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THE JFK CASE: WHAT INFORMANTS ARE STILL OUT THERE?

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There are many questions about the JFK assassination that can easily be answered - but only by eyewitnesses who aren't going to be alive for much longer. Do the math: It was 46 years ago this week. It's time for these eyewitnesses to tell their stories - or for the rest of us to at least know who to ask.

Thanks to the JFK Act of 1992 passed in the wake of Oliver Stone's well-known movie, many of the assassination documents were released in the last few years - but the rest are being held back to 2017 or even later. These documents are filled with blacked-out portions that hide the names of the informants and sources of the spy agencies. Some of these names we can figure out. I'll name a couple of them here. Others have gone public. All these names need to be public, before more of these sources pass away from old age.

Here's why it's important. Whether or not Oswald was a spy, he was in the middle of some intriguing operations centered in New York City a and Mexico City during the months before Kennedy was shot.
The purpose of these operations was not merely to spy on the pro-Castro Fair Play for Cuba Committee, which was the main antiwar network of the era and similar to United for Peace and Justice or ANSWER.
Rather, the goal was to isolate Castro's government in the eyes of the world and to pave the way for a second invasion of Cuba, much like George Bush's second invasion of Iraq.
These operations appear to have been used by someone - whether it was Oswald or someone else - as "protective cover" behind which they could engineer the assassination of JFK, causing the intelligence bureaucracies to instinctively cover up and protect their jobs and pensions, even at the cost of concealing known evidence about Oswald. Who was using who?

Individual claims for privacy are important. But in this case, justice demands that all available information be brought forward now. Embedded in this history are the strategies that push the American people into war - over and over again.

It's Time for Fair Play for the FPCC

In November, 1962, one month after the Cuban missile crisis, the New York papers were filled with headlines about a Cuban plot to bomb Bloomingdale's, other midtown shopping establishments, and military installations throughout the metropolitan area.

Arrested were one of the members of the UN Cuban mission and two members of the Casa Cuba Club, a club of pro-Castro Cuban exiles allied with the politically active Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC) headquartered in New York.

This supposed 9/11-style plot was denounced by Attorney General Robert Kennedy and was yet another major black eye for Cuba and its allies. Whether this plot was real or faked, the evidence was never tested in court - the supposed saboteurs were returned to Cuba in April 1963 in exchange for CIA officials that Cuba refused to return in the recently-completed prisoner exchange from the failed Bay of Pigs invasion.

When Lee Harvey Oswald wrote his first letter to the Fair Play for Cuba Committee HQ in New York in April 1963, he asked for "forty to fifty" free copies of a 40 page pamphlet.

In a remarkable turn of events many years later, the author of the pamphlets turned out to be holding a receipt for 45 of these pamphlets from the CIA Acquisitions Division. These pamphlets were mailed to Oswald by FPCC worker Victor Thomas Vicente. Earlier this year, I was able to identify Vicente as a key informant for both the CIA and the FBI's New York branch.

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After mailing the pamphlets, Vicente provided Oswald's letter to the FBI New York office as part of a "black bag job", where he let FBI agents into the FPCC office so they could photograph the documents.

During the summer of 1963, the CIA sent Victor Vicente to Mexico City, then known as the "spy capital of the world", and then to Havana to meet directly with Castro and Che Guevara and to film his travels for review upon his return to New York.


On September 16, 1963, John Tilton of the CIA's maritime operations branch sent a memo to the FBI asking for help in an operation designed to make the Fair Play for Cuba Committee look bad. He asked the FBI to provide FPCC stationery and an FPCC mailing list. Again, Victor Vicente took care of that request during the next month, and included in his package correspondence from Oswald. Another request made by Tilton was to plant "deceptive information" to embarrass the FPCC in areas where it had support. This may have been the reason for Oswald's trip to Mexico, whether he knew it or not. Oswald got in line to get a Mexican visa the day after Tilton's letter. Standing right in front of Oswald in line was William Gaudet, an editor of Latin American Reports, who worked with both the CIA and the FBI.

It's time to look at the impersonation of Oswald

In late September, Oswald visited the Cuban and Soviet embassies in Mexico City for the purpose of getting visas to visit both countries. As Oswald was a former defector to the Soviet Union and was planning on traveling with his Russian-born wife, CIA officials such as Cuba chief David Phillips admitted "we covered this man all the time."
After Oswald's capture on November 22, the HQ Mexico desk chief John Whitten wrote that among his fellow employees at Langley,
"the effect was electric". Two well-informed staffers had a footrace down the corridor for Oswald's file.

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Many very strange events occurred during Oswald's visit. One is that although there was constant CIA photographic surveillance of those two embassies, the public has never seen a picture of Oswald in Mexico. Although the CIA's Mexico City chief of station Win Scott had been asking since October for a good photo of Oswald to compare against the photos they believed they had taken of Oswald, headquarters had never supplied one.

Even though Scott was supposedly warned by his assistant Anne Goodpasture that she "felt that it should not be sent out" as he might have the wrong picture of Oswald, he sent to DC immediately after the assassination a picture of a man that he wrongly claimed was "a certain person who is known to you" at the Soviet embassy.

After the dust settled, Scott came up with good pictures of Oswald standing outside the Cuban embassy, and two CIA men backed this story. These photos were removed from Scott's safe after his 1971 death by counterintelligence chief James Angleton, and have never seen the light of day.

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

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