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JFK Theory: anti-Castro Activists

JFK Theory: anti-Castro Activists

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Anthony Summers is the author of The Kennedy Conspiracy. He believes that John F. Kennedy was killed by a group of anti-Castro activists, funded by Mafia mobsters who had been ousted from Cuba. Summers believes that some members of the Central Intelligence Agency took part in this conspiracy. Summers speculated that the following people were involved in this conspiracy: Johnny Roselli, Carlos Marcello, Santos Trafficante, Sam Giancana, David Ferrie, Gerry Patrick Hemming, Guy Bannister and E.Howard Hunt.

Sylvia Meagher in her book, Accessories After the Fact, also supported the theory that John F. Kennedy had been killed by Anti-Castro exiles.

Jim Garrison, the district attorney of New Orleans, believed that a group of right-wing activists involved in the anti-Castro movement, including Guy Bannister, David Ferrie, Carlos Bringuier and Clay Shaw were involved in a conspiracy with the Central Intelligence Agency to kill Kennedy.

The House Select Committee on Assassinations discovered evidence to suggest that anti-Castro Cubans were involved in the assassination. For example, an undercover agent heard Nestor Castellanos tell a meeting of anti-Castro Cubans, "We're waiting for Kennedy on the 22nd. We're going to see him in one way or another." The committee also obtained evidence that Lee Harvey Oswald met David Ferrie in New Orleans in the summer of 1963. It concluded that "individuals active in anti-Castro activities had the motive, means, and opportunity to assassinate President Kennedy".

(K1) Robert J. Groden, The Search for Lee Harvey Oswald (1995)

On Monday, August 12, 1963, Lee and Carlos Bringuier appeared in Second Municipal Court at 1:00 p.m. The charges were dismissed against Bringuier, and Lee was fined $10.00. Marina Oswald confirmed that Lee actually wanted to be arrested. He wanted the exposure. He wanted to get the publicity as a pro-Castroite. She referred to this as "self-advertising." Marina was right, but the question still remains: Why?

Lee was back handing out his Fair Play for Cuba Committee flyers on the streets of New Orleans on August 16. He had hired three men to help with distribution: odd, since he was nearly without funds for himself and his family. They stood in front of the International Trade Mart, whose director, Clay Shaw, would be charged with conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy four years later by New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison. Somebody (probably Lee himself or, possibly, Carlos Bringuier) called WDSU-TV and other members of the New Orleans news media to announce that he was distributing the pro-Castro literature. More self-advertising. That evening's television news broadcast his activity, and the resulting bad publicity made it nearly impossible for him to obtain employment.

Why did Robert J. Groden think it strange that Lee Harvey Oswald should hire three men to give out Fair Play for Cuba Committee flyers on the streets of New Orleans?

(K2) Lee Harvey Oswald, Carlos Bringuier and Ed Butler, Vice-President of the Information Council of the Americas, took part in a debate on Bill Slatter's radio show Conversation Carte Blanche in 1963.

Lee Harvey Oswald: The principals of thought of the Fair Play for Cuba consist of restoration of diplomatic trade and tourist relations with Cuba. That is one of our main points. We are for that. I disagree that this situation regarding American-Cuban relations is very unpopular. We are in the minority surely. We are not particularly interested in what Cuban exiles or rightists members of rightist organizations have to say. We are primarily interested in the attitude of the US government toward Cuba. And in that way we are striving to get the United States to adopt measures which would be more friendly toward the Cuban people and the new Cuban regime in that country. We are not all communist controlled regardless of the fact that I have the experience of living in Russia, regardless of the fact that we have been investigated, regardless of those facts, the Fair Play for Cuba Committee is an independent organization not affiliated with any other organization. Our aims and our ideals are very clear and in the best keeping with American traditions of democracy.

Carlos Bringuier: Do you agree with Fidel Castro when in his last speech of July 26th of this year he qualified President John F. Kennedy of the United States as a ruffian and a thief? Do you agree with Mr. Castro?

Lee Harvey Oswald: I would not agree with that particular wording. However, I and the Fair Play for Cuba Committee do think that the United States Government through certain agencies, mainly the State Department and the C.I.A., has made monumental mistakes in its relations with Cuba. Mistakes which are pushing Cuba into the sphere of activity of let's say a very dogmatic communist country such as China.

Bill Slatter: Mr. Oswald would you agree that when Castro first took power - would you agree that the United States was very friendly with Castro, that the people of this country had nothing but admiration for him, that they were very glad to see Batista thrown out?

Lee Harvey Oswald: I would say that the activities of the United States government in regards to Batista were a manifestation of not so much support for Fidel Castro but rather a withdrawal of support from Batista. In other words we stopped armaments to Batista. What we should have been done was to take those armaments and drop them into the Sierra Maestra where Fidel Castro could have used them. As for public sentiment at that time, I think even before the revolution, there were rumblings of official comment and so forth from government officials er, against Fidel Castro.

Ed Butler: You've never been to Cuba, of course, but why are the people of Cuba starving today?

Lee Harvey Oswald: Well any country emerging from a semi-colonial state and embarking upon reforms which require a diversification of agriculture you are going to have shortages. After all 80% of imports into the United States from Cuba were two products, tobacco and sugar. Nowadays, while Cuba is reducing its production as far as sugar cane goes it is striving to grow unlimited, and unheard of for Cuba, quantities of certain vegetables such as sweet potatoes, lima beans, cotton, and so forth, so that they can become agriculturally independent ...

Ed Butler: Gentlemen I'm going to have to interrupt you. Our time is almost up. We've had three guests tonight on Conversation Carte Blanche, Bill Stuckey and I have been talking to Lee Harvey Oswald, Secretary of the New Orleans Chapter of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, Ed Butler, Executive Vice-president of the Information Council of the Americas (INCA) and Carlos Bringuier, Cuban refugee. Thank you very much.

Was Lee Harvey Oswald a supporter or opponent of Fidel Castro?

(K3) The Warren Commission Report (September, 1964)

On August 5, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald visited a store managed by Carlos Bringuier, a Cuban refugee and avid opponent of Castro, and the New Orleans delegate of the Cuban student directorate. Oswald indicated an interest in joining the struggle against Castro. He told Bringuier that he had been a marine and was trained in guerrilla warfare, and that he was willing not only to train Cubans to fight Castro but also to join the fight himself. The next day Oswald returned to the store and left his Guidebook for Marines for Bringuier.

A few days later, a friend of Bringuier's saw Oswald passing out Fair Play for Cuba Committee leaflets on Canal Street, not far from the store Bringuier managed. He, Bringuier and another exile proceeded to the site of Oswald's mini-demonstration, and Bringuier was enraged when he recognized the pro-Castro demonstrator as the anti-Castro activist wannabe of a few days before. Though no physical violence resulted, some heated words were uttered, a crowd gathered, and Oswald was arrested along with the three Cubans for disturbing the peace.

Why was the Warren Commission interested in the relationship between Lee Harvey Oswald and Carlos Bringuier?

(K4) G. Robert Blakey was interviewed by Frontline in 1993.

Q: Going back to the point about his (Lee Harvey Oswald) apparent pro-Castro activity. Is this an organization with any substance?

A: Every effort was made, both by the FBI in 1963, and by the committee, to establish that the pro-Castro activity in New Orleans had a larger group behind it. Apparently he had a unit of the 'Fair Play for Cuba'. Apparently it had no membership other than Lee Harvey Oswald himself. Indeed, when he distributed the literature, one of the two people was hired. The other person we've never been able to identify. There's just no evidence that Lee Harvey Oswald had other associates in the pro-Castro activity.

Q: Doesn't that argue for the whole thing just being a shell game? I mean a pretense?

A: Oh it surely argues for it being a shell game. Is it a shell game by Lee Harvey Oswald, or a shell game by Lee Harvey Oswald on behalf of someone else? You answer that, I think, not by what happens in New Orleans, but by the consistent train of his character. From Japan to the Soviet Union, to New Orleans to Mexico City, of acting, at least for his own perspective, out of a Marxist or a pro-Castro perspective.

Q: Now, how do you reconcile the fact that there are two contradictory activities going on?

A: I'm not terribly sure that you can reconcile them. The most consistent thing through Lee Harvey Oswald's life is his Marxist position. The effort to talk to the anti-Castro Cubans is an effort either by Lee Harvey Oswald, in his crazed mind, to be engaging in subterfuge activity, or it is, in fact, Lee Harvey Oswald acting on behalf of someone else, infiltrating anti-Castro activities.

The true Lee Harvey Oswald is the Marxist. Oswald engages in a number of activities in New Orleans. He distributes 'Fair Play for Cuba' literature. He apparently is the head of a unit of 'Fair Play for Cuba'. He goes on a radio station and debates on behalf of Castro. All of this indicates his Marxist pro-Castro leanings.

At the same time, Lee Harvey Oswald makes a contact with Carlos Bringuier who is an anti-Castro Cuban leader in New Orleans and this is documented and unquestioned. Which is Lee Harvey Oswald? Is he pro-Castro? Is he anti-Castro? This man is all things to all people.

Why is G. Robert Blakey confused by the behaviour of Lee Harvey Oswald in New Orleans in the summer of 1963. Does the information in this source contradict the information given in K2?

(K5) Jim Garrison, On the Trail of the Assassins (1988)

Martin was seated across my desk, his anxious gaze fixed on my every move. An on-again, off-again alcoholic, he was a thin man with deeply circled, worried eyes. Although he had been written off as a nonentity by many, I had long regarded him as a quick-witted and highly observant, if slightly disorganized, private detective. I had known him casually as far back as my days as an assistant D.A. and always had gotten along well with him.

"Jack," I said, "why don't you relax a little? You should know by now that you're among friends here."

He nodded nervously. He was seated in the roomy, upholstered chair across from my desk, but he looked most uncomfortable. I offered him some coffee. "You're not under cross-examination. Jack," I said "I just want a little help. Understand?"

"The police report says the reason Banister beat you was you had an argument over telephone bills." I pulled a copy of the police report from my desk drawer and shoved it across to him. "Here, take a look at it." He bent his head over and examined it as if he had never seen it before. I was sure that he had seen it many times, probably even had a copy at home.

After a moment he looked up without saying a word. His eyes told me he was deeply concerned about something.

"Now, does a simple argument over phone bills sound like a believable explanation to you?" I asked.

I waited. Then, dreamily, he shook his head slowly. "No," he admitted. "It involved more than that."

"How much more?"

Again I waited. He breathed deeply, sucking in the air.

"It started like it was going to be nothing at all," he began. "We'd both been drinking at Katzenjammer's - maybe more than usual, because of the assassination and all. Banister especially."

Pausing to chug down another cup of coffee, he made a real effort to collect his thoughts.

"Well, when we came back to the office. Banister started hitching about one thing and then another. He was in a mean mood. Then all of a sudden, he accused me of going through his private files. Now I never went through his private stuff ever - absolutely never. And that really ticked me off."

He hesitated for a long moment.

"Go on. Jack," I said gently.

"I guess I blew up," he continued, his face flushed with memories of injustice. "That's when I told him he'd better not talk to me like that. I told him I remembered the people I had seen around the office that summer. And that's when he hit me. Fast as a flash - pulled out that big Magnum and slammed me on the side of the head with it."

"Just because you remembered the people you'd seen at his office the past summer?" I asked.

"Yeah, that's all it took. He went bananas on that one."

"And just who were the people you'd seen in the office that summer?" I prodded softly.

"There was a bunch of them. It was like a circus. There were all those Cubans - coming in and going out, coming in and going out. They all looked alike to me."

Someone once commenced that whenever you really want to do something unseen, whenever you go to great pains to make sure that you are unobserved, there always turns out to be someone who was sitting under the oak tree. At the strange place that was Banister's office. Jack Martin, unnoticed in the middle of it all, was the one sitting under the oak tree.

He drew a long breath and then went on. "Then there were all these other characters. There was Dave Ferrie - you know about him by now."

"Was he there very often?" I asked.

"Often? He practically lived there."

Then Martin fell silent. I saw by the look in his eyes that he had come to a full stop.

I was not about to let my weekend visit to 544 Camp Street go down the drain that easily, so I gave him a hand. 'And Lee Harvey Oswald'" I added.

Jack swallowed, then nodded. It was almost as if he felt relief in finally having a burden lifted from him. "Yeah, he was there too. Sometimes he'd be meeting with Guy Banister with the door shut. Other times he'd be shooting the bull with Dave Ferrie. But he was there all right."

"What was Guy Banister doing while all this was going on?"

"Hell, he was the one running the circus."

"What about his private detective work?"

"Not much of that came in, but when it did, I handled it. That's why I was there."

"So, Jack," I said. "Just what was going on at Banister's office?"

He held up his hand. "I can't answer that," he said firmly. "I can't go into that stuff at all." Unexpectedly, he stood up. "I think I'd better go," he said.

"Hold on. Jack. What's the problem with our going into what was happening at Banister's office?"

"What's the problem?" he said. "What's the problem?" he repeated, as if in disbelief. "The problem is that we're going to bring the goddamned federal government down on our backs. Do I need to spell it out? I could get killed - and so could you."

He turned around. "I'd better go," he mumbled. He wobbled as he headed for the door.

Jim Garrison believed Guy Banister and Dave Ferrie were involved with a group of anti-Castro Cubans in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. How does this source support this theory?

(K6) Anthony Summers, The Kennedy Conspiracy (1980)

According to Delphine Roberts, Lee Oswald walked into her office sometime in 1963 and asked to fill in the forms for accreditation as one of Banister's "agents." Mrs. Roberts told me, "Oswald introduced himself by name and said he was seeking an application form. I did not think that was really why he was there. During the course of the conversation I gained the impression that he and Guy Banister already knew each other. After Oswald filled out the application form Guy Banister called him into the office. The door was closed, and a lengthy conversation took place. Then the young man left. I presumed then, and now am certain, that the reason for Oswald being there was that he was required to act undercover."

Mrs. Roberts said she was sure that whatever the nature of Banister's "interest" in Oswald, it concerned anti-Castro schemes, plans which she feels certain had the support and encouragement of government intelligence agencies. As she put it, "Mr. Banister had been a special agent for the FBI and was still working for them. There were quite a number of connections which he kept with the FBI and the CIA, too. I know he and the FBI traded information due to his former association...."

Guy Banister always denied knowing Lee Harvey Oswald. How does Delphine Roberts undermine this claim? According to Roberts, what was the connection between Oswald, FBI, CIA and the Anti-Castro Cubans?

(K7) Jonathan Vankin and John Whalen, 70 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time (2001)

David Philips suspected by the House Select Committee on Assassinations of doubling as the shadowy "Maurice Bishop" CIA overseer of the Cuban Alpha 66 anti-Castro brigade. The same David Philips in charge of spinning the Oswald-Mexico City incident in the CIA's favor may have engineered the "Mexico City scenario" in the first place. Lane, who has made a legal and literary career out of blaming the CIA for JFK's death, says he did.

Alpha 66's Cuban leader Antonio Veciana claimed that at one of his hundred or so meetings with Bishop, Oswald was there not saying anything, just acting odd.

"I always thought Bishop was working with Oswald during the assassination," Veciana told Russell.

Veciana's cousin worked for Castro's intelligence service and after the assassination Bishop wanted Veciana to bribe his cousin into saying that he met with Oswald, in order to fabricate an Oswald-Castro connection.

Investigators never established for sure that Bishop and Philips were one and the same, but descriptions of Bishop's appearance and mannerisms mirrored Philips'. Veciana drew a sketch of his old controller and Senator Richard Schweiker, a member of the assassination committee, recognized it as Philips. When the select committee's star investigator Gaeton Fonzi finally brought Veciana and Philips together, the two started acting weird around each other. After a short conversation in Spanish, Philips bolted. Witnesses to the encounter swear that a look of recognition swept Veciana's visage, but Veciana denied that Philips was his case officer of more than a decade earlier.

Antonio Veciana was the leader of the Alpha 66 anti-Castro group. He also claimed his group was financed by a CIA agent named Maurice Bishop. How does Veciana implicate the CIA and the anti-Castro activists in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy?

(K8) Michael Dorman, Newsday (1995)

A long-secret government document released this week lends credence to a favorite theory of conspiracy advocates on President John F. Kennedy's assassination: the contention that Lee Harvey Oswald was seen in Dallas with a U.S. intelligence agent about two months before the murder.

That issue has long been connected with unproved reports that a violent Cuban exile group - perhaps with the help of an American intelligence agency - was involved in the assassination. The House Select Committee on Assassinations investigated the reports but said in 1978 it was unable to substantiate them.

However, the document obtained yesterday by Newsday provides a previously lacking measure of credibility to the reports. Those reports center on a shadowy figure called Maurice Bishop - likely a pseudonym - said to have been an intelligence agent during the early 1960s.

Antonio Veciana, founder of the Alpha 66 Cuban exile group that launched repeated guerrilla raids against Fidel Castro's regime, testified before the House committee that he considered Bishop his US intelligence contact; that he met with Bishop more than 100 times over a 13-year period; that Bishop had directed him to organize Alpha 66 and had paid him $253,00. Moreover, he said, he had met briefly in Dallas with Bishop and Oswald sometime around September, 1963, two months before Kennedy's Nov. 22 assassination. G. Robert Blakey, chief counsel to the House committee, said: "After careful analysis, we decided not to credit Veciana's claim" because, among other things, there was no proof that Maurice Bishop existed.

But the document, released by the US Assassination Records Review Board, supports the contention that Bishop existed and otherwise backs Veciana's story. Government sources said the document - a US Army intelligence report dated Oct. 17, 1962 - describes a man who fits the profile of Maurice Bishop. "He used a different name, but we believe this man fits Bishop's profile very closely," one official said.

The document is a report from an Army intelligence officer, Col. Jeff W. Boucher, to Brig. Gen. Edward Lansdale, assistant to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and a controversial figure in the Vietnam War. It said the intelligence operative described as fitting Bishop's profile "has contact with the Alpha 66 group" and that Alpha 66 "was going to conduct raids against Cuba."

Alpha 66 leaders, the document said, had told the operative they "desired support of the US Army in the action phase," including funds, equipment and arms. "In return the group would provide intelligence information, would furnish captured equipment, and could land agents in Cuba. The group estimated it would require $100,000 to complete the balance of its program, consisting of four more raids on Cuba."

The document said a unit of Army intelligence had approved debriefing Alpha 66 frogmen who had conducted underwater operations against Castro; exploring the possibility of buying captured Soviet equipment from Alpha 66 and briefing Lansdale on the Alpha 66 proposal to furnish intelligence information and material for financial support.

How does the document referred in this source connect the CIA and the anti-Castro activists in New Orleans?

(K9) Lisa Pease, Probe Magazine (March-April, 1996)

During the Church committee hearings, Senator Richard Schweiker's independent investigator Gaeton Fonzi stumbled onto a vital lead in the Kennedy assassination. An anti-Castro Cuban exile leader named Antonio Veciana was bitter about what he felt had been a government setup leading to his recent imprisonment, and he wanted to talk. Fonzi asked him about his activities, and without any prompting from Fonzi, Veciana volunteered the fact that his CIA handler, known to him only as "Maurice Bishop," had been with Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas not long before the assassination of Kennedy. Veciana gave a description of Bishop to a police artist, who drew a sketch. One notable characteristic Veciana mentioned were the dark patches on the skin under the eyes. When Senator Schweiker first saw the picture, he thought it strongly resembled the CIA's former Chief of the Western Hemisphere Division-one of the highest positions in the Agency - and the head of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO): David Atlee Phillips.

What was the connection between Antonio Veciana and David Atlee Phillips?

(K10) Judyth Baker, posting on Manatee High School website (2003)

Between 1961 and 1963, I was trained to do special cancer research. I became involved in an anti-castro project in New Orleans. I can't even discuss the impact of this project, but suffice that by spring of 1963, I was working for Reily coffee company as a front (my boss was former FBI agent William Monaghan) while actually engaged in clandestine cancer research with 'Dr.' David W. Ferrie (supposedly committed suicide but was probably murdered during the Garrison investigation) and renowned medical specialist Dr. Mary Sherman (brutally murdered July 21, 1964 for her part in the scenario I am about to describe). You may recall that I took Russian (all fees paid) at Manatee (then Jr.) Community College. I spoke crude conversational Russian by 1963, when I was introduced in New Orleans to Lee Harvey Oswald. When I wore my hair and makeup the same as his wife, Marina, - for I was same height, weight, and spoke Russian, Lee Oswald and I could worked together. Lee was involved in an anti-Castro project whose sponsor, Dr. Ochsner, was possibly related to the CIA in fact, one of Ochsner's best friends was 'Wild Bill' Donovan, who founded the CIA and who was, like Ochsner, a President of the American Cancer Society. The project included delivery of live biological weapons into Cuba, aimed to kill Castro. Not only was Oswald an innocent man, he was framed in Dallas. He was a patriot who, had he defended himself, would have led to our deaths.

Judyth Baker claims she was the girlfriend of Lee Harvey Oswald during her stay in New Orleans. According to Baker, what was David Ferrie, Mary Sherman and Oswald doing in New Orleans during the summer of 1963.

(K11) Gus Russo, Live by the Sword (1998)

David Ferrie has long been portrayed on paper and in film as an American grotesque: a raving hater of President Kennedy, who threatened to kill the President. He was said to be angry at JFK for failing to help the Cuban exiles restore liberty to their land. It seems certain he made a celebrated statement after the Bay of Pigs fiasco on which much of the portrait has been based. That incident occurred in July 1961, when Ferrie was addressing the New Orleans chapter of the Order of World Wars. Ferrie became so critical of Kennedy's handling of the Bay of Pigs invasion that he was asked to discontinue his remarks. But that was almost certainly taken out of context and misinterpreted.

A devout Catholic (who was, for a time, a seminarian), Ferrie voted for Kennedy in 1960 and was "elated" when he defeated Richard Nixon for the presidency that year. "Things are going to turn for the better now that a Catholic has been elected," a good friend would remember Ferrie saying. Another friend elaborated, "After all, he was an Irish Catholic too. He was an enthusiastic supporter (of Kennedy). Dave was a spokesman for the Kennedys . To him, the idea of a Catholic president was mind-boggling, He thought Kennedy was fabulous."

Does Gus Russo believe that David Ferrie was involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy?

(K12) Anthony Summers, The Kennedy Conspiracy (1980)

David Ferrie, aide in Carlos Marcello's apparatus, and anti-Castro activist, attracted brief official attention less than forty-eight hours after the assassination. Just hours before Ruby killed Oswald, and while Ferrie was still away on his peculiar marathon around Texas, a disaffected member of Banister's staff called New Orleans authorities to say he suspected Ferrie of involvement in the President's murder. This was Jack Martin, a Banister investigator, and he voiced suspicion that Ferrie had been in contact with Oswald. Within hours of the assassination, Martin had been involved in a dispute with Banister - a confrontation that may have occurred when Banister caught Martin trying to examine confidential files. For whatever reason, Banister injured Martin by hitting him on the head with a revolver butt. It was the day after this, following a visit to the hospital, that Martin raised the alarm over Ferrie. A hue and cry began, but Ferrie - as we have seen - was away in Texas. His associates, questioned in his absence, proved uninformative. One did, however, relate a strange incident.

He said that a lawyer had already been to Ferrie's home, promising to act on Ferrie's behalf as soon as he returned. The lawyer, said Ferrie's friend, had remarked that "when Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested by the Dallas police, Oswald was carrying a library card with Ferrie's name on it." The lawyer, G. Wray Gill, was one of Carlos Marcello's attorneys. Ferrie spoke with Gill by telephone, on the evening of the day Ruby killed Oswald, but did not immediately report to the authorities. When he finally did so next day, Ferrie turned up accompanied by the Marcello lawyer. He denied knowing anything about Oswald or the assassination. Martin, the informant who had started the chase after Ferrie, was dismissed as a crank with a grudge. He was indeed an odd character - a fact for which Ferrie may have been most grateful. As this story has shown, there was good reason to suspect him. A case in point is the reported concern by Marcello's lawyer about a library card.

Nothing in the record reflects the finding in Oswald's possession of any document relating to Ferrie. Yet the Secret Service did ask Ferrie whether he had loaned Oswald his library card. Ferrie denied it, but the statements of two witnesses suggest he was panic-stricken over just that. One of Oswald's former neighbors in New Orleans would later tell investigators that Ferrie visited her soon after his Texas trip - asking about Oswald's library card. Oswald's own landlady said the same - and added a disturbing factor. She recalled Ferrie turning up to ask about the card within hours of the assassination - before he set off on his trip. This bizarre episode, which may be of key significance, remains unexplained.

What was the connection between David Ferrie, Lee Harvey Oswald and Carlos Marcello?

(K13) G.

Q: Who is David Ferrie?

A: If Oswald is an enigmatic character, and he is, David Ferrie is his soulmate. David Ferrie is a man, not well educated, but described as brilliant. Apparently a homosexual. An airline pilot for Eastern Airlines and a good pilot. A man who is very active in the anti-Castro Cuban movement. A man who is close to Carlos Marcello. He is also, significantly, a man who, in the 1950s, headed up a civil air patrol unit in which Lee Harvey Oswald apparently was a member.

Q: It appears that when Oswald went to Dallas, suddenly he's not with anybody. Maybe he did it alone?

A: Anybody who looks at this has to be candid enough to say that the evidence cuts in two directions. When he is in Dallas, he apparently is alone, or largely a loner.

He gets the job at the depository by happenstance. The Kennedy motorcade in front of the depository is by happenstance. It has none of the earmarks of a carefully planned assassination. His flight from the depository is by happenstance. His killing of Tippit is by happenstance. …

But then, you find David Ferrie, who is an investigator for Carlos Marcello, being a boyhood friend to Lee Harvey Oswald and with him that summer, and with Carlos Marcello at that very point in time. You have an immediate connection between a man who had the motive, opportunity and means to kill Kennedy and the man who killed Kennedy.

Why does G. Robert Blakey believe that David Ferrie was involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy?

(K14) Article in New York Daily News about Marita Lorenz (3rd November, 1977)

Marita Lorenz told the New York Daily News that her companions on the car trip from Miami to Dallas were Oswald, CIA contact agent Frank Sturgis, Cuban exile leaders Orlando Bosch and Pedro Diaz Lanz, and two Cuban brothers whose names she did not know.

She said that they were members of Operation 40, a secret guerilla group originally formed by the CIA in 1960 in preparation for the Bay of Pigs invasion...

Ms. Lorenz described Operation 40 as an "assassination squad" consisting of about 30 anti-Castro Cubans and their American advisors. She claimed the group conspired to kill Cuban Premier Fidel Castro and President Kennedy, whom it blamed for the Bay of Pigs fiasco...

She said Oswald... visited an Operation 40 training camp in the Florida Everglades. The next time she saw him, Ms. Lorenz said, was... in the Miami home of Orlando Bosch, who is now in a Venezuelan prison on murder charges in connection with the explosion and crash of a Cuban jetliner that killed 73 persons last year.

Ms. Lorenz claimed that this meeting was attended by Sturgis, Oswald, Bosch and Diaz Lanz, former Chief of the Cuban Air Force. She said the men spread Dallas street maps on a table and studied them...

She said they left for Dallas in two cars soon after the meeting. They took turns driving, she said, and the 1,300-mile trip took about two days. She added that they carried weapons - "rifles and scopes" - in the cars...

Sturgis reportedly recruited Ms. Lorenz for the CIA in 1959 while she was living with Castro in Havana. She later fled Cuba but returned on two secret missions. The first was to steal papers from Castro's suite in the Havana Hilton; the second mission was to kill him with a poison capsule, but it dissolved while concealed in ajar of cold cream.

Informed of her story, Sturgis told the News yesterday: "To the best of my knowledge, I never met Oswald."

According to Marita Lorenz, what was Operation 40?

(K15) Michael Kurtz, Crime of the Century: The Kennedy Assassination From a Historians Perspective (1982)

Several documents from the FBI and CIA assassination files hint that foreknowledge of the president's murder was fairly widespread. On 21 November, a Cuban told Gregory Basila, a San Antonio pharmacist, that "Kennedy will be killed in Dallas tomorrow." An informant told the FBI's Miami office that $25,000 to $50,000 was being offered to assassinate the president. Early in the morning of 22 November, a CIA source in Madrid heard a former Cuban journalist say that "Kennedy would be killed that day."

Even more suggestive were two incidents that occurred before the assassination. In late September 1963, Sylvia and Anne Odio were visited in their Dallas apartment by two Cubans and an American. A couple of days later one of the Cubans, Leopoldo, telephoned Sylvia and told her that the American was so "loco" that he might even shoot the president of the United States. On the day of the assassination, Sylvia Odio fainted when she saw Lee Harvey Oswald's picture on television and immediately recognized him as the American companion of her two Cuban visitors.

Late in the night of 22 November 1963, Clare Boothe Luce, one of America's most distinguished women, received a telephone call from a Cuban exile friend. He told her that he and several friends had met Oswald when he tried to infiltrate their anti-Castro free Cuba organization in New Orleans in the summer of 1963. He also told her that Oswald had made several trips to Mexico City and had returned with a large sum of money. Mrs. Luce recalled her friend's remarking about Oswald's boast that he was a "crack marksman and could shoot anybody," even the president. The last thing the friend told Mrs. Luce was that there "is a Cuban Communist assassination team at large, and Oswald was their hired gun."

According to Michael Kurtz, what evidence is there that the anti-Castro Cubans were involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

American Experience

In the fall of 1963 American efforts to build a democratic firewall against Communism in South Vietnam were failing. The country's president, Ngo Dinh Diem, ran the nation like a fiefdom. Many Vietnamese began to gravitate toward the Communist opposition. In the White House, a frustrated John F. Kennedy struggled to get Diem -- and the Communist insurgency -- under control.

President and Mrs. Kennedy greet members of the 2506 Cuban Invasion Brigade. Miami, Florida, December 29, 1962. Courtesy: John F. Kennedy Library and Museum.

Kennedy had outlined his plan for stopping the spread of communism in his inauguration speech two years before. America would, he said, "pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and success of liberty." Developing nations could expect America to "help them help themselves."

The young president's first battle with Communism came just three months after his inauguration -- in Fidel Castro's Cuba. With the support of the Soviet Union, Cuba had been working to export its revolutionary ideals to other Latin American countries. Castro's message of revolution was well received in the region, where many people struggled under repressive regimes. But in the United States, Castro was seen as a growing threat.

Under President Dwight Eisenhower, the C.I.A. had prepared a plan for an invasion of Cuba. Cuban exiles covertly trained and armed by the United States would attack Cuba's coast at the Bay of Pigs. Intelligence analysts believed that the Cuban people would rise up in support of the invaders and topple Castro.

Fidel Castro and Nikita Khrushchev, Courtesy: Getty Images

Kennedy approved the invasion, and on April 17, 1961, it began. Their forces vastly outnumbered, the invasion forces were swiftly turned back the U.S. connection quickly emerged. Kennedy, the purported defender of freedom and democracy, had been caught interfering with the internal affairs of a sovereign nation. Perhaps more significantly, he had failed to provide American air support for the beleaguered invaders. Bay of Pigs was a fiasco for the Kennedy administration. Shortly thereafter, the Soviets made a play for Berlin.

In the divided German city, capitalist democracy proved all too alluring for East Germans. They fled to West Berlin by the thousands, embarrassing the Soviets and threatening the Communist hold on Eastern Europe. In June 1961 Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev threatened to take West Berlin under Communist rule by force.

John Kennedy had long ago learned the lesson of appeasement in Europe. He met Khrushchev's challenge with a force of his own, increasing the size of America's combat forces and obtaining billions of dollars for nuclear and conventional weapons. Khrushchev parried, dividing Berlin with a cement wall, barbed wire, and a line of army tanks. The enemies stared at each other across the wall, but the peace held.

The President with Krushchev in Vienna, 1961. Courtesy: U.S. Department of State.

Khrushchev continued to probe for American weakness. In response to the Bay of Pigs and to American nuclear missiles posted near the Russian border in Turkey, the Soviet leader approved the installation of nuclear missiles in Cuba. An American reconnaissance plane discovered the missile sites in October, 1962.

For days, Kennedy and his advisors heatedly debated a range of military and diplomatic responses. Finally, a conclusion was reached: while the risk of war was great, to show weakness might be worse.

On October 22, in a televised address, Kennedy revealed the crisis to the American public. He announced a naval "quarantine," or blockade, of Cuba which would remain in effect until the Soviets withdrew their missiles. He also warned that the launching of Cuban missiles against any nation in the Western Hemisphere would be regarded as an attack on the United States and would result in a "full retaliatory response" on the Soviet Union. The world stood closer than it ever had to full-scale nuclear war.

Within a week, Khrushchev capitulated -- but not without some American concessions. The Soviets withdrew their missiles in return for public assurances that the U.S. would not invade Cuba. In addition, Kennedy secretly agreed to withdraw missiles from the Turkish bases.

Berlin and the Cuban Missile Crisis were decided quickly, but other situations would not be resolved as quickly. In South Vietnam, the Communist insurgency showed no signs of letting up.

Some of Kennedy's "advisers" warned him that American involvement could mire America in a bloody, protracted war. Despite these warnings, the president increased financial and military assistance to the Diem government. By the end of 1962, more than 15,000 American advisors were in South Vietnam, and US spending there had passed the $2 billion mark. The results were not encouraging.

Diem seemed more interested in establishing an autocratic regime than he did in promoting democracy. He consolidated power among his family members and refused to share power with local leaders. A Catholic, Diem oppressed the Buddhists who made up the overwhelming majority of South Vietnam's population. Kennedy threatened Diem with a loss of American aid if he did not institute democratic reforms. Diem ignored these warnings, and support for the Communists grew.

As 1963 wore on, Kennedy considered his options. He could commit further, even send in American combat troops. He could withdraw, and let the Communists claim victory. Kennedy found neither solution palatable. Then another option developed. Some of Diem's generals began to plot a coup against their leader. Kennedy, who had promised to help developing nations help themselves, gave his approval.

On November 2, 1963, Ngo Dinh Diem died at the hands of his generals. In South Vietnam, citizens responded positively to the coup. With Diem out of the way, hopes rose that South Vietnam could stave off the Communists.

Less than two weeks after Diem's death, Kennedy himself was assassinated. The man who promised the world he would stand up to the Communists had done so -- for better and for worse. Now another Cold Warrior, Lyndon Baines Johnson, would take his place. And in the jungles of Vietnam, America's bloodiest Cold War confrontation was only beginning.


Banister was born in Monroe, Louisiana, the oldest of seven children. After studying at the Louisiana State University, he joined the Monroe Police Department. [3] [4]

In 1934, Banister joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He was present at the killing of John Dillinger. Originally based in Indianapolis, he later moved to New York City where he was involved in the investigation of the American Communist Party. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was impressed by Banister's work and, in 1938, he was promoted to run the FBI unit in Butte, Montana. He also served in Oklahoma City, Minneapolis and Chicago. In Chicago, he was the Special Agent in Charge for the FBI. [4] He retired from the FBI in 1954.

Banister moved to Louisiana and, in January 1955, became Assistant Superintendent of the New Orleans Police Department, where he was given the task of investigating organized crime and corruption within the police force. It later emerged that he was also involved in looking at the role that left-wing political activists were playing in the struggle for civil rights in New Orleans. [5] On the campuses of Tulane University and Louisiana State University, he ran a network of informants collecting information on "communist" activities. He submitted reports on his findings to the FBI through contacts. [6]

In March 1957, Banister was suspended after pulling a gun in public in a bar and threatening a waiter. [7] His suspension ended in June of that year. However, when he refused to be transferred to the N.O.P.D.'s Planning Department, he was dismissed from the force.

After leaving the New Orleans Police Department, Banister established his own private detective agency, Guy Banister Associates, Inc. at 434 Balter Building. [8] In June 1960, Banister moved his office to 531 Lafayette Street on the ground floor of the Newman Building. [8] Around the corner but located in the same building, with a different entrance, was the address 544 Camp Street, which would later be found stamped on Fair Play for Cuba Committee leaflets distributed by Lee Harvey Oswald, the suspected assassin of President John F. Kennedy. [9] The Newman Building housed militant anti-Castro groups, including the Cuban Revolutionary Council (October 1961 to February 1962), as well as Sergio Arcacha Smith's Crusade to Free Cuba Committee. [10] Banister's office was within walking distance of the New Orleans offices of the FBI, CIA, Office of Naval Intelligence and the Reily Coffee Company (Lee Harvey Oswald's employer and a supporter of anti-Castro Cubans). [11] [12]

Banister was implicated in a 1961 raid on a munitions depot in Houma, Louisiana, in which "various weapons, grenades and ammunition were stolen . which were reportedly seen stacked in Banister's back room by several witnesses." [6] The New Orleans States-Item newspaper reported an allegation that Banister served as a munitions supplier for the 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion and continued to deal weapons from his office until 1963. [13]

In 1962, Banister allegedly dispatched an associate, Maurice Brooks Gatlin — legal counsel of Banister's "Anti-Communist League of the Caribbean" — to Paris to deliver a suitcase containing $200,000 for the French OAS. [ citation needed ] In 1963, Banister and anti-Castro activist David Ferrie began working for a lawyer named G. Wray Gill and his client, New Orleans Mafia boss Carlos Marcello. This involved attempts to block Marcello's deportation to Guatemala. [6] [14]

In early 1962, Banister assisted David Ferrie in a dispute with Eastern Airlines regarding charges brought against Ferrie by the airline and New Orleans police of "crimes against nature and extortion." [6] During this period, Ferrie was frequently seen at Banister's office. [15] Banister served as a character witness for Ferrie at his airline pilot's grievance board hearing in the summer of 1963. [15] [6]

On the afternoon of November 22, 1963, the day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, Banister and one of his investigators, Jack Martin, were drinking together at the Katzenjammer Bar, located next door to 544 Camp Street in New Orleans. On their return to Banister's office, the two men got into a dispute. Banister believed that Martin had stolen some files and drew his .357 Magnum revolver, striking Martin with it several times. During the altercation Martin yelled: "What are you going to do — kill me like you all did Kennedy?" Martin was badly injured and treated at Charity Hospital. [16]

Over the next few days, Martin told authorities and reporters that anti-Castro activist David Ferrie had been involved in the assassination. He claimed that Ferrie knew Oswald from their days in the New Orleans Civil Air Patrol, and that Ferrie might have taught Oswald how to use a rifle with a telescopic sight. [17] Martin also claimed that Ferrie drove to Texas on the day of Kennedy's assassination, to serve as a getaway pilot for the assassins. [18]

Witnesses interviewed by the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations indicate Banister was "aware of Oswald and his Fair Play for Cuba Committee before the assassination." [19]

Banister's secretary, Delphine Roberts, told author Anthony Summers that Oswald "seemed to be on familiar terms with Banister and with [Banister's] office." Roberts said, "As I understood it, he had the use of an office on the second floor, above the main office where we worked. Then, several times, Mr. Banister brought me upstairs, and in the office above I saw various writings stuck up on the wall pertaining to Cuba. There were various leaflets up there pertaining to Fair Play for Cuba.'" [20] The House Select Committee on Assassinations investigated Roberts' claims and said that "the reliability of her statements could not be determined." [21]

The alleged activities of Banister, Ferrie and Oswald reached New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison who, by late 1966, had become interested in the New Orleans aspects of the assassination. In December 1966, Garrison interviewed Martin about these activities. Martin claimed that Banister, Ferrie and a group of anti-Castro Cuban exiles were involved in operations against Castro's Cuba that included gun running and burglarized armories. [22]

As Garrison continued his investigation, he became convinced that a group of right-wing activists, including Banister, Ferrie and Clay Shaw, were involved in a conspiracy with elements of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to kill Kennedy. Garrison would later claim that the motive for the assassination was anger over Kennedy's attempts to obtain a peace settlement in both Cuba and Vietnam. [23] [24] Garrison also believed that Banister, Shaw, and Ferrie had conspired to set up Oswald as a patsy in the JFK assassination. [25]

Banister's publication, the Louisiana Intelligence Digest, maintained that the civil rights movement was part of an international communist conspiracy and was treasonous. [ citation needed ]

Banister died of coronary thrombosis on June 6, 1964. [26] Banister's files went to various people after his death. [27] Later, New Orleans Assistant District Attorney Andrew Sciambra interviewed Banister's widow. She told him that she saw some Fair Play for Cuba leaflets in Banister's office when she went there after his death. [28] [29]

Banister is a character in Oliver Stone's 1991 movie JFK, in which he is portrayed by Edward Asner. He is also central to the plot of Don DeLillo's novel Libra. Guy Banister appears as a character in James Ellroy's 1995 novel American Tabloid and its sequel The Cold Six Thousand. In American Tabloid, Banister organizes John Kennedy's assassination, which is based on Ward Littell's original plan. Littell is one of the story's main characters. In The Cold Six Thousand, Guy Banister is murdered by Chuck Rogers under orders from Carlos Marcello.

Was Castro Behind the JFK Assassination?

The miracle was that Fidel Castro died in his own bed. Never has a defiant antagonist of the United States of America met a more unlikely fate: a peaceful death. Hated, reviled and targeted by the greatest military empire in the history of the world, Castro launched a one-party socialist experiment in Cuba, which was so antithetical to Washington&rsquos vision of a neoliberal world order that the empire struck back hard. The CIA and its paid agents began plotting Castro&rsquos violent demise in 1959 and continued to do so through the year 2000, concocting hundreds of conspiracies to kill him, 638 times by one well-informed Cuban intelligence official&rsquos account. And the empire struck out every time.

&mdashJeff Morley

The National Enquirer&rsquos Claim that Castro Killed JFK

Fidel Castro, the communist dictator who ruled Cuba with an iron fist for 55 years, died last Nov. 25. His death has resulted in a renewed debate about whether Castro played a role in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, who while riding in an open limousine was killed by hidden sniper fire in Dealey Plaza in Dallas, TX on Nov. 22, 1963.

A month after Fidel Castro&rsquos death, on Dec. 19, 2016, the tabloid National Enquirer published an article tinglingly titled &ldquoDying Castro Admitted Killing JFK!&rdquo The article&rsquos sensationalistic subtitle proclaimed &ldquoChilling New Evidence Blows Assassination Wide Open After 53 Years.&rdquo

&bull &ldquoCastro finally admitted he ordered President John F. Kennedy&rsquos assassination.&rdquo

&bull Castro made the confession &ldquoshortly before his death into the ear of a trusted confidante.&rdquo At the time &ldquohe could barely speak above a whisper.&rdquo

&bull Castro gave the assassination order because &ldquohe wanted to settle the score with JFK for the bungled CIA-backed Bay of Pigs invasion on Apr. 17, 1961, and multiple attempts [by the CIA] to assassinate him.&rdquo

&bull The Enquirer found out about Castro&rsquos &ldquodeathbed confession&rdquo from &ldquoan American intelligence source with knowledge of the dramatic scene.&rdquo

&bull The &ldquobombshell revelation&rdquo that Castro admitted he was responsible for the JFK assassination is corroborated by &ldquodeclassified top-secret documents&rdquo in an &ldquoofficial&rdquo FBI report &ldquowhich reveals Kennedy&rsquos accused killer Lee Harvey Oswald&hellip was in fact a patsy!&rdquo

&bull Castro &ldquodispatched teams of assassins to the U.S. for the purpose of assassinating President Kennedy.&rdquo They included &ldquoa Cuban-born mercenary, Herminio Diaz, who was specifically handpicked by Castro for his skills as an expert marksman.&rdquo

&bull &ldquo[S]ecretly spirited into America,&rdquo it was Diaz, hidden in the bushes on the grassy knoll in Dealey Plaza in Dallas, who actually killed JFK, firing &ldquothree times with a high-powered rifle that had been provided by local Cuban agents.&rdquo

&bull After the assassination, Diaz &ldquoescape[d] undetected from Dealey Plaza&rdquo and with the aid of &ldquopro-Castro activists&rdquo made his way back to Cuba &ldquoon board a trawler.&rdquo

&bull &ldquoDiaz, who has since died, bragged about his role in JFK&rsquos assassination to an associate who later spilled the beans.&rdquo

In labeling Lee Harvey Oswald as a patsy, the Dec. 19 Enquirer article flatly contradicts another Enquirer article published only months earlier. That article, which appeared on Apr. 20, 2016, described Oswald not as the fall guy for a presidential murder but as &ldquothe man who murdered America&rsquos 35th president&rdquo and as the hands-on killer who &ldquoblew President John F. Kennedy&rsquos brains out!&rdquo (That article also infamously&mdashand falsely&mdashclaimed that Texas Senator Ted Cruz&rsquos father was linked to the JFK assassination because he had been a &ldquopal&rdquo of Oswald in New Orleans three months before the assassination.)

The irreconcilable conflict between the two Enquirer articles is understandable if the Dec. 19 article is based on new information derived from reliable sources. But it is not. How can we rely on information vaguely attributed to someone who is supposedly &ldquoan American intelligence source&rdquo and who, we are told, admits he was not present when Castro died but nonetheless claims to have trustworthy hearsay information about Castro&rsquos final moments? How can we be expected to believe that such a &ldquosource&rdquo exists, or that he is telling the truth, or that his hearsay information about Castro&rsquos confession is accurate?

The so-called FBI report does not corroborate the Castro confession claim because the report itself is worthless as an information source. The article quotes alleged snippets from the report and reproduces verbatim two typed sentences in the report, but we do not really know what else is in the report. We know nothing about the report&rsquos provenance. What is the date of the report? Who prepared it? How and when was it first located and where is it now? Does it consist of hearsay or double hearsay? Is it an example of disinformation or a forgery? And if the FBI report truly is a &ldquobombshell,&rdquo wouldn&rsquot we have heard about it from the government or the active JFK assassination research community?

The Enquirer article is not only uncorroborated but false. Fidel Castro was not responsible for the JFK assassination. Therefore, he could not possibly have made the alleged deathbed confession. And because Castro was not behind the assassination, the FBI report could not possibly prove he was. But before explaining why we can be confident that Castro did not play a role in the assassination, we must briefly examine the background of the Castro-was-behind-the-assassination theory.

The Theory That Castro Was Responsible for the Assassination

The Enquirer&rsquos claim that Castro was responsible for the JFK assassination is not new. The first public allegation that Castro was behind the assassination occurred the day after the assassination, when an anti-Castro student exile group here in the United States that was secretly funded and run by the CIA published a special edition of its English language newspaper Trinchera (&ldquoTrench&rdquo) suggesting that Lee Harvey Oswald had killed the President on behalf of Fidel Castro and featuring large side-by-side photos of Castro and Oswald jointly captioned &ldquoThe Presumed Assassins.&rdquo

Trinchera&rsquos assertions were not fact-based they were part of the CIA&rsquos clandestine anti-Castro campaign to, among other things, smear Castro by propagating derogatory disinformation about him. The base falseness of the allegation and its convenient timing are sure indications that the CIA was attempting to make Castro the false sponsor of the assassination. (In intelligence lingo, a false sponsor is a person who will be publicly blamed for a covert operation after it takes place, thereby diverting attention away from the individuals who actually carried out the operation.) Thus, the theory that Castro was behind the assassination originated in disinformation disseminated by a CIA front group within 24 hours of the President&rsquos murder.

The theory that Fidel Castro is to be blamed for the JFK assassination usually takes one of two forms: the Castro-did-it theory (under which Castro hired and sent the assassins to Dallas) and the Castro-knew-about-it theory (under which Castro did not order the assassination but did know about it in advance and failed to warn JFK).

The Castro-was-responsible-for-the-assassination notion has been one of the major JFK assassination theories since at least the 1970s, when the CIA assassination plots against Castro (some of which were CIA-Mafia plots) became public knowledge and certain researchers began suggesting that the assassination might have been a &ldquoblowback&rdquo from those plots.

In recent years, many of the assassination researchers who blame Castro have backed away from the Castro-did-it theory and instead embraced the Castro-knew-about-it theory. They freely admit that Castro did not arrange the assassination but insist that Castro knew in advance that JFK would be murdered and could have warned him, but deliberately did not.

Two well-argued but ultimately unpersuasive books backing the theory that Castro knew in advance are Castro&rsquos Secrets (2012), by Brian Latell, a retired CIA analyst, and journalist Philip Shenon&rsquos A Cruel and Shocking Act (2013). Shenon&rsquos book extends the theory by claiming that in October 1963, at a twist party in Mexico City (yes, a twist party!), agents of Castro, perhaps without his knowledge, encouraged Oswald to kill JFK.

Two books giving the Cuban government&rsquos side are ZR Rifle (1994), by Claudia Furiati, and JFK: The Cuba Files (2006), by Fabian Escalante. These two books claim that the JFK assassination was the result of a conspiracy involving the CIA, the Mafia and anti-Castro Cuban exiles. Escalante was the talented head of Fidel Castro&rsquos personal security detail who amazingly foiled the countless ingenious attempts by the CIA to assassinate the Cuban leader.

Why the Castro-Was-Responsible Theory Must be Rejected

Whoever was behind JFK&rsquos murder, it was not Fidel Castro. Here are a few of the many reasons we can rest assured of this.

First, neither the FBI nor the CIA has ever claimed that Castro was behind the assassination or that they had evidence he was behind it. The directors and top echelons of both the FBI and the CIA hated Castro and wanted him dead or deposed and his regime overthrown. If there was evidence that he, a hostile communist tyrant allied with the Soviet Union, had played a role in the brazen public murder of an American President, they would have produced it with alacrity. And if there had been proof permitting the assassination to be pinned on Castro, unquestionably the United States of America would in a fury have unleashed its overwhelming military might to destroy the entire Cuban government and obliterate Castro&rsquos regime. Eminent JFK assassination researcher Jeff Morley understates this truth when he observes: &ldquoIf there was any evidence of Cuban involvement, the United States government would have exploited it for diplomatic and geopolitical advantage.&rdquo

(Of course, if there was proof that Castro was involved, but the FBI and the CIA overlooked it or concealed it, then the leadership of both agencies should have been sacked and the agencies themselves abolished.)

Second, both of the principal government investigations of the JFK assassination reached the conclusion that Castro&rsquos Cuba was not responsible.

The Warren Commission put it this way: &ldquoThe Commission has found no evidence that Oswald was employed, persuaded or encouraged by any foreign government to assassinate President Kennedy, or that he was an agent of any foreign government.&rdquo (Warren Report, p. 21 [1964]). The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Assassinations, which reinvestigated the JFK assassination 15 years later, agreed: &ldquoThe committee believes, on the basis of the evidence available to it, that the Cuban Government was not involved in the assassination of President Kennedy.&rdquo (HSCA Final Report, p. 1 [1979]).

Third, the purported evidence of Castro&rsquos involvement consists almost entirely of (1) uncorroborated, unverifiable and often highly unlikely allegations made by untrustworthy government informers or by anti-Castro zealots with an ax to grind, and (2) suspicious, misleading or altered or forged documents.

The Castro-did-it theory contradicts at least two important Warren Report conclusions&mdashnamely, that there was no foreign conspiracy to assassinate JFK, and that Oswald fired all the shots in Dealey Plaza. The Castro-knew-about-it theory contradicts an important conclusion which, although not explicitly stated, is implicit in the Warren Report&mdashnamely, that no other person knew in advance that lone wolf Oswald planned to murder JFK.

Oddly, however, practically all the assassination researchers who pin the assassination on Castro remain true believers of much of the discredited Warren Report. Those who believe in the Castro-knew-about-it theory are wedded to the following outmoded concepts set out in the Report: that Oswald was the sole assassin that he was a mental case and a loner that he fired all the shots in Dealey Plaza and that he possessed superlative shooting skills putting Robin Hood, William Tell, and Annie Oakley to shame. The believers in the Castro-did-it theory agree with the Warren Report&rsquos outdated view that Oswald was a left-winger (either a Communist or Marxist) and that he was not a U.S. intelligence agency operative or FBI informer.

Those who stubbornly still blame the assassination on left-wing Castro (a Communist) or Oswald (supposedly a leftist) are out of touch with the realities of what is now known nearly 54 years after the assassination. They have not kept abreast of either the mountains of evidence uncovered by private assassination researchers since the 1970s or the contents of the hundreds of thousands of pages of government documents released or declassified over the years. This newly discovered evidence sweepingly undermines the Warren Report, particularly its key determinations that there was only a single assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, who acted alone that Oswald was a misfit that Oswald was a pro-Castroite creature of the far political left and that Oswald was not an American intelligence asset or an FBI informer.

Attributing the assassination to leftists rather than rightists is now as anachronistic as the view that JFK&rsquos murder was carried out by a lone gunman. As former Cuban law professor Arnaldo M. Fernandez correctly notes, at present &ldquothe dominant view of the JFK research community depicts Kennedy as a victim of a plot by his enemies on the right.&rdquo

Unsurprisingly, the majority of the authors or bloggers who obstinately continue to blame Castro are, with few exceptions, right-wingers or spokesmen for conservative organizations or causes. This strongly suggests that the claim that Fidel Castro is to blame for the assassination of President Kennedy is based more on politics than facts.

Donald E. Wilkes, Jr. is a professor emeritus at UGA, where he taught in the law school for 40 years. He is the author of nearly 50 published articles on the JFK assassination.

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JFK Theory: anti-Castro Activists - History

As the United States and Cuba seek to negotiate a new relationship, ancient history is intruding.

“What if the answers to the many, persistent questions surrounding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy lie not in Dallas or Washington, D.C., but in the streets of a foreign capital that most Americans have never associated with the president’s murder? Mexico City.”

So begins Phil Shenon’s new piece in Politico, What Was Lee Harvey Oswald Doing in Mexico? Shenon is surely correct that the U.S. government’s response to Lee Oswald’s visit to Mexico City in October 1963 is key to understanding the JFK assassination story.

And before Washington and Havana can reach any real rapprochement, renewed allegations that the Cuban government aided JFK’s accused assassin demand clarification.

Skeptics of the official story of JFK’s assassination have argued that Oswald’s Mexico City visit is critical to understanding the crime of Dallas since at least 1978. That’s when Oswald’s visit was first investigated by Dan Hardway and Ed Lopez of the House Selection Committee on Assassinations.

Anthony Summers was the first professional journalist to follow up with serious reporting from Mexico City in his book Not in Your Lifetime. I deepened and clarified the CIA’s perspective on Oswald’s actions in Our Man in Mexico, my 2008 biography of Mexico City station chief Win Scott. Attorney William Simpich added new details from recently declassified CIA records in his 2013 ebook, State Secret.

The fact that Politico, the chatterbox of the capital’s political class, is now willing to question the Warren Commission’s superficial and misleading account of Oswald’s antics is a welcome development. For too long, the Washington press corps has averted its collective eyes from the dubious theorizing, selective evidence, government malfeasance, and outright deceit that underlie the official theory that JFK was killed by one man for no reason. Politico is now at least willing to air the once-taboo notion that the JFK’s murder might have been a political deed perpetrated by enemies of his policies.

And for good reason. The CIA’s fallacious claims that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction and Edward Snowden’s indisputable revelations of the NSA’s mass surveillance of U.S. citizens have made it obvious to even the most pro-government reporters that secretive officials in U.S. national security agencies are willing and able to manipulate intelligence (and intelligence agents) to advance their own policy goals and preserve their power beyond the reach of the elected government.

When critics of the Warren Commission made this argument in the 1960s, most Washington reporters derided them as “conspiracy theorists” and “scavengers.” Now the editors of Politico have finally joined the skeptical majority that thinks we don’t know the whole story of what happened in Dallas. That’s progress of a sort.

What We Now Know

Shenon has also done a service by pointing out how many senior officials in the CIA, FBI and the State Department knew that the Warren Commission’s investigation of Oswald’s visit to Mexico City overlooked or avoided or dismissed relevant evidence.

It is startling to discover how many credible government officials—beginning with Ambassador [Tom] Mann and CIA station chief Scott—have suggested that evidence was missed in Mexico that could rewrite the history of the assassination. The list includes the late former FBI Director Clarence Kelley and former FBI Assistant Director William Sullivan, as well as David Belin, a former staff lawyer on the Warren Commission.

And now Shenon has added another name: David Slawson, former Warren Commission attorney who had responsibility for investigating the possibility of conspiracy. In the afterword of a new edition of Shenon’s 2013 book A Cruel and Shocking Act, Slawson said he is now convinced the commission was the victim of a “massive cover-up” by the CIA and other agencies to hide evidence that might have identified people in Mexico City who knew and encouraged Oswald to carry out his alleged threat to kill JFK. In Slawson’s formulation, Oswald had accessories, not co-conspirators.

Politico’s JFK theory can be summarized in a phrase: “Oswald did it — with Castro’s help.”

The long history of this JFK theory highlights its one strength — serious people believe it — and its biggest problem: It posits that a tacit conspiracy of senior U.S government officials has been shielding Fidel Castro from justice for a half century.

Really? Are we to believe that U.S. government officials are protecting a proud and sworn enemy of the United States from evidence that he connived in the murder of a popular American president?

This is one of those JFK theories that deserves careful scrutiny.

The History of Politico’s Theory

The “Oswald did it with Castro’s help” theory is not new. It is 51 years old, and there is no disputing it was first espoused by a CIA-funded organization.

The first JFK conspiracy theory

The anti-Castro (and anti-JFK) Cuban Student Directorate (DRE), the recipient of $51,000 a month from the agency, published a broadside on the morning of November 24, 1963, declaring that Oswald and Castro were “the presumed assassins.”

Carlos Bringuier, the DRE’s delegate in New Orleans, touted this theory to Slawson’s colleagues on the Warren Commission in 1964 and was ignored. Bringuier then wrote two books advancing his thesis, albeit without much new evidence.

Sen. Robert Morgan (R-North Carolina) said in the 1970s he thought Castro was complicit in JFK’s death. Former cabinet secretary Joseph Califano said the same thing in his 2005 memoir Inside.

Authors Gus Russo and Stephen Moulton made the most substantive case for Castro’s involvement in their 2008 book Brothers in Arms. They quoted a manuscript of a former Cuban intelligence officer and a variety of unnamed sources as saying that Oswald had friendly contacts with Cuban government officials in Mexico City during his visit in September and October 1963. Russo and Moulton argued that JFK’s assassination was Castro’s pre-emptive retaliation for CIA plots to kill him.

Former CIA analyst Brian Latell offered a variation on the theory in his 2011 book Castro’s Secrets. He quoted another former Cuban intelligence officer Florentin Aspillaga as saying that Castro’s intelligence service seemed to have advance knowledge that Kennedy might face danger in Dallas.

But if Politico, Shenon, Slawson, the DRE, Carlos Bringuier, Gus Russo, Stephen Moulton, Brian Latell, and Joe Califano are correct that Oswald had Cuban accessories — that Castro got away with murder — why isn’t the U.S. government doing anything about it?

In Havana, the argument that the U.S. government has protected Castro from anything will seem ludicrous. In Washington, it seems at least inexplicable.

Slawson told Shenon that he believes the CIA was desperate to shut down any investigation in Mexico City “out of fear the Warren Commission might stumble onto evidence of the spy agency’s long-running schemes to murder Fidel Castro.”

But the CIA’s plots to kill Castro were exposed 40 years ago. That doesn’t explain why the CIA and other government agencies would still be concealing evidence of Castro’s complicity in JFK’s murder in 2015.

How to Test Politico’s Theory.

I think there is a more plausible explanation of why Oswald’s Cuban contacts in Mexico City were not investigated in 1963 and why they remain the subject of official secrets today: because any serious investigation will have had to explain the CIA’s knowledge of Oswald’s actions and answer questions like, Why did six senior CIA officers sign off on this misleading cable about Oswald on October 10, 1963?

Only more transparency can resolve such questions.

Anne Goodpasture: ‘Win Scott squirreled the [Oswald] tape away….”

“While refusing to describe what is in the documents, CIA lawyers have acknowledged over the years that many of them are out of the files of agency employees who were stationed in the early 1960s in, of all places, Mexico City,” Shenon writes.

In fact, as JFK Facts has reported, the suppressed JFK files include:

— 606 pages about the operations of CIA officer David Atlee Phillips who knew about Oswald’s presence in Mexico City within days of his arrival. Some HSCA investigators wanted to indict Phillips for perjury but were overruled by HSCA general counsel G. Robert Blakey who now admits that the CIA compromised his investigation.

— 286 pages about the operations of CIA officer Anne Goodpasture, also based in Mexico City in 1963, who also knew about Oswald’s visit when it happened. In 1997 Goodpasture admitted under oath to the Assassination Records Review Board, that she did not tell JFK investigators that station chief Win Scott had a tape of a caller to the Soviet Embassy who identified himself as Oswald. The CIA has never produced that tape.

The public release of these files now — while Cuba and the United States are seeking to establish a new relationship — would go a long way toward clarifying an important episode in the history of both countries.

I’ve asked Shenon and Slawson to explicate their views for readers of JFK Facts. Shenon has promised to respond.


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11 Alternative JFK Assassins

Ever since the American President John F. Kennedy was killed, wild rumours, conspiracy theories, and speculation has existed over the killer. According to the Warren Commission, Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin. This is a list of 11 people who are accused by any one of these theories to be the &ldquoreal&rdquo killer.

1. Lucien Sarti and Two Corsican Hitmen

According to jailed French mobster, Christian David, Kennedy was shot by three Corsican assassins. David named the deceased Sarti as one of the gunmen and offered to reveal the identities of the others if he was given his freedom. According to David, the two unnamed assassins were in buildings to the rear of the President, while Sarti fired from the grassy knoll in front of the motorcade. The British television documentary The Men Who Killed Kennedy identified Sarti as the man in a police uniform apparently firing a rifle on the grassy knoll visible in a computer-enhanced enlargement of a photo taken by Mary Moorman at the moment of the fatal shot.

If you are a JFK conspiracy theorist, you might enjoy JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters at Amazon.com!

2. Charles V Harrelson

Harrelson &ndash the father of actor Woody Harrelson &ndash served a life sentence from 1979 until his death in March, 2007, for murdering a federal judge John H Wood Jr. during a six hour stand-off before his arrest, Harrelson held a gun to his head and confessed to shooting Kennedy. He later retracted the statement, saying he had been high on cocaine at the time.

3. &lsquoCarlos&rsquo and Others

David Ferrie (left) and Oswald (right)

Minister Raymond Broshears reported that David Ferrie &ndash a bizarre individual often suspected of involvement in the assissination who had ties to Oswald, the CIA, and the Mafia &ndash would, after getting drunk, often talk about his role in the conspiracy. Ferrie reported said his job was to wait in Houston for two gunmen, one of them a Cuban exile Ferrie referred to as Carlos, and then fly them on the second leg of an escape route that was to take the assassins to South African via South America. Ferrie told Broshears the plan fell apart when the assassins, flying in a light plane, decided to skip the stop in Houston and press on to Mexico. They allegedly died when their plane crashed near Corpus Christi, Texas.

4. Luis Angel Castillo

According to assassination researcher Penn Jones, Castillo has stated under hypnosis that &ldquohe was on the parade route with a rifle that day &hellip [with] instructions to shoot a man in a car with red roses&rdquo. Jackie Kennedy was the only person in the motorcade with red roses all other women had been given yellow Texas roses.

5. Eladio Del Valle and Loran Hall

According to &ldquoHarry Dean&rdquo (the &lsquowar name&rsquo of a man who claims to be a former CIA agent), as quoted by W.B. Morris and R.B. Cutler in Alias Oswald, the assassins were anti-Castro activists Hall and del Valle, who were hired by the John Birch Society. Although Hall says he was at his home in California on November 22, 1963, he allegedly told the Dallas Morning News in 1978 that, a month before the assassination, right-wing activists working with the CIA tried to recruit him for a plot to kill Kennedy. As for del Valle, he died under suspicious circumstances in 1967. Del Valle, who was being searched for as a possible witness in the Clay Shaw conspiracy trial, was discovered shot through the heart and with his head split open by a machete.

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In 1992 Kerry Thornley appeared on the television show A Current Affair and said he had been part of a conspiracy to kill President Kennedy. His co-comspirators were two men he called &lsquoBrother-in-Law&rsquo and &lsquoSlim&rsquo. Thornley also denied having been responsible for framing Oswald, whom Thornley had befriended in the Marines: &lsquoI would gladly have killed Kennedy, but I would never have betrayed Oswald.&rsquo He added, &lsquoI wanted [Kennedy] dead. I would have shot him myself.&rsquo Thornley has also claimed that he and Oswald were the products of a genetic engineering experiment carried out by a secret neo-Nazi sect of eugenicists called the Vril Society, and that the two of them had been manipulated since childhood by Vril overlords.

7. Jean Rene Soutre

Soutre, a terrorist in the French Secret Army Organisation, is believed by some researchers to have been recruited by the CIA to serve as an assassin. According to CIA documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by researcher Mary Ferrell, French intelligence reported that Soutre was in Fort Worth on the morning of November 22, 1963, and in Dallas that afternoon. Soutre was picked up by US authorities in Texas within 48 hours of the assassination and expelled from the country.

8. Roscoe White, &lsquoSaul&rsquo, and &lsquoLebanon&rsquo

In 1990 Ricky White claimed his father Roscoe, a Dallas police officer, had been one of President Kennedy&rsquos assassins. According to Ricky, a detailed description of the conspiracy could be found in Roscoe&rsquos diary, which had disappeared after it was taken by the FBI for inspection. Two other gunmen, referred to in the diary only by the code names &lsquoSaul&rsquo and &lsquoLebanon&rsquo, were also involved. In addition Roscoe&rsquos widow, Geneva, told journalist Ron Laytner that she had overheard Roscoe and Jack Ruby plotting to kill Kennedy, adding, &lsquoWe at first thought the assassination was more Mob [but late realised] it was more CIA.&rsquo Fifteen years before Ricky and Geneva White went public, Hugh McDonald, in Appointment in Dallas, identified one of the Killers as a professional assassin known as Saul. McDonald claimed to have tracked down Saul, who admitted to having been paid $50,000 to shoot the President. Saul claimed to have fired from the Dallas County Records Building &ndash which was also described in Roscoe White&rsquos diary as one of the locations the assassins had shot from. Despite these similarities, there are some inconsistencies in the plots described by McDonald and Ricky White. Most Notably, Roscoe White in his diary and Saul in his meeting with McDonald each allegedly claimed to have fired the fatal shot.

9. George Hickey Jr

According to Bonar Menninger&rsquos book Mortal Error &ndash based on 25 years of research by ballistics expert Howard Donahue &ndash Kennedy was accidentally killed by Hickey, a secret service agent in the car behind the presidential limo. According to this theory, when Oswald began shooting, Hickey reached for his rifle and slipped off the safety. As he tried to stand in the back seat of the car to return fire, he lost his balance and accidentally pulled the trigger, firing the shot that killed the President. Hickey himself had told the Warren Commission that he did not even pick up his rifle until after the fatal shot.

10. Frank Sturgis and Operation 40

Marita Lorenz, a CIA operative who had been Fidel Castro&rsquos mistress, told the New York Daily News in 1977 that she had accompanied Lee Harvey Oswald and an assassination squad to Dallas a few days before Kennedy was killed. She identified her companions in the trip as CIA operative (and future Watergate burglar) Frank Sturgis and four Cuban exiles: Orlando Bosch, Pedro Diaz Lang and two brothers named Novis. The men were members of &lsquoOperation 40&rsquo, a group of about 30 anti-Castro Cubans and their American advisors originally formed by the CIA in 1960 for the bay of Pigs invasion. Lorenz later stated that Sturgis had been one of the actual gunmen and that he told her after the assassination, &lsquoYou could have been part of it &ndash you know, part of history. You should have stayed. It was safe. Everything was covered in advance. No arrests, no real newspaper investigation. It was all covered, very professional.&rsquo Sturgis denies that there is any truth to Lorenz&rsquo story. However, he once said that the FBI questioned him about the assassination right after it happened, because the agents said, &lsquoFrank, if there&rsquos anybody capable of killing the President of the United States, you&rsquore the guy who can do it.&rsquo

11. James Files and Charles Nicoletti

In 1996 Files claimed that he and Nicoletti, a Mafia hit man, had been on the grassy knoll at Dealey Plaza and that they had both shot President Kennedy at the same time. Files said that he was paid $30,000 and had orders not to hit Jacqueline Kennedy. He added that Nicoletti took his order from Sam &lsquoMomo&rsquo Jiancana, who in turn answered to Anthony &lsquoBig Tuna&rsquo Accardo. Since all three mobsters were murdered between 1975 and 1977, there was no one to corroborate Files&rsquo story. The FBI dismissed the story, noting that Files is now serving a 50 year sentence in Illinois for murdering a police man and thus had little to lose by &lsquoconfessing&rsquo while gaining his 15 minutes of fame.

George Joannides and Robert Kennedy

In 2006, a short filmed report on the BBC TV programme, Newsnight , alleged that George Joannides may have been one of three men, all CIA officers, who appear in a photograph taken at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on 5 June 1968, the night of Robert Kennedy’s assassination in the hotel kitchen. The other two officers, David Sanchez Morales and Gordon Campbell, both worked with George Joannides at the CIA base in Miami known as JM/WAVE.

The accusation was far from conclusive: the identifications of George Joannides and David Sanchez Morales were tentative, and there is no evidence that Joannides had even been in Los Angeles in June 1968. Gordon Campbell certainly had not been there then, having died in 1962. For an account of the controversy, see Jefferson Morley and David Talbot, ‘The BBC’s Flawed RFK Story’ at maryferrell.org, which includes a link to a reply by the film–maker, Shane O’Sullivan. Incidentally, O’Sullivan has made a film about the JFK assassination, Killing Oswald .

The implication behind the story is, of course, that the three men were involved in the planning of Robert Kennedy’s assassination. Morley and Talbot make the obvious point that if the three CIA officers had been involved, they would hardly have made themselves noticed by loitering near the scene of the crime, an argument that can also be used against those who claim that the Watergate conspirator, E. Howard Hunt, was one of the three tramps in Dealey Plaza.

According to some reports, a longer version of O’Sullivan’s film suggests that the three men in the photograph may instead have been executives of the Bulova watch company, which was holding a convention in the hotel at the time.

Anti–Castro Cubans Killed President Kennedy

Most anti–Castro Cubans considered US policy on Cuba to be insufficiently aggressive. Many blamed Kennedy for the failure of the invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs in 1961. Oswald’s links to anti–Castro Cubans in New Orleans in the summer of 1963 suggest that if he had been involved in the planning of the assassination, perhaps they had too.18

If elements of the anti–Castro movement were behind the assassination, their actions had no practical effect. There was no significant difference between President Johnson’s Cuban policies and Kennedy’s.


John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963. In the aftermath, several government agencies and panels investigated the circumstances surrounding the assassination, and all concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald was the assassin. However, Oswald was murdered by Mafia-associated night club owner Jack Ruby before he could be tried in a court of law. The discrepancies between the official investigations and the extraordinary nature of the assassination have led to a variety of theories about how and why Kennedy was assassinated, as well as the possibility of a conspiracy. In 1979, the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) concluded that Oswald assassinated Kennedy, but that a second gunman besides Oswald probably also fired at Kennedy, and that a conspiracy was probable. [6] [7] The committee's conclusion of a conspiracy was based almost entirely on the results of a forensic analysis of a police dictabelt recording, which was later disputed. [8]

In 1966, New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison began an investigation into the assassination of President Kennedy. Garrison's investigation led him to conclude that a group of right-wing extremists were involved with elements of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in a conspiracy to kill Kennedy. [9] [10] Garrison also came to believe that businessman Clay Shaw, head of the International Trade Mart in New Orleans, was part of the conspiracy. [11] On March 1, 1967, Garrison arrested and charged Shaw with conspiring to assassinate President Kennedy. [12] [13]

Three days after Shaw's arrest, the Italian left-wing newspaper Paese Sera published an article alleging that Shaw was linked to the CIA through his involvement in the Centro Mondiale Commerciale, a subsidiary of the trade organization Permindex in which Shaw was a board member. [12] [14] According to Paese Sera, the CMC had been a front organization developed by the CIA for transferring funds to Italy for "illegal political-espionage activities." Paese Sera also reported that the CMC had attempted to depose French President Charles de Gaulle in the early 1960s. [12] The newspaper printed other allegations about individuals it said were connected to Permindex, including Louis Bloomfield whom it described as "an American agent who now plays the role of a businessman from Canada [who] established secret ties in Rome with Deputies of the Christian Democrats and neo-Fascist parties." [15] [16] [17] The allegations were reprinted in various newspapers associated with the Communist parties in Italy (l'Unità), France (L'Humanité), and the Soviet Union (Pravda), as well as leftist newspapers in Canada and Greece, prior to reaching the American press eight weeks later. [12] American journalist Max Holland said that Paese Sera's allegations connecting Shaw to the CIA were what led to Garrison to implicate the CIA in a conspiracy to assassinate Kennedy. [12]

On January 29, 1969, Clay Shaw was brought to trial on charges of being part of a conspiracy to assassinate Kennedy, and the jury found him not guilty.

Jim Garrison alleged that anti-Communist and anti-Castro extremists in the CIA plotted the assassination of Kennedy to maintain tension with the Soviet Union and Cuba, and to prevent a United States withdrawal from Vietnam. [18] [9] [19] James Douglass wrote in JFK and the Unspeakable that the CIA, acting upon the orders of conspirators with the "military industrial complex", killed Kennedy and in the process set up Lee Harvey Oswald as a patsy. [20] Like Garrison, Douglass stated that Kennedy was killed because he was turning away from the Cold War and pursuing paths of nuclear disarmament, rapprochement with Fidel Castro, and withdrawal from the war in Vietnam. [20] [21] Mark Lane — author of Rush to Judgment and Plausible Denial and the attorney who defended Liberty Lobby against a defamation suit brought by former CIA agent E. Howard Hunt — has been described as a leading proponent of the theory that the CIA was responsible for the assassination of Kennedy. [22] [23] Others who believe the CIA was involved include authors Anthony Summers and John M. Newman. [23]

In 1977, the FBI released 40,000 files pertaining to the assassination of Kennedy, including an April 3, 1967 memorandum from Deputy Director Cartha DeLoach to Associate Director Clyde Tolson that was written less than a month after President Johnson learned from J. Edgar Hoover about CIA plots to kill Fidel Castro. [24] [25] According to DeLoach, LBJ aide Marvin Watson "stated that the President had told him, in an off moment, that he was now convinced there was a plot in connection with the assassination [of President Kennedy]. Watson stated the President felt that [the] CIA had had something to do with this plot." [24] [25] [26] [27] When questioned in 1975, during the Church Committee hearings, DeLoach told Senator Richard Schweiker that he "felt [that Watson's statement was] sheer speculation." [28] [nb 1]

Oswald impersonator in Mexico City conspiracy theory Edit

Gaeton Fonzi was hired as a researcher in 1975 by the Church Committee and by the House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) in 1977. At the HSCA, Fonzi focused on the anti-Castro Cuban exile groups, and the links that these groups had with the CIA and the Mafia. Fonzi obtained testimony from Cuban exile Antonio Veciana that Veciana had once witnessed his CIA contact, who Fonzi would later come to believe was David Atlee Phillips, conferring with Lee Harvey Oswald. [30] [31] [32] [33] Through his research, Fonzi became convinced that Phillips had played a key role in the assassination of President Kennedy. [34] Fonzi also concluded that, as part of the assassination plot, Phillips had actively worked to embellish Oswald's image as a communist sympathizer. [35] He further concluded that the presence of a possible Oswald impersonator in Mexico City, during the period that Oswald himself was in Mexico City, may have been orchestrated by Phillips [36] [37] [33]

This evidence first surfaced in testimony given to the HSCA in 1978, and through the investigative work of independent journalist Anthony Summers in 1979. [38] Summers spoke with a man named Oscar Contreras, a law student at National University in Mexico City, who said that someone calling himself Lee Harvey Oswald struck up a conversation with him inside a university cafeteria, in the fall of 1963. [39] [40] (The Warren Commission concluded that Oswald had taken a bus trip from Houston to Mexico City and back during September–October 1963.) [41] [42] Contreras described "Oswald" as "over thirty, light-haired and fairly short" — a description that did not fit the real Oswald [43] To Fonzi, it seemed improbable that the real Oswald would at random start a conversation regarding his difficulties in obtaining a Cuban visa with Contreras, a man who belonged to a pro-Castro student group and had contacts in the Cuban embassy in Mexico City. [43]

Fonzi theorized that there was an Oswald impersonator in Mexico City, directed by Phillips, during the period that the Warren Commission concluded that Oswald himself had visited the city. Fonzi's belief was strengthened by statements from other witnesses. On September 27, 1963, and again a week later, a man identifying himself as Oswald visited the Cuban embassy in Mexico City. [41] Consular Eusebio Azcue told Anthony Summers that the real Oswald "in no way resembled" the "Oswald" to whom he had spoken to at length. [44] [45] Embassy employee Sylvia Duran also told Summers that the real Oswald she eventually saw on film "is not like the man I saw here in Mexico City." [46] On October 1, the CIA recorded two tapped telephone calls to the Soviet embassy by a man identified as Oswald. The CIA transcriber noted that "Oswald" spoke in "broken Russian". [47] [48] The real Oswald was quite fluent in Russian. [49] On October 10, 1963, the CIA issued a teletype to the FBI, the State Department and the Navy, regarding Oswald's visits to Mexico City. The teletype was accompanied by a photo of a man identified as Oswald who in fact looked nothing like him. [50] [51]

On November 23, 1963, the day after the assassination of President Kennedy, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover's preliminary analysis of the assassination included the following:

The Central Intelligence Agency advised that on October 1st, 1963, an extremely sensitive source had reported that an individual identifying himself as Lee Oswald contacted the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City inquiring as to any messages. Special agents of this Bureau, who have conversed with Oswald in Dallas, Texas, have observed photographs of the individual referred to above and have listened to a recording of his voice. These special agents are of the opinion that the referred-to individual was not Lee Harvey Oswald. [52] [53]

That same day, Hoover had this conversation with the new president, Lyndon Johnson:

JOHNSON: "Have you established any more about the [Oswald] visit to the Soviet Embassy in Mexico in September?"

HOOVER: "No, there's one angle that's very confusing for this reason. We have up here the tape and the photograph of the man at the Soviet Embassy, using Oswald's name. That picture and the tape do not correspond to this man's voice, nor to his appearance. In other words, it appears that there was a second person who was at the Soviet Embassy." [54] [53]

Fonzi concluded it was unlikely that the CIA would legitimately not be able to produce a single photograph of the real Oswald as part of the documentation of his trip to Mexico City, given that Oswald had made five separate visits to the Soviet and Cuban embassies (according to the Warren Commission) where the CIA maintained surveillance cameras. [55] [56]

Three tramps Edit

The "three tramps" are three men photographed by several Dallas-area newspapers under police escort near the Texas School Book Depository shortly after the assassination of President Kennedy. The men were detained and questioned briefly by the Dallas police. They have been the subject of various conspiracy theories, including some that allege the three men to be known CIA agents. Some of these allegations are listed below.

E. Howard Hunt is alleged by some to be the oldest of the tramps. Hunt was a CIA station chief in Mexico City and was involved in the Bay of Pigs Invasion. Hunt later worked as one of President Richard Nixon's White House Plumbers. [57] Others believe that the oldest tramp is Chauncey Holt. Holt claimed to have been a double agent for the CIA and the Mafia, and claimed that his assignment in Dallas was to provide fake Secret Service credentials to people in the vicinity. [58] Witness reports state that there were one or more unidentified men in the area claiming to be Secret Service agents. Both Dallas police officer Joe Smith and Army veteran Gordon Arnold have claimed to have met a man on or near the grassy knoll who showed them credentials identifying him as a Secret Service agent. [59]

Frank Sturgis is thought by some to be the tall tramp. [57] Like E. Howard Hunt, Sturgis was involved both in the Bay of Pigs invasion and in the Watergate burglary. In 1959, Sturgis became involved with Marita Lorenz. Lorenz would later claim that Sturgis told her that he had participated in a JFK assassination plot. [60] In response to her allegations, Sturgis denied being involved in a conspiracy to kill Kennedy. [61] In an interview with Steve Dunleavy of the New York Post, Sturgis said that he believed communist agents had pressured Lorenz into making the accusations against him. [62]

The House Select Committee on Assassinations had forensic anthropologists study the photographic evidence. The committee claimed that its analysis ruled out E. Howard Hunt, Frank Sturgis, Dan Carswell, Fred Lee Chapman, and other suspects. [63] The Rockefeller Commission concluded that neither Hunt nor Frank Sturgis were in Dallas on the day of the assassination. [64]

Records released by the Dallas Police Department in 1989 identified the three men as Gus Abrams, Harold Doyle, and John Gedney. [65]

E. Howard Hunt Edit

Several conspiracy theorists have named former CIA agent and Watergate figure E. Howard Hunt as a possible participant in the Kennedy assassination and some, as noted before, have alleged that Hunt is one of the three tramps. Hunt has taken various magazines to court over accusations with regard to the assassination.

In 1975, Hunt testified before the United States President's Commission on CIA activities within the United States that he was in Washington, D.C. on the day of the assassination. This testimony was confirmed by Hunt's family and a home employee of the Hunts. [66]

In 1976, a magazine called The Spotlight ran an article accusing Hunt of being in Dallas on November 22, 1963, and of having a role in the assassination. Hunt won a libel judgment against the magazine in 1981, but this verdict was overturned on appeal. The magazine was found not liable when the case was retried in 1985. In 1985, Hunt was in court again in a libel suit against Liberty Lobby. During the trial, defense attorney Mark Lane was successful in creating doubt among the jury as to Hunt's location on the day of the Kennedy assassination through depositions from David Atlee Phillips, Richard Helms, G. Gordon Liddy, Stansfield Turner, and Marita Lorenz, as well as through his cross examination of Hunt. [67]

In August 2003, while in failing health, Hunt allegedly confessed to his son of his knowledge of a conspiracy in the JFK assassination. However, Hunt's health improved and he went on to live four more years. Shortly before Hunt's death in 2007, he authored an autobiography which implicated Lyndon B. Johnson in the assassination, suggesting that Johnson had orchestrated the killing with the help of CIA agents who had been angered by Kennedy's actions as president. [68] [69] After Hunt's death, his sons, Saint John Hunt and David Hunt, stated that their father had recorded several claims about himself and others being involved in a conspiracy to assassinate President John F. Kennedy. [70] [71] In the April 5, 2007 issue of Rolling Stone, Saint John Hunt detailed a number of individuals purported to be implicated by his father, including Lyndon B. Johnson, Cord Meyer, David Phillips, Frank Sturgis, David Morales, Antonio Veciana, William Harvey, and an assassin he termed "French gunman grassy knoll" who some presume was Lucien Sarti. [70] [72] The two sons alleged that their father cut the information from his memoirs to avoid possible perjury charges. [71] According to Hunt's widow and other children, the two sons took advantage of Hunt's loss of lucidity by coaching and exploiting him for financial gain. [71] The Los Angeles Times said they examined the materials offered by the sons to support the story and found them to be "inconclusive". [71]

David Sánchez Morales Edit

Some researchers — among them Gaeton Fonzi, Larry Hancock, Noel Twyman, and John Simkin — believe that CIA operative David Morales was involved in the Kennedy assassination. Morales' friend, Ruben Carbajal, claimed that in 1973 Morales opened up about his involvement with the Bay of Pigs Invasion operation, and stated that "Kennedy had been responsible for him having to watch all the men he recruited and trained get wiped out." Carbajal claimed that Morales said, "Well, we took care of that SOB, didn't we?" [73] Morales is alleged to have once told friends, "I was in Dallas when we got the son of a bitch, and I was in Los Angeles when we got the little bastard", [73] [74] presumably referring to the assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas, Texas and to the later assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy in Los Angeles, California on June 5, 1968. [75] Morales is alleged to have expressed deep anger toward the Kennedys for what he saw as their betrayal during the Bay of Pigs Invasion. [76]

Frank Sturgis Edit

In an article published in the South Florida Sun Sentinel on December 4, 1963, James Buchanan, a former reporter for the Sun-Sentinel, claimed that Frank Sturgis had met Lee Harvey Oswald in Miami, Florida shortly before Kennedy's assassination. Buchanan claimed that Oswald had tried to infiltrate the International Anti-Communist Brigade. When he was questioned by the FBI about this story, Sturgis claimed that Buchanan had misquoted him regarding his comments about Oswald.

According to a memo sent by L. Patrick Gray, acting FBI Director, to H. R. Haldeman on June 19, 1972, "[s]ources in Miami say he [Sturgis] is now associated with organized crime activities". [77] In his book, Assassination of JFK, published in 1977, Bernard Fensterwald claims that Sturgis was heavily involved with the Mafia, particularly with Santo Trafficante's and Meyer Lansky's activities in Florida.

George de Mohrenschildt Edit

After returning from the Soviet Union, Lee Harvey Oswald became friends with Dallas resident and petroleum geologist George de Mohrenschildt. Mohrenschildt would later write an extensive memoir in which he discussed his friendship with Oswald. [78] [79] Mohrenschildt's wife would later give the House Select Committee on Assassinations a photograph that showed Oswald in his Dallas backyard, holding two Marxist newspapers and a Carcano rifle, with a pistol on his hip. Thirteen years after the JFK assassination, in September 1976, the CIA requested that the FBI locate Mohrenschildt, in response to a letter Mohrenschildt had written to his friend, CIA Director George H.W. Bush, appealing to Bush to stop the agency from taking action against him. [80] [81] [82]

Several Warren Commission critics, including Jesse Ventura, have alleged that Mohrenschildt was one of Oswald's CIA handlers but have offered little evidence. Jim Garrison referred to Mohrenschildt as one of Oswald's unwitting "baby-sitters . assigned to protect or otherwise see to the general welfare of Oswald". [83] On March 29, 1977, Mohrenschildt stated during an interview with author Edward Jay Epstein that he had been asked by CIA operative J. Walton Moore to meet with Oswald, something Mohrenschildt had also told the Warren Commission thirteen years earlier. [84] (When interviewed in 1978 by the House Select Committee on Assassinations, J. Walton Moore said that while he "had 'periodic' contact with Mohrenschildt", he had no recollection of any conversation with him concerning Oswald.) [85] [86] [87] Mohrenschildt told Epstein that he would not have contacted Oswald had he not been asked to do so. [88] (Mohrenschildt met with Oswald several times, from the summer of 1962 to April 1963.) [89] [90] [91] The same day that Mohrenschildt was interviewed by Epstein, Mohrenschildt was informed by his daughter that a representative of the House Select Committee on Assassinations had stopped by and left his calling card, intending to return that evening. Mohrenschildt then committed suicide by shooting himself in the head shortly thereafter. [92] [93] Mohrenschildt's wife later told sheriff's office investigators that her husband had been hospitalized for depression and paranoia in late 1976 and had tried to kill himself four times that year. [94] [88]

Role of Oswald Edit

In 1964, the Warren Commission concluded that Oswald assassinated President Kennedy and that Oswald acted alone, [95] and that "there is no evidence that [Oswald] was involved in any conspiracy directed to the assassination of the President." [96] The Commission came to this conclusion after examining Oswald's Marxist and pro-Communist background, including his defection to Russia, the New Orleans branch of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee he had organized, and the various public and private statements made by him espousing Marxism.

Some conspiracy theorists have argued that Oswald's pro-Communist behavior may have been a carefully planned ruse — a part of an effort by U.S. intelligence agencies to infiltrate left-wing organizations in the United States and to conduct counterintelligence operations. Others have speculated that Oswald was an agent or informant of the U.S. government, and was manipulated by his U.S. intelligence handlers to incriminate himself while being set up as a scapegoat. [97] [98] [99] [100] [101]

Oswald himself claimed to be innocent, denying all charges and even declaring to reporters that he was "just a patsy". He also insisted that the photos of him with a rifle had been faked, an assertion contradicted by statements made by his wife, Marina (who claimed to have taken the photos), and the analysis of photographic experts such as Lyndal L. Shaneyfelt of the FBI. [ citation needed ]

Oswald's alleged role as FBI informant was investigated by Lee Rankin and others of the Warren Commission, but their findings were inconclusive. Several FBI employees had made statements indicating that Oswald was indeed a paid informant, but the commission was nonetheless unable to verify the veracity of those claims. [102] [103] FBI agent James P. Hosty reported that his office's interactions with Oswald were limited to dealing with his complaints about being harassed by the Bureau for being a communist sympathizer. In the weeks before the assassination Oswald made a personal visit to the FBI's Dallas branch office with a hand-delivered letter which purportedly contained a threat of some sort but, controversially, Hosty destroyed the letter by order of J. Gordon Shanklin, his supervisor. [104] [105] [106]

Some researchers have suggested that Oswald was an active agent of the Central Intelligence Agency, pointing to the fact that Oswald attempted to defect to Russia but was nonetheless able to return without difficulty (even receiving a repatriation loan from the State Department [107] [108] ) as evidence of such. A former roommate of Oswald, James Botelho (who would later become a California judge) stated in an interview with Mark Lane that he believed that Oswald was involved in an intelligence assignment in Russia, [109] [110] although Botelho made no mention of those suspicions in his testimony to the Warren Commission years earlier. Oswald's mother, Marguerite, often insisted that her son was recruited by an agency of the U.S. Government and sent to Russia. [97] New Orleans District Attorney (and later judge) Jim Garrison, who in 1967 brought Clay Shaw to trial for the assassination of President Kennedy also held the opinion that Oswald was most likely a CIA agent who had been drawn into the plot to be used as a scapegoat, even going as far as to say that Oswald "genuinely was probably a hero". [111] Senator Richard Schweiker, a member of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence remarked that "everywhere you look with [Oswald], there're fingerprints of intelligence". [112] Schweiker also told author David Talbot that Oswald "was the product of a fake defector program run by the CIA." [113] Richard Sprague, interim staff director and chief counsel to the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations, stated that if he "had to do it over again", he would have investigated the Kennedy assassination by probing Oswald's ties to the Central Intelligence Agency. [114] In 1978, former CIA paymaster and accountant James Wilcott testified before the HSCA, stating that Lee Harvey Oswald was a "known agent" of the Central Intelligence Agency. [115] Wilcott and his wife, Elsie (also a former employee of the CIA) later repeated those claims in a story by the San Francisco Chronicle. [116]

Despite its official policy of neither confirming nor denying the status of agents, both the CIA itself and many officers working in the region at the time (including David Atlee Phillips) have "unofficially" dismissed the plausibility of any CIA ties to Oswald. Robert Blakey, staff director and chief counsel for the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations supported that assessment in his conclusions as well. [117]

Some conspiracy theorists have alleged a plot involving elements of the Mafia, the CIA and the anti-Castro Cubans, including author Anthony Summers [118] and journalist Ruben Castaneda. They cite U.S. government documents which show that, beginning in 1960, these groups had worked together in assassination attempts against Cuban leader Fidel Castro. [119] [120] [121] [122] Ruben Castaneda wrote: "Based on the evidence, it is likely that JFK was killed by a coalition of anti-Castro Cubans, the Mob, and elements of the CIA." [123] In his book, They Killed Our President, former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura also concluded: "John F. Kennedy was murdered by a conspiracy involving disgruntled CIA agents, anti-Castro Cubans, and members of the Mafia, all of whom were extremely angry at what they viewed as Kennedy's appeasement policies toward Communist Cuba and the Soviet Union." [124]

Jack Van Lanningham, a prison cellmate of Mafia boss Carlos Marcello, claimed that Marcello confessed to him in 1985 to having organized Kennedy's assassination. Lanningham also claimed that the FBI covered up the taped confession which he said the FBI had in its possession. [125] Robert Blakey, who was chief counsel for the House Select Committee on Assassinations, concluded in his book, The Plot to Kill the President, that Marcello was likely part of a Mafia conspiracy behind the assassination, and that the Mafia had the means, motive, and opportunity required to carry it out. [126] [127]