Monday, July 27, 2020

The Supreme Court Takes on a JFK Case


Five Supreme Court Rulings of Global Import | Voice of America ...Liberals See US Supreme Court's Future an Election Issue


[ BK NOTES: I will be writing a much more in depth article on the Hitler Plot case and how it relates to the assassination of President Kennedy but I thought I would try to write a summary of the case as it now stands in less legal terms. More to come. Stay Tuned.]

While most of the government and society grounded to a virtual halt during the pandemic of 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States kept chugging along, ruling on a number of cases that will have a major impact on laws, elections, the president’s finances and how government works. The gears of justice grind slow however.

Eight years ago, on August 25, 2012, lawyers for the Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC) filed a Freedom of Information Act request (FOIA) for some specific records that are mentioned in another document that was previously released under the JFK Act of 1992.

The Assassination Archives and Research Center, is a privately funded, Maryland-based organization founded by Bud Fensterwald in 1984 “to provide a permanent organization which would acquire, preserve, and disseminate information on political assassinations.”  The attorney’s for AARC in this case are Dan Alcorn, the Counsel of Record, and AARC director and co-counsel Jim Lesar. [  ]

Government agencies usualy drag their feet in response to all FOIA requests, and those filed by individuals often drag on until the requester loses interest or dies, but those filed by permanent organizations are not going to go away. So they get more attention.

The case stems from a document dated September 25, 1963 detailing a meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who were briefed by CIA official Desmond FitzGerald on covert operations against Cuba.

Daniel Alcorn, the AARC attorney, said the document contained an intriguing reference to the CIA basing a plot to kill Fidel Castro in 1963 on an earlier plot to kill Adolph Hitler during World War II.

Thanks to Rex Bradford at for posting these records and providing the links. 

[The Original Document: Sept. 23 memo re: Special Group Security:

Known as the Higgins memo for its author, Colonel Walter Higgins. Higgins was adjunct to General Victor “Brute” Krulak, USMC, the officer responsible for the military’s assistance to the CIA’s covert operations, especially against Cuba.

I listed the Higgins Memo - as the Number One Smoking Document released under the JFK Act for a number of reasons.

The meeting was chaired by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Curtis LeMay because General Maxwell Taylor was in Vietnam on a special mission for the president. The purpose of the meeting was for the Joint Chiefs of Staff to be briefed on CIA Covert Operations against Cuba by Desmond FitzGerald, who had replaced William Harvey as head of the CIA Cuban desk -Task Force W. Renamed by FitzGerald as the Special Group of the National Security Council that was responsible for approving or disapproving covert operations.

The key paragraph is bullet point # (13):

 "He (Desmond FitzGerald) commented that there was nothing new in the propaganda field. However, he felt that there had been great success in getting closer to the military personnel who might break with Castro, and stated that there were at least ten high-level military personnel who are talking with CIA but as yet are not talking to each other, since that degree of confidence has not yet developed. He considers it as a parallel in history, i.e., the plot to kill Hitler, and this plot is being studied in detail to develop an approach.”

“This was new information to us when we saw it,” Alcorn said, so the AARC filed an official Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for any documents or records of this detailed study of the German military plot to kill Hitler.

Over the course of a few years the CIA responded by saying that it could not find any reference to the “detailed study” that the CIA had conducted in 1963 of the July 20, 1944 German military plot to kill Hitler that was being adapted “to develop an approach” for use against Castro.

Then the CIA reversed itself and acknowledged that they found one reference to the plot to kill Hitler in a 1964 propaganda pamphlet that blamed the failure of the 1944 plot on communists.

The CIA’s chief historian David Robarge was consulted, and he recommended that the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) records be checked at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).
Frustrated, the center sued the agency in federal court in Washington, D.C. on January 25, 2017.

When a three judge appeals court reviewed the case, one of the judges asked the CIA some important questions, wondering if the CIA kept copies of OSS records, a question that went unanswered.

The case appeared to be dead in the water until June 8, 2020, when the Solicitor General of the United States, Noel J. Francisco, filed a waiver of response in AARC’s petition to the United States Supreme Court seeking documents related to new information related to the assassination of President Kennedy.  

“AARC seeks documents related to a briefing of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on September 25, 1963 by CIA Cuban operations head Desmond Fitzgerald.  Fitzgerald informed the Joint Chiefs that CIA was studying in detail a parallel in history to develop an approach to dealing with Fidel Castro- the July 20, 1944 plot by German military officers to assassinate Adolf Hitler. “

As the AARC notes, one-time CIA Director Allen Dulles, and Warren Commissioner, was in close contact in 1944 with the German plotters from his position as head of European operations for OSS in Bern Switzerland. 

The CIA denied finding any such records and instead pointed to the National Archives as a possible source for information.  Alcorn responded, “Clear Supreme Court case law holds that federal agencies cannot shirk their duties under the Freedom of Information Act by pointing requesters to another agency of the government, as CIA has done…. Solicitor General Francisco’s waiver of a response is another instance of CIA failing to address troubling facts related to the assassination of President Kennedy.”

A copy of the waiver is attached.  The Supreme Court is likely to take up AARC’s petition in late September and rule in October during its fall session.

AARC v. CIA12 CIA Waiver Letter 19-1273 AARC v. CIA12 CIA W

The Supreme Court had previously granted  a writ of certiorari on February 28, 2020 in case # 19-547, Fish and Wildlife Serv., et al. v. Sierra Club, Inc. According to the AARC, “That case presents an issue closely similar to one in Petitioner’s case involving the deliberate process privilege under Exemption 5 of the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(5). The results of the two cases arising from different circuits are in conflict.”

“The Fish and Wildlife Service case presents an issue of compelled release under the FOIA of draft documents for which the government asserts a deliberative process privilege under FOIA Exemption 5….Petitioner AARC’s case involves the Central Intelligence Agency’s successful assertion of the Exemption 5 deliberative process privilege for information reflecting CIA’s search activities in responding to Petitioner’s FOIA request. Petitioner’s FOIA request relates to a matter of public importance- new information about the circumstances of the assassination of President Kennedy.”

The appeal to the Supreme Court centers on the “deliberative” process and exemption, which is being used in this case to withhold the inter-office memos, emails and phone calls that detail the extent to which the CIA searched for the relevant records.

According to the AARC attorneys, “The United States Supreme Court has officially requested that the Department of Justice file a response to the AARC’s ‘Hitler plot’ lawsuit. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has waived its right to file a brief opposing the AARC’s petition. Now at least one member of the Supreme Court has requested that the Solicitor General, acting on behalf of the Department of Justice, explain why the CIA has not set forth its position on the facts and legal issues raised by the AARC’s petition.”

“The ultimate goal in a petition for a writ of certiorari is to get the United States Supreme Court to issue the writ. The issuance of this week’s (16 July, 2020) request by the Supreme Court places the AARC just one step away from achieving this goal.”

“ The challenge of this effort remains a daunting and problematic process, but at least the AARC has reached the very threshold of success.  The AARC is encouraged by this development and remains optimistic about reaching the top of this nation’s judicial pyramid.”

The AARC will have the right to reply to the Solicitor General’s contentions.

View the Supreme Court’s request to the Office of the Acting Solicitor General by clicking HERE: 19-1273 Response Request.

The Acting Solicitor Genera must respond to the Supreme Court by September 16, and the Supreme Court will begin review of the records on September 29, nearly fifty seven years to the day the Higgins Memo was written. They should have a ruling sometime in October.

Alan Dale has posted a new page at the AARC web site that is devoted to current FOIA litigation:

Join and Support AARC:
Support JFKCountercoup:

New AARC FOIA Requests on Byrd, Alvenseben and Doolittle


New AARC FOIA Requests

AARC Counsel of Record for the "Hitler Plot" case going before the Supreme Court isn't wasting any time waiting for them to deliberate and make a decision. Alcorn has fired another round of Broadsides requesting the CIA records on D. H. Byrd, the owner of the Texas School Book Depository, Byrd's safari hunting partner Werner von Alvensleben, Jr., and records related to the Doolittle Report on CIA covert activities, that was prepared by General James Doolittle, another Byrd safari hunting partner. 

July 4, 2020


Information and Privacy Coordinator
Central Intelligence Agency
Washington, D.C. 20505
Re: Freedom of Information Act Request

Dear Information and Privacy Coordinator:

On behalf of my clients Assassination Archives and Research Center, Inc. and attorney James
H. Lesar, I make the following request of the CIA under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 USC
Sec. 552:

1. Search for and release all records or information in any format related to David Harold
Byrd (deceased) of Dallas, Texas. Mr. Byrd died on September 14, 1986 (see attached
obituary from the Dallas Times-Herald). Mr. Byrd owned the Texas School Book
Depository Building at the time of the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, and
reportedly removed the “sniper’s window” from the building after the assassination and
displayed it in his mansion. Mr. Byrd was an owner and financier of government
contracting companies including Texas Engineering Manufacturing Company (TEMCO),
E-Systems, and Ling-TEMCO-Vaught (LTV). E-Systems was well known as a CIA
contractor, so much so that in 1975 CIA solicited E-Systems to purchase its proprietary
airline, Air America. David Harold Byrd was also active in the oil business and varied
other business enterprises. David Harold Byrd co-founded the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) in
1941 and served in command capacities in CAP until the early 1960’s. Civil Air Patrol is
the official auxilary of the US Air Force. In the 1950’s Mr. Byrd served with Cord
Meyer, Sr. on the national executive board of CAP (Cord Meyer, Jr. was a ranking CIA

2. Search for and release all records and information in any format related to Werner von
Alvensleben, Jr. (died 1998), of Mozambique (formerly Portuguese East Africa). Mr.
Alvensleben owned and operated the big game hunting company named Safarilandia in
Portuguese East Africa, later Mozambique. According to released Office of Strategic
Services (OSS) records, Mr. Alvensleben served as a valued double agent for OSS during
World War II in Portuguese East Africa. OSS records state that Mr. Alvensleben was a
member of the Bavarian Military Police in 1933, headed by Heinrich Himmler (the
Bavarian Military Police became the Nazi SS, according to OSS records). In 1933 Mr.
Alvensleben was sent to Austria to participate in the assassination of an Austrian official.
Mr. Alvensleben was arrested by the Austrians and imprisoned for this activity.

According to reports in the Dallas Morning News, Mr. Alvensleben was in Dallas, Texas
as a guest of David Harold Byrd in late 1963. Further, David Harold Byrd was reported
to be present at Mr. Alvensleben’s Safarilandia on November 22, 1963, the day of
President Kennedy’s murder. Due to Mr. Alvensleben’s service as a valued double agent
for OSS in World War II, it is likely that Mr. Alvensleben served as an asset of the CIA
after the war, or had contact with the CIA.

3. Search for and release all records and information in any format related to the Doolittle
Report of 1954 and its appendices A-D. The Doolittle Report was the result of a
commission established by President Eisenhower to study the activities of the CIA and
headed by General James Doolittle. The Doolittle Report called for more aggressive CIA
covert activities that had previously been believed to be repugnant and contrary to
American values. Requesters seek full release of the requested materials. As shown in
the attached obituary of David Harold Byrd, General Doolittle and Mr. Byrd were
substantial friends who shared an interest in aviation from the early years. Mr. Byrd and
General Doolittle were Safari hunting partners on several occasions.

If it is your position that any portion of the requested records is exempt from disclosure,
Requesters request that you provide them with an index of those documents as required under
Vaughn v. Rosen, 484 F.2d 820 (D.C. Cir. 1973), cert. denied, 415 U.S. 977 (1974). As you are
aware, a Vaughn index must describe each document claimed as exempt with sufficient
specificity “to permit a reasoned judgment as to whether the material is actually exempt under
FOIA.” Founding Church of Scientology v. Bell, 603 F.2d 945, 949 (D.C. Cir. 1979).

Moreover, the Vaughn index must “describe each document or portion thereof withheld, and for
each withholding it must discuss the consequences of supplying the sought-after information.”
King v. U.S. Dep’t of Justice, 830 F.2d 210, 223-24 (D.C. Cir. 1987) (emphasis added). Further,
“the withholding agency must supply ‘a relatively detailed justification, specifically identifying
the reasons why a particular exemption is relevant and correlating those claims with the
particular part of a withheld document to which they apply.’” Id. at 224 (citing Mead Data
Central v. U.S. Dep’t of the Air Force, 566 F.2d 242, 251 (D.C. Cir. 1977).

In the event that you contend some portions of the requested records are properly exempt
from disclosure, please disclose any reasonably segregable non-exempt portions of the requested
records. See 5 U.S.C. § 552(b). Claims of nonsegregability must be made with the same degree
of detail as required for claims of exemptions in a Vaughn index. If a request is denied in whole,
please state specifically that it is not reasonable to segregate portions of the record for release.
Public Interest Fee Waiver Request

In accordance with 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(A)(iii) requesters request a waiver of fees
associated with processing this request for records based on the fact that a waiver is in the public
interest. The subject of this request concerns the operations of the federal government and its
expenditures, and the disclosures will likely contribute to a better understanding of relevant
government procedures by the general public in a significant way. Moreover, the request is
primarily and fundamentally for non-commercial purposes. The DC Circuit Court of Appeals
has recognized that Congress amended FOIA to ensure that public interest fee waivers be
“liberally construed in favor of waivers for noncommercial requesters”. Judicial Watch, Inc. v.
Rossotti, 326 F.3d 1309,1312 (D.C.Cir. 2003). Assassination Archives and Research Center and
Mr. Lesar are noncommercial requesters and thus falls in the category of authors, researchers and
public interest groups favored for a fee waiver. Campbell v. U.S. Dept. of Justice, 164 F.3d
20,35 (D.C.Cir. 1998).

The Assassination Archives and Research Center (“AARC”) was founded in 1984 as a
non-profit organization to house records related to political assassinations and to encourage
research in the field. Mr. Lesar was a cofounder in 1984 and has served as President of the
Center since 1991. AARC maintains a website which includes a public library of released
government documents for use of the public. AARC maintains the largest collection of materials
on the assassination of President Kennedy in private hands.

/s/ Daniel S. Alcorn
Daniel S. Alcorn
Counsel for Requesters

Thursday, July 16, 2020

The CIA Trainers


Every Intelligence Agency in the world trains its intelligence officers, agents and operatives so everyone knows how the Great Game is played, and there are rules that haven’t changed that much since the days of Sun Tzu.

The major difference is the expanding use of science and technology, branching off the spy business into radio, radio interception, photo and film images, satellites, and what they now call HUMINT- human intelligence, which is the area we are dealing with.

The CIA organizational chart is divided into different areas – Security, Personnel, Plans/Operations, Counter-Intelligence, International Organizations/Properity Companies, Domestic Contacts and Training. The Training Division is what we are concerned with here.

Charles Ford, Paul Linebarger, Napoleon Valeriano, Carl Jenkins, John "I.F." Harper, Bradley Ayers and Edward Roderick are not well known names but they are key players and were instrumental in the assassination drama. 

As the CIA was an offshoot of World War II’s Office of Strategic Services (OSS), much of what became the CIA, especially in its early years, stemmed from the British MI5 and MI6 Military Intelligence agencies, with MI5 handling counter-intelligence and MI6 foreign intelligence.

General William “Big Bill” Donovan – director of OSS, was an understudy of Sir William Stevenson – “Litte Bill,” the Canadian industrialist who opened Camp X in Canada where many OSS officers were trained. Donovan asked Stevenson’s associate, Ian Fleming – the assistant to the Director of British Naval Intelligence, to write a basic outline of an intelligence agency, for which Donovan gave Fleming an engraved .38 Special revolver.

Both Ian Fleming and David Atlee Phillips in his book "Careers In Intelligence" outlined the best attributes of the perfect agent, and both agreed that no one person has them all, so training is a key aspect of the espionage business.

The British took training very seriously, so their top intelligence officers were tasked with training the Americans in a master-apprentice type of relationships with Kim Philby mentoring his principle protege – James Jesus Angeton. Besides being a top British intelligence officer, Philby was also a double agent for the KGB, having been recruited as part of the Cambridge spy ring.

Loren Singer, the author of the novel The Parallax View, on which the Warren Beatty film was based, told Len Osanic on Black Op Radio that the Parallax test and the film within the movie were based on his actual OSS testing and films the agents had to undergo in their training. 

The two Czech partisans who were parachuted back into their homeland and assassinated Nazi Reinhard Heydrich were well trained by the British to undertake Operation Anthropoid, but so many Czechs were killed in retaliation by the Nazis that such assassinations were not undertaken again. 

From what they learned from the British Donovan had training manuals prepared for different aspects of the intelligence operation manuals that were used by the early CIA officers in training agents, operatives and assets.  

The CIA’s Training Division was headed for some time by Charles Ford, an Atlantic City, N.J. native and Princeton graduate who was given custody of the CIA’s copy of the Zapruder Film, which was “for training purposes only.” According to OSS documents Ford was sent on a mission to China with another OSS officer – J. Walton Moore, who would become the CIA’s Domestic Contacts Division Chief of Station (COS) in Dallas for many years. Moore would serve as the Domestic contact officer for a number of people in the JFK assassination drama, including George and Jean deMohrenschildt and Hugh Aynesworth. Moore often played racket ball with a White Russian exile, Colonel Lawrence Orlov. When Lee Harvey Oswald arrived in town, back from the USSR, Orlov and George deMohrenschildt visited the Oswalds and they became good friends.
One CIA document mentions that at least one Agency analyst considered using Oswald “operationally,” a key word, as the Plans/Operations division of the CIA is where all the dirty tricks are devised.

DOCID-32347922.PDF ]

Charles Ford worked primarily out of the CIA’s training office at Quantico, Virginia, an FBI-CIA joint training facility and served primarily in the Training Division his entire career, except for one year, and it’s a big exception. For one year he was cross assigned to the Plans/Operations Division, worked on the Cuban desk – Task Force W, and JMWAVE. There, according to Kennedy baiters and haiters like Sy Hersch and Samuel Halpern, both of whom claimed Ford served as Robert F. Kennedy’s personal emissary to mobsters Sam Giancana and John Rosselli, who were both part of the CIA-Mafia plots to kill Castro.

Ford was called to testify twice before the Church Intelligence Committee, and his testimony, released under the JFK Act, and memos on his testimony have been released and don’t reflect what Seymour Hersh and Halpern said, though their false tales are still repeated by those who maintain JFK and RFK knew of and approved the CIA-Mafia plots to kill Castro, though Ford was in the thick of all things Cuban at a key place and time.

In order to understand what’s going on here, if you want to follow the JFK assassination narrative, you have to take a basic course in intelligence crafts and techniques in order to figure it out. Basic intelligence training instruction is given to every new recruit, agent, operative or asset. First they are given a code name for use in official correspondence, and an alias and fake identity for use when going “operational.”

Lines of authority are well established, as every agent is assigned a case officer – and once an agent is established, other intelligence agencies are notified so no agent is run by two different agencies.

For instance, when George deMohrenschildt was on his way to Haiti, he stopped in New York City where he met with CIA agents at the offices of John Train, who was responsible for running CIA propriety companies. At the same time intelligence officers from the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence (ACSI) wanted to talk to him, but backed off when the CIA appeared on the scene. ACSI then met with DeMohrenschildt in Washington.

While some agents, operatives and assets are “walk-ins” – volunteering their services, most are recruited because of their location, job or associations.

Rolf M. Larssen said at the Dallas CAPA conference (2019) that he was particularly good at recruiting targeted individuals.

Antonio Veciana has described in detail how he was originally recruited by David Atlee Phillips in Havana, though John Newman has called this account into question, based on what’s contained in recently released records that indicate that Veciana was actually run not by the CIA, who Phillips worked for, but rather by ACSI, military intelligence.

Watergate burglar Frank Sturgis was reportedly a CIA agent, but his records reflect that he actually worked with Air Force Intelligence, mainly because of his early association with the head of the Cuban Air Force – Diaz Lanz.

Sometimes a recruiter will approach a target under a “False Flag” operation, meaning that the agent thinks he is being recruited by one agency or even country, when in fact it is another.

Regardless of the Intelligence Agency or country, the basic techniques and trade crafts remain the same.
Sometimes a “Cut Out” is used to serve as a buffer between the agent and the case officer, things are conducted on a “Need to Know” basis, Post Office boxes are used for written communications, and secret “Dead Drops” are used to convey records or film, known only to the agent and his case officer. Sometimes public “Hand Offs” is practiced and documents are kept in magazines and newspapers that are furtively handed off as Agents pass in the street or sit on a park bench.

Then there are “Psychological Operations,” that utilize psychological warfare and propaganda.

When Carlos Bringuier was questioned as to whether he was the JMWAVE commando boat leader “Julio Fernandez,” he replied that he wasn’t in “Maritime Ops,” but was trained in psychological operations, as was Ed Butler, who engaged Oswald in a radio debate with Bringuier after their arrest in New Orleans.

Antonio Veciana said that he too was trained in psychological operations; shortly after “Maurice Bishop” aka David Atlee Phillips recruited him in Havana. Veciana said that in Miami, he was taken to an office in the Pan Am Bank where he signed a security oath and given his first lessons in psychological warfare.

The Pan Am Bank of Miami appears in other areas of the JFK narrative as well, with Castro gun runner Robert Ray McKeown saying he was paid in money sealed in Pan Am Bank wrappers, and Jack Ruby deposited money in the Pan Am Bank that came from McWillie’s casino owned by the Fox brothers. Mitch Werbell, who developed gun silencers for the CIA, told Congressional investigator that the Pan Am Bank of Miami was used by the CIA as a major asset. Fonzi’s taped interview with Werbell was erased, but we still have Fonzi’s notes that reflect the Pan Am Bank connection.

The primary CIA trainer of psychological operations and propaganda was Paul Linebarger, who was affiliated with the John Hopkins University Center for International Studies. Linebarger wrote the official military textbook on Propaganda, but also used David Maurer’s book The Big Con – which was the basis for the popular movie The Sting.

In his book “Portrait of a Cold Warrior,” Joseph B. Smith wrote about his CIA training in trade craft that is worth quoting extensively. Smith was told such trade craft training took three months, but he was given a crash course in 8 weeks by Paul Linebarger, that is worth quoting at length. 

“…As far as psychological warfare is concerned; it’s a brand new field. We are all learning. You remember it was one of Hitler’s strongest weapons. The Communists depend on it a lot to. We figure that if we analyze what they’re doing and study the countries in our area closely, we can beat them at their own game. Oh yes, another thing,” she added, “We won’t be able to spare you for any clandestine tradecraft training. That would take another three months. We need you now. You’ll have to learn the business on the job. I’m afraid.”

“Well,” she added as an afterthought, “we will be able to help you with psychwar. Paul Linebarger, our consultant, is one of the few real experts and he gives evening seminars for us. We’ll try to get you into one of them after you’ve settled in.”

...One important contingency to consider in case a situation worsened rapidly and a take over by the Communist guerrilla armies appeared imminent was the operational effectiveness of assassination of the leaders of these groups…
All this was far in the future and far less important to me in the early winter of 1952 than the fact that I got the chance to attend Paul Linebarger’s seminar in psychological warfare. Linebarger had served as an Army psychological warfare officer in Chungking during the war. He had written a textbook on the subject in 1948

In 1951 he was serving as the Far East Division’s chief consultant. He also served as the Defense Department in the same capacity, giving advice on U.S. psychwar operations in Korea, and he was professor of Asian politics at the School for Advanced International Studies of the John Hopkins University. His book by this time had gone through three American editions, two Argentine editions and a Japanese edition.

He was far from a textbook warrior, however. He best described himself when he wrote the introduction to his book, “Psychological warfare involves exciting wit sharpening work. It tends to attract quick-minded people – men full of ideas.” His wits scarcely needed sharpening, and he was never at a loss for an idea.

The seminars were held in eight weeks, every Friday night at his home. Going to Paul Linebarger’s house on Friday evenings was not only an educational experience for those who attended the seminar, it was also an exercise in clandestinity. Learning covert operational conduct was considered part of the course. Each seminar was limited to no more than eight students. They were told to pose as students from the School of Advanced International Studies, to go to Paul’s via different routes, and to say they were attending a seminar on Asian politics. Senator McCarthy had alerted everyone to the possibility that Communist operators might be expected to turn up at almost any place in Washington. The School of Advanced International Studies had its campus in Washington, but over in Baltimore at the main campus of John Hopkins University, Owen Lattimore, the expert on Asian geography, held sway. McCarthy had called Lattimore the principal agent of Communist China in the United States.

Although no one called Paul Linebarger the principle agent of Chiang Kai-shek, his father had been Sun Yat Sen’s legal advisor and Paul never hid his full devotion to the Chinat cause. The feeling of the clash of mysterious powers was abroad in the cold winter nights around Paul’s house. It could just be possible that some Communist surveillant might follow one of the students up Rock Creek Park to 29th Street. They might even be operating from the Shoreham hotel, a few blocks away. We had been thoroughly indoctrinated in the fear of Communist subversion....It would be difficult to say whether it was the political atmosphere in general, the office routine of the day just closed, or the drawn drapes in Linebarger’s living room, but students at the seminar met in an appropriately conspiratorial mood tht raised the level of their appreciation of their subject.

The mood was fitting if not essential to an understanding of the material. The first point that Linebarger made was that the purpose of all psychological warfare is the manipulation of people so that they are not able to detect they are being manipulated. Wartime psychwar had been a matter of undermining the enemy civilian and military will to continue the fight. The audience, in brief, was very clearly defined. Determining just who it was they wanted to manipulate and for what ends was also pretty clear to the OPC personnel. Their targets were the Communists and their allies. Having this firmly in mind, any methods of manipulation could be used, especially “black propaganda.”

Black propaganda operations, by definition, are operations in which the source of the propaganda is disguised or misrepresented in one way or another so as not be attributable to the people who really put it out. This distinguishes black from white propaganda, such as news bulletins and similar statements issued by one side in a conflict extolling its successes, of course, or other material just as clearly designed to serve the purposes of its identifiable authors...

Paul Linebarger’s was a seminar in black propaganda only. One reason for this was that the United States already had an overt propaganda agency as part of the cold war apparatus.....

Paul Linebarger loved black propaganda operations probably because they involved the wit-sharpening he liked to talk about. Also, he was so god at them that his was one of the inventive minds that refined the entire black operations field into shades of blackness. Linebarger and his disciples decided that propaganda that was merely not attributed to the United States was not really black, only gray. To be called black it had to be something more. Furthermore, they divided gray propaganda into shades of gray. So-called light gray was defined as propaganda that was not attributed to the United States government, but instead, for example, to a group that was known to be a friendly source. Medium gray or “gray gray” was the term LInebarger used for propaganda that was attributed to a neutral source or, in any case, to one that was not suspected to be about to say anything friendly concerning the United States or its national or international policies. Dark gray was the term for propaganda attributed to a source usually hostile to the United States. This left the term black propaganda for a very special kind of propaganda activity. Black propaganda operations were operations done to look like, and carefully labeled to be, acts of the (Communist) enemy….. Linebarger was always careful to point out that to have a chance of success, these black operations must be based on good solid information about how the Communists Party we proposed to imitate actually conducted its business... [Communists Huks in the Phillipines used as an example].

Linebarger said, “I want you all to go out and get a copy of David Maurer’s classic on the confidence man. It’s called The Big Con and its available now in a paperback edition,” Paul continued. “That little book will teach you more about the art of covert operations than anything else I know.”

“Your job and the confidence man’s are almost identical.

“Maurer’s book will give you a lot of ideas on how to recruit agents, how to handle them and how to get rid of them peacefully when they’re no use to you any longer. Believe me, that last one is the toughest job of all.”

We were all soon avidly reading The Big Con. The tales it told did, indeed, contain a lot of hints on how to do our jobs. For me one sentence seemed to sum it all up beautifully, “The big-time confidence games,” wrote Maurer, “are in reality only carefully rehearsed plays in which every member of the cast except the mark knows his part perfectly.” *
[ David W. Maurer, The Big Con (New York: Pocket Books, 1949), p. 102.]

[ BK Notes: Maurer's book was used as the basis of the Paul Newman-Robert Redford movie The Sting. When former head of the ACSI and NSA General Odom was asked what makes the best case officers, he responded, "The Sting," so we know he took Linebarger's class.]

 Paul taught by the oldest method, precept. His injunction was to follow the example of proven successful practitioners.

He had two leading operational heroes whose activities formed the basis for lessons he wanted us to learn and whose examples he thought we should follow. One was Lt. Col. Edward G. Lansdale, the OPC station chief in Manila, and the other was E. Howard Hunt, the OPC station chief in Mexico City. Both of them had what he called “black minds,”

E. Howard Hunt and Ed Lansdale had what Linebarger called “black minds.”

One of Smith’s CIA assignments, after being trained by Linebarger, was to the Philippines – where Smith was sent under cover of the ostensibly philanthropic Catherwood Foundation, which appears multiple times in the course of this narrative.

There Lansdale was to assist in putting down the Hulk rebellion, and did so with the help of Linebarger, who he took to the Philippines to personally train Napoleon Valeriano, a military aide and counter-insurgency expert to President  Ramon del Fierro Magsaysay, Sr.

The Hulks were rural peasant guerrillas who fought the Japanese during World War II, but after the war were branded communists and considered a threat to the government.

From Joseph Smith's Portrait of a Cold Warrior (Putnam, 1976, p. 94): 

“A large psychological warfare unit was developed and trained...History and traditions in all of the Huk areas were studied for clues to the appropriate appeals to make to wean the populace from supporting the Huks. Paul Linebarger made a number of trips to the Philippines to advise Lansdale on operations. It was in connection with Linebarger's involvement in Philippine operations that I had one of my few direct contacts with the events that transpired there. In the fall of 1952, I was given the assignment of picking up one of the Lansdale team, Napoleon Valeriano, at the Philippine Embassy and taking him to Linebarger's house for a training session. Valeriano and I arrived at Linebarger's at five o'clock one afternoon and stayed four hours. Paul concentrated on his con-man line concerning how to use a subject's own hopes and longs to achieve results desired in a psychological operation........Supporting this basic program were propaganda efforts - films, special radio programs, and so forth….”

“Valeriano was not only one of the key members of the team, but he was one whom Lansdale counted on in future operations. When Valeriano was in Vietnam helping Lansdale in the early days of the Diem regime, he carried off to Saigon the wife of a wealthy Filipino businessman. The injured husband immediately put out a contract on Valeriano, and he was never able to set foot in Manila again. It would have meant instant death. Subsequently, Valeriano worked in the Pentagon, trained the Cuban brigade preparing for the Bay of Pigs invasion, and was involved in post-Bay of Pigs activities with which Lansdale was concerned.”

When Lansdale was assigned to the Cuban operations, he brought Valeriano along with him and they began to train the Cubans in Florida, Nicaragua and Guatemala for what would become the Bay of Pigs.

Not all of the Cubans were trained at JMWAVE bases in Guatemala and Florida, according to a memo written by David Atlee Phillips, the former New Orleans Navy base at Belle Chase was used to train Cuban frogmen in underwater demolition and such things.

According to the CIA’s Official History of the Bay of Pigs:

“While attending John F. Kennedy’s inauguration in Washington in January 1961, General Anastacio Somoza met secretly with CIA director Allen Dulles to discuss the creation of JMTIDE, the cryptonym for the airbase the CIA wanted to use in Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua to launch the attack on Cuba…..A small group of high-level CIA officials sought to use part of the budget of the invasion to finance a collaboration with the Mafia to assassinate Castro. In an interview with the CIA historian, former chief of the invasion task force, Jacob Esterline, said that he had been asked to provide money from the invasion budget by J.C. King, the head of the Western Hemisphere. “Esterline claimed that on one occasion as chief/w4, he refused to grant Col J.C. King, chief WH Division, a blank check when King refused to tell Jake the purpose for which the check was intended. Esterline reported that King nonetheless got a FAN number from the Office of Finance and that the money was used to pay the Mafia-types.”  The Official History also notes that invasion planners discussed pursuing “Operation AMHINT to set up a program of assassination.”

Jake Easterline, who was responsible for Operation Success in Guatemala, was in charge of the Cuban operation. In Guatemala Easterline effectively used Linebarger’s psychological operations, having David Atlee Phillips man a radio station that broadcast reports of an oncoming army invading the capitol, and having sonic booms sound like cannon fire. The communist supported dictator then fled, and a leader freiendly to the United States and United Fruit was installed. President Eisenhower had the leaders of Operation Success at the White House to congratulate them on their success without much loss of life. And it was the Guatemala operation that was to be adapted to Cuba.

And David Atlee Phillips ran the psychological aspects of the operation and set up a radio on Swan Island to broadcast to Cuba. 

At first Easterline, Lansdale, Valeriano and Marine officers Hawkins and Carl Jenkins began training the Cubans as commandos that were to be infiltrated in small groups into the eastern end of the island where they could establish a staging area in the mountains much like Castro himself had done. That was the Trinidad Plan.

But at some point, as the official history reports, “the CIA task force in charge of the paramilitary assault did not believe it could succeed without becoming an open invasion supported by the U.S. military,” which the National Security Archives considered “the most important revelation of the entire official history.” The target for the invasion was also changed from eastern Cuba to the Bay of Pigs.

Apparently both Lansdale and Valeriano were relieved of their training commands and the Trinidad Plan - the insertion of commando teams into the eastern mountains was replaced by a full fledged mechanized invasion. The person(s) who made this decision have yet to be identified but I suspect it was the military, possibly even the Joint Chiefs of Staff, when they were finally briefed and asked their advice. 

When the plans were changed, both Easterline and Hawkins threatened to resign, but were persuaded to stay on by Richard Bissell, Jr.

The best of the Cuban commandos trained by Lansdale, Valeriano and Jenkins were named the Pathfinders, and inserted into Cuba a few weeks before the invasion to pave the way for the invaders, and included Felix Rodriguez and Chi Chi Quintero.

In his Oral Histories, General LeMay always said that the CIA never asked the military for advice, at least not until the last minute, but Bill Simpich found a Bay of Pigs document that includes LeMay’s initials, and the Official History records “General Curtis LeMay demanding on the phone to know ‘who was the sonofabitch who didn’t approve’ the request.” So LeMay did have some influence in the Bay of Pigs planning, despite his denials.

When the final air strike against Cuba’s planes was cancelled, Air Force General Charles Cabell made a last ditch plea with the President but failed.

When the invasion itself failed, some of the Pathfinders in Cuba were captured, some killed, but others escaped and made their way back to Florida where they were again assembled and retrained at JMWAVE bases for continuing officially approved attacks against Cuban economic targets.


The CIA’s JMWAVE base at the University of Miami South Campus was headed by Ted Shackley and came under the Cuban desk at CIA headquarters which was named Task Force W by it’s head, William Harvey, who came in after his successful Berlin Tunnel operation.

Harvey and Shackley submitted contingency plans for covert operations to the National Security Council for approval. There, a special group reviewed them and if approved, they went to “higher authority” – JFK and RFK for their approval.

Gordon Campbell was responsible for “Maritime Operations,” and a small fleet of ships and boats were assembled, including the larger “Rex” and “Ledia,” that carried smaller 20 foot motorized speed boats to the shores of Cuba where the Cuban commandos were infiltrated, deposited weapons and attacked economic targets.

General Victor “Brute” Krulak, then Special Assistant For Counterinsurgency and Special Activity,  was responsible for the military assistance to the CIA for covert operations. One of the things he did was assign two US Army Ranger Captains to JMWAVE to help train the Cuban – Capt. Bradley Ayers and Capt. Edward Roderick.

In a resume Bradley Ayers put together after he left the Army he described some of the training he underwent in the military and CIA: "Underwent Infantry and Army Ranger training where I received extensive training in the use of a variety of weapons and learned the techniques of self-defense.  Underwent Psychological (Warfare) Training where I received training in prisoner interrogation, use of psychological tools of intimidation, persuasion, analysis and profiling, propaganda, symbolism and semantics. Was assigned overseas (Germany)…..In preparation for and in connection with this assignment, I received specialized training in anti-terrorist tactics and counter-insurgency operations….I became involved in the use of electronic surveillance means and clandestine photography…" 

      Bradley Ayers: "...In early 1963 I was offered an opportunity (selected) for an undercover assignment with the Central Intelligence Agency (shown on service record as TDY Support Group, Washington, D.C.).  In this assignment I was trained in and practiced working undercover, with various cover identities and documentation and fictitious names, etc., in connection with various covert and clandestine activities and investigations. I also received additional training in anti-terrorist operations including evasive and counter-ambush driving. I used the techniques of clandestine trade craft to include surveillance, interrogation, surreptitious entry, photography, mail cover, secret writing, electronic surveillance, etc. I acquired agents and used informers. I also experienced the use of polygraph and utilized results from polygraph test in my work….I learned to function in a cellular structure in espionage and intelligence organization…."

[Thanks to Bart Kemp and Malcolm Blunt for the Ayers’ document]

The Cubans were broken down into small six to eight man teams that would each man a 20 foot boat. Ayers taught them small boat maneuvering and maintenance at a remote Everglades camp known as Pirates Lair, while Roderick and Jenkins (and possibly John “I.F.” Harper) taught the snipers at Point Mary, off Key Largo.

Shooting wasn't the only part of the sniper training, not even the most intense aspect of the training. Rather infiltration, camouflage and exfiltration and extraction were given more priority. 

Ayers’ team was lead by one Julio Fernandez, who would become entangled in the post assassination drama on the day after JFK's murder when he contacted one of their financial supporters Clare Booth Luce, and told her he had deep background and a recording of Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin.

Each of the teams were apparently “adopted” and supported by millionaires like Clare Booth Luce, Richard Paley and mobster John Rosselli.

Rosselli had been originally recruited by Robert Mahu to assist the CIA in getting rid of Castro and getting their hotel and casino interests back. Rosselli’s first CIA case officer Big Jim O’Connell, was replaced by William Harvey after the Bay of Pigs. Harvey and Rosselli became close friends and drinking partners over time. At JMWAVE Rosselli donned a US Army Colonel uniform, was known as “Colonel Rawlins" and was assigned to Roderick’s Point Mary sniper team.

In support of his team Rosselli requested and Shackley approved additional, untraceable CIA arms, ammunition and explosives that were delivered to the Cubans by a rented U-Haul trailer.

At one point William Harvey flew from Washington to deliver four poison pills to Rosselli, who gave them to Tony Varona to kill Castro. Then later Harvey and Ted Shackley, the chief of the JMWAVE base, drove a U-Haul truck filled with the requested arms to a parking lot in Miami and handed the keys to Rosselli.

In the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962, Harvey sent three Pathfinder commando teams into Cuba on missions that were to prepare for a possible invasion of Cuba, as the developing crisis was expected to require. But when RFK learned of Harvey’s unauthorized move he called the Pathfinders back, much to their chagrin. Then RFK fired Harvey for his insubordination, and Harvey was sent packing as CIA Chief of Station in Rome, where Clare Booth Luce and been ambassador and James Jesus Angleton had worked with the OSS during the war.

Harvey’s replacement as head of Task Force W – Desmond FitzGerald, later said that he was unaware of some of the operations that Harvey had been conducting and apparently continued even after he was reassigned. Harvey also maintained his close relationship with Rosselli, who he met in Florida in June 1963. They went drinking and dining and stayed at a fancy hotel, with Harvey picking up the tab and filing the bill as part of the ZR/RIFLE assassination program.

On September 25, 1963 Desmond FitzGerald briefed the Joint Chiefs of Staff on CIA Covert Operations against Cuba and among other items, mentioned that they were conducting a “detailed study” of the German military’s July 20, 1944 “Valkyrie” plot to kill Hitler to “develop an approach” to kill Castro.

According to a memo of the meeting, FitzGerald, “… commented that there was nothing new in the propaganda field. However, he felt that there had been great success in getting closer to the military personnel who might break with Castro, and stated that there were at least ten high-level military personnel who are talking with CIA but as yet are not talking to each other, since that degree of confidence has not yet developed. He considers it as a parallel in history; i.e., the plot to kill Hitler; and this plot is being studied in detail to develop an approach.”

This is the momo and the “detailed study” the Assassination Archives and Research Center filed a FOIA request for and is now the subject of a Supreme Court review and decision that should come in October, the next Supreme Court session.

 The Cuban commandos called their training instructors “Black Hats” because of the black baseball caps they wore. Besides Ayers, Roderick, Jenkins and Harper, one of the top Black Hat “trainers” was Rip Robertson, a real cowboy who was one of the few Americans to disobey orders and go ashore at the Bay of Pigs. According to CIA records released under the JFK Act, Robertson was well respected by the Cubans and on one mission, did a speedboat drive by of Raoul Castro’s beach side home, raking it with a 50 caliber machine gun.

According to the same CIA document, Carl Jenkins was responsible for the Pathfinder Plan, which was described as a sniper shooting of Castro as he drove by in an open jeep enroute to the former Dupont estate at Varadero, which he often did. That plan however, was “disapproved by higher authority,” even though the commandos were trained especially for it.

Carl Jenkins 

When Rosselli testified before Congress he told them that his commando team had been sent into Cuba three times and failed. The final time they were captured.

Both of the communist publications Oswald held in the Backyard Photos – the Trotyskite Militant and Moscow backed Worker contained articles about the official CIA commando raids against Cuba. Castro himself ranted about them in his interview with the Associated Press reporter Dan Harker at the Brazilian embassy the day after Rolando Cubella (AMLASH) met with CIA agents in Brazil to discuss assassinating Castro.

On November 1, 1963 the New York Times ran a front page story on the CIA raider ship “Rex,” that had deposited commandos in Cuba who were captured. The “Rex” was fired on by the Cubans but made it back to its Palm Beach port, just blocks from JFK’s house. The Times said the “Rex” was owned by Somoza of Nicaragua but leased to Collins Radio of Richardson, Texas for “electronics research.”

Castro paraded the captured commandos on TV, they admitted they were trained by the CIA, and their mission was to kill Castro. Their names are listed in Carlos Bringuier’s book “Red Friday.”

What became of the other Pathfinders once LBJ became president and put Cuba and Castro on the back burner? Jake Easterline replaced Shackley and was ordered to close down the base and its operations. 

What to do with the Cubans they had trained there? 

Cuban Commandos in the Congo 

CIA internal memos reflect the fact that the CIA officials thought it too expensive to train others down the line for similar operations, so they kept them on and just reassigned them to other missions – first in the Congo, then Dominican Republic, Vietnam and Nicaragua, where the same trainers and some of the Cubans trained the Nicaraguan Contras to fight the leftest Sandinistas, who had taken over Nicaragua after Somoza.

And two of those trainers – Carl Jenkins and John “I.F.” Harper, and some of their Pathfinder commandos including Felix Rodriguez - are still alive today, and I am going to try to talk to them.

July 16, 2020 - Updated July 19, 2020 

If you can please support JFKCountercoup research and my upcoming road trip to try to interview Jenkins, Harper and Rodriguez about these things.