Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Man on the Motorcycle in Mexico City

The Man on the Motorcycle in Mexico City

George Michael Evica in his A Certain Arrogance (p. 247 in Xlibris; p. 300 in Trineday, 2006) chapter eight episode The “Oswald” in Mexico Quaker Connection writes:

Though it was highly unlikely Lee Harvey Oswald actually visited Mexico City and the Soviet and Cuban embassies there prior to the assassination, someone certainly did show up in Mexico who represented himself as Oswald and who displayed convincing identity documents For the FBI and CIA, this series of events conjured up unpleasant possibilities of a Soviet KGB or communist Cuban involvement with Oswald. Real or fake, an Oswald in Mexico City who had contacted Soviet or Cuban intelligence was ominous.

For the FBI, a Quaker/intelligence connection to Oswald with a Mexico City locale was one more unwanted complication, primarily because of Ruth Paine and her closeness to the Oswald family.

The locus of that Quaker complication was the Friends House, the Casa del Los Amigos, in Mexico City. In September, 1963, Homobono Amo Alcaraz, himself a Quaker, had reportedly met an “Oswald” in the company of several Quakers at Sanborn’s Restaurant located (according to researcher Mary Ferrell) next to the American Embassy in Mexico City. All of the Quakers were either staying at the cas del Los Amigos or were connected to it. Alcaraz asserted that “Oswald,” riding on the back of the motorbike of an unidentified U.S. citizen, had left the restaurant for a trip to the Cuban Embassy, ostensibly in an attempt to get “Oswald” (or both of them) a Cuban visa.

Interviewed by the FBI, Von Peacock, the Acting Director of the Quaker’s Cassa del Los Amigos, suggested the motor biking American could have been Robert Kaffke, a San Francisco Quaker who, along with fifty-seven other students, visited Cuba illegally in the summer of 1963; but the Kaffke story sounded too much like a botched attempt to implicate “Oswald” in a Cuban-sponsored murder of JFK.

This “Oswald” had left the Quaker House before Kaffke registered: Kaffke reported that Casa residents “were still talking about Oswald’s visit.” He also stated that “Oswald” was in possession of a sizeable amount of money and the Casa residents “were really scared when the name Oswald [was] mentioned”, the latter presumably after November 22, 1963.

Beyond the confused calendar, what made the Kaffke revelations suspicious was his intelligence link: he was an undercover informant for the FBI’s San Francisco office. Helpfully, the FBI reported it did not believe Kaffke was the motorbike companion of “Oswald.”

Ms. Barrie Milliman, a Berkeley undergraduate, visited Homobono Amo Alcaraz in Mexico City and heard about Oswald’s alleged Quaker connection there. Milliman then reportedly told another student, Judith Gordon, and on January 15, 1964, Gordon notified the FBI office in San Francisco: like Robert Kaffke of San Francisco, Gordon was also an undercover Bureau informant.

The Quaker Good Samaritan who wanted to go to Cuba with “Oswald” was later reportedly identified as Steve (or Larry) Kennan. Homobono Alcarz, interviewed in 1994 by researcher/writer Tony Summers, stated that the Quaker on a motorbike in Mexico City was from Philadelphia: he was indeed, Steve/Larry Kennan, and Kennan was most probably “LICOZY-3,” a double (if not triple) agent run by the CIA operating in Mexico City. Kennan was a Quaker from Philadelphia “recruited [earlier] by the Soviets while a student in Mexico City….[who then] reported [his] …recruitment [to the CIA] and [afterward] worked for the [Agency’s] Mexico City station.” And when he returned to the United States, double-agent Kennan became, of course, an undercover informant.

The Oswald-among-the-Quakers in Mexico City story was obviously rich with CIA/FBI ramifications, not the least of which was the Philadelphia/Quaker identity of the motor biking friend of “Oswald.”

Ruth Paine’s influential in-laws, Ruth Forbes Paine Young and Arthur Young, were powerful Quakers in the Philadelphia area. Philadelphia was the international center of the Quakers; the Americans Friends Service Committee (AFSC) was headquartered in Philadelphia and was responsible for that same Casa De Los Amigos, the Mexico City Friends’ hostel/camp for U.S. students. Like its Unitarian (USC) counterpart, the Quakers’ service operation had cooperated with U.S. intelligence through two wars and after.

Almost all of GME’s footnotes to this section refer to my article

The info on LICOZY-3 comes from Phil Agee.

First off, while he could be Agee’s LICOZY-3 – the double-agent was not recruited by Cubans in Mexico City, as GME says, but rather in New York City at the UN, and he came under FBI jurisdiction first, and then CIA when he went to Mexico City.

I think the late GME would agree with me if I had the opportunity to tell him what I know, but the research into this aspect of the assassination could be a case study in itself, especially how we came to find “Steve Kennan” - the “man on the motorcycle in Mexico City.”

Around the time Greg Parker started this thread – I had posted a challenge to other researchers that locating “Steve Kennan” – the man on the motorcycle, should have been easy for any researcher worth his salt, since we had so much information about him – he was from Philadelphia, he was a Quaker, he was a college student, his name was Steve Kennan and rode a motorcycle.

Greg Parker, Stu Wexler and Larry Hancock all participated in the hunt, and we together and separately scoured the Quaker organizations and colleges in Philadelphia searching for a Steve Kennan, to no avail.

Greg twice thought he came up with a likely suspect – Edward L. Kennan, a linguist who had studied at the University of Penn in Philadelphia, and had been in Mexico, but when I talked with him on the phone he denied being in Mexico City or ever “driving” a motorcycle. Then Greg came upon another Edward L. Kennan, this one who happened to know Oswald from being present in the embassy room where Oswald handed over his passport and announced his defection. Affiliated with Harvard, this ELK was the director of the Harvard Dumbartum Oaks research center in Washington.

Then we got a luckly break when the web master of the site that posted my article on the Quakers in Mexico City contacted me and said a women from Germany wanted to contact me about the man on the motorcycle in Mexico City.

Moni said she believed the man was her father but all she knew about him was what her mother told her – he was a college student from Philadelphia, they had met at the Casa De Amigos Quaker hostel and they went on a motorcycle trip to ancient ruins and celebrated a birthday together. Nine months later she was born, but she never knew her father and was searching for him. So our quest became hers and she provided us with the critical piece of information, the correct spelling of his name – I will refer to him as SK.

She also furnished us a photo that was taken of him and her mother at the Casa De Amigos. [ ]

Stu Wexler was the first to find him on line and sent off an email asking if he was the guy on the motorcycle in Mexico City, but he didn’t get a response.

With the correct spelling of his name we tried to put together some of his background, and at first thought that his father was a New York music union official, but before long we learned that he was a student at Temple University, but didn’t graduate, the reason we failed to find his name among the alumni.

I obtained newspaper clippings that mentioned him, he had started an early computer dating service and with his twin brother ran a music store and guitar workshop. He also wrote an article for Motorcycle Magazine on touring Mexico by motorbike.

When we realized that this was the guy we were looking for, Greg, Stu, Larry and myself agreed to allow Tony Summers first crack at interviewing him since he was the one who had been to Mexico City and interviewed Homobono Alcaraz in the first place. So I contacted Tony and he agreed, but before we contacted him he wanted to get more background on the guy.

Then Greg Parker discovered an obscure reference to him in the footnote of a book on Sixties radicals, which quoted from an article he had published in the Temple University student newspaper. I drove to North Philly and went to the Temple library where I reviewed the back issues of the student newspaper and found a series of three articles that he wrote detailing his trips to Cuba.

There was also an article about a Temple professor who moved to Havana and took up a teaching position at Havana University in order to study the Cuban revolution first hand.

Quite surprising, there was a photo of him – SK with Castro – arm in arm like bosom buddies.

The photo was quite fantastic because regardless of what was behind it, if Oswald – the accused assassin of the President – had received a ride to the Cuban embassy in Mexico City on the back of a motorcycle driven by Castro’s associate, it would certainly be used to implicate Castro in the assassination.

In consultation with Moni, we allowed her to “go first,” and contact SK because we felt that their personnel interaction took precedence over our curious questions so she wrote him a letter and he wrote back and before long she was on her way to USA to meet him and his family.

I met Moni at the Philadelphia airport and she stayed a few days in Somers Point, and I turned her on to a Philadelphia cheesesteak and gave her a box of local delicacies to give to SK as a gift from home.

SK still rides motorcycles and Moni gave me a photo of the two of them when they went for a ride. [ ]

Moni’s mother also gave us the name of an American women who worked at the American embassy in Mexico City at the time, who said that SK also gave her a ride to work on the back of his motorcycle.

When Moni told us that SK, like her, had a fascination with Marilyn Monroe, Tony sent him a copy of his bio of Monroe, and then called him on the phone and they had a long chat. While SK says he doesn’t remember giving Oswald a ride to the Cuban embassy, he also didn’t remember giving Moni’s friend a ride to the American embassy either.

SK believes he returned to the USA shortly after his article was published in Motorcycle Magazine, which was in August, 1963, a few weeks or a month before Oswald’s visit. But he didn’t say what became of his motorcycle, or whether his twin brother was there.

The photo of him with Castro was taken at an airport in Cuba when the two quite coincidently crossed paths.

SK was quite perplexed by the whole thing, was suspicious that he was being set up in some elaborate scheme. Nor did he acknowledge ever being recruited by the Cubans, though he did admit to being in New York at the UN when Castro visited when LICOZY-3 was reportedly recruited.

Tony Summers also managed to get a hold of Phil Agee in Cuba and talked with him a few months before he died. Agee said that he didn’t recall the real name of LICOZY-3 but personally went to Philadelphia in order to inform the double-agent that the CIA was discontinuing the operation.

There are many loose ends to this story, and many aspects of it that I have not mentioned, including the fact that SK has a twin brother, who lives in San Francisco, and may have been on the Quebec to Moscow Peace Walk that traveled through Minsk, and the Quebec to Guantamano Peace Walk that went through Montreal and Philadelphia, where “Oswald” sightings occurred.

Both twin brothers resemble Oswald in some ways, and they may have been mistaken for Oswald in Mexico City or the two sightings in Montreal and Philadelphia. Oswald was said to have been seen giving out FPCC leaflets at a demonstration where SK’s twin brother may have been, while Oswald was seen at a demonstration at Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia. SK and his twin brother ran a guitar workshop on Sansom Street, around the corner from Rittenhouse Square.

In any case, the Man on the Motorcycle in Mexico City – SK and his twin brother, and the secretary from the US Embassy and some of the participants of the Quebec to Moscow and Quebec to Guantamano Peace Walks are still living, and capable of being properly questioned by Congress or Grand Jury, but time is running out.

And they are only a few of the dozens of witnesses that should be questioned.


Linda Minor said...

Robert Lloyd Kaffke was born in 1927 to a German-born father and a Nicaraguan mother. He most likely grew up speaking both Spanish and German, then went into Army Air Force in 1945. Died in 1983 and buried at the Presidio cemetery.

William Kelly said...

Thank you Linda, its an honor to have you read, follow up and comment. Kaffke's son has/had a web site up dedicated to his dad. He was also with his dad at the Casa de Amigos, though only a kid.