Friday, April 27, 2012

JFK Coup - The Administrative Details

By William E. Kelly ( )

Rather than the act of a lone, deranged gunman, if the assassination of President John F. Kennedy was a conspiracy, it was more specifically defined as a covert intelligence operation, the purpose of which is to shield the actual perpetrators.

As a covert coup however, and not just a whispered conspiracy, there is documentation and records that reflect the policy, administration, payments, management, training, assignments and tasks necessary to successfully execute the Dealey Plaza operation.

This historical administrative record shows that the assassination was not the work of a lone-nut nor a renegade CIA-Mafia-Cuban intelligence network, but a well planned, coordinated, integrated and official program – an inside job – coup d’etat by a domestic, anti-Communist network active in the anti-Castro Cuban project.

It is possible to document and detail the official approval of the covert intelligence operations that led to the assassination because a direct relationship can be established between those at the top who requested, approved and directed three specific anti-Castro Cuban maritime operations – the Bayo-Pawley raid (June 8, 1963), the Rex mission (Oct. 26-30, 1963) and the activities of Clare Booth Luce’s “boys,” which included Julio Fernandez and others in the DRE network that operated in Florida and Louisiana in the summer and fall of 1963.

In records released in batches unrelated to the JFK Act, documents from the National Security Council, Special Operations Group and Cuban Coordinating Committee – Covert Operations in Cuba (CCC-COC) all establish an administrative and paper trail, set a time-line of related covert events, lists the names of those in the CCC-COC loop who attended the relevant meetings, and detail the types of operations planned and approved by the President and eventually utilized against him.

They also help us identify those who were responsible for carrying them out, and we can follow them from the marching orders approved at these meetings to what we know actually happened at both the sea level and in the streets of Dallas.

While many hundreds if not thousands of plots and plans were hatched against Castro and Cuba by the anti-Castro exiles, the CIA and the Mafia, these three naval operations can be directly connected the assassination. Not part of Mongoose, these were part of a specific and different covert action scheme devised and approved in the spring of 1963.

As White also points out, “…when JFK and his advisors did turn their attention to Castro, their attitude was strikingly and troublingly reminiscent of their pre-missile crisis outlook: they remained determined to use covert means to undermine Castro’s position. In June 1963 JFK gave the go-ahead for a CIA plan to carry out sabotage and other hostile action against Cuba. It was a sort of condensed version of Operation Mongoose.’

“Some of the documents…demonstrate that Russian officials soon learned of the resumption of covert U.S. pressure on Cuba, making this issue a bone of contention between the superpowers in the fall of 1963.”

After setting the covert sabotage actions into motion, these operations were supplemented by a second, ostensibly secret, back-channel diplomatic approach to détente with Cuba (via William Attwood at the UN). Just as the anti-Castro operations were penetrated by Cuban G2 double-agents, and made known to the Russian leaders, the secret back channel negotiations were made known to the covert saboteurs.

As for RFK, concludes White, “Robert Kennedy, such a conspicuous figure on the Cuban matters in 1961-62, was less prominent in 1963 in shaping administration policy towards Castro. But his role remained significant.”  Witness reports place RFK at JMWAVE when William Harvey was there, as Harvey instigated an incident when RFK tried to read a classified cable and Harvey snatched it out of his hands saying he wasn’t cleared to read it. Later, RFK ostensibly flew in to the Everglades to meet with some of the commandos assigned to certain covert raids approved by the Special Group and the President, which included five raids in the summer and fall of 1963, which were presented in April and approved in early June, 1963.

On April Fools Day, April 1, 1963, the Cuban Coordinating Committee – Covert Operations in Cuba (CCC-COC) met, the subject of an April 3 memo from Gordon Chase of the National Security Council to McGeorge Bundy, the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs. It included a still classified agenda and matters discussed by the Cottrell Committee, which White identifies as “An interdepartmental committee, chaired by Sterling J. Cottrell, in early 1963 to coordinate the administration’s covert and overt Cuban policies.”

Among those in the CCC-COC meeting were Secretary Vance, Joe Califano, Dick Helms, Dez FitzGerald and Bob Hurwitch, who discussed “Ballon Operations Over Havana, a plan that was “well under way,” given favorable winds, that would release balloons containing hundreds of thousands of leaflets designed by the CIA propaganda shop, which “attack Castro’s henchmen and contain cartoons illustrating sabotage techniques.” Another review is scheduled before this is put into operation.

Also on the agenda of this meeting was finding appropriate installations for the “Training of CIA-Sponsored Cuban Exiles on Military Reservations – CIA and the Army,” and “The Russian Language Programs – The Committee decided in favor of instituting three programs (Radio Liberty, Radio Caribe, and an intrusion program…”

In summary, Gordon Chase notes, “In approving the three programs for Special Group considerations, the committee recognized that they will probably be of marginal value only: however, they will cost us very little, financial or otherwise.”

Under agenda item number four, “Sabotage of Cuban Shipping – The Committee…will recommend to the Special Group the incendiaries which would be timed to go off in international waters and the abrasives in the machinery. While the propaganda boost might be nil, they are easier to effect than limpets and could really hurt Castro.”

Then Chase tells McBundy, “The Committee gave the CIA the option of using its own Cubans or of using DRE as a cut-out.”

The DRE are the anti-Castro Cuban Student Revolutionary Directorate, whose members interacted with Oswald before the assassination.

Then the meeting briefly discussed “The Redirection of Cuban Exile Group Operations,” asking them selves the question of “what is an acceptable target?”

In response, “Dick Helms pointed out that although these groups may start out to get a non-Soviet target, once you let them go, you can never really be sure what they will do.”

Bob Hurwitch, the memo mentions, “seemed to favor the approach that attacks and sabotage should appear to come from inside rather than outside Cuba.”

Rather incredulously, Chase concludes, “The Committee came to no decision on this one. More thinking is needed.”

On the same April 3rd day Gordon Chase wrote that memo to McBundy, RFK met with his Russian ambassador Dobrynin and reported to the President that, “We exchanged pleasantries. He told me that [World Federalists] Norman Cousins had asked to see Khrushchev and he had arranged it…Another point that was made was a sharp and bitter criticism about the raids that had taken place against Russian ships.”

It is noted that, “[3. On March 26, anti-Castro group L-66 sunk the Baku, a Russian vessel, at the Cuban harbor of Caibarien only a week after another Soviet ship had been attacked in a Cuban port.]”

“These were piratical acts and the United States must take responsibility for them. It isn’t possible,” RFK quoted Dobrynin, “to believe that if we really wanted to stop these raids that we could not do so. They were glad to hear of the steps that are being taken lately but in the last analysis the specific acts, namely, the arrests that we made would be the criteria by which they would judge our sincerity. The Soviet Union questions whether in fact we wish to end these attacks for our criticism of them has been not that they were wrong but they were ineffective. The clear implication was that if the raids had been effective they would have had our approval.”

About a week later, on April 9, 1963, Joseph A. Califano, Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Army wrote a memo to his boss, Cyrus R. Vance, which White describes as, “JFK decides which of the covert operations proposed him (See previous docs) would be carried out.”

Under the Subject, “President Action on Special Group Items Concerning Cuba,” Califano checks off the items, beginning with, “1. The President rejected the balloon item on the recommendations of Ed Morrow,” so the project that was “well underway,” was scuttled before it could get off the ground because JFK talked about it with Ed Morrow.

“The President approved the propaganda item (inciting Cubans to harass, attack and sabotage Soviet military personnel in Cuba) provided every precaution is taken to prevent attribution.”

“The President approved the sabotage of cargos on Cuban ships and the crippling of ships (through sand in the gears, etc.); With respect to Russian language broadcasts, the President (a) rejected such broadcasts by exile groups over Radio Caribe in the Domincian Republic, ( rejected black intrusion on the use of such broadcasts on Radio Liberty from North Carolina, pending consultation with Lleweellyn Thompson.”

“We have also agreed with CIA that we would spot about 20 inductees now in training at Fort Jackson whom we consider to have the necessary characteristics for CIA operations inside Cuba. These personnel, along with those given jump training under 5 above, would also be used in advance of the introduction of Special Forces, should there be a decision to invade Cuba.”

Sterling J. Cottrell, the Coordinator of Cuban Affairs to the Special Group, wrote a memo on April 18, 1963, which White says, “reviews current covert actions against Castro and poses the question whether these actions should be intensified.”

Under SUBJECT: “Proposed New Covert Policy and Program Toward Cuba,” Cottrell wrote, “A. The following guidelines are being used in our present covert policy towards Cuba: 1. Producing comprehensive intelligence related to our basic policy objectives….2. Intensifying covert collection of intelligence within Cuba, especially within the regime. 3. Supporting the efforts of certain Cuban exiles, who are associated with the original aims of the 26 of July Movement [1. A reference to the original effort to spark a revolution in Cuba when Castro and his cohorts tried to seize the Moncada military barracks in 1953.] and who believe that the Castro regime can be overthrown from within in order that they may: 1) cause a split in the leadership of the retime… create a political base of opposition…4) The use of a variety of propaganda media to stimulate passive resistance….5) The placing of incendiary devices and/or explosives with suitable time delay within the hull or cargo to disable or sink Cuban vessels and/or damage their cargos while on the high seas…6) Introduce abrasives and other damaging material….”

Cottrell then poses the questions, “1) Should the U.S. move beyond the above policy to a program of sabotage, harassment and resistance activities? 2) What kind of effective action can be taken? 3) What capabilities do we possess? 4) What repercussions can we expect?”

In this memo, Cottrell also says, “Surface attacks by maritime assets firing on Cuban ships in Cuban waters. When the maritime asset cannot reach the target, shore based attacks on shipping in port or passing the offshore keys will be undertaken …. Considerations: Attack craft from the sea would be manned by Cubans. Shore based attacks by paramilitary trained Cubans firing on ships with recoilless rifles, rocket launchers or 20mm cannon. First sea attack in May and once monthly thereafter. First shore based attack in June. These operations would disrupt coastal commerce. US would probably be blamed. Cuban reprisal measures possible. Soviets likely allege US culpability….Externally mounted hit and run attacks against land targets. Examples: molasses tanker, petroleum storage dumps, naval refueling base, refineries, power plants.”

Under “Considerations,” Cottrell notes, “Operations conducted by Cubans with paramilitary training. High possibilities of complex operations going awry. First attack in April, with one per month thereafter. Effects would be increased exile morale, some economic disruption. Repercussions would include charges of US sponsorship and increased Cuban security force activities…”

Cottrell includes an attachment on the subject of “A Covert Harassment/Sabotage Program against Cuba,” which states, “This paper presents a covert Harassment/Sabotage program targeted against Cuba: including are those sabotage plans which have previously been approved as well as new proposals…Loses in men and equipment with the attendant adverse publicity must be expected. Even without such loses, US attribution would be claimed. When policy and guidelines of the overall sabotage program are established, it will be possible progressively to develop up to a limit additional covert assets and support capabilities. However, materially to increase the pace of operations, a period of four to six months is required. Ultimate limiting factors are weather, length of ‘dark of the moon’ period each month and appropriate targets. A source of additional agent personnel is from Cuban personnel trained by the US Military Forces under the recent programs, but released to civilian status….”

That April 29th 1963, RFK and members of the Standing Group of the National Security Council met in Washington at 5pm, but the memo prepared by McGeorge Bundy has yet to be declassified and released, other than its title: “A Sketch of the Cuban Alternatives.”

In Washington, on June 8, 1963, an unidentified CIA officer wrote a paper for the Standing Group of the National Security Council on the Subject of “Proposed Covert Policy and Integrated Program of Action Towards Cuba.”

“Submitted herewith is a covert program for Cuba within the CIA’s capabilities. Some parts of the program have already been approved and are being implemented. Being closely inter-related, the total cumulative impact of the courses of action set forth in this program is dependent upon the simultaneous coordinated execution of the individual courses of action.”

“This program,” the officer notes, “is based on the assumption that current U.S. policy does not contemplate outright military intervention in Cuba or a provocation which can be used as a pretext for an invasion of Cuba by United States military forces. It is further assumed that U.S. policy calls for the exertion of maximum pressure by all means available to the U.S. government, short of military intervention…”

In the “Discussion of Components of an Integrated Program,” they mention the collection of covert intelligence, propaganda actions “to stimulate low-risk sabotage and other forms of passive resistance,” and the “exploitation and stimulation of disaffection in the Cuban military.”

As for General sabotage and harassment, “These operations will be conducted either by externally held assets [Note: Presumably a reference to Cuban émigrés] now available or existing external assets or those to be developed. Assets trained and controlled by the CIA will be used as well as selected autonomous exile groups. Initially, the emphasis will be on the use of externally held assets with a shift to internal assets as soon as operational feasible….”

Under “Support of autonomous anti-Castro Cuban groups to supplement and assist in the execution of the above courses of action,” six items are listed. “1) It is the keystone of the autonomous operations that they will be executed exclusively by Cuban national motivated by the conviction that the overthrow of the Castro/Communist regime must be accomplished by Cubans both inside and outside Cuba acting in consonance.”

“2) The effort will probably cost many Cuban lives. If this cost in lives becomes unacceptable to the U.S. conscience, autonomous operations can be effectively halted by the withdraw of US support, but once halted, it cannot be resumed.”

“3) All autonomous operations will be mounted from outside the territory of the United States.”

“4) The United States Government must be prepared to deny publicly any participation in these acts no matter how loud or even how accurate may be the reports of US complicity.”

“5) The US presence and direct participation in the operation would be kept to an absolute minimum….

“6) These operations would not be undertaken within a fixed time schedule.”

The very day that the CIA prepared this paper for the Standing Group of the NSC, June 8, 1963, a team of Cubans led by Eddie Bayo and Americans (John Martino, Richard Billings) left Florida aboard William Pawley’s boat the Flying Tiger II, on a mission to the Cuban coast near Baracoa, where Bayo and his men were infiltrated.

William Turner, [in Rearview Mirror, p. 194] reports, “In 1995 ex-Cuban security chief General Fabian Escalante told me that Bayo’s boat was found swamped near Baracoa, but there were no signs of its occupants.”

On June 19, 1963, JFK held a meeting at the White House concerning the “Proposed Covert Policy and Integrated Program of Action towards Cuba.” Present were Higher Authority (JFK), Secretary McNamara, Under Secretary Harriman, Mr. McCone, Mr. McGeorge Bundy, Mr. Thomas Parrott, Mr. Desmond FitzGerald and Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. W. F. McKee.

According to the report of the meeting, prepared by Desmond FitzGerald, “The program as recommended by the Standing Group of the NSC was presented briefly to Higher Authority who showed a particular interest in proposed external sabotage operations. He was shown charts indicating typical targets for this program and a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages ensued. It is well recognized that there would be failures and a considerable noise level….Mr. Bundy described the integrated nature of the program presented and made the point that, having made a decision to go ahead, we be prepared to give the program a real chance. Mr. Harriman stated that the program would b ‘reviewed weekly’ by the Special Group….”

“Higher Authority,” the report notes, “asked how soon we could get into action with the external sabotage program and was told that we should be able to conduct our first operation in the dark-of-the-moon period in July although he was informed that we would prefer to start the program with some caution selecting softer targets to begin with. Higher Authority said this was a matter of our judgment. Although at one stage in the discussion Higher Authority said that we should move ahead with the program ‘this summer’ it is believed that Mr. Bundy will be able to convince him that this is not a sufficiently long trial period to demonstrate what the program can do.”

Although there is a break in the official records so far released, the Summer of 1963 was extremely active, especially in New Orleans and Florida, where the Cuban émigrés “externally held assets” prepared to be infiltrated to Cuba and CIA backed marine raiders deposited commandos and assassins in Cuba and Russian, Cuban and some neutral ships were attacked at sea.

The covert operations devised and approved by the Standing Committee of the National Security Council, Sterling J. Cottrell and the Special Group, Cuban Coordinating Committee – Covert Operations in Cuba (CCC-COC) and the President, were now operational, and because the Cuban assets were penetrated by the Cubans, the fact that these operations were approved at the highest levels of government was known to the Russian leaders. And it was a card they had to play.

In Washington (on September 10, 1963), Ambassador-at-Large Llewellyn E. Thompson prepared a memo of his conversation with the Russians and JFK’s response. As described by Mark White, the editor The Kennedys and Cuba, “In a secret message to JFK, Khrushchev makes clear that he is aware of the recent resumption of sabotage by the United States against Cuba. He also warns Kennedy that the Soviet Union will respond if Cuba is attacked.”

“Responding to Khrushchev’s September 10 message, JFK tries to change the subject from sabotage against Cuba to Cuban subversion in Latin America.”

Llewellyn notes that the official policy of the US remains the response to the March 26th attack on the Russian ship Baku, “In keeping with the March 30, 1963 declaration by the Department of State and Justice concerning hit and run attacks by Cuban exile groups against targets in Cuba, the law enforcement agencies are taking vigorous measures to assure that the pertinent laws of the United States are observed…”

But they weren’t being observed as far as the CIA backed Cuban raiders were concerned, at least those whose ships were based and docked in Florida.

On October 21 1963 Gordon Chase, the National Security Council aide to McGeorge Bundy, called Attwood from the White House to be brought up to date, and Attwood concluded that “the ball was in his court.”

That night, the CIA raider ship Rex pulled out of its moorings at West Palm Beach, Florida, not far from President Kennedy’s Florida home, on a mission that would create the considerable noise level that would make the cover of the New York Times.

 A week after Attwood reported the progress of his (backchannel) negotiations with the Cubans to Bundy and Chase at the White House (on November 5), a meeting was held in Washington, with CIA Director John McCone presenting an update on the situation in Cuba and an evaluation of the sabotage program.

Besides the President, Secretaries McNamara, Rusk, Vance and RFK, General Taylor was there, along with Sec. Gilpatrick, and from the CIA, Helms, FitzGerald and Shackley puts in an appearance.

McCone’s memo reports that he opened the meeting with a brief resume of conditions in Cuba along these lines, “1) Cuba still belongs to Castro though his grip is weakening, 2) The military remains essentially loyal to Castro, 3) the internal security forces and apparatus are effective, 4) The economy is bad and deteriorating, 5) The Soviets are continuing a gradual withdraw, 6) Training of Cubans continues, 7) The only equipment which has been withdrawn has been the advanced C-band radar for SAM and certain communication equipment…”

“McCone then stated that the program which had been followed for the last several months, having been approved about the first of June [June 19], was integrated and interdependent one part on the other and therefore should be considered as a comprehensive program and not a number of independent actions.”

FitzGerald also made a presentation, a progress report on the six-point covert program proposed by the CIA [on June 8] and endorsed by JFK.

According to the meeting minutes, “Rusk had no problem with infiltration of black teams…However he opposed the hit-and-run sabotage tactics as being unproductive, complicating our relationship with the Soviets and also with our friends and indicated a connection between our sabotage activities and the autobahn problem.” [Berlin]

McCone concludes, “The President asked questions concerning the immediate operations, and the next one on the schedule was approved.”

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Mr. Kelley,

It appears you've been a very busy researcher!
I just found your site yesterday.
It's going to take some time to look at - even quickly.
But thanks in advance.

Paul Williams