What Could a Mysterious U.S. Spy Know About the JFK Assassination? 2

A photograph of June Cobb from an August 1962 profile in Parade magazine. | Parade Magazine

John F. Kennedy buffs are awaiting the release of documents about June Cobb, a little-known CIA operative working in Cuba and Mexico around the time of the president’s assassination.

By Philip Shenon May 20, 2017

She may have been one of the bravest and best-placed American spies in the history of the Cold War, but few people outside the CIA know the mysterious story of June Cobb.

The existing information in the spy agency’s declassified files depicts Cobb as an American Mata Hari—an adventure-loving, death-defying globetrotter who moved to Cuba to work for Fidel Castro, the country’s newly installed strongman, then found herself recruited to spy for the CIA after growing disenchanted with Castro’s revolution. The era’s rampant sexism is obvious in her job evaluation reports: Cobb’s CIA handlers wrote down speculation about her sex life and her failed romance in the 1950s with an opium farmer in the jungles of South America. And the reports are filled with appraisals of Cobb’s looks, noting especially her fetching blue eyes. “Miss Cobb is not unattractive,” her CIA recruiter wrote in 1960. “She is blonde, has a slender figure, although she has a somewhat hard look, making her appear somewhat older than her 33 years.”

According to another, undated evaluation, she had a “wiry” figure but had been attractive enough to catch the Cuban dictator’s eye. Cobb, the report said, was reputedly “a former girlfriend of Castro’s.” True or not, she was close enough to get a job on the Cuban dictator’s senior staff in Havana in 1960, the perfect perch to spy for the CIA. Cobb’s agency work in Havana and later in Mexico leads us to the most puzzling aspect of her life—that she later found herself drawn deeply into the mysteries of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. After the murder, she reported to her CIA bosses that she had identified a trio of witnesses who could tie Kennedy’s assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, to Cuban diplomats and spies in Mexico City, where Oswald had traveled just weeks before the assassination.

What did June Cobb know at the time? Historians of the Cold War—and anyone with an interest in JFK’s 1963 assassination and the possibility of Cuban involvement—are on the verge of learning much more about the extraordinary, often bizarre, sometimes tragic life of the American spy who was born Viola June Cobb, the full name that appeared on her birth certificate back home in Ponca City, Oklahoma, in 1927. The National Archives has recently acknowledged that it is preparing to release a 221-page file of long-secret CIA documents about Cobb that—for reasons the Archives says it cannot yet divulge—are somehow linked to JFK’s murder.

Feature continues here:  CIA’s Spy Tied Cubans to JFK Assassination



  1. The JFK assassination long running collateral story is filled with a myriad of angles, coming from various sources. To this date there is no clear conclusion as to who planned and who assassinated President Kennedy. Notwithstanding, the fiasco of the Kennedy brothers vis-a-vis Cuba after the arrival of Fidel castro into power in 1959, Fidel Castro created one of the most damaging periods in U.S. history, unseemingly parallel to normal daily life in these United States, leaving Americans unaware of the fierce systematic propaganda of the Castro regime with the improbable outcome to destabilize and bring down the United States, which was Castro´s most delusional enemy throughout his entire life and side-kick of his propaganda, which portrayed Castro as a heroe to the third world block countries extending from Latin America to the Middle East, to Africa and Europe. The facts are all there to explore and confirm no doubt about it.

    A small island 90 miles off the coast of the United States destabilized many Latin American countries by encroaching into those countries politics, many with copy cat military forces that also arrived in government as the Castros did and supported by Cuba. All of this happening before the yes of numerous U.S. Presidents who apparently did not learn anything from the Cuba missile crisis. The net effect has been that prior to Fidel Castro immigration by Latin Americans was little to almost none. The net effect is that according to the U.S. Census Bureau, Hispanics have already overtaken Blacks in population in the U.S. and that by 2050 Hispanics will be majority in population of the United States. This is the way the Castros had an impact into the United States without firing a single shot, but impacting U.S. culture and transforming it in the most unseemingly subversive way. This is what the Kennedy´s did to change the course of history of the United States.

    Hispanics soon, from a historic calendar perspective, will have the power of putting a President into the highest office of the United States. Had Castro not created such widespread instability in Latin America, the United States would not have been nearly invaded in the lives of people coming not only across the border from South and Central America, but flying in from Columbia, Argentina, Cuba and Dominican Republic. Even Puerto Rico where this year right smack in the middle of New York City, the Puerto Rican Day Parade will HOST, HONOR and CELEBRATE a pro-Castro TERRORIST who along with 15 other Puerto Rican TERRORISTS set-off 120 bombs in the United States including Fauncey´s Tavern that killed 4 and injured 48. Those TERRORISTS were pardoned by Bill Clinton at the request from HILLARY CLINTON in exchange for Jose River NY State Assemblyman delivering for her the Puerto Rican vote so she could become a New York Senator and get into the White House. Guess who cleared President Bill Clinton from an investigation of his abuse of discretionary power of pardon? James Comey. So from Kennedy on down to all the other numerous American Presidents, they have not worked to protect the United States from Cuba a small island that seemed not lethal.

    Only Henry Kissinger—who called Fidel Castro a “peep squeak” when Castro got involved with Cuban troops into Angola—thereafter convinced and President Gerry Ford agreed to invade Cuba after the elections, but where Ford lost and President Carter, (the worst President in U.S. history declined to invade Cuba.

    Following are some JFK facts chose and enjoy the legends.

    Source: JFK facts:

    Excerpt from February 28, 2014

    “Somebody did talk.

    His name was John Martino. In 1963 he was an anti-Castro militant who mixed with organized crime figures and CIA officers. His story is one of the clearest indicators that opponents of JFK’s Cuba policy had foreknowledge that President Kennedy might be assassinated in Dallas.

    To put it another way, those who doubt there was a conspiracy need to address John Martino’s story. It is corroborated in multiple ways”.

    Excerpt from October 08, 2013

    “The former PBS anchor told Diane Rehm he expects that someday somebody will talk about their role in a JFK assassination conspiracy. But as JFK researcher Larry Hancock reported here in January, somebody did talk.

    His name was John Martino”.

    Excerpt from January 31, 2014

    “Gail Raven’s timeless story about her admiring friend Jack Ruby stays in it perennial spot at #1, followed by a discussion of former White House information czar Cass Sunstein and the state of the case.

    1) Ex-flame says Jack Ruby ‘had no choice’ but to kill Oswald (March 21, 2013)”


    Mary Farrell Foundation

    “Flo, they’re going to kill him. They’re going to kill him when he gets to Texas.
    The wife of John Martino, after denying to the HSCA that her husband had foreknowledge of JFK’s assassination, told author Anthony Summers about her husband’s statement the morning of the murder and the series of phone calls he received that afternoon.”

    “John Martino, whose statements are the starting point for Larry Hancock’s book Someone Would Have Talked, was deeply enmeshed in anti-Castro activities in the early 1960s. An electronics expert, particularly specializing in the gambling machines employed in Havana casinos run by organized crime. Martino was arrested in Havana in July 1959 and spent three years in prison there. On his return to Florida, he became associated with Frank Sturgis, Eddie Bayo, and other anti-Castro activists. Martino also mentioned the not-well-known CIA officer Dave Morales in his book, I Was Castro’s Prisoner.
    In the spring and summer of 1963, Martino was heavily involved in the Bayo-Pawley raid (aka Operation TILT), an operation intended to smuggle out of Cuba two Russian officers who, it was said, wanted to defect and alert the world to the presence of Soviet missiles remaining in Cuba after the Missile Crisis. A team was landed but never returned.”

    “Martino and an associated named Nathaniel Weyl were active in the aftermath of JFK’s assassination, spreading a variety stories intended to tie Lee Harvey Oswald to Fidel Castro”.

    “Martino’s confession was not confined to his wife and son Eddie. In 1975 he told Newsday reporter John Cummings about his involvement in the JFK murder, serving as a courier, delivering money, etc. He told a similar story to his business partner Fred Claasen that same year, as recounted in Tony Summer’s book Conspiracy”:

    “The anti-Castro people put Oswald together. Oswald didn’t know who he was working for–he was just ignorant of who was really putting him together. Oswald was to meet his contact at the Texas Theatre. They were to meet Oswald in the theatre, and get him out of the country, then eliminate him. Oswald made a mistake…There was no way we could get to him. They had Ruby kill him”.

    Warren Commission Documents:

    –Commission Document 59, p.6. FBI O’Connor report of 3 Dec 1963, regarding 2 Dec interview with Martino.
    –Commission Document 87, pp.1024-1026. Secret Service investigation of Martino.
    –Commission Document 395, pp.21-22. FBI O’Connor report of 25 Jan 1964, regarding 29 Dec 1963 interview with Martino.
    –Commission Document 561. FBI Lawrence report of 13 Feb 1964 regarding Martino.
    –Commission Document 657. FBI letterhead memo of 26 Feb 1964 regarding 15 Feb interview with Martino.
    –Commission Document 662. FBI letterhead memo regarding 2 Mar 1964 interview of informant T-1 regarding Nathaniel
    Weyl and John Martino.
    –Commission Document 812. FBI O’Connor report of 4 Apr 1964 of interviews with Nathaniel Weyl and John Martino.
    –Commission Document 961. FBI letterhead memo of 8 May 1964 regarding interviews with Martino.
    –Commission Document 1169. FBI letterhead memo regarding 11 May 1964 interview with John Martino.

    HSCA Volumes:

    –Deposition of Howard P. Willens in Volume XI. See pp.438-441.

    CIA Files:

    –104-10312-10379. JMWAVE memo for record of 22 May 1963 re: Soviet Defectors (operation TILT).
    –104-10312-10289. MFR of 4 Jun 1963 re: operation TILT.
    –104-10312-10361. 5 Jun 1963 cable re: operation TILT.
    –104-10161-10026. 2 Feb 1964 debriefing of Prisbeck.
    –104-10052-10424. Chief JMWAVE to Chief SAS of 26 Feb 1964 re: operation TILT.
    –104-10312-10175. Chief SAS to Chief JMWAVE of 12 Mar 1964 re: Martino and operation TILT.
    –104-10312-10172. Magazine article: The Bayo-Pawley Affair.


    Source: John Simpkin

    Posted March 26, 2008

    “John Martino was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in 1910. In his youth he got into trouble with the police as a result of his involvement in illegal gambling”.

    “In 1935 Martino moved to Miami. Soon afterwards he was arrested for running a lottery. During the Second World War Martino moved to Long Island and in 1943 he was arrested for loan sharking.”

    “Over the next few years Martino learned a great deal about electronics and became a specialist in gambling machines. This included developing devices that increased the profits of casino owners”.

    “In 1956 Martino was invited by Alan Roth to do some work in Cuba. Roth was manager of the Deauville Casino in Havana, owned by Santos Trafficante. Over the next three years Martino made a series of extended trips to the island. A fellow worker at the casino was a man called Louis McWillie, a close friend of Jack Ruby.”

    “In the summer of 1959 Martino was once again in Cuba. While in the Deauville Casino he made critical comments about Fidel Castro, the new leader of the country. He was overheard by a Castro supporter who reported him to the authorities. On 29th July, 1959, Martino was arrested and charged with trying to help people associated with Fulgencio Batista to escape from the island. Martino was held in prison for the next three years and was not released until October, 1962. With the help of Nathaniel Weyl, the right-wing journalist, Martino produced a book about his experiences, I Was Castro’s Prisoner.”

    “Martino returned to the United States where he became involved in anti-Castro activities in Miami. Others involved with him included a former United States Ambassador, William Pawley, Gerry P. Hemming, Felipe Vidal Santiago, Eddie Bayo and Frank Sturgis.”

    “In the winter of 1962 Eddie Bayo claimed that two officers in the Red Army based in Cuba wanted to defect to the United States. Bayo added that these men wanted to pass on details about atomic warheads and missiles that were still in Cuba despite the agreement that followed the Cuban Missile Crisis.”

    “Bayo had originally fought with Fidel Castro against Fulgencio Batista. He disagreed with Castro’s policies after he gained power and moved to Miami and helped establish Alpha 66. His story was eventually taken up by several members of the anti-Castro community. William Pawley became convinced that it was vitally important to help get these Soviet officers out of Cuba. To help this happen he contacted James Eastland, the chairman of the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee about this matter.”

    “William Pawley also contacted Ted Shackley, head of the CIA’s JM WAVE station in Miami. Shackley decided to help Pawley organize what became known as Operation Tilt. He also assigned Rip Robertson, a fellow member of the CIA in Miami, to help with the operation. David Sanchez Morales, another CIA agent, also became involved in this attempt to bring out these two Soviet officers.”

    “In June, 1963, a small group, including Martino, William Pawley, Eddie Bayo, Rip Robertson and Richard Billings, a journalist working for Life Magazine, secretly arrived in Cuba. They were unsuccessful in their attempts to find these Soviet officers and they were forced to return to Miami. Bayo remained behind and it was rumoured that he had been captured and executed. However, his death was never reported in the Cuban press.”

    “In an article published in January, 1964, Martino claimed in had important information about the death of John F. Kennedy. He argued that in 1963 Fidel Castro had discovered an American plot to overthrow his government. It was therefore decided to retaliate by organizing the assassination of Kennedy. Martino and Nathaniel Weyl both claimed that Lee Harvey Oswald had been in Cuba in 1963 and had been recruited by Cuban intelligence to kill Kennedy.”

    “Martino told his friend, Fred Claasen, that he was not telling the truth about the Cubans being behind the assassination of Kennedy. He admitted that he had been involved in the conspiracy by acting as a courier delivering money. He also told the same story to his wife Florence Martino.”

    “Shortly before his death in 1975 Martino confessed to a Miami Newsday reporter, John Cummings, that he had been guilty of spreading false stories implicating Lee Harvey Oswald in the assassination. He claimed that two of the gunmen were Cuban exiles. It is believed the two men were Herminio Diaz Garcia and Virgilio Gonzalez. Cummings added: “He told me he’d been part of the assassination of Kennedy. He wasn’t in Dallas pulling a trigger, but he was involved. He implied that his role was delivering money, facilitating things…. He asked me not to write it while he was alive.”

    “Fred Claasen also told the House Select Committee on Assassinations what he knew about Martino’s involvement in the case. Florence Martino at first refused to corroborate the story. However, in 1994 she told Anthony Summers that her husband said to her on the morning of 22nd November, 1963: “Flo, they’re going to kill him (Kennedy). They’re going to kill him when he gets to Texas.”

  2. Well, I did not know about this lady. Interesting. I don’t have any doubts about Castro’s involvement in the assassination of JFK. The Mexico city Cuban embassy has one of the biggest diplomatic delegations which are mainly DI personnel.

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