The Second Plot – the Original Cover-Story
The most recent reports about Cuban involvement in the assassination, as all other reports of the same nature, stem directly from the CIA where the original cover story for the assassination was devised as part of the plot to kill the President.
As promoted by former CIA officer Brian Latell: “The Cuban intelligence service, under the leadership of Fidel Castro, connived in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, according to a new book by a retired CIA analyst. Coming from Brian Latell, the Agency’s former national intelligence officer for Latin America, the charge is both sensational and uncorroborated, yet still important.
Latell says flatly that Castro played a role in Kennedy’s murder in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.”
“Castro and a small number of Cuban intelligence officers were complicit in Kennedy’s death but... their involvement fell short of an organized assassination plot,” he writes in “Castro’s Secrets: The CIA and Cuba’s Intelligence Machine,” a well-footnoted polemic about Cuba’s General Directorate of Intelligence to be published next month. Latell says accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald told Cuban diplomats in Mexico City in September 1963 that he might kill JFK. Latell also speculates, without any direct evidence, that Oswald kept the Cubans apprised of his plans as he made his way to Dallas.
Except the secrets aren't Castro's and they aren't in Cuba, they are the CIA's secrets and they are in the CIA's operational files.
In JFK – The Second Plot, British author Matthew Smith explains that, “The first – main tier plot was at least simple in concept. A team of marksmen were to be assembled in various positions in the Dealey Plaza, and they were to ambush the President as his limousine made its way down Elm Street, catching him in a crossfire from which there would be no chance of survival. The second plot provided not only for the escape of the marksmen, but for the concealment of the identities of those who had sent them and for the laying of the blame at the door of Fidel Castro. It is when the detail of the second plot is understood that the framework of the entire conspiracy is exposed...”
“...So the two plots were meticulously put into operation. The team of marksmen were recruited and drilled. Weapons were prepared, heights and distances calculated in relation to motion; this was to be a once only event and it must succeed the first time. There must be no escape from it. But for all its precision and careful planning, the first plot by itself added up to a little more than a bunch of high-tech bandits laying in wait to spring an ambush on the President. All the real sophistication lay in planning and execution of the second plot. Without the second plot the shooters would have been picked up at once and those who had sent them would have been exposed. But then all was well with the second plot. It was as meticulously planned as the ambush. All the right ingredients were there and, like the first plot it was timed with great accuracy. As with the marksmen’s operation, there was no margin of error. It must dovetail with precision into the overall plan.” (JFK: The Second Plot, Mainstream Publishing, 1992, p. 265-268)
The second plot to blame the assassination of the President on Castro was devised and put into motion well before hand, as it was patterned after the Valkyrie plot that failed to kill Hitler, retooled and revised to kill Castro, and then turned on President Kennedy.
From his defection to the Soviet Union and return home with his Russian wife to his championing of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, arrest in New Orleans with the DRE Cubans, radio debate and attempt to get a visa to Cuba during his visits to the Cuban and Soviet embassies in Mexico City, this public Oswald was reinforced by intelligence contacts that emphasized his support for Castro, almost all of which can be traced back to CIA operatives and media assets.
As more and more information came out about Oswald, the accused assassin, whether he was a shooter or the patsy he claimed to be, the Cuban and Russian angles stood out clearly, but instead of using them to mount the invasion of Cuba that JFK had refused to do, LBJ, the new President used the second plot in order to convince Chief Justice Earl Warren and the Warren Commissioners of the necessity of discounting this plot, and official determine that the assassination was the work of a lone, demented nut-case. This is what happened even though it became known that Oswald was not a loner, nor a demented nut-case, but rather a well trained covert intelligence operative whose true allegiances were known only to those who framed him for the crime and were actually responsible for the murder of the president.
While the first plot necessitated getting both Oswald and the President to the Elm and Houston rendezvous point at the right time, the second plot also involved setting up Castro for the crime. The part of the second plot, an integral aspect of the Valkyrie plan, involved blackmailing Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy by getting him, and the President, to sign off and approve the plan – the covert plot that originally targeted Castro.
Most conspiracy theories point to the CIA-Mafia plots that involved Sam Giancana, John Rosselli and Santo Traficante, but they began during the Eisenhower administration, before JFK assumed office, and had been officially terminated by the time the post-Missile Crisis Mongoose operations were also cancelled.
On March 30, 1963 the State Department issued a statement declaring that the United States would not support any attacks against Cuba from U.S. shores and public efforts were made to stop this activity, although a small number of covert operations were approved, designed primarily to disrupt strategic economic activities. What’s significant is the Russians knew these operations were approved and they told President Kennedy they knew when he complained about attempts to spread the Cuban revolution to the rest of Latin America. The Russians knew that some of the raids were officially approved because of the Cuban double agents that had infiltrated the operations.
Among the “unofficial” anti-Castro Cuban commando training camps that the FBI closed down was the one on Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans, that Oswald tried to infiltrate, which had Mafia connections, and whose only participants were sent packing back to Florida on a bus. The “official” training facility in New Orleans was run by David Atlee Phillips and used buses with blacked out windows to take its students to a restricted US Navy air station.
In early 1963 US Army Ranger Bradley Ayres was assigned to the CIA to train the Cubans who were engaged in “approved” CIA covert operations run out of JM/WAVE. William Turner first identified Gordon Campbell as the CIA officer responsible for the JM/WAVE maritime operations, and Bradely Ayres recalls working closely with a man he knew as Gordon Campbell, although official and family records indicate Gordon Campbell died in September, 1962.
According to Ayres, Campbell’s “outside” man, or assistant who would handle operational details outside of the JM/WAVE base, bore a remarkable resemblance to accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. Ayres later realized that the operations he was associated with were somehow connected to what happened at Dealey Plaza, but he wasn’t sure exactly how.
After William Harvey and Ed Lansdale were no longer officially part of the CIA’s Cuban operations run out of the Florida JM/WAVE, Desmond Fitzgerald assumed responsibility for the conduct of the CIA’s covert Cuban operations.
Even after William Harvey, “America’s James Bond” was relieved of his JM/WAVE duties by RFK after continuing infiltration missions during the Cuban Missile Crisis in October, 1962, Harvey and his friend John Rosselli were seen by Bradley Ayres and others at the JM/WAVE base, where Rosselli was known as “Colonel Rosselli.”
Rosselli’s cooperation with the CIA in planning covert anti-Castro Cuban operations out of JM/WAVE would not only be used to blackmail the Justice Department from indicting him and other mobsters because of their organized crime activities, it appears Rosselli was also instrumental in the second plot – which set up Oswald and Castro as the fall guys and in effect blackmailed RFK from retaliating against those responsible for his brother’s murder.
Bradley Ayres, who once accompanied his commandos on an infiltration mission to Cuba aboard the CIA mother ship the Rex, was also taken to a remote rendezvous point in the Everglades swamp where his commando team members were personally introduced to Robert F. Kennedy, who shook their hands and offered encouragement on their mission.
Ayres was to train them for their mission which, according to “Gordon Campbell,” was to destroy an oil facility on the coast, a mission that was later scrapped after the failure of a number of other, similar missions, possibly because of double-agents within their ranks.
Fitzgerald, who took over the CIA Cuban operations, was a close personal friend of Robert Kennedy. Fitzgerald was also responsible for the AM/LASH plot, an aspect of Valkyrie that attempted to get Cuban military officers to kill Castro and stage a coup, though AM/LASH was also suspected of being a double-agent.
Fitzgerald personally briefed the Joint Chiefs of Staff at a September 25, 1963 meeting chaired by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Curtis LeMay, during which he mentions the use of the Valkyrie plan against Castro.
Fitzgerald also told LeMay and the military brass that their help might be needed if the CIA’s maritime raiders got into trouble while on a mission, especially protecting the mother ships that deposited and picked up teams of commandos who were being sent in to blow up approved industrial sites. But he noted that only five missions were planned for that fall, and if successful, all of the primary targets would have been exhausted, without mentioning the fact that the one, primary target was Castro himself, and that they were sending in teams of assassins with high powered rifles with scopes, ostensibly to be used for killing Cuban leaders.
According to the official, administrative records, the Special Group assigned to approve CIA covert operations, as well as the President and his brother the Attorney General, approved a number of anti-Castro Cuban CIA covert operations, including the infiltration of commandos to destroy select industrial targets and possibly try to kill Cuban leaders.
In their book The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence, John Marks and Victor Marcheetti wrote, “…the agency continued its relationship with its “penetrations” of Cuban exile groups – in a way reminiscent of its lingering ties with Eastern European émigré organizations from the early Cold War period. And the CIA kept many of the Bay of Pigs veterans under contract, paying them regular salaries for more than a decade afterward. [ 8 LINES ELEAATED ] Time after time, the Cuban government would parade CIA-sponsored rebels before television cameras to display them and their equipment to the Cuban public and the world. Often the captives made full confessions of the agencies role in their activities. Nevertheless, the CIA kept looking for new and better ways to attack the Castro government. UNDER CONTRACT TO THE AGENCY, THE ELECTRIC BOAT DIVISION OF GENERAL DYNAMICS AT GROTON, CONNECTICUT DEVELOPED A HIGHLY MANEUVERABLE HIGH-SPEED BOAT DESIGNED FOR USE BY GUERIAL RAIDERS. THE BOAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE FASTER THAN ANY SHIP IN THE CUBAN NAVY, AND THEREBY ABLE TO MOVE ARMS AND MEN INTO CUBA AT WILL…” (Emphasis once censored by CIA
PP. 135, 136, The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence,
V. Marchetti, John Marks, Dell, 1974)
Although the original cover-story of blaming the assassination on Castro was scrapped in favor of the equally implausible deranged lone-nut scenario, Rosselli later used it to get the Justice Department from prosecuting him for his other crimes, as this memorandum details.
March 22, 1967
To: Mr. DeLoach
From: A. Rosen
Subject: Assassination of President Kennedy
Interview w/ Edward P. Morgan (former Bureau Inspector)
“By way of background, during February, 1967, James J. Rowley, U.S. Secret Service, advised that Drew Pearson, contacted Chief Justice Earl Warren concerning information in possession of Edward P. Morgan. The Chief Justice refused to see Morgan, however, it was determined Morgan alleged that former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy organized a group to go to Cuba to kill Castro. All of this group were killed or imprisoned except one person who escaped, and subsequently, after Castro learning of the plot, decided to utilize the same procedure to kill President Kennedy and that he hired Oswald to do the job. This information allegedly came from a client of Morgan’s and the Secret Service made an appointment to talk to Morgan; however he never showed up. On 3/17/67, Mr. Watson at the White House advised that President Johnson desired the FBI to interview Morgan concerning any knowledge he might have concerning the assassination of President Kennedy…..”
It was later determined that Morgan’s client was John Rosselli, a personal friend of William Harvey – the former FBI agent and CIA officer who was dubbed “America’s James Bond” and ran the CIA’s covert Cuban operations out of the Miami JM/WAVE station until the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, when he was severely reprimanded by Attorney General Robert Kennedy for conducting infiltration operations during the crisis. While Harvey was reassigned to a government post in Europe, he continued his association with Rosselli and frequented the JM/WAVE station, where he was replaced at first by Ed Lansdale and at the time of the assassination by Desmond Fitzgerald. Bradley Ayers, the US Army Ranger who trained the Cubans, recalls seeing both “Colonel Rosselli” and Attorney General RFK mingling with the commandos and encouraging them on success of their officially approved mission – an aborted attempt to blow up a coastal oil refinery. Their real intent however, was the assassination of Castro, and if they failed, JFK would be the target, with the evidence indicating Castro was responsible for Kennedy’s murder.
David Kaiser, who speculates about the Mafia involvement in the assassination in The Road to Dallas (2008) writes:
...He (D. A. Phillips) rose eventually to be head of the Western Hemisphere branch of the CIA, and when he appeared before the Church Committee in 1975 he denied, falsely, that the CIA had anything to do with the overthrow of Salvador Allende in Chile two years earlier. In retirement, with several children to send through college, he launched a career as an author. His autobiography, The Night Watch (1977), was followed by a novel about intelligence, The Carlos Contract (1978), and The Great Texas Murder Trials (1979), a work of nonfiction.
At some point before his death from cancer in 1988, he wrote an outline for another novel, entitled The AMLASH Legacy, dealing specifically with the Kennedy assassination.
The outline carefully identified the characters with the real figures on which they were based: Mexico City station chief Winston Scott, HSCA investigator Gaeton Fonzi, Antonio Veciana, long-time assassination conspiracists Mark Lane and Bernard Fensterwald, and Phillips himself, who went by the name of Harold Harrison….one of two case officers who recruited Lee Harvey Oswald, helped establish his credentials as a Marxist, and then attempted to send him to Cuba through Mexico City in order to assassinate Fidel Castro, using a sniper rifle from an upper floor of a high-rise to shoot Castro in his jeep. Harrison does not know whether Oswald was a double agent, the letter continues, but this was the same plan Oswald used to kill Kennedy. Allen Dulles, the letter stated, provided Harrison and the other unidentified agent with $400,000 to set up Oswald after he succeeded in assassinating Fidel.
Yet his outline of this novel was the only document I know in existence before 1998 to suggest that Oswald might have been trying to go to Cuba to assassinate Castro. In that year, I wrote a short article to introduce the idea that - as "Leopoldo" suggested to Silvia Odio a few days before or a few days after Oswald's visit to Mexico City - Oswald's first assassination target may well have been the Cuban premier...but the plot of his novel, until the spectacular revelation at the end, tracks key events leading up to the Kennedy assassination almost perfectly.
In The Zenith Secret (VoxPop 2006, p. 86), Bradley E. Ayers wrote:
...Speeding westward along Tamiami Trail I thought about how unusual it was for Rudy to get excited about anything that was really important. As the acting chief of training, he should have gone to this meeting, buthe had deferred to me. It seemed odd, as did all the secrecy. When I asked the young driver where we were going, he replied that the trip would take slightly more than an hour; we were going to a meeting place in the Everglades. He didn’t elaborate.
We pulled into a truck stop at the junction of Tamiami Trail and Highway 27, and another man – a women who I’d never seen before – checked the license of the car and climbed in. No one spoke as we drove down the long, slightly traveled highway and eventually turned onto a dirt road bordered by a canal. After about a mile, the driver pulled over. An airboat was waiting in the canal, and in moments we were noisily skimmed across the saw grass as dusk settled over the glades. I wasn’t surprised since long ago I learned to expect the unexpected from the agency.
After nearly 30 minutes of travel across the open swampland and deep canals, we turned under some overhanging trees and pulled up to a small dock behind another airboat. A sign on one of the rotting timbers read: “Waloos Glades Hunting Camp – No Tresspassing.” It was nearly dark, but I could see two helicopters parked in the shadows. One was a military Bell H-13 with the identification numbers taped over. The other was a civilian chopper with the name of a West Palm Beach air service on the tail rotor boom.
We walked to the fire and a young man handed us cups of coffee. I had never seen any of the men before. Soon the door to one of the Quonsets swung open and four men emerged. As they moved into the circle of firelight I recognized Gordon Campbell. I had seen him only a few times since my brief meeting with him, but had been impressed with his polished, slightly flamboyant executive manner. I caught my breath at the appearance of the second man. It was the attorney general, Robert Kennedy.
The four men talked in low voices for a few minutes, and then the attorney general came over and shook hands with each of us, wishing us good luck and God’s speed on our mission.
Hell, I didn’t even know what my mission was. His white teeth flashed and sparkled, and I felt a strange sense of strength and resolve when he grasped my hand. Then he hand one of the Cubans went to the civilian helicopter, and in minutes it took off. Now I understand the need for extra secrecy. If the president felt strongly enough to send his brother, something very big was being planned.
When the helicopter was gone, the deputy chief of station came over…
As we walked to one of the Quonsets, he said, “The reason we’ve got you here and the reason for all this secrecy is that we just got the green light from upstairs to go ahead on some of the mission we’ve been planning for some time.”
We entered the Quonset. It was brightly illuminated by several Coleman lanterns, and there were charts, maps, and other papers on a table in the center of the room. Campbell closed the door behind us and turned to face me.
“We’re very pleased with the way you’ve handled the training setup for the station so far, and we’ve made that known to your people at the Pentagon. We know it hasn’t been easy for your and your family...You’ll be happy to know that the Special Group has finally given us permission to use two-man submarines to strike Castro’s ships in the harbors. Some of your UDT people will be involved in that. And next week Rip’s boys are going to Eglin for parachute training so an airborne commando raid may not be far off. But right now we’ve got a go-ahead to hit one of the major oil refineries from on the island. All we’ve got to do is get a commando force in shape to do the job.”
So, the Special Group had finally put his interest in big business second to national interest. The president and his brother were tough, smart politicians: the elections were getting closer.
“We want you to take a commando force of 12 men and give them six weeks of the toughest, most realistic training you can...”
He pointed to a spot on the marine chart in front of him: the southern tip of Elliot Key...the Elliot Key Safehouse...There were other more abstract questions that remained prominent in my thoughts. What about the anti-Kennedy atmosphere that prevailed, essentially in the Operations Branch under Dave Morales at JM/WAVE, and among some of the contract agents and Cuban exiles in Miami? What about Rosselli and his organized crime connections? I knew that the Kennedy Justice Department had declared war on the Mafia and that Bobby Kennedy was personally orchestrating the battle against mob kingpins. It seemed so odd to me this was going on at the same time that Rosselli had carte blanche access to JM/WAVE and enjoyed a close relationship with Morales and the station hierarchy...
In a review of Ayers book “The Zenith Secret,” one critic noted that Ayres had previously wrote a similar book, “The War That Never Was,” which was published by Bobs-Merrell.
Bobs-Merrell was a major book publisher that maintained offices at the Texas School Book Depository, where the fatal shots that killed President Kennedy were allegedly fired from. Among the items that Ayres wrote about that was inexplicitly edited out of the printed product was the part about Gordon Campbell.
The review continued, “...unfettered by the censorship, loyalties and pressures that existed within the military and clandestine services during the Cold War, Ayers has come forth to provide an insider's account of his experience with the CIA and JMWAVE in the secret war against Cuba. He offers his perceptions of the crucial 1963-1964 period when the secret war reached its peak, culminating with the death of President Kennedy, and the aftermath of the assassination at the Miami Station. Ayers book, The Zenith Secret, seeks to relate the dynamic events and personalities of that period to major developments at the national-social-political level, particularly as they reflect the influence of the CIA covert operations and former JMWAVE figures in the ensuing thirty years. Ayers' first attempt to make revelations concerning the Kennedy Administration-CIA-JMWAVE secret war against Cuba was his book titled The War That Never Was published in 1976. The book was drastically sterilized and revelations tempered by the publisher's managing editor who, on his deathbed in 1985, conceded that he had been on the CIA payroll as a literary damage control, "limited hangout" contract operative with the task of defusing books being written about the Agency. THE ZENITH SECRET, comes to the reader uncontaminated by such editings and manipulations. (Of even further relevance to the censorship and eventual distribution interference with The War That Never Was, Former CIA officer William Harvey (known widely for his involvement in early Agency plots to kill Castro as a pistol toting original Cold War "cowboy") became an editor at Bobbs-Merrill, Ayer's original publisher, following his retirement from the CIA. Ayer's was not aware of this when the publisher contacted him for this book.).”