JFK Theory: Soviet Union/Cuba

Theory: Sovet Union and Cuba

John Martino, an electronics expert, was employed by Santos Trafficante. He also worked as a CIA agent and took part in its Black Operations. This involved a policy that was later to become known as Executive Action (a plan to remove unfriendly foreign leaders from power). In an article published in January, 1964, Martino argued that in 1963 Castro discovered an American plot to overthrow his government. He retaliated by employing Lee Harvey Oswald to kill President John F. Kennedy.

Billy James Hargis, the founder of Christian Crusade, as "a Christian weapon against Communism and its godless allies" claimed in 1964 that John F. Kennedy was assassinated as a result of a communist conspiracy. He also believed that the KGB and the American Communist Party tried to place the blame on right-wing organizations such as the John Birch Society.

James Angleton believed that Nikita Khrushchev was involved in the assassination. He claimed that Khrushchev sought revenge after he had been humiliated by Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

In his book, Khrushchev Killed Kennedy (1975), Michael Eddowes argued that Kennedy was killed by a Soviet agent impersonating Lee Harvey Oswald.In Legend: The Secret World of Lee Harvey Oswald (1978), Edward Jay Epstein argues that Oswald was a KGB agent.

In a series of articles for the Washington Post Jack Anderson argued that Fidel Castro joined forces with the Mafia to kill Kennedy. In his book, The Kennedy Assassination From a Historian's Perspective, Michael Kurtz claims that there was a possibility that the assassination was ordered by Fidel Castro.

Shortly before his death in 1975 John Martino confessed to a Newsday reporter, John Cummings, that he had been guilty of spreading false stories implicating Oswald in the assassination. 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."

(J1) Dorothy Kilgallen, New York Journal American (15th July, 1959)

If our state department heads in Washington deny they're gravely worried over the explosive situation in Cuba and nearby Latin American countries, they're either giving out false information for reasons of their own or playing ostrich, which might prove to be a dangerous game. US intelligence is virtually nonexistent if the government isn't aware that Russia already has bases in Cuba, and Russian pilots in uniform are strutting openly in Havana... Fidel Castro is the target for so many assassins they're apt to fall over each other in their efforts to get him. The Mafia want to knock him off. So do the Batista sympathizers, of course, and then there are his own disillusioned rebels, just for starters. He has machine guns and other ammunition mounted on every key rooftop near his base of operations, but the smart money doubts if any amount of precaution can change his status as a clay pigeon.

According to Dorothy Kilgallen, what were the CIA and the Mafia trying to do in 1959?

(J2) Billy James Hargis, The Far Left (1964)

In spite of the absolute, indisputable evidence that Lee Oswald’s mind was molded by Communist conspiracy propaganda, that his hatred was of the American free enterprise system and all it embraces, and that no one with even the remotest connection with what is considered to be the extreme right has any remote connection with the entire hideous affair, the propaganda voices of the left continue to try to blame right wing conservatives for creating the atmosphere of “hate” which caused Oswald to commit the assassination of President Kennedy. Do they really think the American people are that stupid?

There is no doubt in my mind that the Communist assassin, Lee Oswald, intended to kill the President of the United States and disappear in the confused crowd, thus letting the conservative, anti-Communist element of Dallas take the blame. But it didn’t work. God is on the throne. He saw to it that Lee Harvey Oswald was apprehended by a courageous Dallas policeman, Officer Tippit, who, in turn, gave his life for the cause of freedom in attempting to arrest the Communist assassin of the President.

Why did Billy James Hargis believe that Lee Harvey Oswald and the American Communist Party were behind the assassination of John F. Kennedy?

(J3) Thomas G. Buchanan, Who Killed Kennedy? (1964)

Nor could a native Marxist have expected any benefit from Kennedy's assassination. Communists had first been prosecuted under Truman, and the policy continued under Eisenhower. By the time the Kennedy Administration took office, membership in the U.S. Communist Party had been reduced from a peak strength of about 100,000 to less than 10,000. There had been no noticeable relaxation under Kennedy in this campaign against domestic Communists, but neither had the effort been intensified. A spokesman for the U.S. Communists had recently announced their membership, after a long decline, was finally beginning to make gains. This tendency might have continued and, indeed, expanded as official anti-Soviet hostility diminished. The first group to suffer, if such tensions were renewed, would be the U.S. Communists themselves. And if it could be shown that U.S. Communists had engineered the crime, the worst excesses which the country knew after the murder of McKinley or during the dominance of Senator McCarthy would have seemed an era of tranquillity and tolerance by contrast with the persecution to which Communists would then have been subjected. It is, consequently, inconceivable that if the Communists did have this suicidal notion, the assassin would have posed before the crime to have a snapshot taken of himself holding the murder weapons, with a copy of The Worker, the official party paper.

No conceivable political objective of the U.S. Communists, moreover, has been served by Kennedy's elimination. There appears to have been disagreement in the U.S. party, back in 1960, whether to support the Kennedy campaign or to remain completely neutral. Kennedy had run with Communist support, however. And by 1963, on the main issues of the daythe Negro civil rights drive and disarmament-the President was felt to be an ally-temporary, to be sure, but of a key and, it was later feared, an irreplaceable importance. One has but to read the very issue of The Worker Oswald is alleged to have been reading to observe that Kennedy was being treated, at that time, with a respect not far removed from admiration. To the Communists of the United States, the President's domestic foes were their foes, also. And Gus Hall, a national official, had asserted that the party should endorse the President for re-election in the 1964 campaign. One scarcely sees why any Communist would murder the one man who could make sure that Barry Goldwater would not reach the White House.

The assassination of the President may thus be shown to have served no political objective which can reasonably be attributed to the domestic Communists or, for that matter, to the Communists of any country. It is one of the ironic aspects of this case that the first people to proclaim their indignation that the President was murdered by the "Communists" were those who, one day earlier, had been attacking Kennedy as a "pro-Communist" himself, and saying that he was the best friend that the Communists had ever had.

Why does Thomas G. Buchanan believe that the American Communist Party was not involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy?

(J4) Jack Anderson, Peace, War, And Politics (1999)

When CIA chief John McCone learned of the assassination, he rushed to Robert Kennedy's home in McLean, Virginia, and stayed with him for three hours. No one else was admitted. Even Bobby's priest was turned away. McCone told me he gave the attorney general a routine briefing on CIA business and swore that Castro's name never came up. Yet McCone's agency had been trying to kill Castro, and just two months earlier Castro had threatened to retaliate if the assassination attempts continued. Another thing: On November 22, 1963, when I could talk about nothing else, when my wife could talk about nothing else, when the entire world was riveted on Dallas, the director of the CIA claimed that he spent three hours with the brother of the slain president and that they discussed routine CIA business.

Sources would later tell me that McCone anguished with Bobby over the terrible possibility that the assassination plots sanctioned by the president's own brother may have backfired. Then the following day, McCone briefed President Lyndon Johnson and his National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy. Afterward, McCone told subordinates - who later filled me in - what happened at that meeting. The grim McCone shared with Johnson and Bundy a dispatch from the U.S. embassy in Mexico City, strongly suggesting that Castro was behind the assassination.

The CIA chief put this together with what he knew of the mood in Moscow. Nikita Khrushchev was on the ropes inside the Kremlin, humiliated over backing down less than a year earlier during the Cuban missile crisis. If Castro were to be accused of the Kennedy assassination, Americans would demand revenge against Cuba, and Khrushchev would face another Cuban crisis. He was an impulsive man who could become dangerous if backed into a corner. McCone warned that Khrushchev was unlikely to endure another humiliation over Cuba. This time he might do something reckless and provoke a nuclear war, which would cost forty million American lives. It was a staggering figure that the new president repeated to others.

What does Jack Anderson believe that Robert Kennedy and John McCone spoke about for three hours?

(J5) Michael Eddowes, November 22: How They Killed Kennedy (1976)

All those with whom I have discussed the facts of the assassination, although agreeing with my conclusions, have asked me what the Russians had stood to gain, and it has been necessary, therefore, to endeavour to identify not only the decisions and the words of the Kennedy brothers, but to try to identify the ultimate purpose of the foiled Cuban and Indian adventures in order to indicate a possible motive for the subsequent assassination of the President. If, as the evidence indicates, the KGB organised the assassination, it would seem that it had appeared imperative to remove Kennedy from the area of international relations, for he had captured the ear of the world and had obtained the support of the United Nations over the Cuba Crisis.

Why did Michael Eddowes believe the KGB organized the assassination of John F. Kennedy?

(J6) Gerry P. Hemming interviewed by Anthony Summers in 1979.

He (Lee Harvey Oswald) was attempting to get in with the representatives of Castro's new government, the consular officials in Los Angeles. And at that point in time I felt that he was a threat to me and to those Castro people, that he was an informant or some type of agent working for somebody. He was rather young, but I felt that he was too knowledgeable in certain things not to be an agent of law enforcement or of Military Intelligence, or Naval Intelligence.

As a radar operator living in a highly restricted area, he would have been fraternizing with CIA contract employees. Sooner or later he would fraternize with a case officer, one or more, that handled these contract employees. He would be a prime candidate for recruitment because of job skills, and expertise, and the fact that they could personally vouch for him and give him a security clearance.

Why does Gerry P. Hemming believe there was a link between Lee Harvey Oswald and Fidel Castro?

(J7) Robert J. Groden, The Search for Lee Harvey Oswald (1995)

How to pin the president's death on Castro? Simple. Have a pro-Castroite accused as the assassin. The perfect candidate for "designated patsy" was Lee Harvey Oswald.

In all likelihood, the CIA kept Oswald on as an inactive agent, as perhaps they had been since his defection to the USSR. In September 1962, he went to work for the FBI as a $200-per-month informant (Warren Commission executive session, January 27, 1964). But on what or whom could he inform? One possibility is that he was supposed to observe the White Russian community in and around Dallas, which included the late George DeMohrenschildt.

A very probable scenario is that in mid-1963 Lee Oswald was reactivated by the CIA and sent to New Orleans to create a pro-Castro cover by starting the New Orleans chapter of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. It appears at this point that CIA agent payroll number 110669 had been ordered by his superiors to furnish himself with a pro-Castro cover in order to enable him to enter Cuba by way of Mexico City possibly in order to infiltrate Cuban intelligence, or perhaps to try to assassinate Castro. Possibly, those members of the CIA involved in the Kennedy assassination plot were setting Oswald up as "the missing link," the connection between Fidel Castro and the assassination.

Does Robert J. Groden believe that Fidel Castro organized the assassination of John F. Kennedy?

(J8) The Warren Commission Report (September, 1964)

The Commission has found no evidence to show that Oswald was employed, persuaded, or encouraged by any foreign government to assassinate President Kennedy or that he was an agent of any foreign government, although the Commission has reviewed the circumstances surrounding Oswald's defection to the Soviet Union, his life there from October of 1959 to June of 1962 so far as it can be reconstructed, his known contacts with the Fair Play for Cuba Committee and his visits to the Cuban and Soviet Embassies in Mexico City during his trip to Mexico from September 26 to October 3, 1963, and his known contacts with the Soviet Embassy in the United States.

Did the Warren Commission believe that Lee Harvey Oswald had been employed by a foreign government to kill John F. Kennedy?

(J9) Jim Garrison, interviewed by Patrica Toole (18th February, 1986)

When I saw "Russian examination" and then found out that this was shortly before he (Lee Harvey Oswald) received an honorable discharge (not a dishonorable discharge) and within a few weeks he's on his way to Russia, this sounds more like intelligence to me. The next morning I noticed that he had handed out leaflets on which he had printed with a little rubber stamp, "544 Camp." I went down to 544 Camp Street and a little old Union building of false granite and I said well this is the side entrance to the offices of Guy Banister. He used to be in charge of the Chicago Office of the F.B.I., was in Naval Intelligence during the war. He was a fanatic anti-communist. I said Oswald can't be a genuine communist if this is where he was operating from. So then I thought that if he was operating from out of here then Banister had some kind of anti-Communist government operation, they would have removed that address immediately. So I checked that and sure enough the second time he was giving something out, the address had been removed.

Why did Jim Garrison not believe that Lee Harvey Oswald was part of a communist conspiracy?

(J10) Louis Stokes, House Select Committee on Assassinations (September 28, 1978)

In 1967, 1971, 1976, and 1977, those 4 years, columnist Jack Anderson wrote about the CIA-Mafia plots and the possibility that Castro decided to kill President Kennedy in retaliation. Mr. Anderson even contends in those articles that the same persons involved in the CIA-Mafia attempts on Castro's life were recruited by Castro to kill President Kennedy. The September 7, 1976 issue of the Washington Post contains one of Mr. Anderson's articles entitled, "Behind John F. Kennedy's Murder," which fully explains Mr. Anderson's position. I ask, Mr. Chairman, that at this point this article be marked as JFK exhibit F-409 and that it be entered into the record at this point.

Mr. Trafficante, I want to read to you just two portions of the article I have just referred to, after which I will ask for your comment. According to Mr. Anderson and Mr. Whitten in this article, it says: Before he died, Roselli hinted to associates that he knew who had arranged President Kennedy's murder. It was the same conspirators, he suggested, whom he had recruited earlier to kill Cuban Premier Fidel Castro. By Roselli's cryptic account, Castro learned the identity of the underworld contacts in Havana who had been trying to knock him off. He believed, not altogether without basis, that President Kennedy was behind the plot. Then over in another section, it says: According to Roselli, Castro enlisted the same underworld elements whom he had caught plotting against him. They supposedly were Cubans from the old Trafficante organization. Working with Cuban intelligence, they allegedly lined up an ex-Marine sharpshooter, Lee Harvey Oswald, who had been active in the pro-Castro movement. According to Roselli's version, Oswald may have shot Kennedy or may have acted as a decoy while others ambushed him from closer range. When Oswald was picked up, Roselli suggested the underworld conspirators feared he would crack and disclose information that might lead to them. This almost certainly would have brought a massive U.S. crackdown on the Mafia. So Jack Ruby was ordered to eliminate Oswald making it appear as an act of reprisal against the President's killer. At least this is how Roselli explained the tragedy in Dallas.

Why does Jack Anderson believe that Fidel Castro and the Mafia join forces to kill John F. Kennedy?

(J11) Michael Kurtz, Crime of the Century: The Kennedy Assassination From a Historians Perspective (1982)

The CIA knew that the Cuban government employed assassins and that it had actually carried out an assassination in Mexico. On 19 March 1964, the intelligence agency learned that a "Cuban-American" who was somehow "involved in the assassination" crossed the border from Texas to Mexico on 23 November, stayed in Mexico for four days, and flew to Cuba on 27 November. The CIA also received information that on 22 November, a Cubana Airlines flight from Mexico City to Havana was delayed for five hours until a passenger arrived in a private aircraft. The individual boarded the Cubana flight, and it left for Havana shortly before 11:00 p.m.

These occurrences clearly arouse suspicions of an assassination plot engineered by the Cuban government under Fidel Castro. Various items of information gleaned from the recently declassified FBI and CIA assassination files reinforce those suspicions. On 24 November 1963, for example, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover sent an urgent telegram to the FBI legation in Madrid: "Spanish Intelligence possesses a report that attributes president's assassination to Castro and claims that Oswald was acting as Cuban agent." The CIA also received similar information from several sources. One claimed that the Chinese Communists and Castro had masterminded the assassination. Another source claimed that a "Miss T" heard Cubans talking about having the president killed. Yet another source in Spain told the CIA that local Cuban officials asserted that Oswald "had nothing to do with Kennedy's murder."

Why does Michael Kurtz believe that the assassination of John F. Kennedy could have been "engineered by the Cuban government under Fidel Castro"?