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THE JFK CASE: THE TWELVE WHO BUILT THE OSWALD LEGEND (Part 9 - Oswald Takes Center Stage As An Intelligence Asset)

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Oswald thought that he might land a job at NASA  

When Oswald came to New Orleans, he was hired as an oiler greasing coffee machines at Reily Coffee Company for two months between May-July of 1963.   The two Reily brothers were active in anti-Castro politics.   Eustis Reily supported the right-wing propaganda operation known as INCA (Information Council of the Americas).   William Reily backed the Crusade to Free Cuba Committee, filled with luminaries like Claire Boothe Luce of Time-Life who raised funds for the would-be government-in-exile, the Cuban Revolutionary Committee (CRC). [1]  

The main source of information about Oswald's time at Reily's was VP William Monaghan.  Oswald saw four co-workers head off to work at NASA, including the man that hired him and the man that fired him.  Oswald thought he would also land a NASA job.   What was going on? 

Monaghan was a former FBI agent, and an industrial security specialist.  Reily's may have been a place to screen industrial security applicants prior to hiring. [2]  Another factor to consider is that NASA security had been watching Robert Webster - Webster's defection to the USSR appears to have spurred Oswald's defection in 1959, and then both men returned about the same time in 1962.   See Part 5 of this series.  

Webster's work in plastics and aerospace was of great interest to NASA, and NASA security was monitoring the Webster case even before his defection. [3]   It's logical that NASA security would want to stay apprised of Oswald based on the possibility that there was a relationship between Oswald and Webster.      

The man who hired Oswald, Alfred Claude, left Reily's to work at Chrysler Aerospace Division of the Michoud NASA facility in New Orleans. [4]   Emmett Barbee, Oswald's immediate supervisor, went to a new job at NASA in New Orleans.   Dante Marachini, hired on the same day as Oswald, went off to Chrysler Aerospace at Michoud. [5]   John Branyon, a co-worker of Oswald's, also went to NASA. [6]

Adrian Alba worked at the Crescent City Garage next door to Reily's, where Oswald liked to hang out and read gun magazines.   This habit was noticed by Monaghan and Charles LeBlanc and led to his firing for inefficiency. [7]   Oswald then cited LeBlanc as a reference, but made sure to give the wrong address for him. [8]  

Alba told the Warren Commission that Oswald told him in July 1963 that he had found "where the gold is" and would be hired by NASA to work at the Michoud plant. [9]   Alba wrote his statement promptly after the assassination at the request of the Secret Service.  [10]    NASA, Chrysler, and other contractors in the area were then canvassed, but none of them had any record of any application by Oswald. [11]     

Guy Banister, Legend Maker #10, gave Oswald reason to believe that he would be hired by NASA.   Bill Nitschke, Banister's colleague from the FBI, said that Banister bid on the security contract for NASA's Michoud assembly facility. [12]   By 1967, Nitschke was working for NASA, and was said to have been the man who collected Banister's still-missing files after his death in 1964.  Martin Samuel Abelow, "on special assignment" at NASA Houston, saw Oswald handing Fair Play for Cuba leaflets to sailors and turned a copy over to NASA security. [13]      

Intelligence forces have denied for years that there was any relationship between Guy Banister and Lee Oswald.  It was left to New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, independent researchers and journalists to assemble an impressive array of evidence that ties these two men together.  Banister's secretary Delphine Roberts said that Banister took Oswald under his wing and worked with him on a regular basis.  Other Banister staffers who agreed that the two men worked together include Vernon Gerdes, Tommy Baumler, George Higginbotham, and Allen Campbell.  Roberts and Higginbotham both said that they were specifically told by Banister that Oswald was working for him.  Banister's wife, Bill Nitschke, Banister employee Don Campbell, Louisiana professor Michael Kurtz and several other people also saw the two men together. [14

CIA-FBI informant William Gaudet told journalist Tony Summers in a 1978 interview that he had seen Oswald pass out FPCC leaflets in New Orleans and that he "did see Oswald discussing various things with Banister at the time, and I think Banister knew a whole lot of what was going on".  [15]

Banister, a right-wing racist, was a CIA informant that ran a Southern anti-communist intelligence network

Banister had gone from serving as a valued FBI Special Agent in Charge  to running an anti-communist intelligence network.    He had plenty of experience as a Red-hunter during his sixteen years as chief in Indianapolis, Butte, Minneapolis and Chicago. [16]   He had worked with the White Russians and had relied on Igor and Natalie Voshinin of the anti-Soviet NTS (see Part 6 of this series) as sources back in 1950. [17]

After his retirement from the FBI in 1954, Banister served a stint as deputy police chief of New Orleans.   This ended in scandal when Banister allegedly pulled a gun on a bartender in 1957. [18] Banister then made himself notorious as a dogged anti-communist.   A CIA memo described him as "aligned" with Kent Courtney, the owner of the ultra-right newspaper The Independent American. [19]   He was a member of the segregationist Louisiana State Sovereignty Commission. [20]   His secretary and mistress Delphine Roberts was associated with the racist wing National States Rights Party. [21]  

When asked about the Agency's relationship with Banister, CIA New Orleans field office chief Lloyd Ray responded that Banister asked to work for them but they declined his offer in late 1960. [22] This was literally a half-truth.  A CIA memo states that "CIA headquarters considered contacting him for use as a foreign intelligence source and for possible use of his firm for cover purposes.   However, security investigation revealed derogatory information about his professional conduct". [23]  The CIA decided not to use Banister's firm for cover.  [24]   The Agency did use Banister as an informant for foreign intelligence. [25]  Banister used these connections to build his anti-communist intelligence empire.   

Oswald described himself as a shipping export agent, and had a lingering relationship with Gerard Tujague's import-export business

In January 1961, Banister was providing medical supplies and other aid to the CIA and Cuban exiles in preparation for the Bay of Pigs. [26]   During that month, Banister incorporated his front organization - the "Friends of Democratic Cuba" (FDC). [27]    Gerard Tujague was the treasurer of the FDC. [28]   Oswald had worked for Tujague's import-export business in 1956, told his mother he was going to return to work at Tujague's right before he defected in 1959, and listed himself as a shipping export agent on his passport in 1959.  Oswald named Tujague as a reference and used his proper address when he looked for work in 1963. [29] 

Curiously, the evidence that Oswald collaborated with Customs is stronger than with any other agency.  Cuban exile Orestes Pena testified that he saw Oswald chatting on a regular basis with FBI Cuban specialist Warren de Brueys, David Smith at Customs, and Wendell Roache at INS.   Pena told the Church Committee that Oswald was employed by Customs.   Informant Joseph Oster went farther, saying that Oswald's handler was David Smith at Customs.   Church Committee staff members knew that David Smith "was involved in CIA operations".  Orestes Pena's handler Warren DeBrueys admitted he knew David Smith. Oswald was also frequently seen with Juan Valdes, who described himself as a "customs house broker".  [30]
1959 passport description of Oswald as "shipping export agent" by House Select Committee on Assassinations

During January 1961, two FDC members named Joseph Moore and a man named "Oswald" went to a Ford outlet and requested the purchase of  ten trucks to send to the Cuban exiles.    Lee Oswald could not have been involved, as it was well-known that he had defected to the USSR.   The use of Oswald's name was probably a convenient device that was considered useful if there was a need to "dirty" him up in the future.     

Banister was preparing the Oswald legend for bigger operations in the future

While Miami had the most important CRC office in the USA, New Orleans was number 2 in the hierarchy.   CRC members frequented Banister's building at Lafayette and Camp, even though their lease had run out and the US government had cut off their funding.  Known as the Newman Building, it has also been described as the Cuban Grand Central Station.

Oswald met some of the anti-Castro CRC members in New Orleans that summer.  He introduced himself to CRC public relations man Arnesto Rodriguez (FBI informant NO 1213-S) about the beginning of August 1963, and asked him if he would teach him Spanish.  Oswald got into an argument at the courthouse with CRC delegate/FBI informant Frank Bartes.  By September 1963, Arnesto denied meeting Oswald even though his mother later told the FBI that he had taped a conversation with Oswald during August.  Bartes took the same approach as Arnesto during that month, denying any knowledge of Oswald.  Oswald also met CRC activist Carlos Quiroga (FBI informant NO T-5) - as we will see, Quiroga visited Oswald at his home trying to size up just who he was. 

Banister was polishing Oswald's legend as an FPCC activist to prepare him to take the public stage and go on to perform missions at larger venues.  Some have speculated that Banister was playing a game to insert Oswald inside an assassination team. Although it is tempting to think of the ultra-right wing ex-FBI agent Bannister as an assassination mastermind, what mastermind would use an assassin with a media trail that would lead right back to one's own doorstep?

I suggest that Banister was like a Triple A baseball manager training his player for the big leagues.  Oswald was about to become an ostensible player in a FBI-CIA operation in Mexico City to smear the FPCC.   

Banister was good at this kind of thing -- he had people such as his associate Don Campbell and staffer Tommy Baumler working to infiltrate left-wing college groups.  [31]    Someone had to spy on the New Orleans Council for Peaceful Alternatives, who invited troublemakers like Father Phil Berrigan to speak on the immorality of nuclear weapons. 

In May, Oswald started off by leaving FPCC fliers at the Tulane Library, a good way to flush out pro-Castro types that might try to infiltrate anti-communist groups. [32]  In June, he was leafleting sailors at the USS Wasp.  Using the waterfront was second nature for an ex-Marine like Oswald.    No surprise that FPCC agitation at the harbor resulted in the circulation of the Oswald legend throughout military intelligence.  

The DRE had been thoroughly penetrated by Carlos Bringuier's relative Jorge, and was considered totally insecure by the CIA

The DRE took the CIA's money but were difficult to work with.   This group was young, motivated, and very dangerous.   In August 1962, they shelled government buildings in Havana and then bragged about it, while Castro was infuriated at this latest act of terrorism and attempted assassination.   They attracted the attention of the Cuban's government's DGI.  The role of the DGI in Cuba was to penetrate counter-revolutionary organizations.  Counterintelligence analyst Ray Rocca made it very clear years later that he agreed that the DRE was heavily infiltrated by Cuban government DGI agents by 1962.  

Several CIA officers had also concluded that the DRE was totally insecure.  Officer Calvin Thomas was concerned that the DRE might have even played a role in killing Kennedy.

Jorge Bringuier was the brother-in-law of New Orleans DRE leader Carlos Bringuier. (While DRE official Juan Salvat describes him as nephew,  Carlos says brother-in-law.)   Jorge Bringuier disgraced the family by becoming a Castro agent and betraying the Cuban wing of the DREAfter he became national coordinator in Cuba in 1962, just about all of the Cuban DRE members were arrested.  There's a contemporaneous memo about this betrayal in early 1963.  Jorge was pitched to defect on 12/6/63, and he sent a telegram to his mother on 12/13 saying that he was "out" and with the Americans.  Jorge was a CIA agent by 1968.

In late July, ten Cuban exiles traveled from Miami to New Orleans and joined an anti-Castro training camp north of New Orleans.   This training camp was on the land of Michael McLaney, a friend of "gamblers in Cuba", and the new arrivals at the camp had obtained some dynamite and were planning to bomb Cuban oil refineries.   The leader of the dynamite procurement was Victor Espinosa Hernandez.  Espinosa's group asked  New Orleans DRE leader Carlos Bringuier to assist them.  Bringuier had worked for some time in the same building as Banister, serving as the press and propaganda secretary of the aforementioned CRC. 

On July 31, the FBI swooped into a home in the New Orleans area and seized a ton of dynamite, bomb casings, napalm material and other devices.  Eleven people were arrested.   Bringuier escaped arrest.    Why?   It looks like US intelligence forces wanted a more subtle approach to test Bringuier's loyalties. 

Oswald Came to Center Stage After the Arms Seizure As An Asset    

This arms seizure by the FBI triggered Oswald to go public, who had been working with Banister doing some quiet leafleting on behalf of the FPCC.   At a minimum, Oswald was being used as an asset, defined by the House Select Committe on Assassinations as "anyone used in an operation or project, whether or not that (person) is aware that he is being used". The CIA referred to a person who did not know that he had done anything to help the CIA as an "unwilling co-optee" Whether he knew it or not, Oswald was being used as a counter-intelligence asset.

1.   The main goal was to make the FPCC look bad.

2.   Incidentally, an anti-FPCC operation would divert public attention from the recent terrorist plans of the anti-Castro underground.   This vigilante plan to napalm Cuba did not look good. 

3.   Along the way, it made sense to try to determine if Carlos Bringuier might be pro-Castro, or if Jorge Bringuier could be brought back into the anti-Castro fold.  Carlos may have been used by those using Oswald. 

The CIA examined Celso Hernandez as a Castro penetration agent

There is an intriguing report of FPCC member Oswald being arrested with Celso Hernandez in New Orleans in late 1962 (see pp. 6-7, (follow-up at pp. 16-18) The ID of Hernandez was made years later and is admittedly shaky. The ID of Oswald is more substantive, as he id'd himself to the police as an FPCC member - but he was living in the Dallas area. The story is that the two men were picked up at the lakefront in Celso's work truck, owned by an electronics firm that was Celso's employer. 

The most important thing is that right about this time, Bill Harvey - who worked both the wiretapping side and the Cuban beat for  the CIA during 1962 - was tipped off on 10/1/62 that Celso Hernandez might be a communist.  This kicked off an investigation that revealed in the autumn of 1963 that there was a left-wing Celso and a right-wing Celso, and a brother and sister who couldn't agree on who was who.  [33] Oswald and Celso Hernandez were arrested together again in August 1963.  What we do know is that throughout this era, Hernandez was under close scrutiny as a possible pro-Castro infiltrator.  Below, we see Oswald's interactions with Carlos and Celso.

Oswald's Provocative Actions in New Orleans Built His Legend    

August 1:   Oswald wrote the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, and told them that he had got into a brawl with the "gusanos" -- Spanish for worms and a well-known epithet for the Cuban exiles. [34]    This incident had not happened, but Oswald made sure that it did a few days later.   Oswald's target was the Cuban DRE leader Carlos Bringuier.  

August 5:   Oswald visited Bringuier's clothing store and introduced himself as an ex-Marine prepared to fight against Castro and that he could train guerillas. He had come to the right place to make his pitch.   The DRE were attracted to military action and propaganda along those lines.  The two men talked for a full hour

August 6:     Oswald returned to Bringuier's store, leaving a copy of his Marine guide book.   

August 9:     Bringuier, Celso Hernandez, and another friend saw Oswald leafleting for the FPCC and realized that he was a Red Marine and no friend of theirs. [35]   As Oswald had foreseen in his letter, the four men argued vehemently until the police came and arrested them all.  [36]   FBI informant Orestes Pena was watching.   FBI photographers were filming across the street. CIA-FBI agent William Gaudet watched Oswald hand out the literature from his office.  [37]

August 10:    During Oswald's short stint in jail, SA John Quigley reported that "Oswald was desirous of seeing an agent and supplying to him information with regard to his activities with the "Fair Play for Cuba Committee' in New Orleans." [38] Quigley took down everything Oswald gave him.   After waiting for more than a month, Quigley revealed Oswald's defection to the USSR and his role as an FPCC activist on the day before Oswald's trip to Mexico City.    

August 16:     Oswald went out to leaflet again, with Banister's "544 Camp Street" address stamped on his FPCC leaflets.  He had some intriguing company at this intriguing site. The maintenance supervisor of the Trade Mart, a "Mr. Bridges", was on the scene. [39]  The owner of the Trade Mart, Clay Shaw, had been a CIA source for many years.   DRE military leader Isidro Borja was watching. [40] WDSU-TV filmed the 8/16/63 event (as well as the 8/12 court appearance and an 8/21 WDSU-Oswald interview).  [41]  Also watching was Jesse Core, the PR man for the International Trade Market and an FBI source. [42]     Charles Steele, the man Oswald hired to pass out the leaflets -- certainly a first in the history of political movements -- was described as "T-14" for the FBI.   Even fifteen years later, he refused to say if he knew Oswald prior to that day, or if he ever saw him again. [43]   

Later that day,  Cuban exiles Carlos Quiroga (NO T-5) visited Oswald with the ostensible purpose of trying to join the FPCC.   The story is that Quiroga was asked by Bringuier to penetrate Oswald's group. [44]   Oswald's landlady said that she saw that Quiroga was delivering a five-inch stack of FPCC fliers to Oswald, and let it be known that she didn't want those fliers around her property. [45]    Quiroga said that Oswald spent little time with him, telling him to "go away". [46]   It's hard to say if they were adversaries or actually working in concert.         

August 17:     Oswald was interviewed by FBI informant Bill Stuckey for his WDSU show "Latin Listening Post." Stuckey also had a background as a CIA informant on Cuban activities, as can be seen in a 1962 document where he is treated as a known quantity in a memo regarding his magazine article that provides the location of an anti-Castro base near New Orleans.   SA Milton Kaack wrote that Stuckey handed the original tape of this interview to the New Orleans FBI office on August 29.  [47]  Stuckey recalled giving it to the FBI as early as the 20th.  [48]

August 21:     Stuckey called SAC Harry Maynor that morning, letting him know personally about the tape of the previous show and that there would be another show with Oswald that night. [49]

For the second radio show, Stuckey contacted Ed Butler, executive director of the Information Council on the Americas (INCA), which Stuckey described as "an anti-Communist propaganda organization."   He also asked Bringuier to attend to give the show "Cuban flavor."   When Stuckey invited Oswald to return for a Cuba policy debate, his jocular response was, "How many of you do I have to fight?"  [50]  Oswald's defection to the Soviet Union was revealed while on the air, but Oswald kept his fighting face on throughout the debate.  Butler and Bringuier were mystified that anyone would consider him a crackpot. WDSU secretary Jeanne Rodgers promptly provided a copy of the debate transcript to the New Orleans FBI office.  [51]   

Hoover's office knew that things were heating up.   On the day of the debate, HQ sent a memo to New Orleans reminding them that it had been waiting to hear what Oswald's job was since March and whether or not to interview Marina.  [52]  HQ also asked that "contact should be made with established sources familiar with Cuban activities in the New Orleans area to determine if (Oswald) involved in activities inimical to the internal security of the U.S.   Submit results in letterhead memorandum".  [53]  SA Quigley provided no response until September 24, right after Oswald's s family moved away from New Orleans and returned to the Dallas area - while Oswald went to Mexico City, seeking permission to enter Cuba.  

As we will see in the next chapter, a few CIA officers in Miami took special notice of Quigley's observations about Oswald and the FPCC.      We will also see that the New Orleans FBI had a friend at the visa office that could tell them that Oswald was on his way out of town, where he was going, and what alias he was using.  

What the friend didn't know is that Oswald was going to visit the Soviet and Cuban consulates in Mexico City to seek an "instant visa" to visit both of those countries.   This had worked when Oswald had defected to the USSR in 1959.  This time, however, Oswald had no intention of actually visiting these countries.  

Someone convinced Oswald to go to the Cuban and Soviet consulates, present himself as an FPCC representative, and to misbehave while on center stage.   The goal was to see if Oswald could rattle the embassy staff  - much like he had rattled Bringuier and the DRE - and then see how they reacted under pressure for the purposes of counter-intelligence.   This was a clever way for the CI officers to gauge the strengths and weaknesses of the other side.

David Phillips, the CIA's chief of Cuban operations, was stationed in Mexico City.  Phillips didn't need to rely on the CIA's cameras trained on the Cuban consulate.  He had people watching from the inside...

Next time:  Part 10 - Nightmare in Mexico City.  A tip of the hat to more people than I can count:  Bill Turner, Warren Hinckle, Jim DiEugenio, John Armstrong, Gerald McKnight, Joan Mellen, William Davy, Peter Dale Scott, Jefferson Morley, and Tony Summers, to name just a few.

[1]   The two Reily brothers were active in anti-Castro politics:   Peter Dale Scott, Crime and Cover-Up, pp. 15, 54, and sources there provided.

[2]   The main source of information about Oswald's time at Reily's was an ex-FBI man and industrial security specialist named William Monaghan:    See Peter Dale Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, pp. 94-95, 368.

[3]    As we have seen in Part 5, NASA security was monitoring the Webster case:    Memo from Robert Crowley, Domestic Contacts Division, from James R. Murphy, Cleveland, 10/20/59, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 17: Ruiz - Webster) / NARA Record Number: 104-10181-10100. Also see Larry Hancock, Someone Would Have Talked, p. 23. (2010).   

[4]     Alfred Claude:   FBI interview of Alfred Claude, 11/26/63, Warren Commission Exhibit 1940.   

[5]     Emmett Barbee; Dante Marachini:   Jim Garrison, Heritage of Stone, p. 129.   (New York:  Berkley, 1972)

[6]     John Branyon:   FBI interview of John Branyon, 11/26/63, Warren Commission Exhibit 1941.   

[7]     Adrian Alba worked at the Crescent City Garage next door to Reily's, where Oswald liked to hang out and read gun magazines...Monaghan/LeBlanc noticed:  11/24/63 memo from SAC New Orleans, to Director, pp.5-8, FBI 105-82555 Oswald HQ File, Section 45.  

[8]     Oswald then cited LeBlanc as a reference, but made sure to give the wrong address for him:  Oswald misspelled his name as "Lablace" of 2905 Magazine.   No one resembling that name was at that address; but it was one digit off Oswald's address at 4905 Magazine.  Moving digits and misspelling names was a constant for Oswald. 

[9]     Alba told the Warren Commission that Oswald thought that he had found his "where the gold is" and would be hired by NASA to work at the Michoud plant during 1963:   See testimony of Adrian Alba, Warren Commission Hearings, Volume 10, p. 226. 

[10]      Alba wrote his statement promptly after the assassination at the request of the Secret Service:   Oswald 201 File, Vol 4,  Declaration of Adrian Alba, p. 2.

[11]      However, NASA, Chrysler, and other contractors in the area were canvassed and all reported no records of any application by Oswald: FBI insert, 11/30/63, FBI Oswald Headquarters File (105-82555), Section 10, p. 69. 

[12]      An ex-FBI colleague said Banister bid on the security contract for NASA's Michoud assembly facility:   Interview with I.E. Nitschke by Jim Garrison, 1/17/67, see Joan Mellen, A Farewell to Justice, p. 98.

[13]     Abelow turned a copy of the FPCC leaflets over to NASA security.  See John Newman, Oswald  and the CIA, p. 314.  Also see SA John McHugh interview with Martin Samuel Abelow, 5/28/64.  and FBI letterhead memo of 5/25/64 report from confidential source.

[14]    Intelligence forces have denied for years that there was any relationship between Guy Banister and Lee Oswald.  New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, independent researchers and journalists have assembled an impressive array of evidence that ties these two men together:  William Davy, Let Justice Be Done:   New Light on the Jim Garrison Investigation (Reston, Virginia:   Jordan Publishing, 1999), pp. 39-41.  

[15]   Gaudet told journalist Tony Summers in a 1978 interview that he had seen Oswald pass out FPCC leaflets in New Orleans and that, "I did see Oswald discussing various things with Banister at the time, and I think Banister knew a whole lot of what was going on":    Anthony Summers, Conspiracy, pp. 336-338.

[16]    He had plenty of experience fighting the Communists during his sixteen-year tenure as a FBI Special Agent in Charge:  New Orleans Times-Picayune, 2/5/55.

[17]    He had worked with the White Russians and had relied on Igor and Natalie Voshinin of the NTS (see Part 6) as sources back in 1950:  Memo from SAC Guy Banister, Butte, to HQ, 1/27/51.  FBI - HSCA Subject File: Mrs. Igor Voshinin / NARA Record Number: 124-10299-10008. When in Butte, Banister had been conducting interviews on a "hit man" authorized by Stalin to kill dissident elements behind Red Army lines in World War II -- Banister and his team found out that Igor and Natalie Voshinin in Brooklyn, NY were among the key sources for background on this.

[18]    After his retirement from the FBI in 1954, Banister served a stint as deputy police chief of New Orleans:   Conspiracy, Anthony Summers, p. 290.  

[19]    A CIA memo described him as "aligned" with Kent Courtney, the owner of the ultraright newspaper The Independent American:   HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 40 / NARA Record Number: 104-10109-10379.

[20]    He was a member of the segregationist Louisiana State Sovereignty Commission:   Interview with De Brueys, 1/8/76, by SSC, by Paul Wallach, Sen. Schweiker, and other Senate Select Committee staff members, transcribed 1/20/76, NARA Record Number: 124-10370-10009. 

[21]    His secretary and mistress Delphine Roberts was associated with the racist wing National States Rights Party: https://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?mode=searchResult&absPageId=1207847

[22]    When asked about the Agency's relationship with Banister , CIA New Orleans field office chief Lloyd Ray responded that Banister asked to work for them but they declined his offer in late 1960:   Memo by Lloyd Ray, Chief, New Orleans field office, to Director, Domestic Contact Service, p. 2,   HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 40/NARA Record Number: 1993.08.02.10:36:52:120060. 

[23]     A security investigation revealed derogatory information about his professional conduct:   Internal CIA memo, circa 1975, addressing criticisms made by independent researcher Paul Hoch, p. 4.    

[24]    Banister was approved on 10 November 1960 for routine use as a source of foreign intelligence:  CIA memo of 11/21/67, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 40 / NARA Record Number: 104-10109-10359.

[25]    The CIA considered using him for cover:   Memo from HQ to CIA Los Angeles field office, 8/30/60  HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 40 / NARA Record Number: 104-10109-10376. However, derogatory information killed that idea.

[26]     In January 1961, Banister was providing medical supplies and other aid to the CIA and Cuban exiles in preparation for the Bay of Pigs: https://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?docId=81057&relPageId=12

[27]    During that month, Banister incorporated his front organization - the "Friends of Democratic Cuba" (FDC):  DDP Richard Bissell to FBI liaison Sam Papich, 3/30/61, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 14 / NARA Record Number: 1993.07.14.15:41:50:460270.     Also see redacted version (easier to read):   FBI 62-109060 JFK HQ File, Additional Releases, Part 1 of 3, p. 301.  

[28]    Gerard Tujague was the treasurer of the FDC:  Id., at p. 2; also see Lee Harvey Oswald Chronology, created by "LMK" of FBI, p. 2;   

[29]    Oswald had worked for Tujague's import-export business in 1956; told his mother he was going to return to work at Tujague's right before he defected in 1959; listed himself as a shipping export agent on his passport in 1959; and named Tujague as a reference with the proper address when he looked for work in 1963:  See CIA document, "Chronology of Oswald in the USSR", Oswald 201 File, Vol 38B/ NARA Record Number: 1993.06.10.15:01:04:030000. Also see copy of 1959 passport, HSCA volume 4, p. 282.  Also see Tujague's FBI interview, 11/25/63, CD 75, p. 4.  Also see Report of SA William Newbrough that provides Tujague's proper address, 11/29/63, Oswald 201 File, Vol 3, CD75, Part 1. https://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?mode=searchResult&absPageId=994064 

[30]  Pena told the Church Committee that Oswald was employed by Customs:   Church Committee Boxed Files / NARA Record Number: 157-10014-10120.   See http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?docId=1421&relPageId=31 (DeBrueys); http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?mode=searchResult&absPageId=182451    (Pena)(also see 180-10075-10167, 2000 release of Pena's depo, at National Archives; and Joan Mellen's Farewell to Justice, pp. 46-48) http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?mode=searchResult&absPageId=488541 (Juan Valdes' still-unreleased file, part of the CIA's broken-up "Fair Play for Cuba file" 100-300-011)  

[31]   Banister had other people such as his associate Don Campbell and staffer Tommy Baumler working for him to infiltrate left-wing college groups: See memo from Jack Martin and David Lewis to Jim Garrison, 3/1/68, p. 15; Larry Hancock, Someone Would Have Talked, p. 283.   

[32]   Oswald started off in May by leaving FPCC fliers at the Tulane Library, a good way to flush out pro-Castro types that might try to infiltrate anti-communist groups:  FBI Interview with Hugh Murray, 11/26/63.    Warren Commission Document 75, p. 699. 

[33]   Bill Harvey - who worked both the wiretapping side and the Cuban beat for  the CIA during 1962 - was tipped off on 10/1/62 that Celso Hernandez might be a communist:  For the 1962 Oswald-Hernandez arrest, see memo from investigator John Volz to DA Jim Garrison, 3/1/67, pp. 6-7, (follow-up at pp. 16-18) RIF# 180-10085-10407. http://digitalcollections.baylor.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/po-arm/id/41827/rec/3 

On Oct 1, 1962, Bill Harvey is tipped that recent exile Ernesto Arizzurieta says that Celso Hernandez is a dyed-in-the-wool communist, with a son studying in the USSR.  The Celso he knew was a bus driver with Allied Bus.
https://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?mode=searchResult&absPageId=1455965

On Oct 5, 62, the tip is passed by the CIA to the FBI -is this an effort  to smoke out double agents and/or create new stories?
https://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?docId=144379&relPageId=9 (and following two pages)

10/23/63, from New york, brother Ernesto said that Celso Macario was the same one he knew in cuba, who worked for Allied Bus.  
https://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?docId=144388&relPageId=3

11/4/63 memo from Miami, sister Sara says she was the one who worked at allied bus, she said the allied bus Celso was Celso S, not Celso M.
https://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?docId=144388&relPageId=2 (and following page)  Felipe Alonso also said they were two different men.  https://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?docId=144388&relPageId=4

[34]   Oswald wrote the Fair Play for Cuba Committee on August 1, and told them that he had got into a brawl with the "gusanos" -- Spanish for worms, and the left's favorite epithet for the Cuban exiles:   Commission Document 107 - FBI Sup. Invest., 1/13/64 , pp. 77-78.    

[35]    Oswald visited Bringuier's clothing store and introducing himself as an ex-Marine prepared to fight against Castro and that he could train guerillas:  11/27/63 FBI SA John T. Reynolds interview of Carlos Bringuier, Oswald 201 File, Vol 3 , Part 6, p. 39.

Bringuier and two friends saw Oswald leafleting for the FPCC and realized that he was a Red Marine and no friend of theirs:  11/25/63 FBI SA Regis Kennedy interview with Carlos Bringuier, Oswald 201 File, Vol 3, Part 6, p. 29. 

[36]   Besides Oswald, those arrested were DRE Bringuier, head of the New Orleans DRE; Miguel Cruz, and Celso Macario Hernandez, the CIA asset arrested by Officer Charles Noto with someone calling himself "Lee Oswald" in 1962:    Jim DiEugenio, The Assassinations, p. 115. Also see endnote 32, above.

[37]   FBI photographers were filming across the street.  CIA agent William Gaudet watched Oswald hand out the literature from his office.    FBI informant Orest Pena watched.  HSCA interview of Orestes Pena, 1/20/78, National Archives 180-10097-10491; also see John Armstrong, Harvey and Lee, p. 575.

[38]    During Oswald's short stint in jail, SA John Quigley reported that "Oswald was desirous of seeing an agent and supplying to him information with regard to his activities with the "Fair Play for Cuba Committee' in New Orleans":    Memo from SA John L.Quigley to SAC, New Orleans, 8/27/63, FBI 105-82555 Oswald HQ File, Section 2, p. 21.   http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?docId=61091&relPageId=3

[39]    The maintenance supervisor of the Trade Mart, a "Mr. Bridges", was on the scene:   Interview with James Lawrence by Memphis SA Joseph H. Kearney, Jr. 12/6/63, p. 2,   Commission Document 206 - FBI Gemberling Report of 07 Jan 1964 , p. 170. 

[40]    DRE military leader Isidro Borja was watching:   RIF# 180-10097-10491, Numbered Files 014118, HSCA Interview with Orestes Pena, 1/20/78, pp. 1-3.

[41]    WDSU-TV filmed the 8/16/63 event (as well as the 8/12 court appearance and an 8/21 WDSU-Oswald interview):  Warren Commission Hearings, Testimony of William Kirk Stuckey, Volume 11, p. 175.   

[42]    Also watching was Jesse Core, the PR man for the International Trade Market and an FBI source:  Warren de Brueys memo to HQ, 10/25/63, administative page B, FBI - HSCA Administrative Folders / NARA Record Number: 124-10369-10068.

[43]    Charles Steele, the man Oswald hired to pass out the leaflets -- certainly a first in the history of political movements -- was Informant T-14 for the FBI:  Interview of Charles Steele by HSCA interviewer William Brown, 4/13/78, 180-10106-10011; also see Administrative page #D from FBI file 100-10461. http://digitalcollections.baylor.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/po-arm/id/31528/rec/40 - see pages 11-12.

[44]    The story is that Quiroga was asked by Bringuier to penetrate Oswald's group:  Testimony of Carlos Bringuier, 10 H 41.   Also see memo from Bill Branigan to Bill Sullivan, 11/27/63,105-82555, Oswald HQ File, Section 4, p. 96. https://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?mode=searchResult&absPageId=689362 ; Secret Service memo by A.G. Vial, 12/3/63, p. 14, Warren Commission Document 87, p. 439. https://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?mode=searchResult&absPageId=336070

[45]    Oswald's landlady said that she saw that Quiroga was delivering a five-inch stack of FPCC fliers to Oswald, and let it be known that she didn't want those fliers around her property:  Testimony of Mrs. Jesse Garner, 10 H 267-269. 

[46]     Quiroga said that Oswald spent little time with him, telling him to "go away":  https://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?docId=95627&relPageId=48

[47]    The next day, August 17, Oswald was interviewed by FBI informant Bill Stuckey.   Stuckey handed the original tape of this interview to the New Orleans FBI office on August 29:    Memo from SA Milton Kaack to Director, FBI, 11/26/63, FBI 105-82555 Oswald HQ File, p. 129.   http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?docId=57739&relPageId=129   Warren Hearings, Testimony of Bill Stuckey,   Vol. 11, p. 160. www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?docId=45&relPageId=170

[48]   Stuckey recalled giving it to the FBI as early as the 20th:  Warren Hearings, Testimony of William Stuckey, Volume 11, p. 165.  

[49]   On August 21, Stuckey called SAC Harry Maynor that morning, telling him that he had available a tape of the previous show and that there would be another show with Oswald that night:   Memorandum to File, New Orleans SAC Harry M. Gaynor, 8/21/63, FBI 105-82555, Oswald HQ File, Section 2, p. 19. 

[50]   For the second radio show, Stuckey contacted Ed Butler, executive director of the Information Council on the Americas (INCA), which Stuckey described as "an anti-Communist propaganda organization":   Id., at p. 166.   

[51]    The day after the debate, WDSU secretary Jeanne Rodgers provided a copy of the transcript to the New Orleans FBI office:   Memo from SA M. Kaack to Director, FBI, 11/26/63, FBI 105-82555 Oswald HQ File, Section 53, p. 129.     

[52]    On the day of the debate, HQ sent a memo to New Orleans reminding them that it had been waiting to hear what Oswald's job was since March and whether or not to interview Marina:  Newman, p. 338, citing RIF# 124-10228-10049 (not at MFF, only at National Archives)   

[53]    HQ also asked that "contact should be made with established sources familiar with Cuban activities in the New Orleans area to determine if (Oswald) involved in activities inimical to the internal security of the U.S.   Submit results in letterhead memorandum":    "Preliminary Report into the Investigation of President Kennedy", 2/20/76, p. 24,   Church Committee Boxed Files /NARA Record Number: 157-10014-10141.

 

Bill Simpich is a civil rights attorney and an antiwar activist in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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A great deal of disinformation surrounds the subje... by Bill Simpich on Thursday, Aug 30, 2012 at 6:15:55 PM