Overview: the cia, the drug traffic, and oswald in mexico


New Revelations about Staff D, the DFS, and ZR/RIFLE



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New Revelations about Staff D, the DFS, and ZR/RIFLE


There are new revelations which strengthen the importance, in the ZR/RIFLE assassination nexus, of the Mexico City connection between Staff D and the DFS. The first is the importance of Mexico City to Staff D operations globally. As already noted, Mexico City was the site of the largest CIA intercept operations around the globe, as it afforded the CIA the opportunity to target one of the largest KGB outposts outside of the Soviet bloc.171 Anne Goodpasture, who supervised the intercept operations in the Mexico City station, was a member of Staff D. She was also a co-author of the suspect cable naming Oswald and Kostikov, MEXI 6453, which I have characterized as evidence of a conspiracy.

As Chief of Covert Action in the Mexico City CIA Station, and later as Chief of Cuban Operations, David Phillips oversaw these intercept operations. Simultaneously he held a second operational responsibility in the Special Affairs Staff, which in 1963 was co-ordinating all covert operations (including assassinations) against Castro. Some of these anti-Castro Cuban assets were based in Mexico City, and two of these in particular have been linked to the Kennedy assassination.

The first is Isidro (or Eusebio) Borja, the Mexican –born Cuban military chief of the exile group DRE, the Directorio Revolucionario Estudiantil. At the 1995 meeting in Nassau between Cuban and American students of the assassination, the Cubans reported that according to their files Borja was back in Mexico in 1962-63, as an asset of Phillips. This is quite credible, given Borja’s Mexican background, plus the DRE’s role in propaganda activities for the Bay of Pigs, for which Phillips was responsible.172

The Cubans, who had seen a photograph of Borja also suggested that Borja might have been the alleged Mexican observed in the photographs of Oswald leafleting in New Orleans.173 More relevant in my view is Borja’s responsibility for the DRE’s military arms procurement program in 1963, which brought the DRE to Dallas and possible contact (according to a book by Ray and Mary La Fontaine) with both Oswald and Jack Ruby.174 Of particular interest is the fact that arms were being supplied by a Captain of the U.S. Army at Fort Hood (Capt. George Nonte), the army base in Texas which for some reason maintained an intelligence file both on Oswald and his alias “A.J. Hidell.” 175 I shall have more to say about this DRE program, which impinged on the assassination in Chicago as well as Dallas, in Chapters XIV-XVI.###

The second of Phillips’ anti-Castro Cuban assets was Bernardo de Torres, the assassination suspect referred to by Gaeton Fonzi as “Carlos.” 176 De Torres also developed close relationships with the DFS and has been accused of smuggling drugs out of Mexico with the knowledge of Nazar Haro. 177

Bernardo de Torres has further been established as a contact of David Sanchez Morales.178 Morales was a CIA officer and killer who "was well known as the Agency's top assassin in Latin America." He also openly described Kennedy's conduct during the Bay of Pigs operation "as traición (betrayal)."179 According to a friend, Morales once ended an anti-Kennedy tirade with the words, "Well, we took care of that son of a bitch, didn't we?"180

Since the 1950s Morales' career had closely paralleled that of his friend David Phillips: in Caracas, on the Guatemala operation, on the Bay of Pigs, and by 1963 at the JM/WAVE station. Two witnesses have stated that when Morales was stationed at JM/WAVE in Miami, and Phillips in Mexico City, "Morales would frequently travel from... Miami to Mexico City."181 Two of Morales' friends said that Morales spoke of having taken part in the killing of Che Guevara (1967), and also of "a leader of the government in Chile" (either General Schneider in 1970 or President Allende in 1973).182 The former assassination at least would have been while under the direction of David Phillips, who was in charge of the CIA's program to prevent Allende from assuming office.183

But in 1963 Morales was also meeting with the former principals of the ZR/RIFLE plots, William Harvey and John Rosselli, for purposes which are unexplained, and were possibly unauthorized.184 Rosselli, an associate of Richard Cain from Chicago, had been the principal mob participant in the ZR/RIFLE project to assassinate Castro.185 But by 1963 Harvey, after infuriating both Robert Kennedy and CIA Director McCone, had been taken off anti-Castro operations and reassigned as CIA Station Chief in Rome. The FBI had Rosselli under close observation in 1963; and allegedly overheard him and Harvey indulge themselves "by saying nasty things about Bobby Kennedy."186

Another significant revelation is the presence in William Harvey's ZR/RIFLE files of Harold Meltzer, who in the 1940s helped build up the Mafia's Mexico City drug connection.187 According to Richard Mahoney,

In 1975, the Church Committee catalogued Harvey's ZR/RIFLE files and found the dossier of one Harold Meltzer, whom Harvey had described as "a resident of Los Angeles with a long criminal record." What the ZR/RIFLE memo did not say was that Meltzer was a longtime collaborator and sometime shooter for Rosselli. Who, if not Rosselli, would have introduced him and vouched for him to Harvey? It was yet another indication that the alliance between Harvey and Rosselli went far deeper than the one-shot joint venture to kill Castro. What sealed their relationship was a venomous hatred of the Kennedys, and their collaboration in the sensitive art of murder.188

And what Mahoney does not mention is that both FBN and FBI files linked the Mexican drug connection to Jack Ruby. Ruby's contacts with Mexican drugs are first reported in 1948, but seem to have been reactivated in 1963. At least one old collaborator of Meltzer in the Mexican drug traffic, Paul Roland Jones, contacted Ruby in Dallas just before the assassination.189

It is clear that throughout 1963, members like David Morales of the CIA’s Special Affairs Staff, designated to co-ordinate operations against Castro (including new assassination projects), maintained contact with Cuban and other enemies of the Kennedys. What has become clear only recently is that David Phillips, when he acquired his second role in the fall of 1963 as Chief of Cuban Operations in Mexico City, now answered in this capacity to the Special Affairs Staff.190 Phillips was in effect rejoining the officers he had worked with on the Bay of Pigs in 1961, at which time he had been responsible for propaganda operations against the newly-created Fair Play for Cuba Committee.191

From about October 1 to October 9 Phillips made a quick trip, authorized by the Special Affairs Staff, to Washington and then Miami.192 On October 1 the Mexico City CIA station also sent a cable directing that a diplomatic pouch, sent on October 1 to Washington, should be held in the registry until picked up by “Michael C. Choaden” (i.e. Phillips) presently TDY (temporary duty) HQS.”193194 The date October 1 catches our eye, inasmuch as it is the date of the alleged Oswald-Kostikov intercept. One is also struck by Phillips’ presence in the Miami JMWAVE station from October 7-9. There are reports that Rosselli, who had good standing in the JMWAVE station, met on two occasions in Miami in early October with Jack Ruby.195

Phillips’ trip coincides curiously with a significant change in the contents and handling of Oswald’s 201 file. Up to late September 1963, incoming documents about Oswald had been referred to the CI/OPS and SR/CI (Soviet Russia/Counterintelligence) desks.196 But there was a new addressee for the next Oswald document, an FBI Report of September 24 from New Orleans about Oswald’s arrest in August 9 after distributing Fair Play for Cuba leaflets. This was “Austin Horn” of SAS/CI (replacing the usual SR/CI), whose name appears next to the date stamp “8 Oct 1963.” This exclusion of SR/CI, coupled with the initial exclusion of the report (entitled “Lee Harvey Oswald”) from Oswald’s 201 file, helps explain how an unwitting member of the SR/CI staff (Stefan Roll) could clear an outgoing cable that stated, falsely, that

“Latest HDQS info [on Oswald] was ODACID [State Department] report dated May 1962 [!] saying ODACID had determined Oswald is still US citizen and both he and his Soviet wife have exit permits and Dept State had given approval for their travel with their infant child to USA.197

Of the six officers responsible for drafting and signing this important cable, only one, Jane Roman of CI/LS (Counterintelligence/Liaison), had seen the incoming FBI report of September 24 that disproved their text. In Chapter III### we shall investigate the probability that this dishonest cable was part of a CIA/CI operation.

Who was this “Austin Horn” who was privileged to see documents on Oswald denied to those who were drafting cables about him? We shall postpone to a later chapter the possibility, as yet still uncertain, that “Austin Horn” may in fact be David Phillips.

Whether he is or not, David Phillips is the one man who seems to cover all aspects of the CIA-Oswald operation and cover-up in 1963. David Phillips even had one friend, Gordon McLendon, in common with Jack Ruby. McLendon, a sometime intelligence officer and Dallas owner of radio stations, had known Phillips since both men were in their teens. (The two men would in the the 1970s join in forming the Association of Retired Intelligence Officers.) McLendon was close to two other wealthy men in Dallas who have attracted the attention of JFK researchers, Clint Murchison and Bedford Wynne.198

What has not yet been explained is why McLendon, whom Ruby described as one of his six closest friends, embarked on a sudden and surprising trip with his family to Mexico City in the fall of 1963.199



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