Fabian Escalante’s new JFK documentary

Former Cuban counterintelligence officer Fabian Escalante continues his investigation into the JFK’s assassination (h/t Arnaldo)

In previous books and interviews, Escalante has laid out his unofficial findings of the Cuban intelligence service about the causes of November 22, 1963, blaming the assassination on JFK’s enemies among Cuban exiles, organized crime and the CIA.

Does he present any new information here?

40 thoughts on “Fabian Escalante’s new JFK documentary”

  1. For what its worth. I’ve spent many, many years trawling through the documents without any preconceived ideas or bias and I always come back to Santo Trafficante and Tony Varona of the CRC. I believe there is an intelligence connection in there as well if only because of elements of Oswald’s behaviour from September 63 until the assassination. Bill Harvey would be a logical choice if for nothing more than his association with these groups and his animosity toward Bobby Kennedy after his treatment relating to the Cuban missile crisis.
    I think there are links from these guys that run right through to New Orleans in the summer of 1963 and to Oswald. I don’t limit it to this group but I think they are as good a place to start as any. If there was a conspiracy as I believe there was, these people certainly had the motive and the capability.

    1. Peter,

      What are the elements of Oswald’s behavior from Sept 1963
      and onward that lead you to believe that Varona and Trafficante were involved?

      1. Bill,

        My comments about Oswald’s behaviour post September 1963 were in relation to the intelligence aspect. Visiting the Cuban and Soviet embassies in Mexico City, a failed attempt to enter Cuba, staying at a hotel that was a headquarters for pro Castro activities (apparently only known in intelligence circles)and the conspiratorial nature of his Nov 9 letter to the Soviet embassy in Washington. If Oswald was being manipulated, Bill Harvey could have helped plan, provide advice and even found someone to do the manipulating.

        The Trafficante-Varona link to Oswald began earlier than September through Carlos Bringuier (although a DRE delegate at the time, he was originally with the CRC). A few other members of the CRC who reportedly came into contact with Oswald in New Orleans were Arnesto Rodriguez Jr, Orest Pena, Carlos Quiroga and Francisco Bartes.

        Also you have the Loran Hall-Sylvia Odio incident. Hall had apparently shared a cell with Trafficante in Cuba in 1959 and when he was arrested in Dallas in mid October 63, gave Tony Varona as a contact. Varona stayed with a relative of Odio a few weeks before the assassination.

        I just believe that the links between Trafficante, Varona and Harvey and there shared animosity toward the Kennedys make them worthy suspects. I could go into more detail but I am just trying to summarise my views here.

  2. Arnaldo M. Fernandez

    In summary, Kennedy was trying to get in peace with Fidel Castro and
    Raul Castro told East Europe´s ambassadors in Havana on May 1963 that Kennedy was the best option for Cuba in the 1964 elections, but some Photon argues that JFK death was the cause of Castro survival, instead of plain fact that Castro penetrated the CIA and the Cuban exile until the bone and managed to destroy Operation Mongoose.
    Just read The Castro Obsession, by Don Bohning, to learn why Castro defeated the CIA in the dirty war.

  3. The comments above are quite remarkable for their confirmation of my belief that political orientation rather than physical evidence is behind many conspiracy viewpoints. I threw out a possible conspiracy based on who benefitted from the assassination-not a conspiracy that I support, but one that anybody considering a conspiracy should look at. It tended to be rejected out of hand, despite the fact that it has just as much to support it as any number of other conspiracies implicating Cuban exiles, LBJ, the Mafia, the Secret Service, the CIA, etc.-which is nothing specific.
    Could Oswald have been influenced by Cuban statements in Mexico City? I have no evidence for that, but the near frantic attempts by some conspiracy theorists trying to prove that Oswald never went to Mexico City or that he was impersonated by a double suggest to me that others have considered it a real possibility. Certainly LBJ did, and it would appear that at least initially RFK may have felt the same way. It is interesting that the lone nut Marxist Oswald gives everybody plausible denial -in my opinion because nobody else was involved or prompted his actions, but Fidel sure got lucky after JFK was removed from the scene.

    1. Arnaldo M. Fernandez

      Operation Mongoose and the following attempts to remove Castro had failed so miserably, that Johnson simply dismissed the Cuban problem to pay attention to more important issues, like Vietnam. His only concern was to prevent that Castroism spreads, and that´s why he ordered the intervention in the Dominican Republic. for instance. Read The Castro Obsession, by Don Bohning, to learn the facts.

    2. “Fidel sure got lucky after JFK was removed from the scene.”~Photon

      But it wasn’t luck that got the Military Industrial Complex what they wanted. They were proactive and perpetrated the removal of JFK from the scene.

      THAT is what Cui Bono has to do with the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

    3. The reason that your theory was rejected is that there is really no evidence to support it, and on top of that it makes little sense. JFK pledged to not invade Cuba as part of the missile crisis settlement, so it wouldn’t have been rational on the part of Castro (or the Soviets) to do it.

    4. “for many of them the Conspiracy viewpoint is ideologically driven,”~Photon

      Isn’t the ‘Castro did it’ viewpoint also ideologically driven?

      And how was Castro to know that LBJ would lighten up on attempts to oust him?

  4. Escalante investigating the assassination of JFK is like Al Capone investigating the St. Valentine Day’s massacre.

  5. “The most vocal CT supporters can never accept that fact, which leads me to conclude that for many of them the Conspiracy viewpoint is ideologically driven, not based on the actual physical evidence.”~Photon

    Cui Bono is not “physical evidence” Photon, You are confusing the concepts of the “Philosophy of Crime Solving”, with the nature of that which is “Evidence”.
    Thus I find your entire comment an exercise in biased hyperbole.

    1. Paul,
      Comments including less than five words and comments with undescribed links don’t appear, but the
      first one prompts this guidance….

    2. In the July 12, 2010 Reuters article Escalante claimed that he used a CIA forgery as a Drivers License.
      If he had been found in the possession of a CIA forgery ( which would have been considered top secret evidence never to have left official custody) as a security agent he would have been shot. After all, the “War Against the Bandits” was still ongoing at least a year after the Kennedy assassination.
      The Cuban intelligence service was essentially an arm of the KGB-its head was not selected in Havana, but in Moscow. There is no chance that the KGB would not be party to anything that the Cuban intellegence service picked up. Nor is there any chance that the Cuban intellegence service would not be a willing participant in the KGB disinformation campaign regarding the JFK assassination that we know began shortly after the assassination.
      If you want to believe in conspiracies you should start to look at who benefited the most from the death of JFK.The only firm,undeniable political consequence of the JFK assassination was the survival of the Cuban Revolution, as LBJ terminated efforts to kill Castro. The most vocal CT supporters can never accept that fact, which leads me to conclude that for many of them the Conspiracy viewpoint is ideologically driven, not based on the actual physical evidence.

      1. Photon, The word “fact” does not mean what you think it means.

        You seem to be arguing that Castro benefited the most from JFk’s death, therefore he must have been behind it. Not only is that contrary to any single piece of evidence, it is quite literally bat—- crazy.

        But since you want to establish that motive is important, whatever happened to the motive that Oswald was a disaffected loner? What’s more, the anti-Castro Cubans had a lot more motive than Oswald because they were angry at what they thought was JFK’s betrayal and maybe the next president would support their efforts to overthrow Castro. The leaders of the intelligence community whom JFK ignored and fired also had motives, so did mafia chief Marcello who was deported by RFK. There are literally dozens of actors with far better and more logical motives than Castro, which doesn’t mean they were part of the execution, but it does make your assertion totally ridiculous.

        But of course you already know that and I doubt you actually believe anything you post.

      2. Ridiculous. JFK promised not to invade Cuba as part of the Missile Crisis settlement, a fact that was well known to Castro. Killing JFK could have been self-defeating in that regard.

        The Cuban intelligence service was also not an arm of the KGB. The Soviets realized that the Cubans were dangerous lunatics during and after the missile crisis (i.e. if they had been in control of the nukes, they would have fired them). Relations were relatively more distant after the missile crisis ended for this reason.

        I’m open to the idea that it was a Cuban plot, though there is not much, if any, credible evidence supporting that thesis. And the idea that the Soviets would assassinate a US president during this time period is laughably preposterous.

      3. Well, Photon, that’s certainly turning “Cui Bono” on it’s head. The risk would not seem to justify the reward, though. Some evidence from you would be nice.

        It is also useful to speculate on a perpetrator by determining who benefited the least. This assumes a cover-up, and the absence of utility in direct punishment.

        Using this line of thinking, following the assassination, it is at least interesting that opponents of civil rights got their greatest nightmare forcibly shoved down their throats. Also noteworthy, as you have so helpfully pointed out, opponents of the Cuban Revolution got to sit in Florida and watch it on TV…for the next 50 years.

        Our sole disagreement, in this context at least, is that I believe the above examples fit your definition of “firm, undeniable political consequence(s).” [Parentheses mine.]

      4. “. . . as LBJ terminated efforts to kill Castro.” Photon’s comment is valid, imo. Not only did LBJ not pursue efforts to kill Castro, but I’ve yet to find any indication he did anything to advance/restore his cronies’ interests in Cuba. So how exactly did Johnson benefit from Kennedy’s death if Cuba was the motive for the assassination? Yes he became president, and he pursued the war in Vietnam; but that’s a far cry from the allegation that he managed disgruntled and fanatic Cuban exiles to murder his boss – unless and until Cuba and Vietnam are linked directly – enter the communist menace and with that the possibility the Cubans were manipulated, but not by Lyndon Johnson.

        Lest it be forgotten, Johnson died a broken man personally and there is no evidence he left a “political dynasty” let alone a personal financial empire that fed from the trough of the assassination of John Kennedy. In fact looking to “cui bono”, Richard Nixon could be considered just as likely a suspect based on his own history of far deeper paranoia of communism than Lyndon Johnson.

        A cursory timeline of the US embargo against Cuba makes just one reference to Johnson’s role.

        1966: A law was passed by President Lyndon B. Johnson allowing Cuban asylum seekers arriving in the U.S. the opportunity to pursue citizenship.


        1. I agree with Photon and Leslie on this one. The JFK assassination was a miscalculation on this level (for those who were motivated to kill JFK to provoke an invasion of Cuba) – Americans didn’t want to go to war, they were too busy mourning.

          LBJ wanted nothing to do with Cuba. Take a look at the papers in 1964, Air Force 1 was bobbing and weaving in fear of being attacked by anti-Castro Cubans.

          William Atwood, Lisa Howard, and others tried to get LBJ to renew the peace talks with Cuba that JFK had begun. Nothing doing. He wanted no part of that either.

      5. PHOTON-The only firm,undeniable political consequence of the JFK assassination was the survival of the Cuban Revolution, as LBJ terminated efforts to kill Castro.
        RESPONSE: Hard to understand why a person who has amassed an impressive cache of Assassination Factiods, would offer something so absurd by implying that a viable conspiracy theory involves LHO sponsored by Castro because he knows this will cause LBJ to stand down towards Cuba afterwards? This is akin to Poison darts in Umbrellas and Kellerman as shooter ET AL- Pointless to outline the many levels on which this is insane, and ultimately insulting to the folks on this site who explore substantial, plausible scenarios for powerful enemies with cause and wherewithal to murder a US President- A new low for a very distasteful cyber being-

      6. You wrote:

        If you want to believe in conspiracies you should start to look at who benefited the most from the death of JFK.The only firm,undeniable political consequence of the JFK assassination was the survival of the Cuban Revolution, as LBJ terminated efforts to kill Castro. The most vocal CT supporters can never accept that fact, which leads me to conclude that for many of them the Conspiracy viewpoint is ideologically driven, not based on the actual physical evidence.

        So is it your suggestion then that Castro was involved in the assassination since he and his revolution, according to you, survived and such survival was the only “political consequence” of the assassination…?

        Is that really your point of view..?

      7. Right on Photon. I would clarify though that the Cuban intelligence services were actually, mostly trained by the East German Stasi, and that the heads of the Cuban intelligence services were always hand-picked by Fidel. Could the USSR have had influence, yes, but never to that extent as to impose over Fidel.

      8. That is a very plausible argument Photon. Please go on to explain how the Cuban Revolution covered up the assassination for the following 50+ years.

        1. David, from your same source:
          “According to the minutes of the Special Group meeting on April 7, 1964 President Johnson decide to discontinue the use of CIA-controlled sabotage raids against Cuba. A McCone memorandum indicated that in reaching that decision President Johnson had abandoned the objective of Castro’s overthrow .”
          Within 6 months of JFK’s assassination the covert war of the U.S. against Fidel came to an end. Whatever may have happened after that was due to the actions of exile groups executing operations without the authorization of the United States government.Johnson had put an end to the “Murder Incorporated in the Caribbean” run by his predecessor and his brother.

          1. In my opinion, Photon is generally correct on the “cui bono” issue. The two people who most directly benefitted from the muder of JFK were: (1) LBJ (for obvious reasons) and Fidel Castro (Operation Mongoose terminated, CIA-Mafia Casro assassination attempts greatly reduced).

            I would stop here and no go into conspiracy theories or critiques of conspiracy theories. This is where people get lost and allow their political viewpoints to skew things.

            Their are two forks in this road: (1) Either Oswald acted alone or there was a conspiracy and (2) if there was a conspiracy, it either was engineered by Pro-Castro elements (like Fabian Escalante) or Anti-Castro elements (like Cuban exiles like Manuel Artime). This is basic, but gets lost in the shuffle and competing passions. That Oswald consorted with both leftist elements (Fair Play for Cuba) and right-wing elements (Ferrie, Carlos Bringuer) makes the intrigue even more dynamic.

          2. Right, except that the Kennedys had already put the clamps down on unauthorized Cuban raids (Harvey et al) and were putting out peace feelers to Castro as well as Khrushchev.

            Allen Dulles personally approved Castro assassination plots in 1960 http://www.nbcnews.com/id/19444072/ns/politics/t/cia-acknowledges-castro-plot-went-top/#.VwCHPPkrLIU

            CIA’s 1967 inspector general’s “Report on Plots to Assassinate Fidel Castro.” (see page 143 how the Agency answers it’s own question “Can CIA state or imply it was merely an instrument of policy?” http://www.history-matters.com/archive/jfk/cia/80T01357A/104-10213-10101/html/104-10213-10101_0001a.htm

            CIA Report on Castro Plots – latimes http://articles.latimes.com/1997/nov/18/local/me-54914

            No matter how badly the Agency wanted, they could not pin any blame on the Kennedys for attempts on Castro’s life.

      9. Lawrence Schnapf

        Since we’re dealing with supposition, perhaps the reason that LBJ ceased efforts to assassinate Castro is that to continue that effort would have been to reward those who killed JFK who had begun exploring some sort of normalization with Castro. LBJ could not publicly acknowledge that JFK was killed by a conspiracy because of political consequences with our allies at the height of the Cold War but he made sure support for the exiles was cut off. They didnt get want they wanted from the assassination-except for murder of the man they hated.

    1. Arnaldo M. Fernandez

      That´s totally inaccurate. Neither a declassified KGB nor a single note from the Mitrokhin Archives nor an eye witness provides a minimal quantum of proof about such a meeting.

      1. Ramon F Herrera

        I fully agree with Arnaldo, Stephen. It is not terribly hard to tell (issue an educated guess) who was in the conspiracy and who wasn’t, based on video interviews.

        Some are clueless and/or talk a lot: doctor Carlos Bringuier and Fabian Escalante. James Files.

        The ones you can bet the farm on being guilty are the ones that try to point you in another direction.

        Jim Angleton, Frank Sturgis, Johnny Roselli, George Joannides.

        See in this location (in the folder “Full Video”), the videoclip “Frank Sturgis”.


        (ignore the UFO crap in the first 2 minutes)

        Pay close attention at the behavior and ridiculous versions of Angleton, Sturgis and Richard Helms. They are guilty as hell.

  6. “In previous books and interviews, Escalante has laid out his unofficial findings of the Cuban intelligence service about the causes of November 22, 1963, blaming the assassination on JFK’s enemies among Cuban exiles, organized crime and the CIA.”

    Isn’t that interesting, that is the conclusion most independent investigators have come to.

    1. Realistically Willy I think a nexus of Cuban exiles, some members of organised crime, and CIA/other MIC associated individuals, is the only really viable option in terms of a conspiracy/plot against JFK, both before and on November 22, 1963.

    2. And yet, going by declassified documents from the CIA, FBI and State, the name which appears is Jean Souetre, French army officer deserter and member of the OAS.

      Nothing verifiable about Cubans, or Mafia, etc., other than the involvement of Jack Ruby from the Chicago mob in Dallas.

      Yet everyone keeps repeating Cubans, or Mafia, etc.

      And the photos which were taken that day show Gen. Lansdale, formerly of the CIA in Dallas, Lucien Conein, presently then with the CIA, but stationed in Vietnam.

  7. Gaeton’s story, following his 1995 visit to Cuba to interview
    Escalante, will be available on the MFF Website.

    1. Nice to see you posting Marie! Do you know when it will be available at MMF? My granddaughter Zoe says “Hi”. Take care.

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