, which appeared on the front page of the New York Times, in which he eulogized Fidel Castro and portrayed him as a political Robin Hood, and I would say that he repeated those views to me in our conversation....

F. W. Sourwine: What did Mr. Matthews tell you about Batista?

Earl E. Smith: Mr. Matthews had a very poor view of Batista, considered him a rightist ruthless dictator whom he believed to be corrupt. Mr. Matthews informed me that he had very knowledgeable views of Cuba and Latin American nations, and had seen the same things take place in Spain. He believed that it would be in the best interest of Cuba and the best interest of the world in general when Batista was removed from office.

F. W. Sourwine: It was true that Batista's government was corrupt, wasn't it?

Earl E. Smith: It is true that Batista's government was corrupt. Batista was the power behind the Government in Cuba off and on for 25 years. The year 1957 was the best economic year that Cuba had ever had.

However, the Batista regime was disintegrating from within. It was becoming more corrupt, and as a result, was losing strength. The Castro forces themselves never won a military victory. The best military victory they ever won was through capturing Cuban guardhouses and military skirmishes, but they never actually won a military victory.

The Batista government was overthrown because of the corruption, disintegration from within, and because of the United States and the various agencies of the United States who directly and indirectly aided the overthrow of the Batista government and brought into power Fidel Castro.

F. W. Sourwine: What were those, agencies, Mr. Smith?

Earl E. Smith: The US Government agencies - may I say something off the record?

(Discussion off the record.)

F. W. Sourwine: Mr. Smith, the pending question before you read your statement was: What agencies of the US Government had a hand in bringing pressure to overthrow the Batista government, and how did they do it?

Earl E. Smith: Well, the agencies, certain influential people, influential sources in the State Department, lower down echelons in the CIA. I would say representatives of the majority of the US Government agencies which have anything to do with the Embassy...

F. W. Sourwine: Mr. Smith, when you talked with Matthews to get the briefing before you went to Cuba, was he introduced to you as having any authority from the State Department or as being connected with the State Department in any way?

Earl E. Smith: Let me go back. You asked me a short while ago who arranged the meeting with Mr. Matthews.

F. W. Sourwine: And you said Mr. Wieland.

Earl E. Smith: I said Wilham Wieland, but Wilham Wieland also had to have the approval of Roy Rubottom, who was then Assistant Secretary of State for Latin American Affairs. Now, to go back to this question, as I understood it, you said - would you mind repeating that again?

F. W. Sourwine: I asked if, when you were, sent to Mr. Matthews for this briefing, he was introduced to you as having any official connection with the State Department or any authority from the Department?

Earl E. Smith: Oh, no. I knew who he was, and they obviously knew I knew who he was, but I believe, that they thought it would be a good idea for me to get the viewpoint of Herbert Matthews, and also I think that Herbert Matthews is the leading Latin American editorial writer for the New York Times. Obviously the State Department would like to have the support of the New York Times...

James Eastland: Mr. Smith, we have had hearings, a great many, in Miami, with prominent Cubans, and there is a thread that runs through the whole thing that people connected with some Government agency went to Cuba and called on the chiefs of the armed forces and told them that we would not recognize the government of the President-elect, and that we would not back him, and that because of that the chiefs of the armed forces told Batista to leave the country, and they set up a government in which they attempted to make a deal with Castro. That is accurate, isn't it, Tom?

Thomas Dodd: I would say so, yes...

James Eastland: Let me ask you this question. As a matter of fact, isn't it your judgment that the State Department of the United States is primarily responsible for bringing Castro to power in Cuba?

Earl E. Smith: No, sir, I can't say that the State Department in itself is primarily responsible. The State Department played a large part in bringing Castro to power. The press, other Government agencies, Members of Congress are responsible...

James Eastland: You had been warning the State Department that Castro was a Marxist?

Earl E. Smith: Yes, sir.

James Eastland: And that Batista's government was a friendly government. That is what had been your advice as to the State Department?

Earl E. Smith: Let me answer that this way, which will make it very clear. When I went to Cuba, I left here with the definite feeling according to my briefings which I had received, that the U.S. Government was too close to the Batista regime, and that we were being accused of intervening in the affairs of Cuba by trying to perpetuate the Batista dictatorship.

After I had been in Cuba for approximately 2 months, and had made a study of Fidel Castro and the revolutionaries, it was perfectly obvious to me as it would be to any other reasonable man that Castro was not the answer; that if Castro came to power, it would not be in the best interests of Cuba or in the best interests of the United States....

In my own Embassy there were certain ones of influence who were pro-26th of July, pro-Castro, and anti-Batista.

James Eastland: Who were they?

Earl E. Smith: Do I have to answer that question, Senator?

James Eastland: Yes, I think you have to. We are not going into it unnecessarily.

Earl E. Smith: I don't want to harm anybody. That is the reason I asked.

I would say the Chief of the Political Section, John Topping, and the Chief of the CIA Section. It was revealed that the No. 2 CIA rnan in the embassy had given unwarranted and undue encouragement to the revolutionaries. This came out in tke trials of naval officers after the Cienfuegos revolution of September I957...

James Eastland: He (Batista) didn't have to leave. He had not been defeated by armed force.

Earl E. Smith: Let me put it to you this way: that there are a lot of reasons for Batista's moving out. Batista had been in control off and on for 25 years. His government was disintegrating, at the end due to corruption, due to the fact that he had been in power too long. Police brutality was getting worse.

On the other hand there were three forces that kept Batista in power. He had the support of the armed forces, he had support of the labor leaders. Cuba enjoyed a good economy.

Nineteen hundred and fifty-seven was one of the best years in the economic history of Cuba. The fact that the United States was no longer supporting Batista had a devastating psychological effect, upon the armed forces and upon the leaders of the labor movement. This went a long way toward bringing about his downfall.

On the other hand, our actions in the United States were responsible for the rise to power of Castro. Until certain portions of the American press began to write derogatory articles against the Batista government, the Castro revolution never got off first base.

Batista made the mistake of overemphasizing the importance of Prio, who was residing in Florida, and underestimating the importance of Castro. Prio was operating out of the United States, out of Florida, supplying the revolutionaries with arms, ammunition, bodies and money.

Batista told me that when Prio left Cuba, Prio and Alameia (Aleman) took $140 million out of Cuba. If we cut that estimate in half, they may have shared $70 million. It is believed that Prio spent a great many millions of dollars in the United States assisting the revolutionaries. This was done right from our shores....

F. W. Sourwine: Is there any doubt in your mind that the Cuban Government, under Castro, is a Communist government?

Earl E. Smith: Now?

F. W. Sourwine: Yes.

Earl E. Smith: I would go further. I believe it is becoming a satellite.

The logical thing for the Russians to do would be to move into Cuba which they had already done, and to take over, which they would do by a mutual security pact.

Then, when the United States objects, all they have to say is:

"We will get out of Cuba when you get out of Turkey."

Thomas Dodd: You are not suggesting-

Earl E. Smith: That is a speech I made in February.

Thomas Dodd: Yes, but you are not suggesting that the Communists will cease and desist from their activities in Cuba and Central and South America, or anywhere else, if we get out of these other places?

Earl E. Smith: Out of Turkey?

Thomas Dodd: Yes.

Earl E. Smith: It would mean a great deal to them if we got out of Turkey. I am no expert on Turkey.

Thomas Dodd: You do not have to be an expert on Turkey, but you ought to be a little bit of an expert on the Communists to know this would not follow at all.

Every time we have retreated from one place, they have moved into new areas.

Earl E. Smith: Senator, I did not say what they would do.

Thomas Dodd: I know, but...

Earl E. Smith: That they would move into Cuba to retaliate with us.

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Since when did the "Eastern Establishment," or The Rockefeller/Morgan Trusts, or any Wall Street financial house/brokerage firm need a political label, to begin with? The only party they belong to is the one they've created to ensure their investment portfolios, and to secure their holdings, and their bank accounts, into perpetuity. They don't give a rat's ass what you call them because they don't require any partisan participation, nor allegiance, from the left or the right. If anything, they are the ''right," as in "fascism," regardless of any name you might want to hang on them. Their economic philosophy is steeped in the European tradition of the baronial/colonial oligarchal system. How anyone can buy into the idea of a democrat/republican, right-wing/left-wing, liberal/conservative political faction at work here, with these families, is ludicrous. They'll put their money wherever, and with whomever's "cause celebre," or noble ideal they think might turn them a profit. Operation Mockingbird at work here, ready to placate the masses into believing that, "We're on your side, no matter which side you happen to be on. You name it, we'll claim it." They'll play both sides of the fence for maximum return on the dividend.

Well said, Terry.

And any careful study of what can be known about CIA traces its lineage invariably back to international oil, banking, and armaments interests. It also demonstrates CIA's consistent loyalty, always, to international oil, banking, and armaments interests, regardless of the cost in American lives and American interests.

The argument over whether CIA is "monolithic" or not is entirely specious. It is as specious as arguing whether the United States Army is "monolithic" or not. The CIA is militaristic. The CIA is autocratic. Whatever "uniform" its soldiers wear, whether from Brooks Brothers or the CIA costume department, it is no less regimented in its objectives, strategies, and tactics.

The notion of "rogue elements" of CIA wandering off to set agendas of their own is laughable. It is as laughable as the grossly distorted "Cowboy and Yankee" dichotomy that Varnell obliquely embraces consistently, even when soft-pedaling it.

The alliances between, e.g., Texas oil interests and international oil interest, and the alliances between all oil interests and international banking interests so far outweigh the postulated Helgian-Marxist toy models of "conflicts" (class, geography, politics, Stetson-vs.-fedora, WTF-ever), that it's like dropping an anvil into one balance and a gnat in the other.

It goes far beyond mere "alliances," though. It takes only the most cursory glance by an eighth grade economics student to comprehend that there is an inseverable interdependency between and amongst all oil interests, and all international banking interests, and all armament interests—South, East, North, and West.

Whatever internecine squabbles, whatever jockeying for position in the pyramid and pecking order, whatever submerged "rivalries" might make a minor ripple on the surface, you're either in that game, playing inside the boundaries, and playing by the rules (which they wrote for themselves), or don't even bother stopping for a shower on your way out. You won't need it.

When and as these overarching, governing canons are ignored in favor of jejune "analyses" postulating "rogue factions" of CIA off on their own little junkets and mutinies based on petty political ideologies, research and discussion are reduced to the level of Mother Goose.

Ashton

Edited by Ashton Gray
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Since when did the "Eastern Establishment," or The Rockefeller/Morgan Trusts, or any Wall Street financial house/brokerage firm need a political label, to begin with? The only party they belong to is the one they've created to ensure their investment portfolios, and to secure their holdings, and their bank accounts, into perpetuity. They don't give a rat's ass what you call them because they don't require any partisan participation, nor allegiance, from the left or the right. If anything, they are the ''right," as in "fascism," regardless of any name you might want to hang on them. Their economic philosophy is steeped in the European tradition of the baronial/colonial oligarchal system. How anyone can buy into the idea of a democrat/republican, right-wing/left-wing, liberal/conservative political faction at work here, with these families, is ludicrous. They'll put their money wherever, and with whomever's "cause celebre," or noble ideal they think might turn them a profit. Operation Mockingbird at work here, ready to placate the masses into believing that, "We're on your side, no matter which side you happen to be on. You name it, we'll claim it." They'll play both sides of the fence for maximum return on the dividend.

Well said, Terry.

And any careful study of what can be known about CIA traces its lineage invariably back to international oil, banking, and armaments interests. It also demonstrates CIA's consistent loyalty, always, to international oil, banking, and armaments interests, regardless of the cost in American lives and American interests.

The argument over whether CIA is "monolithic" or not is entirely specious. It is as specious as arguing whether the United States Army is "monolithic" or not. The CIA is militaristic. The CIA is autocratic. Whatever "uniform" its soldiers wear, whether from Brooks Brothers or the CIA costume department, it is no less regimented in its objectives, strategies, and tactics.

The notion of "rogue elements" of CIA wandering off to set agendas of their own is laughable. It is as laughable as the grossly distorted "Cowboy and Yankee" dichotomy that Varnell obliquely embraces consistently, even when soft-pedaling it.

The alliances between, e.g., Texas oil interests and international oil interest, and the alliances between all oil interests and international banking interests so far outweigh the postulated Helgian-Marxist toy models of "conflicts" (class, geography, politics, Stetson-vs.-fedora, WTF-ever), that it's like dropping an anvil into one balance and a gnat in the other.

It goes far beyond mere "alliances," though. It takes only the most cursory glance by an eighth grade economics student to comprehend that there is an inseverable interdependency between and amongst all oil interests, and all international banking interests, and all armament interests—South, East, North, and West.

Whatever internecine squabbles, whatever jockeying for position in the pyramid and pecking order, whatever submerged "rivalries" might make a minor ripple on the surface, you're either in that game, playing inside the boundaries, and playing by the rules (which they wrote for themselves), or don't even bother stopping for a shower on your way out. You won't need it.

When and as these overarching, governing canons are ignored in favor of jejune "analyses" postulating "rogue factions" of CIA off on their own little junkets and mutinies based on petty political ideologies, research and discussion are reduced to the level of Mother Goose.

Ashton

**************************************************

"When and as these overarching, governing canons are ignored in favor of jejune "analyses" postulating "rogue factions" of CIA off on their own little junkets and mutinies based on petty political ideologies, research and discussion are reduced to the level of Mother Goose."

Or, more like Operation Mutha' Mongoose. Cuba was nothing more than a blip on the radar screen, especially after the deal for Turkey was cooked, cooled, and delivered. What was there left to lose? A tax write-off for United Fruit, perhaps? And, speaking of taxes, since The Mob never bothered to pay any, and Nevada was right in their own back yard, Vegas could pick up the slack where Habana left off. Relocation to West Palm Beach, FL for the more disgruntled affluent of the Cuban aristocrats? Cuba was a wash-out that was ripe for hanging out to dry.

SEA was the big money-maker for the Wall Street Big Five Cartels: Oil, Real Estate, Industrial Steel, Venture Capital, and Drugs. Have I left anybody out of my sweeping generalities, here?

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Guest Gary Loughran

Hi Ashton,

Is the essentially your answer to the CIA....thread?

I know you can flesh this out and in time (if even just for me) will. Have you names? beyond the Dulles' and I'm sure Harriman/Bush!!!!

"big finance/banking, Texas politicians and the VP all came from similar peerage and lineage. These incestuous friendships and 'accommodations' for and of one another, with the aim of capital gain, ensured that these folk and their chosen few enjoyed the majority of wealth they contrived and connived to create.

Forming and filling the higher echelons of both government and the CIA from this aforementioned stock gave them the vehicles through which they could manipulate events and associated 'intelligence' to their advantage 'Nam, Cuba, cold war, etc. etc."

Above my quote from the CIA...thread. OK, I acknowledge the absence of oil and armaments(and I assure that was not my intention), but is it really so far from what you posit?

I also talked about factions (not the R word) and that this didn't preclude common goal achievement.

Not Cowboys and Yankees, but the folks in the 'big business'/MIC surely required their men in the CIA to do their bidding..no?

Just a laymans thoughts.

I genuinely look forward to your response.

Gary

PS I'm not a big one for quotes as I believe that, in this case[JFK assassination], like statistics, they can be made to prove anything, even sometimes the truth!! :)

Edited by Gary Loughran
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Since when did the "Eastern Establishment," or The Rockefeller/Morgan Trusts, or any Wall Street financial house/brokerage firm need a political label, to begin with? The only party they belong to is the one they've created to ensure their investment portfolios, and to secure their holdings, and their bank accounts, into perpetuity. They don't give a rat's ass what you call them because they don't require any partisan participation, nor allegiance, from the left or the right. If anything, they are the ''right," as in "fascism," regardless of any name you might want to hang on them. Their economic philosophy is steeped in the European tradition of the baronial/colonial oligarchal system. How anyone can buy into the idea of a democrat/republican, right-wing/left-wing, liberal/conservative political faction at work here, with these families, is ludicrous. They'll put their money wherever, and with whomever's "cause celebre," or noble ideal they think might turn them a profit. Operation Mockingbird at work here, ready to placate the masses into believing that, "We're on your side, no matter which side you happen to be on. You name it, we'll claim it." They'll play both sides of the fence for maximum return on the dividend.

Well said, Terry.

And any careful study of what can be known about CIA traces its lineage invariably back to international oil, banking, and armaments interests. It also demonstrates CIA's consistent loyalty, always, to international oil, banking, and armaments interests, regardless of the cost in American lives and American interests.

The argument over whether CIA is "monolithic" or not is entirely specious. It is as specious as arguing whether the United States Army is "monolithic" or not. The CIA is militaristic. The CIA is autocratic. Whatever "uniform" its soldiers wear, whether from Brooks Brothers or the CIA costume department, it is no less regimented in its objectives, strategies, and tactics.

The notion of "rogue elements" of CIA wandering off to set agendas of their own is laughable. It is as laughable as the grossly distorted "Cowboy and Yankee" dichotomy that Varnell obliquely embraces consistently, even when soft-pedaling it.

The alliances between, e.g., Texas oil interests and international oil interest, and the alliances between all oil interests and international banking interests so far outweigh the postulated Helgian-Marxist toy models of "conflicts" (class, geography, politics, Stetson-vs.-fedora, WTF-ever), that it's like dropping an anvil into one balance and a gnat in the other.

It goes far beyond mere "alliances," though. It takes only the most cursory glance by an eighth grade economics student to comprehend that there is an inseverable interdependency between and amongst all oil interests, and all international banking interests, and all armament interests—South, East, North, and West.

Whatever internecine squabbles, whatever jockeying for position in the pyramid and pecking order, whatever submerged "rivalries" might make a minor ripple on the surface, you're either in that game, playing inside the boundaries, and playing by the rules (which they wrote for themselves), or don't even bother stopping for a shower on your way out. You won't need it.

When and as these overarching, governing canons are ignored in favor of jejune "analyses" postulating "rogue factions" of CIA off on their own little junkets and mutinies based on petty political ideologies, research and discussion are reduced to the level of Mother Goose.

Ashton

John Prados has authored many books having to do with secrecy and the intelligence agencies. A few of them are:

Hoodwinked: The Documents That Reveal How Bush Sold Us a War

Lost Crusader: The Secret Wars of CIA Director William Colby

President's Secret Wars: CIA and Pentagon Covert Operations from WWII Through the Persian Gulf

Combined Fleet Decoded: The Secret History of U.S. Intelligence and the Japanese Navy in WWII

The Hidden History of the Vietnam War

Keeper of the Keys: A History of the National Security Council from Truman to Bush

Pentagon Games

The Soviet Estimate: U.S. Intelligence and Soviet Strategic Forces

The Sky Would Fall: The Secret U.S. Bombing Mission to Vietnam, 1954

Prados' latest book is entitled Safe For Democracy: The Secret Wars of the CIA. In the Foreword Prados writes:

One way to look at the world's fear of America is to review U.S. actions on the world stage, where a major policy tool has been the secret operation of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), created after World War II. The agency quickly became the locus of open and covert efforts that have engaged many nations across the globe. Because of the secrecy of most CIA activities, it has been exceedingly difficult for historians and observers to evaluate them. Even today information about the CIA remains scattered, shrouded in misinformation, is poorly understood, or has remained inaccessible to researchers. The "need to know" has been used by government bureaucrats to restrict knowledge to a few, even in the case of events long past. Nevertheless an appraisal has become possible and is long overdue.

In the sixty years since the formation of the Central Intelligence Agency, presidents have continually harnessed the agency in service of their foreign policy goals. Three decades ago the "problem" of the CIA appeared to be the agency's status as a "rogue elephant"--unsupervised, tearing about the globe, acting at whim. By now it is evident that the agency and its cohorts were in fact responding to presidential orders. This seems to make it much more urgent to attempt to tell the story of exactly what the CIA has accomplished. What has the agency contributed toward the success of larger U.S. policy goals, and the global quest for democracy?

Perhaps the problem is more one of the "rogue" president than it is about an out-of-control Central Intelligence Agency....

....A steady stream of newly declassified secret documents and a parade of memoirs of former CIA officials has enriched the record. Many things that once had to be inferred or addressed on the basis of interview material can now be described from hard evidence

.

In my opinion, Prados has written an important book. I do however, agree with one Amazon reviewer (although I would probably use the word unsatisfying rather than shallow) who wrote:

The secretive world of Covert Action makes a great subject. The problem is that the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) does not give authors such as John Prados access to many of the real secrets and they are left to sometimes write what they want to be true. Many of the Secret Wars of the CIA remain classified and Safe for Democracy is an instructive but shallow book.

http://www.amazon.com/Safe-Democracy-Secre...5689883-3398414

Edited by Michael Hogan
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John Prados has authored many books having to do with secrecy and the intelligence agencies. ...Prados' latest book is entitled Safe For Democracy: The Secret Wars of the CIA. In the Foreword Prados writes:

In the sixty years since the formation of the Central Intelligence Agency, presidents have continually harnessed the agency in service of their foreign policy goals. Three decades ago the "problem" of the CIA appeared to be the agency's status as a "rogue elephant"--unsupervised, tearing about the globe, acting at whim. By now it is evident that the agency and its cohorts were in fact responding to presidential orders.

The literature is overflowing with evidence of record in 180° opposition to that astounding sweeping generality.

The record demonstrates repeatedly that in "responding to presidential orders," CIA would rig up the apparatus of apparent compliance and immediately turn it to the sevice of their own covert agenda in arrogant disdain. Viet Nam is a textbook study of almost nothing else.

It was superghoul Richard Helms himself who created—as a denial, of course—the "rogue elephant" analogy. It's amusing how his own apophthegm of deceit found further twisted CIA-apologist life in the semi-homonymic "rogue element." I'm sure it made his mendacious heart beat fast with private glee.

As is so often the case with the polished CIA trash, Helms told his own brand of "truth" when he argued that CIA has never been a "rogue elephant." In the context of CIA always serving its actual creators and masters, his statement was true.

Ashton

Edited by Ashton Gray
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Hi Ashton,

Is the essentially your answer to the CIA....thread?

Yes, Gary: you've caught me out. I even copied and pasted from my reply-in-progress to you over in that other thread to create the one in this. I am humiliated and ashamed that you've caught me red-handed.

I know you can flesh this out and in time (if even just for me) will. Have you names? beyond the Dulles' and I'm sure Harriman/Bush!!!!

I was in the process of trying to do just that for you in the reply in the other thread, which is part of what's taken me so long. With your indulgence, I'm going to continue to attempt to finish my reply to you there, where I feel it will be more on-topic. I've already wandered pretty far afield here in this interesting thread that Paul started—although I do think what's been said so far is germane.

Meanwhile, if you haven't read the thread in the forum on John J. McCloy, I urge you to read that. I have other information that is significantly involved regarding his connections, and how instrumental he was in the very creation of the Central Intelligence Group (CIG), which was CIA in swaddling clothes. It's not an easy thing to get organized under the best of circumstances, and I am in anything at the moment but the best of circumstances because of deadlines, but I am still working on it—for the other thread.

Ashton

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John Prados has authored many books having to do with secrecy and the intelligence agencies. ...Prados' latest book is entitled Safe For Democracy: The Secret Wars of the CIA. In the Foreword Prados writes:

In the sixty years since the formation of the Central Intelligence Agency, presidents have continually harnessed the agency in service of their foreign policy goals. Three decades ago the "problem" of the CIA appeared to be the agency's status as a "rogue elephant"--unsupervised, tearing about the globe, acting at whim. By now it is evident that the agency and its cohorts were in fact responding to presidential orders.

The literature is overflowing with evidence of record in 180° opposition to that astounding sweeping generality.

The record demonstrates repeatedly that in "responding to presidential orders," CIA would rig up the apparatus of apparent compliance and immediately turn it to the service of their own covert agenda in arrogant disdain. Viet Nam is a textbook study of almost nothing else.

Ashton, I've got tremendous respect bordering on envy regarding your command of the English language. Your vocabulary and prose form a formidable combination.

I do, however, believe your comments above are hyperbolic. It appears to me that you chose to address an astounding sweeping generality with one of your own.

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It appears to me that you chose to address an astounding sweeping generality with one of your own.

Well, yeah. :)

I do, though, attempt to avoid them unless forced to fight fire with fire—and unless I can back it up.

So let me briefly provide a pointer to one very typical and blatant example that proves the rule: The "Pentagon Papers" leak was a CIA op. There, the CIA pretended to be following "presidential orders" (that didn't come from the president at all, but from "the White House") in providing Hunt and Liddy with "disguises" (that didn't disguise them), safe houses, a camera, etc.

In fact, as I've very thoroughly documented, CIA was setting up their own operatives, Hunt and Liddy, to fly to California and pose in front of psychiatrist Lewis J. Fielding's office for the sole purpose of later providing a Get Out of Jail Free card for their other operative, Daniel Ellsberg.

And as is further documented in the article Helms Directed CIA to Supply Hunt, it was Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) Richard Helms himself—not the "the White House"—who cooked up the phony order for the CIA to "follow," then laundered it through his D/DCI, Cushman, who laundered it through Hunt, who laundered it through Colson, who laundered it through Ehrlichman, and then it came back to the D/DCI—who "complied" with the "request from the White House." Of course Cushman, the D/DCI, was always and only complying with Helms and the CIA agenda, which he well knew at all relevant times. They all then lied to Congress and said the order came "from the White House," and that they "assumed" it was the wish of "the President."

And that's the kind of criminal scum at work eternally in our cherished CIA, around the clock, 365 days a year.

I rest my case.

Ashton

Edited by Ashton Gray
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Cliff Varnell:

So Operation Mongoose, Operation Northwoods, and that huge JM/WAVE station

were all figments of the imagination?

It is inconvenient to your pet theory that this anti-Castro effort existed, therefore

it did not exist?

Because a plot fails, that precludes any possibility of such a plot?

Plots only exist when they succeed, is that what you and Ashton are pushing?

Paul Rigby:

All figments of the imagination? Nope, just never implemented because real power had other plans.

What was "never implemented"?

JM/WAVE was not the largest CIA station in 1963?

Ed Lansdale wasn't put in charge of Operation Mongoose in 1961?

Those programs were implemented, but without success. The Joint Chiefs didn't

regard the extant anti-Castro efforts likely to achieve success.

James Bamford's BODY OF SECRETS pg 87, Chairman

of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Lyman Lemnitzer wrote in

a memorandum to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara,

April 10, 1962: (emphasis added)

The Joint Chiefs of Staff believe that the Cuban problem

must be solved in the NEAR FUTURE...Further, they see no

prospect of early success in overthrowing the present

communist regime either as a result of internal uprising

or external political, economic or psychological pressures.

Accordingly they believe that military intervention by the

United States will be REQUIRED to overthrow the present

communist regime...The Joint Chiefs of Staff believe that

the United States can undertake military intervention in

Cuba WITHOUT RISK OF GENERAL WAR. They also

believe that the intervention can be accomplished rapidly

enough to minimize communist opportunities for solicitation

of U.N. action.

The Cuban market was simply traded for control of the rest of the region.

Economic significance of Argentina, Brazil et al v. Cuba?

Paul, the U.S. has asserted hegemonic domination of the entire Western Hemisphere since

the Monroe Doctrine.

The US MIC did not need a "boogey man" to keep the Western Hemisphere in line

in 1958, the year of greatest US support for Fidel.

Just ask Arbenz, '54...

Hugo Chavez now fulfils the role of ostensible regional bogeyman, and US plots against him will almost certainly fail precisely as the elaborate paper exercises did in the case of Castro. The dirty secret in contemporary Venezuela's case is that Chavez is working for the economic integration of the region, an integration long earnestly desired by big capital in Washington and New York, but unachievable under overt US command. Hence Chavez's survival. The Guardian recently ran an unusually good piece arguing just this.

I don't buy the notion that the US ruling class had a monolithic interest in maintaining

Fidel Castro as a bogeyman.

Mr. George Bush of the CIA owned oil exploration rigs off the coast of Florida.

In the '80's, Mr. George Bush of the CIA was the Vice President, and also the

Action Officer for the Nicaraguan Contra supply network. The Contra supply

network smuggled guns and drugs.

I can't say for sure that Mr. George Bush of the CIA was smuggling drugs

onto his drilling facilities (and then having the drugs boated ashore with no

customs check) in 1963, but given his later career in Contra drug smuggling

it is a reasonable speculation.

So, wouldn't it have been easier and more profitable for Mr. George Bush

of the CIA to have had a friendly government right next to his oil rigs instead

of a US Naval blockade?

I think Santo Trafficante had a very powerful preppy ally in all his deeds...

Neither Yankee nor Cowboy (or Yankee gone Cowboy), Mr. George Bush of the CIA

had more to gain personally from a Castro overthrow than just about anybody, I'd

reckon.

One final point: I ain't pushing anything with Mr Gray. On the subject of the medical evidence, I'm essentially on your side. Ashton and I will doubtless cross swords on that topic in due course. I meant what I said: I thought the exchanges between you and Ashton on the subject of Cuba were, and are, vitally important. And I thought Ashton bang on the money here.

Stay sober and virtuous,

Paul

Be well, good sir!

Edited by Cliff Varnell
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F. W. Sourwine: Mr. Smith, the pending question before you read your statement was: What agencies of the US Government had a hand in bringing pressure to overthrow the Batista government, and how did they do it?

Earl E. Smith: Well, the agencies, certain influential people, influential sources in the State Department, lower down echelons in the CIA. I would say representatives of the majority of the US Government agencies which have anything to do with the Embassy...

Most intriguing, John.

The State Department reference reads W. Averell Harriman, imo.

Lower echelons of the CIA...That's one to ponder...

Was there a "monolithic" CIA policy toward Batista?

Larry Hancock's SOMEONE WOULD HAVE TALKED, pg 125:

[David Sanchez] Morales is discussed in Chapter 4 of [John] Marino's book,

I WAS CASTRO'S PRISONER, where Martino gives a very detailed analysis of

the behavior of the US Embassy staff in Havana during the period that Castro

came to power, up to the point where he declared himself a Communist. He

describes Ambassador Smith as giving unwarranted and undue encouragement

to the revolutionaries and makes other negative remarks about the Embassy

CIA staff. Martino also names Earl Williamson as CIA and describes his activities,

stating that Williamson was "quietly withdrawn from Havana and replaced by Morales".

He then describes Morales' opposition to Castro and his unsuccessful attempts

to move Washington to act against Castro. This sort of detail, published when

Morales was acting as Operations Chief at JM/WAVE and the secret war was at

it's height, is certainly not sanctioned by CIA policies. It seems clear that Martino's

book was neither CIA propaganda or vetted by CIA.

I think the Yankee/Cowboy dichotomy applies to this instance, the divisions

within the CIA over Castro policy in Havana in 1958.

Please note that I am not careless in my application of the Y/C dichotomy.

Ashton accuses me of "soft pedaling" it, but I prefer to think of it as simply

being intellectually honest.

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Paul Rigby:

The CIA had a variety of purposes in mind for revolutionary Cuba. A key intention was to use Cuba as the launch pad and pretext for a series of “revolutionary” movements throughout Latin America that would in turn “compel” CIA intervention in the unfortunate countries concerned.

And what Latin American countries did the US *not* have hegemonic economic/political

control over in the late 50's and early 60's?

The CIA could always fund local rebel groups if they wanted to establish a pre-text for

greater intervention in a country's affairs-- why would they turn this function over to

Fidel Castro?

The Caribbean, Central and Latin America would thus be remade in the desired US image, the region’s reformist and nationalist governments alike destroyed in favour of murderous militarised oligarchies and US finance.

And such wasn't the case BEFORE the fall of Batista?

Tell that to a quarter million dead Guatamalans...

Castro’s government was to arrest previously supportive CIA men engaged in precisely such activity – in this early instance, against the government of Nicaragua – no later than April 1959. Sihanouk offered a typically shrewd Asian encapsulation: “All the efforts of the CIA were aimed at implanting an armed political opposition inside the country so that we would have to beg for American arms to keep order…”

Apples and oranges! Big difference between SE Asia and Latin America. The US had the

Monroe Doctrine working for about 140 years in Latin America, and they didn't need a

Communist take-over of very valuable real estate in order to enforce regional hegemony.

I think you've made a fundamental mis-reading of American history in this instance, Paul,

with all due respect.

When it comes to the affairs of Asia, the US has long sought bogeymen, granted

(Mao, Ho, Saddam, Osama).

But that strategy wasn't necessary in the Western Hemisphere. Not enough to give

up the jewel of the Caribbean!

The US didn't leverage Fidel to go after Allende, after all.

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Cliff Varnell:

Paul, we can debate the "significance" of the Operation Northwoods documents

all day long, but it isn't going to change the fact that these EXIST.

Paul Rigby:

Cliff, never said they didn't.

CV:

It is a fact that the Joint Chiefs in March of 1962 signed off on false-flag/ginned-intel plots against Castro.

It is a fact that in August of 1964 the US military used the false-flag/ginned-intel

Gulf of Tonkin Incident to ramp up US involvement in Vietnam.

PR:

Again, with regard to your first paragraph-statement, I've never said they didn't. But note your second para - it's Vietnam that gets attacked, not Cuba! How come?

Because the patsy, carefully sheep-dipped as a Castro agent in league

with the KGB, was captured alive on Eleven Twenty Two.

For the sheep-dipping to hold he had to be gunned down. On this

point the plot ultimately failed.

Are we really to believe that the CIA could successfully sheep-dip Oswald in Russia, but couldn't lay an uncomplicated, if bogus, trail from Oswald to Castro?
They did.

New Orleans Chapter of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee.

FPCC leafletting in public August '63.

"Leon Oswald" visit to Sylvia Odio.

The Pedro Charles letters.

Oswald's visits to the Cuban Embassy in Mexico City under the

watchful eye of David Phillips.

The Yates FBI report: Oswald look-a-like picked up hitch-hiking with suspicious

package in hand -- talked of both the Carosel Club and killing JFK.

(SWHT, Hancock, pgs 222-226.)

The Gilberto Alvarado Story: Oswald hired to kill JFK by red-headed

black Cuban, pimped right after the assassination by Phillips et al MEXI.

(ibid, pgs 220-1).

(ibid, Hancock, pg 13):

(quote on)

Immediately following the assassination, FBI and CIA informant Richard Cain

(an associate of Sam Giancana and participant in the very early Roselli organized

attempts against Castro) began aggressively reporting that Lee Oswald had been

associated with a FPCC group in Chicago that had held secret meetings in the

spring of 1963 planning the assassination of President Kennedy...

...Following the assassination, John Martino and Frank Fiorini/Sturgis of Miami,

and Carlos Bringuier of New Orleans, all began telling the same story about Oswald

visiting Cuba and being a personal tool of Fidel Castro. Strangely enough, on the

afternoon of November 22 after Oswald's arrest, J. Edgar Hoover also related that

the FBI had monitored Oswald on visits to Cuba.

Hoover wrote in a 4:01pm EST memo on November 22: "Oswald...went to Cuba

on several occasions but would not tell us what he went to Cuba for." Hoover

repeated this information again an hour later in a memo of 5:15pm EST...

(quote off)

If J. Edgar Hoover had announced on the evening of Friday, November 22

1963 that an agent of Fidel Castro had shot President Kennedy the US would

have been on the march.

As Larry Hancock notes, all of the above would have worked if the patsy

had shown up dead -- but the patsy alive made the sheep-dipping untenable.

Yet this is precisely what happened, with Oswald undertaking a series of contradictory steps and poses that rendered "the Castro dunnit" scenario untenable. Angleton couldn't do better in New Orleans than he could in Minsk?

I don't follow you, here. The only "contradictory step" Oswald took was *not* get shot.

Other than that, Angleton/Phillips had him all set up to point to Castro, but only

upon early demise.

CV:

It is a fact that Neo-Con foreign policy is often based on ginned-intel, witness

the current war in Iraq.

PR:

Absolutely - but not just Neo-Con. Hasn't this mostly been the case?

CV: The US doesn't always run false flag ops...It appears to be the favored

foreign policy gambit of super-hawk militarists.

CV:

Given the documentary and historical evidence of these false-flag/ginned-intel

plots and operations, how on Earth can anyone heap "ridicule and scorn" on the

notion that just such a false flag attack on Kennedy was possible?

I haven't poured anything remotely resembling "ridicule and scorn" on the notion

Ashton has, as you yourself noted, and you indicated you agreed.

I'm glad to see that you do not agree with Ashton's off-hand dismissal of

such possibilities, as it turns out.

I sought to put a reasoned case that a) the CIA installed Castro, and B) did so for eminently rational, if thoroughly deplorable, reasons. My point being that this was a long-term, political programme that was not to be terminated within a couple of years of initiation. But the veneer of deep-seated hostility had to be preserved, even as successive would-be coups/assassination attempts were cocked-up and thwarted. Deliberately, in my view.
Very well.

I'll sum up by holding the Monroe Doctrine as sacrosant in the eyes of the

American ruling elite. Concentrated European influence 90 miles off the

American shore has been a thorn in the side of US pride for 48 years now.

CV:

I don't see where you show any proof that the anti-Castro forces

were any less committed to the overthrow of Castro merely because

other factions in the American ruling elite desired a different result.

PR:

No, not least because I wouldn't attempt anything so half-baked. I accept, mostly

without reservation, the enduring determination of most, if not all, of the anti-Castro

Cubans, to chuck out Castro. Trouble is, a) they were never the ones with the real

power; and B) I rather suspect that a significant number of anti-Castro Cubans share

my disbelief at the genuine resolve of the CIA et al to effect such a change.

Here is a list of the guys -- call 'em the Dirty Dozen -- who had an "enduring

determination" to overthrow Castro:

Gen. Edward Lansdale

David Atlee Phillips

David Sanchez Morales

Allen Dulles

H. L. Hunt

Sam Giancana

George H. W. Bush

Gen. Curtis LeMay

Gen. Lyman Lemnitzer

J. Edgar Hoover

Richard Helms

James Jesus Angleton

Now, are you going to tell me these guys didn't have power?

Edited by Cliff Varnell
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I wrote:

That's how the American ruling elite manifests its "reach" -- with the military

and intel services.

That assessment doesn't spare me from certain people's self-righteous screeds, alas.
Exactly! They already had their eyes on the next, more lucrative prize, in the form of SEA aka Laos/VietNam/Cambodia where the REAL money could be made for their Brown and Root [future Halliburton], Bechtel, Mandeville accounts, etc. et.al.

A lot of people were making real money in Cuba. The oil companies had drilling

platforms 40 miles off the Cuban coast. "Maintanence runs" between the platforms

and the Florida mainland were not subject to customs checks.

How much easier the illicit drug and gun running interests would have had it if there'd

only been a friendly gov't in Havana and not the US Navy running a blockade...

G.uns O.il D.rugs. At the center of the Kennedy assassination -- a nexus located

in Texas.

Edited by Cliff Varnell
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