Wednesday, March 27, 2019

JFK Case Studies No. 1 and No. 2 - Dueling Julio Fernandez - UPDATED April 2

JFK CASE STUDY #1 – Mrs. Hoover and Julio Fernandez

The first case that I took on as a young freshman history education student at the University of Dayton, Ohio, was that of a Warren Commission document that caught my attention and I followed up on.
The document reported that shortly after the assassination of President Kennedy and the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald,  the brother of Mrs. Margaret Hoover of Martinsburg, Pennsylvania came in to the Pa. State Police barracks to report that his sister might have some information regarding the assassination.

The police investigated and the Pittsburgh office of the FBI got involved, interviewing Mrs. Hoover, who said that she discovered some items in her backyard including a trailer advertisement with the names Lee Oswald and Ruby written on the back – which she at first thought were the names of women her divorced husband was seeing. She showed them to her daughter, who confirmed she saw the names.

Then Mrs. Hoover realized that the items she found – which also included a drawing of window, the words “Silver Slipper” and a receipt for an AMTRACK train ticket, were not from her former husband but were from the next door neighbor’s trash that he was burning in his backyard.

Who was the neighbor. The cops checked him out and he introduced himself as Julio Fernandez, a Cuban exile and former editor and publisher of a Cuban newspaper. He said he was not a communist and left Cuba because of Fidel Castro’s policies. He didn’t know anything about the assassination or the contents of the trash he was burning, but did confirm that his son used the train ticket to Miami to attend a conference of exiled Cuban journalists at the University of Miami (JMWAVE).

The date of the AMTRACK train ticket: September 24, 1963 is a Major Red Flag in the Chronology as a lot of pieces were moved around the Devil's Chessboard that day - Ruth H. Paine picked up Marina and the baby and the Oswald's belongings - including the rifle - and took them to Texas while Oswald left the next morning to Mexico. Richard Case Nagell - the Man Who Knew Too Much - shot his gun into the roof of a Texas bank in order to be arrested and be placed in Federal custody when the assassination took place. The Joint Chiefs of Staff - with Gen. LeMay in temporary chairmanship, were briefed by the CIA's Desmond FitzGerald on covert operations against Cuba (See: The Higgins Report - Smoking Doc #1). And President Kennedy signed a National Security Action Memo approving the military's Four Leaves program, which still remains classified. And then JFK left on his Conservation Tour, with Mary Pinchot Meyer, as the first stop was a visit to her mother in Pennsylvania. 

And now we have Julio Fernandez's son heading to the University of Miami (JMWAVE) for a conference of exiled Cuban journalists. 

 Are there any records of this conference?  

Gaeton Fonzi, while working for Sen. Schweiker (R.Pa) as a Church Committee investigator, tracked down Julio Fernandez in upstate New York and interviewed him, but gave him a bye.

Interestingly, the son was an artist, who attended art school at nearby Penn State University. 

While Penn State is better known for its football team, the art school was selected to be one of those visited by Sir Arthur Blunt, the surveyor of the Queen’s pictures and a Soviet double-agent who had served in British intelligence during World War II. Blunt was one of the Soviet double-agents recruited in the 1930s at Cambridge, along with Kim Philby, Donald MacLean and Guy Burgess. While this connection has not yet been properly explored, it was William Harvey who first suspected Guy Burgess and Philby as being double-agents. MacLean and Burgess fled to Moscow before they could be arrested, and Philby followed shortly thereafter, but Blunt was permitted to retain his title. 

Did Blunt and the young Fernandez meet at Penn State? And if so did Blunt learn of anything from Fernandez? Or did Fernandez learn anything from Blunt? 

And why isn’t Max Holland, Gus Russo, Brian Latell, and those who claim the Soviets and Castro Cubans were behind Dealey Plaza  interested in this?

Leads to be followed:When was the conference of Cuban exiled journalists at the University of Miami in the summer of 1963 and who attended? What did they discuss? 

When did Blunt visit Penn State and why? 

Stuart Goodacre writes from UK with some interesting answers. 

“re your latest blog posting - Anthony Blunt was teaching at Penn State in and around August 1963. It was when he was there on Aug 19th that Guy Burgess died in Moscow.”

“Blunt specialised in studying Baroque art, in particular Nicolas Poussin. Thought this might be useful key words for your research. I've researched Blunt as part of a UK WW2 investigation and while its nothing to do with the JFK assassination, there is one thing you may be interested in. Ever heard of Kenneth De Courcy? He was a Right wing publisher who wrote and sold the Intelligence Digest - very popular in US Right wing and some extremist circles. Guy Bannister briefly published a Louisiana Intelligence Digest in the early 60s which I'm sure was an homage to De Courcy's magazine.”

“Anyway, De Courcy hated Blunt (in connection with the ww2 story) and would happily pin anything on him which could damage his reputation. So be aware that if any rightwingers pop up in your research with something damaging to say about Blunt - it may not be related to your strand of research. FYI De Courcy was jailed in 1963 for fraud but continued to publish the Digest and other magazines and maintained his contacts in both the US and UK. He had also been on the board promoting Billy Graham's European tours so you ma run into him in that guise.”

As for why he went to obscure Penn State, he says:

“Penn State simply invited him to teach. Remember Blunt was internationally renowned as an art historian; he'd toured internationally just previously and the Couthard Institute - which he'd greatly developed - was world famous. Add to that the Keeper of the Queen's Pictures. A tremendous catch for any University which wanted to raise its profile. There is one other thing which may have influenced his decision to go.”

“Michael Straight was an American who Blunt had recruited as a Soviet Agent while at Cambridge. In 63, JFK made Straight the Chair of a new body which would become the National Endowment for the Arts. But he was told he would need a security clearance. So fearing he would be found out if he refused to take the job, Straight told Arthur Schlesinger of his past, this was forwarded to the FBI and in return for immunity, Straight revealed that British Intelligence had several Soviet moles and he named them, including Blunt. It seems Blunt got wind of what was coming and got out of London by taking the invite.” 

“It’s possible that by choosing an relatively obscure University art-wsie, he wanted to keep a lower profile. The Dean of the architecture school at Penn at the time was a Gregory Ain, who had been suspected of being a communist by some HUAC committee or other in the 40s/50s. Maybe Blunt thought if Ain had got a job there, then he, Blunt, would be ok as well. Don't know if Blunt knew Ain but I'm sure he would have heard of Ain's blacklisting from some art posts”  

THE OTHER JULIO FERNANDEZ - Clearly a different person 

JFK CASE STUDY #2 – Clare Booth Luce and Julio Fernandez

When Fonzi was hired as a Senate investigator the first thing Sen. Schweiker had him look into was an allegation by Clare Boot Luce. Luce had told a women’s magazine feature write – Vera Glasser, that on the night of the assassination she received a phone call from Julio Fernandez, one of her “Cuban Boys” she financially supported at the request of William Pawley. Fernandez, Luce said, led a team of anti-Castro Cuban commandos who had a boat that ran infiltration and sabotage missions to Cuba. She said she wrote about them in Life magazine. When Fernandez called on the night of the assassination he said he had evidence on Oswald, photos and a tape recording that implicated Castro in the assassination. Luce said she told Fernandez to call the FBI. She later learned that Fernandez became disenchanted with the CIA and became a lawyer in Miami.

The Church Committee asked the CIA for any files they had on “Julio Fernandez” and they came up with a list of a dozen or more, but none of them were the Julio Fernandez journalist who was Mrs. Hoover’s neighbor, nor the anti-Castro Cuban commando that Luce knew.

Peter Dale Scott concluded that “Julio Fernandez” was a pseudonym, while Fonzi thought Luce made up the name.

But U.S. Army Ranger Captain Bradley Ayers writes in his book (“The Zenith Secret”) that there was a Julio Fernandez, and he was a maritime commando team leader run out of the CIA’s JMWAVE base at the University of Miami, where the conference of Cuban exiled journalists was held in the summer of 1963.
Ayers and U.S. Ranger Captain Edward Roderick were assigned to JMWAVE by General Krulak, who was responsible for the U.S. military support for CIA covert operations, especially those being run against Cuba. While Roderick trained a team of commandos in explosives and sniper tactics at a base near Point Mary, off Key Largo, Ayers trained other teams in small boat handling and covert operational procedures at Pirate’s Lair in the Everglades. According to Ayers one of the team leaders was Julio Fernandez.

Ayers wrote that on one mission, “…we were turning eastward off the Dry Tortugas and heading toward Cay Sal. Julio, the commando team leader, had lived in the Isabela area and knew the railroad bridge and surrounding terrain.”

So there was a Julio Fernandez, and he was a maritime commando team leader run out of the CIA’s JMWAVE station, but he wasn’t the Julio Fernandez journalist who Mrs. Hoover knew. 

Leads to be followed: Did Clare Booth Luce write about her Cuban boys in Life magazine? Did Julio Fernandez become a lawyer, certainly narrowing the field? If he died is there an obit? 

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