Saturday, March 30, 2013

Legal Options on the Case of JFK Today

Possible Legal Options on the Case of JFK

1)      FOIA. FOIA requests are made daily and denials have been challenged in court, some cases lasting over a decade (ie. Morley v. CIA), and this option is continuing on many fronts. (Lesar, Zaid, Holland, et al), but it only leads to more records and not justice for JFK.

2)      Congressional Oversight Hearings could call attention to the lack of enforcement of the JFK Act, identify the records that have been intentionally destroyed since the law was passed, require the testimony of those who destroyed the records and investigate the failure of various agencies to abide by the JFK Act. Although this is the easiest road to take, Congress is reluctant to do anything let alone oversee the JFK Act.

3)      Congressional Briefing. If Congress won’t hold an official public hearing, a Congressional Briefing could be organized and presented in a Congressional setting that could influence interested Congressman, their aides and the media and drum up support for #1 – a real Congressional Oversight Hearing on the JFK Act.

4)      Dallas County Grand Jury. Under Dallas D.A. Craig Watkins, the Innocence Project has reviewed the cases of those convicted for crimes and utilizing DNA and other modern techniques, freed many wrongfully convicted persons. It may be possible to show that there are sufficient questions concerning the circumstances of the murder of Dallas policeman J.D. Tippitt, some that exonerate Oswald. There are also a number of new witnesses that could call for a local grand jury be convened to review the evidence and take the new testimony to determine if there is enough to bring any living suspect to trail.

5)      Although it was not a federal crime to kill the president in 1963, it was a federal crime to conspire to kill a federal employee, and if conspiracy can be established a special federal grand jury could be convened to review the evidence. It is also possible to convene a special federal grand jury in Washington D.C. to consider the crimes related to the assassination, including perjury, destruction of evidence and records, obstruction of justice and conspiracy.

6)      Federal Task Force. In order to handle complex cases that cross state and national bounds, a Federal Task Force is formed that includes representatives from each of the major federal investigatory agencies. Such a Task Force could coordinate the investigation of related unsolved homicides such as President Kennedy, John Rosselli, Sam Giancana, et al. The US government however, refuses to properly investigate the civil rights murders of the 60s so it is unlikely they will want to solve any political assassination.

7)      Civil RICO – The RICO statutes were established to prosecute complex conspiracies like mob and mafia controlled gambling rings, prostitution and drug trafficking and organized crime murders. While the Department of Justice will not make the assassination of JFK a RICO prosecution, it could be done in civil court, similar to the Christic Institute’s RICO case against the Iran-Contra network. While there are lawyers with RICO experience interested in pursing this tact, the Christic Institute’s failure in court has stymied any further attempts to use it.

8) Civil Libel Case. The Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO) founded by David Atlee Phillips unsuccessfully sued Liberty Lobby (defended by Mark Lane), Washingtonian Magazine (Fonzi) and UK Anthony Summers. Another libel case is possile if someone can be baited into suing someone.

9) Civil Case of personal injury. Dealey Plaza bystander James Tague was hit in the face by a piece of concrete from a curb hit by a bullet or a bullet fragment shot by the same person who killed President Kennedy and wounded Governor Connally. Tague’s wound drew blood, which would have earned him a purple heart in combat, and it makes him a victim of the same person who killed the President. He could bring a civil suit, but most such personal injury civil suits are based on loss of money or work. Tague could possibly argue that he represents those who feel that the loss of democratic process is just as significant an injury as loss of revenue.

10)      Inquest. The JFK Truth Project is advocating an inquest and has even set a date for one to take place in Washington DC in September, 2014, the anniversary of the release of the Warren Report. Usually an inquest is held by an official coroner, who determines the cause of death, and if found suspicious, criminal prosecution may follow, and suspects are able to defend themselves there.

11)  Other? Have I missed any legal avenue that can be used? If so let’s hear about it.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Few Good Men - From Philly to Gitmo

A Few Good Men from Philly to Gitmo

Two Philly guys at Guantanamo – Can You Handle the Truth!

By William Kelly

Originally Posted

The real story is actually more incredible than the movie or the play.

The play “A Few Good Men,” was recently performed and has called renewed attention to that still sensitive
Guantanamo Bay prison issue that just won’t go away.

As an arch typical military court room drama, the story focuses attention on two attorneys defending two Gitmo Marines charged with second-degree murder in a hazing incident gone wrong.

The 1992 film “A Few Good Men,” directed by Rob Reiner and starring Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon and Jack Nicholson, is a classic of its genre that spawned the JAG TV show, and coined the phrase “You can’t handle the truth!” as a modern cliche.

However exciting Aaron Sorkin’s fictional film and the dramatic Shakespieriean theatrical play may be, the real story of two
Philadelphia guys at Guantanamo is even more incredible, the details of which stretch imagination and their entanglements with the assassination of President Kennedy.

While the
U.S. military prison at Guantanamo is now infamous, it was hardly an afterthought in anyone’s mind until after April, 1961, when the failed Bay of Pigs invasion made the contract ional lease of the Guantamano naval base a point of contention.

For William Szile and John Gordon it was a pivotal point in their respective military careers, and for Szile, continues to haunt him up to and including today.

Their stories sound pretty close to the fictional incident of the movie and play, as Szile was in charge of the USMC prison at Guatanamo when he was ordered to remove the body of a Cuban national, suspected of being a spy, who died suspiciously on the base. It probably would have been an open and shut case against Szile except for the fact that the other marine accused with him was a Medal of Honor recipient.

Szile was a home grown
Philadelphia boy who lived not far from John Gordon, a Harvard educated navy officer assigned to the Pentagon.

Just after the disastrous
Bay of Pigs fiasco, ONI assigned John Gordon to Guantanamo where he was to direct the efforts of a Cuban national in an attempt to assassinate Castro. He ended up in the Navy psychiatric ward.

Among the records relapsed under the JFK Assassinations Records Act (of 1992) is a Congressional committee report from Mason Cargill; Subject: JOHN GORDON, which reads: "The following is Gordon’s story. A few days after the
Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, Gordon was told he was being transferred from his job in the Office of Chief of Naval Operations to the Navy base at Guantanamo as Base Intelligence Officer. He was briefed by several agencies including the CIA before heading for Guantanamo."

"At one briefing by officers from a certain office within the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), he was told that there was a Cuban national who lived on our base at Guantanamo and was an employee of the Navy who was willing and able to assassinate Fidel Castro. His name was Alonzo Gonzalez. One of the officers who told him this was Lt. James Carr. Another’s name was Day, although Gordon does not remember his first name or rank."

"Gordon arrived in
Guantanamo about the first of June 1961. He began working with certain Cubans on the base including Gonzalez in a program of guerilla activities within the surrounding Cuban territory. The Cubans would surreptitiously leave the base to engage in sabotage and espionage operations and then return to it. Gonzalez was one leader within this Cuban group. Gonzalez during the month of June and during the month of July spoke several times with Gordon about the possibility of assassinating Castro. Gordon however, came to believe that Gonzalez was a double agent. One reason for this was that a certain cache of weapons outside the base of which Gonzalez had knowledge was discovered by Castro agents only an hour or so after it was placed there. Another reason was that he discovered that Gonzalez was teaching his servant how to fire small-arms."

"Sometime, in July 1961 Gordon discovered that dynamite had been brought into the base surreptitiously. He suspected Gonzalez of doing this and immediately telephoned the base commander to suggest that Gonzalez be arrested. According to Gordon, less than one hour after his telephone call to the base commander he himself was arrested by the Shore Patrol and placed in the psychiatric ward of the base hospital. After several days at this hospital he was transferred to
Charleston Naval Hospital and then to Philadelphia Naval Hospital, finally being discharged from the hospital in October 1961. He said he was characterized as having a problem of situational adjustment. After being discharged from the hospital, he was sent to the Fourth Naval District Headquarters in New Orleans as an intelligence officer. He heard nothing of Gonzalez until approximately 1966 when he saw something in the Philadelphia newspaper that Gonzalez had been arrested by Castro within Cuba."

"In 1969, Gordon says he wrote to the new Secretary of the Navy requesting an appointment to inform him of the Gonzalez episode. Shortly after writing this letter, Gordon was confined to the
Bethesda Naval Hospital for an alleged psychiatric problem. After release from this hospital Gordon retired from the Navy in 1969. Gordon admitted that the only evidence of any CIA connection to Gonzalez, his activities, or the actions on the part of Naval officials in hospitalizing Gordon was the fact that officers in Washington who initially informed him of Gonzalez had responsibility for liaison between ONI and the CIA."

"He also admitted that he had no evidence that any domestic
CIA activities were involved in this affair. We advised him that as a result this matter did not appear to be within the jurisdiction of this Commission and suggested that he might get in contact with the Senate Select Committee. About one half hour after Gordon left our office, I received a call from Fritz Schwartz of the Senate Committee Staff stating that Gordon had called him requesting an appointment. I briefly described what Gordon had told us and said that the Senate Committee Staff might want to interview him, although Gordon’s story seemed a little incredible to us. Schwartz said they would probably talk to him today."

Mary Ferrell, who maintained files on JFK assassination subjects, Comments: "DOB:
8/19/21. POB: Philadelphia (Upper Darby), PA. Son of Irwin Leslie Gordon who was Naval Intelligence. Gordon's first job was with Reading Railroad. His grandfather had been an executive with Reading Railroad. Social Security Number 726-09-1554 (issued by railroads in lieu of social security numbers - called Railroad Retirement Number). Attended William and Mary 1948-1953. Graduated from Harvard. Joined Navy. Service Number 52-28-50. Married Edna Cox North (granddaughter of Lord and Lady Beckwith), of Leeds, England, March 1954. Gordon was in Pine Beach, NJ, on Mill Creek Road, in 1964. In Morocco in 1956. At Pentagon in 1959 and lived on Dogwood Drive in Alexandria, VA. 1961 at Guantanamo Naval Base. Hospitalized during 1961. 1961 and 1962 at Naval Ship Yard in Philadelphia. 1963 - at Pentagon. 1964 - St. Petersburg, FL. 1965-1967 at 8th Naval District, New Orleans, LA, as Naval Intelligence Officer. 1968-1976 at Framingham, Massachusetts. From 1976 until death at Georgetown, SC. He taught at Coastal Carolina College, a subsidiary of University of South Carolina. Gordon died September 27, 1987...

Since Gordon approached the wrong committee with his information, it doesn't appear anything was done, despite Gordon's attempt to seek redemption.

Szili, William A. – USMC.

Szili's story is even more bizarre, if that's possible.

Guantanamo prison, Cuba, spies, interrogations, torture, executions, death and denials. Everywhere you go – television, radio, newspapers, internet, Guantamano is the story that won’t go away, a message the meaning of which is still being debated.

Bill Szili is tired of hearing about it, and it irks him that it seems we haven’t learned anything from history.

September 30, 1961, at the height of the Cold War, Bill Szili USMC, was months away from retirement after a distinguished 12 years of service when he was suddenly awaken at his Guantanamo, Cuba barracks. As the officer in charge of the base's prison, Szili was being called upon to engage in an act above and beyond the call of duty.

Szili’s company commander, Captain Arthur J. Jackson, shot and killed a Cuban while escorting him off the base for being in a restricted area, an ammunition dump. The Cuban, Ruben Lopez, a bus driver on the base, who commuted to his job from nearby
Guantanamo City, Cuba, was said to be No. 16 on a list of Cuban spies operating on the base. After being warned against visiting restricted areas, Lopez was caught near the ammunition dump and personally escorted to the gate by Capt. Arthur J. Jackson.

Jackson said that after being escorted from the base, Lopez “lunged” at him, and was shot by Jackson - the impact of the blast sending Lopez over a cliff to a rocky beach 25 feet below. The following day Jackson and Szili returned to the scene of the shooting, with Jackson descending to the beach and covering the body. Two or three days later, after numerous trips to check on the body, they decided it should be buried. At this point, two other officers and three enlisted men became embroiled in concealing the murder. One officer supplied nylon rope to haul the body up the cliff face, another dug a shallow grave on the base side of the fence, while the enlisted personnel helped with the moving of the body.

Arthur J. Jackson wasn’t just another USMC Captain, he had earned the Congressional Medal of Honor in combat during World War II, and was one of the most highly regarded soldiers in the military service.

                                            JACKSON, ARTHUR J.

Rank and organizations:
Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division. Place and date: Island of Peleliu in the Palau group, 18th September 1944. Entered service at: Oregon. Born: 18 October 1924, Cleveland, Ohio. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on the Island of Peleliu in the Palau group, 18 September 1944. Boldly taking the initiative when his platoon’s left flank advance was held up by the fire of the Japanese troops concealed in strongly fortified positions, Pfc. Jackson unhesitatingly proceeded forward of our lines and, courageously defying the heavy barrages, charged a large pillbox housing approximately 35 enemy soldiers. Pouring his automatic fire into the opening of the fixed installation to trap the occupying troops, he hurled white phosphorus grenades and explosive charges brought up by a fellow marine, demolishing the pill box and killing all of the enemy. Advancing alone under the continuous fire from other hostile emplacements, he employed similar means to smash 2 smaller positions in the immediate vicinity. Determined to crush the entire pocket of resistance although harassed on all sides by the shattering blasts of Japanese weapons and covered only by small rifle parties, he stored 1 gun position after another, dealing death and destruction to the savagely fighting enemy in his inexorable drive against he remaining defenses, and succeeded in wiping out a total of 12 pillboxes and 50 Japanese soldiers. Stouthearted and indomitable despite the terrific odds, Pfc. Jackson resolutely maintained control of the platoon’s left flank movement throughout his valiant 1-man assault and, by his cool decision and relentless fighting spirit during a critical situation, contributed essentially to the complete annihilation of the enemy in the southern sector of the island. His gallant initiative and heroic conduct in the face of extreme peril reflect the highest credit upon Pfc. Jackson and the U.S. Naval Service.

When the details of the incident concerning the violent death of a Cuban spy at
Guantanamo came to light, Jackson resigned from the Marines Corp and two other officers (Pruitt and Steiner), along with the enlisted men, were forced out. Szili was ousted under a law which "permitted the revocation of the commission of an officer with less than three years active service on the active list."

Before leaving the service however, both Jackson and Szili had been held under guard in the psychiatric ward of the base hospital and likewise later at Camp Lejeune, NC, and were required to sign statements verifying they understood that if they ever spoke about the incident, they could face fines of up to $10,000 and 10 years imprisonment under the Espionage and Sabotage Act.

In the end, none appeared before a military or civil court (the shooting having occurred outside the base) and all left with honorable discharges, with Szili being the only one to eventually speak out.

Jackson became a mailman in San Jose, California. On May 1st, 1963, the White House announced 324 Medal of Honor winners would attend Kennedy's annual military reception the following day. On April 30, Jackson sent a telegram to the President declining the invitation on the grounds that his presence "might possibly be an embarrassment." This was a reversal of a previous acceptance made before the Gitmo story broke. Salinger, on behalf of Kennedy, replied through a press conference that "We respect his decision. Capt Jackson and his wife will always be welcome at the White House." Jackson never surfaced publicly again.

Szili returned home to
Philadelphia, where he contacted his Congressman, Senator Richard Schweiker, in an attempt get reinstated in the Marines. Schweiker, a Republican Senator, called for hearings on the matter, but after a secret briefing in April, 1963 involving military officers, Navy Secretary, Fred Korth, Marine Commandant General, David Shoupe, and the Chairman of the Congressional Armed Services Committee, the hearings were cancelled.

Szili was working for Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance Company at the time the story broke in the media (Apr/May '63). According to newspaper accounts, Szili left the Marines in March, 1962.

In a telephone interview with Bill Kelly [
10pmFriday, August 25, 2006] William “Bill” Szili said he was a former Marine stationed at Guantanamo. "Yea, I was the brig warden. I was the brig warden there before I got commissioned. I ran the prison."

Does he see the irony today? "Yes I do (Laugh). Oh, yea. My first tour of duty at
Guantanamo I was a staff sergeant and Castro was still in the mountains and Batista was in power. And then I went and got my commission and went back later."

As for Castro, Szili says, "He’s giving, six, seven, eight presidents a hard time."

Concerning Schweiker's cancelation of the scheduled committee hearing on his case, Szile said, "I don’t know. Schweiker was just an opportunist. Hell no, he didn't help at all. All he did was to take over the Armed Services Committee when he became a Senator. He just made sure he got in print."

"I got an honorable discharge, but, yea, I didn’t want to leave. All they wanted to do was to hide this thing. And that’s exactly what they did."

Having kept it under wraps all this time, I asked Szili if he was still upset about it, to which he responded, "Well, the Commandant at the time was David Shoup and he said, “Time heals all wounds,” and he’s full of shit too." (Laugh)

What about Fred Korth, the Secretary of the Navy?

"Nobody went to bat for us. I have no idea what happened to anybody. I was held incommunicado for quite awhile. Everybody kind of disappeared. After I left the corps, I...I tried to...keep the family together, you know, took jobs here and there, and finally got into country club management."

There at
Guantanamo in the heat of the Cold War, suddenly his story is actually relevant, "We never learn. We haven’t fought a war to win since World War II." And Szile says that he has no problem talking about it today. "Anything that gives someone a kick in the ass, I’m all for it."

Now can you handle that?

[Thanks to Greg Parker and Robert Howard for research assistance on this story]

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Ted Shackley SSCIA Testimony

Ted Shackley SSCIA Testimony

[BK Notes: Shackley testified under the alias "Mr. Halley." Excerpts from testimony does not include questions but only Shackley's answers. For complete text see RIF 157-10002-10086 ]

Testimony of Halley, 19 Aug 1975 (163 pages)

Mr  Halley. I became involved with the Cuban affair in approximately February of 1962. At that time, I was in Headquarters. I was Chief of Foreign Intelligence Activities for the Eastern European Division. I was asked to be released from those duties to conduct a survey of the opportunities for running intelligence operations against Cuba. I was released from those duties; I did engage in a survey of the possibilities for running intelligence, counterintelligence, paramilitary operations against Cuba.”

(document page 4 – MF page 9)
I jointed the Agency originally in 1951. When I was first assigned to the Agency I was an Army officer on active duty. I went through the usual Agency training program. I was assigned to Eastern European activities where I originally was focused on Polish and German operations. I subsequently served from 1952 to 1959 in Germany….

[Did not travel to Cuba, except possibly in transit. ]

When I first entered into this (Cuban) survey, it was to do this on a TDY basis, temporary duty assignment, to complete a report on my findings, to report those at that particular juncture to Mr. Harvey who was the head of the Task Force that was attempting to expand intelligence coverage of Cuba and I was not assigned to the station at that particular point in time.

[Joined JMWAVE shortly after completion of survey, before the end of May 1962]

Dp9 – p.14 MF

….matters pertaining to that survey to the team who was then in charge of operational activity in Miami. That team was essentially headed by Mr. Al Cox, who has since died.

Mr. Cox was the head, then, of what would be the equivalent of the JMWAVE station.

He was the head of that unit until such a time as I replaced him.

My understanding at the time that I conducted this survey was that there was a three-man group in existence which was headed by Mr. Robert Kennedy that was conducting a survey to see what kinds of activities could be conducted against Cuba. The other members of that particular group were General Lansdale and Mr. Helms.

[Not familiar with MONGOOSE or aware of it or that acronym, cryptonym ]

As the Task Force commander, he (Harvey) was reporting to the then DDP who was Mr. Helms.

[Shortly after Helms replaced Mr. Bissell]

p. 16 MF

On one occasion I accompanied Mr. McCone to the White House to give a presentation or sit in while the presentation was being made…This was a meeting with President Kennedy and other members of the then-Cabinet were present at that particular meeting.

[That was in 1962. Not sure if it was meeting of Cabinet, NSC or Special Group]

Mr. McNamara, Mr. Rusk, Mr. Kennedy, the Attorney General was present

DCI was present and gave a portion of the presentation….As I recall Mr. FitzGerald gave the other portion of the presentation.

Doc p. 13 MF p. 18

You know, the chronology of the Chiefs of our Task Force were that it was Harvey, then FitzGerald, then Scraber, after that, Hart. I served with all four of those.

This was a general review of activities that were being conducted against Cuba.

[No mention of assassination]

I am aware of the term Special Group. I am aware that the chronology of the 303 Committee, Special Group, 40 Committee and so forth….

MF p. 19

When I entered into this project in February of ’62, the chain of command that I was familiar with was this three-man group in constant contact with Mr. Harvey. The second chain of command, paralleling that, was Mr. Harvey reporting to the DDP and the DDP subsequently reporting through his chain of command to the Director, and that would be the only way that I could characterize that with any accuracy.

MF p20

I know that shortly thereafter I was in Miami, General Lansdale came down to visit me, to talk with me, about the progress that was being made in the operational program. At some point after that, this three-man group for all intents and purposes disappeared. General Lansdale was reassigned, the group broke up; subsequent review of the program were made at the Special Group level. As an example, we would have to submit every month the number of operations that were going to run, such as infiltrations into Cuba through what would be paramilitary means, and these were approved by the Special Group. There was an approval procedure for setting those up, so subsequently the three-man group disappeared and the regular mechanism of the Special Group came into play.

In other words, if we were going to run an operation that was gong to be a cache replacement in the Cuban mainland, that had to be put in, say in our October schedule, that October schedule had to be submitted to the Washington headquarters so they could make it available to the Special Group sometime in September. So I would regard a cache, say the lowest kind of operation in terms of sensitivity, and then you could move up from team infiltrations that had to be approved in advance, resupply missions, paramilitary operations against fixed installations would all be approved.

[Involved in Cuban operations from Feb ’62 – June or July of ‘65]

If it was something that certainly would – for some reason might not be committed to paper, somebody may have wanted to discuss it orally from Miami, the chain of command would have been from me to whoever was the head of the Task Force in Washington, or later, when the Task Force became reintegrated into the Western Hemisphere Division, I would have had to talk to the Chief of the Western Hemisphere Division, who at one time was FitzGerald.

[Talk to Mr. Harvey or Mr. Screbar ]
MF p23

[No knowledge of any assassination plots run out of Miami ]

You have to put yourself in the historical context of that particular time. Thousands of refugees were coming out of Cuba, coming into Miami, Dade County and up and down the Florida Keys.

There was a regular mechanism to screen these people. Any number of these people had plans or ideas for changing the situation in Cuba, among those ideas for changing the situation in Cuba were plans to assassinate any number of people in Cuba. This was something that was talked about, you could go down to any coffee house in downtown Miami and Cubans would be talking that kind of language. So I do not want to leave you with the impression that the word assassination never came across my radar screen, but we are talking about, and my answer was geared to a planned operation by the CIA.

CIA involvement? I know of no operation that was a planned operational activity, you know, for the sole purpose of assassinating, you know, Mr. A, B or Mr. C. This was the x xxx allente of the time. People were talking about these things in the refugee community, these kind of things were being discussed.

This was the mood of the Latin American revolutionary where a coup, you know, is a way of life, where restaurants and coffee houses abound with conversation about how to run a coup. In the running of a coup, one of the things that people talk about is how do you control the leadership which then exists at that time.

During my tenure in Miami, I did not put forth any proposals to mount an assassination operation. In other words, there was no formal plan. I did not put forth any operational proposals along this line.

Secondly, I am not aware of any assassination plans being put forth, you know, by Mr. Harvey or by anyone else at that particular time. That is the way I would prefer to answer that.

…I did not put forth any plans. On the other hand, I do not want to be held responsible for such things as CIA being held in touch with a paramilitary group in Cuba whose primary mission was the collection of intelligence, whose secondary mission might be to organize a resistance and, unbeknownst to me, might have had their own idea which were never consulted with us, you know, never discussed with us, through the communications channels that we had, who may have been thinking, may have planned, and may have attempted, to implement assassination operations.

I do not feel under the command and control mechanisms that existed that I could exercise through the station over such a situation that I could be held responsible for that. Therefore, I cannot accept your question on the secondary or tertiary situation because I have no knowledge of those. You may have some knowledge and you can confront me with some statement by some Cuban who said that this was part of his mission. I have to look at that at the time.

And I will stand by my answer, that is, I put forth no plans, I know of no plans put forth, you know, during my tenure in Miami in which assassination was part of the operational rationale. You know, the only way we can clarify this perhaps to your satisfaction is to discuss some specifics. If you are prepared to talk about specifics, maybe I can deal with those within the framework of that general statement that I made, you know. I know how Cubans talk. I know the rumors that have existed over the years. I simply do not want to be identified with any action conducted by some group over which I had no knowledge or control. That is my key point.

My requirements for reporting really stemmed in the early days from Harvey. If there were any special requirements, he was taking them from the three-man group and translating them and, in fact, much of the system of reporting in those early days was generated by me and what I thought was required to keep Mr. Harvey as a Task Force Commander fully informed. I think that you undoubtedly know from the record that I worked for Mr. Harvey prior to 1962 and therefore I was familiar, you know, with his style of operations and though I had a clear understanding of what he needed in an informational sense. So when I went to Miami, I organized much of the reporting flow upward, if you will, from the field unit to Headquarters.

 No, I do not deserve any credit for the tunnel operation. That is Mr. Harvey’s activity. He kept that very tightly compartmented and in the days when that was going on, I was involved primarily with Eastern European activities.

Yes, I would like to say I am a personal friend of Mr. Harvey.

I want to make a point. Insofar as the three-man group was concerned, I would see Helms in his role as the DDP in the three-man group. I would see Lansdale - - as I told you, Lansdale came down to visit me in Miami on one occasion. He came as part of that three-man group. But my chain of command during my visit was still from me to Harvey. Lansdale was down there, I was to be, you know, straightforward, candid, discuss plans, programs, problems. But I received my orders and instructions, the control of money and so forth was vested in Task Force Commander, Mr. Harvey.

Therefore, I have never dealt with this three-man group as a body. I dealt with the individuals, you know, and various mutations.

I would have to say that the total reporting became more formalized the longer we stayed in business. I cannot ascribe this to the difference of style of the three-man group as opposed to the Agency chain of command or subsequent with the requirements of the Special Group. This evolved from a body of experience that was gained as the operation was established and got some experience.

 So I would not want to characterize that as being a result of the groups.

I had no reason to believe that it was not a duly constituted body. In other words, these officers that I reported to in that particular case, Mr. Harvey, Mr. Helms, were my chain of command at that particular point, were the ones who briefed me on the existence of this three-man body and I felt that was a perfectly legitimate function of that body.

My recollection of the initial briefing was from Mr. Harvey.

[p. 34. MF Did not meet personally, one on one with the Attorney General RFK. The briefing at the White House was only time he met with RFK. ]

Throughout that whole period of time, that was the only, if you will, direct contact with him that I can remember. You know, unless you can show me something.

[Bruce Cheaver….at metting]

Again, I put it in this overall context of the times. We were running Foreign-Intelligence collection operations against Cuba with Classical agent means. We were running collection against Cuba through paramilitary teams. We were involved in paramilitary operations that could be described as commando raids. Those were the kinds of activities. We were dealing with exile groups, we were debriefing refugees and in all of this conversations of assassination, the Cuban penchant for it had to come up. I cannot pinpoint…

Even such things as discussions of various types of weapons, you know, people, as you probably know from this experience, every individual who deals with weapons has a different view on what is the ideal weapon. If you took a squad of ten men and gave them the free choices, I’m sure all ten of them would come up with a different weapon.

Therefore, when we were standardizing weapons to our paramilitary teams, things like that, weapons would be discussed in terms of, you know, muzzle velocity, rate-of-fire, weight of the weapon for the Cuban to carry, because many of them were quite small. In this context, people would discuss what is the range, can a guy use it to shoot somebody at a particular range? Is this an assassination weapon? Is this a good weapon for close combat?

Therefore the term assassination was just part of the life, of the fabric at that time. That is what I am trying to get across. I just cannot articulate any more eloquently than that.

If you are planning a commando raid against something like an oil refinery, you have to think about how are you going to get across the guard force that is around the refinery? One of the questions you have, of course, is if you bypass them, you are successful to get in without a trail or any kind of struggle, that is great. But what happens if you are implanting your target and the guard stumbles on you, you know, the guard forces then becomes an immediate risk to your operation and usually there is a fire fight. Therefore, this becomes a question of weapons. In other words, what weapon is going to give the highest muzzle velocity and make the largest amount of noise? Therefore, if you have two weapons of co-equal cyclic rate of fire and one made less rate of noise than the other for that job you would pick the weapon with the lowest noise. You might even silence it. You may make a silenced submachine gun out of it.

These are the kinds of things that go into these discussions of weapons.

In this particular context, I think most people felt that the Cuban penchant for assassination, for discussing assassination, was the kind that would have to be done from a long range. You know, I think that it is generally an accepted thesis that a group of dedicated men who are prepared to give their lives can in time assassinate almost anybody. Now, the Cuban was not that kind of person. That was not his psychology make-up. He tends to want to live to enjoy life, to talk about his accomplishment. Therefore, while they were brave and dedicated, they were the kind of people who would probably engage in something like this in the context of using the sniper weapon as a vehicle for assassination, long distance.

Therefore, in this context you are talking about range, you know, one of the key factors becomes what is the accurate range of a weapon if fired by an expert marksman. Therefore, that is the kind of thing that would go into, you know, discussions of weapons.

The perspective really starts with the failure of the Bay of Pigs Operation. After the failure of the Bay of Pigs, the Kennedy Administration wanted another look taken at the problem of Cuba. In order to get that other look started, the Kennedy Administration created this three-man task force or this three-man group and wanted to see what else could be done against Cuba, and that is when I came into this problem, in February of ’62.

This three-man group stemmed out of that [Robert Kennedy-Maxwell Taylor Board of Inquiry into Bay of Pigs] inquiry. What its relationship was to the inquiry, I do not know, because I was not involved and I never had an opportunity once I plunged into this job, to go back and read those historical documents. You know, I am sure there is a Maxwell Taylor Report and so forth, but I have never read it.

Therefore, my first task when I became involved in this was the task of coming up with an operational plan to see what kinds of intelligence could be collected in Cuba, so that by collecting this intelligence, an assessment could be made based on hard facts as to what could be done against Cuba. In other words, the difference here was that people thought that the Bay of Pigs operation was not soundly grounded in intelligence. Therefore, this was an attempt to start the collection of intelligence to see what could be done.

In order to collect intelligence at that particular time, it was believed that all avenues of approach should be used, so that meant classical foreign intelligence operations, counterintelligence operations, the debriefing of refugees, and the use of paramilitary means to put teams into Cuba to collect intelligence on that part of the island that could not be covered by what you would call the classical means of foreign intelligence collection.

As the program was started essentially by me or accelerated by me, was in fact got caught up with the Cuban Missile Crisis – that is, the advent of the Soviet intervention into Cuba – and our whole effort shifted to covering that Soviet build-up in Cuba, and this was an integral part of our having detected the Soviet build-up and the Untied States government taking the actions which they did, that is, to verify this.

There was a great problem for a while we were all taking about hard intelligence, the President, John Kennedy, was telling us, give us hard intelligence. We thought we were giving him hard intelligence. What we meant, in his definition of hard intelligence, as it turned out to be, was a U-2 photograph. He never articulated that to us in those terms.

Then we got caught up into the eyeball to eyeball confrontation of the Cuban Missile Crisis. When that was over, we got caught up with the problem of monitoring the disengagement of the Soviet presence in Cuba. That took us up through sometime into early ’63.

Then we took a look again, because we knew an awful lot more about hem than we had when we started in February of ’62, to see what could be done against Cuba, and it was clear at that point that no external invasion was going to be possible, because that was something that was excluded by the Khruschev-Kennedy agreement and then it was not feasible. In any event, therefore it was a question of what could be done. So we were collecting intelligence to continue to stay on top of the situation. We were attempting to establish contact with the military establishment in Cuba to see if there was any force that was opposed to Castro within the military establishment that would be used to alter the situation and continue to see whether there were any economic pressures that could be brought on Cuba that would accelerate the whole problem of creating an environment in which a resistance could be created on an island.

In addition, we were continuing to support certain elements of resistance, you know, that were still there that were not in the Army.

There were paramilitary forces that were in Cuba, that we had put in or established contact with, or people who were already in the bush who we had already established contact with or they had established contact with us, and we were providing them with food, weapons and so forth so that they could survive. So that it was a multifaceted approach at that particular time.

That went on from the middle of ’63 until the middle of ’65, and these are two distinct phases of this operation.

[Structure of JMWAVE]

The Station started expanding in whatever timeframe it was, somewhere after the survey was completed. It must have started expanding sometime in March of 1962. You know, by the time that it was at its peak, which was probably somewhere just before the Cuban Missile Crisis, July, August of 1962, it was either the largest or second largest – my recollection was it was the second largest station in existence at that time.

There would be for instance, maritime case officers. We hired people who had specialized skills, that is, that they could manage a series of vessels for us, but they were not longtime staff employees. Thee would be people who would be used, if you will, in a management organization, basic implementation of the program.

When I talk about the Station, as such, I would say that is roughly in the neighborhood of [REDACTED] people, and that was those people who would be involved in the management effort, the direction effort, the financial logistics, cover procedures, security, that kind of thing. All right? Flowing out from that were people whom we would call agents, that is, people who were not knowledgeable necessarily of whom they worked for or where the cover officers were located and so forth. Let us say, in the maritime parts of the operation we might have had at any one point in time, you know, up to five hundred people involved in maritime activities, you know?

….These would be essentially Cubans who were the captains of the vessels that were used in infiltration operations to put people on the shore of Cuba, and there were a variety of techniques. In other words, you might start with the mother ship, which would be an LCI – I am not sure how familiar you are with various kinds of vessels.

[An LCI is a] Landing craft kind of vessel, or patrol craft, a PC, 110-foot vessel that would be a mother ship. This is the kind of ship that would take fuel supplies and water, so that other smaller vessels could be serviced by it. So you might start an operation of a mother ship towing a smaller boat, or having it on its decks and going down to fifteen or twenty miles from Cuba, putting the smaller boat over the side, which was a faster boat, lower silhouette, less likely to be picked up by a Cuban coastal radar, and then that would take the team in close to the shore where we might finally put them in rubber rafts, where they would paddle in or use a silent outboard motor if the surf was high.

…In other words, I am only using this as an example. Let us say we had the ABC Shipping Company. That shipping company was a subsidiary of the Station, if you sill, and the ABC Shipping Company ran maybe one LCI and maybe two or three smaller boats which it could deck load and that company might have fifty or seventy-five employees, as an example, all Cubans, maybe some of them were Nicaraguan or Costa Rican…We are talking about all of these companies, they probably went up into the hundreds….

There was a Chief of Station, which was myself. I had a Deputy Chief of Station for operations. That is the gentleman who is now retired. I think he is still alive, by the name of Moore, Robert Moore. I had a second Deputy Chief of Station and he was for Support Patterns. That is a gentleman who is also retired, a Mr. Corris.

Then the rest of the Station was organized into a number of branches. Each branch was organized along functional lines….There was a Foreign Intelligence Branch. These were people in, what in my terminology would be classical foreign intelligence operations. That is, trying to recruit a Cuban diplomat abroad, as an example, dealing with, you know, a Uruguayan diplomat in the Uruguayan Embassy in Havana. They are working with resident agents in Cuba who might live in some city like Havana and have a legal  job as a baker or butcher or something but had a radio set in which they could communicate with us, through which they could communicate with us.

Then there was the Paramilitary Branch. This was the group that ran the command o operations. This was the group that ran, and put people back in Cuba, into resistance groups, or established contact with resistance groups. This was a group that also worked in putting in caches that would supply people, either paramilitary forces in Cuba or agents that were being run by the Foreign Intelligence Group.

All right. Then there was a Covert Action, people who dealt with exiled refugee groups that were involved in radio activities, publications, that kind of thing. Then there is a whole panoply of – then there was Maritime, in terms of finance, and so on. Security was a branch. Obviously, under that kind of system, no executive, whether he is president of a corporation or a Chief of Station, can see every single piece of paper that comes in or out, but clearly there was a review procedure whereby program reviews were conducted, individual operational reviews were conducted.

….During this period of time there were a lot of independent Cuban groups who claimed that they had sponsorship from the Agency but did not, and were operating, and there was a period of time when these groups could not run their operations from Florida without running the risk of being picked up by Customs, Immigration, Coast Guard, the FBI, or if we had information on it, you know, we might pass the information to the Coast Guard so that they could keep them from going…..somebody like Alpha 66 or Commando L or somebody like that, they were not part of the CIA apparatus.

Washington, Task Force W, essentially did not run any paramilitary operations where they took command and control fro sending people to Cuba. For instance, if Task Force W in Washington wanted to plant a radio in Cuba which was to be picked up by foreign intelligence agents who could report, they would task us to implant that radio in a cache in a particular area in Cuba, for instance, Oriente province. We would know simply that it was a radio perhaps. We would put it into Oriente province, write up the site, give them the rip cord. They would communicate to the agents in Cuba who would go recover the cache.

I had no contact with the Artime group, as a general rule. They  [Task Force W] also had contact with Manolo Ray which I did not have contact with….

You know, the Agency had a highly compartmented mechanism. You know, let us dispel one thing very promptly here. If you are asking me was I aware of all these contacts, you know, with the Mafia – and I think I can tell you frankly at that time I was not - Harvey would come to Miami to visit me to review the activities of the station, and while there would go off on his own and make his contact with whomever he was meeting. I knew he was meeting somebody, but it was not up to me to find out with whom he was meeting or why he was meeting them or what he was doing with them.

…In this business you just do not ask your superior, what are you doing? That is just not cricket; that is not the way the game is played.

….I had the impression from Harvey going off that he was meeting with somebody, and at one point in time I came to the impression that he was meeting a guy by the name of John. Who John was, I had no idea. We were involved in an attempt to try to find two Soviets at one point who were of interest. The fellow who provided the lead to that had been a member of one of the casinos in Cuba at some time.

I do not remember the man’s name. It may come to me…..

[ Called back for a second session, a seven page transcript, the name of this person is REDACTED but is probably John Martino.]

[Miami station had no direct relationship with Tony Verona]

My recollection of this AMLASH case is as follows. At some point in time, I had a conversation with Desmond FitzGerald in Washington during one of my periodic visits to Washington from Miami. We discussed at that meeting the nature of our approach to the military establishment in Cuba. In the context of this conversation, Mr. FitzGerald asked me if I thought whether it would be a good idea for him to meet one of these Cuban military personalities, and he subsequently identified to me the personality he was talking about was AMLASH-1.

My advice to him was that it would probably not be a good idea for him to meet him, and the only thing that I could see coming out of that king of contact would be that he, Mr. FitzGerald, would get a personal feel for what makes some of these people tick, in human terms, and that that probably was too high a price to pay for the prospect if anything went wrong, an individual as prominent in Washington as, both within the Agency and the social world of Washington, would be exposed in the Press. That would create a flap that I thought was not worth what would be gained from that meeting.

This gentleman, being AMLASH-1, was met in Spain. I also recall after having left the Cuban activity that I read a Press article showing that he had been apprehended and I remember reading the publicity of that particular activity. It is also my recollection that we put in a cache for him.

…I was later Chief of the WH Division from 1972 to 1973, and I did read some of the files….

…FitzGerald and his staff wee working on what I was doing in Miami to try to establish contacts with the Cuban military. In other words, we saw this as a multi-faceted approach. First, we wanted penetration of the Cuban military so that we could collect intelligence. What were their strengths, weaknesses, what was their mood, where were things going? Secondly, we wanted from these sources operational intelligence. Who – in other words, who in these groups were dissatisfied as Fidel consolidated. Who could provide leadership for a counter-movement against Fidel?

We were looking for people, once we had identified them, to see if we could establish contacts with any of those leaders so we could see whether there was a basis for working toward an overthrow of the Castro government. You know, those were the basic steps.

Now as you got down to talking about how you overthrow Castro, obviously the question comes in of how does a group who wants to run a coup or take power take power, and obviously one of the things that has to be looked at is where does the existing leadership going to be during this event, who has control of the various units? So our discussions were all in that context.

[There are fourteen folders in the AMLASH file]

MF p. 103

For most of those commando teams, you were looking for a different kind of weapon. You are looking for a weapon with a high range of fire power over a short distance to deal with an emergency situation rather than the kind of, you know, weapon that we are talking about. In other words, you would find that type of group armed with a submachine gun, as for example.

…Most of the missions that were run were run against targets that were in fairly close proximity to the shore. If you are going to put a party to attack your objective, let us say this objective was a petroleum storage tank, if you were going to do this by putting charges up against the petroleum storage tank that meant that you had to have a group infiltrate close enough to put the charge on the tank. Some distance away from them you would give them a second element of the commando team which would be providing covering fire for this group in case they got into trouble and cannot handle it on the ground. This covering fire group might have had a light machine gun, a Belgian weapon. They could have these kinds of weapons and they did have these kinds of weapons which in the definition you are using could be used as a sniper weapon or whatever, but the basic reason for having that weapon was to provide fire support for the other members of the commando team.

[Rolando Martinez “More than once he was given personal charge of weapons drops in which special rifles with silencers and telescopic sights were left at designated inland spots.”  “I took a lot of weapons to Cuba, some of them were very special weapons for special purposes. They were powerful rifles with sophisticated scopes, Springfields with bolt action, rifles only used by snipers.  They were not sent to shoot pigeons or kill rabbits. Everyone in the Underground was plotting to kill Castro and the CIA was helping the Underground. I was with the Underground as well as the CIA, so you can see I was involved in the plots too, but that is also obvious.” ]

[Mr. Murray, who was in the Havana Station, Arthur Avignon who was head of the Havana Station for awhile -]

MF p. 117

There was an office of ONI, Office of Naval Intelligence representative on Guantanamo….

AMOT. That was a program involving a Cuban émigré group that was used as an operational support mechanism to support the Miami Station. They were interviewers of refugees who came out of Cuba. They provided translator personnel to translate the Spanish language publications that were of interest to us. They provided information on the various mainstream activities that were going on in the Cuban exile community.

[Lansdale arrived in Summer of ’62 in special plane that landed at Homestead AFB]

MF p.130-163 Speech of Fidel Castro? ]


NARA Record Number 157-10014-10046 (7 pages)
Testimony of “Halley” (Alias) In Executive Session
Recalled for more questions.
Monday August 25, 1975

Shackley recalled the name of North Miami man who provided info on possible Soviet defectors in Cuba  but the Name is REDACTED.

[BK Notes It is possibly, probably Eddie Bayo or John Martino]