PATHFINDER – PART III - JOHN ROSSELI AND THE CIA-MAFIA PLOTS – THE JOKER
By William Kelly
This is Part III of a a Four Part series on Pathfinder - the Plot to Kill Castro that was to JFK.
PART I - JFKcountercoup: PATHFINDER AT JMWAVE
Part II - JFKcountercoup: PART II - PATHFINDER at JMWAVE and Dealey Plaza
This is Part III of a a Four Part series on Pathfinder - the Plot to Kill Castro that was to JFK.
PART I - JFKcountercoup: PATHFINDER AT JMWAVE
Part II - JFKcountercoup: PART II - PATHFINDER at JMWAVE and Dealey Plaza
[Note: This is a first draft copy. After it is proofed and edited I will repost it at JFKCountercoup.blogspot.com There are various spellings of John Rosselli’s name, as it is not his original birth name, and for the most part I will use that spelling - the one he gave to the Church Committee in 1975]
The CIA-Mafia plots to kill Castro were never revealed to the Warren Commissioner, which sparked Commission attorney Sam Stern to tell the HSCA that had the Commission learned of the CIA-Mafia conspiracies to assassinate Fidel Castro, “we would have gone much more into Cuba, the CIA, and the Mafia. We would have had a whole host of new avenues calling for investigation. And we would have obviously had to develop some new sources of information – other than the agency.”
The public and press didn’t learn about those plots until Jack Anderson revealed them years later, using John Rosselli as a source.
So far in this story is populated with characters named “Bishop,” and “Knight,” and some are said to be “pawns,” and in that spirit, to mix metaphors, Johnny Rosselli is the joker of the pack in this game.
Much has been written about Mafia boss John Rosselli, about his immigrant origins, rise in the mob, the Chicago outfit’s man in Las Vegas and Hollywood, movie producer, his love life and bizarre murder after testifying before the Church Committee. But I want to focus on one aspect of his life – his work for the CIA, his association with the anti-Castro Cubans in 1962-63, his covert operational activities at JMWAVE and his allegations regarding the assassination of President Kennedy.
Now they call them the CIA-Mafia plots to kill Castro, and it was Rosselli who first exposed those plots and added the Mafia part to the equation.
Rosselli has said that he first became involved in the CIA plots to kill Castro during the Eisenhower administration, when he was approached by former FBI agent Robert Mahu in Las Vegas and introduced to James “Big Jim” O’Connell, his first CIA case officer, at the Brown Derby restaurant in Beverly Hills in September 1960. They discussed killing Castro, and Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana and Santo Traficante of Tampa were advised and brought into the picture, but they faded away after the early poison plots failed.
With the ascendency of John Kennedy to the Presidency and following the Bay of Pigs in April of 1961, Jim O’Connell was replaced by William Harvey as Rosseli’s CIA case officer and the mechanism of death went from poison to high powered rifle.
William Harvey was brought in to run the CIA’s Cuban Task Force W from his previous posting as chief of the CIA West Berlin station, where he gained fame for the Berlin Tunnell escapade. And he brought some of his German people with him, including his secretary Maggie Crane, Ted Shackley and among others Karl, an “outside” man who dealt directly with the Cubans.
Harvey named the Cuban desk “Task Force W” – reputedly after William Walker, an early 19th Century American soldier-of-fortune, who among other things, took over Nicaragua and was executed by a firing squad of American soldiers. Task Force W, aka “The Tank,” was set up in a corner of the basement of CIA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Those who worked there were ostensibly the puppet masters pulling the strings of the anti-Castro Cubans who were run out of the Miami, Florida JMWAVE station, then the largest CIA forward operating base (FOB) in the world. Harvey installed Maggie as secretary to Ted Shackley, who was named the JMWAVE chief of station (COS), and Harvey himself put in an appearance in Miami every few weeks though he usually worked out of the Task Force W offices at the CIA HQ in Langley.
William Harvey was part of the “Three Martini Lunch” crowd, along with James Jesus Angleton and Kim Philby, who Harvey unmasked as the Third Man in on the Cambridge spy scandal. They were occasionally joined by Maggie, whose husband was also in the CIA and was often stationed overseas. According to Bayard Stockton, Maggie “sat on the floor when she drank martinis, ‘so she wouldn’t fall off the carpet.’ Rita Chappiwicki succeeded Maggie. And then, in the Langley basement, it was Skip. The three knew all the secrets, but they never, ever betrayed Bill’s trust.”
According to Harvey’s official biography “Flawed Patriot – The Rise and Fall of CIA Legend Bill Harvey” by Bayard Stockton (Potomac Books, Washington D.C., 2006, p. 125), “By early Spring 1962 Task Force W’s headquarters staff was in place. Bill’s throne room during the fraught Cuban days was, of course, in the Langley basement, but his empire was in Miami, masquerading as Zenith Technical Enterprises on two thousand acres of CIA-leased property (on the University of Miami south campus).”
[NOTE: It should be pointed out that “Flawed Patriot” was vetted and approved by CIA, and the author, former CIA officer Bayard Stockson died before the book was published. ]
Stockton wrote: “…The stories about JMWAVE are legion. Among them is the tale of a visit by Robert Kennedy to JMWAVE – an incursion that in itself must have put Harvey into something south of a slow burn because CIA operating premises were off-limits to non-Agency personnel, regardless of rank or stature. As Kennedy roamed the building, he heard a telex machine chattering away. He ambled over to it, ripped the message out, and began to read it. Incensed beyond courtesy, Harvey, in turn, ripped the copy from the attorney general’s hands and thundered words to the effect that Kennedy was not cleared to read classified Agency correspondence. Both smoldered. The incident naturally became legendary and was symptomatic of relations between the two men.”
Ted Shackley told Stockton that, “(Harvey) came down to Miami ever four to six weeks, mostly to see Johnny Rosselli….”
As Stockton writes it, “Another popular JMWAVE story is the U-Haul truck deal. Writers like this one because, to them, it proves that the CIA and Harvey provided arsenals to the Mafia. The only known witness/participant to the event is Shackley.”
Shackley: “Bill came down with a list…four or five pages….of equipment he wanted. Northing particularly out of the ordinary in that. We turned the list over to the JMWAVE warehouse manager, who loaded the stuff into watertight containers. All very standard procedure. I rented a truck through three or four cutouts and drove it into the JMWAVE compound. The stuff was manifested in and out. I drove the truck out of the compound and turned it over. Bill and I followed it to a parking lot in South Miami. The driver of the truck took a hike and caught a cab. Bill and I waited, maybe up to an hour….It was no different from any other odd request for equipment.”
According to Rosselli however, while Harvey approved of and made arrangements for the U-Haul truck load of arms, he recalls O’Connell as being with him on the hour long stakeout of a vacant lot behind a Cuban restaurant in Miami, and watched as Cuban #3 picked up the truck they watched as it was driven away. In his 1975 Church Committee testimony, Rosselli said Cuban #3, who he refused to name, often made runs to Cuba in his powerboat, sometimes depositing teams of commandos and assassins. The U-Haul arms cache, inventoried in a detailed manifest, included high powered rifles with scopes and ammo that Shackley says were packed by the JMWAVE warehouse man in waterproof containers so they could be easily and safely shipped to Cuba.
“During…. the climax of the Cuban Missile Crisis, it looked as if the United States was going to war,” writes Stockton, who quotes Shackley as saying: “American military teams were ready to be infiltrated ….pathfinders and people like that. I was to be in a plane with the airborne commander. The presumption was that the American military would pacify Cuba, and then J-2 – military government would take over. I guess I would probably have been Havana station chief…Then Bobby heard there was a commando team on the water, which he had not authorized, and he called them back.”
“American military teams were ready to be infiltrated….pathfinders and people like that…”
Yes, but these pathfinders weren’t US Army Rangers – who are also known as the “pathfinders,” who are the first to go into a battle, these pathfinders were Cubans, anti-Castro Cuban commandos trained by U.S. Army Rangers – specifically U.S. Ranger Captain Bradley Ayers and U.S. Ranger Captain Edward Roderick.
Both men were reassigned from the Rangers to the CIA by General Krulak to train the Cubans in basic covert operational fundamentals, small craft maneuvering, small arms, explosives and sniper shooting.
“Legendary” explosives and small arms trainer John “I.F.” Harper and US Marine Captain Carl Jenkins assisted Captain Roderick in training the Cuban teams at Point Mary in sniper tactics and “infiltration and exfiltration,” Jenkins’ specialtiy.
Jenkins trained small bands of Cubans to infiltrate Cuba before the Bay of Pigs, during Moongose and sent out but recalled during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and at JMWAVE in 1963.
In a chapter of “Flawed Patriot” called “Rosselli’s Subbase in the Florida Keys,” Stockton writes; “The only description I have found of Rosselli’s paramilitary activities against Cuba comes from Richard Mahoney. Once Dick Helms personally cleared Rosselli for the assassination operation, the Mafioso was covered as a colonel in the Army and ‘Dave M.’ moved from the Langley basement to Florida. Toward the end of May 1962 the CIA built a small base for Rosselli’s unit on Point Mary, Key Largo, clearing out an acre or so of the thick mangrove forest for rough-hewn sheds and two crude structures. A floating dock was anchored on a coral reef. The purpose of the base was to train snipers.”
According to Stockton’s source Mahoney in his book “Sons and Brothers” (Arcade Pub., NY, 1999, pp.166-170), “Rosselli…was the only person who could make the incendiary (Dave) M. laugh. They would drink until the sun came up, usually joined by Rip Robertson, the hard-bitten Texan and decorated veteran of World War ii who was the favorite ‘boom and bang’ guy among the exiled Cubans [because he had actually participated in the Bay of Pigs landing operation]. A favorite bar was Les Deux Violins where, according to one of the Cuban operatives, ‘Johnny knew all the help by their first name, tipped hugely, and would tell farcical stories about his days with Al Capone…..According to [a Cuban commander under Rosselli], Colonel Rosselli used the team from time to time for raids and other operations. Rosselli was one of only two Americans authorized to go into Cuba on clandestine missions.”
While the CIA files are suspiciously quiet about Rosselli’s activities at the JMWAVE station, former US Army Ranger Captain Bradley Ayers wrote extensively about it. While those who work for the CIA routinely sign non-disclosure forms that require them to run any manuscripts past them before publication, Ayers never signed such an agreement since he was US Army assigned to CIA for temporary duty.
Stockton’s footnote to these quotes also mentions that, “Mahoney quotes in part Bradley Earl Ayers, “The War That Never Was: An Insider’s Account of the CIA Covert Operations Against Cuba,” (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1976.) Ayers’ book is impossible to find there days. An interesting coincidence is that it was published by Bobbs-Merrill, for whom Harvey worked in Indianapolis until shortly before his death. I have heard one claim that Harvey actually edited the book, but I cannot confirm the story.”
An official CIA Public Affairs officer, in response to a media request as to whether or not Bradley Ayers “was ever a CIA agent,” wrote: “According to our records, he was never an Agency employee. As an Army officer, Mr. Ayers was detailed to work with the CIA from May of 1963 to December 1964. Because he never was an Agency employee – and, as such, never signed a pre-publication agreement with us – any suggestion that the CIA tried to censor or suppress his writings is incorrect.”
While the CIA didn’t vet “The War That Never Was,” it was edited by William Harvey himself, the attorney for Bobbs-Merrell, of Indianapolis, Indiana, primarily a school book publisher who reportedly maintained an office at the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas.
After I read Ayers’ book in the early 1970s, I immediately recognized its significance in regards to the assassination of President Kennedy, and later got know Brad Ayers through numerous long distance telephone conversations. I also got a copy of his second book on the subject, “The Zenith Secret – A CIA Insider Exposes The Secret War Against Castro And the Plot That Killed The Kennedy Brothers,” (Vox Pop, NY, May 2006), a very obscure publisher that was run out of Bronx storefront.
When I talked to Ayers on the phone he said that one of the items edited out of his first book was the name and role of Gordon Campbell, the head of Maritme activities at JMWAVE, who Bill Turner was the first to write about in his book “The Fish Is Red.” Ayers also said he was suing Vox Pop for breach of contract.
In his second book Ayers says that he first heard about “Colonel Rosselli” from his fellow Ranger Captain Ed Roderick, who worked out of the Point Mary base at Key Largo while Ayers trained his cadre of Cuban commandos at the Pirates Lair and Elliot Key, deeper in the Everglades.
In a motel room drinking Scotch, Ayers recalled that, “Rod described an interesting new guy, Colonel Rosselli from Washington with whom he was working in operations.”
Ayers says that Roderick “had been drinking before he got to the house that night…confided, he and the recently arrived Colonel Rosselli were working on plans to ambush Fidel Castro, and they had been on a weekend binge together. They’d become close friends as they spent time together; their drinking friendship was a natural extension of their on-duty relationship.”
“While we ate I discussed my training activities,” Ayers continued, “Rod began to tell me about the new things that were ‘in the air’ at the station….It seemed the administration was ready to begin making an even more concerted effort to unseat Castro…The Special Group had already removed a number of targets from the restricted list, and there were more to go. It was up to the CIA, specifically the Miami station, to plan the new missions, recruit and train exiles, and mount operations to strike the Communist dictator where it really hurt. Other espionage activities were being carried out to coincide with this paramilitary effort, and still more attempts to eliminate Castro were being developed.”
“Then he dropped it,” Ayers says. “He told me Rosselli had high level Mafia and Havana connections. I was speechless. The American government collaborated with organized crime? I couldn’t believe it. I was anxious to meet this guy.”
Just as the Big Con confidence men are either “Inside” or “Outside” guys, the JMWAVE operators were either “Inside” men who worked out of the “Zenith Technical Enterprises” official offices, while the “Outside” guys like Ayers, Roderick, Morales, Jenkins, Harper, et. al. worked “in the field” and dealt directly with the Cubans.
Ayers worked in Training under the Maritime activities branch head Gordon Campbell, and occasionally had to report to HQ where he sometimes attended briefings of branch chiefs, including one in which he notes: “All the branch chiefs were there as well as Mr. (Desmond) Fitzgerald and Mr. (William) Harvey from Washington accompanied by Ted Shackley and Campbell. Dave Morales introduced Mr. (David Atlee) Phillips who was identified as a coordinator for the new initiatives with the exile political organizations. The briefings were far more interesting and revealing than I anticipated….”
“It was during the period of these briefings (summer of 1963), when I had reason to frequent the operations-branch offices in the building adjacent to mine, that I finally met Colonel Rosselli. While waiting for the briefing to begin, I would usually visit with Bob Wall or Rod (Rodick). One day I walked into Wall’s corner office to see him talking with a dark-haired, sharply dressed man. As I apologized for my intrusion, Wall introduced him as Colonel Rosselli, ostensibly a former Army field grade officer now in service with CIA as a paramilitary specialist. Rosselli greeted me warmly while at the same time eyeing me carefully. He had a charming manner, self-confident, polished, soft-spoken. Just for the hell of it, I threw out a hook and asked him if he’d ever serve with the 11th Airborne Division. He looked at me quizzically, then at Wall, and somewhat embarrassedly said he had not. Rosselli was a presence in and about the operations building for most of the week of briefings and I saw him frequently coming and going from Morales’ office. I also observed him consulting with Rod in the plans room and occasionally walking or driving around the JMWAVE complex with Gordon Campbell and Mr. Phillips, who obviously held a very important position somewhere in the CIA covert operation hierarchy.”
Ayers adds some light flavor to the story in describing the places he saw the Inside men socializing. In a footnote Ayers writes, “I observed Rosselli frequently when I had occasion to visit the operations or intelligence branches…I also saw him with Roderick, Morales, and a case officer by the name of Tom Klines lunching or having cocktails at the State Bar, (a favorite JMWAVE staff watering hole) on U.S.1, not far from the station, and at the Perrine New England Oyster House. I got the distinct impression Rosselli and Morales were quite close and Roderick confirmed this in conversations I had with him. By the middle of summer 1963, it was commonly known that Rosselli was a mobster hit man type hired by the agency to conduct covert operations designed to kill Castro. There was virtually no secret about this at JMWAVE. Following my introduction to Rosselli in Walls’ office, my contact with him was brief, casual, and cordial and did not involve operational matters.”
Besides the State Bar, Ayers also mentions some social occasions with JMWAVE personnel at the Black Caesar’s Forge, and the Green Turtle Inn. From April 13 to 21, 1963 Harvey and “John A. Wallston” – aka Rosselli resided at or ate and drank at the Plantataion Yacht Harbor Motel, the Eden Roc and Fountainebleau Hotels in Miami. We know this because Harvey submitted the pay stubs for the CIA to pick up the tabs.
Among Harvey’s “Ops Expenses QJWIN/ZRRIFLE” are $26 for “drinks and dinner for 2” at the Eden Roc, $75 charter fishing boat fee, Islamorada, $200 for Eden Roc hotel rooms, and $1,000 for “ZRRIFLE/MI – No receipt.
RFK AT JMWAVE’S WALOOS GLADES HUNTING CAMP
Ayers says that the administration’s new covert initiatives against Castro and Cuba not only had the approval of the NSC Special Group, but Robert Kennedy the attorney general was brought into the mix personally, meeting with the JMWAVE Inside men at a cocktail mixer in a safe house adjacent to a golf course, and was flown by helicopter to one of the Everglade base camps where he was personally introduced to some of the Cuban commandos who were being trained there.
According to Ayers, he was sent to the “Waloos Glades Hunting Camp” where he observed two helicopters – a military Bell-13 with the tail numbers taped over, and a civilian chopper from the West Palm Beach air service parked next to two Quonset huts. While drinking coffee around a camp fire, “the door to one of the Quonsets sung open and four men emerged. As they moved into the circle of firelight I recognized Gordon Campbell. I had seen him only a few times since my briefing with him but had been impressed with his polished, slightly flamboyant executive manner. I caught my breath at the appearance of the second man. It was attorney general Robert Kennedy.”
“The four men talked in low voices for a few minutes, and then the attorney general came over and shook hands with each of us, wishing us good luck and God’s speed on our mission. Hell, I didn’t even know what my mission was. His white teeth sparkled, and I felt a strange sense of strength and resolve when he grasped my hand. Then he and one of the Cubans went to the civilian helicopter, and in minutes it took off. Now I understood the need for extra secrecy. If the president felt strongly enough to send his brother, something very big was being planned.”
“When the helicopter was gone, the deputy chief of station came over,…In a Quonset hut…illuminatd by several Colman lanterns, …charts, maps, and other papers on a table in the center of the room, he said, ‘The reason we’ve got you here and the reason for all the secrecy is that we just got the green light from upstairs to go ahead on some missions we’ve been planning for some time….You’ll be happy to know that the Special Group has finally given us permission to use two-man submarines to strike Castro’s ships in the harbors. Some of your UDT people will be involved in that. And next week Rip’s (Robertson) boys are going to Eglin for parachute training, so an airborne commando raid may not be far off. But right now we’ve got the go-ahead to hit one of the major oil refineries from on the island. All we have to do is get a commando force in shape to do the job.”
THE TRAINING CAMPS
The men for these missions were trained at Point Mary, Elliott Key, Plantion Key and the remote Pirate’s Lair, that could only be reached by boat.
While Jenkins, Harper and Roderick worked with the Cubans at Point Mary, a remote area near Key Largo, Captain Bradley Ayers and Case Officer Porter Goss trained another team of Cubans at different locations deep in the Everglades. That team was led by Julio Fernandez, and partially financed - just as Rosselli supported his team at Point Mary, the Ayers/Fernandez team was backed by Clare Booth Luce, wife of the Life Magazine publisher.
Luce wrote a photo feature on her “Cuban Boys” in Life, and on the night of the assassination, she was awaken by a phone call from Julio Fernandez, who told her he had a recording of Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin, as well as photos and other items of evidence. Luce told Fernandez to call the FBI, but he wasn’t heard from again.
Bradley Ayers says that he trained his team of Cubans to attack an oil facility and docking terminal on the North Shore, while the Point Mary team were trained as snipers. That was the team that was being trained to carry out Pathfinder, the plan to kill Castro by shooting him with a high powered rifle as he rode in an open jeep. And it is the Cubans at Point Mary we are primarily concerned with as they are the most likely ones to have turned their guns on JFK in Dallas.
And it is the Point Mary team who became involved with John Rosseli.
On April 14, 1962 in Washington, D.C., Rosselli’s former case officer Jim O’Connell sat in on a Rosselli-Harvey meeting, after which O’Connell was reassigned to Okinawa and Harvey became Rosselli’s case officer and O’Connell went out of the picture.
According to Stockton, Rosselli’s official biographer, “On April 21, 1962, a year after the Bay of Pigs, Harvey and Roselli met at the Miami airport, and the Get Castro enterprise took on a new life. ‘The second phase [i.e., after Harvey took over] appears to lack the high-level gangster flavor that characterized the first phase,” - meaning Giancana and Trafficante were no longer consulted.
“Rosselli remained a prominent figure in the operation, but working directly with the Cuban exile community, directly on behalf of the CIA and directly under Harvey. In fact, immediately after he took over the ZRRIFLE portfolio, Harvey cut Giancana, and most especially, Trafficante out of the operation. It would be rational to assume, however, that Rosselli kept them informed, as a matter of Mob tact and diplomacy.”
“In an internal memorandum dated May 14, 1962,” writes Stockton, “Sheffield Edwards noted a phone call from Harvey, who said ‘that he was dropping any plans for the use of [Rosselli] for the future.’ The comment may have been an accurate indication of intent at the time, but it was not factually correct. Rather it was a conclusive, deliberately misleading signal, obscuring the fact that Bill was tucking the Rosselli/Get Castro operation into his vest-pocket.”
At that point Rosselli got a “crash course in intelligence trade craft, particularly the need for security and perhaps most especially the use of the telephone, counter-surveillance, the use of cutouts, recruitment requirements, and name checking – the usually boring but vital aspects of intelligence work. Most probably, as the circumstances permitted, the two men from worlds apart felt each other out, probed each others’ vulnerabilities and weaknesses – often over a bottle or two – and gradually formed the basis for an enduring partnership.”
Rosselli’s alias was “John Ralston” or “Colonel Ralston.” (also spelled John A. Wallston).
Two JMWAVE officers recalled that Rosselli, “…frequented JMWAVE…sometimes attending staff briefings, but more often engaging in demolition exercises with Ed Roderick, in rounds of cribbage, or heading off…for drinking bouts.”
“Dave M. was assigned to Johnny’s raiders to exert day-to-day control over a group of buccaneers who could have turned a messy situation into a disastrous one. It’s more than possible that the U-Haul resupply caper recalled by Shackley…was actually a resupply mission for Johnny’s ops base in the Keys.”
Sen. Mondale. When you were asked to help arrange for the assassination of Mr. Castro, what was your understanding of who In the United States government wanted you to do this.
Mr. Rosselli. Well, anybody in the U.S. government. My point was if I am recruited in the Army, and I was in the Second World War, it is like being recruited in the Army, and if it comes through from higher authority I don’t ask any questions how high it was as long as there were government people I was satisfied that I was doing a duty for my country. Testimony of John Roselli, 24, JUN 1975 157-10014-10001 – p. 62-63 of 97)
“Various accounts place Rosselli physically – sometimes in the uniform of a U.S. Army colonel – at the JMWAVE headquaraters….(but),” according to Stockton, “it is highly unlikely that Rosselli did, indeed come onto the base. Such a visit would have been a severe violation of basic security and would have been anathema to Harvey.”
“Once Dick Helms personally cleared Rosselli for the assassination operation, the mafioso was covered as a colonel in the U.S. Arm and Dave M. moved from the Langley basement (Task Force W) to Florida. Towards the end of May 1962 the CIA built a small base for Rosselli’s unit on Point Mary, Key Largo, clearing out an acre or so of the thick mangrove forest for rough-hewn sheds and two crude structures. A floating dock was anchored on coral reef. The purpose of the base was to train snipers.”
From the Rosselli Chronology File: “In Key Largo, Roselli was known as “Colonel,” training Cubans as fighters and earning Harvey’s admiration. On midnight missions, these exile soldiers reportedly traveled in twin powerboats to secret landing spots along the Cuban coastline to provide armaments to other anti-Castro conspirators. One JFK file includes a heroic account of Roselli going along on some of these trips, once saving himself from a sinking boat riddled with bullets after being attacked by a Cuban patrol waiting in the shadows. According to another JFK file, Roselli was gone for so long on one mission that Giancana worried that he had been killed.”
“Sometime in 1962, the CIA created a file called “Project Johnny” about Roselli’s heroics and kept it locked in a safe. Documents show this file was given a number — 667 270 — though years later it could not be found by congressional investigators, who mentioned looking for it to trace the actions of this mobster spy.”
As the Cuban Missile Crisis was getting underway, in October 1962 Rosselli said that he talked to Harvey over the phone and Harvey instructed him to go to Florida where he stayed in contact with his Cuban friends for the duration of the Cuban missile crisis, and it was three JMWAVE maritime teams who were on their way to Cuba when they were sent on their way to Cuba by Harvey and Rosselli and then called back on orders of RFK.
Rosselli’s Chronology File reads: “During the Cuban missile crisis, Rosselli was in Chicago. He contacted (William) Harvey at Harvey’s mother’s home in Indianapolis and left his number in Chicago. Harvey then called him, told him to go to Washington, D.C. From Washington D.C., Rosselli traveled to Florida where he stayed for the duration of the Cuban missile crisis. He, at times, would, through his Cuban contacts, attempt to verify the location of the Russian missiles in Cuba. Rosselli claimed that this had been successful. After the Cuban missile crisis, Harvey called Rosselli and told him to stop all contacts with any and all persons involved in past Cuban missions. Harvey never stated why the missions were being called off.”
According to Rosselli, he met with Harvey in June, 1963, the last time they met officially in regards to the Cuban projects, though they remained close friends and social acquaintances.
What became of the JMWAVE commandos after their plans were "disapproved by higher authority" and the missions they trained for were called off, both the Cuban Missile Crisis Pathfinders, and when the Pathfinder mission was officially “disapproved by higher authority”?
The National Security Council’s Special Group (Augumented w/ RFK) was responsible for evaluating proposed covert intelligence operations against Cuba, and approving or disapproving them. Sometimes JFK would over rule a covert operation approved by the NSC SGA – such as the leaflet dropping mission.
A leaflet was prepared for release by airplanes over Cuba, and after it was approved by the NSC SGA, President Kennedy ran it past Robert Morrow, whose objections to it led to JFK withdrawing approval. Other covert ops, - such as one to destroy an oil refinery, was rescinded after the oil company objected, hoping to retrieve its Cuban assets in full operating order.
The three “Pathfinder” crews sent to Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis by William Harvey, were recalled in route by RFK, - the straw that broke Harvey’s back, as he was relieved as head of the Cuban Task Force W by RFK shortly thereafter, and posted to Rome, as Chief of Station by the CIA.
“Harvey’s removal from Task Force W at Bobby Kennedy’s behest was a watershed event for the CIA,” writes Stockton, “even though it may not have been recognized as such at the time.”
“From October 1962 on – after Helms and McCone replaced Harvey with Desmond FitzGerald, who was far more acceptable to the Kennedys as a person – the CIA was vulnerable to political manipulation. This became evident again in 1967, when (CIA Director Richard) Helms hastily called for the inspector general’s report, in anticipation of the fallout from Drew Pearson’s revelations...(about the CIA-Mafia plots to kill Castro).”
In Harvey’s place, Desmond FitzGerald was appointed the new head of Task Force W, the Cuban desk at the CIA, and it was FitzGerald who, on September 25, briefed the Joint Chiefs of Staff on CIA covert Cuban operations, especially the ones that were approved by the NSC SGA and required military assistance, that would be provided by General Krulak, whose aide, Colonel Higgins, wrote the memo minutes of that important meeting.
That the anti-Castro Cuban commandos, trained by Ayers, Roderick, Jenkins and Harper continued their – NSC SGA approved covert action missions against Cuba was readily apparent on November 1, 1963 when the New York Times ran a front page article about the CIA raider ship “The Rex,” and a photo of the ship docked at Palm Beach, Fla., not far from President Kennedy’s Southern White House home.
Castro had complained publicly on television, and the New York Times confirmed that the ship had deposited teams of commandos on a North Shore beach, some of whom were captured, with high powered rifles and scopes, and they were paraded on Cuban TV, and acknowledge that the CIA officially approved and supported and trained them. The CIA raider ship “Rex,” the New York Times reported, was leased to “Collins Radio” company of Richardson, Texas.
Collins Radio also made and serviced the radios for Air Force One, all of the executive aircraft as well as the Air Force Strategic Air Command bombers. The company later merged with Rockwell International, to become Rockwell-Collins, a major defense contractor that hired Eugene Wheaton as a security consultant in the Middle East.
[Note: For some reason, even after the Collins Radio cover was blown by the New York Times in the Nov.1, 1963 cover story, the National Security Agency (NSA) used Collins Radio as a cover story for the construction of its new multi-million dollar headquarters in suburban Virginia, a transparent cover that was easily exposed when a security guard at the construction site was suspiciously murdered. It would be remiss for me not to mention the fact that Bradley Ayers and a former Havana Embassy officer were discredited in their photo identification of JMWAVE officers Gordon Campbell and David Morales at the scene of RFK’s murder, and Ayers recalls meeting with Campbell after an official death certificate was issued for him. Regardless of that, I believe what Ayers says about Rosselli at JMWAVE, as it rings true to what else we know.]
Both Bradley Ayers and Gene Wheaton are like flies on the wall, insiders who saw and heard those covert operators who were engaged in the secret operations that led to the murder of President Kennedy at Dealey Plaza.
On November 22, 1963, as news of the assassination spread around the world, it was early evening in Italy, where William Harvey was awaken from a drunken sleep by his aide (probably Mark Wyatt) and told of the murder, sparking him to mumble, “This was bound to happen, and it’s probably good that it did.”
John Rosselli told the Church Committee Senators that he was in bed at the Desert Inn in Las Vegas, where he was awaken by a phone call from a Hollywood movie producer friend who told him about the assassination.
It was 1:30 pm in Washington D.C. where Desmond Fitzgerald and his associate Sam Halpern were sitting down to lunch at an exclusive and historic Georgetown Club when they were told of the assassination and left immediately. As they walked out, Halpern said, Fitzgerald thought out loud, wondering if his Cubans were involved.
That is something we should all be wondering now, over fifty years later.
PART IV - THE PATHFINDERS AFTER HARVEY AND ROSSELLI -
PART V - THE PATHFINDERS AFTER THE DEALEY PLAZA OPERATION
PART IV - THE PATHFINDERS AFTER HARVEY AND ROSSELLI -
PART V - THE PATHFINDERS AFTER THE DEALEY PLAZA OPERATION