09/20/13 - WND.com - Did JFK Cuba gambit set stage for assassination?
NEW YORK Although the Bay of Pigs invasion is widely considered a
Kennedy administration initiative, the historical record demonstrates the
CIA hatched the plan during the last year of the Eisenhower
The original plan would have provided Vice President Richard Nixon with an
October surprise that he could use to defeat John F. Kennedy in the 1960
presidential election, writes WNDs Jerome Corsi in his new book Who
Really Killed Kennedy, published by WND Books.
The idea, Corsi writes, was that the American public would rally around
Nixons leadership of an Eisenhower administration effort to support a
popular uprising of Cuban patriots invading Cuba from the United States to
rescue their homeland from Castro and communism.
Nixon, according to the plan, would score a knockout blow over Kennedy as
the American public saw Nixon using his superior foreign policy expertise
to depose Castro through a popular uprising in Cuba stirred by the
The plan was disrupted, however, Corsi writes, when insider sources tipped
off the Kennedy campaign that the Bay of Pigs invasion was planned for the
last weeks of the 1960 presidential campaign.
Secret details of JFKs assassination are finally unlocked. Get your
autographed copy of Who Really Killed Kennedy? by Jerome Corsi now!
Ultimately, Corsi contends, the gambit JFK successfully executed to
prevent Nixon from invading Cuba before the 1960 presidential election,
inadvertently set the state for his own assassination.
Who Really Killed Kennedy, released this week as the 50th anniversary of
the assassination approaches, is bolstered by recently declassified
documents that shed new light on the greatest who-done-it mystery of the
20th century. Corsi sorted through the mountain of evidence, including
tens of thousands of documents, all 26 volumes of the Warren Commissions
report, hundreds of books, several films and countless photographs.
In March 1960, President Eisenhower approved a plan to train a group of
Cuban exiles to invade their homeland, with the anticipation that the
Cuban people and various elements of the Cuban military would support the
The goal was to overthrow Castro and to establish a non-communist
government favorable to the United States. Richard Bissell, the CIA deputy
director for plans who had successfully developed the Lockheed U-2 spy
plane program, spearheaded within the CIA the plan to invade Cuba that
ultimately became the Bay of Pigs fiasco.
Bissell, a graduate of Yale University and the London School of Economics,
had never spent a day in the U.S. military, though he was ensconced in a
group of journalists and government officials that became known as the
Georgetown Set. The group included CIA officials Allen Dulles, James
Angleton and Cord Meyer three figures that played roles in the JFK
assassination, Corsi says.
Once Eisenhower approved Bissells plan to invade Cuba, the CIA set up
training camps in Guatemala, where a small army was prepared for an
amphibious assault landing and guerrilla warfare.
E. Howard Hunt, the same E. Howard Hunt who later became infamous as a
Watergate burglar, was selected to head the training of the Cuban invasion
army in Guatemala.
Hunt leaves no doubt, Corsi writes, that the Cuban invasion plan was being
developed as a copycat of his efforts earlier during the Eisenhower
administration to overthrow Arbenz in 1954 in Guatemala.
As principal assistant to Bissell, Tracy Barnes told me, I was needed for
a new project, much like the one on which I had worked for him in
overthrowing Jacobo Arbenz, Hunt wrote in his 1974 book Under-Cover:
Memoirs of an American Secret Agent.
My job, Tracy told me, would be essentially the same as my earlier one
chief of political action for a project recommended by the National
Security Council and just approved by President Eisenhower: to assist
Cuban exiles in overthrowing Castro.
Hunt also affirmed that Nixon was in charge of executing the plan.
Corsis investigation into Kennedys assassination is surging on
Nixon, however, had little to say on the subject in public, Hunt
Secretly, however, [Nixon] was White House action officer for our covert
project, and some months before, his senior military aide, Marine General
Robert Cushman, had urged me to inform him of any project difficulties the
Vice President might be able to resolve. For Nixon was, Cushman told me,
determined that the effort should not fail.
Operating under the codename Eduardo, E. Howard Hunt began organizing a
government-in-exile that would form a provisional government in Cuba once
Castro was deposed.
Hunts principal assistant was Bernard Macho Barker, who had worked for
years for the CIA station in Havana, a Cuban American who was also
destined for infamy in Watergate.
Barker and Hunt chose then-27-year-old Manuel F. Artime to head the
provisional government. Artime, a Jesuit-trained psychiatrist, had joined
Castros forces in the Sierra Maestra and served as a regional
agricultural official after Castro ousted Cubas ruling dictator,
Artime fled Cuba to Miami after becoming disillusioned with the number of
anti-communist friends who were being executed by Castro even though they
had supported the revolution.
Barker later turned up as one of the burglars apprehended in the break-in
of Larry ODonnells Democratic National Committee offices in the
Watergate complex. Artime later figured in the many plots Robert Kennedy
advanced in the Kennedy administration, right up to the time of the JFK
assassination, to assassinate Castro in Cuba.
Robert Kennedys goal was to replace Castro with the commander of the
Cuban army, Juan Almeida, another Castro supporter who reportedly had
turned against the revolution after Castro took power.
According to Hunt, the plan developed by Bissell and the CIA in the
Eisenhower administration called for a total wipeout of Castro air power
by a series of strikes just prior to the invasion landing.
Once the invasion of Cuban exiles cleared the perimeter around the
airstrip at the Bay of Pigs, Hunt planned to fly to Cuba with the
>From Cuba, the provisional government would broadcast to the world a
declaration that it was a government-in-arms, making an appeal for aid in
Following the declaration, a sizable contingent of U.S. Marines would wait
offshore in the U.S. aircraft carrier Boxer.
Because the Eisenhower administration plan was illegal under international
law, the entire Cuban project was run under the principle of plausible
To hide the war planning, the CIA trained the Cuban exiles in Guatemala
and utilized agency covers in the United States that included businesses
and individuals who shared rentals with organized crime and radical
right-wing paramilitary organizations.
In time it became impossible to separate the wheat of intelligence from
the chaff of the underworld, commented journalist Warren Hinkle and his
co-author William Turner, a former FBI agent, in their 1981 book The Fish
is Red: The Secret War Against Castro.
Candidate Kennedys gambit
On July 23, 1960, CIA director Allen Dulles visited JFK at the family
compound in Hyannis Port, Mass., on Cape Cod to brief the candidate on the
Eisenhower administrations anti-Castro efforts, Corsi writes.
This put the Kennedy campaign on notice that an October-surprise invasion
of Cuba was a possibility. Increasingly, the Kennedy camp became paranoid
as rumors out of Miami talked of the creation of a CIA-sponsored
invasion-force consisting of Cuban exiles.
After confirming an invasion of Cuba was being planned, the Kennedy
campaign decided to step up the candidates rhetoric. On Oct. 6, 1960, at
a Democratic Party dinner in Cincinnati, Ohio, JFK declared we must
firmly resist further communist encroachment in this hemisphere working
through a strengthened organization of the American States and
encouraging those liberty-loving Cubans who are leading the resistance to
This sounded close to an endorsement of a U.S. policy assisting Cuban
exiles in an effort to oust Castro, Corsi notes in Who Really Killed
On Oct. 20, 1960, on the eve of the fourth and final presidential debate,
JFK put out a statement saying the U.S. must attempt to strengthen the
non-Batista democratic anti-Castro forces in exile, and in Cuba itself,
who offer eventual hope of overthrowing Castro. Thus far these fighters
for freedom have had virtually no support from our government.
While the statement stopped short of endorsing a U.S. government-sponsored
invasion of Cuba, JFK was trying to pre-empt the aggressive rhetoric on
Cuba, positioning himself to claim credit for the idea, if Nixon and the
Eisenhower administration were to go forward with the Cuban exile plan
prior to Election Day.
Then, during the fourth debate, on Oct. 21, 1960, in New York City, in his
opening statement, JFK again returned to the theme of Cuba.
I look at Cuba, 90 miles off the coast of the United States, Kennedy
began. In 1957, I was in Havana. I talked with the American ambassador
there. He said he was the second most powerful man in Cuba. And yet even
though Ambassador Smith and Ambassador Gardner, both Republican
ambassadors, both warned of Castro, the Marxist influences around Castro,
the communist influences around Castro, both of them have testified in the
last six weeks that in spite of their warnings to the American government,
nothing was done.
The Kennedy campaign, Corsi writes, had correctly calculated that Nixons
training as a debater would induce him to take the opposite approach,
urging a policy of restraint while charging Kennedy was being
irresponsible in suggesting the wisdom of a U.S. military invasion of
This is exactly what Nixon did in the fourth debate, calling JFKs Cuba
policy the most dangerously irresponsible recommendations hes made
during the course of this campaign. Kennedys calculated move effectively
checkmated Nixon on Cuba. Nixon was furious.
In his 1962 book Six Crises, Nixon described how as he was preparing on
Oct. 20, 1960, for the fourth debate, he saw huge black headlines in the
afternoon papers that he characterized as reading: Kennedy Advocates U.S.
Intervention in Cuba, Calls for Aid to Rebel Forces in Cuba.
Nixon recalled that as early as Sept. 23, 1960, Kennedy had given an
exclusive statement to the Scripps-Howard newspapers in which he said,
The forces fighting for freedom in exile and in the mountains of Cuba
should be sustained and assisted.
When Nixon read the headlines in the newspapers, he reported he could
hardly believe his eyes. Nixon asked his aides to call the White House and
find out if Allen Dulles in his regular briefings of Kennedy as the
Democratic Party candidate had disclosed to Kennedy the fact that for
months the CIA had been training Cuban exiles in Guatemala for an
Within a half hour, Nixon discovered Dulles had briefed Kennedy on the
For the first and only time in the campaign, I got mad at Kennedy
personally, Nixon wrote. I understand and expect hard-hitting attacks in
a campaign. But in this instance I thought that Kennedy, with full
knowledge of the facts was jeopardizing the security of a United States
foreign policy operation. And my rage was greater because I could do
nothing about it.
Nixon was particularly enraged that although the idea of providing the
Cuban exiles cover training was actually his idea, somehow Kennedy managed
to pull off the illusion he had thought of it first.
In Six Crises, Nixon acknowledged that the program to have the CIA
provide arms, ammunition and training for the Cubans who fled the Castro
regime had been in operation for six months before the 1960 campaign had
gotten under way.
It was Nixons program, but now he could not say a single word about it.
The operation was covert, Nixon wrote. Under no circumstances could it
be disclosed or even alluded to. Consequently, under Kennedys attacks and
his new demands for militant policies, I was in the position of a
fighter with one hand tied behind his back. I knew we had a program under
way to deal with Castro, but I could note even hint at its existence, much
less spell it out.
Nixon wrote that he was faced with one of the most difficult decisions of
the campaign, and he felt Kennedy had him at a tremendous disadvantage.
Kennedy was now publicly advocating what was already the policy of the
American Government covertly and Kennedy had been so informed, Nixon
groused. But by stating such a position publicly, he obviously stood to
gain the support of all those who wanted a stronger policy against Castro,
but who, of course, did not know of our covert programs already under
Nixon concluded, much as the Kennedy camp predicted he would, that he had
to protect the covert operation at all costs.
In fact, I must go to the other extreme: I must attack the Kennedy
proposal to provide such aid as wrong and irresponsible because it would
violate our treaty obligations, Nixon explained.
The Kennedy ploy had worked, writes Corsi.
By taking the aggressive position on Cuba, JFK effectively blocked an
October-surprise Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.
But that was hardly the end of the story, Corsi notes.
While the stratagem may well have been critical to preserving JFKs chance
to beat Nixon in 1960, it ultimately backfired.
Once JFK was elected president, he suddenly became vulnerable to Bissell
and the CIA blackmailing him over Cuba.
If JFK as president did not keep good on his campaign promise to support
the Cuban exiles in their effort to regain their country, what would
prevent Bissell and the CIA from leaking to the public the reality that
JFKs Cuban statements during the campaign were nothing more than an
effort to pre-empt or block a Nixon plan that might have worked?
Once JFK blocked Nixon from executing the CIA covert plan to invade Cuba,
he committed himself to following through with the plan shortly after
taking office, with no assurance it would work.
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Secret details of JFKs assassination are finally unlocked. Get your
autographed copy of Who Really Killed Kennedy? by Jerome Corsi now!
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