Assassination in the struggle for power in Cuba

Reader Photon asks:

Assassination was not his tactic.

“So ‘LBJ and crew’ murdered John Kennedy, but Fidel ‘most certainly was not [involved]‘? While I consider it unlikely that Oswald could have cooperated with anybody in a conspiracy his visit to the Cuban Embassy certainly is intriguing. It is not like Fidel had never sanctioned political assassination in the past. For 50 years he has gotten away with knocking off Camilo Cienfuegos after Huber Matos didn’t do it for him.”

The ensuing fast and furious debate in the comments section on this subject is reminder that the history of assassination as a political technique in the struggle for power in Cuba from say, 1955 to 1965, is relevant to any discussion of the assassination of JFK.

Origins of the Cuban revolution

The struggle for power that culminated in Castro’s revolution originated on the University of Havana campus. If you ever have a chance to visit Cuba you should go there. It is a lovely campus on a hill that is approached from the east by massive stairs where the students hang out at all hours. The selection at the nearby bookstore is ideologically limited, but the students are not.

Fidel Castro came of age on this campus in the late 1940s. The city was dominated by organized crime syndicates and campus politics reflected a gangland mentality. Castro’s biographers agree he probably personally killed a rival in the late 1940s. But by the time Castro returned to Cuba with Che Guevara in late 1956 his political thinking had become imbued with Marxism.

Guevara had lived in Guatemala in 1954 and experienced the CIA coup. He and Fidel concluded that President Jacobo Arbenz’s faith in parliamentary democracy and a free press had made him vulnerable to North American power. They were determined not to repeat his mistakes.

Castro’s growing belief in class struggle as the motor of history differentiated his 26th of July movement from the Revolutionary Directorate, the other significant force in the fight against Batista. While Castro’s Marxist-flavor movement relied on workers and peasants, the DR was a student movement that was anti-communist, nationalistic and Catholic. The DR leader, Jose Antonio Echverria, was the only one of Castro’s rivals whom he respected.

The question of assassination

The 26th of July movement and the DR differed on assasssination. When a DR commando group, led by Rolando Cubela, assassinated a Batista military intelligence officer in Havana’s Montmartre nightclub in October 1956, the July 26 movement distanced itself from the action.

When the DR unsuccessfully attempted to assassinate Batista in a daring daytime raid on the presidential palace in March 1957, Castro again criticized the action calling it “a useless expenditure of blood.” It was. Echeverria was killed in the palace attack. The DR lost its most able leader. The Cuban business and middle classes rallied to support Batista.

Once Castro took power, his government relied on what you might call socialist legality to defeat his enemy: mass arrests and show trials. The elimination of opposition leaders was never a priority. Photon’s repetition of the allegation that Castro was responsible for Camilio CIenfuegos’s plane crash suffers from the same problem that allegation always had: a lack of evidence.

By contrast, the CIA and Castro’s Miami-based opposition always believed in the efficacy and legitimacy of assassination. The plotting against Castro’s life began in 1959 and continued for decades. Most relevant to the JFK story is the recruitment of Rolando Cubela, dubbed AMLASH by the CIA. He was approached in Mexico City in 1961, in Helsinki in 1962 and in Brazil 1963, sought precisely because he had proven himself as an assassin.

Castro’s Dirigencia General de Inteligencia (DGI) did not return the favor. Castro did not seek to assassinate the leaders of the U.S. government or the groups who sought his overthrow. When exporting revolutionary doctrine to other Latin American insurgencies, the Cubans discouraged the use of assassination of top officials. This was not because they were humanists. It was because they were Marxists.

November 22

When JFK was killed in Dallas various CIA assets in the Revolutionary Student Directorate (DRE), the CIA-funded successor to the DR, pushed the idea that Oswald had acted at Castro’s behest

The CIA’s investigation of Oswald was curiously lackluster. The CIA  never suspected the Cuban intelligence services were behind the gunfire in Dallas. The CIA did not investigate their possible involvement in Dallas.

The CIA was not soft on the DGI or naive about their ruthlessness. They just saw no reason, logical or historical, to think the Cubans would mount an assassination on U.S. soil.

The CIA”s vulnerability

Senior officials also knew full well they they knew much more about the pro-Castro Oswald than the DGI or the KGB. They had much more information about Oswald’s history and actions than their communist counterparts.

That information was conveyed to the highest levels of the agency in October 1963, to senior aides of deputy director Richard Helms and counterintelligence chief James Angleton.

What does it mean today?

As I wrote the other day, any inquiry into Oswald’s possible Cuban connections “would have revealed that the CIA and FBI had been playing close attention to the FPCC and Oswald in the years, months and weeks before JFK was killed.”

It also might have revealed the CIA’s ongoing conspiracy with Rolando Cubela, aka AMLASH,  to assassinate Castro.

Last word from the CIA

Only in 1977 did the CIA get around to doing a formal study of possible Cuban involvement. The CIA concluded it found no evidence of Cuban involvement.

Photon’s argument that Castro sanctioned political assassination is as factually unfounded as the suggestion that the Cuban government was behind Oswald.

The historical record is clear. Cuban officials certainly did not sanction and pursue political assassination in 1963 the way CIA officials did.

 

 

 

68 comments

  1. Jonathan says:

    The CIA and FBI were monitoring (if not manipulating) Oswald so closely in 1963 there’s no way he could have been recruited surreptitiously by Castro’s intelligence service. Even if he had been recruited by the Cubans earlier, the CIA and FBI counter-intelligence people would have picked up on any dealings he had with a Cuban-loyal agent handler. Oswald was not some off-the-radar-screen guy for the CIA or FBI.

    • Paul may says:

      Oswald was not debriefed by the CIA nor any other intel group upon his 1962 return from Russia. Do you find this curious?

      • Jonathan says:

        Yes. Why debrief one of your own agents is the question?

        That, unfortunately, is too easy. Intel organizations maintain appearances. Oswald should have been de-briefed for appearance sake.

        Priscilla what’s-her-name, who shepherded the Oswalds through customs, probably did some de-brief.

      • larry wheels says:

        Oswald was not directly debriefed by the cia- they use a cover. nobody coming back from the “iron curtain” during the height of the cold war was not just let back into the country without debriefing for information. in Oswald’s case he was used as a “dangle’ by American intell either the cia or oni. a fake defector program used to place agents behind enemy lines. then you bring them back and use them for propaganda or in Oswald’s case he was sheepdipped in a pro-castro cover and patsy-fied in dallas. the assassination itself was a psych warfare provocation to be used as a pretext to invade cuba. it most likely was to be a false flag event ,but co-opted by some powerful insiders who used the cia – mafia assassination capability to remove what they considered a pro-castro threat in the white house. kennedy was hated almost as much as castro by the anti-castro people.

  2. Harry says:

    I still don’t know why people “assume” that LHO was in Mexico City in September of 1963 when the CIA, FBI, and Warren Commission could produce no evidence to demonstrate their assertion that he was. Even the FBI said that the voice on the Embassies recordings was not Oswald and the photos “allegedly” of LHO were of another man. The CIA assertion that ALL of the cameras pointing to both Embassies suddenly stopped working that day is not plausible. Until the government can prove its allegation “beyond a reasonable doubt” that LHO was in Mexico City during this time frame it is just another “red herring,”

    • Jonathan says:

      Agree.

    • leslie sharp says:

      That might suggest someone on the ground was planting disinformation for future reference, in which case one could extrapolate a date of origin of the plot at least as it related to Mexico City? The date of the inception of the conspiracy is critical in my view.

      • Jonathan says:

        “The date of the inception of the conspiracy is critical in my view.” Something I’ve pondered as well.

        And this: the Chicago plot, involving another patsy, Thomas Vallee. In the Chicago plot, we’re told there were two two-man teams of Cuban sharpshooters. If this is true, it’s surely true they were anti-Castro Cubans. Otherwise, presto-mundo, it’s time for the 101st AB Division to head for Havana.

        • leslie sharp says:

          Jonathan: Do you know when Vallee’s story began to circulate?

          • Jonathan says:

            The Chicago plot unfolded around 1 November 1963. The story of the plot has gained a lot of attention in recent years.

          • leslie sharp says:

            Jonathan: tks. I’ve not studied it and initially rejected the possibility out of hand. But as you say, it seems to have gained some momentum. Any idea of the location? A lot would have had to come together very quickly unless they had a template that easily transferred to Dallas – not to mention the cost. Maybe the same team was scheduled for Dallas. It certainly reminds one of “Executive Action,” the movie.

          • Jonathan says:

            Leslie, you should check out the Chicago plot; it does appear to represent part of a template.

            The short version is that JFK was scheduled to fly to Chicago. The night before, an FBI agent busted two Cubans who were one of two teams going to shoot JFK from an office building in downtown Chicago.

            The next day, because the other team remained at large, JFK canceled his trip. Then Vallee was arrested and charged in a plot to kill the president. Vallee was in some ways an apparent loser like Oswald.

            A black SS officer got wind of all this after the assassination and was prepared to tied the Chicago and Dallas events events together. The only black SS officer at the time, who was hand-picked by JFK, he was charged with trumped up criminal violations, thrown in the hole, and shut up for many years. Not too many years ago, after his release, he wrote a book that I’ve not read but which is on my list.

          • leslie sharp says:

            Tks Jonathan: Now I remember the story about the SS agent. Interestingly enough, there is plenty of data to suggest that similar enterprises as those in Dallas could have assisted with the operation in Chicago. This may sound like a ludicrous, and perhaps desperate leap to rationalize theories, but it is based in fact. However, I maintain that the assassination had to occur in Dallas.

  3. leslie sharp says:

    JM: (as I commented on a previous thread)

    “. . . any such inquiry would have revealed that the CIA and FBI had been playing close attention to the FPCC and Oswald in the years, months and weeks before JFK was killed.”

    Does your statement suggest that the FBI and/or CIA weren’t actually ‘running’ Oswald, but instead were keenly interested in and concerned by his stint in Russia and his pro-Castro activities. It seems to me that you imply that they weren’t actually privy to the source of influence under which he was operating. Further, it suggests to me that their only crime (if you will) was negligence and malfeasance and perhaps even possibly, maybe some degree of ‘manipulation’ of Oswald the man?

    Your thoughts?

  4. David Lifton, Larry Hancock, Gus Russo have all documented the efforts of Lyndon Johnson to blame Fidel Castro (and others) for the JFK assassination in his conversations with important players behind the scene.

    LBJ is doing this all the while he is demanding a Warren Report to rubberstamp an FBI report and to clear himself & the Russians of involvement in the JFK assassination.

    Alexander Haig, Joseph Califano and LBJ all blame it on Castro. My neighbor in Austin, Bobbie Ray Inman “Mr. Intelligence” has told me that he will go to his grave thinking Fidel Castro murdered JFK.
    Those CIA/government/military guys just love to blame Castro … for something LBJ/CIA/military intelligence did. The JFK assassination was the ultimate expression of Operation Northwoods; it is all so obvious.

    Go to this web link then go to David Lifton’s post #225 and he goes into great detail the yoeman efforts that LBJ (the perp) went to blame Fidel Castro for the JFK assassination:

    http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=18804&st=210

    Lyndon Johnson, however, told his chief of staff Marvin Watson that the CIA killed JFK; LBJ told Madeleine Brown, a key mistress, that Dallas, TX oil executives that Madeleine knew and “renegade intelligence bastards” were behind the JFK assassination.

    He only left himself out of the plot.

    • Jonathan says:

      I’ve always thought LBJ was corrupt; always thought he led the cover-up effort; always believed he was evil. More evil than Nixon by far.

      If Lifton is correct about body alteration on AF 1, LBJ is immediately suspect in foreknowledge and complicity. There was no reason legally for him to be sworn in on the plane; his story Bobby said to do it is B.S.; he became president immediately upon JFK’s death under the Constitution (so no hiatus would occur).

      Until I read Lifton, I assumed the swearing in was a photo op with Jackie. I’m not sure now.

    • jeffmorley says:

      I’m trying to be precise. We don’t have direct proof that the CIA or the FBI was running Oswald. We do know there was an FBI COINTELPRO operation against the FPCC and a CIA-FBI operation against the FPCC in a foreign country and Joannides use of the AMSPELL program against pro-Castro forces in the United States. Given the secrecy around all of these operations it seems probable to me that the CIA was running an operation involving Oswald but we don’t know the nature of that operation and we don’t know who at FBI or CIA was privy to the source of influence. We can guess. We can speculate with good information. And then we could speculate about the nature of the crime. But I prefer not to do that in print. In print I want to make statements that are indisputably correct. At a minimum, there was negligence. My lawsuit is an effort to find out if there was something more.

      • Jonathan says:

        Oswald was something of a loose cannon. Loose cannons are sometimes useful to case officers, depending on their access to information and reliability.

        Oswald has always struck me as a reliable, dependable guy; a guy willing to stand up to authority and maintain a cover story (a lie). A guy willing to do really unusual things, like defect to the Soviet Union in 1959.

        If I were a CIA case officer, I would have kept track of Oswald and maybe recruited him; recruited him through an intermediary. Oswald wouldn’t know me. I would pull his strings.

        In 1963, Oswald was at the point of the needle: Cuba. Everyone was watching him, you can be sure.

        Then some inside group hijacked LHO. He didn’t know it. He was too busy playing spy.

      • Paul may says:

        Agree totally. I have not seen hard credible evidence Oswald was being manipulated in any respect. Indeed, it appears many believing in conspiracy indulge certain fantasies at the expense of understanding Oswald and what he represented.

        • Jonathan says:

          Paul May,

          You have not seen hard evidence Oswald was being manipulated.

          Fact: Oswald dances like a puppet from 1959 to 1963. His actions are inexplicable. He behaves like a puppet. Even Marina complains about this to the W.C.

          Paul, believe what you will about Oswald. He was a sucker. A low-level guy, willing to be manipulated and follow orders.

          • Paul may says:

            We agree to disagree Jonathan. You revel in speculation. Jeff Morley has stated he welcomes comments that are factual, engaging and civil. You present no evidence; only personal opinion.

      • leslie sharp says:

        Tks Jeff. What you have said now makes complete sense.

        I believe that it is safe and not inappropriate for me to recap these facts, and to speculate as is comfortable:

        Further to Joannides: as you know, Thomas Karamessines was station chief in Athens from ’48-’52. He was the patron of George Joannides who joined the CIA in ’51 (and may have been directly recruited by Karamessines when he was at the Greek Embassy Information Services.)

        It is reported that Karamessines sent Joannides to Athens because of his heritage (and facility with the language I presume).

        We also know that Al Ulmer followed Karamessines to the Athens station when he moved on. This was in 1953. Ulmer remained in Athens thru 1955.

        (Both Karamessines and Ulmer were reporting to Frank Wisner, and it was Ulmer who introduced Wisner to James McCargar, a key figure in The Pond, based on their collaboration in Hungary at the close of the war.)

        It is conceivable that Al Ulmer managed George Joannides while in Athens.

        Barbara Bush states that her husband appreciated Ulmer’s hospitality while visiting Athens. We can consider the possibility that she meant sometime between 1953 and 1955 because Ulmer did not join Niarchos until 1964 (although he could have been dealing with him in the late 1950′s as well). The most likely dates are ’53-’55 just as Zapata was founded. IF the dates were ’53-’55, and IF Joannides was in Athens at the same time, could Bush have been introduced to Joannides.

        It is also conceivable that Ulmer and Joannides remained in contact through the 1960′s when Joannides was with JM/Wave in Florida.

        Ulmer was with George Bush in Tyler the week of the Kennedy assassination.

        • leslie sharp says:

          Going even further out on this limb:

          Could George Bush have known Win Scott. I realize there is no mention of that in “Our Man in Mexico” and am certain had any evidence surfaced while researching the book, it would have been mentioned given how prevalent the Bush name was at time of publishing.

          I have no idea of the validity of the authors quoted below, although I have studied Corson to a degree, but it is an interesting consideration:

          ” . . . You have to remember, we had real fears of Soviet activity in Mexico in the 1950s. Bush was one of many businessmen that would be reimbursed for hiring someone the CIA was interested in, or simply carrying a message.” (Crowley & Corson)

      • JSA says:

        In addition to John Newman’s excellent research, the weird phone call that Oswald allegedly made from Dallas after his arrest (to a John Hurt in North Carolina) raises some pretty high curiosity on my part as to whether Lee was calling a handler who wouldn’t take his call, knowing to cut him off. Could anybody who has more information on this comment? Paul May? Anyone?

        Here’s the link to the story:http://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/jfk-oswald-and-the-raleigh-connection/Content?oid=3192079

    • jeffmorley says:

      “Lyndon Johnson, however, told his chief of staff Marvin Watson that the CIA killed JFK.”

      What’s the source for this?

      • From Robert Kennedy and His Times by Arthur Schlesinger (1978)(p. 616 in a footnote):

        “In 1967 Marvin Watson of Lyndon Johnson’s White House staff told Cartha DeLoach of the FBI that Johnson “was now convinced there was a plot in connection with the assassination. Watson stated the President felt that CIA had had something to do with this plot.” (Washington Post, December 13, 1977)

        Lyndon Johnson sure was a conspiracy theorist, wasn’t he? I think he let the truth come out when he spoke to Madeleine Brown (12/31/63) and Marvin Watson, his chief of staff, 2 people who were very close to LBJ.

        Richard Nixon was a conspiracy theorist, too – his code for the JFK assassination was the “whole Bay of Pigs thing” and when GHW Bush read that he went hysterical. Nixon would later tell Roger Stone the Warren Report was “bullshit.” Stone tweet messaged to me that nugget.

        And I have interviewed Jeffrey Hoff (in 2012) who told me that by 1973 Barry Goldwater was convinced that LBJ was behind the JFK assassination.

  5. Photon says:

    LBJ’s views on a Cuban conspiracy were broadcast over CBS shortly before he died-nothing new there. Not sure what the significance is of the Nixon or Goldwater viewpoints; neither one had anything more than general knowledge of the assassination. While to me the only plausible conspiracy would have been a Castro retaliation, Oswald was psychologically not suited to join a conspiracy.
    I cannot accept any conspiracy theory until someone can give me a valid reason why Oswald told the police he left the Book Depository because he thought that they were going to close for the rest of the day, when at the time he took off nobody else in the buiding even knew that JFK was wounded. The only way Oswald would have known that JFK was seriously or fatally wounded was if he was looking at his head in a telescopic sight. The rest of this is just noise. Oswald’s statment was a cryptic admission that he knew JFK was dead or dying even before the driver of the Presidential limo was aware of how badly the President had been hit. Any ideas?

    • Jonathan says:

      Photon, you are unlike your name. A photon exists only at the speed of light. It has an energy and momentum determined by the planck constant.

      Our photon is turgid. He believes the W.C.

    • Jason L. says:

      There are a lot of possible explanations. He may have been part of the plot, he may have known about it beforehand some other way, he may have overheard the news between the time of the shooting and the time of his capture.

      I don’t really understand why anyone could conclude that he was not psychologically suited to join a conspiracy. The evidence suggests he may have been a CIA agent. If that is the case, he’s a pretty devious individual that could rather easily deceive some hack psychologist from the 1940′s (whose evaluation a lot of the “loner/loser” junk is based on). I mean, at a minimum, the guy learned Russian by age 20 and no one seems to really know how he did it. Seems like he actually could keep a secret.

      • Eric Hollingsworth says:

        The question is when he was evaluated by a qualified professional. From what I’ve read, CIA agents can tell if somebody is unbalanced by assessing whether they are a “queer” (horrors) or a communist. Oswald was apparently well-read, actually to a degree that suggests his diary and other correspondence were forged.

        Somebody please explain to me how a person who couldn’t spell learned a language that uses the Cyrillic alphabet.

        Everyone who cites a psychological evaluation of Oswald must be relying on the Warren Commission or be referring to a previous evaluation of Oswald. So anyone who disavows Oswald on the basis of his psychological profile is either lying or informed after the fact.

      • leslie sharp says:

        Do people remember that we are talking about a twenty-four year old?

    • Eric Hollingsworth says:

      You have a very good point and it’s the point that my doubts have always hinged on. Why did Oswald leave the Book Depository? However, I believe that a few employees of the Book Depository left after the assassination. Little help here.

      As to what Oswald told the police, we only have Captain Fritz’s (I think, was it Curry’s?) notes. It beggars belief that Oswald was interrogated for so long without at least stenographic notes. Think about the number of law enforcement professionals that were involved in the interrogation.

  6. Shane McBryde says:

    If “if’s and but’s” we’re candy and nuts, every day would be Christmas!

  7. Alan Dale says:

    The complexities of the issues one confronts by examining the theory that Oswald was involved with the CIA are not easily summarized in a confined space. My suggestion is that any person interested in studying this aspect of our mutual interest should begin by questioning what they think they know about what it means to be involved with the CIA.
    As succinctly as I’m able: A human resource such as a military subject who had been selected for special training in counterespionage and/or counterintelligence could be utilized by the CIA and other intelligence organizations without ever being fully aware of the agency to which any particular operation or action was affiliated. It would take a long time and many hours of reading to be able to address the many ways that intelligence assets are acquired and utilized. In the case of human resources, many are actively engaged without ever being on salary. A low level and innately disposable military figure such as Oswald may have no idea about the “Big Picture.” But there are other kinds of assets who live their careers as part of the fabric of the national Security State. It’s not impossible that we’re confronted with something such as that regarding the “handling” of LHO.

    There is an indisputable fact about which knowledgeable researchers may no longer disagree: Executives at the highest level of CIA were involved with Oswald prior to the assassination. The extent to which he understood that fact is subject to debate. My personal opinion is that he did not.
    Robert K. Tanenbaum was chosen by Richard Sprague to be the House Select Committee’s first Deputy Counsel in charge of the congressional investigation of President Kennedy’s murder. After the failure of that body to aggressively pursue any conclusion beyond the easily palatable “mafia did it,” Mr. Tanenbaum wrote a national bestselling novel called “Corruption of Blood.”
    http://www.amazon.com/Corruption-Blood-Robert-K-Tanenbaum/dp/0451181964/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1338401763&sr=1-1
    Using the mask of a fictional construct Mr. Tanenbaum wrote the following: “…every intelligence agency is plagued by volunteers–individuals who wish to become spies. Virtually all of them are useless for real intelligence work, unstable, maniacal, lazy, or criminal types for the most part, but some of them can be used as pigeons, that is, as false members of a spy network who can distract the attention of counterintelligence operatives, and can be betrayed to them with misleading or damaging information in their heads. Lists are kept of such potential pigeons at foreign CIA stations… a marine spouting Marxist propaganda at a top-secret radar base could not have escaped those who keep them.”
    Whatever Oswald was — an Agent Provocateur, a dangle, an informant, a pigeon — we must always consider the possibility that he was used in these ways without fully understanding who he was serving, which agency, or anything beyond the narrow focus of his frequently uninspiring assignment. It seems plausible to me that he was marked for special training in intelligence work early on during Marine training, and then recognized as being temperamentally unsuited for the kind of glamorous assignments to which he may have aspired.
    Not to suggest that someone couldn’t find some way of using a low-level, innately disposable asset. I believe someone did.

    • leslie sharp says:

      AD: This is the most succinct assessment I have read in a long while. Knowing first hand – in my simple small world – that what you have laid out is true, I hope that others will read and reread your statement.

      I would add the term “sleeper” to your list, unless that condition falls within one of your categories.

      I think that Oswald was a sleeper who had been given a number of tasks over the years without any specific purpose other than stir things, but groomed nonetheless. I believe that he was activated, possibly once the Sons of San Jacinto extended the formal invitation to Kennedy for his visit to Texas, or possibly earlier as he began to leave the trail of the rifle and as other Oswalds began to appear in the area. (This highlights the importance of the date of inception of the conspiracy.)

      The organizers down the chain of command checked their roledex, recognized the perfect candidate as you have outlined, and put him in play. He had no idea of his purpose, he simply responded to a number of influences not the least of which were the Magnolia Oil related White Russians in Dallas and the Paines, and he ended up at the depository.

      If we are to believe Richard Case Nagle’s version of the story, Nagle falls precisely in line with your explanation of how these people are treated. From what I could read into his story, he was never entirely sure to whom he was reporting. My working theory is that he was being run by The Pond or holdover elements of that secret semi-private (with emphasis here on semi-private) spy organization. And here is why: anyone who has read Russell’s book knows the small paragraph dedicated to American Express; at Nagle’s trial, testimony pertaining to the company was suppressed for some reason, but Nagle insisted that his payments were most often received via AE Traveler’s Checks.

      American Express was one of several international companies that engaged with Frenchy Grombach and allowed him the cover of their branches. The current storyline about The Pond was that it was shut down for the precise reason that you, Allen have described: “Virtually all of them are useless for real intelligence work, unstable, maniacal, lazy, or criminal types for the most part,”

      However, as the pressure to close the operation mounted, officials at the highest level of the State Department intervened and monies were found elsewhere, until finally in 1954 after having been bounced from one funding source to another, The Pond is alleged to have ceased to exist. A quick search at NARA reveals that Grombach was creating some kind of files as late as 1964. (Resources are not yet available to me to begin that search.)

      I fully appreciate your post Allen, and I hope you will give the aforementioned some thought.

      An afterthought: James McCargar, an original agent of The Pond, lobbied his superiors at the CIA for a medal of recognition for his clandestine efforts. The problem was, his career record had huge gaps in it, times when it appeared that he had accomplished nothing and skirted on dismissal based on laziness. When he challenged them, they referred to his empty file and said something to the effect “that is the nature of your game in clandestine operations – there ARE no records.” Food for thought when we go looking for evidence.

  8. Photon says:

    As I understand it they did a roster employee check immediately after the shooting. The only one missing was Oswald. It is kind of hard to dismiss that. Even at that time , while people knew there was a shooting nobody in the building knew if anybody was hit. So why assume they would close? It seems so simple-no grand need for multiple shooters, no conflicting autopsy findings, no Zapruder interpretations. How do you explain that someone who was supposedly in the lunchroom would know that the President of the US had been seriously wounded or even assassinated when nobody else in the building had any idea what was going on?
    Vince,get back on this site and help me out!

    • Eric Hollingsworth says:

      As far as I understand, you are incorrect. There were a number of employees who left after the assassination, although I don’t have the appropriate references under my fingertips.

      You seem to be reading the minds of the people in the Book Depository. I think that might not be a good strategy.

      Exactly when did Oswald express any notion that the president had been assassinated before he was arrested and interrogated? That’s a new one to me.

    • leslie sharp says:

      But Roy Truly and a Dallas police officer encountered Oswald in person immediately; then Truly (I assume?) held the roll call, and identified that Oswald was not present.

      Why was it critical for Oswald to be at roll call when they had just seen him?

      Why wouldn’t Truly have said something to the effect, “oh, we just saw him, it’s okay, he’s probably out on the street watching the commotion” or something to that effect?

      Unless Truly made an announcement “Do Not Leave The Building” in which case he had reason to believe that Oswald had deliberately ignored the call, raising Truly’s suspicion.

      OR Roy Truly knew to suspect Oswald from the outset … begging the question why did he move on quickly after he and the policeman encountered Oswald?

      OR Roy Truly knew to identify Oswald as having escaped the scene of the crime, setting in motion the search for Oswald.

  9. LMB says:

    What’s the story on LHO and that supposedly “Raleigh call “made by him after his arrest? It’s alluded that he was reaching out to signal someone in the IT community.

    • Eric Hollingsworth says:

      I’m not sure what you mean by the IT community. If you mean the Information Technology community, it was actually pretty small in 1963. Also, a lot of IT community members believed in a conspiracy.

      • LMB says:

        Real funny, stay on the question and answer with intelligence. Tks.

        • Eric Hollingsworth says:

          Well, I guess you are referring to Grover Proctor’s article. Other than that, I’m confused.

          • LMB says:

            Well yes. ” Dr. Grover B. Proctor, Jr. is a historian and former university Dean who is widely acknowledged as an expert on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He has published numerous articles, lectured extensively, and has frequently been consulted by print and broadcast media.
            While most of his work comprises analysis and interpretation of the assassination research phenomenon, he broke new ground in the investigation in the early 1980′s with his work on Lee Harvey Oswald’s alleged telephone call from the Dallas jail to a former military counterintelligence agent in Raleigh, N.C.”

      • JSA says:

        Grover Proctor’s website is quite interesting.
        http://www.groverproctor.us/jfk/

  10. Photon says:

    Actually 2 roll calls were made at the TSBD in the first minutes after the shooting . Only Oswald and one other employee were missing initially; the other employee turned up shortly later and had never left the building.
    Oswald was the only employee who physically left the building and actually left the area and took a cab to his room. Oswald is on record telling the Dallas PD that he left the building because he thought that they were going to close down for the rest of the day. Well,why would he think that ? What would be the reason to close down when nobody in the building was aware of any reason to do so, ie nobody in the building at the time he took off was aware that anybody had been injured. This is a major problem with any theory that doesn’t have Oswald observing the President with enough resolution to see that he had been wounded seriously enough to disrupt normal working hours.

    • Eric Hollingsworth says:

      Ostensibly, Oswald took a cab until traffic was so bad that he left the cab to take a bus. From which we might conclude that Oswald wasn’t very bright.

      Might I ask you to quote sources that Oswald was the only person to have physically left the building? Not that I don’t believe you, it’s just that I seem to remember differently.

      As I said, our knowledge of Oswald’s assertions to the various investigatory bodies is very sketchy indeed.

      In the realm of verifiable fact, Oswald denied any knowledge of being accused of the assassination. So your assertions do not convince me of Oswald’s guilt.

    • Jonathan says:

      Photon, apologies for the turgid comment.

      To your comment: My take, FWIW, has always been that Oswald had a definite plan in mind when he left the TSBD. Maybe the plan simply was to return home and change his pants for some reason. His behavior inside the Texas Theater — sitting next to so many of the patrons — makes me beieve he had a plan to get to the Texas Theater in order to meet someone he didn’t know (a messenger, perhaps).

      His behavior, what we know of it, post-assassination is odd but does not strike me as serendipitous.

  11. Photon says:

    Actually Oswald first took a bus,not a cab-and the timed receipt was with him at the time of arrest enabling the PD to accurately time his exit from the TSBD. The bus actually drove back toward the Depository in the middle of the commotion. Warren Commission 1119A clearly shows Oswald’s movements from 12:33PM on. To escape the area he took a cab after jumping off of the bus. That cab took him 2 blocks beyond his room in a rather transparent attempt to hide his destination

  12. leslie sharp says:

    Photon: would a bus be your first choice of a get-away vehicle if you had just shot the president?

  13. Photon says:

    Since Lee had left almost every dime he had on Marina’s dresser that AM what other option did he have?
    After an entire lifetime of failure I think that Lee deep down never thought he was going to pull it off-particularly after the fiasco of the Walker attempt. He may have thought that he never would have survived after the attempt and assumed that the SS would get him like they got the PR Nationalists who went after Truman.
    Once he got away with it he seems to have been unprepared for act II. He wasn’t alone. I remember at the time the major emotional sensation wasn’t grief, it wasn’t sadness, it wasn’t rage-it was disbelief. Coming home after school to see the coffin unloaded at Andrews seemed absolutely unreal. Obviously JFK couldn’t be in that box, despite what the grown ups were saying. The other possibility is that after breaking up with Marina the previous evening he just didn’t give a damn what happened and was acting out a long suicide by cop- which in ordinary circumstances would have been inevitable after Tippit. Didn’t he say “poor dumb cop” after he gave him the coupe de grace to the head?

    • Jonathan says:

      Marina does not say she and Oswald “broke up” on the night of November 21 in her Warren Commission testimony. She says Oswald comes over, asks her to move back in with him, and she refuses — at least until after the holidays — on the grounds that living with Ruth Paine saves money. Oswald attends to the children, watches TV, and then goes to bed. In the morning, he leaves and says goodbye without seeing her and tells her not to bother getting up.

    • leslie sharp says:

      Why was he so anxious to get to the boarding house? Why didn’t he just disappear north of the building which I think was a warehouse/vacant area at the time, hide out for a few hours, take stock, or even jump on a freight train. What was his rush to get back to his room?

      His “entire life” consisted of 6 years as a legal adult.

  14. Avinash says:

    Was Roy Truly involved in the conspiracy too?

  15. Trelaine says:

    Absolutely. After getting Oswald a job for the perfect frame he covered for him to allow Lee to get out of the building. Almost certainly he was the one who told Lee to forget about coming back because he was going to shut it down. He then was able to plant the rifle and bullets-he was the only one who could go everywhere in the building without questions.Truly had CIA connections going back for years with a cousin who was an aide to Wild Bill Donovan, the first CIA director. He was also a frequent visitor to the Carosel Club-at least one dancer recognized him talking to Ruby in a corner the week before the assassination. Former CIA agent Phillip Agee released this information years before the CIA got to him in Havana.

    • leslie sharp says:

      That is very interesting information if it is grounded in fact. I had not read that Agee addressed this. Can you provide the specific source?

      I had other reasons to think that Truly might not have been as he appears. But I disagree that he was allowing Oswald a safe exit. I think that he might have been positioned to send the police after him.

      • Avinash says:

        Perhaps he helped frame the patsy.Also Ruth Paine might have had something to do with that as well.

        • zebulon says:

          Jim DiEugenio was sure that she did. As the foremost assassination investigator I trust his judgement, as you and all seekers of the truth should.

          • zebulon says:

            Truly’s family was from Johnson County, home of the main benefactor of the President’s murder. Coincidence? Hardly.

  16. Curt says:

    Anthony Summers in his JFK book, “Not in Your Lifetime,” has about the best analysis I’ve read among the many JFK books of Oswald in TSBD around time of the shooting-highly recommended reading. He draws a middle ground-Oswald was not totally innocent nor did he kill JFK. From my view, a total set up would require the plotters to know where Oswald was at a given time–if he had gone out to eat his lunch on a bench with fellow workers, the set up wouldn’t have worked. It also raises the question of why he wasn’t out watching the parade as Marina said he admired JFK. At the same time, I think the evidence is fairly strong he was in the lunchroom at the time of the shooting, having correctly identified Junior Jarmen as being there. Also, Carolyn Arnold saw Oswald at 12:15 pm on the first or second floor, at same time witness Arnold Rowland saw two people in the TSBD 6th floor window. As part of the plot, I think Oswald was in the lunchroom because it would reduce his risk of getting caught, an easier getaway than coming down from the 6th floor, which means there was someone else was shooting from the TSBD. Rooftop witness James Worrell saw a man running out the back door of the TSBD after the shooting. Assuming there were professional multiple shooters, what’s the value of Oswald actually firing a rifle? None, He was a marginal shooter, but the fact he worked in the TSBD and mail ordered the gun is enough to take the rap. Better to have him stay almost out of sight, and make an easier getaway. You might remember John Martino mentioning to Fred Classen (who told the HSCA) that Oswald was to meet his contact at the Texas Theatre, then they would take him out of the country and eliminate him.

  17. Photon says:

    So Godfrey McHugh was in on it,too?
    Mad because JFK stole Jackie?
    Even if they put Vaughn Meader in the coffin it still wouldn’t explain why Oswald left thr TSBD before anybody in the building knew JFK was wounded.

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