Monday, July 2, 2018

Gen. Edward G. Lansdale

Deposition of Edward G. Lansdale, Friday, May 16, 1975
NLF MR Case No. 93-16. Document No. #8.
Questioned by Rockefeller Commission counsel David Belin.
Declassified 8/4/94
Ford Presidential Library
27 pages.

.........“In regards to anti-Castro Cuban harassment raids against Cuba, Lansdale said that they would have been against the President’s policy after the October, 1962, and that of those individuals he knew who was working on such operations, a CIA officer he referred to as “Mr. Harvey” would have been the person most likely to have initiated such raids.”

Lansdale: “I remember most clearly from ’62 was the fact that it was definitely against the top executive policy to carry out harassing raids in Cuba, and I had exacted a promise and had given instructions in writing to CIA to cease and desist on that, not carry them out…..There might have been individuals there who would be inclined to know better than an outsider, and they might attempt something, but it’s just a feeling I had. I have not been able to pin it down specifically.”

Q: With reference to any particular individuals?

Lansdale: “It might have been Harvey. It might have been such a person.”

Q: You mean Harvey might have done something you feel without direction from above?

Lansdale: “Possibly so. That is why I gave him directions in writing. It was just a gut feeling I had dealing with him. With his Deputy, with his bosses there, I had no such feeling and I just singled out an individual I thought, just be doubly sure, I should do that.”

Wiki on Lansdale:

….Lansdale left Vietnam in 1957 and officially went to work for the Secretary of Defence in Washington. However, he was also employed as a senior officer in the Central Intelligence Agency. Posts held included: Deputy Assistant Secretary for Special Operations (1957-59), Staff Member of the President's Committee on Military Assistance (1959-61).

In March 1960, President Dwight Eisenhower of the United States approved a CIA plan to overthrow Fidel Castro. The plan involved a budget of $13 million to train "a paramilitary force outside Cuba for guerrilla action."

When President John F. Kennedy took office, Lansdale was appointed as Assistant Secretary of Defence for Special Operations. He argued that the CIA should work closely with exiles in Cuba, particularly those with middle-class professions, who had opposed Fulgencio Batista and had then become disillusioned with Fidel Castro because of his betrayal of the democratic process. Lansdale was also opposed to the Bay of Pigs operation because he knew that it would not trigger a popular uprising against Castro. Kennedy respected the advice of Lansdale and selected him to become project leader of Operation Mongoose.

Over 400 CIA officers were employed full-time on this project. Sidney Gottlieb of the CIA Technical Services Division was asked to come up with proposals that would undermine Castro's popularity with the Cuban people. Plans included a scheme to spray a television studio in which he was about to appear with an hallucinogenic drug and contaminating his shoes with thallium which they believed would cause the hair in his beard to fall out.

These schemes were rejected and instead Richard Bissell decided to arrange the assassination of Fidel Castro. In September 1960, Bissell and Allen W. Dulles, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), initiated talks with two leading figures of the Mafia, Johnny Roselliand Sam Giancana. Later, other crime bosses such as Carlos MarcelloSantos Trafficante and Meyer Lansky became involved in this plot against Castro.

Robert Maheu, a veteran of CIA counter-espionage activities, was instructed to offer the Mafia$150,000 to kill Fidel Castro. The advantage of employing the Mafia for this work is that it provided CIA with a credible cover story. The Mafia were known to be angry with Castro for closing down their profitable brothels and casinos in Cuba. If the assassins were killed or captured the media would accept that the Mafia were working on their own.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation had to be brought into this plan as part of the deal involved protection against investigations against the Mafia in the United States. Castro was later to complain that there were twenty ClA-sponsered attempts on his life. Eventually Johnny Roselli and his friends became convinced that the Cuban revolution could not be reversed by simply removing its leader. However, they continued to play along with this CIA plot in order to prevent them being prosecuted for criminal offences committed in the United States.

Lansdale later claimed that John F. Kennedy asked him to draft a contingency plan to overthrow Fidel Castro. But he added that the idea had not been viable because it depended on recruiting Cuban exiles to generate an uprising in Cuba, something that he said was impossible.

In 1963 Kennedy asked Lansdale to concentrate on the situation in Vietnam. However, it was not long before Lansdale was in conflict with General Maxwell Taylor, who was the military representative to the president. Taylor took the view that the war could be won by military power. He argued in the summer of 1963 that 40,000 US troops could clean up the Vietminhthreat in Vietnam and another 120,000 would be sufficient to cope with any possible North Vietnamese or Chinese intervention.

Lansdale disagreed with this viewpoint.

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