Monday, July 27, 2009

Old patterns

Bill Simpich writes about the separate campaigns of the FBI and CIA in the 1960s to infiltrate and undermine the Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC). There is interesting info on Oswald, and curious parallels to September 11 (use of stolen identity; FBI and CIA communication problems that were handy for the conspirators; watchlist errors; having the conspirators investigate themselves):
"As quietly as possible during 1963, the Kennedy brothers were brewing their own Cuban disruption campaign. They had a two-track strategy: A coup launched from foreign shores if necessary, or an agreement with Castro to rid the island of Soviet influence. Working with a separate wing of the CIA than those supporting the Cuban exiles, this project was known as AM/WORLD.

The leaders of this effort were Manuel Artime and Harry Ruiz-Williams, with the CIA's Harry Hecksher as the main case officer. The plan to create this junta in exile was picked up by the Associated Press as early as May 1963. By October, JFK had approved thirteen new sabotage missions as well a project called AMTRUNK proposed by New York Times correspondent Tad Szulc to enlist Cuban military officers into the coup effort. Although many referred to Artime as the Kennedys' "Golden Boy", it is revealing that the CIA referred to him as AM/BIDDY-1.

Oswald joins the FPCC and meets the CIA's David Phillips of the anti-Castro forces, who is involved in a deceptive operation designed to counter the FPCC in foreign countries

During this same period Oswald used the opportunity to build up his resume as the head of his one-man FPCC chapter in New Orleans, culminating in an arrest and widespread TV coverage in August as he picketed on behalf of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee and outraged his Southern neighbors. The arrest for breach of the peace grew out of a contrived fight between Oswald and the anti-Castro DRE, after what looked like a deliberately clumsy effort by Oswald to pose as an anti-Castro activist to infiltrate the DRE. Oswald even wrote VT Lee and described the fight several days before it actually happened. The head of the DRE was David Phillips."

and (my emphasis in red):
"That autumn, when CIA agent David Phillips became Chief of Cuban Operations in Mexico City, he became one of these SAS coordinators. Phillips was in effect rejoining the officers he had worked with on the Bay of Pigs in 1961, at which time he had been responsible for propaganda operations against the newly-created Fair Play for Cuba Committee. The SAS was packed with people who wanted to invade Cuba and saw JFK as an impediment.

During September, Alpha-66 Cuban exile leader Antonio Veciana met with David Phillips and Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas at the lobby of the Southland Building for fifteen minutes. Oswald was talking about “something that we can do to kill Castro.”

On 9/16/63, John Tilton of the CIA asked the FBI to help obtain FPCC stationery and any existing foreign mailing list in order to have a sample “to produce large quantities of propaganda in the name of the (FPCC)” in order to “counter” their activities in foreign countries.

Tilton also said that the CIA was considering planting “deceptive information” which might “embarrass” the FPCC in areas where it has some support. Tilton assured the FBI that no "fabrication" would take place without advance notice and agreement.

The CIA request was directed to the “Nationalities Intelligence Section” -to chief Raymond Wannall. Its analogue in New York was Harold Hoeg's Squad 312. “The reply to CIA should be delivered via Liaison.”

On 9/26/63, a memo then went out to SAC NY from LL Anderson on behalf of Director Hoover. “New York should promptly advise whether the material requested by CIA is available or obtainable. If available, it should be furnished by cover letter with enclosures suitable for dissemination to CIA by liaison.”

This is right when Lee Harvey Oswald left for Mexico City for a week, and repeatedly visited the Soviet and Cuban embassies in an unsuccessful quest for a visa to get to Cuba. Wasn’t this the foreign FPCC activity the CIA was gearing up to counter? Transcripts of calls that were supposedly made by Oswald to the Cuban embassy reveal conversations so contrived that it is obvious that an imposter was making these calls. Photographs and a tape recording made available to members of the Warren Commission showed that someone impersonated Oswald in Mexico City. Even Hoover said it to LBJ the morning after the assassination.

The 10/4/63 response from SAC NY James Kennedy reiterated his understanding that "CIA desires information regarding the availability of samples of FPCC stationery and FPCC mailing lists in connection with their consideration of plans to counter the activities of FPCC in foreign countries. The NYO plans to contact 3245-S* (Vicente) on 10/27/63."

The attached blind memo is a COINTELPRO letter suggesting that VT Lee should be asked “how many dupes are still contributing to Castro’s propaganda arm here in the US…his fervor for Castro’s cause is directly related to the amount of funds being received.”

Angelton’s aide Jane Roman stated that the man who “takes over Cuban operations in WH/3/Mexico on the 8th of October 1963 is named David Phillips.” The PR man who was key in bringing down the Guatemalan government now has a second chance at getting Cuba right.

The next day after Phillips takes over Cuban operations in Mexico, October 9, FBI supervisor Marvin Gheesling canceled a FLASH notice on Oswald that had kept him on the aforementioned Watchlist among all FBI offices. As mentioned earlier, Oswald was placed on this Watchlist due to his defection to the USSR in 1959 and his statements to the US embassy that he was going to provide military secrets to the Soviet Union.

When Gheesling canceled the FLASH just hours before the twin October 10 cables were sent by the CIA containing critical information about Oswald, he “turned off the alarm switch on Oswald literally an instant before it would have gone off”. Gheesling's explanation for why he released the “stop” on 10/9/63 is contained in a memo to FBI #2 man Clyde Tolson from Inspector Gale: The “stop was placed in event subject returned from Russia under an assumed name and was inadvertently not removed by him on 9/7/62 when case closed.”

James W. Douglass, a Catholic theologian who has pondered this question, suggests that Gheesling may have been misled by Tilton's memo "into thinking Oswald was only working under cover in Mexico to counter the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. As a CIA operative, Oswald did not belong on the Security Index. Thus, his security watch was lifted. His staged Soviet connection could then be documented for scapegoating purposes after Dallas, but without sounding a national security alarm that would have put a spotlight on Oswald and prevented Dallas from happening."

The next day, the CIA sent two totally conflicting documents. One was a teletype to the FBI, State Department and the Navy about Oswald contacting the Soviet embassy in Mexico City, inaccurately describing him as “approximately 35 years old, with an athletic build, about six feet tall, with receding hairline...believed that Oswald was identical to Lee Henry Oswald", a seeming error made by the CIA in their initial filing of 1960 when the CIA finally (and mysteriously) opened a file on Oswald a year after his defection and his threat to reveal military secrets to the Soviets.

The other document was a cable sent two hours later to the station in Mexico: "Oswald is five feet ten inches, one hundred sixty five pounds, light brown wavy hair, (and) blue eyes." This description came from his mother to the FBI’s John Fain years earlier, which then ricocheted back and forth between INS, the FBI and CIA for years after that, although Oswald’s weight only varied between 130-150 and was 150 at the time of his death. The description sent to the FBI, the State Department, and the Navy is a deliberate lie.

The wording of this cable was repeated to the Dallas police officers almost verbatim in a mysterious call-in to the dispatcher fifteen minutes after Kennedy was shot: “white, slender, weighing about one hundred sixty five pounds, about five feet ten inches tall, and in his early thirties.” Despite repeated attempts to find out the source, even J. Edgar Hoover had to admit that the information came from “an unidentified citizen”.

Both of these messages were drafted by Mexico City desk officer Charlotte Bustos, while a key role in checking for accuracy was played by Ann Egerter of Angleton’s CI/SIG mole-hunting unit (the woman who opened the 201 file on "Lee Henry Oswald") This may have been as part of a larger strategy to confuse the FBI, with the goal to withhold information about its anti-Cuban operations in Mexico City. Egerter admits that she thought Oswald “was up to something bad” and that she knew he had spoken with a KGB agent at the Mexican embassy."

and (whatever you might think about Hoover, he wasn't in on the scheme of the rogue FBI agents working with the CIA):
"18 FBI agents were punished by Hoover for their pre-assassination work. Lundquist and Hoeg of New York were two of them. At an HSCA hearing Gale stated, "Tolson called me on two of the agents in New York they (the Warren Commission or the FBI) found had, they felt, were derelict in the way they had reported the matter, and he asked me if we had found those...and I told him that, yes, we had found those."

Hoover believed that Oswald's background as a Soviet defector (and marrying the daugther of a Soviet intelligence officer) triggered espionage concerns; and his FPCC activism triggered security concerns. The FBI files available to Hoover also revealed that Oswald had initially threatened to provide US military secrets to the Soviets in exchange for citizenship and that he was presently a self-declared Marxist.. For these reasons, Hoover felt that Oswald should have been on the Security Index, and certainly should not have been removed from the Watchlist.

The others punished included Gheesling for removing the FLASH, Elbert Turner for not taking action on the CIA memo received the day after Gheesling removed the FLASH, and Hosty, Kaack, and Lambert L. Anderson for not following up more aggressively. Fain would have been punished, but he retired in 1962. Nevertheless, the same men proceeded to lead the post-assassination investigation as well."
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