Intelligence


Who Killed JFK? Castro

All-out war between the United States and the U.S.S.R. was narrowly averted in the Cuban missile crisis in the fall of 1962. The audio tapes made in the Oval Office during the October 1962 Cuban missile crisis have an interesting exchange between President Kennedy and Maxwell Taylor, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and President Kennedy is regretting not having used the Bay of Pigs or similar episodes early in his administration to depose Castro, because at that point he was facing the prospect of dealing with a nuclear Castro as the Soviet missiles were moving in. The Soviets and the Cubans gained a "no invasion" pledge that was conditional upon a United Nations inspection to verify that Soviet offensive weapons had been removed from Cuba. Because Castro never allowed the inspection, the United States never officially made the reciprocal pledge not to invade Cuba.

On September 7, 1963, in an interview with Associated Press reporter Daniel Harker, Castro warned against the United States "aiding terrorist plans to eliminate Cuban leaders," and added that US leaders would be in danger if they promoted any attempt to eliminate the leaders of Cuba.

When President John F. Kennedy was struck down by rifle fire in Dallas on 22 November 1963, many people suspected Cuba and its leader, Fidel Castro Ruz, of involvement in the assassination, particularly after it was learned that Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin, had sought to travel to Cuba in September 1963. The Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC) was a pro-Castro organization with headquarters in New York. The FPCC had chapters in many cities, but Lee Harvey Oswald was its founding and, it seems, only member in New Orleans. In the summer of 1963, Oswald distributed handbills that he had printed that advocated "Hands Off Cuba!" and invited members of the public to join the New Orleans chapter of the FPCC. The Warren Commission and the congressional committees that investigated the assassination discuss Oswald's connection to the FPCC in their respective reports.

In the mid-1970s, the Church Committee publicly revealed what journalists had been alleging since 1967 - that the US government had sponsored assassination attempts at various times against Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Castro presumably knew about these attempts long before the US public, and some historians and researchers have questioned whether he retaliated by assassinating President Kennedy. The Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities was formed to investigate the performance of the CIA and other US intelligence agencies. The Senate committee detailed two general types of operations that the CIA had directed against Castro. One, referred to as the AMLASH operation, involved the CIA's relationship with an important Cuban figure (code-named AMLASH) who, while he was trusted by Castro, professed to the CIA that he would be willing to organize a coup against the Cuban leader. The CIA was in contact with AMLASH from March 1961 until June 1965. A second plot documented by the Senate committee was a joint effort by the CIA and organized crime in America. It was initiated in 1960 in a conversation between the agency's Deputy Director for Plans, Richard Bissell, and the Director of Security, Col. Sheffield Edwards. According to the Senate committee, this operation lasted until February 1963.

The the US government sponsored potential uprisings and military coups within Cuba, and there were possible US plans to invade Cuba by overt military force. Evidence of serious, or imminent, contingency plans to invade Cuba with US military forces during the Kennedy Administration, if found, could provide either a motive for retaliation by Castro or a motive for domestic malcontents who might have been displeased that such plans were not immediately implemented by the administration.

In 1963, the Cuban Government had agents of its own in nearly every country of the Western Hemisphere, including the United States, who undoubtedly would have been more dependable for such an assignment. Even if Castro had wanted to minimize the chance of detection by using hired non-Cuban killers, it appeared unlikely that he would have tried to force Mafia members or their Cuban exile confederates to engage in the assassination of an American head of state.



NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list