The Anti-Latell Report Reply

By Arnaldo M. Fernandez, OpEdNews.com

Jim DiEugenio has coined the term Shenonism for a deceitful tactic used by former NYT investigative reporter Philip Shenon to tell his “secret history of the Kennedy assassination.” Shenon presents old things as new and conveys them to the reader as important issues that the Warren Commission (WC) should have known about.

That’s exactly what former CIA analyst Dr. Brian Latell had done in Castro’s Secrets (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012, 2013) for involving Fidel Castro in the JFK death through a “conspiracy of silence[:] Fidel knew Oswald’s intentions to shoot President Kennedy and did nothing to deter the act” (page 247).

Thus, Dr. Latell supports the WC report of a lone gunman who shot a magic bullet with the oldest CIA backstop: Castro was somehow behind Oswald.

That’s exactly what Shenon did in A Cruel and Shocking Act (Henry Holt and Co., 2013). He dug up Mexican writer Elena Garro’s long-ago debunked story on Oswald at a “twist party” in Mexico City, and twisted that party into the occasion seized by Sylvia Duran, allegedly an agent of Castro’s General Directorate of Intelligence (DGI), for putting Oswald up to kill Kennedy (page 556).

The paperback edition of Castro’s Secrets (2013) changed the subtitle from The CIA and Cuba’s Intelligence Machine to Cuban Intelligence, the CIA, and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy. Dr. Latell’s purpose-built stage allowed for more JFK walking dead, like U.S. Ambassador Thomas Mann, who believed even “that the DGI used Oswald’s hotel [in Mexico City] foe intelligence purposes,” although no shred of evidence was ever found.

Latellism is the lightest version of “Castro did it” as “Castro knew it.” Such an uncommon nonsense thrives on claques of both people who cannot think logically for many reasons and people who will not think logically because they have a fanatical anti-Castro agenda. Beneath a scholarly veneer: the “indicators of Cuban regimen deception –and apparent DGI engagement with Oswald– have never been properly evaluated” (page xiii), Dr. Latell performs a media gag in six acts:

*The Oswald’s contacts with Los Angeles Cuban Consulate were overlooked by the FBI and the WC
*The CIA did not inform the WC of Luisa Calderon’s November 22,1963 phone conversation
*Cuban defector Vladimir Rodriguez-Lahera’s [AMMUG-1] knowledge that Castro had lied apparently was not shared with the WC
*Cuban consul Alfredo Mirabal-Daz’s incriminating error before the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) went unnoticed
*In June 1964 FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover submitted a report that minimized and distorted the meaning of the Operation SOLO information acquired from Castro
*Cuban defector Florentino Aspillaga’s story was not publicly revealed until the initial publication of Dr. Latell’s book (2012)

The more “findings” Dr. Latell uses for tying Oswald to DGI, the lesser good reasons are left for explaining why he was missed as a security risk before the JFK assassination, unless the CIA were plotting with Castro. However, Dr. Latell’s itemized scheme is an intellectual breakthrough. It outlines how to disprove his intellectually destitute conspiracy theory:

*Oswald’s contacts with the Cuban Consulate in L.A. were irrelevant
*Calderón’s phone conversation is not a piece of evidence in any way

Article continues here: The Anti-Latell Report

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Castro-Oswald-Kennedy: Conundrum or Nonsense? Reply

By Miguel Fernandez

Last Monday, ex-CIA analyst Dr. Brian Latell and Miami Herald journalist Glen Garvin addressed it at the University of Miami. The thesis statement, “Castro and the Kennedy Assassination,” became ironical.

After clumsily manipulating the reports of both FBI super spy Jack Childs and Cuban Consul Alfredo Mirabal, recycling the fairy tales of foreknowledge with Luisa Calderon and Vladimir Rodriguez-Lahera (AMMUG-1) in the leading roles, and re-telling “the Jaimanitas story” by Florentino Aspillada (TOUCHDOWN), Dr. Latell added a “new discovery” for proving a connection between Lee Harvey Oswald and the Castro’s intelligence machine: Oswald stayed for six days at the center of the pro-Castro activities in Mexico City.

That’s an old story from U.S. Ambassador Thomas Mann. Dr. Latell used it for the same original purpose of pushing “the Cuban conspiracy.” However, the more dots are connecting to work against the lack of conclusive evidence for accusing Castro, the lesser options are left for a rational explanation of Oswald’s actions. Actually Dr. Latell’s approach leads to the crossroad of a conspiracy between Castro and the CIA, or a despicable mishandling by the CIA. Since the former is preposterous, as Dr. Latell rightly said, the latter is the point d´honeur.

Uncommon Nonsense

To a certain extent, Dr. Latell exemplifies the analytical shortcomings of the CIA facing Castro. Any conspiracy theory on Castro not only presumes he took the greatest risk for winning nothing with Lyndon B. Johnson as President. It also assumes that an ex-Marine re-defector from the Soviet Union was not an intelligence bonanza in 1963.

Dr. Latell’s legend affirms that a true believer of Communism and Cuban Revolution, connected to several leftwing newspaper and organizations, after leafleting for Castro and clashing with anti-Castro exiles in New Orleans, got a brand new passport, traveled to Mexico City, stayed at the Castroit Hotel El Comercio, visited several times the Cuban and Soviet diplomatic compounds, asked to illegally travel to Cuba with the Soviet Union as final destination, was encouraged by Castro intelligence offices to kill Kennedy, and returned to Dallas for accomplishing the mission.

Oswald had pre-assassination files in both the FBI (105-82555) and the CIA (201-289248). The routing slips of the latter show that he was under close scrutiny by three teams inside the company: the Counterintelligence Special Investigation Group (CI-SIG), the Counterintelligence Operation Group (CI-OPS) and the Counter-Espionage Unit of the Soviet Russia Division (CE-SR/6).

However, the CIA Inspector General flatly stated: “It was not until 22 November 1963 [that the CIA] Station learned (…) Oswald had also visited the Cuban Embassy.” Thus, Oswald would have passed unnoticed by the CIA surveillance teams in Mexico City despite his three visits to the Cuban Consulate on September 27, 1963, and a call about his immigration proceedings from a Cuban employee to a phone taped by the CIA at the Soviet Consulate.

The Cables of October

Moreover, the CIA revealed a keen interest in Oswald on the “need to know” basis during his stay in Mexico City.
• October 8, 1963. The cable 6453 from Mexico City CIA Station to Langley reported wit delay that “an American male who spoke broken Russian” had said by phone his name was “Lee Oswald.” He had visited the Soviet Embassy on September 28 and spoke with Consul Vareliy V. Kostikov. It was also provided a description of a presumed American male entering the Soviet Embassy on October 1st.
• October 10. The cable 74830 from Langley replied that Lee Oswald “probably” was Lee Henry Oswald and specified that latest info was an ODACID [State Department] report from May 1962. Langley gave a description of Oswald and concealed two FBI reports recently added to his file: from Dallas (September 24, 1963) on his leftist political activities and form New Orleans (October 4) on his clashes with Cuban exiles.
• October 10. The cable 74673, drafted by the same CIA officers at Langley on the same day for ODACID, ODENVY (FBI), and ODOATH (Navy), gave as Oswald’s the description of the “presumed American male” from the cable 6453 and left out the most important hint from Mexico: that Oswald had spoken with the well-known KGB officer Kostikov.

To cap it all, the CIA Station never produced a photo or an audio tape from Oswald. One of each item was immediately sent to the FBI in Dallas, but Director J. Edgar Hoover had to call the already sitting President LBJ for advising that “the picture and the tape do not correspond to this man’s voice, nor to his appearance.” At least, Oswald was telephonically impersonated in Mexico City.

Coda

Even if nobody aided and abetted Oswald, the crucial problem is how the CIA failed to prevent him from killing the U.S. President in broad daylight at Dealey Plaza. The conspiracy debate turns a blind eye to it.

By pure chance, Oswald got a job at the Texas School Books Depository on October 16, 1963. A week before, FBI supervisor Marvin Gheesling had cancelled the FLASH card issued on Oswald when he defected to the USSR. The day after the cancellation, the CIA sent DIR 74673 to FBI with phony items about Oswald, but enough information for putting him again in the watch list. Since the FLASH was off, Oswald would come back under the spotlight too late.

Nobody from the CIA or the FBI took responsibility, and the CIA still retains about 1,100 secret documents related to the assassination. Thus, the debate should not be about conspiracies, but rather about transparency and justice.