Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Rolando Cubela - aka AMLASH


Rolando Cubela was born in Cuba. He trained as a doctor but as a student he became very involved in politics. A strong opponent of Fulgencio Batista, Cubela joined the Directo Revolucionario. In 1956 he assassinated Antonio Blanci Rico, the head of Batista's security forces.

Cubela joined the rebellion led by Fidel Castro and was involved in capturing the Presidential Palace in Havana. At first, Cubela and the Directo Revolucionario refused to surrender the building to Che Guevara but eventually it was turned over to the new revolutionary government.

Cubela was given the highest rank in the Cuban Army. Later he became an official in Castro's government and was leader of Cuba's International Federation of Students.

In March 1961 Cubela approached the Central Intelligence Agency about defecting to the United States. He was persuaded to work for them as an uncover agent in Cuba. He was given the code name AM/LASH and reported to JM/WAVE. However, Joseph Langosch, of the Special Affairs Staff, suspected that Cubela was a "dangle" (a double agent recruited by Castro to penetrate the American plots against him". This idea was reinforced when Cubela refused to take a lie-detector test.

In September, 1963, Cubela had a meeting with the CIA in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It was suggested that Cubela should assassinate Fidel Castro. According to a CIA report Cubela asked for a meeting with Robert Kennedy: "for assurances of U.S. moral support for any activity Cubela under took in Cuba." This was not possible but , Chief of the Cuban Task Force, agreed to meet Cubela. Ted Shackley was opposed to the idea as he was now convinced that Cubela was a double-agent.

FitzGerald and Nestor Sanchez met Cubela met in Paris on 29th October, 1963. Cubela requested a "high-powered, silenced rifle with an effective range of hundreds of thousands of yards" in order to kill Fidel Castro. The CIA refused and instead insisted on Cubela used poison. On 22nd November, 1963, FitzGerald handed over a pen/syringe. He was told to use Black Leaf 40 (a deadly poison) to kill Castro. As Cubela was leaving the meeting, he was informed that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated.

Cubela was now put in touch with Manuel Artime. They met for the first time on 27th December, 1964. At the Madrid meeting Cubela again asked for a FAL rifle and silencer. A CIA report suggests that a "Belgian FAL rifle with silencer" was given to Cubela on 11th February, 1965.

On 23rd June, 1965, the CIA sent out a cable to all stations directing termination of all contact with Cubela and his associates. It stated that there was "convincing proof that entire AMLASH group insecure and that further contact with key members of group constitutes menace to CIA operations against Cuba as well as to the security of CIA staff personnel in western Europe." The CIA had been informed that one of Cubela's associates was having secret meetings with Cuba intelligence.

Eladio del Valle had also told the CIA that Cubela was secretly in league with Santo Trafficante. It is claimed that Desmond FitzGerald came to the conclusion that Trafficante was feeding back information to Fidel Castro in the hope of recovering his gambling dynasty.

Cubela and Major Ramon Guin were arrested by the Cuban security police on 1st March, 1966. The trial of Cubela took place on 8th March. It was claimed that Cubela and his associates confessed to having planned the assassination of Fidel Castro.

Rolando Cubela in 2005

The chief witness was Juan Feliafel. A member of Cuban intelligence he had been instructed in 1963 to go to Miami, pose as an exile, and infiltrate the anti-Castro movement. This was successful and he was sent on seventeen missions to Cuba. On the eighteenth mission Feliafel stayed in Cuba and provided evidence about Cubela's plans to assassinate Castro. Cubela was sentenced to death but this was never carried out. It was reported that Fidel Castro used to send books to Cubela while he was in prison.

Rolando Cubela was eventually allowed to leave Cuba and now lives in Spain.

By John Simkin ( © September 1997 (updated August 2014).
Primary Sources

(1) CIA Inspector General's Report on Plots to Assassinate Fidel Castro (1967)

Desmond FitzGerald, then Chief, SAS, who was going to Paris on other business, arranged to meet with Cubela to give him the assurances he sought. The contact plan for the meeting, a copy of which is in the AMLASH file, has this to say on cover: "FitzGerald will represent self as personal representative of Robert F. Kennedy who traveled Paris for specific purpose meeting Cubela and giving him assurances of full U.S. support if there is change of the present government in Cuba."

According to FitzGerald, he discussed the planned meeting with the DD/P (Helms) who decided it was not necessary to seek approval from Robert Kennedy for FitzGerald to speak in his name.

The Cubans were notoriously leaky, while Castro's security service, the DGI, had been well trained by the East Germans, who had a knack for working double agents."

Shortly before FitzGerald was due to leave for Paris to meet AMLASH, Sam Halpern walked in on a shouting match between his boss and the SAS counterintelligence (CI) officer. "The CI man was telling Des not to go to Paris. He felt Cubela was a dangle, or that he'd talk to his friends. It was a real collision. The CI man wouldn't give and Des wouldn't give." FitzGerald decided to go anyway.

In Miami, Ted Shackley was equally frustrated. "I told Des that it was something he shouldn't do. 'If AMLASH does do something,' I told him, 'it's quite likely they'll track you down. You have a high profile. What are you going to get out of this? The only thing you'll get is the satisfaction of saying you saw the guy!' " said Shackley. "Des shrugged and went on his merry way."

FitzGerald's boss, Richard Helms, "shared the qualms (of the SAS staff)." As the head of the clandestine service, he could have vetoed the trip. "But," Helms later explained, "I was also getting my ass beaten. You should have enjoyed the experience of Bobby Kennedy rampant on your back." Helms signed off on FitzGerald's meeting with Cubela. Although FitzGerald was going in Robert Kennedy's name, Richard Helms decided it was "unnecessary" to tell the attorney general, whom he regarded as an even greater risk-taker than FitzGerald. "Bobby wouldn't have backed away," said Helms. "He probably would have gone himself." It shows the level of pressure felt by the CIA that Helms, normally careful to cover his back, didn't even bother to get Kennedy's authorization.

(3) FBIS report (8th March, 1966)

Cubela during his stay in Europe makes three trips to Spain, on 26 December 1964, and on 6 and 20 February 1965. The revolutionary ringleader Artime goes to Madrid at the beginning of February 1965. A meeting is held between Cubela and Artime in which they agree on the final plan.

This plan would begin with a personal attack aimed at Maj. Fidel Castro Ruz. This criminal act would be followed by an armed invasion of the country 48 hours later by US troops. The attack against Comrade Fidel Castro would be made using a 7.62mm FAL rifle that Cubela owned. This weapon would be fitted with a powerful 4x40 telescopic sight and a silencer.

Artime sent Gallego to the United States to get the telescopic sight and the silencer. Once obtained, this equipment was delivered to Blanco Romariz. He in turn delivered it to Gonzalez Gallarreta who then delivered it to Cubela the day before he left Madrid.

In order to insure the success of his plans, Cubela meets with defendant Guin. Guin had been recruited since September 1963 as a spy for the Yankee CIA. This recruiting was done by CIA agent Miguel Diaz who infiltrated Cuba in order to recruit him, and did so.

Seized in Cubela's residence was a Tasco brand telescopic sight with accessories, the FAL rifle, large quantities of weapons and ammunition for them, fragmentation and incendiary grenades, and other military equipment and materiel.

In September 1963, just two months before the assassination, Cuban UN Ambassador Lechuga was contacted by one of Kennedy's trusted UN delegates, William Attwood. "He told me this was a private interview," Lechuga recalls. "We spoke on three occasions, trying to break the ice between our countries. Attwood said we should begin a dialogue. He said the idea came from Kennedy, but that we should keep the conversations secret because if the Republicans found out there would be a huge scandal in Congress."

Lechuga says he was surprised by the American approach, because exile raids and efforts to destabilize Cuba were continuing. Adds Escalante: "There was a double track happening. One path was continued sabotage and isolation of Cuba, to force us to sit down at the negotiating table under very disadvantageous conditions. So the Cuban government took its time to deeply study Attwood's proposal. In our view, one strategy was coming from the Administration and another from the CIA, the exiles and the Mafia." The Cubans are convinced that word about the secret talks leaked out, and sparked a conspiracy to kill the American President and invade Cuba.

In September 1963, Rolando Cubela travelled to Brazil to meet with CIA contacts about killing Castro. Simultaneously, an American journalist, Daniel Harker, interviewed Castro at a gathering inside Havana's Brazilian Embassy. Harker's article quoted Castro saying: "United States leaders should think that if they assist in terrorist plans to eliminate Cuban leaders, they themselves will not be safe." The story, widely disseminated in the US press, would be used by right-wing elements as evidence that Cuba was behind the assassination.

But Escalante says the article was a distortion. He says what Castro really stated was: "American leaders should be careful because [the anti-Castro operations] were something nobody could control." He was not threatening JFK, but warning him.

In late September that year, Oswald left New Orleans for Mexico City. On the way, he showed up in Dallas at the door of Cuban exile Silvia Odio, in the company of two Latins who identified themselves as "Angel" and "Leopoldo," who told Odio they were soliciting funds for the Revolutionary Junta (JURE), Odio's exile organization. After the visit, according to Odio, "Leopoldo" telephoned her and described their US companion as "kind of loco. He could go either way. He could do anything - like getting underground in Cuba, like killing Castro. He says we should have shot President Kennedy after the Bay of Pigs."

The Cuban hypothesis is that the Odio incident had a dual design. JURE was run by Manuel Ray, a moderate exile leader opposed by the CIA but in close touch with the Kennedy Administration. But the Cubans say "Angel" and "Leopoldo" were agents from the right-wing exile group Revolutionary Student Directorate (DRE), which operated under the CIA's direction. It was the DRE's propagandists who actively sought to tie Oswald to Cuba immediately after the assassination. Escalante offered a possible identification of "Angel" as DRE leader Isidro Borja, who closely resembled a man seen standing behind Oswald in a famous photo, helping him pass out "Fair Play for Cuba" leaflets in New Orleans.

Then on September 27, 1963, Oswald showed up three times at the Cuban consulate in Mexico City, seeking an immediate visa to visit the island. He also visited the Soviet embassy on the same day. (Some researchers believe this could have been an imposter "Oswald", but the Cubans say it was the real Oswald.) Oswald's request was turned down. He angrily stormed out, and shortly returned to Dallas. Says Escalante: "We believe Oswald was acting according to plan - to travel to Cuba for a few days, in order to appear as a Cuban agent after the assassination. Escalante further claims that when that plan failed, the CIA's David Phillips arranged to have letters addressed to Oswald from Havana. On the final day of the 1995 Nassau conference, a slide-show depicted five letters addressed to Oswald from Cuba; two dated before the assassination, three immediately after. One of these letters, intercepted by Cuban authorities, was dated November 14, 1963 and addressed to "Lee Harvey Oswald, Royalton Hotel, Miami" (where Oswald never, in fact, stayed). It was signed "Jorge". According to Arturo Rodriguez, "The text was of a conspiratorial character. It was written on the same kind of typewriter as the two others, which the FBI has concluded were composed on the same machine. We think all these letters were written by the same person--as part of a plan to blame our country for the assassination."

Felipe Vidal Santiago told Cuban intelligence that on the weekend before the assassination, he was invited to a meeting in Dallas by the CIA's Colonel William Bishop. "It was supposed to be a meeting with a few wealthy people to talk about financing anti-Castro operations," says Escalante. Bishop left on his own "for interviews" numerous times during their stay in Dallas. After approximately four days they returned to Miami.
Not long before his death in 1993, Col. Bishop confirmed to this writer that he had knowledge of the JFK plot. The Cubans indicate that the Vidal-Bishop Dallas trip concerned plans for re-taking the island once Castro's people had been implicated in the assassination. Escalante surmises: "Oswald was an intelligence agent of the US-CIA, FBI, military, or all of these, we don't know. He was manipulated, told he was penetrating a group of Cuban agents that wanted to kill Kennedy. But from the very beginning, he was to be the element to blame Cuba."

"Not less than 15 persons took part in the assassination," Escalante theorizes. "At the same time, knowing a little about CIA operations, we see how they used the principle of decentralized operations - independent parties with a specific role, to guarantee compartmentalization and to keep it simple."

In March and June 1964 the JMWAVE station in Miami dispatched two separate arms caches to Cuba for Cubela as part of the ongoing AMTRUNK operation, which was targeted at military officials. In May Cubela let it be known he wanted a silencer for a Belgian FAL submachine gun as soon as possible. But it first had to be modified and there wasn't time to do it for the June cache. Cubela was subsequently notified that it was not feasible to make a silencer for a FAL. By late 1964 Cubela was increasingly insistent that assassination was a necessary first step in a coup. In a memorandum, Sanchez suggested Cubela be put in touch with Artime. The memo said: "AM/LASH was told and fully understands that the United States Government cannot become involved to any degree in the `first step' of his plan. If he needs support, he realizes he will have to get it elsewhere. FYI: This is where B-1 [Artime] could fit in nicely in giving any support he would request."

The CIA's seven-page November 5 memo to the 303 Committee is essentially a review of the Artime operation until that time and the agency recommendations for the operation, concluding with the recommendation to continue it in conjunction with Cubela. Following the Sierra Aranzazu incident, Artime suspended operations until after President Johnson's victory in the November presidential election. Despite news reports to the contrary, the agency said Artime had "maintained close contact and good relations" with top officials in both Nicaragua and Costa Rica, "where he continues to receive their complete cooperation and support." Enrique Peralta, Guatemala's military president, had invited him to a meeting. "President Robles of Panama has promised Artime his full cooperation and any support he may need," and "President Reid of the Dominican Republic provided Artime a forward operating base in his country. Artime is in the process of surveying the base site." The memo then got to the crux of the matter.

"As a result of the publicity Artime received over the past year for his anti-Castro activity and the fact that at present he is considered the strongest of the active Cuban exile groups, an internal dissident group established contact with him and proposed joining forces," the CIA reported. "An emissary from the internal dissident group met with one of Artime's representatives in Europe in early October 1964 and proposed a 'summit' meeting between Artime and their 'top guy' as soon as the latter can travel to Europe, probably between 15 and 30 November 1964."

The CIA memo reported that Artime and his aides had come to the conclusion that the internal dissidents included at least a half-dozen prominent revolutionary figures, among them Efigenio Ameijeiras, Juan Almeida, and Faustino Perez, all of whom were with Castro aboard the Granma when it sailed from Mexico to Cuba in late 1956 to begin the guerrilla campaign against Batista. "Reports from independent sources confirm the discontent of this particular group," the memo reported. "In late 1963 an Agency representative had several meetings with a Cuban officer [Cubela] closely associated with this group who reported their anti-regime feelings and plans for a coup against Castro with the support of this group. It is known that the emissary who established contact with Artime's representative is a confidant of this officer."

In urging continued,support for Artime in light of the Cubela connection, the CIA argued:
"Whereas the incident of the Sierra Aranzazu raised serious doubts about the desirability of continued support to Artime, the contact of Artime by a potentially significant internal dissident group introduces an entirely new dimension to the problem. It is believed that within sixty to ninety days a reasonable evaluation of the potential and plans of the internal group can be made. Therefore, it appears desirable to defer any final decision on support (if any) to Artime until we have the opportunity to evaluate the potential of the internal group. It is assumed that the internal group established contact with Artime because of their belief that his paramilitary capability is based on close relations with the United States. Hence, if Artime is to maintain his attractiveness and continue developing this contact, it is necessary for Artime to maintain a good facade in terms of his paramilitary capability. While we feel it is desirable to give Artime every opportunity to develop an operation with the internal group, we believe the groundwork should be laid for a phase out of support to the paramilitary aspect of the program. Artime will be unhappy with any decision to terminate support regardless of how such a decision is implemented, but we believe a negotiated phase out dovetailed with support to develop the internal operation will reduce the number of problems and best protect the deniability of United States complicity in the operation, provided Artime cooperates."

It recommended:

"a. Artime concentrate on developing the internal operation, maintaining his paramilitary posture to the degree necessary to preserve his attractiveness to the internal group.
b. Support to Artime at approximately the present level be continued for the next sixty to ninety days in order to give Artime an opportunity to develop an operation with the dissident internal group which has sought him out.
c. Should it be considered vital in order to maintain his attractiveness to the internal group and hold his own group together, permit Artime to conduct one raid and plan but not execute at least one more during this period."

The November 5 memo gave no indication how contact between Artime and Cubela might have been contrived to put them together "in such a way that neither of them knew that the contact had been made by the CIA." There also is a discrepancy as to when the initial contact with the Artime group was made. The Church Committee report said "documents in the AM/LASH file establish that in early 1965, the CIA put AM/ LASH in contact with B-1 [Artime], the leader of an anti-Castro group."

The November 5 memo said the contact was made in October 1964. A chronology in the CIA inspector general's 1967 report on assassination plots, said that Artime "received information through Madrid" on August 30, 1964, "that a group of dissident members of the Castro regime desired to establish direct contact" with him. On October 7, 1964, "an Artime associate [Quintero] went to France for a meeting with an intermediary from the dissident group."

Then, on November 13, the CIA chronology cites a contact report of a meeting in Washington with Artime: "Artime agreed to talk to AMLASH1 [Cubela] if it turns out that he is the contact man for the dissident group. Artime thinks that if AMLASH-1 is the chief of the dissident group we can all forget about the operation." Three weeks later, on December 4, a request was prepared "for $6,500 as an extraordinary budget expenditure for the travel of Artime for maintaining contact with the internal dissident group's representative in Europe during November and December 1964. There is no direct indication in the file that the request was approved, but indirect evidence indicates that it was. Artime did travel to Europe and maintained the contacts."

Sanchez, the CIA's AMLASH case officer, met Cubela again in Paris on December 6-7. On December 10 he reported in a memo: "Artime does not know and we do not plan to tell him that we are in direct contact with Cubela [one and one-half lines censored; presumably referring to assassination/coup plot].... Cubela was told and fully understands that U.S. Government cannot become involved to any degree in the 'first step' of his plan. If he needs support, he realizes he will have to get it elsewhere. FYI: This is where Artime could fit in nicely in giving any support Cubela would request." A parenthetical note follows with comment from the investigators, which says:

"Sanchez explained to us that what had happened was that SAS [CIA's Special Affairs Staff] contrived to put Artime and Cubela together in such a way that neither knew that the contact had been engineered by CIA. The thought was that Artime needed a man inside and Cubela wanted a silenced weapon, which CIA was unwilling to furnish to him directly. By putting the two together, Artime might get his man inside and Cubela might get his silenced weapon-from Artime. CIA did not intend to furnish an assassination weapon for Artime, and did not do so."'

Washington obviously considered an internal coup the last-best hope it had of unseating Castro; so much so that by year's end representatives of the CIA, Defense, and State had prepared "A Contingency Plan for a Coup in Cuba" and what the U.S. response would be. They sent it to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. A December 30, 1964, cover letter signed by Cyrus Vance noted, "Bundy has been advised ... and requested to inform the President of the existence of the plan on a suitable occasion." As foreseen in the plan, the U.S. response would vary depending on whether it had "up to forty-eight hours" advance notice of the coup. If so, it would then send in a "special team" to make a decision on whether to provide support; otherwise "a longer time would be required." 

The plan laid out the criteria that had to be met for U.S. support:

"(1) Have some power base in the Cuban army or militia in order to survive.

(2) Be prepared to establish a provisional government, however rudimentary, with some sort of public claim to political viability to provide an adequate political basis for covert U.S. action (not required if Soviet troops
were clearly fighting Cuban patriots).

(3) Neutralize the top echelon of Cuban leadership.

(4) Seize and hold significant piece of territory, preferably including Havana, long enough to permit the United States plausibly to extend support and some form of recognition to the provisional government.
The contingency plan emphasized, "The US does not contemplate either a premeditated full scale invasion of Cuba (except in the case of Soviet intervention or the reintroduction of offensive weapons) or the contrivance of a provocation which could be used as a pretext for such action."

Quintero, the MRR representative who made the initial contact with the internal dissidents and was the first to meet with Cubela, said the link began with Alberto Blanco, one of the dissidents on the Cuban embassy staff in Madrid. Quintero said he went to Mallorca to talk with a ship captain about hijacking a passenger liner as Portuguese rebels had done three years earlier with the Santa Maria off the coast of Brazil. When he got back to Madrid from Mallorca, "Cuco" Leon, a former Cuban legislator who was friendly with Somoza, told him "there's a bigger thing here than that... a big comandante in Cuba, they're planning a plot against Cuba." The hijacking plan was canceled "in order not to get any kind of publicity that could hurt the operation with Cubela." The August 30 meeting with Blanco was arranged for Paris, beginning the MRR relationship with the Cubela dissidents.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Arnold M. Silver Army - CIA

 NOTE: Silver's name was redacted in some of the early records released under the JFK Act, but his name bleeded through some of the whited out redactions so I could read it. - His significance centers around the debriefing of Nazi Paperclip scientists and Skorzeny, who one of the JMWAVE Cubans visited in Spain in the course of the CIA-Mafia plots to kill Castro.]

Arnold M. Silver

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Arnold M. Silver was a senior CIA operations officer. A Boston native, he died of multiple myeloma on December 16, 1993 in the age of 74 at his home in Luxembourg City. During his years of service he worked in Austria, Luxembourg, Germany, Turkey and the US.


Silver graduated at Tufts University and received a master's degree in German philology from Harvard University in 1942. During the second world war he participated in the Normandy landings and later became a prisoner-of-war interrogator (IPW), first in the IPW team of the 66th Infantry Division. In September 1945 he joined the IPW team in Oberursel, near Frankfurt-am-Main, at the 7707th European Intelligence Center, also referred to as Camp King. "Oberursel", as the camp was most frequently called, became the Army's center for detailed interrogation of former Nazi military personnel, émigré personalities and potential Sovjet informants.

Many of the Paperclip scientists were recruited there and it was Silver's task to interrogate persons such as Otto Skorzeny, Walter Schellenberg and Richard Kauder (alias Klatt).

After Skorzeny was acquitted of war crimes by a military court in Dachau in 1946, he was sent to Oberursel until a decision would be made what to do with him. After several interrogations by Silver, it was decided that he resettled to Spain:

G-2 and USFET (US Forces, European Theater) in Frankfurt concurred in my recommendation that he be resettled there. He became a rather successful entrepreneur in Madrid, but for years afterwards - I think I last heard about him in 1961 - he approached each succeeding US Air Force attaché in Madrid with an offer to build a network of agents in the USSR for the United States. What surprised me (or did it?) was the fact that each succeeding Air Force attaché recommened [sic] to the Pentagon that Skorzeny be taken up on his offer, although there was not the slightest shred of evidence that he had the capability of the know-how to implement his proposal. The Pentagon rejected each of the recommendations from Madrid.[1]

About his time at Oberursel, Silver writes:

As a result of their interrogations of defectors from the Soviet and East European intelligence services, as well as arrested agents of these services, the interrogators in the counterintelligence section of Oberursel became experts on the services, especially the Soviet state security service (MGB at the time, then KGB) ad, to a much lesser extent, the Soviet Military intelligence Service (GRU).[2]

In 1948, he retired from the Army as a technical sergeant and joined the CIA, founded one year before. Silver became CIA Chief of Station in Luxembourg from 1957-1960.


He retired from the CIA in 1978 and settled in Luxembourg, but continued publishing articles on European and Soviet affairs in newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal and the Herald Tribune.[3]

He died on December 16, 1993, of multiple myeloma at his home in Luxembourg City. He was survived by this wife, the former Annemarie Rassbach.


Arnold M. Silver, Memories of Oberursel - Questions, Questions, Questions (Intelligence & National Security, Vol.8, Nr.2, April 1993)

Arnold M. Silver, Memories of Oberursel - Questions, Questions, Questions (Intelligence & National Security, Vol.8, Nr.2, April 1993)

Arnold M. Silver'. Washington Post, 19 Dec 1993

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Miguel Angel Orozco Crespo - AMTABBY-15

Cryptonym: AMTABBY-15

Miguel Angel Orozco Crespo


FBI letterhead memo, 11/15/62: An article in El Mundo, 11/15/62, entitled "Chief of Saboteurs Arrested Upon Arrival from United States", had another headline stating "Four Hundred Miners Would Have Died If The Terrorist Plan Had Succeeded". "According to this article, the Cuban State Security Department had disclosed the arrest of Miguel Angel Orozco Crespo and two groups of saboteurs who had landed clandestinely in Cuba under the direction of the (CIA) to carry out acts of sabotage and espionage. The saboteurs were ordered to destroy the mines at Matahambre and Nicaro and other major industrial installations in Cuba...Orozco Crespo, a former lieutenant in the Batista Army, left no doubt of the sinister plans of the United States to commit criminal acts in Cuba."

A major paramilitary operation consisting of numerous sabotage operations against on-island targets in Cuba. At least some of these operations were reviewed and approved by the Special Group (Augmented). "Part of the AMTABBY net was wrapped up by Castro in 11/2/62, at which time AMTABBY-15 and AMTABBY-23 were captured. Castro claimed that AMTABBY-15 was the CIA's principal agent in Cuba." For minor sabotage operations, no OK from JFK was necessary. For MONGOOSE-size major operations, presidential approval was required. "Part of the AMTABBY net was wrapped up by Castro on (handwritten: 11/2/62), at which time AMTABBY-15 and AMTABBY-23 were captured. Castro claimed that AMTABBY-15 was the CIA's principal agent in Cuba...While the Cubans were unaware of the name MONGOOSE, they did refer to the operation AMTABBY-15 was involved in as Operation CUPID (handwritten note: How did AMTABBY-15 know this?) The Cubans were also aware of Robert Wall and were led to believe that he was a close friend of Robert Kennedy. (Typed note: Is this true? -- Handwritten note: No.) AMTABBY-15 also told the Cubans and was told (by whom?) that all sabotage plans were to be on a small scale and were not to compromise President Kennedy (a note on this memo says 'What can we say?') AMTABBY-15 went on to say that all large operations i.e. MONGOOSE/CUPID needed the approval of President Kennedy - how he knew this is unknown????"

Fabian Escalante, The Secret War (Ocean Press, 1995)

(114-115): "(By) the final months of 1961...a study of the Cuban scene led (CIA) to the false belief that the most favorable territories for the uprising (included) intricate mountain ranges which could harbor a strong and well-supplied guerrilla nucleus, distant from urban centers, scarce means of communication, and a rural population sufficiently backward culturally and politically to be easily susceptible to indoctrination by of the CIA's priorities was the reorganization of the internal front. The counterrevolutionary groups and bands were structures that already existed and should be used...William Harvey met with several of these agents during the early days of 1962, to personally instruct them in the tasks they were to carry out. 

These included Manuel Guillot Castellanos (AMBRONC-5), Julio Hernandez Rojo (AMOT-99), Esteban Marquez Novo (probably AMBANTY-1, head of what was called AMCOBRA in 1962, Felix Rodriguez (present for Che's death), Eugenio Martinez (the Watergate burglar), Clemente Inclan Werner, Luis Hernandez Rocha (AMHINT-53), Miguel and Ramon Orozco, Alberto del Busto, Pedro Cameron and Manuel del Valle...Guillot, Marquez Novo, Fernandez Rocha, Cameron and Del Valle would be infiltrated into Cuba to organize the counterrevolution, while the rest would take charge of marine supply. Of all of them, the greatest hope was placed in Guillot Castellanos." (pp. 145-146); ...agents Miguel Orozco Crespo and Pedro Vera Ortiz were arrested in the Malas Aguas Farm in the municipality of Vinales in Pinar del Rio province. After his capture, Orozco Crespo said he had conducted 25 similar special missions against Cuba in 1962 , and that his chiefs in Florida were CIA officers, "Rip" Robertson and Robert Wall. (William "Rip" Robertson was one of the Americans who landed with the mercenary brigade of Playa Girón, on April 17, 1961 ). He also said that he had recruited people for Alpha-66 and participated in the training of these forces.

"In Washington, during the investigation into the CIA's handling of the invasion, (Rip) Robertson appeared as a witness and talked at length with Robert Kennedy. He told his Cuban commandos that Kennedy was all right, which they took as a high compliment, since Robertson hated all politicians...Ramon Orozco, one of his commandos, remembers what the paramilitary operations were like: "After the Bay of Pigs...I was on one of his teams, but he controlled many teams and many operations. And everything was good through 1963. Our team made more than seven big war missions. Some of them were huge: the attack on the Texaco refinery, the Russian ships in Oriente province, a big lumber yard, the Patrice Lumumba sulfuric acid plant in Santa Lucia, and the diesel plant in the end of December, 1961, (Orozco and other commandos) sought to escape in a rubber boat where Rip and (Rolando Martinez, one of the Watergate burglars) waited for them...Rip loaded a rubber boat with rockets and recoilless rifles, ordered another commando, Nestor Izquierdo, to get in with him, and then motored up and down the coast looking for signs of his men. He was back on Martinez' ship when Orozco called him from the shore...(Robertson's) superiors became so angry that they resorted to ordering the Cuban boat captains not to allow him to board the intermediary ships that took the teams to the shore...Rip Robertson and his paramilitary cowboys (later) joined in the (Vietnam) effort and helped run the Phoenix program."


Bill Simpich

Sylvia Odio 1976


RELEASED PER P. L. 102-526 (JFK ACT) 5-2-96
Notes – Silvia Odio interviewed 1/16/76

She first heard of the Kennedy assassination on the radio while on the way back from lunch and she immediately thought of the visit of the three men to her apartment and the conversation she had with them.

It produced a tremendous amount of fear in her and she later passed out. (She had been under mental strain of marital problems and the responsibility of caring for her four children after her husband deserted her.)

The next thing she remembered was watching television with her sister and seeing Oswald and both recognizing him as one of the men who came to the apartment. "We were just so scared because we both recognized him immediately." They both were extremely frightened and very anxious about the welfare of their eight brothers and sisters (10 children in the family) and their mother and father in prison in Cuba and, since they didn't know what was going on or whether or not there had been a conspiracy of many involved in the assassination, they both decided not to bring their experience to the attention of the authorities. ("I never wanted to go to them, I was afraid. I was young at the time, I was recently divorced, I had young children, I was going through hell. Besides, it was such a responsibility to get involved because who is going to believe you, who is going to believe that I had Oswald in my house? I was scared and my sister Annie was very scared at the time, she was only 14.)


She recalls when she was interviewed by (FBI Agent James) Hosty that he kept pressing her to remember the specific day that the three men came to her apartment and she couldn't specifically remember. Still they kept pushing her for the exact date. (I kept telling them that I don't remember the date but I know that it was in the last days of September because we were moving at the time and that we had boxes all over the living room and that in order to open the door we had to jump all over the boxes. But I could swear I don't remember the day, but when I read the Report I found they had set a day and that they had done it for me.") ("I only remember it must have been the last days of September because we had already a lease for another apartment and that it was the middle of the week, not a Saturday or Sunday.")

She says she doesn't specifically remember being asked about Loran Hall, Lawrence Howard or William Seymour but she was shown numerous photographs, many even after she had moved to Miami in September of 1964, but was never told the names of anyone whose photograph she was shown. She recognized no one but Oswald. (I showed her photographs of Hall, Howard and Seymour which were in Tattler, Sept. ‘75, and she recognized none of them.) I asked her about the possibility that it might have been someone who looked identical to Oswald.

She said, "When you see someone as close as I'm seeing you now, even closer because we were standing by my door for about 15 minutes and the light was just coming down upon their faces, when I saw him on television I recognized him immediately. And this guy had a special grin, a kind of funny smile. He kept smiling most of the time, he kept trying to be pleasant, but the other guys did all the talking."

"Well, you know if we do find out that this is a conspiracy you know that we have orders from Chief Justice Warren to cover this thing up."

She remembers specifically that he was introduced to her as "Leon Oswald," and he himself said, "My name is Leon Oswald."

She says the thing she remembers most about one of the guys is that he had a "funny kind of forehead. It just sort of went back, with no hair on the side. It was peculiar and it's hard to explain."

She has the feeling, also, that the three men wanted her to know that they were going on a trip, that they specifically mentioned that they were going on a trip.

She wrote her father and told him of the men but he said he didn't know them and not to trust anyone.
She also told her psychiatrist, a Dr. Einspruch, then at Southwestern Medical School, of the incident.


She wonders why, after she was questioned by the FBI, they waited so long to call her back. It wasn't until the middle of the summer that Liebeler came to Dallas to question her.

She asked how candid she could be with me and I said I wished she would be totally candid. She said she could say something but she's afraid she could get in trouble because it would be only her word, although she would swear to it. She said she hasn't told this to anyone except a Mr. Martin Phillips who came to talk to her about putting her on Dan Rather's CBS assassination special television show. She refused to [go] on the show but she did talk to Phillips. She said she told part of this story to Phillips but has never mentioned it to anyone else.

She said that after Liebeler questioned her for the second time that day (the first interrogation started at 9 a.m.; the second at 6:30 p.m.) he asked her out to dinner.

"That surprised me, but I was afraid and I went. We didn't go out alone. We went out with someone who was supposed to be Marina Oswald's lawyer. I don't remember his name, but Mr. Phillips from CBS knew. We went to the Sheraton to eat dinner. I thought perhaps there was something behind it and there was a kind of double talk at the table between the lawyer and him. I wasn't sure they wanted me to hear the conversation or they wanted to convince me of something or wanted me to volunteer something. He (Liebeler) kept threatening me with a lie detector test also, even though he knew I was under tremendous stress at the time. But one thing he said, and this has always bothered me, he said to this other gentleman, I don't remember his name, he said, "Well, you know if we do find out that this is a conspiracy you know that we have orders from Chief Justice Warren to cover this thing up." (I asked: Liebeler said that?) "Yes, sir, I could swear on that."

At the time, she said she thought that maybe it was a bait for her because she had the feeling that they thought she was hiding something more, that she was involved with other Cuban groups perhaps or that she knew more than she was saying. "That was the feeling that I got by the time that they took me to dinner, that maybe if I had a few drinks and the conversation became very casual, I would go ahead and volunteer information he thought I was hiding. I wasn't hiding anything. But what he said struck me. I remember I had a Bloody Mary and thinking to myself, "My God, I'm not that drunk." I had one Bloody Mary and that's all I was having. If it was for my sake that he was saying that, it if it was a little game they were playing with me, I don't know. That's when I said to myself, "Silvia, the time has come for you to keep quiet. They don't want to know the truth."

"But that made me angry. Not only that, he invited me to his room upstairs to see some pictures. I did go, I went to his room. I wanted to see how far a government investigator would go and what they were trying to do to a witness. Of course nothing happened because I was right in my right senses. He showed me pictures, he made advances, yes, but I told him he was crazy. He even mentioned that they had seen my picture and that they had even joked about it at the Warren Commission, saying like what a pretty girl you are going to see, Jim, and things like that. To me that was all so, I don't know, anti-professional. I wasn't used to this sort of thing and I was expecting the highest respect, you know, and I wasn't expecting any jokes in the investigation of the assassination of a president. So that's why I'm telling you why my feelings changed because I saw something I wasn't expecting to see. I wanted to see someone who was carrying on an investigation who was serious about it but somehow I had the feeling it was a game to them and that I was being used in this game."

The fellow who Liebeler identified as Marina Oswald's attorney had not been at her questioning but they picked him up on the way to dinner. He left after dinner and did not go up to Liebeler's room with them. (Showed her all the photographs I had with me and she could identify only Oswald in any of them. Except for one photo which I believe was taken of individuals coming out of courtroom following hearing in New Orleans concerning the Bringuier-Oswald fracas.) She identified the man in the background (center left) as her uncle and said she didn't know her uncle was involved with Bringuier.

I told her that according to an FBI report, her uncle, Dr. Augustin Guitart, admitted to being at that court hearing. She said her uncle never mentioned his involvement with Bringuier but that she knew he was a "fierce" anti-communist. (She herself, she earlier said, was associated with the more liberal element of Manolo Ray's party and had always been a Kennedy fan.)

She said she has always wondered who the other two men who came with Oswald were and has always looked for photographs of them. She says she is pretty sure that one of them was a Mexican. Again she mentioned the "weird forehead."

"...he invited me to his room upstairs to see some pictures. I did go, I went to his room. I wanted to see how far a government investigator would go and what they were trying to do to a witness. Of course nothing happened because I was right in my right senses. He showed me pictures, he made advances, yes, but I told him he was crazy."


I asked her why she thought she was selected for the visit. She said probably because her father was well known. He was a millionaire who helped Fidel in the mountains. He transported all the arms that went into the Sierra Maestras. He supplied arms and medical supplies. There was hardly anyone in the underground, she said, who didn't know who her father was. The family was exiled for three years when Batista was in power because her father refused to sell his transportation business. He was described in Time magazine as the "transport tycoon" of Latin America. She says he had a tremendous number of enemies, both business and political. He supplied the truck for the assault on the palace on the 13th of March. He went into exile after that in Miami. (I asked if she knew Pawley. She said she didn't but that her father knew almost everyone.) "We were very strong supporters of Castro until we felt betrayed by him."

She said she was surprised at the details of her father's life that was known by the three men who came to her apartment, the fact that they knew where her father was in prison. They mentioned the movements that her father had been in politically and called him Amador-Odio. They said they belonged to the JURE movement and knew she belonged to the JURE Movement, as did her father. (That was Manolo Ray's movement.)

But she also says that when she thought about it later it wasn't that difficult for anyone to know of her and her involvement with JURE because the Cuban community in Dallas wasn't that large and they all lived in about the same section of town. Also, there had been a big rally in a park on a liberation day (she didn't remember which day) and she delivered the invocation. That was covered by the newspapers and the television stations and she said the FBI later told her that it thought that Oswald could have been there mingling with the Cubans.

Also it was possible, she later thought, that the three men knew of her because when her father had been sentenced to prison it was a big story in the Dallas newspapers. It had all the information about a millionaire and his family and it also carried her sister Serita's picture. (Serita had come to Dallas before Silvia and was attending the Univ. of Dallas.) At first her father was sentenced to die and that's why it was such a big story. Silvia was still in Puerto Rico at the time. (Serita is now in Mexico.)

She says that when the three men came to the door they first asked for Serita and that they seemed confused, but when she told them she was Silvia and that she was the oldest they said it was she they wanted to talk with.


That reminded her of Johnny Martin. "Johnny Martin came out of the blue," she said. "That was a very strange thing. I don't know how he got involved with my sister Serita, how he was introduced to her. The strange thing about him was that his family lived somewhere in a Latin American country and he had this laundry, this coin laundry he operated. He would tell Serita to being (sic) her clothes there and he wouldn't charge her. And then Serita brought him to our house and we started talking about a lot of things. He was very clever and we were very young and soon he was telling us he could get arms for our movement. I got in contact with Eugenio (Rogelio Cisneros) and he told Ray he was coming to Dallas to meet Martin." Martin she says always seemed to be broke yet he said he had a lot fo (sic) contacts in Latin American governments. Nothing came of the meeting between Martin and Cisneros because Cisneros didn't trust him.


Re: Lucille Connell. She was a Protestant who got involved in the Catholic Welfare Bureau. She came on very strong with Silvia as soon as she arrived in Dallas and, in fact, had sponsored her trip from Puerto Rico. Connell had known her sister Serita first. "She struck me as the most fantastic, the most kind and considerate person I ever met," says Silvia. "She was just so generous, and I had tremendous admiration for her."
"She was very involved with a lot of different groups and talked to me about them. She was very intense about the John Birch Society. She was also involved with the Rosicrusians. And also with the Mental Health Association in Dallas."

She was a very wealthy women (sic), married to a wealthy man but she divorced him and is now living in Long Island, remarried. (Name now Lucille Light - 50 Wynn Court-Muttontown, Syoset, Long Island 516-921-3519 Her husband (Connell) had a large CPA firm in Dallas. J. B. Connell?)

Connell had even gotten her psychiatrist, Dr. Einspruch (who later went to Philadelphia Naval Hospital.) (She later visited him there; he was wearing a uniform.)

She described Mrs. Connell as a person who knew all the key people in Dallas.

"She was a very strong person. She tried to use the fact that I was ill in order to control me, my thoughts, my friends, my goings and comings, the way I raised my children. It came to a point when she called me every night to get a report on what I had done for the day, who I had seen, where I had been. She had a tremendous memory, a very tremendous memory. She could recall something, something she had seen or heard right away. I remember I mentioned the fact of the men's visit just once to her and she never forgot.
"You have to remember that I arrived in Dallas under tremendous pressure, I had just suffered the trauma of divorce, I had four children, I had all this responsibility of my brothers and sisters, it was a tremendous burden. And Lucille took me under her wing, took me to the country club, wanted to buy me dresses, wanted to introduce me in certain circles. I always had the feeling she was getting me ready for something."


"Then came this Father McChann. Father McChann and I became very close friends and he was going through his own crisis in his life. Lucille used him, managed him, handled him. I don't know how to say it. Lucille tried to get us together and then tried to get us apart and got jealous of our relationship in the meantime. People are very complex. She was very moody and enjoyed playing with our lives. There was a time when I couldn't say no to her for anything, She would call me at two o'clock in the morning and say, "I don't want to sleep now, would you talk to me? and I felt I had to even though I didn't want to and had to go to work the next morning."

Only with Dr. Einspruch's help that she got strong enough to pull herself away from Mrs. Connell.
"This is why she was angry with me and maybe why she called the FBI. She was very angry with me because I was pulling away from her and getting stronger."

She had also developed a relationship with a wealthy couple named Rodgers and Mrs. Connell was very jealous of that, also. (John Rodgers was the president of Texas Cement.)


(I asked her about her knowledge of Reinaldo Gonzales and Alpha 66 founder Antonio Veciana.) She knew of them and of her father's role in hiding Gonzales. She had never met Veciana and did not know what he looked like.

She said she also knew Jorge Salazar (mentioned in O'Toole-Hoch piece as Dallas Alpha 66 leader whose home at 3126 Hollandale was meeting place where Oswald was seen), but was never at that address and was never involved with Alpha 66. Actually, she only knew of Salazar and doesn't actually know what he looks like.


(I had her review her testimony and she recalled certain details: )

That Leon Oswald's name had been repeated. One guy said, "I'd like you to meet Leon Oswald." Then he said, "My name is Leon Oswald."

That Oswald had a slight beard and more of an indication of a moustache, as if he hadn't shaved in a day or so or (as they said) had just come from a trip.

That he (Oswald) had on a green shirt.

That one of the men was very hairy and showed a lot of hair on his chest above his shirt.

Leopoldo, the tall one, was driving.

One of them called the day after and, more likely she thinks, the day after that.

That one of them had pockmarks on his face and a very bad complexion. He also had a "funny kind of head," a lot of hair but "big entrance on the side.

(re Mrs. Connell again: I asked her about Connell's report to FBI re Gen. Walker and Col. Castorr) "Mrs. Connell was apparently involved in more than she pretended. Whenever she wanted to find out some information she would take me out to lunch. I wasn't aware at the time she was using me. I knew she was involved with key people in Dallas and she was continually getting phone calls where she would lock herself in her library when she answered them. She was always mysterious, and always very careful not to mention information, she always asked.

She did mention Gen. Walker, we talked about Walker. I knew she was involved with his movement and with the John Birch Society. I think that's why she was involved with the Cubans, because we were very usable people, and expendable. (Did she ever mention Conservatives of the USA?) "Yes, she did. We discussed that, I remember the name." (Re Connell-cont.) "And then all of a sudden one summer she decided to become a Rosicrusian, and she started traveling, was it Oklahoma or someplace where the Rosicrusians have a headquarters? She traveled quite a bit on that, I remember because she showed me a card, they issued her a card.

She married a guy who takes tours to Europe and has a lot of money...

Another association she recalled was the name of Russo, which she heard mentioned as part of Garrison's investigation. She says the name rang a bell and she finds it interesting that he knew Oswald by the name of Leon Oswald also.

Connell was not only involved with the Mental Health Association but very interested in psychology, mind control and brainwashing. She had a lot of books on the subject.

That's when I said to myself, "Silvia, the time has come for you to keep quiet. They don't want to know the truth."

Silvia specifically remembers that when Leopoldo called her back on the telephone and told her about Oswald talking about killing Kennedy, it was not a weekend day (Sat. the 28th or Sunday the 29th) because she remembers working that day and getting the call after she came home from work, about 7:30 p.m. She is pretty sure it was not the day after their visit, but the following day (which would make it Friday the 27th at the latest; because Monday was the 30th and she was moving by then.)